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DANGER GIRL – ALEKS SEVER

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 18:48 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

OriginalCDCover1Popular music has had its fair share of noteworthy female guitar players over the years, ranging from Memphis Minnie and Sister Rosetta Tharpe to Joni Mitchell and Joan Jett. But for a variety of reasons, there are only a meagre handful of ladies who have truly made the grade as bona fide solo instrumentalists. The list is small – it includes smooth jazz guitar doyenne Joyce Cooling, blues maven, Ana Popovic, and the Hendrix-influenced rock chick Malina Moye. But now there's the name of a new guitar heroine that can be added to it: ALEKS SEVER.

Born in Croatia and raised in Germany, Aleks first made her name as an artist in Europe during her late teens (her specialty was oil painting) but soon afterwards gravitated to her first love, music, and started expressing her creativity via her electric guitar. Influenced by the great and the good of the rock, soul and jazz worlds – including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Prince, and John Coltrane – Aleks honed her craft playing gigs in European clubs before relocating to the USA in 2000. There she hooked up with session guitarist Buzz Feiten – whose credits include playing with the likes of Aretha Franklin, David Sanborn, Patti LaBelle, and Rufus & Chaka Khan – and together they worked on Aleks' self-titled debut long player, which was issued in 2003.

Two further album projects 'Dark Side Pioneers' and 'Wild Poets' were issued in 2006 and 2009 respectively and now, in 2012, Aleks is about to unveil her latest CD, 'Danger Girl.' Helmed by producer Matthew Hager (who has previously worked with Simply Red, Peter White, and Mindi Abair) the 10-song set finds Aleks' soulful, blues-infused and downright funky guitar playing supported by a top-notch cast of supporting musicians, including Lionel Richie's drummer, Oscar Seaton, keyboardist Derek Johnson, and saxophone player, Brandon Fields.

Guitar legend, Lee Ritenour, describes his experience of listening to Aleks as "astonishing" while smooth sax maestro, Dave Koz, says he was "knocked out" by Alex's playing. If you want to hear or purchase 'Danger Girl' go to Aleks' website:

http://www.alekssever.com/

 

THE COOLEST COOL MILLION YET....

Monday, 18 June 2012 19:14 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

coolHeralded by two fab singles – 'Without Your Love' featuring KENNY THOMAS and 'We Can Work It Out' with vocals from the WEST COAST SOUL STARS, the new COOL MILLION album is now set to hit the sales racks. Imaginatively titled 'III', it's stuffed with the very best brand new, modern soul music you'll hear all year...though, of course, the irony is that though "brand new" and thoroughly "modern" the music crafted by ROB HARDT and FRANK RYLE has its roots deep in the past and is built on a wonderful retro chassis. Listen, even superficially, and you'll hear echoes of all your favourite 80s Weekender tunes from people like SHANNON, PHYLLIS HYMAN, BOOKER NEWBERY, CHANGE and SHARON REDD... only echoes of course, 'cos ROB and FRANK don't sample; they just use those delicious classics as inspiration.

To help them flesh out their ideas the duo has drafted in some big name vocalists. Apart from the aforementioned KENNY THOMAS and the WEST COAST SOUL STARS (JANINE JOHNSON and ELI THOMPSON) there's contributions from people like PEGGI BLU, DONNA GARDIER, NATASHA WATTS, MONIQUE THOMAS and GARY B POOLE. It all makes for an irresistible modern soul set and you can expect a full review here at SJF very

 

HIP HIP HIPOLOGY...

Saturday, 16 June 2012 20:07 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

hipLondon musician MARC MAC may not be a household name in soul, jazz and funk circles – but fans and collectors of all three genres will be familiar with his various alter egos- 4HERO, NATURE'S PLAN and NU ERA. As well as fronting those outfits he's also produced for JILL SCOTT, ROY AYERS and TERRY CALLIER. Now for his latest project MARC has resurrected another of his concepts – VISIONEERS. Under that name he released a set of collectable 7" singles that were championed by people lisle GILLES PETERSEN, KENNY DOPE and NORMAN JAY while the album 'Dirty Old Hip-Hop' won acclaim in creditable circles.

The new VISIONEERS' long player is the eclectic 'Hipology' – a hybrid collection of break beat, nu-jazz, neo soul and hip-hop. In places there's a feel of those vintage GURU albums – notably on the tracks 'Back In Time' and 'Shine' while elsewhere there's some cool jazz ('LuAnne From Harlem') and a great chunk of funk ('Jungle Green Outlines') The set also features some interesting covers, particularly a take on JOHNNY PATE'S movie theme 'Shaft In Africa' and a loose reading of AHMAD JAMAL'S 'Swahililand'. Maybe the most interesting cut though is 'Apache (Fanfare Dub)' - a brassy twist on the famous guitar instrumental, 'Apache', that was one of the first ever tunes to be sampled by the hip-hop crews back in the day.

Released on bbe Records, 'HIPOLOGY' comes with a bonus CD – a mixtape of the album throwing new light on all the material. Find out more about this intriguing collection @ www.bbemusic.com

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 June 2012 20:13

 

BIG, BIG BLUES FEST...

Monday, 11 June 2012 18:56 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

baduvanAn array of stars from the worlds of blues, rock and soul will descend on London and Manchester at the end of this month for Blues Fest 2012. With the likes of RONNIE WOOD, VAN MORRISON, TOM JONES, ROBERT CRAY, ERIC BIBB, NICK LOWE, ERYKAH BADU, GEORGE BENSON and a host of other artists confirmed to perform at the 10-day festival, which will run from June 26th – July 6th in venues across London and Manchester. It's clear that Blues Fest is undoubtedly one of the must-see events of the summer.

Recent additions to the line-up include the award-winning singer and guitarist IAN SIEGAL, rising blues star KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD, and the widely acclaimed MATT SCHOFIELD TRIO.

Here's just a sample of what's on offer through June/July...

JUNE 27   JOHN HIATT │ UNDER THE BRIDGE │ LONDON

ERIC BIBB │ O2 SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE │ LONDON

ERYKAH BADU │ HMV HAMMERSMITH APOLLO │ LONDON

JUNE 28  SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY & THE ASBURY JUKES │ HMV RITZ │ MANCHESTER

GEORGE BENSON │ ROYAL ALBERT HALL │ LONDON

NICK LOWE │ O2 SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE │ LONDON

JUNE 29 VAN MORRISON - SINGS THE BLUES │ HMV HAMMERSMITH APOLLO │ LONDON

JUNE 30 RONNIE WOOD & FRIENDS – THE CHESS RECORDS STORY │ HMV HAMMERSMITH APOLLO │ LONDON

BRAND NEW HEAVIES │ O2 SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE │ LONDON

GEORGE BENSON │ BRIDGEWATER HALL │ MANCHESTER

JULY 1 TOM JONES │ HMV HAMMERSMITH APOLLO │ LONDON

See the full line up and check out ticket details @ www.bluesfest.co.uk

Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012 19:06

 

THEY WROTE THE SONGS...

Sunday, 10 June 2012 09:57 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

daThe latest Ace Records "Songwriters" compilation offers a second snapshot of the work of Brill Building luminaries ELLIE GREENWICH and JEFF BARRY. Both hailed from Brooklyn and they joined forces in 1962 with spectacular results. This new set – entitled 'Da Doo Ron Ron' – offers 24 of their very best songs and like the first collection it includes many big classics and lots of lesser known gems. Because of a recent relaxation in the ability to license PHIL SPECTOR productions, many of those "big classics" came out of the SPECTOR studios. So here there's THE RONETTES' 'Baby I Love You', BOB B SOXX'S 'Not Too Young To Get Married', DARLENE LOVE'S 'Wait Til' My Bobby Gets Home' and THE CRYSTALS' 'Da Doo Ron Ron' –which gives the long player its title.

Other soul cuts include THE DIXIE CUPS' 'Chapel Of Love', THE JELLY BEANS' 'I Want To Love Him So Bad', SAM HAWKINS' 'I Know It's All Right' and THE EXCITERS' 'All Grown Up'. There's plenty of great 60s pop too from people like LESLEY GORE, THE MONKEES, CONNIE FRANCIS, JAY and the AMERICANS, THE McCOYS and MANFRED MANN.

GREENWICH and MANN also nursed ambitions as performers and the album ends with a couple of their own efforts –JEFF'S 'I'll Still Love You' and ELLIE'S 'Goodnight, Goodnight (What's So Good About It') –both proving they could've been contenders.

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 June 2012 10:03

 

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