To most people, the junction of New York and Lagos, Nigeria may not seem like a natural place for an album to take shape. Somi, thankfully, thought otherwise. This worldly and well-traveled vocalist makes it seem like the most natural of meeting points on The Lagos Music Salon. Somi's music has always been informed by African, R&B and soul influences, but an eighteen month stay in Lagos helped her dig deeper into the African cultural soil than she ever had before. The resultant album, powerful, cool, vibrant, sly and lively all at once, could be considered the ...read more
At an early age Eliot Lewis was determined to make music his life's work, and in the ensuing years he has been living the dream. As you'll hear in the interview, even as an adolescent he had some extraordinary musical encounters which, if submitted as a screenplay, would probably be rejected as unbelievable. After finishing school his demos caught the attention of an highly successful producer who enlisted him for studio work and took him under his wing. He played on albums by artists such as James Brown, Joe Cocker, and Tina Turner, and also gained valuable production ...read more
One of the most powerful vocalists today is Carleen Anderson, the 2013 Jazz FM UK Vocalist of the Year." Amy Winehouse once said, For live performances, you absolutely have to see Carleen Anderson at least three times in your life!" Amy confessed while sitting in on one of Ms. Anderson's soundchecks; Carleen sang Don't Look Back In Anger," it brought her to tears (Amy Winehouse: One Shining Night, 2006). Born in jny: Houston, Texas on May 10, 1957, Carleen Anderson is grounded and rooted in true gospel music inherited from the Pentecostal church where the pastor, David Anderson, ...read more
No matter how much is written, or by whom, Elvis Presley remains impossible to explain. The usual young white rocker who could sing black" is as inaccurate as any standing American mythology. His legacy has been as mangled as his career was, often to the detriment of the work itself. Yes, at the time of his death, Elvis had become (to use Frank Zappa's description) that poor guy, that drug-infested blimp." Yes, by 1962 he had become the star of bad movies that spawned mostly bad songs.But look closely, and a much more complex and magnetic artist comes ...read more
The Doors' Live at The Bowl '68 is a remarkable piece of work, as much for the technical wizardry of the recording it comprises as for the pointed restraint on the part of the iconic band as it performs.Arguably at the height of its popularity at the time of this July 5, 1968 performance at the famed Los Angeles venue, The Doors was about to peak in commercial terms, at which point its music suffered as much as the attitude of lead vocalist Jim Morrison. On this recording, however, the dumbed-down single from its then current album, Waiting ...read more
A young rocker out and about in Los Angeles at 10 am may be an odd sighting, akin perhaps to seeing a polar bear in the sweaty Congo, but nevertheless here is 25 year old Nick Waterhouse, approaching a downtown diner on a sunny weekday morning to discuss his new album, Time's All Gone (Innovative Leisure, 2012). Looking as though he's just jumped from the pages of GQ (specifically the June 2012 issue), with a crisp new short-sleeved shirt tucked tightly into his firm fitting dress trousers, along with plastic framed glasses and businessman's shined leather shoes and neatly placed ...read more
Neil Young Waging Heavy Peace502 pagesISBN: 9780339159466Viking2012An argument can be made that the three greatest artists in the history of contemporary rock music are Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Neil Young, in no particular order. The most controversial amongst the three would be Young. This of course comes from the fact that Young seems to almost purposely take the path that defies commercial success but it's also a significant part of the reason why he remains so relevant. Where as most rock musicians reflect the time they create ...read more
Producer, singer, arranger, songwriter--artist Sharon Robinson wears many hats. Although her work occurs mainly behind the scenes, her name and work are becoming increasingly known both as a collaborator and, in recent times, as an author in her own right. With more than 30 years in the music business, she began as a backing vocalist in a myriad of R&B bands, to become a successful producer and songwriter for the likes of Diana Ross, Don Henley, Rufus Wainwright, Aaron Neville and Roberta Flack.One of her earliest successes was New Attitude," co-written with Patti LaBelle for the 1984 Beverly ...read more
Ray CharlesThe Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961Le Chant du Monde2012At first glance, it's a mystery. Why choose 1961 as the cut-off point for a collection spanning the first years of singer/keyboardist Ray Charles' lengthy tenure with ABC-Paramount? Extend that to 1962, and even within the 3-CD confines of The Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961 it would be possible to include the momentous Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. This was the album that gave Charles his place in the mainstream of American popular music, to achieve which he had switched to the bigger ...read more
With Stoa (ECM, 2006), the world at large was introduced to Nik Bärtsch and his hypnotic, booty-shaking Zen Funk. But the Swiss pianist's rapid ascendance, thanks to the international reach and reputation of ECM Records, was only the tip of the iceberg. Not only had Bärtsch released six previous albums since 2001, on his own Ronin Rhythms Records--four with his now-longstanding Ronin, plus a solo piano record and the album that started it all, Ritual Groove Music (2001), with his early group, Mobile--but there were others who were part of regular Monday gigs at Montags in Zurich, an open-to-the-public laboratory ...read more
The DoorsL.A. Woman: 40th Anniversary EditionElecktra2012 In the end, The Doors were a jazz organ trio playing the blues, what keyboardist Ray Manzarek called The Modern Jazz Quartet of Rock." Flirting with psychedelia on its first four albums, providing an acid soundtrack to 1967's Summer of Love, and releasing a critical career- killing album in The Soft Parade (Elektra, 1969), the band found its roots and made comeback skid-marks with Morrison Motel (Elektra, 1970) in the lowdown brilliant white-man boogie of Roadhouse Blues." The Doors perfected this sound on what was appropriately ...read more
The two-disc reissue of The Doors' L.A. Woman (Elektra, 1971), released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the original album, documents how this band achieved what The Beatles could not with Let It Be (Apple, 1970). Jim Morrison and company effectively and authentically went back to their musical roots and, in so doing, restored their camaraderie as a band.It matters little whether disc one or disc two is approached first--the former contains the now-classic, finished product, the latter outtakes from the sessions, produced by engineer Bruce Botnick when long-time producer Paul Rothschild walked out in frustration at the ...read more
Handsomely appointed, Concord's Singular Genius--The Complete ABC Singles offers an example of intelligent and succinct programming and assembly in the waning days of the compact disc. This individual items collection were produced during the heyday of the 45 RPM single, which is to say during the time of alphanumeric telephone exchanges. It represents all of Charles' ABC single releases between 1960 ("My Baby, I Love Her Yes I Do") and 1973 ("Ring of Fire"). What exists in between is nothing less than the most important soul and rhythm and blues recordings of the period. Between 1953 and ...read more
Meet Paris Toon: The man behind the music is Paris Toon: producer, lyricist, composer and driving force of all that he engages in. Paris ritualistically defaults to his gut" when the time comes to gather musicians and give birth to new songs. This is the method to his rarely observed madness. Since Mothers Favorite Child is a product of this method, it is only natural that its musicians and vocalists would be chosen to provide the soundtrack to the more deeply shaded thoughts of Paris Toon, the man. The music of the Paris Toon project revolves around the ...read more
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