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BUNNY SIGLER DIES....

Saturday, 07 October 2017 12:10 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIn the same week that music collectors were mourning the death of Philadelphia music man, Jerry Ross, it's been reported that another Philly legend, BUNNY SIGLER had died. US media sources report that Sigler passed late last week after a heart attack.

Born Walter Sigler in Philadelphia in 1944, Bunny, along with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, was an integral part of the classic Philly sound, but Bunny's career predates the Golden Age of Philly soul. Though he sang gospel in church, young Bunny's ambitions lay with pro basket ball, however a bad leg injury ended that dream and he turned to music, first working with doo-wop group The Opals. Then as a solo singer he cut his first album 'Let the Good Times Roll' for Cameo Parkway. The title track, of course, became a classic Northern soul sound but Bunny was denied the hit because as it was taking off Cameo Parkway folded.

Bunny then joined the Gamble-Huff nexus eventually working with artists like The O'Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Barbara Mason, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle and Stephanie Mills. He also launched the career of Instant Funk and worked sporadically as a solo singer in his own right.

Sigler continued to record well into the new millennium, his last album being 2015's 'Bundino'. He was currently working on a new album ... 'Young At Heart' – his versions of American standards and as late as August he issued the single 'Angel Eyes'.

Long-time associate Kenny Gamble posted this weekend; "I am truly and deeply saddened by the passing of my very dear friend Walter Bunny Sigler. He was one of the most talented, creative, and great songwriters and music producers I have worked with. He contributed so many great songs to our PIR artist roster from the beginning. Bunny also was a great singer, and performed superbly on many of our hit song as a background vocalist. More importantly, he was like family to us. And he was the best!"

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 October 2017 12:16

 

JERRY ROSS DIES....

Saturday, 07 October 2017 12:06 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altInfluential Philadelphia, music songwriter, producer and arranger, JERRY ROSS died on Wednesday, 4th October in the Holy Redeemer Hospital Hospice Unit in Meadowbank, Pennsylvania. He was aged 84 and had been battling prostrate cancer.

Born in Philadelphia in 1933, soul collectors know that the name Jerry Ross on the credits of a record guarantees class, quality, sophistication and a soulful purity that became the essence of the famed Philadelphia sound.

Jerry Ross' first foray into the entertainment business was as a radio announcer – eventually becoming the announcer for Dick Clarke's influential American Bandstand shows where he made plenty of contacts in the music biz.

In 1961 Jerry set up his own Heritage label and he enjoyed a hit with 'When We Get Married' by the Dreamlovers and soon he was working with aspiring songwriter Kenny Gamble and then pianist Leon Huff. Jerry Ross then tried his hand as an independent producer but in 1966 he was hired as a staff producer for Mercury records. At Mercury he worked on hits like 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me' (with Gamble & Huff and recorded originally by Dee Dee Warwick), Bobby Hebb's 'Sunny', Jay and the Techniques 'Strawberry Shortcake' and Jerry Butler's 'Mr Dream Merchant' (which he co-wrote).

In 1968 Ross struck out on his own again, resurrecting Heritage and setting up Colossus Records - the original home of Virgil Henry's 'You Ain't Sayin' Nothin' New" which was licensed to Motown, through a production deal Ross had set up with Berry Gordy. Through the 70s and into the 80s Jerry served as a publishing executive for Gamble and Huff as well as managing his own companies.

Jerry Ross remained active in the music business until very recently – running his REPS music company though which he negotiated licensing deals.

Jerry is survived by his daughter and two grandchildren and he was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame in 2013.

To learn more about Jerry Ross and enjoy some of his best work, last summer Ace Records released a wonderful 24 track compilation, 'Some Kinda Magic' that brought together some of his very best production and song writing work.

alt

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 October 2017 12:18

 

O’JAYS IN BRAWL!

Thursday, 05 October 2017 18:32 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altDon't be alarmed by the headline! No, the legendary Philly hit makers, THE O'JAYS, have not been involved in some wild fight; rather they just contributed two songs to a new movie 'BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99'.

The film is the sophomore feature from musician and director S. Craig Zahler and it follows the brutal exploits of a former boxer who finds himself incarcerated after a drug deal goes wrong. Trapped in a maximum security facility, he must fight to stay alive and to protect those he loves. The film stars Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Tom Guiry, and Don Johnson.

The soundtrack features two tunes from the O'Jays – the Philly flavoured, up-tempo 'Buddy's Business' and the broody ballad, 'God Bless My Mama'. Other music on the soundtrack comes from Butch Tavares and Adi Amour and between them they cook up a proper blaxploitation feel.

BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 – The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack will be available digitally from October 13th on Lakeshore Records.

 

VITAL VINYL

Thursday, 05 October 2017 18:28 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altAs the vinyl revival grows, JAZZ DISPENSARY has announced the release of two new limited-edition vinyl reissues - The 3 Pieces' 'Vibes Of Truth' (their lost 70's jazz-funk crossover classic) and Funk Inc.'s funky, self-titled debut album.

As with all Jazz Dispensary "Top Shelf" series releases, both albums have been remastered from the original analogue tapes, pressed on 180-gram audiophile-quality vinyl at Quality Record Pressings (QRP), and housed in faithfully reproduced, old-school style replica jackets. Each LP will have a limited-edition worldwide run of 1,000 copies, complete with a Jazz Dispensary "Authorized Dealer" window cling. The titles will also be available at streaming outlets, mastered for iTunes, and in Hi-Res digital.

Both reissues are available now and we believe that this is first time in 20 years both releases are available on vinyl.

alt

 

MAC THE KNIFE!

Thursday, 05 October 2017 15:56 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSussex-born JACK 'MAC' MCDOUGAL is an in-demand jazz and blues saxophonist, regularly joining big bands, jazz combos and funk bands throughout the UK. Amongst the bands he's worked with are the Funk Pack, Bass 12 and the Bandits jazz trio. He's appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Brecon Jazz Weekend, Bude Jazz Festival and the Derry Jazz Festival.

Using the name JACK MAC, he also works solo and under that moniker he's just released a five track EP that's he's currently busy promoting. The mini set boasts two interesting vocals – the lazy 'Sunshine' which features Alina Miroe and the politely funky 'Feel It' with Joe Dimonaco at the mic. Then there the instrumental 'Smoke And Mirrors'- busy, bustling and brassy... think Hot 8 Brass Band.

On all three, though, you'll hear the influence of New Orleans. Jack's a big fan of the music of the Big Easy and he cites amongst his influences Jon Batiste, Jelly Roll Morton, Dr John, Allen Toussaint, and Troy 'Trombone Shorty

Find out more @ www.jackmacsax.com

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 October 2017 16:02

 

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