Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest

CHELSEA GIRL...

Monday, 22 April 2019 13:58 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altAustralian singer CHELSEA WILSON won plenty of plaudits with her 2015 long player, 'I Hope You'll Be Very Unhappy Without Me'. Despite the odd title, the set was voted "Best Soul/Funk Album Of The Year" at the Victoria Music Awards in the land down under! It's taken a little while but busy Ms Wilson has just released the follow up –a concise 9 tracker 'Chasing Gold' which like its predecessor is winning great reviews.... even earning "album of the week" status on some top soul sites. So what better time to find out more about Chelsea....

I'm a vocalist, songwriter, DJ, event producer, festival director, board director and broadcaster from Melbourne Australia. I'm obsessed with music and have been writing and recording songs since I was 9 years old. I used to knock on the neighbours door as a kid with my ghetto blaster in one hand and money box in the other and ask if they would like to pay to see my 'show'. I've always loved the stage, mum calls me a born 'show girl'. Mum played classical piano when I was a kid and tried to teach me how to play but I was never disciplined enough to read the dots and become a classical player. I could play by ear much to mum's frustration so she gave up trying to instruct me so I'm self taught. She put me in dance classes at my request but I always preferred my own moves and so I was always the rebel at the back of the room making up my routines! I studied contemporary music and audio engineering at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, so I'm not properly jazz trained. But my first love was jazz, I learned the great songbook on the road. After my study I completed six international residency gigs singing jazz standards in 5-star hotels – I did three six month stints in Japan, I worked in Thailand, Dubai and also spent some time at sea singing on a cruise ship. Some people feel embarrassed to talk about doing gigs like this but I'm not – singing 280 shows a year, six nights a week, four sets a night for a couple of years gave me my performance stripes, enabled me to learn stage craft plus I got to have some amazing adventures!

When I returned to Australia I went back to study and completed a Masters Degree of Arts and Entertainment Management and worked in music licensing for a bit while I started focusing on my own music. I then landed a fabulous role as Music Manager of iconic Melbourne station PBS106.7FM and started my own radio show Jazz Got Soul. While I was in this role I released my debut album "I Hope You'll Be Very Unhappy Without Me". The album was lauded #2 album of the year on ABC radio national and led to me performing at Glastonbury Festival and supporting Macy Gray on her Australian tour. I was then offered the position of Artistic Director of Stonnington Jazz Festival so I made the move to Festival directing after seven years in radio. I've now directed seven different festivals and next month my fourth jazz festival kicks off. I love the creative side of festival directing and producing new shows, it's a different way for me to express ideas.

 

GREEK BEARING GIFTS!

Monday, 22 April 2019 13:16 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIf you think Greek music begins and ends with people like Demis Roussos and Nana Mouskouri, think again! Think VASSILIS "BLUE" SOTIRIOU! Born in 1966, Vassilis learned to play guitar at an early age and it became his passion. After military service he worked with the Blue Rose Band before striking out on his own, debuting on disc with 2013's 'Reach The Skies' – and album of blues and jazz.

Mr S has just released his second solo set ... 'Live Your Life' and it comes highly recommended from this quarter. You see, unlike the guitarist's previous album, it's neither blues nor jazz and you'd never believe it was recorded in Greece (no disrespect to our Greek cousins, by the way). If somebody told you that the 9 tracker was recorded and produced in a US urban centre, you wouldn't argue! That's evident form the opener – the album's title track. If you came across this "blind" you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd stumbled across a new Will Downing cut. Yes, 'Live Your Life' is that good. Right on the cusp of smooth jazz and sophisticated soul, it features a great vocal from Robert Finney Snr. Don't know anything about him, save he has a fine, soulful set of pipes which he uses again on the biographical 'Music Is My Word'... more Downing flavours.

Amongst the other featured vocalists is a lady called Raja Nee. She features on three of the songs, of which 'I Need' is quite superb; its arrangement and brass fills reminding me of those great old Curtom classics! It also boasts a lovely piano break. Odd, maybe, when you think the the album's marquee name is a guitarist. Vassilis is gracious enough to let his musical associates share the limelight. His big guitar moment comes on the Latin romp that is 'This Is Love'' Here the clear reference point is Santana. Another noteworthy track is the closer, 'Family' Semi-spoken and reflective, it might make your recall Tupac's 'Family Tree'.

You've probably gleaned by now that this is a varied set ... it is and each of the nine tracks has considerable soul merit. Little wonder that stations like Starpoint are rotating plenty of the tunes. Like I said, you'd never believe that 'Live Your Life's' provenance is Greek. Investigation highly recommended ... especially the track 'I Need'.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 April 2019 13:29

 

WEAK SPOT!

Monday, 22 April 2019 13:11 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altMost soul fans know and love the Willie Mitchell classic 'That Driving Beat'. My guess is that no too many soul fans will know that THAT DRIVING BEAT is also the name of a Swedish soul band who peddle their own brand of Northern soul.

The band is a big 12 piece from Stockholm who focus on playing rare, unusual, unknown, underrated, abandoned or forgotten soul tracks from the mid 1960's and early 1970's. You can sample what they offer by investigating their latest single.... a faithful version of the raucous Edwin Starr classic 'My Weakness Is You'. The female singer gives her all and the players create a real Motown feel.

The disc's B side is a cover of Honey & the Bees 1969 outing 'Love Addict'. This is energy-packed too though a little different to the original. Listen out for a trombone solo and a tricky (for DJs that is) "false" ending.

Both tunes available now from your favourite portal!

Last Updated on Monday, 22 April 2019 13:30

 

KEEP WORKING....

Friday, 19 April 2019 18:16 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altLast month we brought you news of a new project from UK producer/musician RICO GAROFALO. Rico is a sax player by trade and he'd always harboured hopes to make an album of his versions of soul and dance classics – the kind of music that inspired him through the 80s. Using the brand name LASPERANZA (the name is something to do with "hope"), he set to work on an album called 'Seeds' and we tasted his ideas via a lovely rolling version of Gwen Guthrie's 'It Should Have Been You' (vocal from Izzy Chase)'

Rick has now released the second taster from the long player... an intriguing version of MJ's 'Working Day And Night'. Vocalist here is Kayleigh O'Neill.

The tune is available via Dome Records right now and we're told that the parent album ('Seeds') will be good to go May 10th.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2019 18:25

 

CO-EVOLUTION....

Friday, 19 April 2019 18:07 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altKAYLA WATERS is a new(ish) US smooth jazz pianist. Classically trained by her parents (her dad is top jazz sax man Kim Waters), she's a music graduate of Howard University and since graduating she's played alongside many soul and jazz stars including Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Patrice Rushen, Avery*Sunshine and Maysa Leak. She's also played on her dad's albums and made her own recordings with her debut 'Apogee' making No.1 on Billboard's Smooth Jazz Chart.

Right now Kayla is promoting her second album.... 'Coevolve' and she's just released the track 'Obsidian Rain' as a taster. Obsidian, we think, is a sort of volcanic, dark crystal and the tune, though with its own charm, has a dark sombre feel to it.

Kayla is clearly on an upward trajectory - she received the 2019 Rising Star in Jazz award from the Black Women in Jazz and the Arts Foundation as well as receiving the 2019 Best Jazz Artist award at the Wammies in Washington, DC. – and 'Coevolve' is set to add to the momentum. It's out now

Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2019 18:26

 

    

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