Interviews

CHICK COREA SPEAKS!

Wednesday, 02 September 2009 11:30 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

CHICK COREA SPEAKS!

Legendary jazz keyboard sorcerer, CHICK COREA, has just started the first leg of a lengthy world tour alongside former Return To Forever band mates, STANLEY CLARKE and LENNY WHITE.

The tour kicks off on September 2nd at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, where the trio will be joined by special guests Chaka Khan, former RTF guitarist Bill Connors and violinist JEAN-LUC PONTY.

The tour moves to Europe in October, with a date scheduled at London's Barbican Hall on November 15th. What follows is a fascinating interview with Chick recently conducted by our US correspondent, John Wisniewski.

 

STARR MAN AND TEAM PLAYER ... ANGELO SPEAKS

Sunday, 09 August 2009 10:10 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

STARR MAN AND TEAM PLAYER ... ANGELO SPEAKS

The Team are acknowledged as the hardest gigging soul band in the UK. They broke through as the backing band for the legendary EDWIN STARR, but since his death they've been fronted by his brother, ANGELO. With a new album out, we decided it was time we found out more about the group. We met up with ANGELO and started by asking about his background…

Well, I was born in America's Midwestern state of Ohio. I grew up in a household with two older brothers and one sister. That meant that there was always plenty of music around the house to listen to. There was a healthy mix of music that had all the elements I was enjoying at the time; Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Average White Band, Prince, etc …and, of course, the vintage Motown and the 'Philly' sounds with powerful drums, hooky bass-lines, strings and horns …. plus passionate lead vocals on top! Seeing my brother Edwin perform while at Motown and later at 20th Century was what influenced me to want to be in a band of my own. So when the opportunity came in High School to play bass (and later guitar) in an RnB band called The Final Results, I took it! We became very popular regionally until all the members graduated High School and, unfortunately, went separate ways. But, by then, I had 'the bug' for performing live. In the late eighties, Edwin moved from America to the UK to consolidate his many years of coming here to tour. Several years later, on one of my visits to see him, we started writing some songs together for an album that he was recording at the time. Things worked out well, and Edwin asked if I'd consider staying on… and so I did. Eventually, this would lead to becoming a member of The Team as a guitarist and backing vocalist. As Edwin Starr & The Team we performed everywhere throughout Europe, and the rest (as they say) was history… well, at least until Edwin passed away in 2003. Yet the loyal fans asked if we'd continue because they loved the music and the energy of our shows…. So we obliged!

 

LADY T TALKS

Monday, 27 July 2009 12:36 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

LADY T TALKS

In the summer of 1979, a Santa Monica-born singer/songwriter born Mary Christine Brockert changed her name to Teena Marie and smashed her way into the American R&B charts with her funk-infused debut 45 'I'm A Sucker For Your Love.' Produced by punk-funk bad boy, Rick James, the record was released on Motown's Gordy imprint and broke into the Stateside R&B Top 10. It kicked off a continuous twelve-year run of US chart hits that also included the chart-topping 'Ooo La La' in 1988. A decade-long hiatus followed her 1994 indie album, 'Passion Play,' but in 2004 the songstress made a triumphant comeback with the acclaimed album, 'La Dona,' released on the hip-hop label, Cash-Money. Sales-wise, the album went gold and prompted a Cash-Money follow-up, 'Sapphire,' in 2006. At the end of last year, Teena Marie - now 53 years old - signed with the reactivated Stax label and recently released her thirteenth long player, 'Congo Square.' The singer dubbed the 'Ivory Queen Of Soul' took time out from her busy US tour schedule to talk to www.soulandjazzandfunk.com's Charles Waring about her career, life and, of course, that all important new album.

 

VANESSA ... BETTY ... THE REAL THING

Sunday, 19 July 2009 06:46 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

VANESSA ... BETTY ... THE REAL THING

The ever-lovely VANESSA WILLIAMS broke through musically in 1988 with 'The Right Stuff' - a sassy blend of dance grooves and smooth soul. Since then she's not only continued to make quality music, but she's developed a tandem career as an in-demand actress starring in both award-winning movies and acclaimed TV series of which the current smash 'Ugly Betty' is just one. VANESSA'S recently released her latest album on Concord Jazz - 'The Real Thing' - and we here at www.soulandjazzandfunk.com were delighted to be asked to talk with the lady about it. First though, we wanted to know why it took her so long to deliver the album … bearing in mind that her last was released in 2005

You know I normally take three years between albums but in 2005 I was working in a show called 'South Beach'; then, of course, we started shooting 'Ugly Betty' and now we're getting ready for series four. I just try to do as much as I can and I end up making music between my other commitments.

So when did you start on 'The Real Thing'?

I was signed to Concord a couple of years ago and we started to record right away - in L.A actually, then they moved the show ('Ugly Betty') to New York… then I was down in Nashville working on the 'Hannah Montana' movie. So it's been about two years in the making.

 

MAYER SPEAKS ...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009 14:12 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

MAYER SPEAKS ...

MAYER HAWTHORNE'S debut album - 'A Strange Arrangement' - is taking the UK soul world by storm. Since www.soulandjazzandfunk.com was the first UK-based media to feature MAYER, it was logical that the enigmatic Detroit-based artist wanted to speak with us before anyone else… we obviously wanted to know how he concocted that delicious mix of retro flavours and contemporary nuances - but first what about his musical background?

I grew up just outside of Detroit, Michigan. I've been DJ-ing, collecting records and playing in bands most of my life, but until recently I was primarily focused on hip-hop. This whole Mayer Hawthorne thing started off as sort of a joke. I wrote and recorded a few soul tunes just for fun. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect that it would lead me to this point.

Since you grew up near Detroit - I'm presuming (a bit obvious from the music) that Motown was a huge influence….

Absolutely - the Motown sound is a very big part of Detroit. I'm extremely fortunate to have grown up there. No other city in the world has more soul.

Was it strange for a white kid to be into Motown?

Strange is a good word. I think what most people find strange is that I'm a white kid who is creating new, Motown-inspired music.

What about your other musical influences?

I listen to Slum Village, Steel Pulse, Prince, Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Helmet, Coldplay, Stereolab, Smokey Robinson, The Police, Public Enemy, and many, many, many more.

Now let's talk about the album -

Yep - my debut album 'A Strange Arrangement' will be released this fall on Stones Throw Records. I wrote, produced, arranged, recorded and sang nearly everything on the album, and played the majority of the instruments.

What exactly was the sound you were trying to create 'cos there's a lot going on in there - Motown, Curtom … harmonies like the Esquires - even the Beach Boys?

I honestly didn't really think that much about it. I tried to just create some good soul music, rather than try to reproduce any certain style. You'll probably hear a little bit of everything that's influenced me.

What's you favourite track… and why?

I like all the tracks for different reasons - but I'm probably most proud of the title track 'A Strange Arrangement'. It's the most complex song that I've written, both lyrically and musically.

What are your hopes for the album?

Hopefully people will listen to it with an open mind. Maybe it will help someone cope with a difficult break-up? Hopefully people will dance to it, cry to it, make love to it, sing along with it... Mainly, I hope it will be successful enough that I can keep making more.

And what abut your future plans - long and short term?

I'll be touring the US and Europe this fall to support the album. I'm also working on a lot of new projects. I'm always looking to the future, working on new music, and trying to stay creative. Follow me at twitter.com/mayerhawthorne.

 

MAYER HAWTHORNE'S 'A Strange Arrangement' album is released in September … full review on www.soulandjazzandfunk.com soon…

 

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