Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest

SOUL HOLIDAYS...

Thursday, 23 November 2017 15:51 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThere have been a number of soul groups using the name THE HOLIDAYS, but one of the most consistent hailed from Detroit and began their career in the 50s. Led by James Holland they recorded for a host of local labels. In 1969, James recruited his brother - the sax man Jack Holiday, Maurice White and former Contour Joe Billingslea to form the "New" Holidays.

In 1972 the group formed their own label, Marathon and the first release was the double A side, 'I'm So Glad'/'Too Many Times'. To make things a little confusing though, they now billed themselves as The "Fabulous" Holidays. With various personnel changes, the Holidays continued to record and enjoyed moderate local success with songs like 'Getting Kind Of Serious' and 'You Make Me Weak'.

Holidays' records are now, of course, hugely collectable and to meet demand SOUL JUNCTION Records have just released a new 7" vinyl on 'em. The disc couples the energized 'You Make Me Weak' with the less frenetic – though still eminently danceable - 'I'm So Glad'. The former zips along with real pace while the latter is a little smoother and smothered with Impressions/Esquires style harmonies. Both songs featured on the Soul Junction 'Getting Kind Of Soulful' album, though the version of 'You Make Me Weak' on this single is a different take.

More info @ www.souljunctionrecords.co.uk

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 November 2017 15:55

 

WALKING ON THE AIR!

Thursday, 23 November 2017 15:00 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altHere's one for the Brexiteers who claim that Europeans can't co-operate! Take a renowned Spanish music label (Contante & Sonante) add a Finnish musician (Tomi Malm) and put 'em together with a team of top session players (including as fair sprinkling from the USA). Get them to work on quality tunes – with English lyrics -and you have a top album that spans the worlds of pop, sweet soul and smooth jazz.

Album in question is 'Walkin' On Air' and the marquee name on it is TOMI MALM. Yes, young Tomi hails from Finland and for the last 20 or so years he's built up an impressive musical CV. He's worked on several albums and contributed to numerous film and TV scores, but oddly, 'Walkin' On Air' is his first solo release. "Solo" though is not quite right. Helping Mr M deliver is a whole host of top players and vocalists including Vinnie Colaiuta, John "JR" Robinson, Simon Phillips,Robbie Buchanan, Luis Conte, Eric Marienthal and Brandon Fields.

The album is named for the set's catchiest track – the wonderful slab of blue-eyed soul that is 'Walkin' On Air'. Vocalist is former Chicago singer Jason Scheff and if you like Paul Carrack (with the bonus of some nifty mellow moment Tower Of Power brass work), you'll love this... great melody full of hooks and optimism! amongst the other up-beat moments is 'Let's Get To It' - full of the flavour of the more commercial sides of Kool and the Gang.

If you like ballads, the album offers plenty with 'Perfect Imperfection' taking honours here at SJF. Singer here is Jeff Pescetto and there's a definite Burt Bacharach feel to this one.

Add to those a couple of imaginative instrumentals and you have an intriguing, varied and always accessible sweet soul/smooth jazz/ adult pop album. And its provenance shows that great music doesn't always come from obvious sources.

TOMI MALM 'WALKIN' ON AIR' is out now on CONTANTE & SONANTE RECORDS. Find out more @ www.contanteysonante.com

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 November 2017 15:14

 

FUNKIN’

Thursday, 23 November 2017 14:26 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe whole Funkadelic/Parliament music nexus is the stuff that legends are made of. The circus defied categorization and their influence has been immense – especially in their Detroit base. And to prove the point Westbound Records have just issued a quirky and crazy 2 CD, 17 tracker which offers new Detroit spins on a set of Funkadelic classics and lesser known gems!

The music's been put together by people like Amp Fiddler, rock band the Dirtbombs, mixer Carl Craig and the wonderfully named Gay Marvine who takes a look at 'Undisco Kidd' – giving you the flavour of what to expect – yes, right, the unexpected!

FUNKADELIC: Reworked By Detroiters is out now on Westbound

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 November 2017 15:15

 

JON HENDRICKS DIES...

Thursday, 23 November 2017 11:58 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altCelebrated jazz singer JON HENDRICKS died in New York on Wednesday, 22nd November. He was aged 96. His death, in a hospital, was confirmed by his daughter Aria Hendricks.

Born John Carl Hendricks in Ohio in 1921, he began singing at an early age often working with a young Art Tatum. After army demob Hendricks moved to New York, immersing himself in the city's flourishing jazz scene.

In 1957 he joined Dave Lambert and Annie Ross to form the influential vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross whose distinctive sound won acclaim as Hendricks penned lyrics to notable jazz instrumentals – most famously Mongo Santmaria's 'Yeh, Yeh'. It's said that he was inspired in this particular direction after hearing King Pleasure's record of 'Moody's Mood for Love,' based on a James Moody saxophone solo on 'I'm In The Mood For Love' for which singer Eddie Jefferson had written new words. Hendricks is quoted as saying, "I was mesmerized. I'd been writing rhythm-and-blues songs, mostly for Louis Jordan. But I thought 'Moody's Mood for Love' was so hip. You didn't have to stop at 32 bars. You could keep going."

Hendricks' lyrics used the original tune as the starting point for intricate, often humours lyrics. The sound, akin to scat, was dubbed "vocalese" and Hendricks became the best known performer in the idiom. The trio's 1961 album 'High Flying' won a Grammy Award for best performance by a vocal group though some so-called "serious" jazz critics claimed their work "trivialised" classic jazz.

In 1963 the trio members began to pursue solo careers and Jon Hendricks (by now he'd dropped the H from his first name) eventually settled in England. Returning to the USA, he worked as jazz critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 1974 Hendricks produced the stage show 'Evolution of the Blues,' in which he traced the history of African-American music in song and verse. Later he formed Jon Hendricks and Company, a vocal quartet that carried on the tradition of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.

In 2000 Hendricks moved back to his childhood home in Toledo, Ohio and continued performing. In 2015 he joined Annie Ross to perform at New York's Birdland.

A unique jazz talent, Jon Hendricks played a major role in popularising jazz and he was a huge influence on numerous performers – most notably Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau and Georgie Fame –whose biggest hit of course, was his version of 'Yeh Yeh'.

alt

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 November 2017 12:06

 

LOVIN’ MUSIC...

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 20:52 Bil Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

altOver the last several months UK soul connoisseurs have been thrilled with new music from soul music veteran ERROL HENRY... the man who in 1989 founded the legendary Intimate Records and who went on to score hits with people like the Jones Girls, Anthony Drakes, The Affair, Chris Ballin, Richard Anthony Davis, Jaki Graham and Deni Hines.

Recently Errol's been working on a new imprint – i2, which burst upon us with the remarkable 'First Night' from Everett earlier this year. In the ensuing months more gems were released – stuff like the Sound Principle's 'Because You Love Me' and J Fly's Frank McComb-featured 'Love Song'.

Now in time for the festive party season i2 is bringing out a fab 12 track sampler which brings together all those previous soul sparklers alongside a plethora of new cuts that will please soul lovers right across the spectrum.

Everett's 'First Night' still stands out – a proper anthem, as is that Sound Principle tune. Another that will be familiar to connoisseurs is LeVelle's old school, 'Bring Back The Love'.

The newer stuff includes a revisit to Teena Marie's 'I Need Your Loving' from Karlito who's helped out by Don E and Louise Labelle and a lovely tune from the oft neglected Chris Ballin, 'Cry'. The cut is a typical Ballin smoocher, equalled in the romantic stakes by the totally gorgeous 'Because You' from Klymaxx's Joyce Irby and someone called Howard Hewett. Mr H records so rarely these days (yes I know he's on the new Shalamar single – see our news archive) but here he does what he does best.... nails the romantic ballad. This one cut is worth the entrance price on its own.... but you also get 11 other modern soul gems/future anthems... check this one out!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 20:59

 

    

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