Friday, 29 November 2019 19:23 BILL B E-mailPrintPDF


KEA MICHAELS is a new(ish) soul song bird who hails from the Pittsburgh area. She prefers to be known just as Kea and in April 2018 she released her debut single....'I Love You'. She wrote the song herself and it's was sweet and smooth ballad with commentators making comparisons with Anita Baker.

It took a while but last June Kea released the follow up – another deceptively simple, smooth soul outing with a hint of jazz, ‘Not My Friend’. We’re told that ‘Not My Friend’ is one of the focus cuts on Ms Michaels’ forthcoming EP, ‘Relationships’. Of maybe more interest will be an intriguing cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Being With You’. Kea and producer Gerald “Butter” Glanville slow the song right down to allow a “dig into the darker psychological workings in the words”. Kea adds: “I chose to cover this song because the lyrics are reminiscent of time I spent in the past with a much older man, and the concern we felt about how to disclose our relationship to family and friends.” Like all great covers, this ‘Being With You’ is really different to the original and is enhanced by a lovely, sinuous sax solo from James Casey.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 November 2019 19:35



Friday, 29 November 2019 19:18 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altEarlier this month we highlighted a tune from a new outfit - CJ'S CONNECTION ... the brainchild of veteran radio presenter Cliff James. The song was 'I'm Serious' and it won massive air play on all the best soul stations... "Record of the week" no less on John Leech's popular BBC Soul show.

In its original mix 'I'm Serious' had a lovely old school SOS Band feel to it while there was also a crisper, faster 'Blackjack Mix". Now you can investigate a third tweak... "the After 7" mix.... taking its inspiration from that light, sweet pop/soul sound of the Edmonds brothers group. It's out now!


CHERISE - Jazz FM Award Winner Launches Debut Single and EP

Friday, 29 November 2019 10:28 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                  altThough she's only just released her maiden single, 'Paradise' - which is available to stream now on all the usual platforms - CHERISE (aka Cherise Adams-Burnett) has already scooped 2019's Jazz FM Vocalist Of The Year prize. That's mainly due to her stunning cameo appearances on records by Ashley Henry, SEED Ensemble and Nubiyan Twist. The young singer, whose style fuses soul and jazz elements, also recently appeared at the EFG London Jazz Festival, performing alongside the notable Corinne Bailey Rae and Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Jazz Voice opening gala event.

On January 31st next year, the 24-year-old soulful-voiced Londoner, who cites Sarah Vaughan, Sam Cooke and Toni Braxton as influences, will release a 5-track EP, 'Paradise.' Produced by the redoubtable Jason Yarde, it contains two versions of the title song (a full-length iteration and a radio edit) alongsidethe Afro-Cuban-tinged 'Violet Night,' 'Siren Song' and 'Felicity.' Cherise wrote all the material herself and also played flute on some of the tracks, which include strings, horns and woodwind arrangements plus a 15-piece choir.

On February 7th, 2020, Cherise will celebrate the release of her EP with a performance at London's King's Place.

'Paradise' is out now. 'Paradise' EP follows on January 31st, 2020.


Hear 'Paradise,' the single, here:

Last Updated on Friday, 29 November 2019 17:05


Bloomin' Wonderful - Becca Stevens Returns With New EP Ahead of Fifth Album

Friday, 29 November 2019 09:41 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                              altIt's been a while since we heard a new solo record from the golden-voiced chanteuse, Becca Stevens - 2017, in fact, when she released her magisterial fourth album, 'Regina.' Now the versatile Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter - who last year appeared on David Crosby's Lighthouse band project - is back with a new five-track EP, 'Wonderbloom,' which follows in the wake of a recent successful stint touring Europe with Snarky Puppy.

Released on Snarky Puppy's Ground UP label, the EP offers a tantalising taster of Stevens' fifth long-player, also titled 'Wonderbloom,' due early next year. Its five tracks are stylistically diverse, reflecting the eclecticism that has always been at the heart of the North Carolina-born singer's genre-bending music.

The opener, 'I Wish,' is very different from the wispy, jazz-tinged folk that Stevens has previously served up. It's a thudding, sinewy, synth-heavy R&B groove that seems to draw inspiration from electro-soul bands like The System and Change. What makes it different, though, are Stevens' ethereal vocals.

'Good Stuff' is an infectious slice of poppy electronica with a chorus that also has a hint of '80s R&B in its musical DNA. In sharp contrast, the mellow meditation that is 'Between You & Me' is more typically what we've come to expect from Stevens, who channels the spirit of Joni Mitchell.

Stevens shows a robust, more belligerent, side on the strident 'I Will Avenge You,' while the closing 'Halfway' is dreamily hypnotic, with stacked vocals shimmering over a gently-pulsing groove.


'Wonderbloom EP' is out now to download and stream. The album follows on March 20th, 2020.


Read SJF's 2016 interview with Becca Stevens here:

Last Updated on Friday, 29 November 2019 17:06



Thursday, 28 November 2019 19:25 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt2020 will mark the 90th anniversary of SAM COOKE'S birth and to celebrate, ABKCO will be releasing a plethora of Cooke material throughout the year. They begin on January 24th with 'The Complete Keen Years (1957 – 1960)' – a 5-disc set which collects Sam Cooke's body of work as he began releasing secular albums, stepping away from gospel group the Soul Stirrers.

One of soul's founding fathers, Cooke' style and sound became the template for almost every male soul star that came after him... the remastered 65 tracks amply prove the point. The box set offers all of Cooke's Keen album and single tracks for a comprehensive overview of his three years at the Alex Siamas label. Also included in this box are rare photographs and ephemera from the Keen archives, expanded extensive session information alongside voluminous, insightful liner notes by writer Michael Corcoran.


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