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Bilal

If there was one R&B artist for whom the neo-soul categorization seemed limiting, it was Philadelphia native Bilal. None of his recordings resembled the sycophantic worship of soul artists who thrived in the '60 and '70s, and it wasn't just because his voice — classically trained, capable of singing opera in seven languages — was so unique. While some inspirations were detectable, his recordings were wholly modern and became increasingly creative. His individuality led to being dropped from a major label, and he went several years without releasing any solo material. Through evangelism from his peers and word of mouth from his early fans, Bilal gained an insatiable following and was supported by sympathetic independent labels, where he was finally able to thrive creatively

Canvas

Label: Blue Note Records
Released: 2019
Track listing: Rise And Shine; Canvas; Portrait Of An Angel; Enoch's Meditation; Centelude; Jelly's Da Beener; Chant; Riot; North Portland; I Remember.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Keyon Harrold: The Mugician

Read "The Mugician" reviewed by Thomas Earl

Back in October of 2015, Keyon Harrold had his laptop and seven hard drives worth of material stolen from his car in New York. Although intended for his second album, Harrold's reaction was indicative of his attitude to life and music, stating philosophically, “the universe says that wasn't supposed to come out." Thankfully, two ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

2017: The Year in Jazz

Read "2017: The Year in Jazz" reviewed by Ken Franckling

A year of achievements, challenges to gender inequality, scandal and losses The year 2017 was quite something for the jazz world. Incidents or discussions of misogyny and sexual misconduct bubbled up even before the #MeToo phenomenon developed. Beyond that, woman musicians made significant contributions to the genre. International Jazz Day brought its biggest stage ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Natasha Agrama: The Heart Of Infinite Change

Read "The Heart Of Infinite Change" reviewed by Walter Atkins

The Heart Of Infinite Change (Alpha Pup/World Galaxy, 2017), is an update of the 2015 album from songwriter/vocalist Natasha Agrama. In addition to a different record label, the current release features one new track “Lover Man" and deletes four others from the earlier album. Heart consists of songs with music and lyrics by Agrama, Joni Mitchell ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Robert Glasper, Miles Davis: Everything's Beautiful

Read "Everything's Beautiful" reviewed by Asher Wolf

Miles Davis birthed cool in 1949 and nearly took it to the grave with him 52 years later. His first venture into hip-hop and last studio album, Doo-Bop, represented the least cool moment for America's icon of coolness itself. By the '90s, Miles' prowess as a trumpeter had only waned from legendary to excellent, but younger ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Natasha Agrama: The Heart Of Infinite Change

Read "The Heart Of Infinite Change" reviewed by Walter Atkins

The Heart Of Infinite Change (Roxboro Entertainment Group), the debut album from songwriter/vocalist Natasha Agrama is an intriguing ten-track mix of original compositions and impeccable jazz standards. The album consists of 3 songs with music and lyrics by Agrama, plus one each by Joni Mitchell and Osho with additional lyrics. The balance comes from personalized arrangements ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Joanna Pascale: To Tell a Story in Song

Read "Joanna Pascale: To Tell a Story in Song" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Among jazz vocalists, there are two main categories: those who belt out a tune with flourish, ornamentation, punctuation, and improvising known as “scat." Ella Fitzgerald is the prime representative of that approach. Then there are those who omit the superfluous, carefully crafting every word and note, bringing out the underlying emotions. Think of Billie Holiday. Joanna ...

NEWS: ADVOCACY

Jazz Bridge Opens "Kwame Hall Fund" For Saxophonist With Brain Tumor

Jazz Bridge Opens "Kwame Hall Fund" For Saxophonist With Brain Tumor

Starting today, Jazz Bridge opens the tax-deductible “Kwame Hall Fund" for Kwame Hall, an alto saxophonist and composer born and raised in jny: Philadelphia who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Tomorrow is a big day for Hall. He'll undergo a 12-hour surgical intervention at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania for a condition only ...

NEWS: EVENT

Bilal Announces Two Shows At Harlem Stage On March 27

Bilal Announces Two Shows At Harlem Stage On March 27

Forever pushing boundaries with his eclectic sound, Grammy-nominated artist and transcendent live performer Bilal returns to Harlem Stage to present new music from his exciting collaboration with Adrian Younge, a producer/composer/musician, heralded as “the next generation of soul music." A classically trained vocal veteran, Bilal released his debut album, 1st Born Second, in 2001, which boasted ...


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