Interviews

BY GEORGE! BENSON'S BACK WITH A VENGEANCE!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009 17:46 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

BY GEORGE! BENSON'S BACK WITH A VENGEANCE!

Three years on from 'Givin' It Up,' his Grammy-nominated collaboration with fellow soul/jazz veteran, Al Jarreau, the legendary GEORGE BENSON is back with a superlative new long player called 'Songs & Stories.' The 66-year-old Pittsburgh native recently chewed the fat with www.soulandjazzandfunk's Charles Waring and talked about his new CD as well as discussing key events in a career that began way back in the early 1950s.

What, in your opinion, makes for a good song?

Well, one that when people hear it, they place themselves in the situation that the song is talking about. In the case of 'Family Reunion' on my new album - written by Rod Temperton - that song is talking about a situation that many people face in their life: somewhere along the way there's a little trouble in their early stages and they need to be repaired, you know, but the most important thing is trying to keep that family together if possible.

 

KNIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME

Saturday, 05 September 2009 06:56 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

KNIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME

Resting on her laurels? Not likely. BEVERLEY KNIGHT readily confesses to being ambitious and liking a challenge so it comes as no surprise, perhaps, that even though she's collected an MBE from the Queen and has been the recipient of three MOBO awards, the 36-year-old Wolverhampton-born soul singer is not taking her foot off the gas pedal. After spending eight productive years at EMI's Parlophone imprint - where she racked up a slew of UK chart hits - Knight has elected to go it alone and recently set up her own record company, Hurricane. Her label's maiden release is '100%,' the Black Country chanteuse's first album since 2005's acclaimed long player 'Music City Soul.' Beverley took time out from her busy schedule to talk to www.soulandjazzandfunk's Charles Waring about the latest - and arguably most exciting - phase of her career.

What's the story behind your new album, '100%'?

It's a much more contemporary album than 'Music City Soul' was. This is quite up-to-date. I wanted something that was completely fresh to me - great songs and everything but with a really up-to-date production behind it. We've achieved that and I'm really, really pleased with it.

You had a long association with Parlophone and now you've started your own label, Hurricane. What was the reason for that?

Basically, I feel as though the old model of record labels and what they are and what they are doing is changing day by day. The whole old school way of making records has been revolutionised by the digital age and it's not necessary for someone in my position at my time of life and with the career that I've got at the moment to have a major label that generates a lot of money but takes a lot of it too. I wanted to be in control of my own creative and, obviously, financial destiny. The deal that I was in with EMI had come to the end anyway…it was just a matter of shall I stay or shall I go? And I was like 'okay, goodbye!'

 

CHICK COREA SPEAKS!

Wednesday, 02 September 2009 11:30 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

CHICK COREA SPEAKS!

Legendary jazz keyboard sorcerer, CHICK COREA, has just started the first leg of a lengthy world tour alongside former Return To Forever band mates, STANLEY CLARKE and LENNY WHITE.

The tour kicks off on September 2nd at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, where the trio will be joined by special guests Chaka Khan, former RTF guitarist Bill Connors and violinist JEAN-LUC PONTY.

The tour moves to Europe in October, with a date scheduled at London's Barbican Hall on November 15th. What follows is a fascinating interview with Chick recently conducted by our US correspondent, John Wisniewski.

 

STARR MAN AND TEAM PLAYER ... ANGELO SPEAKS

Sunday, 09 August 2009 10:10 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

STARR MAN AND TEAM PLAYER ... ANGELO SPEAKS

The Team are acknowledged as the hardest gigging soul band in the UK. They broke through as the backing band for the legendary EDWIN STARR, but since his death they've been fronted by his brother, ANGELO. With a new album out, we decided it was time we found out more about the group. We met up with ANGELO and started by asking about his background…

Well, I was born in America's Midwestern state of Ohio. I grew up in a household with two older brothers and one sister. That meant that there was always plenty of music around the house to listen to. There was a healthy mix of music that had all the elements I was enjoying at the time; Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Average White Band, Prince, etc …and, of course, the vintage Motown and the 'Philly' sounds with powerful drums, hooky bass-lines, strings and horns …. plus passionate lead vocals on top! Seeing my brother Edwin perform while at Motown and later at 20th Century was what influenced me to want to be in a band of my own. So when the opportunity came in High School to play bass (and later guitar) in an RnB band called The Final Results, I took it! We became very popular regionally until all the members graduated High School and, unfortunately, went separate ways. But, by then, I had 'the bug' for performing live. In the late eighties, Edwin moved from America to the UK to consolidate his many years of coming here to tour. Several years later, on one of my visits to see him, we started writing some songs together for an album that he was recording at the time. Things worked out well, and Edwin asked if I'd consider staying on… and so I did. Eventually, this would lead to becoming a member of The Team as a guitarist and backing vocalist. As Edwin Starr & The Team we performed everywhere throughout Europe, and the rest (as they say) was history… well, at least until Edwin passed away in 2003. Yet the loyal fans asked if we'd continue because they loved the music and the energy of our shows…. So we obliged!

 

LADY T TALKS

Monday, 27 July 2009 12:36 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

LADY T TALKS

In the summer of 1979, a Santa Monica-born singer/songwriter born Mary Christine Brockert changed her name to Teena Marie and smashed her way into the American R&B charts with her funk-infused debut 45 'I'm A Sucker For Your Love.' Produced by punk-funk bad boy, Rick James, the record was released on Motown's Gordy imprint and broke into the Stateside R&B Top 10. It kicked off a continuous twelve-year run of US chart hits that also included the chart-topping 'Ooo La La' in 1988. A decade-long hiatus followed her 1994 indie album, 'Passion Play,' but in 2004 the songstress made a triumphant comeback with the acclaimed album, 'La Dona,' released on the hip-hop label, Cash-Money. Sales-wise, the album went gold and prompted a Cash-Money follow-up, 'Sapphire,' in 2006. At the end of last year, Teena Marie - now 53 years old - signed with the reactivated Stax label and recently released her thirteenth long player, 'Congo Square.' The singer dubbed the 'Ivory Queen Of Soul' took time out from her busy US tour schedule to talk to www.soulandjazzandfunk.com's Charles Waring about her career, life and, of course, that all important new album.

 

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