song

Non-Traditional Reggae Artist Finding Increasingly Diverse Audience

As MC Zulu continues to establish his non-traditional Reggae/Dancehall style, radio stations and sponsors alike are falling into place. His “Crowd Control” EP made an impressive debut at #24 on CMJs Hip-Hop charts, and is now being added to the World and RPM categories.

MC Zulu’s sound has proved most attractive to music supervisors as well. His song “Higher Velocity” with producer BIONIK can be heard as part of Puma’s Faas Lab campaign. The commercial features a verse from Hip-Hop luminary Aceyalone, and a cameo by Fastest Man in the World, Usain Bolt.

Zulu also recently licensed the acappella version of his song “No Lies” for a remix competition with world-renowned producer Dub Gabriel. The competition was sponsored by Akai, Ableton and Dubspot. Another track, “Lose Control” with Kush Arora has been licensed by Tapulous for the popular Riddim Ribbon iPhone app.

When questioned about his unusually high profile ventures, Zulu explains that as rejections from record labels piled up, his resolve increased. He has headlined tours and amassed his fan base one by one, in such contrasting regions of the world as Israel, Slovakia and Australia. The “Crowd Control” full length entitled “Electro Track Therapy” is due in stores later this year.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem March 7 - March 13, 2011

Upcoming events at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for this week include:

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National Jazz Museum in Harlem

March 7 - March 13, 2011

Schedule

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jazz for Curious Readers

Ethel Waters: His Eye Is On The Sparrow, a celebration
Host: Father Peter J. O’Brien

7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

His Eye Is On The Sparrow is rightfully acclaimed as one of the greatest autobiographies by an American female singer; with the able assistance of noted journalist andbiographer Charles Samuels, Ethel Water's life and career journey is captured there in all of its joy, sorrow, bitterness, forgiveness, and spirit of perseverance no matter what she faced.

Tonight we celebrate the book and remember the bright star that was Ethel Waters.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jazz for Curious Listeners

FILM SHOW: Sing Me A Swing Song: Great Jazz Vocalists – Ethel Waters

Host: Father Peter J. O’Brien

7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: Maysles Cinema - 343 Lenox Avenue between 127th & 128th Street
DONATION SUGGESTED| For more information: 212-348-8300

Vocalist and actress Ethel Waters (1896-1977) was a key figure in the development of African American culture between the two world wars. She broke barrier after barrier, becoming the first black woman heard on the radio, the first black singer to perform on television, the first African American to perform in an integrated cast on Broadway, and the first black woman to perform in a lead dramatic role on Broadway. As a singer Waters introduced over 50 songs that became hits, including standards of the magnitude of "St. Louis Blues" and "Stormy Weather." Her jazzy yet controlled vocal style influenced a generation of vocalists, black and white, and her career, encompassing stage, song, and screen, flowered several times in comebacks after tumbling to lowpoints.

See Ethel Waters perform on film andearn about the rise and fall and rise again of a great American artist of song, and hear recordings that document the sound and style that made Ethel Waters such an influence.

My Morning Jacket Announce New Album, Circuital

My Morning Jacket will release their highly anticipated sixth studio album this spring, entitled Circuital. In celebration of the forthcoming full-length, the band will give away six weekly downloads beginning March 3rd. The first five downloads will be live songs taken from each night of their historic week at New York’s Terminal 5 in October of 2010. On the sixth week, the band will offer up a brand new song from the new album.

Circuital was recorded in Louisville, KY and Nashville, TN, and was co-produced by frontman Jim James and Tucker Martine (R.E.M., Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists). While in Louisville, the birthplace of the band and where three fifths of the guys are from, they recorded in the unique environment of a gymnasium inside of a church. They laid down almost everything live and allowed room for spontaneity.

In addition to getting reacquainted with their roots, the guys opted for a loose and warm production style for the album. The result is yet another reinvention of their sound that both forges new ground and maintains the distinct spirit of My Morning Jacket’s previous work.

Head to http://www.mymorningjacket.com to sign up for all six songs now and immediately receive the first song taken from their first night at Terminal 5.

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My Morning Jacket Tour Dates:

04-17 Lexington, KY - Memorial Coliseum (University of Kentucky)

05-20-22 Gulf Shores, AL - Hangout Festival

06-02-05 Ozark, AR - Wakarusa Festival

06-02-05 Hunter, NY - Mountain Jam

06-09-12 Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo Festival

06-30 - 07-03 Quincy, CA - High Sierra Music Festival

Boba Fett on Drums! | Scattered Trees' Love and Leave

Scattered Trees premiered their new “Star Wars” inspired video for “Love and Leave” today exclusively on Boing Boing. Watch the video, which features sad stormtroopers, a coldblooded Queen Amidala, and Boba Fett on drums HERE. The song, “Love and Leave,” is taken from Scattered Trees’ forthcoming full-length, Sympathy, due out April 5th on Roll Call Records/EMI. Download the song HERE (feel free to post and share) — it’s currently the 7th most popular song on Hype Machine. The loving tribute to The Star Wars saga was directed by Scattered Trees’ guitarist J.M. Harper in February in the band’s apartment. It’s a loose (very loose) interpretation of “A New Hope,” if the film was set in a snowy Chicago apartment.

The band’s premiere for “Love and Leave” comes as the band is prepping the release of their latest record Sympathy, which will be released on April 5th via Roll Call Records/EMI. The album is a focused, deeply personal collection of songs that finds Scattered Trees experimenting with lush multi-part harmonies, constructing dynamic builds, and exploring the intricacies of love and loss. Opening with “Bury the Floors,” lead singer Nate Eiesland sings “It’s the house that I built you to fall / We started to walk then we stood up to crawl / So bury the floors and burn down the walls / to find ourselves by morning.” Driving rock epics like “Four Days Straight” rub shoulders with melancholic elegies like “Where You Came From.” The album’s title track starts with a stripped-down plaintive mandolin, ultimately fading into a slow-burning orchestral groove. Melting into “Five Minutes,” Scattered Trees continues the build until the track bursts forth. The band rounds out the record with the mournful acoustic closer “On Your Side,” a fitting tribute for a deeply heartfelt and therapeutic album.

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Scattered Trees Upcoming Tour Dates:

03/03: Chicago, IL @ Schubas
03/05: Minneaoplis, MN @ Cause
03/17: Austin, TX @ Dizzy Rooster
03/18: Austin, TX @ The Ghost Room (NAIL/The MuseBox SXSW Day Party)
04/09: Kansas City, MO @ Middle of the Map Festival

'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.”

Randy Newman @ the Boulder Theatre | 3/9/11

Randy Newman has long been one of the most musically and lyrically ambitious singer-songwriters ever to be at play in the fields of popular music.

Born on November 28, 1943 to a renowned musical family, by seventeen Newman was a working songwriter. In 1968 he debuted with Randy Newman, and before long an unusually wide range of artists were recording his songs.

Critics lauded the musical depth, edge and literary quality of his lyrics as the 70's brought 12 Songs, Live, the classic Sail Away and brilliant and controversial Good Old Boys. Little Criminal caught the public's ear with the hit "Short People". Born Again followed.

In the Eighties, Newman's foray into film composing earned him his first two of sixteen Oscar nominations. Trouble In Paradise and the Grammy-winning score for The Natural followed. Next, Land of Dreams was considered another breakthrough work.

In the Nineties, Newman earned an Emmy and several more Grammys for work on films like Toy Story, James and the Giant Peach, Bug's Life and Toy Story 2. Newman also tickled his adult audience with his darkly hilarious take on Faust. The four-CD compilation: Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman and Bad Love followed, and in 2002, Newman won his first Oscar for Best Original Song for Monsters Inc. He has also earned 5 Grammy awards and 2 Emmy awards throughout his career.

The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. I (2003), his first effort for Nonesuch, introduces powerful new solo versions of early classics and recent gems alike. The eighteen songs are an intimate and powerful reminder of the enduring work that Newman has established. In 2008 he released Harps and Angels; for Nonesuch records. His first collection of new songs since 2009's Bad Love.

Most recently, Newman wrote the songs and score for Disney's The Princess and the Frog as well as Toy Story 3. He has earned two more Academy Award nominations(19 total) in the Best Original Song category for Almost There and Down In New Orleans.

On June 2nd 2010 Newman received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

More Info / Buy Tickets

Angry Angry Grrrls: Vanity Theft @ The Knitting Factory

I’m a die-heart feminist. That’s why I was surprised by how distasteful the Vanity Theft show was on February 2.

Ice Cube @ The Boulder Theatre | 2/26/11

As his popularity continues to grow through movies and television, Ice Cube remains committed to the foundation of his career: Hip-Hop music. Quick to emphasize that he is and always will be a B-Boy, dedicated to writing vivid rhymes, delivering stellar stage performances and making dope hip-hop records. I Am The West is poised to be another high point in that mission. Very few can make as bold a statement as I Am The West and even fewer can dispute Ice Cube's right to stake the claim. His hall of fame resume alone would be enough to own the title, but this album is an opportunity to raise the bar even higher.

The hallmark of Ice Cube's best known work is ever present on I Am The West: Lyrics from a realistic perspective, giving voice to those usually ignored or shunned by the power base, rhymes that make you think and songs that set the party off. All supported with outstanding production that makes your head nod. And Ice Cube accomplishes this while thoroughly representing his unwavering commitment to the west coast hip-hop movement that he helped to start over twenty years ago. I Am The West is a celebration of summertime on the west coast. So it's only right to introduce the album with the first single "I Rep That West." A song on which Ice Cube makes it very clear where he stands in hip-hop. An up tempo record, that's hard enough for the hard core, "I Rep That West" boasts an infectious hook that knows no geographic or demographic boundaries, saturating everyone from the club and radio DJ to those of us singing along in the car. "I Rep That west" is one of several songs on the album that will gain the attention of music fans around the globe. And maybe that's why Ice Cube says he's "too west coast for the west coast."

More Info / Buy Tickets

"Triple Ripple," An Experimental Play With The Bleak Contrasts Between Jazz And Rock

Progressive Jazz Fusion artist Anders Helmerson has released the title track, "Triple Ripple" from his third and groundbreaking new CD, available for purchase at iTunes.

"Triple Ripple" is no ordinary song according to Helmerson. As well as being the main track from the album, "Triple Ripple" is a combination of three songs all merged into one. "This particular track has more of a rock flavor to it than any other on the CD. It's a form of experimental play with the bleak contrasts between jazz and rock. The key was striking a balance between the two. The first part is an overture that builds up to a dramatic crescendo, while the second part transitions into the part three, which is the main theme of the song. Part three starts with a Rush inspired hard rock type of melody that gives the song a solid spine as more jazzy parts begin to evolve, and it continues to toggle between Jazz and rock."

He continued, "Triple Ripple" is a demonstration of the world's most spectacular drummer Marco Minneman and his ability to make it all sounds easy and fluent. But the fact is, what he is doing here, nobody else could do. Marco was recently touted to be the natural replacement for Mike Portnoy in Dream Theatre, but I am keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that he'll choose to stay with me."

The Anders Electric Jazz Rock sound delivers an eleven minute expansion piece with Triple Ripple, which has majestic classic synth sounds. The mix is bright and the bell tones have a serious tone. The first section features two ideas that show the flexibility of the band with harmony and time figures. The breakdown features all keys playing in triple meter with synth choral textures and flickering arpeggiated lines. The composition sets up for an extensive analog synth solo. The bass and the drums are all exceptional and keep up with an exhaustive range of breakdowns and accented hits throughout. This is serious electronic jazz rock!

"Helmerson lets his creativity take him to new heights which ultimately resulted in him creating his own genre of music which he dubs Progressive Fusion; a combination of long songs with virtuosos performed in complicated time signatures, elaborate melodies and harmonies that are built on pentatonic scales that are neither major nor minor. This musical mastermind fuses jazz and rock to create a sound that amazes listeners with the power of superior technique and great composing." MusicDish

Born in Sweden in February 1959, Anders Helmerson has had a life-long love affair with music. In the 1970's, Helmerson played in various short-lived bands and studied classical music in Denmark and Sweden, all the while becoming more and more interested in synthesizers and progressive rock. Helmerson completed his debut album, "The End of Illusion," in 1981. The album's lack of success caused him to turn his back on music for the next several years. He worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen, a GP in Norway and a ship's doctor on a cruise-ship, eventually discovering Rio de Janeiro, the catalyst for his return to music. In early 2002, Helmerson release his second album, "Fields Of Inertia" on the Brazilian label, Som Interior Productions.

The Fervor Release New Album on MMJ Frontman Yim Yames' Label

Louisville, Kentucky quartet The Fervor have teamed up with My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames to release their ethereal new full-length Arise, Great Warrior on his label, Removador Recordings & Solutions. The album is out now digitally along with a CD version available through SonaBLASTand LP from Karate Body. With its combination of mysterious yet timeless lyrics and brooding arrangements, Arise is a poignant and gripping ride from start to finish.

The first words on the record uttered by frontwoman Natalie Felker are “Arise, great warrior / inside you’re a destroyer / by the time we see the sun / you’re already on the run.” Delivered in her husky voice with its distinct and seductive tone, she paints a mystical, dreamlike picture. Alongside Natalie’s radiant vocals and shimmering keys, guitarist Ben Felker, bassist Michael Campbell and drummer Mat Herron create hypnotic atmospheres in each song that stomp and crash toward epic climaxes.

Arise was produced by Charles Gonzalez, who recorded with the band in San Francisco, where they experienced a rebirth of sorts. Rather than aiming for note-for-note perfection, the group strived to capture an enrapturing performance of each song. The Fervor then headed back to Louisville to mix the album with engineer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Wax Fang). By keeping the focus on the power of what the four band members can do together in a room, the result is an album fueled by an energy that feels potent and organic around every corner. All the exciting twists and turns build up to an ultimate catharsis as the haunting final notes of “Let’s Get Loaded” gently ring out.

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Tour Dates:

02/13:  Louisville, KY @ Derby City Espresso (Duo Show/No Kill Louisville Benefit)

02/21: Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s

02/23: Yellow Springs, OH @ 91.3 WYSO

02/23: Dayton, OH @ South Park Tavern

03/16-20: Austin, TX @ SXSW

04/07: St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway

04/08: Kansas City, MO @ News Room

04/09: Belleville, IL @ Blue Agave

04/11: Chicago, IL @ Darkroom Bar

04/12: Columbus, OH @ Treehouse

04/13: Pittsburgh, PA @ Howler’s Coyote Café

04/14: Charlottesville, VA @ Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar

04/16: Mount Pleasant, SC @ Village Tavern

04/19: Savannah, GA @ Sentient Bean

04/20: Atlanta, GA @ Highland Inn Ballroom