Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest

DREAMING BIG - CÉCILE McLORIN SALVANT TALKS TO SJF

Monday, 25 September 2017 06:34 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

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"My memory is not the best," confesses 28-year-old Cécile McLorin Salvant, one of jazz's fast-rising young stars, whose voice and music is not easily forgotten once heard.  Her admission is followed by a melodic peal of laughter. She's scheduled to perform at London's Ronnie Scott's venue for two nights on the 11th and 12th October and is trying in vain recall details of her previous, critically-acclaimed, appearance at the legendary jazz club back in 2015. "I don't remember the concert so much," she admits, "but I remember the things that happen around the concerts. So I remember walking through London and then going to the stage, but to be fair, I don't even remember what we played there. But I do know that it was a really great time. I'm looking forward to being there in October and offering a little bit of what we do now and showing how we've evolved since the last time we were there."

Certainly, her career and music has moved on considerably since the last time she was in London. She won a Grammy award last year for her third album, 'For One To Love,' and is now about to unleash her most ambitious project yet - a sprawling double album called 'Dreams And Daggers' via Mack Avenue Records. Fusing live performances of jazz standards, recorded at Greenwich Village's legendary Village Vanguard venue during a residency there at the tail end of last year, with brand new studio recordings featuring a string quartet, it's an album that dares to be different. Cécile also devised the album's striking cover art,  which combines provocative photographs taken in her own bathroom with illustrations she's done. It's a thrilling example of a young artist exercising total and uncompromising artistic control in the realisation of her musical vision.

"I don't think of myself too much as someone who has really big concepts," she laughs, when quizzed on the central idea behind the album. "A lot of it is unexplainable and instinctive - or just what feels right. But also the album celebrates contrasts and is really playing with that idea -  contrasts in texture, themes, intention, and sounds. Another thing about the album is that the songs are connected in different ways. The songs I wrote with the string arrangements were sometimes written in connection with the songs that we performed live. They're like comments, counter-ideas or create a dialogue in between the songs, so the order is very much important in listening to the album because it's a story that unfolds with those songs."

 

Last Updated on Monday, 25 September 2017 07:00

 

A LIFE’S WORK

Sunday, 24 September 2017 16:36 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altDONOVAN BLACKWOOD is a UK soul man who latterly has worked with Heatwave. Indeed he still fronts the touring version of the band. En route he's also provided BVs for Lionel Richie, Tina Turner and James Morrison. Back at the start of 2017 he scaled the UK soul charts with the lovely tune, 'Never Gonna Let You Go' .

Donovan follows that up with the equally catchy 'All My Life' – a classic slab of sweet, Brit soul that's available right now via the usual download portals.

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 September 2017 16:40

 

SHIFTIN’

Sunday, 24 September 2017 16:31 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altRON LOUIS SMITH II is the son of KC and the Sunshine Band's horn man Ron Louis Smith Sr. The younger Smith - the self-proclaimed "Prince Of Sunshine" won friends with his 2014 offering 'Spank' from his debut album 'Second To One' ... a 21st century twist to the classic Miami party sound that the original KC and the Sunshine Band exported around the world.

Big Ron returns right now with a new single that once again mines the classic Miami soul sound. New tune is the hypotonic 'Shift It Higher' which comes in "original" and "J Ski" extended mixes and for those who go for that sort of thing there's also the instrumental.

RON LOUIS SMITH II- SHIFT IT HIGHER -Released 22nd September- Sunpire Records

 

CHARLES BRADLEY R.I.P.

Sunday, 24 September 2017 08:28 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

  altIt has been announced that soul singer CHARLES BRADLEY has passed away. The 68-year-old singer finally lost his battle with cancer, which he was initially diagnosed with in 2016. Though he had a period of remission late last year, which allowed him to tour again, the disease recently returned and this time proved fatal.

Charles Bradley was a late developer who only established himself in the music industry late in life. He was born in Gainesville, Florida, in 1948, but grew up from the age of 8 in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager, he ran away from home and ended up in Maine, where he trained and worked as a chef for a decade. After that, he travelled across America, living an itinerant lifestyle before returing to the Big Apple to look after his ailing mother in the 1990s. It was during that time that Bradley started finding work as a James Brown impersonator, calling himself 'Black Velvet.'  

In 2002, he was discovered by Daptone Records' boss, Gabriel Roth, who signed the singer to record some 45s. A debut album didn't surface until 2011 ('No Time For Dreaming') when Bradley was 63. His gritty old school soul style garnered acclaim and after being featured in a documentary film, Soul Of America, he released two more LPs, 'Victim Of Love,' and 'Changes.'

                              CHARLES BRADLEY 1948-1967

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 September 2017 12:03

 

BOOTSY'S BACK!

Saturday, 23 September 2017 09:23 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                  altWe haven't heard from him for a while but the good news is that legendary funk apostle, BOOTSY COLLINS, is still actively spreading the funk gospel. He returns to the fray with 'World Wide Funk,' his first new album in six years. It consists of fifteen action-packed tracks and finds the amiably off-beat Ohio-born bassist sharing the spotlight with almost thirty guests contributors - these range from  veteran rappers Chuck D, Doug E Fresh, and Big Daddy Kane,  and blues guitarist Eric Gales, to hard rock legend Iggy Pop, fellow bass thumper Stanley Clarke, and Philly R&B man, Musiq Soulchild. Even the late Bernie Worrell, the keyboard wizard in George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic axis, makes a final appearance on 'A Salute To Bernie.'

The material ranges from full-on, in-your-face, old school funk (like the title track) and slick, catchy mid-tempo grooves ('Pusherman') to pumping dance floor bangers ('Hot Saucer' featuring Musiq Soulchild and 'Ladies Nite'), silky ballads ('Heaven Yes' and 'Worth My While') and breezy floor-fillers (the excellent 'Cando Coated Lover'). For funk and soul fans, it's a veritable cornucopia of both old and new school R&B flavours.

 'World Wide Funk' is released on 27th October via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 September 2017 13:49

 

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