Friday, 06 July 2018 08:18 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                                 altThough he was born in England,  New Orleans is where singer/songwriter/pianist Jon Cleary's heart really belongs. Originally from Cranbrook in Kent, Cleary, who was raised in a family that was passionate about music, was mesmerised by Crescent City rhythm and blues as a young man, thanks to the Professor Longhair records in his uncle's music collection. After he left school in 1980 aged 18, Cleary bought a one-way ticket to the Louisiana city that had enthralled him since his adolescence and aimed to soak up the ambience and storied history of the place that gave the world Dr. John, Fats Domino, and Allen Toussaint.

Drawn to the Maple Leaf bar, where he initially got a job decorating it, Cleary was offered a chance to showcase his musicianship by the venue's management when James Booker failed to materialise for a scheduled concert. This led to Cleary, who plays guitar and keyboards,  working as a sideman in New Orleans. As the years passed, his reputation - and talent - blossomed, so much so that he released his debut album in 1980.

Though he continued to record and tour as a sideman - for such notables as Taj Mahal, John Scofield, and Bonnie Raitt, with whom he's touring in the UK this summer - Cleary's solo career has led to nine highly-regarded album with which he patented his own distinctive Big Easy-infused funk and R&B sound. His latest is 'Dyna-Mite,' the follow-up to 2015's Grammy-winning 'GoGo Juice.'

Laden with infectious hooks, 'Dyna-mite' is a 10-song collection co-produced by the smoky-voiced singer/songwriter together with John Porter and features rising jazz vocalist Jamison Ross on drums. The tracks range from irresistible percussion-driven New Orleans party grooves - such as the opening title song  to slinky horn-laced funk ('Unputdownable' and 'Hit, Quit, Git, Split') to the reggae-tinged 'Big Greasy' and jazz-inflected pop of 'All Good Things.'  Cleary also demonstrates his prowess as a romantic balladeer with the delightful and soulful slow jam, '21st Century Gypsy Singing Lover Man. '

'Dyna-Mite' is out on July 13th via Thirty Tigers

Catch Jon Cleary playing with Bonnie Raitt:

July 09  Manchester        Manchester Arena

July 10  Glasgow               SSE Hydro Arena

July 12  Leeds                     First District Arena

July 13  Dublin                   RDS Arena

July 15  London                 Hyde Park

July 17  Cardiff                   Cardiff Motorpoint Arena



Last Updated on Friday, 06 July 2018 17:45



Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:46 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altHANS PETER de ZEEUWE is a Dutch drummer who prefers to work under the name d'Z. He trained at the best music schools in Holland and after graduating became an in-demand session player. A couple of years ago, d'Z decided to strike out on his own and though it's a taken a while, he's just released his first set of tunes – a five track EP, 'Connected'.

Such is Hans' standing on the European music scene that to help him deliver his musical ideas he's been able to draft in some top players and vocalists like Horns of Fire and soul sisters Katie Leone and Sandra St Victor.

Indeed it's Ms St Victor (sometime of the Family Stand who fronts the EP's title track – a driving, insistent funk-soul workout. 'Something New' is based round a tight funk riff, 'Clean Slate' is a solid soul groove, 'Lovin' And Dancin'' has an acid jazz feel but the best and most mellow soul moment comes with the opening 'Conviction'.

This is proper feel-good, finger-clicking Summer vibe with a touch of Tower of Power about it (well the track does feature the four piece Horns Of Fire) There's a convincing vocal too from Freddie Lubitz. His passion gives maximum credence to the socially aware lyrics.

d'Z's 'Connected 'is out now and you can learn more @


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:55



Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:44 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'The Stranger in the Mirror' is the first album from the side project of Cookin' on 3 Burners' organist, JAKE MASON. For the ten tracker he's working with drummer Danny Fischer and guitarist James Sherlock and as 'The Jake Mason Trio' they set out to pay homage to those great Blue Note and Prestige, Hammond-led soul-jazz albums of the 60s. And with the collection, recorded in Melbourne using analogue equipment, they've done just that.

Amongst the album highlights is a wailing 'Please Please Please' (not the James Brown song, - an original, like all the tunes). This one features guest sax input from Paul Williamson who adds welcome shading. However, the best tracks to capture that magic Jimmy McGriff/Jimmy Smith/Jack McDuff feel are the 'The Grain Store' and the fabulous swinger that is 'Candy Smack'. That one really does take you back to what Mason describes as "The place where soul meets jazz".

THE JAKE MASON TRIO; The Stranger In The Mirror' is out now on Soul Messin' Records.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:56



Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:40 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIn the olden days (I'm talking the 60s) we used to have "showbands' – large groups that toured the ballrooms up and down the land playing to the kids for whom this was their only proper music fix. Van Morrison started off in such a band – Ireland was wash with proper showbands!

Well, I'm reliably told, that the showband ethic still exists in the States and one of the best and most popular (down in the Florida area, anyway) is TALLAHASSEE NIGHTS LIVE (once they were simply TNL). They follow a tough gigging itinerary and offer fans a varied diet of Jazz, R & B, Soul, Pop, Latin, Country, Rock, hip-hop, Dance, Spoken Word and Comedy!

In between their live shows, they've managed to record a whole album of original material that's just been released as 'Tallahassee Nights Live- VOL 1' and never mind all the different music genres they say they offer, this ten tracker is proper, solid old fashioned soul ... try the oddly named 'Antigravity' to hear what I mean. Yes, the title is odd but the song itself is a good old school soul, southern ballad with searing vocal from an unnamed female singer. It's followed by another top ballad, 'So Gone' which the band has wisely chosen as the album's lead-off single. This time the lead voice is male. There's lots more evidence here to prove that those who say real soul's stopped being made are way off the mark... try 'Superstar' –another goodie, or 'It's You'. Recommended!



Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:37 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altEstonia no less is the source of a new, intriguing funk, soul and disco outing from THE LEXSOUL DANCE MACHINE. The nine tracker aims to take the listener to the fantasy holiday island of Lexico  , hence the title 'Sunny Holidays In Lexico'. Indeed the pack comes complete with a map of Lexcio with recommendations about the best bars and so on.

Musically there are all kinds going on.... funk, soul, rock, disco, Latino and more. Best cut to give you the flavour is the closing 'Trans Lexico Express'. The overriding feel is sparse and tight James Brown style funk... but add to that an Isaac Hayes type, drawled rap and a crazy guitar solo and you'll see that were talking about something very different here... very Clinton-esque (that's George, by the way, not Hilary!)

Craig Charles has been playing cuts from this album for a few weeks now. He described the music as "hot blooded, full frontal funk assault... not for those of a delicate disposition". The genial scouser is bob on!

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:57


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