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DELLA REESE DIES...

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 10:37 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSinger and actress DELLA REES died on Sunday 19th November. A family statement said that Ms Reese "passed away peacefully at her California home surrounded by love". She was 86.

Born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931, in Black Bottom, Detroit, her first singing experiences were in church. Aged just 13 she sang with Mahalia Jackson's gospel group and after graduating high school Della formed her own gospel group the Meditation Singers. Her career was put on hold after the death of her mother when economic necessity meant she needed to find work wherever. By the late forties though she was singing in clubs and shortened her name from Delloreese Early to "Della Reese".

Della was soon to become an attraction at Detroit's Flame Show Bar singing in a style akin to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. In 1953 she signed a recording contract with Jubilee Records for whom she cut six long players. In 1957 she enjoyed chart success with the single 'And That Reminds Me' which was followed by 1959's 'Don't You Know?' which she recorded for RCA. Over time despite more hits, that song was accepted as her signature song. Della Reese continued recording throughout her life. Indeed in the 90s she enjoyed two Grammy nominations for the gospel albums 'Della Reese and Brilliance' and for the live album, 'My Soul Feels Better Right Now'.

In later life though, Della Reese enjoyed more success as an actress – notably for playing the wise angel in the long running US TV show 'Touched By An Angel'. Before that she performed in the shows 'Chico and the Man', 'Charlie and Compmay' and 'The Royal Family' and she even hosted her own talk show, Della.

Friend and co-star Roma Downey posted; "Through her life and work Della touched and inspired the lives of millions of people. She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on 'Touched By An Angel'. I know heaven has a brand new angel this day."

Della Reese is survived by her husband, Franklin Lett, and three children and as an interesting footnote, Motown's Martha Reese always acknowledged the influence Della Reese had on her sound and style – she affirms that the name "Vandellas" comes from "VAN" Dyke Street, Detroit and "DELLAS" from Ms Reese's first name.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 November 2017 10:46

 

PETE MOORE DIES...

Monday, 20 November 2017 19:08 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altPETE MOORE – founder and long serving member of the Miracles – died on Sunday 19th November – it was his 78th birthday. Right now, few details are available save that Moore died in Las Vegas. (Pete is pictured above, second left, with Smokey, Claudette Robinson and Bobby Rogers who died in 2013 - at the Hollywood Walk of Fame awards ceremony in 2009).

Warren "Pete" Moore was born in Detroit in 1939 and was a childhood friend of Smokey Robinson. At high school, the pair formed a vocal group with other school pals. Originally called the 5 Chimes, they became the Matadors, then after signing with Motown they became the Miracles. Moore was the group's distinctive bass voice and also a song writer, working with Smokey to craft classics like 'The Tracks of My Tears', 'Ooo Baby Baby' and 'My Girl Has Gone'. Moore also co-penned 'It's Growing' and 'Since I Lost My Baby' for the Temptations and Marvin Gaye's million sellers, 'Ain't That Peculiar' and 'I'll Be Doggone'.

When Smokey Robinson left for solo success in '71, Pete remained with the group (now fronted by Billy Griffin) and the Miracles continued to enjoy considerable success till they folded in 1978. Their biggest hit of this period' 'Love Machine' was a Moore song.

In recent years Pete Moore was head of Las Vegas-based entertainment firm, WBMM Enterprises and (with Billy Griffin) owner of publishing company, Grimora Music.

Today Berry Gordy posted: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Warren 'Pete' Moore, a fine human being and valued member of the Motown family. Pete was an original member of my very first group, the Miracles. He was a quiet spirit with a wonderful Bass voice behind Smokey Robinson's soft, distinctive lead vocals and was co-writer on several of the Miracles hits. A gentleman, loving husband, devoted father and loyal friend, we all loved him and will miss him."

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INTRODUCING...THE INCREDIBLE BETTE SMITH!!!

Saturday, 18 November 2017 11:20 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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Blessed with a big, booming, old school soul voice - think Mavis Staples meets Koko Taylor with a hint of Macy Gray's husky rasp - Brooklyn singer BETTE SMITH is set to release her much-anticipated debut album, 'Jetlagger,' in the UK on February 7th 2018 via Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum. Already available in the US, it has garnered a raft of rave reviews praising Smith's magnetic performances and ability to create a unique sound and larger-than-life persona in an age when mass-produced, identikit pseudo-soul vocalists proliferate.

'Jetlagger'  was helmed by ex-Buddy Guy sideman, Jimbo Mathus, down in deepest Mississippi, which probably accounts for the palpable blues-rock feel that infuses the album,  whose material ranges from trippy psych-soul soundscapes and gospel-drenched hymnals to rollicking R&B rave-ups and Stax-style horn-laced groovers.

Bette Smith is due to tour Europe early in the New Year, with a UK concert slated for February 27th at London's Borderline  (see details below)

BETTE SMITH ‘JETLAGGER TOUR’

Feb 27         London Borderline   Tickets www.alttickets.com/bette-smith-tickets
March 1        Paris Sunset-Sunside Jazz Club 
March 2        Amsterdam Paradiso   Tickets  www.ticketmaster.nl/event/207395?brand=nl_paradiso
March 4        Cologne YUCA (Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld)
March 5        Berlin Quasimodo

Look for out for an interview with Bette and a full review of 'Jetlagger' at SJF early in the New Year

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 December 2017 11:47

 

A SWINGING CHRISTMAS...

Friday, 17 November 2017 12:57 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFor those of you who like to swing (we do mean in the strict musical sense!) at Christmas may we point you to an upcoming album from UK label Silva Screen Records? 'A SWINGING BIG BAND CHRISTMAS' is a 12 track, various artists affair that offers new looks at traditional favourites like 'Let It Snow', 'Jingle Bells', 'Sleigh Ride' and 'Winter Wonderland'.

Amongst the performers are British jazz veteran Liane Carroll, the acclaimed Joe Stilgoe, Ronnie Scott orchestra frontman Shane Hampsheir and Keith Ferreira – the "singing accountant" who does a great "Bing job" on 'White Christmas'. Another highlight is the slinky take on 'Santa Baby', fronted by Ms Carroll while the whole team get together for the rousing final offering – 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas'.

The London Music Works Band swings superbly throughout and the arrangements come courtesy of Evan Jolly and Callum Au while the producers are Jolly and colleague Rick Clarke.

A SWINGING BIG BAND CHRISTMAS is released on Silva Screen records on November 27th

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2017 13:05

 

GOT THE MESSAGE?

Friday, 17 November 2017 11:37 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe latest single from the Los Charly's collective (essentially, Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel), is a lovely, light retro soul groove, 'The Message'. Credited to THE ANDRÉ ESPEUT QUINTET (André is the go-to vocalist for the Charlys team), the tune will remind you of all kinds of classics – most notably Marvin's 'What's Going On'. Not only does it boast the same intriguing, easy on the ear, multi-layered ambience, the lyrics, too, speaks to our community and "how we could pull together as people letting go of judgment and self-importance".

'The Message' – André Espeut Quintet – released on Imagenes recordings on 1st December

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2017 11:41

 

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