Friday, 17 November 2017 11:32 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


Just announced is a digital licensing agreement between Universal and the legendary German jazz label, ECM, which will make the Munich-based company's entire repertoire available for the first time ever to stream across all digital platforms.  This means that from today, Friday November 17th 2017, listeners all across the world will be able to access the label's catalogue of over 1,600 albums via Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer, Tidal, and, for the audiophiles out there that crave hi-res sound quality, Quboz.

ECM(which stands for Edition of Contemporary Music) was founded 48 years ago in 1969 by jazz bassist-turned-producer, Manfred Eicher, now 74, together with Manfred Scheffner and Karl Egger, who watched the company flourish from the 1970s onwards with the acquisition of star American performers such as pianist Keith Jarrett - who's still with the label today 46 years after his first recording for them - vibraphonist, Gary Burton, guitarist Pat Metheny, and drummer Jack DeJohnette.

Perhaps more importantly, the label - whose distinctive, high quality artwork was as much an important component of its identity as its sound - also nurtured and showcased a wealth of European jazz talent, including such noted musicians as Jan Garbarek, Eberhard Weber, Paulo Fresu, Ketil Bjørnstad, Arve Henriksen, Tore Brunborg, Eivind Aarset, Steffano Bollani, and Erik Honoré. The label also presents classical music and the works of contemporary composers via its New Series imprint.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2017 12:22



Friday, 17 November 2017 10:31 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIf you like your music a little more adventurous and (dare we say it?) cerebral then you could do worse than check out the album 'Siren' from Robb Scott. Scott is a London-based a musician, singer, songwriter, composer, arranger and producer with several albums under his belt. Robb has also worked in a number of bands as well as composing for film, promos and commercials. 'Siren', though, I'd venture to suggest, is his most ambitious project yet.

For starters it's an epic 18 tracker that touches all kinds of musical, bases and with song titles like 'Venus In Virgo (A Perfume Tone)' you know you're not in for an easy musical ride, especially when you see that the "Overture" is the penultimate track, followed by what Robb calls the "Postlude" – 'You Ought To Go With Me'.

So what's the overall 'Siren' soundscape? Well... impossible to say; there's all kinds of everything here - all tied together with a commitment to serious soul and jazz. To try to give context, try to imagine Rotary Connection meeting up with Donald Byrd in the Cafe Del Mar then getting Charles Stepney in on the act! Bizarre, yes, but even that doesn't really tell you what 'Siren' sounds like. In places it's ethereal and atmospheric; elsewhere robust and brash but it always intriguing.

Most accessible tune is the bold, brass-laden groove that is 'Neptune Atmosphere (You Didn't Feel My Love)'. Here the soulful vocal come courtesy of Gina Foster (other featured vocalists include Sylvia Mason James, Elizabeth Troy, Sandra St Victor and Julia and Maxine Waters). Then there's the lengthy 'California Suite Revue' which, in places, reminds me of something else... could it be Light Of The World's 'Bahia'?

Complex or not, 'Sirens' has clearly struck a chord; it now features on several credible soul album charts and its available now on Rotary End Records.




Friday, 17 November 2017 09:33 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSoul drummer BILLY "STIX" NICKS died on Wednesday, 15th November after a short illness. Nicks, who was a long time member of Junior Walker's All Stars and a regular Motown player, was aged 82.

Born in Greenwood, Missouri in 1934, the Nicks family relocated to South Bend, Indiana in 1943 and at school Billy taught himself drums... taking his sticks everywhere with him; hence the nickname. His first band was The Blue Notes who later morphed into Billy "Stix" Nicks and the Rhythm Rockers. The sax player in that band was a certain Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. who music fans know and love as Junior Walker. The call from Uncle Sam meant the end of the Rhythm Rockers but after leaving the army Billy eventually reconnected with Walker when he joined the sax man's All Stars in 1965. The drummer went on to work other Motown notables, including The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson.

After Motown moved to the West Coast and worked started to dry up, Nicks set up home back in South Bend where he became a respected drum teacher with an honorary music teaching post at the University of Notre Dame. In recent years he fronted his own band Billy "Stix" Nicks & the Motown Machine, playing clubs and festivals throughout the local area.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2017 09:39



Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:46 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altPAUL STUART DAVIES is a young British singer with a passion for vintage Northern soul. Earlier this year he fronted a band called The Northern Soul Survivors on a revival of 'Do I Love You Indeed I Do' (the rest of the band, by the way, were Tommy Hunt, Dean Parrish, Sidney Barnes, Pat Lewis and Chris Clark!). Then under his own name, Paul issued 'Tomorrow's Love' – a song he recorded in Detroit with a couple of original Vandellas, soulstress Pat Lewis, Northern icon Tobi Legend and the great Kim Weston!

For his latest single Paul has enlisted more soul legends to assist. The backing vocals on Paul's 'Baby, It's Yours' are supplied by the current line-up of the Fantastic Four and between them they brew up a proper, authentic sounding Northern storm. The B side is the equally pleasing 'That's The Truth' –which might remind Northern veterans of The Marvellettes' 'I'll Keep Holding On' . (Paul and The Four are pictured on the sleeve, above and below)

The two songs are available on 7" vinyl and need investigating by anyone who really cares about Northern soul... they're as authentic as anything you're likely to get right now. Find out more @


Last Updated on Thursday, 16 November 2017 17:19



Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:44 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altOver the last few years the lovely LINDSEY WEBSTER has created a name for herself via two acclaimed soulful, laid back albums – 'Back To Your Heart' and 'You Change'. Now Ms W makes a pitch at the Christmas market with a well-timed 'It's Gonna Snow At Christmas'. Taking inspiration from Nat King Cole's version of 'The Christmas Song', Lindsey and husband and keyboardist, Keith Slattery penned and produced the new song themselves and they've sure succeeded in capturing the holiday mood of Christmas classics like 'The Christmas Song' (though I do know some listeners have compared the melody of 'It's Gonna Snow At Christmas' to 'Ain't Misbehavin' and/or 'Makin' Whoopee!').

Anyway, you can make up your own minds as 'It's Gonna Snow At Christmas' wins release on Shanachie and becomes available via your favourite download portal.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:55


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