Soul/jazz drummer and record producer PAUL TILLMAN SMITH has been in the music biz for almost four decades. He’s led several bands including Vitamin E, Bridge and Park Place – the latter, possibly, his best known outlet. He’s a mainstay of the Oakland music scene and he’s a founding Board member of the “Bay Area Jazz Society” a non-profit music charity and the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival, the longest running African American Music and Arts festival in Northern California history.
Amongst the activities associated with those roles is promoting the music and artists of the Bay Area and to that end in 2021 he put together a various artists album – ‘The Sounds Of Oakland’. Interestingly, the album’s creation was a direct result of one of Donald Trump’s gaffes! He once said that Oakland was the worst city in America! Tillman, and plenty of others, was rightly incensed and put the album together to show the world (and Donald) that “Oakland has been a creative hotbed for beautiful, original music for decades”. The album was supported and co-funded by two California non-profit organizations, the Bay Area Jazz Society and the West Coast Blues Society and featured a who’s who of Oakland musicians, including Freddie Hughes (who sadly died in January 2002), his son Derrick and Lenny Williams.
A second edition of the ‘Sounds Of Oakland’ was released in 2022 and now Paul has made a third iteration available. The new set’s a 19 tracker and is essentially the same as the first two editions with a few significant changes.
First, two tracks have been left off – Freddie Hughes’ ‘Good Thang’ and Bibby Reed’s ‘Be With Me’. Then, three brand new tracks have been added . They are a classy, contemporary soul beater, ‘Magazine Girl from Donnie Williams, Terrill Carter’s ‘Don’t Run Me Over’ – a sweet and gentle groove and Bonnie Boyer’s bustling ‘Just Like Magic’. Finally there are two new recordings of tunes from the original set. They are ‘Too Much’ and ‘Send My Baby Back’. The former features Minor Williams, the latter has Larriah Jackson out front . She wowed US audiences on the 2020 version of ‘The Voice’ and easy to hear why. She nails this one – but it’s only one of many quality contemporary soul cuts on the album. Soul is alive and well in Oakland! There you go Donald!
The album is now available via Chump Change. And we believe that the label will be releasing three two trackers in the near future . The first will pair Larriah Jackson’s Send ‘My Baby Back’ with Lenny William’s equally lovely ‘Invisible Man’.
Thanks to Mark Turner of https://soulstrutter.blogspot.com/ for his forensic help with this one.