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Lapis Luna Vintage Jazz & Classic Swing Music

Lapis Luna brings you the captivating jazz of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s with a classic glittering sound. Standards, enchanting ballads, obscure swing-era gems, and vintage melodies the way they were meant to be heard: vibrant, fun, romantic, and cool.

The Lapis Luna Quartet is in an open run on Thursday evenings from 9pm to Midnight in the Plaza Hotel's Rose Club on Fifth Avenue at Central Park South. There is no cover, but there are marvelous drinks and champagne — of course!

The band is Shawn Aileen Clark on vocals, John Merrill on guitar, Chris Pistorino on bass, and Brian Floody on drums and percussion.

New York Magazine has identified Lapis Luna as an 'Ultimate New York City Wedding' band choice for four years running, and accordingly they were the wedding band for Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and Geoffrey Arrend's (500 Days of Summer) nuptial celebration. Lapis Luna has also recently been featured as the swing band in the ad campaign for Kate Spade's new fragrance 'Twirl.'

In addition to their open engagement at the historic Plaza Hotel, Lapis Luna has other exciting performances in the city this spring, including:

Friday, May 20, 2011, 7:30pm to 9:30pm with the Lapis Luna Six. Smalls, 183 W. 10 Street at Seventh Avenue. A concert at one of the best jazz clubs in New York City. $20 at the door. Begin your evening in the sweetest, swinging way.

For more information on Lapis Luna, including full schedule, song list, and videos, please go to www.lapisluna.com or their Facebook page.

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.”

Trombone Shorty joins forces with Los Amigos Invisibles for 2011 tour

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue join forces with Los Amigos Invisibles for what promises to be a knockout, high-energy tour that celebrates the new year.  Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, the fast-rising 24-year-old funk/rock star, has kicked his already impressive career into high gear worldwide with the release of Backatown, his Verve Forecast debut in April of this year. Los Amigos Invisibles, the Grammy-nominated, Venezuelan-rooted, New York City-based Latin-funk sextet, are sure to be the perfect match to create an explosive mix of musical and cultural styles destined to wring every bit of energy out of their audiences.

The February co-headline tour includes such highlights as a double bill at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore Auditorium, a Grammy eve performance at L.A. Live’s Conga Room and a very special show during Fan Appreciation Week celebrating the new Austin City Limits Live venue at Moody Theatre.

Trombone Shorty, who possesses “the presence of a rock star” (The New York Times) and has built his reputation on “blistering, bold, exuberant and cutting edge” (USA Today) live performances, has a style perfectly complemented by co-headliners Los Amigos Invisibles, who “emanate pure Groove . . . walking bass lines, percolating percussion, scratchy guitar and relentless drums of a band that knows no difference between arty fun and sensual fire” (Rolling Stone).

Both artists have developed into global touring machines, each with a high level of swagger and visibility.

Los Amigos Invisibles were originally discovered by David Byrne in a Manhattan record shop. The multi-dimensional disco funk stars signed with Luaka Bop, moved to New York City from their native Venezuela and soon established themselves in the dance music scene with their elevated grooves.  Los Amigos have appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and played major festivals including Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.  The band won their first career Latin Grammy in 2009 with an acclaimed studio album, Commercial (Nacional Records), which includes guests Dimitri From Paris and Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade. Their new EP, Not So Commercial, features B-sides and alternate versions from the group’s award-winning album’s studio sessions.

For Trombone Shorty and his six-piece touring band, Orleans Avenue, 2010 was a breakout year.  Their live performance schedule caught fire when Backatown debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart, holding the top spot for nine weeks and currently at #3 over six months later. Shorty and the band headlined concerts across North America, including a triumphant set with special guest Mystikal at Jazzfest, a rousing return to Bonnaroo, and a debut performance at the Hollywood Bowl for the Playboy Jazz Festival.  They made their Japanese debut at the acclaimed Fuji Rock Festival, followed by gigs in Rio and Sao Paolo.  After an historic performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival (and breaking the Festival’s all-time CD sales record), Shorty set off on a cross-Europe tour, highlighted by five shows in the coveted opening slot on Jeff Beck’s U.K. tour. This November Shorty and Orleans Avenue support Dave Matthews Band on tour and in December, Troy will serve as curator for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Red Hot + New Orleans, a premiere concert event dedicated to funding AIDS research.

Trombone Shorty’s visibility quotient on national television continues at an explosive pace including recent appearances on the Late Show With David Letterman, NFL Kickoff 2010, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show, Austin City Limits, and HBO’s hit New Orleans drama Tremé. The band’s “Hurricane Season” was heard weekly on MTV’s The Real World, New Orleans as the opening title track and there is much more to come.

Los Amigos Invisibles and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue itinerary:

Mon., Feb. 7  SEATTLE, WA Neumos
Tues., Feb. 8  PORTLAND, OR Dante’s
Wed., Feb. 9  ARCATA, CA Humboldt Brews
Thurs., Feb. 10  SANTA CRUZ, CA The Catalyst
Fri., Feb. 11  SAN FRANCISCO, CA The Fillmore
Sat., Feb. 12  LOS ANGELES, CA Conga Room
Tues., Feb. 15  DENVER, CO Bluebird Theatre
Wed., Feb. 16  BOULDER, CO Fox Theatre
Fri., Feb. 18  AUSTIN, TX Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater
Sat., Feb. 19  HOUSTON, TX House of Blues
Sun., Feb. 20  DALLAS, TX House of Blues
Wed., Feb. 23  ASHEVILLE, NC The Orange Peel
Thurs., Feb 24  ATLANTA, GA Variety Playhouse

Pretty Lights Announces Massive Fall 2010 Tour!

Fresh off the heels of dropping his wildly successful second EP of 2010, Pretty Lights has some great news for his fans- he’ll be taking his visually stunning stage show on the road this fall, performing over 30 shows in the United States between
October and December.

Pretty Lights, the incredibly versatile producer (aka Derek Vincent Smith) self-released Spilling Over Every Side, his second (of three!) EP’s of 2010, on July 29th. In the past two weeks, the EP has been downloaded 50,000 times, proving the self-release model can work- and well, at that!

Pretty Lights performed to a sold-out crowd last weekend at his hometown venue of Red Rocks, and continues to hit the festival circuit for the duration of the summer, before heading out on the road with his new drummer Adam Deitch.

Pretty Lights Tour Dates

August 25 – The Valarium – Knoxville, TN
August 26 – Minglewood Hall – Memphis, TN
August 28 – CAC Warehouse – New Orleans, LA
September 3 – North Coast Music Festival – Chicago, IL
September 4 – Electric Zoo Festival – New York, NY
September 5 – Nocturnal Festival – Austin, TX
September 24 – Powellapalooza – Page, AZ
September 25 – West Beach Festival – Santa Barbara, CA
October 29 – Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
October 30 – Patriot’s Point – Charleston, SC
October 31 – MoogFest 2010 – Asheville, NC
November 2 – Bourbon Street Ballroom – Baltimore, MD
November 3 – Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA
November 4 – The National – Richmond, VA
November 5 – House of Blues – Boston, MA
November 6 – Washington Avenue Armory – Albany, NY
November 7 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
November 8 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
November 10 – Madison Theatre – Covington, KY
November 11 – Boma – Columbus, OH
November 12 – Fillmore – Detroit, MI
November 13 – The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
November 14 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
November 15 – Sokol Auditorium – Omaha, NE
November 19 – Showbox SoDo – Seattle, WA
November 20 – McDonald Theatre – Eugene, OR
November 21 – Arcata Community Center – Arcata, CA
November 23 – Knitting Factory – Reno, NV
November 26 – The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
November 27 – House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
November 28 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA
December 2 – Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM
December 3 – Telluride Conference Center – Telluride, CO
December 4 – Telluride Conference Center – Telluride, CO

Prez Fest 2010 March 14, 2010 Celebrating Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

During his life time, the legendary drummer Art Blakey performed at Saint Peter’s Church, ‘The Jazz Church,” many times. He was well known for his Jazz Messengers “school of jazz” which produced many legendary jazz musicians of today, including Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Terrence Blanchard, Billy Harper, Brian Lynch, Donald Harrison, Reggie Workman, Bobby Watson and many others. All told there were 150 musicians who passed through his “school” over several decades.

For this festival, we are partnering with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, 104 East 126th Street # 2C, New York City which is offering a series of events celebrating the legacy of Art Blakey including Jazz for Curious Listeners on Tuesdays in March from 7 to 8 PM and on Saturday, March 13 from Noon to 4 PM “An In-Depth Look and Listen to Art Blakey” panel.

Prez Fest 2010 Celebrating Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – March 14, 2010 at Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street, NY, NY.  Program begins at 3 PM and includes panel discussion, drum technique demonstration, jazz vespers and a concert.  $20 suggested ticket donation and $10 students donation with student ID.  http://www.saintpeters.org/ 212 935 2200. Take the “E” train to Lexington Avenue or the “6” to 51st Street. Press contacts: Ike Sturm, 212 935 2200 or Lynne Mueller 917 207 4953.

The Jazz Committee at Saint Peter’s Church / Midtown Arts Commons presents:

Prez Fest 2010 – March 14, 2010

Celebrating Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

Saint Peter’s Church “The Jazz Church”

619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street, New York City

Tickets Here

Prez Fest 2010 Celebrating Art Blakey

During his life time, the legendary drummer Art Blakey performed at Saint Peter’s Church, ‘The Jazz Church,” many times. He was well known for his Jazz Messengers “school of jazz” which produced many legendary jazz musicians of today, including Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Lou Donaldson, Terrence Blanchard, Billy Harper, Brian Lynch, Donald Harrison, Reggie Workman, Bobby Watson and others.

The program starts at 3:00 PM on Sunday, March 14, 2010 in the Living Room of Saint Peter’s Church, “The Jazz Church” at 619 Lexington Avenue (54th Street) – Midtown – with several free events:   “The Legend Wall” - an Exhibit of Information about Art Blakey and a Panel Discussion about Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' enduring influence on jazz.  It will be moderated by a prominent jazz scholar and panelists will include several Jazz Messengers and an expert on Art Blakey and/or the “hard bop” era of Jazz.  A presentation about Art Blakey and his drumming techniques by a well-known drummer may also be included. At 5:00 PM, Jazz Vespers - also free- takes place in the Sanctuary with music led by one of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.

The Concert begins at 7:00 PM. with live performance of the music of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.  Jazz Messengers’ bands preceded by a student band will perform the legendary compositions created by Art Blakey and the Messengers over the more than 30 years that various versions of the Messengers held forth.   Suggested ticket donation: $20 ($10 for students with ID).

Several other events are a part of Prez Fest 2010.  We will partner with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem that will highlight Art Blakey during the month of March 2010 including interviews of Jazz Messengers and an all-day seminar on Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers.  In addition, a special event is being planned for the 68 Jazz Messengers who are still performing.

PREZ FEST 2010
CELEBRATING
ART BLAKEY & THE JAZZ MESSENGERS
Saint Peter’s Church
619 Lexington Avenue (at 54th Street), New York City