Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tony Adamo & The New York Crew Urban Zone 2015

Real deal funk for the people, a groove you can use!
Brent Black /

The hipness, swag and epitome of vocal cool all wrapped up in a to go bag! A righteous harmonic journey into the lyrical land of thy rhythm and groove. Old school meets new çool, a cross continental sonic excursion resulting in a beat you feel in your hips but hear with you're feet, this is a real down lyrical throw down!

 New York Crew recording date with Lenny White doing the music mix includes the legendary Mike Clark but all the musical co-conspirators are enthusiastically behind a new music revolution!

Checking out a couple of advance tracks that found their way to my inbox there is "Gale Blowin' High" a lyrical biography of the great Eddie Gale. Take an opening subtle samba groove and free your mind as the syncopated swing moves to an Afro-Gospel sound that no one can touch. This is the kick off for a Nu music revolution for all people! The band speaks for itself with names including the legendary drummer from the Headhunters Mike Clark along with Lenny White and Michael Wolff but make no mistake, all the musical co-conspirators are bringing it!
Gale Blowin' High - Tony Adamo Nu jazz vocal/hip spoken word/Lyrics by Adamo Lenny White-Drums Tim Ouimette-Trumpet Micheal Wolff-Piano-Music-Mike Clark-Michael Wolff Richie Goods-Bass Bill summers-Percussion Donald Harrison-Alto sax
The second track "Listen Here Listen Up" is a blues infused jazz nasty to blow your mind and feed your soul! This tune is as cool as the other side of pillow! This is pure acid funk, Adamo welcomes you to a new sound, his sound with a band that takes in the pocket to the next dimension of groove. Straight up, there is not another vocal artist covering this territory and I am at a loss to think of another that could with this kind of authenticity. Tony Adamo is the real deal!
Tony Adamo Nu jazz vocal/hip spoken word/Lyrics by Adamo Mike Clark-Drums Tim Ouimette-Trumpet Micheal Wolff-Piano Richie Goods-Bass Bill summers-Percussion Donald Harrison-Alto sax.

Tracks: Gale Blowin High; City Swings; Buddhist Blues; You Gotta B Fly; Mama's Meat Pies; To Bop Or Not To Be; Picasso At Midnight; Wisdom of Oz; Listen Here Listen Up; General T; Messengers Burnin.

5 Cool Stars!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Jazz Aspen Snowmass Coming Soon!

Chicago, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Maceo Parker,
Count Basie Orchestra and More at the 25th Annual
JAS Aspen Snowmass June Experience +
Summer JAS Café Highlights
Tickets on Sale Thursday, March 5



JAS Aspen Snowmass, celebrating their 25th Anniversary in 2015, has just announced the line-up for the June Experience and Summer JAS Café Series, which will now include shows at both the Little Nell Hotel and on the upstairs level of the new Aspen Art Museum.
The JAS June Experience at the Benedict Music Tent kicks-off with two very special performances on Friday, June 26. First, at 6:00pm, JAS will celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday and jazz roots with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra, with Grammy® winning vocalist Kurt Elling, reprising the iconic Sinatra at the Sands recordings with Basie, and Grammy® nominated vocalist Roberta Gambarini, with her quartet. The evening will conclude with Maceo Parker and his white hot ten piece band performing "Soul Classics" from the songbooks of James Brown, Stevie Wonder and other legends of soul, along with his trademark "Funk Fiesta." Maceo's current show features James Brown inspired dance moves and will set the tone for a true 25th year opening night celebration!
The majority of seats for the Friday performances will be general admission which JAS is pricing at $35, the same ticket price that the initial Jazz Aspen Festival in 1991 featured, making it possible for the widest cross section of the Roaring Fork Valley to attend. From Sinatra to James Brown, the evening will celebrate iconic American music in a community celebration marking the launch of JAS' 25th Summer Season. "Most of the Artists on this opening night celebration have special relationships with JAS, from Basie performing in '92, Maceo playing long Friday sets opening our Labor Day Festivals, and Gambarini's memorable JAS Café shows in recent years.  Along with the Free Lawn Party, this will make for a great night and kick-off," said Jim Horowitz, President and CEO of JAS.

On Saturday, June 27 the legendary Chicago makes their first ever Aspen appearance. Considered one of the longest running and most successful pop/rock 'n' roll groups in history, Chicago is the highest charting American band in Billboard Magazine's list of Top 100 artists of all time, coming in at #13.

The first weekend of the Experience concludes on Sunday, June 28 with the return of
Naturally 7 followed by guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela. Naturally 7, who had an unforgettable performance in front of the Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2013, has perfected an intriguing a cappella style they've branded "Vocal Play" - each member singing their vocal part using the sound of instruments like drums, bass and guitar. Rodrigo y Gabriela, the popular opening act at the 2011 JAS Labor Day Festival, is one of the biggest selling acoustic instrumental acts in the world. The two keep it simple, playing face to face, guitar versus guitar, rhythm and melody, a fiery and percussive high-energy show.

On Monday, July 6, JAS and the Aspen Music Festival and School will co-present a very special evening at the Benedict Music Tent with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis. JAS and AMFS will once again offer an on-site pre-concert dinner at the JAS Patron Hospitality Tent, mirroring the Patron (VIP) ticket that JAS provides at their Experiences. Patron tickets will include gourmet catered hors d'oeuvres, dinner and dessert, full open bars, on-site parking, and premium floor seating for the concert.  Reserved and general admission seating are also be available for the performance.

The expanded Free Lawn Party, a huge hit at the recent JAS June Experiences, will again take place on the Benedict Music Tent grounds prior to the main stage acts on June 26-28, starting at 5:00pm Friday and Sunday and 6:00pm on Saturday. The party includes a variety of on-site food booths, beverage and full bar service vendors and live music on two stages.
Tickets for the June 26-28 JAS June Experience performances at Benedict Music Tent will go on-sale Thursday, March 5 through the JAS Box Office at 866-JAS-TIXX (527-8499), or at the Belly Up Box Office in Aspen (970-544-9800). Tickets for the JALC/Wynton Marsalis show are on-sale now at the AMFS Box Office, 970-925-9042 or
Patron (VIP) tickets for the JAS June Experience are available now at 970-920-4996 or Lodging and ticket packages can be found at 800-SNOWMASS.
JAS has also announced the line-up for this summer's JAS Café Series, which will feature six Artists (three runs downstairs at the Little Nell and three runs on the upstairs level of the Aspen Art Museum). Aspen Art Museum shows will take place in the Museum Café and adjacent patio. Patrons of the 7:00pm JAS Café Upstairs at the AAM shows will have the option of including a 3-course dinner, prepared by Julia and Allen Domingos of Epicure Catering, with their concert ticket.
The series starts on June 30 - July 1 at the AAM with the return of the fiery and swinging hot jazz of renowned French artists the Django Reinhardt NY Festival. On July 8 - 9 the music returns to the Little Nell with the unique California jazz vocalist Jacqui Naylor. Former JAS Academy Artist Director Christian McBride and his Trio (featuring former JAS Academy student Ulysses Owens, Jr. and Christian Sands) will perform at the Nell on July 15 - 16, followed by Tony Award nominated jazz/pop vocalist and pianist Ann Hampton Callaway July 22nd and 23rd.
JAS will finish out the Café Summer Series with two more weekends at the Aspen Art -Museum, including the brilliant jazz/pop/soul/gospelvocalist and jazz chart topping Lizz Wright on August 7 - 8 and one more artist still to be announced for August 13 - 14. Lizz Wright made her local debut in a memorable double bill co-headlining for JAS June in 2006 with Jamie Cullum.
Summer JAS Café tickets will be on-sale next Tuesday, March 10th at
JAS will celebrate their 25th Anniversary with their biggest and best summer benefit yet: "Le Freak Lounge" on July 17 at the Ranch of Bob and Soledad Hurst, honoring Janus Capital Group Founder Tom Bailey for stewardship of the JANUS/JAS Title Sponsorship from 1993 - 2005. Tickets for "Le Freak Lounge" featuring disco-soul superstars Chic with Nile Rodgers, are on-sale now at
For more information on Jazz Aspen Snowmass special events and education programming please visit or call JAS at 970-920-4996
Count Basic Orchestra feat. Kurt Elling and Roberta Gambarini
In the history of Jazz music, there is only one bandleader that has the distinction of having his orchestra still performing sold-out concerts all over the world, with members personally chosen by him, for nearly 30 years after his passing. Pianist and bandleader William James "Count" Basie was and still in an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of Jazz. The County Basie Orchestra has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, won 18 Grammy® Awards, performed for Kings, Queens, and other world Royalty, appeared in movies, television shows, and at every major jazz festival and concert hall in the world. This great 18 member orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, is still continuing the excellent history started by Basie of stomping and shouting the blues, as well as refining those musical particulars that allow for the deepest and most moving of swing.
The orchestra will be joined by one of the world's foremost jazz vocalists, Kurt Elling and Italian vocalist Roberta Gambarini on this special performance: Sinatra @ 100. Elling has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last fourteen years and has been named "Male Singer of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one of Elling's ten albums has been nominated for a Grammy®.
Gambarini, a dynamic performer with virtuosic vocal chops, draws rave reviews and enthusiastic fan support wherever she performs. Says the Boston Globe, "Gambarini is a true successor to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae."
Maceo Parker
Maceo Parker: his name is synonymous with Funky Music, his pedigree impeccable, his band: the tightest little funk orchestra on earth. It's fairly common knowledge that Maceo has played with each and every leader of funk, his start with James Brown, which Maceo describes as "like being at University;" jumping aboard Mothership with George Clinton; and his ongoing part in Prince's tours. He's the living, breathing pulse which connects the history of Funk in one golden thread.
"Quite simply, there is no better living showman than Maceo Parker. His performances are always... a funky, funky good time." - Westword
Hailed as one of the "most important bands in music since the dawn of the rock and roll era" by former President Bill Clinton, the legendary rock and roll band with horns, Chicago, came in at #13, the highest charting American band in Billboard Magazine's list of Top 100 artists of all time. And Chicago is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in six decades.
Lifetime achievements include a Grammy® Award, multiple American Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Chicago street dedicated in their honor, and keys to and proclamations from an impressive list of US cities. Record sales top the 100,000,000 mark, and include 21 Top 10 singles, 5 consecutive Number One albums, 11 Number One singles and 5 Gold singles. An incredible 25 of their 36 albums have been certified platinum, and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards.
Chicago's album, Chicago Transit Authority, was inducted into the Grammy® Hall of Fame in 2014, and that year, the band performed on the Grammy® stage for the first time, playing four songs with Grammy® Award-nominee Robin Thicke.
Naturally 7
In a music world rife with technological tricks of the trade, one vital commodity is getting lost in the shuffle: the beauty of the human voice. Enter Naturally 7. This seven-man crew is more than just your average singing group. It's members have perfected an intriguing a cappella style they've branded "Vocal Play" - singing as instruments. In their quest to celebrate the voice, Naturally 7 not only sings but also creates every backing instrument heard on its songs. Drums, bass, guitars, horns, flutes... even down to turntables.
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero, one of the biggest selling acoustic instrumental acts in the world, like to keep it simple: playing face to face, guitar versus guitar, rhythm and melody. Rodrigo y Gabriela left Mexico at the end of the millennium. Since then they have played for presidents, toured the world many times over, written soundtracks for Hollywood block-busters, and sold over 1.5 million albums. Their latest release 9 Dead Alive sees them bring their timeless music all the way back home. The playing is intuitive, the sound is intimate, the results are spectacular: bursting with melodic energy and rhythmic invention.
Django Reinhardt NY Festival
Renowned French artists who've performed their hot and swingin' "Gypsy Jazz" Django Tribute at the famed Birdland NYC Club for nine sold-out years. The Festival celebrates the music of legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt who teamed with famed jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli in the '30s and '40s to create the Quintet of the Hot Club de France which went on to become one of the most important jazz partnerships in history.
"The Django Reinhardt Festival is a different kind of musical event. It has about as much in common with a conventional night-club experience as a tight-rope walker does a ballerina, or Coney Island does with Carnegie Hall. There's a more visceral thrill to it, and a hard competitive edge." - Wall Street Journal
Jacqui Naylor
Jacqui Naylor is not an easy artist to categorize. There are times when she performs straight-ahead vocal jazz, but at other times she favors more of a folk-rock/adult alternative approach. Depending on the mood she is in at any given moment, the northern Californian can bring to mind anyone from Cassandra Wilson or British jazz vocalist Claire Martin to Sarah McLachlan or Shawn Colvin - she is as comfortable among jazz improvisers as she is in the singer/songwriter world.
"Naylor remains one of the most superbly arresting vocalists around." - JazzTimes
Christian McBride Trio
World-renowned bassist and former JAS Academy Director Christian McBride returns to Aspen with his newly formed trio, fully embracing his role as standard-bearer and mentor. Pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. - both younger, emerging artists - have been performing with McBride's smallest group for about three years, honing their trio conception to a fine point of expressive depth and nuance with select performances around the world. "It's a pretty diversified trio," says McBride. "The real core foundation is hardcore swingin' blues and the American songbook. Part of that is because Sands is so well-rounded and willing to go to so many places, that I can't help but want to swing hard with him and Ulysses."
Ann Hampton Callaway
Ann Hampton Callaway is one of the leading champions of the great American Songbook, having made her mark as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer. Her unique singing style blends jazz and traditional pop, making her a mainstay in concert halls, theaters and jazz clubs as well as in the recording studio, on television, and in film. She is best known for her Tony-nominated performance in the hit Broadway musical Swing!. Callaway is a Platinum Award winning writer whose songs are featured on seven of Barbara Streisand's recent albums. Callaway's live performances showcase her warmth, spontaneous wit and passionate delivery of standards, jazz classics and originals. She is one of America's most gifted improvisers, taking words and phrases from her audiences and creating songs on the spot, whether alone at a piano or with a symphony orchestra.
Lizz Wright
Lizz Wright has been the recipient of nonstop critical acclaim and ever-increasing audiences ever since her Verve debut. Like so many vocal greats, Lizz began her singing in the church. She was also surrounded by varied types of secular music at home especially jazz and soul. Her debut album, Salt, topped the contemporary jazz charts and became one of the most acclaimed albums of 2003, mixing standards with new material and styles ranging from Gospel to Soul to Jazz to Blues with ease.
Over four albums Lizz has demonstrated that she is a top notch songwriter with the interpretive skills to become a premier popular song vocalist. She is a complete artist who has both talent and musical instincts well beyond her young age.

New From John Patitucci!

Returns Home on New Album, Brooklyn
Available in May on Three Faces Records -
Distributed via The Orchard

Release Dates:
Digital - May 12 · Physical - May 19

Brooklyn Pays Homage to the Vibrant/Eclectic Borough 
where Patitucci was Born & Raised
Debuts Electric Guitar Quartet 
Featuring Brian Blade, Adam Rogers, & Steve Cardenas

Project Marks Patitucci's First Self-Released Album, 
First Release in Six Years and 14th Overall Album As Leader
Album Coincides with Documentary Film on Patitucci, 
Set for Late-2015 Release
Acclaimed bassist/composer/educator/bandleader John Patitucci unearths old memories and finds fresh inspiration by returning home on Brooklyn, his diverse and electrifying new album. Due out in May 2015 (Digital - May 12, Physical - May 19on Patitucci's own Three Face Records (distributed by The Orchard), Brooklyn pays homage to the vibrant, eclectic borough where the bass great was born and raised, looking back at the influences and experiences that have shaped his life and career while taking his music into thrilling new directions.
Patitucci's 14th album as a leader and first in six years, Brooklyn boasts a guitar-centric electric sound featuring six-string wizards Adam Rogers and Steve Cardenas. Patitucci joins the fray with a new semi-hollow electric bass designed specifically for him by Yamaha, which allows him the fluidity of an electric guitar with the deep, rotund bottom end of an acoustic bass. The quartet is anchored by virtuoso drummer Brian Blade, Patitucci's longtime friend and bandmate in the revered Wayne Shorter Quartet and in the new trio Children of the Light (with pianist Danilo Pérez, other Shorter Quartet bandmate).
"I have a great love for the guitar and I've played with some great guitar players in various genres," Patitucci says, listing a fretboard who's-who including John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Pat Martino, George Benson, and B.B. King. "I wanted to have a different instrumentation because I've played with so many high-powered piano players in my life, so I wanted to change the orchestration up a little bit on my own record."
Brooklyn, which marks the first time Patitucci has released an album on his own label, is the long-awaited follow-up to the critically acclaimed Remembrance, which garnered a 2010 GRAMMY® Award nomination for "Best Jazz Instrumental Album." The recording, which took place at Brooklyn studio The Bunker, was filmed for an upcoming documentary on Patitucci's life and career to be titled Back in Brooklyn (due out in late 2015).
Patitucci has always been proud of his roots, even during his two-decade stint in L.A. beginning in the 1970s when he made his name as a studio musician and an in-demand bassist for jazz greats including Shorter, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock. "People would say I was from California and I'd say, 'No - I'm from Brooklyn,'" Patitucci insists. "And I was, in my heart and in my soul. It wasn't just a place to me."
As Patitucci discusses his boyhood in the borough, one can picture 1960s Brooklyn as something out of a Martin Scorsese film (minus the gunplay). "I come from a very strong Italian-American family, and growing up in Brooklyn in that kind of situation was a very rich heritage," he says. "We played sports in the street- stickball, stoop ball, slap ball, roller hockey, football. I have a lot of great memories of being part of a neighborhood and a community where everybody knew each other and where a huge chunk of our family lived within walking distance."
Patitucci's family shared a house in East Flatbush with his uncle's family, while both sets of grandparents lived on nearby blocks. It was his maternal grandfather, a colorful character who was John's namesake but always went by the nickname Sonny, who introduced the future bassist to jazz. "His father had a speakeasy during prohibition where he became familiar with the stride piano style - also through albums by players like Eubie Blake and Earl 'Fatha' Hines," Patitucci says. "He played a little piano by ear and was a renaissance man - he was the best chef in the family, made dresses for my mother, and fought in World War II with Patton. He was an amazing guy."
One day, Patitucci's grandfather, who was working manual labor on the city streets, came home with a treasure trove of jazz records that some unfortunate resident had left in the trash. (A later bandmate suggested to Patitucci the most likely explanation: a spurned spouse or lover must have dumped the collection on the curb since, the musician asserted, "nobody would just give these records away.") The record stash included Jimmy Smith's Hoochie Coochie Man, the debut album by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Ray Charles' Genius + Soul = Jazz, and Art Blakey's Mosaic - Patitucci's introduction to Wayne Shorter - among countless other titles.
Perhaps the most coveted titles in that batch were those by Wes Montgomery, which Patitucci and his guitarist brother Tom found enthralling. "The Wes Montgomery albums drew us in because they were bluesy and the tempos were a little easier to deal with," Patitucci explains. "But the Art Blakey record was intriguing, powerful and jarring. We didn't know what to make of it, but we loved it."
Those early influences are reflected on Brooklyn through the inclusion of two compositions by Thelonious Monk - another name well-represented in his grandfather's haul - and a duo rendition of Montgomery's "The Thumb" by Patitucci and Blade. The piece originally appeared on Montgomery's 1966 album Tequila, which featured bassist Ron Carter, who remains one of Patitucci's biggest influences.

Not every track on Brooklyn is meant to look back; some, like opener "The Search," document how far Patitucci has come from those early roots. The piece, somehow simultaneously taut and airy, showcases Patitucci's contrapuntal writing for the guitars with melodies that weave and coil around one another. It also bears a trace of influence from the West African music that Patitucci loves and studies, which comes to the fore on "Dugu Kamalemba," a song originally recorded by Malian singer Oumou Sangaré.
"Band of Brothers," a title which Patitucci says aptly captures the spirit of the quartet, is a funky, laid-back blues/rock jam somewhere between Wilson Pickett and the Allman Brothers. "JLR" shows off the guitarist's blues chops, while the mysterious acronym may be explained by lyrics that Patitucci is holding in reserve until the day he can give them to Buddy Guy to sing. "Do You," based on the familiar "I've Got Rhythm" chord changes, shows off the Yamaha's robust sound as a walking bass, while "Bells of Coutance" is an impressionistic interlude that evokes the sound of church bells in a small French town.
Patitucci muses on his spiritual faith with his New Orleans-tinged take on the classic spiritual "Go Down, Moses," while the album draws to the close with the tender, heartfelt solo piece "Tesori," a love letter to his wife and daughters that translates as "Treasures."
Brooklyn is the latest landmark in a career that has seen Patitucci become one of the most versatile and inventive bassists in jazz and beyond. He's played with giants in nearly every conceivable genre, from Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter to B.B. King and Natalie Cole, Sting and Bon Jovi, Astrud Gilberto and Ali Farka Touré. At the same time he's been exceedingly active in music education, serving as Professor of Music at the City College of New York for almost a decade. In 2012, he joined bandmate and friend Danilo Pérez's Berklee Global Jazz Institute at the Berklee College of Music in Boston as well as serving as a full-time faculty member at the school. Additionally, he launched an interactive online bass school through and released a kindle book, Melodic Arpeggios and Triad Combining for Bass.
Upcoming JOHN PATITUCCI Performances:
All dates to feature the John Patitucci Electric Guitar Quartet 
Featuring Brian Blade, Adam Rogers & Steve Cardenas
May 13-16 / Iridium / New York, NY
May 18
/ Jazz Kitchen / Indianapolis, IN
May 19
/ SPACE / Evanston, IL
May 21-22
/ Dazzle Jazz / Denver, CO
May 23-24
/ Blue Whale / Los Angeles, CA
May 27-30
/ Cotton Club / Tokyo, Japan
John Patitucci · Brooklyn
Three Faces Records via The Orchard
Release Dates: May 12, 2015 (Digital), May 19, 2015 (Physical)
For more information on John Patitucciplease visit:

New From Ben Williams!


March 3, 2015

For Immediate Release – Acclaimed bassist Ben Williams delivers his sophomore album titled Coming of Age, April 21, 2015, on CD and vinyl via Concord Jazz. Continuing to implore the common elements of jazz, hip-hop, rock and soul, the young bandleader embarks on a bolder journey in this album with more music by his own hand and a reflection of his new outlook as a seasoned musician. Coming of Age for the 30-year-old Williams means playing a lively role among his peers and a vital part in the music world at large. Winner of the 2009 Monk Institute Competition, Williams cites this as a turning point in his musical odyssey, “My career as a bandleader and composer started from the moment I won,” he says. “I had this opportunity to say something—and an obligation, too.” The CD and vinyl are now available for pre-order on Amazon (CD and vinyl
Revered by The Washington Post as “Successfully translating the musical pulse of his era into jazz,” Williams has secured a masterful selection of special guests featured on this project. They include renowned jazz trumpeter Christian Scott on the cover of Lianne La Havas’ melancholy “Lost & Found” that is draped by a string quartet, vibraphonist Stefon Harris on an original piece titled “The Color of My Dreams,” and emcee/poet W. Ellington Felton who leads the listener through “Toy Soldiers (reprise).” Williams also reconnects with American soul singer Goapele for a second collaboration with the pivotal anthem “Voice of Freedom (for Mandela).” Completing the vision is Williams’ band, Sound Effect, comprised of Marcus Strickland (tenor and soprano saxophone), Matthew Stevens (guitar), Christian Sands (piano and Fender Rhodes), Masayuki “Big Yuki” Hirano (synths and Fender Rhodes), John Davis (drums) and Etienne Charles (percussion).
The CD offers eleven tracks with nine original compositions by Williams and the rare vinyl addition offers eight pieces from the CD’s repertoire, including a free download of all eleven tracks. Showcasing his impeccable talent for acoustic and electric bass, this album creates an experience that demands to be heard by a wide breadth of generations.
Tour dates to be announced.
   1.   Black Villain Music (4:26)
   2.   Strength and Beauty (5:25)
   3.   Half Steppin’ (7:21)
   4.   Voice of Freedom (for Mandela) featuring Goapele (4:44)
   5.   Toy Soldiers (8:03)
   6.   Lost & Found (6:19)
   7.   Forecast (8:15)
   8.   The Color of My Dreams (8:03)
   9.   Smells Like Teen Spirit (3:20)
10.   Toy Soldiers (Reprise) (2:42)
11.   Coming of Age (7:53)
Side A
   1.   Black Villain Music (4:26)
   2.   Voice of Freedom (for Mandela) featuring Goapele (4:44)
   3.   Toy Soldiers (8:03)
   4.   Lost & Found (6:19)
Side B
   1.   Half Steppin’ (7:21)
   2.   Smells Like Teen Spirit (3:20)
   3.   Toy Soldiers (Reprise) (8:03)
   4.   Coming of Age (7:53)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Magical Mystery Psych Out A Tribute To The Beatles Cleopatra 2015

The Magical Mystery Psych-Out - A Tribute To The Beatles

An amazing psych journey that rediscovers the music of The Beatles!

Brent Black /

When I first opened the package containing this release, I cringed. This release would seem to have train wreck written all over it yet some of the finest psych bands take a respectful if not a somewhat edgy look at The Beatles contributions to psych rock thanks to a well crafted release of some obscure gems and classic favorites.

"Tomorrow Never Knows walks the harmonic path of least resistance while The Underground Youth simply crush "Come Together." This is a release that if it does nothing else allows the melody to dictate the direction of each band.

Cleopatra has released numerous psych tributes with The Magical Mystery Psych Out holding serve as perhaps their finest to date. Vinyl editions are also available!

5 Stars!

1. Electric Moon - Tomorrow Never Knows
2. Sugar Candy Mountain - Rain
3. The Vacant Lots - Julia
4. The Blank Tapes - The Word
5. The Ruby Suns - Martha My Dear
6. The KVB - Taxman

1. The Underground Youth - Come Together
2. Fantasmes - Love You To
3. Quilt - Cry Baby Cry
4. The Lucid Dream - And I Love Her
5. Kikagaku Moyo - Helter Skelter
6. Strangers Family Band - Sun King

United Shades of Artistry 2015

Levon Mikaelian

A global music excursion taking the harmonic road less traveled, a release of balance and depth!

Brent Black /

Can we be honest? Most global fusion bands crash and burn thanks to either becoming too bogged down with cultural influences or simply the lack of some decent charts. United Shades of Artistry celebrates the Eastern European roots of pianist and composer Levon Mikaelian while also pulling from Latin and African music and rhythmic structure for a decidedly fresh presentation that so many artists have attempted yet with minimal success.

Trumpet legend Randy Brecker is featured on "Cloudy Minds" while saxophone ace Gary Thomas makes significant contributions on four others including the Armenian folk song "Hop-Hop." The emotive ballad "I Love You More" along with the harmonic evolution of "Shades" are perhaps the jewels in this melodic crown of lyrical bliss and the tune is seeming deconstructed and rebuilt with deceptively subtle shades of nuanced flavor.

Pianist Mikaelian has the skills necessary to literally cover the phone book yet assembles a release that has a laser like focus yet the spontaneity of a live show. For a debut release, this is an impressive first step in what should be a lengthy and highly successful career!

Tracks: Cloudy Minds; Shorora; Shades; Speak No Word; The Story Teller; Davismile; Hop-Hop; I Love You More.

Personnel: Levon Mikaelian: Composer, Band Leader, Piano, Rhodes, Vocals, Producer; John Lee: Acoustic and Electric Guitar; Tosin Aribisala.

5 Stars...Any debut release from a pianist that stays away from predictable covers is a winner!