Monday, 16 March 2020 19:28 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altAlways good to have new music from MARC STAGGERS, though his upcoming (and very tasty) single is not brand new. Fans will have fond memories of his 2011 sophomore album 'Key To My Heart' and the gentle title track won plenty of support.... no wonder, it was a classy Vandross style ballad with input from John Stoddart and Kirk Whalum.

Now specialist label, IZIPHO SOUL resurrects the song in a Tom Moulton mix. Mr T retains all the original sensual beauty...and there's a real bonus on the B Side. Here the Staggers brothers Marc and Reginald have delved deep into their musical archive and pulled out the never heard before jazzy soft soul tune 'Soft Words'.

Ad for those of you who like these sorts of things, the disc comes in neon pink vinyl. ... But only 300 copies available!

Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2020 19:35



Monday, 16 March 2020 19:24 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSnack Cat is an NYC based soul, funk and r&b band. Between them the band members have worked/recorded with artists as diverse as Roberta Flack, John Mayer, Ben Folds, Post Modern Jukebox, John Patitucci, The Jersey Boys, and Greg Allman.

The septet has just released the first single from their debut EP. The song is 'Young Love', an optimistic paean to first love and how that first special relationship impacts on most future relationships in some way or another. Sonically, it's classy, contemporary pop with a blue-eyed soul undertow and sweet interplay between the male/female lead voices. Out now

Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2020 19:38



Monday, 16 March 2020 19:20 BILL B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'20/20' is the latest album from Canadian singer/songwriter/musician PAUL MANCHIN. Working out of Toronto, the set is Paul's 9th album and it was recorded in England – in Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios.

Sonically, '20/20' is varied, though the overriding flavour is electro pop – in places it might remind you of the Pet Shop Boys; elsewhere you may hear Prefab Sprout! The exceptions to that make for the real interest. Dancers might want to check 'I Wanna Dance' – self explanatory really.... funky in a Prince kind of way with plenty of chinking Chic guitars. Different again is the breezy West Coast AOR item, 'Wonder' while 'Blue' and 'Take A Ride' are sombre – mournful even! Best blue-eyed soul moment is 'You're The One'

Paul Manchin's '20/20' is available to investigate right now via your chosen digital platform.



Friday, 13 March 2020 13:26 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altOver the past few years US musician RASHEED ALI has established a reputation as one of the most intriguing and provocative artists on the contemporary soul scene. Working as "1968" (essentially Rasheed and his nephew Emile Martinez on trumpet... Rasheed is keen on the band concept), he uses the soundscape of golden age soul music (think James Brown, Norman Whitfield, Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone et al) to deliver powerful messages in the music. He began with a critically acclaimed trilogy of LPs that explored issues like civil rights, roots, heritage and the role/concept of women in society. En route he issued the powerful single, 'A Badge And A Gun' – his response o the violence against Afro–Americans citizens by trigger-happy US police.

That song was one of the focal points on 1968's fourth album, 'The Other Side Of Town' which again took us back sonically to the late 60s. Once more though, there was plenty to provoke – like 'Be A Man' – a challenge for us all to stand up for what we know is right.

Mr A has just released the fifth album in the series... 'LSD... Love Soul And Devotion' which he tells us is "most likely my last 1968 album...because I truly believe I said all that I wanted to say in the genre of Soul Music". For a last bow, though, the set is still terrific! Sound wise, Rasheed stays true to the 1968 vibe and over the 13 tracker you'll hear all kinds of sonic references without being able to pin things down too accurately. For instance 'It's So Good' has all the punch of EWF while 'You Gotta Have Faith' sounds to have taken its reference point as dear old Curtis Mayfield's 'Move On Up' .

As the title of the set proclaims, 'LSD' is mellower and more romantic than what's gone before in 1968's odyssey. Amongst the key tracks is 'Love Can Make You'. Built around the line "love can make you sing a different tune", it indicates – as is patently the case – that 'LSD' contains a wealth of "different tunes" (different to the previous more incendiary albums, that is). Why!.... there are even a few proper Quiet Storm moments... like the haunting 'Angel' and the regretful 'I Don't Have Any Pictures'.

Rasheed believes that "love will always survive"- an exemplary and optimistic note with which to end this musical chapter. But what next for him? He tells us: "I have a strong desire to realize my "Modern Classical Music" ideas....Some of that resembles "Jazz Group with Symphony Orchestra" type of Claus Ogerman. It will be whatever occurs to my spirit but I can tell you that I want to create some music that is quieter, more cerebral, more to my strength as a composer of instrumental music." ... something for us all to look forward to!

Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2020 13:40



Friday, 13 March 2020 13:19 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'Out Of Dust' is the new album from Canadian vocalist LAILA BIALI. In many ways the 11 tracker is her "comeback" set. Winning the 2019 JUNO jazz award for best vocal album, Ms Biali went on to endure some tough times... the deaths of friends and family members and a debilitating health challenges, but she tells us that the concept and many of the songs for 'Out Of Dust' came out of those challenges. So, co-produced by her husband, drummer Ben Wittman, the 11 tracker is brimming with optimism.

Ms B says that 'Out Of Dust' is "a celebration of life" and that's apparent from the very first track – 'Revival'. Big and brassy... the title says it all. Even in the quieter moments, there's a real confidence. Amongst those quieter moments are the French language ' Au Pays De Cocagne' and a cover of Gregory Porter's beautiful 'Take Me To The Alley'.

Helping Laila deliver are people like saxophonist John Ellis and F Godwin Louis while avid sleeve b note readers will notice the name of Lisa Fischer. The one time Luther Vandross collaborator features on three tunes... notably the roistering 'Sugar'.

LAILA BIALI; 'Out Of Dust' is out on ACT Records March 27th


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