soul

Kristy Lee is coming to NYC to Send off August with a Big Bang!

Kristy Lee will be opening for Dickey Betts, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, for ALL 3 of his performances at City Winery on Sunday, August 23rd thru Tuesday, August 30th.

Kristy Lee is a soul singer/songwriter from Alabama whose raw music
is connecting with hearts around the country. She is a songwriter for ASCAP  Nashville,
one of the many music artists on The Agency Group’s roster,
and has caught the ears of the recording industry’s heavyweights and executives
as well as Grammy Award winning artists Zac Brown & John Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band.

Currently, Kristy Lee and The Dirt Road Band are in pre-production with
Zac Brown & John Hopkins who will be producing several new songs for her new album.

On August 15th, Kristy Lee hit the road with a multi-city tour that will bring her powerful fan-base out to party while captivating new fans with a voice that is taking the music industry by storm.

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Tour Dates:

8/28-8/30 8pm City Winery w/ Dickey Betts- New York, NY

8/31 8pm Club Helsinki - Hudson, NY

9/2 8pm The L Word- Cayce, SC
9/3 1pm SC Pride Festival: Finlay Park - Columbia, SC
9/4 7:30pm 31st Stage @ American Music Festival - Virginia Beach, VA
9/28 8pm Ybor City - Tampa, FL
9/29-10/3 Rombello Cruise
10/15 8pm WorkPlay Theatre - Birmingham, AL
10/16 8pm 3rd and Lindsley - Nashville, TN
10/20 9pm Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL
10/22 7pm Cedar Cultural Center - Minneapolis, MN
10/29 8pm Soul Kitchen - Mobile, AL
11/4 8pm Hartigan's Irish Pub - Charlotte, NC
* Tour Dates Added Regularly.

Orgone at Fox Theatre | 10.25.11

Z2 Entertainment is proud to present Orgone at the Fox Theatre on Tuesday, October 25th.  Tickets will go on sale Friday, August 19th for $10.00 in advance and $12.00 day of show.

Los Angeles based band Orgone is many souls with a cosmic connection, a natural creative force and musicians who have played together for years. They are self schooled and continue to shape their musical voice as a solid unit of guys who hang, spin records and jam out their shared inspirations. With a rooted sense of funk, soul, afrobeat, deep rhythms and an intimate understanding of dj culture as well as each others’ individual talents, Orgone seamlessly slides through multiple styles and dynamic performances. The group continuously injects whatever they play with a heavy brand of raw funk power.

The band’s reputation amongst the funk, soul, and hip hop fraternity is further backed-up by an impressive and ever growing resume that expands their reach. This includes a spot in an Adidas campaign, a tour with and backing band for Bun B (from UGK), Pharoahe Monch, Plantlife (including a BBC performance for Jools Holland), Little Brother, Nice and Smooth, Black Sheep and New Orleans funk legend Eddie Bo at a Hurricane Katrina benefit. Members of Orgone also have featured in the make-up of Ubiquity acts the Lions, Connie Price and the Keystones, Breakestra, and have performed with the Pharcyde, De La Soul, Too Short, Macy Gray among many others. To top it off, most of the group can be heard on recent major recordings by Alicia Keys, CeeLo, Estelle, Anthony Hamilton, Jennifer Hudson, Solange Knowles and many other R&B/Soul artists.

Orgone continues to tour, impressing audiences and winning new fans at festivals & clubs nationally and overseas. 2009 saw the release of their second fully independent CD “bacano”, a collection of all original cold-blooded funk gems representing what’s always been going down in Orgone’s funky, sweaty home-grown recording spot. It’s a recorded history of the band and its musical family throwing down: check the lethal neck-busting bass intro of founding member Tim Glum on “You Already Doin It”, the Detroit thump of bassist Dale Jennings on the deep hypnotic funk soundscape of “Vibromeyer”, the dance floor soul of singer Gino Garafalo on the undeniably hip-shaking “Come Around” and the sub-atomic gut punch of Orgone bassist Ethan Phillips on the heavy psychedelic groove of “Hott Karl”.

Orgone live and recorded is 100% organic heart and soul an aesthetic and an attitude born out of half a lifetime of playing together.

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Orgone

Fox Theatre

Tuesday, October 25th

Doors:  8:00 pm

Show Time:  9:00 pm

Zach Deputy Celebrates Another Day

On his upcoming release Another Day, soul-singer and guitarist Zach Deputy-- with the help of Grammy-winning producer Scott Jacoby-- taps into the spirit of Al Green, Taj Mahal and Stevie Wonder, creating a soulful rhythm and blues album rich with ballads and mid-tempo songs. The record will appeal to fans of contemporary artists like Jack Johnson and Amos Lee, while retaining a classic sound and feel. Full of hope and anticipation of the promise of another day, a new day, it is a pivotal point in the career of a touring musician heretofore known as a master of live looping and a staple in the grass-roots club and festival circuit.

An appropriately titled album, Another Day is truly an album in the classic sense— a collection of songs that come from the same time and place, inspired by the same muse. Reflective and introspective, it provides a glimpse at the soul of an artist and the depth of a songwriter. As a boy, the music of Zach Deputy's Puerto Rican, Cruzan and Irish heritage was cooked up in the South Carolina heat. The Calypso rhythms and folk songs of St. Croix competed with the R&B / soul of pioneers like James Brown and Ray Charles for space on the family stereo. As Zach honed his craft, a unique hybrid of these influences emerged, ultimately creating the signature Zach Deputy sound-- what he calls "Island-infused, Drum 'n' Bass, Gospel-Ninja-Soul" that has made him a hot up-and-coming artist. However, this is the one-man-band sweaty dance party side of the coin. That same gumbo of influences has the humid, sultry, quieter side, too. This is the side of the slow dances... the bodies pressed close together and the quiet voices whispering in each other’s' ears. Another Day is a warm, mellow album, one that is perfect for after hour soirees... and if Zach Deputy is about sunshine,Another Day is about sunsets.

Best described as soulful rhythm and blues, Another Day features 11 original tracks produced with Grammy award winning Scott Jacoby over just 5 days in Mission Sound Recording in Brooklyn, NY. To handle the ever-present Latin, Caribbean and African elements in Zach Deputy's backbeat and place them in the contemporary soul / pop format of the songs, Jacoby tapped Graham Hawthorne (Aretha Franklin, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, David Byrne) for the drum kit. Bassist Al Carty came into the studio after having played four church gigs that day. Despite the list of artists he has recorded or toured with (Lou Reed, De La Soul, Carrie Underwood, Gavin DeGraw), the church gigs alone proved that Jacoby was on the mark with this choice for the low end. Zach Deputy is, after all, a soul singer whose music is underpinned by Gospel as much as by any other musical idiom. Equally at home in the Gospel tradition, pianist / organist Will Buthod (Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Alicia Keys, The Harlem Gospel Choir) completed the studio trio that fleshed out Zach's vision for the recording-- a vision made real by Jacoby's pitch perfect choice of accompanists. These four accomplished professionals met for the first time on the first day of recording and worked as if they were old friends with a common purpose.

Another Day will hit the streets on September 27th following four shows in two days at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. The event will kick off a full-scale national tour with dates booked throughout the country. For ticketing and performance information check out www.zachdeputy.com.

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ON TOUR:

8/5/2011              Camp Creek Festival - Oxford, Maine
8/6/2011              Naukabout Festival -  East Falmouth, Cape Cod,  Massachusetts
8/9/2011              Songs at Mirror Lake Music Series - Lake Placid, New York
8/10/2011            The Westcott Theater - Syracuse, New York
8/11/2011            Southpaw - Brooklyn, New York
8/12/2011            Ocean Mist- South Kingstown, Rhode Island
8/13/2011            The Royal Family Affair at Stratton Mountain - West Wardsboro, Vermont
8/13/2011            Club Helsinki - Hudson, New York
8/16/2011            Divan Orange - Montreal, Quebec
8/17/2011            Kirkland Arts Center - Clinton, New York
8/18/2011            Bella Terra Festival at Gardner's Field -  Stephentown, New York
8/19/2011            Trenton Social Courtyard - Trenton, New Jersey
8/20/2011            Camp Barefoot - Bartow, West Virginia
8/21/2011            Great Bay Music Festival- Dover, New Hampshire
8/24/2011            The Otter House- Fredericksburg, Virginia
8/25/2011            The Jewish Mother- Virginia Beach, Virginia
8/26/2011            Outer Banks Brewing Station - Kill Devil Hills; North Carolina
8/27/2011            Blarney Stone's Pub and Music Hall- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
8/29/2011            Big Bamboo Cafe - Hilton Head, South Carolina
9/8/2011              8 x 10 - Baltimore, Maryland
9/9/2011              Appalachian Brewing Company - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
9/13/2011            Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) - New York, New York
9/14/2011            Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) - New York, New York
9/15/2011            The Met Cafe at Hope Artiste Village - Pawtucket, Rhode Island
9/16/2011            Wormtown Music Festival-Camp Kee Wanee - Greenfield, Massachusetts
9/17/2011            Wormtown Music Festival-Camp Kee Wanee - Greenfield,  Massachusetts
9/21/2011            Bayou Bill's - Valdosta, Georgia
9/22/2011            Blackwater Music Festival at Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park - Live Oak, Florida
9/23/2011            Skipper's Smokehouse - Tampa, Florida
9/24/2011            Culture Room - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9/25/2011            Beachside Tavern - New Smyrna Beach, Florida
9/28/2011            Handlebar - Pensacola, Florida
9/29/2011           New Earth Music Hall - Athens, Georgia
9/30/2011           Matilda's Art Gallery and Music Venue - Alpharetta, Georgia
10/1/2011           The Emerald Lounge - Asheville, North Carolina
10/6/2011           Gnat's Landing - Statesboro, Georgia
10/11/2011         Woodlands Tavern - Columbus, Ohio
10/12/2011         The Castle Theatre - Bloomington, Illinois
10/13/2011         Red Sky Lounge - Mankato, Minnesota
10/14/2011         Cabooze - Minneapolis, Minnesota
10/15/2011         The Aquarium - Fargo, North Dakota
10/18/2011         The Zebra Cocktail Lounge - Bozeman, Montana
10/19/2011         Top Hat Lounge - Missoula, Montana
10/20/2011         Tractor Tavern - Seattle, Washington
10/21/2011         Berbati's Pan -  Portland, Oregon
10/22/2011         Humboldt Brews - Arcata, California
10/25/2011         Lost on Main - Chico, California
10/26/2011         The Mint - Los Angeles, California
10/27/2011         Winstons - San Diego, California
10/28/2011         Marilyn's on K - Sacramento, California
10/29/2011         The Independent - San Francisco, California
10/30/2011         The Underground - Reno, Nevada
12/30/2011         TheBond-Fire Art and Music Festival - Groveland, Florida

Phish: Live In Utica Box Set In Stores 5/24!

On October 20, 2010 Phish played their first ever show in Utica in the heart of the Mohawk Valley.  Utica Memorial Auditorium is a hockey arena with a capacity of about 5,700 and a design very similar to another round room and favorite Empire State Phish venue, Madison Square Garden.  Utica was the smallest venue on Phish's fall tour and the atmosphere was charged with electricity - the music was swinging, inspired and transcendent with a crowd that rose to the occasion.  One clever fan even went so far as to craft a "Guyutica" sign that no doubt helped shape the night’s events.  A new camera mounted at the front-of-house position accentuated the light show in a way never before featured on a live, indoor Phish DVD.  Set one was bookended by a soul sandwich, opening with "My Soul" and closing with "Run Like An Antelope" ("set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul").  "Vultures" and a funky "Wolfman's Brother" > "Cities" with local references brought the show to an early fever pitch.  The music seemed to play the band as intricate, full-band improvisation intertwined the songs of set one throughout an absurdly creative sequence of "Guyute", "David Bowie" and "Wilson”.  The show's theme song "Guyute" bloomed again repeatedly during "Saw It Again" and "Run Like An Antelope", both of which oozed with exquisite detail fueled by a fully mind-melded band and audience.  Set two built on the momentum of a stellar first set, opening the door with a patient, jazzy "Sand" > "Theme From The Bottom" and diving headlong through it with an explosive combination of "Split Open And Melt" > "Have Mercy" > "Piper" > "Split Open And Melt" > "Slave To The Traffic Light" that nearly blew the roof off the Utica Aud. By the time “Birds Of A Feather” re-appeared during “Piper”, it could accurately be described as Uticular.  In keeping with its series of interrelated themes, nearly optimum flow and an overall magical glow, Utica also showcased some relative rarities from The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday such as "McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters" and "Tela".

The nearly three hours of music on the Utica box set was recorded with 64 channels of digital multi-track and beautifully mixed and mastered, appearing on the DVD's in 5.1 Dolby surround and full-resolution, uncompressed PCM stereo. The video was shot with 8 cameras (16:9 widescreen), recorded and post-edited in High Definition.  Combining a stellar performance with gorgeous improvisation and a healthy sense of adventure, Utica makes it clear that the band is back and playing for keeps.

The Utica box set features the complete October 20, 2010 performance on 2-DVD’s and 2-CD’s to be released nationwide on May 24th.  The box set presents three hours of crucial Phish in an intimate venue with an inspired audience that returned the energy at every turn.
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Check out some clips from Live in Utica:
&
a video clip of 'Wolfman's Brother'

TOWER OF POWER @ Boulder Theater | 8/7/11

Boulder Weekly & Z2 Entertainment is proud to present Tower of Power at the Boulder Theater on Sunday, August 7th, 2011.  Tickets are $30.00 and On Sale Friday, May 6th.

With 42 years of recording and touring experience behind them, Tower of Power has a new album, THE GREAT AMERICAN SOULBOOK which features covers of soul classics with guest singers Joss Stone, Sir Tom Jones, Huey Lewis, and Sam Moore.

The group still garners rave reviews, and leaves the audiences dancing in their seats in the arenas, theatres, and outdoor venues they play year 'round. Melding soul, jazz, funk, and rock in a way no group ever has, the ten-piece outfit is, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, “tighter than a clenched fist.”

The late great James Brown was quoted in HEEB magazine about Tower of Power, as saying, "There's no black group that plays my stuff as good as them."

Well known in the '70s for tunes such as “What is Hip?” and “You're Still a Young Man,” Tower of Power toured with Santana, Sly Stone and Credence Clearwater Revival, eventually creating traffic jams when they headlined their own shows. They performed on records with Elton John, Smokey Robinson, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, and Dionne Warwick, influencing a generation of musicians (including Sting, who has told Emilio Castillo, founder of the group, that he once had a “Tower of Power clone band” before he formed The Police). In the 1980s, they backed Huey Lewis and the News, Heart, Eurythmics, and Little Feat, just to name a few.

Tower of Power, after 40 years, is experiencing more popularity than ever before as they tour year 'round packing venues in the United States, the Pacific Rim, and all over Europe.

On June 6, 2004 The California Music Association honored Tower of Power with a Lifetime Achievement Award and cited their 2003 Sony Legacy anthology “Havin' Fun” as Soul/R&B album of the year, beating out releases by En Vogue and Raphael Saadiq.

As of August 19, 2009 the group's original trumpet player Mic Gillette returns to the band reuniting with original members David Garibaldi, Emilio Castillo, Doc Kupka, and Rocco Prestia. Says Emilio, "Having Mic back in the band brings back incredible memories. His ability to play screaming lead trumpet and then switch effortlessly to trombone is world class. What an amazing brass player he is. It's just incredible that after all these years the three original horn players are back together in Tower of Power."

The band's frontman Larry Braggs is also a powerful force. Emilio, who shares frontman duties, is in awe of his singer, "with his astounding range and irresistible energy, he has a soulfulness that knows no bounds, finessing a ballad with the best of them, and then turning right around  to make it as funky as it gets. Larry's joyful spirit is undeniably contagious."

When asked to describe the band's music, the group members give a variety of responses. Says Emilio, “What Tower plays is Oakland soul music.” Former Tower saxophonist Lenny Pickett, current musical director for the Saturday Night Live band, says “TOP is the world's best rhythm and blues band.” In reality, TOP's horn-driven, in-your-face sound is all its own. Read more about Tower of Power at www.towerofpower.com.

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Tower of Power

Boulder Theater

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Doors:  7:30 pm

Show Time:  8:00 pm

Kristy Lee Signs with ASCAP

Before her packed show at The Basement this past Monday, Alabama Firecracker Kristy Lee stopped by ASCAP Nashville's office to become a member of the performing rights organization and perform for the creative staff.
Kristy Lee is also currently slated to perform at this year's Hang Out Music Festival’s Main Stage & VIP pre-party in Gulf Shores, AL, producing and performing at UNLEASHED Memorial Weekend 2011 in Pensacola, FL, and sweep away passengers with her soul-folk sound on the Rombello Cruise this fall.
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TOUR DATES:
5/14 8pm Soul Kitchen Music Hall - Mobile, AL
5/20 4:45pm The Hangout Music Festival - Gulf Shores, AL
5/26-5/29 Memorial Weekend Unleashed 2011 - Pensacola, FL
9/29-10/3 Rombello Cruise - Tampa to Cozumel
* Tour Dates Added Regularly.
Please check www.kristyleemusic.com for more information.

Booker T. & the MGs, Staple Singers & Johnnie Taylor launch Stax Remasters Series

From the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, the Stax label dominated soul, R&B, gospel, and related genres with a stable of artists who have since become iconic figures in the history of American popular music. Now a part of the Concord Music Group, the Stax catalog is a treasure trove of some of the most visceral and influential recordings of the 20th century. On May 10, 2011, Concord reaches back into that deep catalog to launch Stax Remasters, a series of reissues that cast a new light on classic Stax recordings with the help of 24-bit remastering, rare bonus tracks, and new liner notes to frame the recordings in a historical context.

The first three reissues in the series are:

  • Booker T. & the MGs: McLemore Avenue (1970)
  • The Staple Singers: Be Altitude: Respect Yourself (1972)
  • Johnnie Taylor: Taylored in Silk (1973)


“Stax is a very important label, not only in the history of soul music, but in the history of music in general,” says Nick Phillips, Concord’s Vice President of Catalog A&R and co-producer of the series with Chris Clough, Concord’s Manager of Catalog Development. “We have a number of amazing recordings by Stax in the catalog. This is an opportunity to revisit some of the best of these classic recordings, upgrade the sound quality, and put them in the proper historical perspective that they deserve.”

Booker T. & the MGs: McLemore Avenue

Released in January 1970, McLemore Avenue is a tribute to Abbey Road, the landmark recording released by the Beatles the prior summer. McLemore Avenue sets up an interesting cause-and-effect loop by putting an R&B spin on songs by a profoundly innovative British pop-rock band that, ironically, emerged years earlier from the most basic elements of American R&B.

McLemore Avenue was inspired by “my pure fascination and admiration of the work that [the Beatles] had done,” says keyboardist Booker T. Jones in the reissue liner notes by music historian Ashley Kahn. “I didn’t know their inner workings. I found out later. I had a picture of those guys as a perfect unit. I didn’t know that they fought, had arguments, or that they needed referees. When you listen to that music, you think it comes from a perfect union, you know?”

The tribute album “represents a fascinating and musically compelling intersection,” says Phillips. “On one hand, you can look at the strength of the Beatles’ songs, and how they’re such strong songs that they can be successfully adapted — in the right hands — to soulful instrumental versions. At the same time, it is of course a testament to Booker T. & the MGs’ creativity and soulfulness and groove. It’s not only a very interesting musical intersection, but it’s also a very deep and at the same time a very fun listen.”

Clearly, Booker T. & the MGs had had plenty of their own opportunities to flex their creative muscles in the studio, having recorded with artists like Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. “But on a record like this,” says Clough, “where all the songs were already written and it was just a matter of interpretation, it wasn’t work for them. It was an opportunity to put their spin on the songs and just have some fun.”

The bonus tracks include seven additional Beatles covers, recorded in sessions separate from those for the McLemore Avenue album. “We figured it made good sense to expand this edition by adding other tracks that Booker T. & the MGs had recorded of Beatles songs over the years,” says Phillips. “So the Stax Remasters reissue is not only an expanded edition of McLemore Avenue, it’s also a de facto ‘Booker T. & the MGs Play the Beatles’ collection.”

The Staple Singers: Be Altitude: Respect Yourself

Originally released in 1972, Be Altitude: Respect Yourself captures the celebrated family vocal group in what was essentially the third act of their career, according to music historian Rob Bowman. The Staple Singers had initially established themselves as a gospel group in the 1950s, then merged with the folk music closely tied to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and ultimately veered away from protest songs and toward what Mavis Staples termed “message music” in the early and mid-1970s.

“Obviously, there was a lot going on in America — politically and socially — around that time, and the Staple Singers took up the cause,” says Clough. “Stax provided a huge platform for that cause, and it worked. It wasn’t insincere or disingenuous. It was the real deal. The Staples had taken up the banner at that point.”

Be Altitude found a comfortable middle ground between gospel music and secular music. “Some of the messages in their music have that gospel element running through it, but it’s a broader message than what you’d find in traditional gospel,” says Phillips. “The soul, the gospel, the grooves — all those things blended together — really make for a unique sound that is the Staple Singers.”

The two previously unreleased bonus tracks — “Walking in Water Over Our Head” and an alternate version of “Heavy Makes You Happy” — were both recorded at the Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabama in 1970 and 1972, respectively. “We felt that it was appropriate to add these bonus tracks, not only because any undiscovered material by a group as great as the Staple Singers is worthy of a listen,” says Phillips, “but also because they’re such great performances that they fit right in.”

Simply put, says Bowman, “the recording you hold in your hands represents the Staple Singers at the very peak of their career.”

Johnnie Taylor: Taylored in Silk

Released in 1973, Taylored in Silk is an ideal example of Taylor’s newly expanded and embellished sound, crafted with the help of producer Don Davis, who had united with Taylor a few years earlier, according to the liner notes by Bill Dahl. “As far as Davis was concerned, a fundamental change of sound was in order for Johnnie,” says Dahl. “Gone were the savory slow blues in favor of a hard-edged, uptempo attack that energized [Taylor’s] sound like never before.”

The issue could well have been regional marketing as much as musicality. “The story goes that Davis was brought in to forge a sound that would be sort of a combination between Northern and Southern soul, and capture the best of both Stax and Motown,” says Phillips. “He certainly hit a home run in his work with Johnnie Taylor, especially on this album.”

Taylored in Silk underwent “a lot of overdubbing,” Dahl notes, “but the end result was a splendidly conceived soul album boasting three major R&B hits within its eight selections…Blues wailer or soul philosopher, silky or gritty, Johnnie Taylor will always be revered as one of the greatest southern soul singers of ’em all.”

The six bonus tracks were previously released as singles in the early ’70s, “and they’re all outstanding performances,” says Phillips. “They certainly fit the vibe and the performance quality of the rest of the album.”

Saxophonist Plunky Releases R&B CD

J. Plunky Branch's new release, Plunky On Fire, is a funk jazz concept album that burns across a wide swath of the urban contemporary music landscape. Plunky On Fire takes us on a musical journey through down-tempo funk jazz; house-tempo dance; R&B love songs; spoken word; smooth mellow jazz; novelty funk; world soul message music; live gig clips and thought leader lecturing, all on one chockfull compact disc.

Saxophonist J. Plunky Branch and his group Plunky & Oneness create musical theater that combines the quirkiness of George Clinton and the musicality of George Duke with the vocal poetics of Jill Scott and Gil Scott Heron. Plunky's words and melodies are crafted over hip-hop influenced instrumental tracks produced by his son, Jamiah “Fire” Branch, hence the double entendre CD title.

The father-son duo has produced an album of 14 new songs that are both retro and ultramodern, a new organic-techno soul music that is jazzy, funky and highly danceable. Two songs are targeted for initial airplay: "On Fire," a hot, sax driven dance instrumental with a vocal hook; and "Inside These Walls" a quiet storm love song featuring Chyp Green on lead vocals.

Released on his own N.A.M.E. Brand Records label, this, Plunky's 25th album, will be available at CDBaby.com and all the most popular online sites, including i-tunes, Rhapsody and Napster. CD’s will be distributed to record stores by Liaison Record Distributors of Maryland. The March 29th release date also kicks off the Plunky & Oneness promotional touring in support of the new CD.

Plunky & Oneness is one of the most versatile and enduring funk jazz groups, having toured in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean for over 25 years. They have appeared in concert and at festivals with some of the biggest names in Black music, including Earth Wind & Fire, Frankie Beverly & Maze, B.B. King, Patti Labelle, Ray Charles, LL Cool J, Chuck Brown, Wyclef Jean and many others.

Plunky has also been active in music education and arts and culture presentations and some of his insights on aesthetics and African concepts of the groove are presented as interludes on the album. His positive empowerment and political messages are infused in the lyrics of several of the songs as well. He comments, "I just think it’s important to inspire people to reach for their highest aspirations and I believe it can be done while we're having fun; what some call partying with a purpose."

Plunky On Fire presents R&B as art music and this concept extends to the CD cover as well. The original portrait of Plunky on the front was painted by French artist, Dan Brussat; and the inside photograph taken at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was shot by the design and layout artist, Danja Mowf. On this album the music and the art are hot like fire…

Web site: www.plunkyone.com CD Link: www.cdbaby.com/cd/plunky

'Ray Charles Live in Concert' captures The Genius in 1964

In the half-century between his earliest recordings in the 1950s and his death in 2004, Ray Charles ascended to icon status by leaving his mark on virtually every form of American popular music that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century. Nowhere was this more evident than in his live performances, where one was likely to hear shades of blues, soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, country, and more in a single evening — indeed, sometimes in a single song. To put it simply, the Right Reverend did it all.

All of these subtle shades and styles are evident in Concord Music Group’s April 5, 2011, reissue of Ray Charles Live in Concert. Originally released as a 12-song LP on ABC-Paramount in early 1965, Live in Concert captured Ray at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in September 1964. More than four decades later, the CD reissue brings additional depth and perspective to the 1964 recording with the help of 24-bit remastering, seven previously unreleased tracks and extensive new liner notes that provide additional historical context to what is already considered a pivotal recording in Ray’s overall body of work.

“There could be no more uplifting live musical experience than digging Ray Charles and his mighty orchestra in their prime,” says roots music historian Bill Dahl in his new liner notes. Indeed, the 15-piece orchestra backing Ray on this date — assembled just a few years earlier in 1961 — boasted no less than a dozen horns, including formidable saxophonists David “Fathead” Newman, Hank Crawford, and Leroy “Hog” Cooper, all of whom had been with Ray since his days as a leader of smaller combos. “This amazing aggregation,” says Dahl, “was every bit as conversant with the intricacies of modern jazz as with the gospel-blues synthesis that Brother Ray pioneered during the mid-1950s, when he began accruing serious cred as the father of what would soon become known as soul music.”

Chris Clough, Concord’s manager of catalog development and producer of the Live in Concert reissue, notes that the Shrine Auditorium performance took place at a transitional moment in Ray’s career, just as he was transcending the confines of R&B and entering the mainstream by demonstrating a firm grasp of various other genres. “He’d made his ascendance in the early ’60s, and he had the world at his feet by this time,” says Clough. “He’d basically invented soul, he’d done R&B, he’d conquered country and he was on his way to becoming an American icon.”

In the span of 19 songs, Live in Concert illuminates the route to that destination. Ray wastes no time taking his audience on a ride from jazzy big band groove of “Swing a Little Taste” to the Latin-flavored “One Mint Julep” to the blues-gospel hybrid of his classic “I Got a Woman.” Although his live rendition of “Georgia On My Mind” on this date didn’t make the cut on the original LP, the song is a standout track on the reissue, thanks to his complex organ runs and the flute lines moving in counterpoint with his rich vocals.

Clough considers the yearning “You Don’t Know Me” and the previously unreleased “That Lucky Old Sun” to be among the high points of the recording. “It sounds like he’s really baring his soul on those two tracks, and they just sound incredible,” says Clough, noting that Ray was unaware that tape was rolling during this performance. “This particular date was at the end of their tour, and the performance seems a little loose as a result — in a good way, and in a less slick way.”

Further in, the rousing “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” is driven by a gospel groove and embellished with a sax solo by Newman that closely mirrors the original 1957 recording. The result is a familiar hit for an audience that’s more than ready to reinforce Ray’s foot-stomping beat with handclaps.

The sly and swaggering “Makin’ Whoopee” is delivered completely off the cuff, with drummer Wilbert Hogan, bassist Edgar Willis, and guitarist Sonny Forriest improvising an accompaniment behind what Dahl calls “Ray’s luxurious piano and breathy, supremely knowing vocals.” By all accounts, Ray spontaneously inserted the song into the set in response to the negative press he’d received overseas about his private life.

In the home stretch, Ray introduces the Raeletts, the female backing vocalists who served as his foil for some of his biggest hits. Together they work their way through “Don’t Set Me Free” (with Lillian Fort stepping forward for a duet with Ray), the comical “Two Ton Tessie” and the torchy “My Baby” before climaxing with the churning “What’d I Say,” a song tailor-made to stoke any room to a fever pitch.

A huge piece of the Ray Charles legacy is his mastery of any style he touched, and his ability to make it his own in a way that no other artist could — powers that can only come from an innate sense of adventure and spontaneity that are fully evident in Ray Charles Live in Concert.

“Few performers were less predictable onstage than Ray Charles,” says Dahl. “And nobody did it better.”

Tony Adamo's What Is Hip

The recording of the song "What is Hip" on singer/songwriter, Tony Adamo's new CD (entitled WHAT IS HIP) came from a suggestion made by the legendary horn player and Tower of Power co-founder, Stephen "Doc" Kupka. During a recording session with Adamo and his producer/guitarist, Jerry Stucker, "Doc" suggested several TOP songs Adamo might want to cover. Adamo choose "What is Hip" and "This Time it's Real." Kupka, along with jazz great, Eddie Henderson hold up the horn section on "Hip." In the re-grooved "This Time It's Real," Mic Gillette, funk icon in his own right, wrote the horn arrangement and plays (trumpet & trombone) along with TOP horn member, Tom E. Poltzer (tenor sax). Poltzer plays lead solo with "Doc" Kupka on bari sax.

Talk about a kool struttin' and soul funkin' sound. Adamo is deep in the groove on these two Tower of Power hits. Producer/guitarist, Jerry Stucker loaded up the WHAT IS HIP CD with big city cool. Some of these great players include: Mike Clark (drums), Steve Gadd (drums), James Gadson (drums), Reggie McBride (bass), Richie Goods (bass), Freddie Washington (bass), Bill Summers (percussion), Robert Quintana (percussion), Blackbyrd McNight (guitar), Jerry Stucker (guitar), Neil Larsen (organ/piano), Rodney Franklin (piano), Melecio Magdaluyo (tenor sax/flute), Henry Hung (trumpet/trombone), and Sandy Griffith (background vocals).

Can you dig Adamo's new conception of voice n' funk with an infectious slice of soul? Get hip to WHAT IS HIP and be "souled" on the thirteen songs on his new CD.

WHAT IS HIP MP3's are now available on CDBABY and hard copies will be available at www.strokeland.com and CDBABY soon.
www.horndrivenradio.com will add songs into radio play