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NORMAN CONNORS' STAR POWER

Monday, 05 January 2009 15:38 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

NORMAN CONNORS' STAR POWER

Soul-wise, 2009 looks to be getting off to a great start with the release in February of producer extraordinaire and multi instrumentalist NORMAN CONNORS' brand new album - 'Star Power'. The title doesn't just relate to the LP's lead track but also to the incredible line-up of artists who have worked with CONNORS on the project. The 'Star Power' guests include BOBBY LYLE, CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS, HOWARD HEWETT, KENYA HATHAWAY, ANTOINETTE MANGANAS, RAY PARKER JR, PEABO BRYSON, MARION MEADOWS, MICHAEL HENDERSON, WILL WHEATON, NORMAN BROWN and PAUL JACKSON JR while some of the arrangements come courtesy of the legendary H.B. BARNUM. The album is CONNORS' first full project for seven years and is released on the ever-reliable SHANACHIE label. Music wise, the set's a mix of instrumentals and vocals with NORMAN also revisiting his classic 'You Are My Starship'. One cut, the opener - 'Used To Be' (featuring CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS and BOBBY LYLE) - is already shaping up to be one of 2009's top modern soul anthems. "This record feels so good", explains CONNORS. "All of these guys who join me on the album are my boys. It's like one big fraternity"…full review on www.soulandjazzandfunk.com very soon

 

ANTHONEY'S FEET ON THE GROUND

Monday, 05 January 2009 15:37 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

ANTHONEY'S FEET ON THE GROUND

Rising UK soul star, ANTHONEY WRIGHT, releases his debut album on February 16th. The set's called 'Feet On The Ground' and features both his first hit 'Reset To Zero' and the brand new single, 'No Me Without You'. Produced by PETE and STEVE LEWINSON, the music is edgy, home-grown, contemporary soul with the brass-heavy, retro-flavoured 'Looking Through The Window' already winning critical and media plaudits… full review on www.soulandjazzandfunk.com very soon.

 

IN THE BAG

Monday, 05 January 2009 15:36 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

IN THE BAG

BROWN'S BAG - featuring WARD BROWN - have a brand new album set for release within the next month. The quality, contemporary soul outfit made big waves with their last album 'Soul Satisfied' which was released on the UK's soulchoonz label. Now pacted with Philadelphia's re-vitalized Early Park Records, the new long player is entitled 'Without Question' and it features both sides of the lead single - 'Last Call' and 'You're All I Need'. Both cuts have been receiving favourable club, media and radio responses in recent months with the SHANTEL-guesting 'You're All I Need' proving particularly popular on the Quiet Storm radio channels. WARD BROWN is excited by the re-launch of Early Park and is delighted that the label is now being fronted by the founding member of INSTANT FUNK, RAYMOND EARL, who is supremely optimistic about the project: "Our focus is to make the label a giant within the music industry. We have a catalog of forthcoming hits, which will include a new Instant Funk project and some other interesting surprises."

 

FREDDIE HUBBARD DIES

Friday, 02 January 2009 10:48 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

FREDDIE HUBBARD DIES

The jazz world is mourning the passing of the legendary and influential jazz trumpeter FREDDIE HUBBARD, aged 70, who died on Monday December 29th from complications following a heart attack in November.
A native of Indianapolis, Hubbard burst on the Big Apple jazz scene in 1960 as a hard bop horn man with a dazzling technique. As a sideman, Hubbard played for several years with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and also appeared on classic albums by Ornette Coleman ('Free Jazz'), John Coltrane ('Africa/Brass' and 'Ascension'), Herbie Hancock ('Maiden Voyage'), Eric Dolphy ('Out To Lunch') and Oliver Nelson ('Blues & The Abstract Truth'). After recording albums in the '60s under his own name for Blue Note, Black Lion and Impulse!, Hubbard joined producer Creed Taylor's CTI label in 1970 and cut classic fusion albums like 'First Light' and 'Red Clay.'
Health problems dogged Hubbard's twilight years - a lip problem restricted his playing from the '90s onwards - but just recently, in the summer of 2008, he released a well-received new album, 'On The Real Side' for Times Square records.

 

MOTOWN IN 2009

Tuesday, 23 December 2008 03:58 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

MOTOWN IN 2009

Regular readers will already know that the mighty Motown label will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2009. To start the celebrations the label has recently issued a special album made up of the top 50 Motown songs chosen by the public via an extensive on-line poll while www.soulandjazzandfunk.com has already revealed that throughout next year the label will be issuing 25 double a-sided 7" singles featuring a mix of their well-known songs alongside more esoteric items. The good news is, is that there's a lot more Motown goodies to come…. driven chiefly by Motown main man BERRY GORDY. GORDY told Billboard magazine recently that, 'I've been fighting to protect the Motown legacy for 50 years, and now it seems that after 50 years we can go and talk about the real deal, what really happened…and how it happened, my story and everything that goes with it. And I'm just thrilled that I'm here to enjoy now what I couldn't enjoy while I was doing it.'
GORDY also revealed plans that he and former Motown staffer SUZANNE DEPASSE, who won a 1983 Emmy Award for the Motown 25th anniversary TV special, are also producing a documentary about the company that's due to roll out in September. 'It's about me and ... not only what I did and how I did it but how I felt doing it and what it was that happened, from my standpoint,' explained GORDY. Among the footage is a videotaped session of one of the company's famed weekly Quality Control meetings, at which staffers argued over whether or not to release THE TEMPTATIONS' 'My Girl' as a single. The Motown founder also revealed that a Broadway musical about Motown is due to open in 2010, and GORDY says there will also be 'long-form, multi-part videos' about the company's history 'because there's so much to tell. The documentary is just a two-hour thing.' CD-wise Universal are about to release a box set, 'The Complete Motown No. 1s'… a massive 10-CD collection containing every Motown No. 1 from every U.S. chart from every genre and every international chart, adding up to a staggering 189 tracks that hit the top spot, plus 12 bonus tracks whose cover versions were No. 1. This special, once-in-a-lifetime, set is housed in a replica of the original Motown headquarters: the 'Hitsville U.S.A.' house on Detroit's West Grand Boulevard.
In addition to this collection - as previously reported on www.soulandjazzandfunk.com - February 2009 will see the start of a series of limited edition 7" vinyl releases that will feature 50 classic Motown cuts over 25 single releases. Further key releases for 2009 will include the latest in the award-winning 'The Complete Motown Singles' series, with Vol. 11A & 11B (1971) due for release on January 26th and Volume 12 on April 13th, respectively, while a new series entitled 'The Definitive Collections', will see releases from legendary Motown artists such as THE TEMPTATIONS, GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS, MARY WELLS, JR. WALKER, FOUR TOPS, THE MARVELETTES, THE SUPREMES, SMOKEY ROBINSON and MARTHA REEVES.
January 26th 2009 is, again, a key date for the Motown 50 diary, when the Motown Digital Vault is fully opened. The first batch of digital releases will be themed titles such as 'A Taste of Honey: Motown Girls', 'Motown Breakbeats', 'Motown Funk' and 'Motown Mod'. These digital releases will be followed throughout the year by further themed releases and individual artist collections, notably, 'Motown Covers Lounge', 'Motown One-offs and Rarities', 'The Early Years', 'Motown Today', & 'Motown Northern Soul', with the individual artist digital compilations coming from the likes of Motown heavyweights THE SUPREMES, THE TEMPTATIONS, MARVIN GAYE, THE FOUR TOPS, STEVIE WONDER and SMOKEY ROBINSON. Other notable inclusions on the Motown 50 release schedule include the 4th instalment of the critically acclaimed 'Cellarful of Motown' series, and comprehensive ISLEY BROTHERS and MARVELETTES anthologies.
Also upcoming throughout the Motown 50 celebration are releases of classic Motown television specials in a series of DVD collections and 'INSIDE MOTOWN', a multi-part documentary on how the company was built. Other standout DVD releases due for release during 2009 include releases from DIANA ROSS ('The Solo Years') and STEVIE WONDER among others. Web-wise, The Motown 50 UK website (www.motown50.co.uk) will be launched on January 1st, to coincide with MARTHA REEVES AND THE VANDELLAS' performance on Jools Holland's Hootenanny! on BBC2. Look out for further Motown coverage on www.soulandjazzandfunk.com throughout 2009.

 

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