Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest


Wednesday, 19 July 2017 20:03 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altBack in 2015 a UK album called 'Life's So Sweet' sneaked up on us all! Without fanfare or hype the set won loads and loads of friends and was nominated by many as the best UK long player of that year. The artists were MATHER AND KINGDON.... and we waited and waited for a follow up.

It didn't really happen 'cos Stuart (Mather) and Chris (Kingdon) went on to work on their own solo projects – a series of singles that over the last couple of years scaled the soul charts and became mainstays of soul radio.

The good news is that M&K are back together and they've just released a new single.... 'The Ways Of You' which offers once more all the sweet and smooth soul that that debut album gave us. Sure, it's not revolutionary or esoteric – just an insidious summer vibe that's already established itself on all the best soul stations playlists.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 20:16



Wednesday, 19 July 2017 19:59 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altTwelve months ago the UK soul world fell in love with a jaunty little single,  'American In Chelsea' from SIR PIERS. His lordship was/is the alter ego of Piers Penfold - producer, songwriter and musician who also runs his own lovely, little label... Curious Records. The ironic 'American In Chelsea' was fronted by the lovely Monique Bingham and we were told the tune was from our man's "upcoming" album 'SirVival'.

As far as we're aware that album is still "upcoming" but we do know that Sir P is releasing an EP – 'The Long Distance EP' on 11th August. At the moment one track has been "leaked" from the EP – the  sweet n lovely title cut,  'Long Distance' for which Sir Piers has secured the talents of a certain Frank McComb to sort the vocals. In its original incarnation 'Long Distance' is a tight modern soul groove and Big Frank's in fine fettle though some might say in places he sounds a little croaky! That gruffness, though, adds a world weary quality to proceedings.

'Long Distance' also comes in a "Curious Remode" that clocks in at 8 minute plus and all the credible soul stations are giving both mixes plenty of air play.

The EP's other cut is 'The Club' – featuring rap input from Shock G/Humpty Hump but we're still to listen (we haven't had one sent!) ... so we can't fully comment

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 20:17



Tuesday, 18 July 2017 18:27 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altUS news agencies are reporting that 83 year old Motown veteran, BOBBY TAYLOR is in very poor health. Taylor of course was the leader of mixed race band THE VANCOUVERS, whose biggest hit was the evergreen 'Does Your Mama Know About Me'.

Motown histories will also tell you that it was Taylor who "discovered" the Jackson 5. They opened for the Vancouvers in 1968 and Bobby recommended them to Motown execs... the rest ... history.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 18:34



Tuesday, 18 July 2017 18:24 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altUS media sources are suggesting that R&B and soul superstar R KELLY is facing new allegations about his conduct to a number of women, who, it's claimed, he's keeping in what's been described as a "sex-obsessed cult where Kelly bans them from contacting the outside world".

These as yet unfounded allegations were made by former members of the performer's entourage. The women, Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones and Asante McGee said there are at least six women living in properties rented by Kelly in Chicago and Atlanta. They claim that he tells them when they can eat, shower, sleep, and bathe, while also telling them to engage in "sex encounters that he records'" and shows his friends.

A representative for Kelly spoke on Monday saying the singer "unequivocally denies" all allegations and said he will "work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and to clear his name".

R Kelly, of course, is no stranger to sordid allegations about his personal life. These include his marriage to a very young Aaliyah, being sued for "emotional distress" by Tracey Sampson, an intern at Epic Records and charges relating to child pornography,

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 18:34



Monday, 17 July 2017 19:16 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


Though his album is called 'Introducing,' the truth is that Stokley Williams needs no introduction to R&B fans that know their stuff. He's the voice of Mint Condition, of course, the brilliant, multi-faceted Minnesota band once championed by Prince, and who scored memorable Top 10 US R&B hits during the 1990s in the shape of 'Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes),' 'U Send Me Swingin',' and 'What Kind Of Man Would I Be.' Now, though, 49-year-old Stokley is stepping away from the long-running band temporarily to embark on his first solo project during a career in music that stretches back almost 30 years.

He started out as a drummer, playing behind African dance troupes in his hometown, St. Paul, as a juvenile, and later, co-founded Mint Condition (with whom he played drums and sang) with some friends in high school. Influenced by soul, jazz, funk and both African and Latin music, he also fell under hip-hop's spell in the 1980s, forming a short-lived rap group, Royal City Crew. Though Mint Condition has always been his priority, Stokley has participated in a raft of extra-curricular activities as a drummer, vocalist and producer - which include studio and stage appearances alongside Janet Jackson, Karyn White, Johnny Gill, Toni Braxton, Prince, and more recently smooth jazz saxophonist Boney James, rapper Wale, and Robert Glasper Experiment. He also occasionally  plays with another group, the France-based Ursus Minor, when Mint Condition are in down-time mode and at the time of writing is touring the USA with Prince's legendary Purple Rain band, The Revolution.

"The whole project is me spreading my wings," says Stokley, talking from San Francisco, explaining the concept behind, 'Introducing,' his long-awaited debut platter. "I'm trying to say and do something different," he continues.  "It's very eclectic. I call it a blend of sonic art pieces. It reflects my upbringing and I just wanted to express that and try to make something that was cohesive as well as very genre-bending but still all one thread."

The album has a big cast of collaborators, which include noted Philly producers Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias (known for their work with Jill Scott, Ledisi, and Musiq Soulchild) plus songwriters Sam Dew and the A Team. There are also guest spots for keyboardist supreme, Robert Glasper, British R&B singer Estelle, and two cameos from rappers Wale and Omi. The opening cut and first single, 'Level,' is an infectious mid-tempo song with an addictive hook that spotlights Stokley's soulfulness while the rest of the album ranges from impassioned R&B ballads to jazzy dance cuts and sun-drenched Caribbean grooves.

Via an in-depth interview with SJF's Charles Waring, Stokley - who considers himself "an analogue dude in a digital world" - talks about his first solo flight, sheds light on his rich musical background, and discusses the enduring influence of his late mentor, Prince...

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 18:33




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