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A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC....

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 20:52 Bill b E-mailPrintPDF

altWhen it comes to a musical pedigree, CHINA MOSES has got real form. She is the daughter of jazz multiple Grammy award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater while dad is theatre, film and television director Gilbert Moses. Little wonder music and performing have been with China right through her life!

Ms Moses debuted back in 1997 with 'China' and quickly became an attraction on the Parisian live music scene (she's resides in the City Of Light). In 2008 she showed her jazz roots with 'This One's For Dinah' – her tribute to Dinah Washington which was followed by 'Crazy Blues' in 2012.

For her latest album China is offering something quite different. 'Nightintales' is, in old fashioned music parlance, a "concept" album. For the first time all songs on the 11 tracker are her own and through China, the narrator, we're taken on a journey through the night. A night that brings romance ('Hang Over'), rejection ('Whatever), vices ('Nicotine'), reckless passion ('Put It On The Line') and finally self awakening ('Running'). In between there are pleasurable moments in smoky jazz clubs ('Blame Jerry') and intrigue in bijou hotels ('Lobby Call')

Musically, China and producer Anthony Marshall have conjured up myriad moods that range from the mournful piano led ballad that is 'Ticking Boxes' through to the fun-filled jazz homages (the aforementioned 'Blame Jerry'... but don't ask who Jerry is).

Vocally Ms Moses has an odd, unique voice.... odd and unique in the way that Macy Gray's voice is. And as with Macy, with China you can expect the unexpected!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 21:11

 

THE POWER OF LOVE....

Monday, 20 March 2017 14:54 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altWithout question two of the most powerful and talked about soul albums of the last 18 months or so have come from New York's Rasheed Ali. First we had '1968 Soul Power' – an uncompromising exploration of issues that affected Afro-Americans in the late 60s/early 70s. The focus was, as the title suggests, 1968 – a year that saw the emergence the Black Panthers, increased Civil Rights agitation, Klu Klux Klan retaliation, plenty of urban unrest and the dragging on of the Vietnam War. Sadly, of course, it was also, the year when Martin Luther King was tragically assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

That album was followed by '1968: Black Power'. This time there was still a message in the music... but the themes were more personal – roots, heritage and freeing your mind amongst them.

We were told that '1968: Black Power' was the second part of a trilogy and, ever a man of his word, Rasheed Ali has just delivered that all-important third instalment.... '1968: Love Power', and the complex 19 tracker is every bit as crucial and powerful as the first two episodes.

Like parts 1 and 2, the sonic template references the dominant forces in black music in 1968 (think James Brown, Norman Whitfield, Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone and more). As ever Rasheed plays most of the instruments himself (with a little assistance from brass players Emile Martinez and Ron Taylor) and it's testament to the depth of his commitment that what he achieves isn't pastiche; it's authentic and, I guess, that authenticity makes the message in the music that much more relevant.

And what of the message in '1968: Love Power'? This time around, Rasheed ploughs an even more personal furrow with several of the songs highlighting the role of the women in his life - none more important than his mother. She's the focus of 'On Her Own'; a strong single mother doing her very best for her offspring. 'I Wonder Why' ( a"true story" we're told) relates the tale of a "strong" female friend who takes her own life. Then there's 'Hypnotised' ("another true story") that touches on domestic abuse and control,

Lighter tales come on stuff like 'Groovy' and 'Sunshine In California'; both touch on the alternative culture, sexual freedom, self exploration and that culture's determination no to get too hung up on issues that restrict and inhibit "self".

By now you've probably guessed that the third part of Rasheed Ali's 1968 trilogy is, like the first two, no easy listen. It's not meant to be. It's meant to provoke. to disturb, to question.... it does all that and much more.

'1968: Love Power' feat Rasheed Ali is out now on Digital Rain Factory Records.

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Last Updated on Monday, 20 March 2017 15:02

 

JACKSONS ON TOUR....

Monday, 20 March 2017 14:50 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altHard to believe, we know, but THE JACKSONS, are currently celebrating their 50th anniversary in the business. And to tie in they're putting together a world tour which takes in several UK dates.

Maybe most prestigious of those shows will be their appearance at this summer's Greenwich Music Time festival. Their show takes place at The Old Royal Naval College on July 6th. The weeklong series of concerts (June 30th – July 7th) also features people like Alexander O'Neal, Little Mix, Cliff Richard, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe.

The Jacksons now consist of brothers Jermaine, Tito, Jackie and Marlon and we're told their show will include renditions of all group's hits as well as their trademark dance moves and outfits. The Brothers will be playing other UK shows too.... check local venues for details

Tickets for The Jacksons and Alexander O'Neal are on sale at 9am on Friday March 24th from www.greenwichmusictime.co.uk.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 March 2017 15:02

 

BUNNY’S BACK....

Monday, 20 March 2017 14:47 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altContrary to recent rumours about his demise BUNNY SIGLER is very much alive and well, Indeed the Philly veteran is putting the finishing touched to a new album, 'Young At Heart' and he's all set to release the first single... a stately ballad, 'Till I See You Again' on his own Bunz Music label.

Bunny has dedicated the song to his late song writing partner Marvin Morow and though he's now over 70, Bunny says he has no intention of retiring. "There ain't now stopping us now", he quips on the sleeve of the record!

BUNNY SIGLER'S TILL I SEE YOU AGAIN is out on March 24th.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 March 2017 15:03

 

CHUCK BERRY DIES...

Sunday, 19 March 2017 20:07 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altCHUCK BERRY – a founding father of Rock N Roll, a totally unique talent –died on Saturday 18th March. He was aged 90 and his death was confirmed by police in the US state of Missouri. They said; "The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry,"

Berry was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1926 and had an interest in music from an early age. While still at high school he was convicted of armed robbery and was sent to a reform school (1944-1947). After his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. But music was his passion and after travelling to Chicago and hooking up with Muddy Waters, he contacted Leonard Chess owner of of Chess Records. At Chess he recorded 'Maybelline'—(an update of a C&W song, 'Ida Red') which went on to sell over a million copies, and reached number one. Berry was on a roll...by the end of the fifties he'd enjoyed a slew of hits (amongst them 'Roll Over Beethoven', 'Memphis', 'Sweet Little Sixteen', 'Johnny B. Goode', 'Rock n Roll Music', 'Carol' and 'Come On'); he'd appeared in several movies and was a highly paid live artist. He even had his own club in St Louis... Berry's Club Bandstand.

The secret of his success? In one word... his music was "unique". Though in his thirties by the time he found success, Chuck Berry understood what "Young America" wanted. He wrote songs that kids could identify with.... songs about school, about cars, about ambition, about first romance and delivered them in the new rock and roll style with solid back beats and a ringing guitar sound. His songs spoke the language of teenage America. Many were mini soap operas played out via Berry's clever and particular lyrics and like many great poets he was prepared to take liberties with language, often inventing his own words... like "motorvatin'" (remember that Cadillac in 'Maybelline') and "coolerator" (one of the first things Pierre and his mademoiselle bought in 'You Never Can Tell')

Berry went on to have more hits in the mid-1960s, cuts like 'No Particular Place To Go' and 'Nadine', but by the mid 70s, he was more in demand as a live performer. By then though he had achieved an iconic status with scores of rock stars acknowledging their debt to him – most notably the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.

Chuck Berry received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1984 and was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. It's difficult to underestimate Berry's part in the evolution of modern popular music. One commentator described him as "being on the Mount Rushmore of pop music pioneers" and though many will argue who is/was the "King of Rock N Roll", there can be no debate about who was the "King of Rock N Roll Songwriters".... Chuck Berry.

Interestingly just last year Chuck announced he would be releasing his first album in nearly forty years. It was to be dedicated it to his wife of 68 years, Themetta "Toddy". The album, 'Chuck', was recorded in St Louis, Missouri and it will be released later this year.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 19 March 2017 20:26

 

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