Monday, 06 November 2017 20:22 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


Acclaimed Los Angeles saxophonist, KAMASI WASHINGTON, who exploded onto the world jazz scene like a supernova in 2015 with his acclaimed debut album, 'The Epic,' is back with a brand new set of recordings that underline his importance in reviving public interest in the genre and making it seem hip again.  

Whereas 'The Epic' was a humongous, sprawling triple album, 'Harmony Of Difference' is almost minimalist by comparison - though it's about 32-minutes long, it's actually described as an EP and comprises six thematically-linked tracks each with single-word titles: they are 'Desire,' 'Humility,' Knowledge,' 'Perspective,' 'Integrity,' and 'Truth.'  The latter track, a beautifully cinematic 13-minute groove ballad, is arguably the EP's most impressive cut and its use of a choir and string orchestra recreates the widescreen feel of 'The Epic.'  In sharp contrast, 'Humility' is a hard bop-style swinger that is redolent with echoes of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers while 'Integrity' evinces a vibrant Afro-Cuban feel with its Latin rhythms and percussion. While jazz fans await the saxophonist's next full long player with bated breath, this EP will fill the gap nicely.  

Kamasi Washington is set to play the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in May 2018.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 November 2017 11:26



Monday, 06 November 2017 18:51 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altJames Brown fans will be familiar with the name WILLIE BRADLEY. For many years trumpeter Willie was a linchpin in the Godfather's band and since the sad demise of JB, the horn man has forged a new career playing and recording with many other great soul artists.

Right now Willie is busy promoting his latest solo album – 'Going With The Flow. The album was produced by Preston Glass who has brought in a stellar cast to help Mr B deliver. Amongst the album's guests are Bob Baldwin, Club Nouveau, Jerry Martini of Sly & The Family Stone and the Manhattans' Gerald Alston.

Gerald fronts the set's focus track – a smooth, but soulful 'In The Meantime'. The cool, mid-tempo groove will fit both the soul and smooth jazz genres and Alston's committed vocal shows his years of experience as he caresses the lyric which calls for more harmony in a confusing and confused modern world.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 November 2017 18:54



Monday, 06 November 2017 14:20 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThough few details are available, various US music sites are reporting the death, at age 72 of soul man ROBERT KNIGHT.

Best known for his hits 'Everlasting Love' and 'Love On A Mountain Top', Knight was born Robert Pebbles in Franklin, Tennessee in 1945. His first foray into the music biz was with a group, The Paramounts who recorded for Dot records. Contractual difficulties forced the group to split and Knight/Peebles went on to study chemistry at Tennessee State University, though he also joined the Fairlanes vocal trio.

In 1967 an exec from Rising Sons Records saw the Fairlanes at university concert and, impressed with Peebles/Knight, offered him a solo contract and his first record – 'Everlasting Love' became a top 20 hit in the US where it had competition from a version by Carl Carlton. In the UK it was covered by The Love Affair and that version rose to no. 1 on the UK pop charts

Knight enjoyed two further US hits – 'Blessed Are The Lonely' and 'Isn't It Lonely Together' but in the UK his 'Love On A Mountain Top' became a, top 10 hit after regular exposure on the Northern soul scene; that success encouraged his label to reissue his version of 'Everlasting Love' and the gamble paid off; it became a top 20 hit.

Musically little is heard of Robert Knight after his recording of 'Better Get Ready For Love' in 1974. Reference works tell us that his most recent jobs were as a lab technician and grounds man at Tennessee's Vanderbilt University.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 November 2017 14:24



Monday, 06 November 2017 14:16 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFor his latest (tenth) studio album UK soul man SEAL offers something quite different.... well, quite different for him, that is. 'Seal Standards' (released on 10th November) is just that – the man's versions of classics and standards, the fare usually associated with people like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald!

Seal says: "This is the album I have always wanted to make. I grew up listening to music from the Rat Pack era, so recording these timeless tunes was a lifelong dream."

So, amongst the songs on the 11 tracker are 'Luck Be A Lady', 'My Funny Valentine', 'Love For Sale', 'Autumn Leaves' and 'Smile' (which, coincidentally also featured on Gregory Porter's latest album).

To add a real authenticity to his versions, Seal recorded the album at Capitol Records in LA – the same studio where Sinatra recorded many of his classics and Seal also used a coterie of session players who featured on those original hits- they include Sinatra's piano player Randy Waldman and Ella Fitzgerald's bassist Chuck Berghofer. Don't, therefore, expect anything radically different. Seal and producer Nick Patrick stick close to the well-known/original arrangements of the songs; though what is intriguing is to hear Seal's unique voice interpret things that are very familiar.

The album comes in two versions, by the way... the "standard "11 tracker and a "deluxe edition" that has 14 tracks including two Christmas songs.

SEAL; STANDARDS is released on November 10th on Decca /Virgin EMI

Last Updated on Monday, 06 November 2017 14:24



Friday, 03 November 2017 12:46 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe wonderfully-named CRUMP CAKE ORCHESTRA are an Australian big band (20 pieces at the at last count) and the players came together via a mutual love for the solid, classic big band jazz of people like Duke Ellington and the modern experimentation of artists like Robert Glasper.

Led by Evan Bassani, the Crumps are currently busy promoting their second long player – 'Copy Copy'. The 14 tracker offers a breath-taking sweep of jazz styles and sounds... and a glance at the track list will tell you that there's real electicism here even before the needle hits the groove..... I mean what about ''Ballad Of One The Trumpet Players From The Shaolin Afronauts', 'Stone Hut On The Moors' or 'Ferg And His Cowbell For Dads'?

However despite the odd titling, the music, though experimental, intriguing and off the wall is still accessible. The title track will give you a flavour of what to expect.... chilled-out Chet Baker horn, big brass riffs, crazy Hammond and an odd semi-spoken "vocal" dialogue... odd but it works!

Elsewhere there's a blaxploitation car chase theme on 'Come With Me To Singapore' a lovely 'Contact Him Today' (an all too short Ramsey Lewis pastiche) and a big Latin romp – 'Disney Classic No. 33'. But there's so much more besides. Maybe best not to ask about the titles and their meaning; rather if you're up for a wild, imaginative musical ride through a number of jazz genres, try a slice of Crump Cake (don't ask!)

Find out more @ www.


Last Updated on Friday, 03 November 2017 12:55


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