recording

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

Little Bird From Kasey Chambers Out Today!

Sugar Hill Records is excited to announce the release of Little Bird from one of Australia’s most accomplished singer-songwriters, Kasey Chambers.  The 14 song collection – her first solo project in four years - is the result of an outpouring of new material from Kasey written within a hectic two week period in February of 2010, and Chambers is confident in calling Little Bird the best recording of her career.

Recorded a month later in brother Nash’s Foggy Mountain Studio Little Bird features an all-star band that Kasey dubs The Millionaires; John Watson on drums, Jeff McCormack on bass, Shane Nicholson, Jim Mogine (Midnight Oil) and Kasey’s dad Bill Chambers playing all manner of guitars and stringed instruments.  Guest vocalists Missy Higgins, Camille Te Nahu, Patty Griffin and more accompany Kasey on various tracks.

“These guys are some of my favorite musicians and singers, including the backbone of my touring band, so there is a familiarity and intuitive understanding of where this music should go,” says Kasey. Nothing in the recording process sounds forced or labored; every track sounds fresh, positive, exciting. "When the songs are that fresh, there’s something magical about taking them into the studio and bringing them to life, right then and there."

The new album, which is already certified Gold in Australia, represents a diverse spread of musical styles from Kasey’s glittering career, which has reaped multiple ARIA and APRA awards, Number One hits and multi-platinum sales in Australia and around the world.

Despite the upbeat and optimistic vibe of Little Bird, Kasey notes that it also reflects on a young woman’s insecurities.  “I started remembering how I felt when I wrote “Not Pretty Enough” and comparing it to how I feel now. I was wondering how that sentiment would come out if I revisited it,” says Kasey. “I still have moments like that, of feeling insecure and unsure, but I feel differently about that now. I feel stronger and more powerful, not willing to compromise so much.  This record is like the strong, secure version of ‘Not Pretty Enough’.”

Kasey excitedly rates Little Bird as the best recording of her career. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited by a bunch of songs. They all came out completely differently. I was back in that same frame of mind that I had for the early albums. And it made me feel so confident. I was so absolutely in love with all these songs, I could not wait to make them come to life.”

Classic blues singer Alberta Hunter reissued on RockBeat Records

It’s difficult to decide which was the most remarkable facet of pioneering blues chanteuse Alberta Hunter’s incredible career. Was it her role in the vanguard of the “classic blues” movement of the early 1920s, when she recorded prolifically for Paramount and other labels during the industry’s first foray into the idiom? Her entertainment of grateful U.S. troops during not one war, but two? Or her heartwarming late 1970s/early 1980s comeback on the New York cabaret circuit after more than two decades away from singing professionally, when she was well into her 80s? One fact is inescapable: when she died on October 17, 1984 in New York at age 89, Hunter was a genuine star once more.

In 1974, the singer had largely retired from music due to health concerns. But musical pursuits called once again when club owner Barney Josephson invited her to star for six weeks at the Cookery, his hip Greenwich Village cabaret, in October 1977. The live recording of a subsequent 1981 Cookery performance resulted in Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery, which will be released on both CD and 180-gram vinyl August 30, 2011 on RockBeat Records, a new label focused on quality reissues and new recordings by heritage artists, distributed by eOne Distribution. Musicologist Bill Dahl contributed liner notes. (The title was previously available on CD, but has been re-mastered and will now be available on CD and 180-gram vinyl for the first time.)

Born on April 1, 1895 in Memphis, Hunter was weaned on W.C. Handy’s pioneering blues. By 16 she was in Chicago in the midst of a celebrated five-year residence at the city’s Dreamland club, singing in front of King Oliver & His Creole Jazz Band with Louis Armstrong. Hunter made her recording debut in 1921 for Black Swan Records, one of the first black-owned labels, with “How Long, Sweet Daddy, How Long” b/w “Bring Back the Joys.” From there she went to Paramount Records, cutting half a dozen sides including the original “Down Hearted Blues,” which she wrote with piano accompanist Lovie Austin and forcefully revisited on the 1981 live album.  (Bessie Smith, the immortal Empress of the Blues, ended up scoring a bigger hit with the song in 1923.) Hunter continued to record prolifically for Paramount, backed by Fletcher Henderson and, on 1923’s “Stingaree Blues,” Fats Waller.

Having conquered Chicago, Hunter moved to New York in 1923. She recorded for Gennett, OKeh, RCA Victor and Columbia. During this time she ventured to jazz-obsessed France in 1927, where she co-starred with Paul Robeson in a production of Showboat and recorded into the ’30s for HMV. When she returned to the U.S., she recorded for ARC, Decca and Bluebird.  She hosted a radio program in the ’30s and Broadway welcomed her back in 1939, when she shared the stage with Ethel Waters in Mamba’s Daughters. When World War II broke out, Hunter boldly served her country in the USO, entertaining troops across the globe. She continued into the Korean conflict.

There were scattered post-war sessions. But when her beloved mother died in 1954 and after starring in a Broadway flop, Hunter bowed out of performing to train as a nurse. Upon graduation in 1957 at age 62 — an age at which many folks contemplate retirement — she began a new career at a New York hospital. Other than recording a couple of Chris Albertson-produced LPs cut two weeks apart in 1961 (Songs We Taught Your Mother, a set for Prestige Bluesville also featuring Victoria Spivey and Lucille Hegamin) and Chicago: The Living Legends for Riverside, she kept a determinedly low profile for more than two decades — afraid the hospital would learn how far past mandatory retirement age she was and let her go.

In 1974, Hunter was forced out of her job by hospital regulations. It was October 1977 when Cookery’s Josephson invited her to headline his room. Next, legendary A&R man John Hammond cut an album’s worth of her classics (with a few new ones) for the Columbia soundtrack of director Alan Rudolph’s 1978 film Remember My Name. Dick Cavett and Mike Douglas invited her to brighten their TV talkfests, 60 Minutes profiled her, and Columbia recorded three more albums.

The live recordings that form Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery are from one of her many triumphant evenings at the club. Her sense of swing and theatricality remained impeccable, with longtime pianist and arranger Gerald Cook and sturdy upright bassist Jimmy Lewis providing sterling accompaniment. Hunter glided through saucy double-entendre-loaded numbers (“Handy Man,” “Two-Fisted Workin’ Man”), time-honored standards (a rip-roaring “I Got Rhythm,” the tender “Georgia On My Mind”), and the touching ballads “The Love I Have From You” (from Remember My Name) and “You’re Welcome To Come Back Home.”

Zee Avi Announces Sophmore Album "Ghostbird"

25-year-old Malaysian singer songwriter Zee Avi announces the release of her sophomore album Ghostbird through Brushfire and Monotone Records on August 23. Avi took her fresh batch of tunes to Brushfire Records’ Solar Powered Plastic Plant studios and got down to business with producer Mario Caldato, Jr., best known for his work with the Beastie Boys and Brazilian artists like Bebel Gilberto.
Ghostbird (the literal translation for owl in Avi’s native language) was born in her Brooklyn kitchen last summer; however it was a trip to the Florida Everglades where Avi found endless inspiration and wrote the album’s first single, “The Book of Morris Johnson,” an upbeat song inspired by the Floridian folk artist.
A video preview of the recording of the album featuring a glimpse of three new songs: “The Book of Morris Johnson,” “Swell Window,” and “31 Days in June” can be found at www.zeeavi.com/ghostbird
In the last two years since Avi’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut, Zee Avi (a 2009 Associated Press Top 10 album) her very free spirit has wandered from major music festivals (Outside Lands, Bonnaroo) and concert venues across the country to her homeland of Sarawak, Borneo, where she recently picked up an International Youth Icon Award.
After the album arrives this summer Avi is itching to get back on tour and show off her live skills. "I want people to feel like they're being hugged," she says of the soothingly beautiful Ghostbird.
Tour dates to be announced.

Concord Original Jazz announces six new reissues

Concord Music Group will release six new titles in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series on June 14, 2011. Enhanced by 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, generous helpings of bonus tracks (many of them previously unreleased), and new liner notes that provide historical and technical context, the series showcases some of the most pivotal recordings of the past several decades by artists whose influences on the jazz tradition is beyond measure.

The six new titles in the series are:

  • Chet Baker: In New York
  • Ornette Coleman: Something Else!!!
  • Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Alone in San Francisco
  • Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans: Know What I Mean?
  • Bill Evans Trio: Explorations
  • Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass: Easy Living


“These six releases bring us to 20 titles altogether since the launch of the series in March 2010,” says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Catalog and Jazz A&R at Concord Music Group and producer of the series. “Each occupies an important place in any quality jazz collection.”

Chet Baker: In New York

Recorded in September 1958 for Riverside, Chet Baker’s In New York features saxophonist Johnny Griffin, pianist Al Haig, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. In addition to the half-dozen tracks from the original album, the reissue includes a bonus seventh track — “Soft Winds,” a blues composition written by Benny Goodman and Fletcher Henderson.

The recording provides a glimpse of the trumpeter “coming off a run of popularity, critical praise, and commercial success the likes of which few musicians have known,” according to the new liner notes by Doug Ramsey. By the late ’50s, Baker had won numerous awards throughout the decade for his instrumental work, and was even regarded as a romantic idol for his singing.

“Baker had been somewhat pigeonholed as a West Coast cool jazz artist,“ says Phillips, “but this recording illustrates that he was right at home playing with New York musicians — who dealt with their own stereotype of being harder edged and more aggressive. On this recording, they all seem to meet effortlessly somewhere in the middle.”

Of the ongoing tug-of-war between Baker’s artistic successes and his personal battles with substance abuse, Ramsey adds: “It will be a long time before Chet’s struggles with his demon are forgotten, but one day when the headlines have finally disappeared, the beauty of his music will still be shimmering in the air.”

Ornette Coleman: Something Else!!!

Recorded at Contemporary’s studios in Los Angeles in February and March 1958, Ornette Coleman’s Something Else!!! features Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Walter Norris on piano, Don Payne on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. The first of two albums that Coleman recorded for Contemporary, Something Else!!! marks the saxophonist’s debut as a leader. “He was a very influential but at times controversial artist,” says Phillips. “Right out of the gate he was doing something that was just so different from what people were used to hearing,” says Phillips.  ”Although structurally-speaking, the music in this recording is based on established song forms, you can hear very clearly that Coleman is starting to break free of the limitations of conventional harmony.”

Neil Tesser writes in his new liner notes that Coleman traced jazz back to its roots to rid the music of its increasingly elaborate harmonic structures and other constraints. “Without the limitations imposed by such harmonic patterns, his band would freely travel into, out of, and between musical keys,” says Tesser. “As Ornette said in the original notes, ‘I think one day music will be a lot freer. The pattern for a tune, for instance, will be forgotten and the tune itself will be the pattern . . .’ When he recorded Something Else!!! that day was still a little ways off. In these performances, you hear him in the last throes of unshackling the past.”

Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Alone in San Francisco

Recorded on Riverside in October 1959, Thelonious Alone in San Francisco was a sequel of sorts to Thelonious Himself, recorded two years earlier. In addition to the album’s 10 original tracks, the reissue includes an alternate take of “There’s Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie.”

“With Thelonious Alone in San Francisco, Monk proved that his earlier success as a solo artist was not a fluke,” says Tesser in his liner notes for the reissue. “And in rejecting all the ‘rules’  for playing without accompaniment — as he’d rejected so many rules before — Monk expanded the entire concept of the solo piano idiom. Without Monk’s recordings as bedrock, it’s hard to imagine similarly intimate (though otherwise quite different) solo albums that would eventually come from Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea or even McCoy Tyner.”

For as unique as Monk’s style was, “he stayed pretty consistently within that style throughout the remainder of his career,” says Phillips. “That’s not to imply that there was any lack of creativity on his part. Within the unique style that he established, there was so much to explore and develop. But he still sounds unmistakably like Thelonious Monk, no matter what chapter of his career you listen to.”

Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans: Know What I Mean?

Know What I Mean? was recorded between January and March 1961, with bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay supporting the saxophonist and pianist. The reissue includes three bonus tracks that are alternate takes of “Who Cares?,” “Toy” (previously unreleased), and “Know What I Mean?”.

“This album takes two artists who were part of the legendary, historic 1958 Miles Davis Sextet and pairs them together,” says Phillips. “The modal approach that Evans was pioneering in the context of that 1958 group reveals itself in some of the material that he and Cannonball are playing on this album.”

Orrin Keepnews, who produced the original recording sessions, writes in his new liner notes for this OJC Remasters reissue, “One of the many advantages of working with a man like Julian Adderley was that he was totally stubborn about pursuing an idea he believed in. And, quite simply, he thoroughly believed in the validity of an album based on his moving very much in a Bill Evans–influenced direction.

In his liner notes to the original recording, Joe Goldberg observes that while not all of the selections are ballads, an “aura of relaxation” permeates the recording. “In this instance it can be recognized as simply a matter of four highly skilled artists away from their usual tasks and delighting in one another’s musical company,” he says. “Nothing more really need be said about the results of their meeting than that the feeling of delight comes through.”

Bill Evans Trio: Explorations

Recorded in New York in February 1961 for Riverside, Explorations was the last album this version of the Evans trio would make in a recording studio. Bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian also appear on Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby — both live recordings, released later in 1961 — but LaFaro died in a car accident shortly after the live sessions. This reissue features four bonus tracks, including previously unreleased alternate takes of “How Deep Is the Ocean?” and “I Wish I Knew.”

“Evans’ sound and approach was his own by ’61,” says Ashley Kahn in his new liner notes. “His piano style had fully matured, as had the interplay of the trio . . . Upon entering Bell Sound’s studio on February 2, 1961, producer Orrin Keepnews immediately noted the three had ‘made giant strides towards the goal of becoming a three-voice unit rather than a piano player and his accompanists.’”

What’s more, the disparity of styles between the unreleased alternate takes and their counterparts that made the final cut on the original record “illustrates that jazz masters like these are real improvisers,” says Phillips, “and no two takes are ever going to sound the same — because no two moments in jazz are ever the same.”

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass: Easy Living

Recorded in Los Angeles in 1983 and 1986, Easy Living was one of a series of Ella Fitzgerald–Joe Pass collaborations on Pablo throughout the ’80s. In addition to the original album’s 15 tracks, the reissue also includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks — alternate takes of “Don’t Be that Way” and “Love for Sale.”

Easy Living and the other collaborations between these two veterans “worked on many levels,” says Tad Hershorn in his liner notes for the reissue. “As her voice aged and deepened, Fitzgerald discovered partial remedies in her phrasing, choices of keys and the pleasing maturity that now enveloped her still youthful voice. Pass was the perfect foil to display her diminishing resources to their best and most emotive advantage. Ella was known to incessantly toy with songs in her restless artistic striving, so one can perceive the music she made with Pass as a direct extension of her creative method. The leanness of their music underscores that even this late in her career, Ella Fitzgerald retained her bonafides as a singer for whom words did matter: not every song was merely a vehicle for her to bat notes out of the park. The allure was in the quiet majestic intimacy that focused an audience’s attention on full absorption of the musings of joy, wistfulness, and melody.”

The level of confidence with which each of these two musicians performs on this recording is hard to miss.  “The fact that Ella could walk into the studio with a bunch of lead sheets,” says Phillips, “and they could do a little rehearsal on the spot, figure out the best key for her, and he could just play it in any key behind her — all of that takes some phenomenal musicianship . . . They have a very conversational, relaxed sensibility about them, and both musicians seem very much at ease performing together and recording together in the studio.”

Connie Smith's Long Long Of Heartaches | Out 8/23

New recordings by the country music legend Connie Smith, long acclaimed as one of the greatest singers in the history of the genre have been as rare as the voice and knowing singing she brings to them.  Long Line of Heartaches, set for release on August 23rd, her first full album of new material since 1996 (and only her second since 1978) is an event in the making. That’s not just for the rarity, or because her legions of fans have so long awaited this news, but because in its range of undiluted traditional country moods, themes, rhythms and sound, this new Sugar Hill release is simply, unmistakably a new Connie Smith masterpiece, offering the pleasures of the very best that saw release during her remarkable run of recordings during the 1960s and‘70s.

“And that,” she says. “is exactly what I wanted to accomplish.  I’ve had people ask me what this album was going to be like, since it’s been a long time since they’ve heard me on record, but my musical tastes have remained the same. I wanted this to be traditional country, and it is.”

“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this recording, and it’s a personal reason, is that I have such a deep love for traditional country music. We can talk about the music slipping away, or we can do something about it.  The only way I know to do something about it is to keep singing what I’ve always loved.”

The album’s dozen new tracks, potent songs of heartache, joy, and spirit recorded at Nashville’s celebrated RCA Victor Studio B, where Connie recorded most of her chart-topping hits in her first years as a recording artist, include five new traditional country songs co-written by Connie and husband Marty Stuart, the project’s producer. Memorable songs come from long favored Smith sources such as icons Harlan Howard, Foster & Rice, Kostas, Johnny Russell and Smith’s longtime collaborator Dallas Frazier.  Frazier’s song “A Heart Like You” becomes the 69th Frazier composition that Smith has recorded – breaking his 30 years of songwriting silence, an event within itself.

Having become an overnight country sensation in 1964 when her first single, “Once a Day”, became a number one hit, the first time a female country singer’s debut single accomplished that, Connie Smith enjoyed a string of hits in the following years that have become country standards, including “Ain’t Had No Lovin’”, “Just One Time”, “Run Away Little Tears” “I never Once Stopped Loving You” and “The Hurtin’s All Over”.  She became a star whose iconic voice has influenced other singers for decades. She has recorded a string of 53 albums notable for their quality and range.

To this legacy she now adds Long Line of Heartaches, featuring her band The Sundowners and, for the first time, her three daughters, Julie, Jeanne and Jodi who add striking family harmonies on the contemporary hymn “Take My Hand.”

“I still love to sing as much as I ever did.  I could sing at the kitchen sink and I’d be happy. I feel it is my destiny to sing.”  Country music fans everywhere should rejoice in the fact that we get to be a part of that destiny.

Band Of Skulls Announce Select U.S. Dates

Southhampton, UK trio Band of Skulls are taking some time out from recording their second album to play select tour dates in the U.S. Currently recording at Rockfield Studios in Wales, the band will bring the driving guitar force and Wall of Sound harmonies of their live shows back to the states to play four shows in California before heading to Manchester, TN for their Thursday night slot at the Bonnaroo festival. They will be performing new songs at these shows along with favorites from their debut album 'Baby, Darling, Dollface, Honey.'

After spending two years touring in support of their debut album which was universally embraced by the U.S. press including SPIN (Best of Coachella), Rolling Stone (Best of SXSW) and Entertainment Weekly (Your Next Favorite Band) and culminated with a sold-out show at the Forum in London in late 2010, the band retreated to a studio in Norfolk UK to begin writing the follow-up. They returned to their home studio in Southampton to start the recording which they are now completing in Wales. The album will be mixed by Nick Launay (Grinderman, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire) and is scheduled for release in 2012. The album will be preceded by a single and EP released in late 2011.

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BAND OF SKULLS U.S. TOUR DATES:

June 4, Santa Barbara, CA @ Velvet Jones

June 5, San Diego, CA @ Independence Jam w/ Cold War Kids, Lykke Li, Peter, Bjorn & John

June 6, Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater (SOLD OUT)

June 7, Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater (SOLD OUT)
June 9, Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo in THAT TENT 8:30pm - 9:30pm

Frank Sinatra's inaugural Reprise album reissued on Concord

Concord Records marks the 50th anniversary of a pivotal transition in Frank Sinatra’s career with a digitally remastered version of Ring-A-Ding Ding. Under license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), the album is set for release on June 7, 2011.

By the end of the 1950s, Sinatra had spent nearly ten years on Capitol, where he’d made some outstanding recordings. But at the dawn of a new decade, he was eager to establish a creative environment of his own making — one that would open up new territory to explore and take him a step closer to realizing his unique creative vision.

The result was the establishment of Reprise, his own record label and his primary base of operations for the remainder of his career. His initial recording on the new label was Ring-A-Ding Ding, a 1961 album that not only captured Sinatra at the top of his game with a self-confident swagger, but — with the help of songwriters like Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen, and arrangements by Johnny Mandel — also captured the optimistic tenor of the period.

In addition to the 12 songs from the original recording, the 50th anniversary reissue also features two bonus tracks — “Zing! Went The Strings of My Heart” and a previously unreleased version of “Have You Met Miss Jones?” The packaging also includes extensive new liner notes by Frank Sinatra Jr., who shares personal memories of his father during the founding of Reprise and the making of the album as well as annotations and insights for each track.

“As the new decade began, like Midas, everything Sinatra touched turned to gold,” says Frank Jr. “His movies were box office blockbusters, his records were gold, his concerts were standing room only, and with the help of his tireless efforts, he had been very instrumental in helping his friend John F. Kennedy become the 35th President of the United States. It was no wonder that for Frank Sinatra, the period of time in which he was living could only be referred to as ‘Ring-A-Ding Ding.’ The music in this premier Reprise recording reflected that state of mind in every note.”


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TRACK LIST
Ring-A-Ding Ding
Let’s Fall in Love
Be Careful, It’s My Heart
A Foggy Day
A Fine Romance
In The Still of the Night
The Coffee Song
When I Take My Sugar to Tea
Let’s Face the Music and Dance
You’d Be So Easy To Love
You and the Night and the Music
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

BONUS TRACKS:
Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart

National Jazz Museum in Harlem May 16 - May 22, 2011

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

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Tito Puente Month: Presented by Joe Conzo and special guests

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

The Jazz Years

The 60’s saw Puente fully immersed in his passion to combine Jazz and Latin music. A passion thatwas fueled by his mentors Machito and “Hall of Famer” Mario Bauza. It had been his belief that this “marriage” could become a powerful force in music, thereby enhancing the musical experience of the listener and dancer.

He teamed up with bandleader and trombonist Buddy Morrow and began a series of recording sessions where both of them performed with two full and completely different orchestras. The project culminated in the LP recording “Revolving Bandstand” under the RCA label.

With this recording, Latin Jazz received a shot in the arm. It would have a direct affect on some of the younger musicians that would be making a name for themselves in the years to come, notably, Ray Barretto, who first played with Puente in “Dance Mania” and also recorded on the “Revolving Bandstand” sessions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Harlem Speaks

Bennie Wallace, Saxophonist

6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace made waves throughout the jazz world in the late 1970's with his debut recording, The Fourteen Bar Blues. Thereafter, with an unflagging respect and affection for classic jazz, he repeatedly represented his own progressive take on the music. His talent for composing and arranging music attracted the attention of Hollywood moviemakers in the late 1980's, which led him to spend nearly a decade in California composing and directing film soundtracks. Wallace's music has developed a more lyrical sense, yet his rhythms retained an authentic style that belonged uniquely to Wallace, according to critics. Winner of Germany's Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the jazz Grammy equivalent, and a five-time winner of the Down Beat magazine award for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, the full impact of Wallace's talent remained yet to unfold into the new century.

Born Bennie Lee Wallace Jr. on November 18, 1946, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wallace began playing clarinet in his youth from the age of 12 when a music teacher at his school started a jazz band and taught the group about great jazz musicians like Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. Later, Wallace played in the high school band and added tenor saxophone to his teenage repertoire. Despite his youth, he learned his way around the after-hour jazz clubs even while he was still in high school in Chattanooga. During his late-night excursions, Wallace participated in jam sessions, playing bebop and blues most frequently. He went on to study music at the University of Tennessee and received a bachelor's degree in clarinet studies in 1968. After college during the mid 1970's, he did some composing for a German radio orchestra although his first love was jazz saxophone. Even during a stint in Hollywood during the late 1980s and into the 1990's, Wallace maintai ned to interviewer Zan Stewart of the Los Angeles Times that his horn remained the focal point of his music and of his life.

After his arrival in New York from Tennessee, Wallace spent 1973 studying the old jazz masters and their music to discover the essence of each, focusing heavily on Johnny Hodges and Coleman Hawkins. Yet despite his in-depth study of historical jazz, Wallace disliked repertory bands and eschewed revivalist groups equally. He remained committed to personal definition in everything that he performed. It became evident that Wallace moved in a direction different from the bandwagon that typified so many of his contemporaries, with his styles rooted more closely in the work of Coleman Hawkins than with John Coltrane. In 1985, Wallace signed with Blue Note Records. His debut album for that label, entitled Twilight Time, remained a favorite for many years

In 1991, in an unanticipated career shift, Wallace moved his residence to Pacific Palisades in Southern California to be near the Hollywood film industry as he became involved in composing for films. The opportunity came as a result of his 1985 Blue Note release, Twilight Time, which caught the ear of filmmaker Ron Shelton. Shelton requested that Wallace contribute to the soundtrack for the late-1980's film Bull Durham. Wallace obliged with "Love Ain't No Triple Play," written expressly for that movie. Also heard on the Bull Durham soundtrack was a reprise of Wallace's arrangement of "Try a Little Tenderness." Wallace went on to score the movie Blaze and served as musical director the film White Men Can't Jump.

During this time, Wallace worked extensively with pianist Tommy Flanagan in creating film music. Additionally, Wallace worked behind the scenes as a docent of pianist Jimmy Rowles after Wallace, having settled in California, contacted Rowles completely without introduction. Regardless, a comfortable relationship bloomed between the two, as Rowles mentored Wallace not only in the mechanics of playing the piano, but also in the fine points of harmony. In 1993, Wallace released The Old Songs, an album which represented a culmination of the wisdom and inspiration that he derived from Rowles. He’s now back on the East Coast, living with his wife in Connecticut.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Harlem in the Himalayas

Colin Vallon Trio

7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 
For tickets: RMA Box Office or call 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Colin Vallon, piano
Patrice Moret, double-bass
Samuel Rohrer, drums

Get an insight into the international sounds of cutting edge jazz with the music of this band, which belongs among the most remarkable and fascinating which the Swiss scene has to offer. The 29-year-old Colin Vallon has everything an extraordinary musician needs: brilliant technique, personal expression, a sense for perfect timing and a very individual, musical language which he creates through the unusual sounds from his prepared piano. Together with bassist Patrice Moret and drummer Samuel Rohrer, he has developed an exciting multiple stylistics based on modern jazz, but from which it steps out into all directions possible. The trio lives out its dramaturgically excellent compositions in sensitive interplay.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Panels
A Tito Puente Celebration
12:00 – 4:00pm

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

Join us for an afternoon with the music of the King of Timbales, Tito Puente.

El Rey de Timbales. Tito Puente more than earned first place among modern Latin jazz musicians, working continuously from 1937 to 2000, recording over 100 albums.

Puente started his professional career as a drummer in Noro Morales’ orchestra. He played briefly with Machito’s Afro-Cubans before being drafted into the U.S. Navy, where he played in a band led by famed swing band leader, Charlie Barnet. After his discharge, Puente took advantage of the G.I. Bill to study at the Juilliard School of Music, while working with a variety of Latin bands in New York.

Puente quickly became known as a sizzling arranger. Promoter Federico Pagani hired Puente after hearing him jamming with a group of players from Pupi Campo's band, and dubbed them the Picadilly Boys. Puente subsequently moved to Tico Records and changed the group's name to Tito Puente and his Orchestra. Through numerous changes in labels and musicians, Puente has been in front of his group ever since.

Puente's fame skyrocketed when promoter Max Hyman bought the Palladium dance hall and opened it as a nightclub just as the craze for dancing the mambo and cha-cha hit in the early 1950's. He recalled nearly 50 years later:

“It was the explosion of dance. Remember, the Palladium was a big dance hall. I've always maintained that without a dance the music cannot be popular. People became aware of a new dance--the Mambo--it was ‘in’ to learn to dance the Mambo no matter what part of society you came from. And so here was a place, the Palladium, where everybody could come to dance or learn the Mambo. Dance studios sent their students to the Palladium, where they could learn and see great dancers—ballet stars, Broadway stars, expert Mambo dancers—all in one place. And I geared my music to these dancers.”

Puente rode the wave on Tico, then switched to RCA for what some consider his best albums, including Top Percussion, Dance Mania, his top-seller, and Mucho Puente. In the early 1960's, he moved from cha-chas and mambos to the new pachanga style and rejoined Tico to record Pachanga Con Puente. His 1962 descarga (Latin jam) album, El Rey Bravo debuted Puente's composition, "Oye Como Va," which later became a huge pop hit for Carlos Santana. "Every time he plays 'Oye Como Va,' I get a nice royalty check," Puente said.

Puente suffered through the boogaloo craze ("Boogaloo meant nothing to me. It stunk.") and carried on into the rise of salsa in the early 1970's. He recorded several albums in collaboration with Celia Cruz, the "Queen of Salsa." In the early 1980's, he moved into more traditional Latin jazz for the Concord label, earning a Grammy award for Tito Puente and His Latin Ensemble on Broadway. Although he was criticized for leaning on a clichéd style in his performances and material, Puente rallied again in 1991 to capitalize on the popularity of Oscar Hijuelos' novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love with the album, The Mambo King: 100th Album. It was actually something like his 112th, but who was counting at that point? Ever a trend-rider, Puente made his prime-time television debut in 1995 on an episode of "The Simpsons."

In 1997 Puente recorded 50 Years of Swing, a compilation of hits that celebrate his fifty years in the Latin music industry, and in 1999, he won his fifth Grammy for Best Latin Performance for his CD, Mambo Birdland. In the late 1990's, he was designated as a "Legend" by the Hispanic Hall of Fame, inducted to the Jazz Hall of Fame, received a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, and received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award. He suffered a heart attack soon after his last public appearance, in April 2000, with the Puerto Rico Symphonic Orchestra at the "Centro de Bellas Artes" in Puerto Rico.

Luther Russell Announces New Double LP

Luther Russell is set to release his fifth LP, a double-length entitled The Invisible Audience, on July 12th on Ungawa Records. It's a wildly ambitious record from the multi-talented singer-songwriter/producer, which he calls "a glimpse into the jukebox of my psyche." The twenty-five tracks on this epic record were culled from months and months of recording "whenever I could get into my eight-track studio or on a four-track cassette to get an idea down." The album's narrative flow seems to run the gamut of emotions from regret, betrayal and loss to humor, nostalgia and hope. His last release, 2007's Repair (produced by Ethan Johns) was a ragged, rootsy pop record full of rich, sometimes bouncy melodies which belied their darker subject matter, namely that of his then-fresh divorce. The album won him quite a bit of acclaim but nonetheless failed to break him to a wider audience. Since then he concentrated on the production side of things, working with a wide array of artists, including Noah & The Whale, Laura Marling, Sarabeth Tucek, Holly Miranda, Richmond Fontaine, Sean Lennon and Fernando, to name a few.

It was during this industrious period that Luther would hit the recording studio on his own whenever time permitted "to capture some kind of feeling before it slipped away" or for other projects like "the odd failed soundtrack that never was." Being a multi-instrumentalist (Luther has lent his talents to many other artists on drums, guitar, bass, keys, etc.) helped to get many songs recorded with no time to waste. For instance, "Traces," a track evoking Slim Chance-era Ronnie Lane, was done "pretty much in one day", recalls Russell. Still, he did enlist help from a few close musical allies to help flesh out harmony-laden blasts like "Everything You Do" and "Tomorrow's Papers", as well as the psychedelic trance-rock of "Motorbike". In fact, on the elegiac "In This Time," members of his old band The Freewheelers popped by to help with the feel of the track. "I just had so many different types of songs coming out of me over the past few years that for once I wanted to intertwine as many as I could, regardless of style or genre, to try and paint a more complete picture of who I am as an artist. This would be my chance because I could take my time and do it until it was done--whenever the hell that would be".

Turns out it wouldn't be for roughly five years, as Luther wouldn't finally compile the songs until he was able to listen to many different sequences on the often snail-paced subway rides between Manhattan and Brooklyn where he had relocated after several years in Los Angeles. "I just began to hit upon the fact that all of the instrumental tracks that I had accrued could provide little 'smoke breaks' for the listener, so to speak". Inspired by the sprawling double-albums of his youth, such as Husker Du's Zen Arcade, Game Theory's Lolita Nation and Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, he began to see the songs woven together in a longer, more colorful tapestry. "I wanted to make a record that someone could literally get lost in...every time you'd drop the needle you'd be somewhere new. It would be like a friend that was always around, but each time you get together something has changed a little, just like in life". Invariably the album would wind up consisting of some darker pathways, to which Luther attributes more than a few harrowing experiences, such as the sudden passing of two of his "very best friends" and a horrible accident where he nearly lost use of his right hand. "A period of intense darkness seemed to settle over me after the recording of my last record. Moving to New York was definitely an 'escape' of sorts, but the kind of loss I experienced over the past few years one can never quite shake, I think".

It's these more contemplative stretches of musical highway that are found in songs such as "A World Unknown," a stripped-down blues lament concerning "various frightened glimpses into one's own mortality" and "1st & Main," a spidery concoction regarding a certain sojourn through downtown L.A. "which I'd rather not discuss", Russell broods. Livelier tracks include the uproarious "Long Lost Friend," something of a sonic shotgun-wedding between the Faces and Nilsson, juxtaposed with lyrics about "literally having fuck-all", and "Ain't Frightening Me," a dervish of acid words and zig-zag melody influenced by the proto-power-pop of Nick Lowe and Dwight Twilley. The font of mix-and-match songcraft throughout the record can also be attributed to Luther's background, which includes a grandfather and great-uncle, each of whom wrote several Tin Pan Alley standards. It's this family history which he pays tribute to on instrumentals such as the ragtime-y "109th & Madison" (named for the intersection in Harlem where his grandmother grew up) and "Still Life Radio," the old Broadway-style opener which evokes an instant nostalgia even before the expansive record has begun to rev-up (with the grinding Sidekick Reverb).

As to the inevitable head-scratching regarding the sheer length of the record, Luther takes it in stride. "I fully get and understand that many people will ask 'why so long' and generally not have the patience to sit through such an 'endless' listen", he laughs, "but I just had to do it. It just felt right and I thought it would be a true musical experience--that is if you even like what I do in the first place!" This time around, not only has Luther Russell made a record that has many of the hallmarks he is known for (ear-catching melodies, lyrics layered with multiple meanings and adventurous musicianship), but he's managed to make one that contains all of them: the dark folk-blues territory he has covered in past records such as Lowdown World, the bold experimentation found in out-of-nowhere u-turns like Down At Kit's and the melancholy pop of the aforementioned Repair. The Invisible Audience aims to tie up the many loose ends of Luther's recorded output and twist it into something new, yet strangely recognizable. "It's an album made for music fans. People like me. Folks who want to disappear for a while, take a vacation from all the bullshit. All you need is a pair of headphones and an open mind".