Thursday, 15 July 2010 17:40 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

IMG_1366Mississippi's SYL JOHNSON (born SYLVESTER THOMPSON in 1938) doesn't mind anyone calling him a soul veteran. His music career began in the mid-fifties when he cut his teeth playing in the bands of people like MAGIC SAM, JUNIOR WELLS and JIMMY REED. He made his solo recording debut in 1959 on the Federal label, then in the mid sixties SYL began recording for Twinight Records of Chicago before WILLIE MITCHELL eventually took him to Hi. After the Hi years ended, JOHNSON produced two LPs for his own Shama label then sometimes in the 80s, he started a fast-food fish restaurant business but soul music was never far away and he continued to play and record... his last official release being collaboration with his brother, JIMMY, in2002. Now the man's back! Not only is there to be a box set retrospective of his work, but SYL is also working with Australian soul diva MELLOW-D on a project that he hopes will spark a renaissance of real soul music.  needed to know more. We caught up with SYL and began by asking him what exactly he'd been doing since that 2002 album....

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 July 2010 19:04



Friday, 09 July 2010 11:34 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Lenny_smallHaving cut his teeth as a sideman with jazz saxophonist, Jackie McLean, in the late-'60s, native New Yorker and master drummer Lenny White made his recording debut on Miles Davis's epochal jazz-rock fusion album, 'Bitches Brew,' in August 1969. He was just nineteen.

After making his mark with Miles, White played as a sideman with another jazz legend, tenor saxophone titan Joe Henderson, then played on Freddie Hubbard's classic 'Red Clay' LP and after that joined a Latin jazz-rock group, Azteca, for a couple of albums. In 1972, he was asked by Chick Corea to join a new electric version of the band Return To Forever. Alongside keyboard wizard, Corea, virtuoso bassist Stanley Clarke and guitarist Bill Connors (who was replaced after one album by Al Di Meola), White and Return To Forever achieved massive popularity in the mid-'70s with an adventurous amalgam of jazz, classical music and nimble-fingered prog-rock. White enjoyed a parallel career as a solo artist alongside RTF and issued his own rock-infused brand of fusion on albums like 'Venusian Summer' (1975), 'Big City' (1977) and 'The Adventures Of Astral Pirates' (1978). Soul music fans are more likely to know White from his producer's role for acts like Sylvia St. James, Pieces Of A Dream, Bernard Wright, Nicki Richards, Rachelle Ferrell and Tom Browne as well as his work in the '80s alongside bassist Marcus Miller in the Jamaica Boys.

Equally at home in the spheres of jazz, soul and rock, White's new album, 'Anomaly' – his first in a decade – reflects his versatility and musical eclecticism.

Recently in conversation with SJF's Charles Waring, White not only talked at length about his new album but also reflected on key moments in a recording career that to date spans forty one years.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 July 2010 19:41



Friday, 25 June 2010 10:43 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF


youngbloodIn a relatively short space of time PHIL DRIVER'S Cambridgeshire- based Soul Unsigned label has made huge advances. They began issuing EPs on unsigned, indie soul artists; then moved to full albums. After that came critically-acclaimed CDs of music from more established indie soulsters and more recently PHIL has allowed some top DJs to compile alums for the label. Now SOUL UNSIGNED is about to take another giant stride when it releases its first full single artist album. Said artist is CHRIS YOUNGBLOOD and the album's called 'In Love With You'. The set's title cut has already appeared on a Soul Unsigned compilation album. It's smoothly soulful - totally contemporary but with its feet, respectfully in the past. We needed to find out more about the honeyed-voiced MR. YOUNGBLOOD so we tracked him down to his Los Angeles home, where we began by asking him to fill us in on his background....


DIVINE INSPIRATION: jazz legend JOHN McLAUGHLIN talks about his new album, 'To The One.'

Tuesday, 01 June 2010 07:43 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

DIVINE INSPIRATION: jazz legend JOHN McLAUGHLIN talks about his new album, 'To The One.'

In January 1969, JOHN McLAUGHLIN - an unknown Yorkshire-born jazz guitarist who had been eking a living as a session player in London and played alongside the likes of Georgie Fame and Brian Auger - travelled to New York ostensibly to join the group Lifetime, formed by Miles Davis's departing drummer, Tony Williams. After the group's first rehearsal, he accompanied Williams to Miles Davis's house (Williams had gone to pick up his pay from Miles) and ended up being asked by the legendary trumpeter to join him in the studio the next day. That session resulted in the classic Davis album 'In A Silent Way' - a landmark record that paved the way for jazz-rock fusion - and which catapulted McLaughlin into jazz's premier league.
In 1972, McLaughlin formed his own group, the pioneering jazz-rock behemoth, Mahavishnu Orchestra, in tandem with powerhouse drummer Billy Cobham and in 1975, after the group broke up McLaughlin went in a wholly different direction when he formed the acoustic group, Shakti, which fused jazz with Indian music. Since that time, the guitar virtuoso - how now lives in the south of France - has issued a raft of albums under his own name that marry a quest for spiritual enlightenment with music. His latest album, 'To The One,' follows on from his role in the Five Peace Band project with Chick Corea and was recorded with his group The Fourth Dimension (its members are keyboardist Gary Husband, bassist Etienne M'Bappe and drummer Mark Mondesir) and recently, the 68-year-old guitarist took time out from his busy touring schedule to talk to www.soulandjazzandfunk's Charles Waring about his new album.



Thursday, 27 May 2010 14:30 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF


In a few short years, North West-based SOULCHOONZ has established itself as a major player on the UK modern soul scene. The company is also having a big impact Stateside, where head honcho DI LEE has been working with the legendary TONY CAMILLO on a number of exciting projects. We felt it was time to catch up with Ms LEE to find out more ... but we started by asking her what exactly Soulchoonz is. Is it a record label, a promotion company, a production company, a web-based music magazine or a radio programme maker?

"Soulchoonz is all of the above ... we're a passionate company that supports soul music from around the world (we have worked with artists from countries including; USA, Canada, UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany and Australia) with all these activities to get the artists know and the choonz out there!"


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