Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest


Wednesday, 20 September 2017 07:03 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF



Noted for his virile and passionately soulful set of pipes, Missouri singer/songwriter MICHAEL McDONALD returns with his first album in almost a decade. It's called 'Wide Open' and features twelve new songs co-produced by the 65-year-old singer with Shannon Forrest. The album follows in the wake of 2008's 'Soul Speak,' McDonald's take on a set of classic R&B covers, but is significant in that it is his first album of all-original material since 2000's 'Blue Obsession.'

McDonald's career began in the 1970s, initially doing background vocals for Steely Dan - he appeared on their 'Royal Scam,' 'Aja,' and 'Gaucho' LPs - though he is best remembered for his hit-making stint in the Doobie Brothers between the years 1975-1982. In the '80s, the singer found solo fame, and scored hits on his own with 'Sweet Freedom' as well as smash duets with Patti LaBelle ('On My Own') and James Ingram ('Yah Mo Be There').

More recently, earlier in 2017, McDonald appeared as a guest on Thundercat's single 'Show You The Way' from the album 'Drunk.'


Look out for an interview with Michael McDonald coming soon at SJF.  

Read the review of 2008's 'Soul Speak' here:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 07:16


ON THE RISE - MOBO-winning chanteuse ZARA McFARLANE gets back to her roots

Monday, 18 September 2017 18:09 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


"He's interesting to be around because knows so many records -  he's like an encyclopaedia." So says Zara McFarlane, who is talking about her boss at Brownswood Records,  world-renowned DJ, broadcaster,  and tastemaker, Gilles Peterson. The Dagenham-raised singer - who won a MOBO award three years ago in the category of 'Best Jazz Act' - has been with Brownswood since 2011 and is just about to release 'Arise,' her third album for the label. She describes Peterson as an inspirational presence at the record company. "He's an ideas man 100%," she declares.  "He's been helpful for me with all of my albums. He likes to sit down and ask you what's going on with your life and when's the record coming out.  But musically, he offers inspiration through records and will say, 'I think this record will be perfect for you to listen to for inspiration,' and it's been really helpful. He won't automatically reference something obvious but he can hear something that might influence me in a different way, which always works and I find inspiring. So that's pretty cool."

Zara says it was Peterson's idea for her to meld jazz with reggae, which is a musical fusion that defines the singular sound and style of 'Arise,' a 12-track album that finds the singer-songwriter delving into her Jamaican ancestry. "Exploring jazz and my heritage in Jamaican music is something that I've always been very interested," says the singer who studied at the London College of Music. "With the last album, I had a cover of (Junior Murvin's) 'Police And Thieves' and on the new record I wanted to explore Jamaican music even more. I've always been interested in my Caribbean heritage, though Jamaican history is not something that I've known a huge amount about, especially as I grew up in Dagenham."

The singer had a chance to visit Jamaica recently, which further fuelled her interest in the island's history and culture. "I went there in June for a week to do some research for a musical I'm writing based on a Caribbean folk story," she reveals. "It's the folk music of the 1830s-era just before the emancipation period in Jamaica that really interested me, though I was also listening to 'kumina,' an early folk music of Jamaica from the late 1800s, after the emancipation of slavery, and the influence of Liberian drumming, and also the Rastafarian element."

Last Updated on Monday, 18 September 2017 19:56



Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:29 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altVeteran soul collectors will have very fond memories of Philly harmony group THE INTRIGUES. Their 1969 Thom Bell/Bobby Martin penned 'In A Moment' was a huge US soul hit on Yew and even had a UK release on the old London label, I think.

The Intrigues never found success again and after a spell at GRT/Janus they disbanded. Lead singer Al Brown was determined to stay in the business so he joined with members of another Philly outfit, the Coalitions, to form a "new" version of the Intrigues.

The quintet found plenty of live work and via their booking agent they got to meet hot song writers Mervin and Melvin Seals (the "Lyric" and "Mystro" of 'Could It Be I'm Falling In Love' and other Philly classics).

In 1978 the Intrigues, the Seals brothers and producer James "Channey" Turner went into a New Jersey studio to work on an album. Sadly only five tracks were cut and they were never issued... till now. It seems that Intrigues singer Alan Williams recently discovered the tapes and they've now been licensed to UK soul reissue specialists Soul Junction Records who now make them available as a 6 track EP, 'If The Shoe Fits'.

The mini album is named for the uplifting opening cut and dancers will also enjoy 'AM To The PM' and the slightly funky 'Give Her The Love That She Needs'. The big ballads are 'Let Me Love You Tonight' and 'You Are So Dear To Me'. Both are classic Philly style soft soul artefacts and on both, the harmonies are superb... but you probably guessed that.

The INTRIGUES' 'IF THE SHOE FITS' EP will be available via SOUL JUNCTION from September 18th




Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:27 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'Force Of Life' is the new EP from native New Yorker, LENORA JAYE. Over the last several years she's been working out of Atlanta chiefly with Astral 22 - the alter ego of writer and producer Armand Tulumello and owner of Trans Phatt Records. Lenora has had plenty of songs on Astral 22 albums and collections and her own 'The Story' long player won her plenty of friends.

The new four track EP (produced by Astral 22) is an amalgam of R&B, Soul, House, Disco, Jazz and Brazilian rhythms and Ms Jaye is on best sultry form throughout - especially on the samba shuffle that is 'For You' and the surging title track that is just made for the European modern soul crowd –the kind of tune that you'd expect to grace an Expansion compilation. This one comes with a huge SJF recommendation!



Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:23 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altJOEY OSCAR is a drummer/percussionist who hails from St Louis. His job right now is playing in the band that works for Daystar Television Network, an award winning, gospel and faith-based network that spreads their message 24 hours a day, seven days a week – all around the globe!

Joey has also been working on his own music projects and earlier this summer we were treated to a five track EP, 'We Are One'. Sonically it ticked all the right contemporary soul boxes and given Joey's background there were messages in his music. Now for reasons never best explained Joey's released a fourteen track long player that oddly, I think, contains the five tracks from the previous EP. Maybe the EP was meant to be a taster... I don't really know. What I do know is that 'Mirrors' (for that is the name of the album) extends the range of that EP with its subtle gospel messages (which can be applied to secular situations too, of course) and its throughoughly contemporary American soul/R&B sound though some may baulk at the overuse of electronic effects.

Joey is the drummer, of course, but he flexes his vocals throughout. Possessor of a soulful vocal, hear it at its best on the busy, bustling 'Good Times' and 'True Love' which was probably the best cut on the aforementioned EP. The album also offers up some instrumentals –mainly short interludes; on one of which 'Unspoken', Mr O allows himself to show off his drum mastery.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:38




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