Renee Neufville, formerly one half of Zhane has been very busy. After Zhane she started working and touring with Roy Hargrove's funk band, RH Factor. Now the time is right for her to drop her solo project. Due out in early 2008, this is Renee's time to shine. Here at Joe's Pub in NYC, performs one of her compositions at the piano. Renee's show covered all flavors of soul such as rnb jazz and a funky reggae rendition ot the little drummer boy. Thanks Renee for the great performance. We can hardly wait for the album to drop.
It had been a while since Frank McComb visited NYC to perform. So I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity to check him out. Here at SOB's in NYC, Frank was very impressive as he weaved through his thick songbook to delight his many fans. Frank has a few cd's out now but there are also a few bootlegs floating around so you have to be careful what to get. The ones that stand out for me are "Love Stories", "Truth" and "1995 Bootleg". All of which were attainable if you were in attendance. It's not a stretch to say that Frank's voice draws comparisons to Donny Hathaway. Not only does he have a great voice but he's equally talented on the keys as well.
What a pleasure it was to see Angela Johnson as well. Angela opened the show for Frank McComb and performed songs from her most recent disc, "A Woman Knows" as well as songs from her forthcoming cd, due out in February. Known not only for her solo work but also as a member of Cooly's Hot Box, Angela is a major artist on the underground soul scene. As much as I enjoyed her show, I especially enjoyed the fact that she brought a few of her friends along with her...
...One of those friends was the lovely Lisala. Lisala is an artist who I wasn't completely familiar with until I saw the cd cover. I remember seeing this cd awhile back but lack of familiarity held me back from purchasing her debut. It's probably one of the few times I've ever shown restraint when purchasing music. My loss for sleeping on this. Lisala's 2003 debut is a wonderful collection of futuristic soul, great compositions and a great voice to go with it. That voice was on display as she sung with Angela's band.
Gordon Chambers is a rnb/soul artist who has a couple of cd's under his belt but his greatest claim to fame is writing the hit "I Apologize" for Anita Baker. He has written for many other artists like Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan. For those who weren't aware of him before will certainly be interested in him now.
Monetis a multi-talented singer, songwriter and musician. Now I am familiar with her debut cd "Essence", an organic soulful project that was well received in 2004. Monet displayed her skills on the flute in addition to her great voice. Monet's long awaited followup "Awakening" is due to drop in spring 2008. We can't wait!
The night clearly belonged to Mr Frank McComb who was also the recipient of the Agape Indie Artist Awardfor 2007 Jazz male artist of the year. It's nice to see the Indie artists get the love they truly deserve. This night was a testament to that.
Needless to say everyone had a great time and received more entertainment than they bargained for. What more can you ask for?
I have written about Alice Smith several times and see her whenever possible. Why? She's phenomenal. Simply put. While the industry continues to salivate over barbie doll singers with no talent, the real artists have to work twice as hard to be heard. Or, as Alice has written, "Fake is the New Real". There's nothing fake about Alice's talent. Here performing at the Mercury Lounge. It's obvious to everyone that she is the real deal.
Sometimes you go to a show and you get more than you bargained for. Well Last Thursday was that kind of night thanks to "Revive Da Live Productions". I initially went out to see "Heavy" perform tracks from their BBE debut "Jazz Money". Nicky Guiland and Casey Benjamin did their thing and the album is a winner. What I didn't know is that Chris "Daddy" Dave was headlining the show....
Now for those who don't know. Chris is the former drummer for Mint Condition. He has since worked with heavyweights like Kenny Garrett and Meshell Ndegeocello. If I known this ahead of time, I would've connected the dots. By that I mean, Chris Dave plus Robert Glasper plus Mos Def equals the Hip hop/Jazz band these guys have been experimenting with recently. Also, I can't leave out "The Real Live Show" NYC's own live Hip Hop Band. This group started off the night and was very impressive. Go to their myspace site to check out their music. What a night! All I can say is I paid dearly for this at the office the following day. Needless to say, it was more than worth it. I really hope Chris Dave and the crew put an album out. The stuff they're doing is pure fire. Too often the collaboration between Jazz and Hip-Hop fails to meet the expectations. However, when you gather these musicians together, nothing short of great music is often the result. I think I covered everything. Oh yeah! Did I mention that Tiye Phoenix (Polyrhythm Addicts) came through and blessed the track "Countdown" with Heavy (She's appears on the album too). My apologies for not having a picture of her posted. Just when I walked away from my spot right in front of the stage is when she appeared. I'll have a snapshot of her at her next show.
Chris "Daddy" Dave
There's nothing "junk" about this performance. In fact, for those attending their first Maya Azucena show, they may wonder why this "jewel" doesn't have more recognition. Performing at the Village Underground in NYC, Maya performed many songs from her impressive new cd "Junkyard Jewel". Haven't heard it? Check the reviews page for more.
Donnie delivers "The Daily News"
One of soul music's rising stars, Donnie delights the crowd and showed everyone why he is one of the most important voices on the scene today. Donnie performs several songs from his latest release "The Daily News" at the Highline Ballroom in NYC along with Julie Dexter, who opened the show.
Hailing from South Carolina and now residing in Atlanta. Melissa Young is the new soul singer on the block. Melissa made her NYC debut this week at the Sugar Bar. Based on the overwhelming response, you can bet you're going to hear a lot more from her. Her warm and sultry voice left a lasting impression on everyone. Folks are already making reservations for next performance. Which will be at Solomon's Porch in Brooklyn. Be on the lookout for her soon to be debut "Just Up The road". If you love soul music, you need this one. No hype, just the truth. This is the real deal.
Turnstyles on Tuesday
I am grateful that there are 31 days in July. That is the 31st day landed on a Tuesday allowed me to catch Sy Smith's weekly show in July at the Village Underground in NYC. Never mind that I missed the previous shows and the various guests that just happened to show up. On this night, it was Sy Smith and her band, which included jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield. Aside from singing songs from the Syberspace Social, Sy simply killed it with her rendition of Roberta Flack's "Feel like making Love". Missed it? Don't worry, Sy will be back in September every Tuesday night for more jam sessions. Check it out!
The Selan Sessions
Two of soul music's up and coming artists were on hand at Joe's Pub in NYC. Selan first came to my attention from appearing on DJ Spinna's "Intergalactic Soul". Come to find out he has also worked with Louie Vega on his "Elements of Life" projects as well as the Louie Vega & Kenny Dope tandem "Mastersat Work". Here he performs songs from his forthcoming EP "The Selan Sessions".
Philadelphia native Russell Taylor has been creating a buzz with his cd "Somewhere in Between". Singing several songs from that disc, Russell left little doubt why so much fuss is being made about him.
What a surprise it was to meet Sara Devine on this night. I have been an admirer of her skills for awhile based on the singles "So Special" and "Life Ain't What It Seems". Sara, who was singing backup for Selan is a very talented singer and songwriter who has an album available for download entitled "Trust, Faith &Love". Treat yourself to some quality soul music from an incredible artist.
Raheem at BB Kings! NYC
Welcome to the Love experience! Now if you have ever attended a Raheem DeVaughn show then you know exactly what I'm talking about. When you talk about the future of soul, add this brotha's name to the conversation. On a steamy summer night at BB Kings Bar & Grill, Raheem and his band had the fellas heads nodding and the ladies hearts swaying. Oh! And did I mention that Julie Dexter opened the show. That's right! The UK born, now Atlanta resident belted out songs from her cd's "Dexterity" and 2004's "Conscious".
Rebel Soul rocks NYC!
I missed Martin Luther the last time he came through NY. So I was not about to miss him again. Appearing at SOB's with Emily King and Jennifer Johns. Martin performed many songs from his Rebel Soul cd. What! You don't have it? You need to check it out now!
Kelli Sae is no newcomer. She's been doing her thing for a minute now. Performing with the likes of Incognito and most recently appearing on Jazzy Jeff's "The Soul Mix tape". She also has two cd's under belt. Here she is performing at the Highline Ballroom. Opening the night is a newcomer, but it won't be long before everyone knows Honey Larochelle.Honey,pictured belowperformed songs from her forthcoming album. Believe me when I tell you that this girl can really sing. Don't just take my word. Check her out here!
Yahzarah, also known as Purple St James, performing at the Sugar Bar in an acoustic set that displayed her obvious talents in their purest form. The soul diva did her thing! The show was hosted by Barry King of the internet station "Solar Radio". Yahzarah, eh I mean Purple St James once performed backup for Erykah Badu and has already put out two cd's of her own. In addition, she's featured on the Foreign Exchange's "Connected" and Nicolay's "Here". Word of advice, go cop her cd "Hear Me", a real sleeper. What's more, Purple will be back at the Sugar Bar in July and at the Blue Note in August. Check her out!
Throughout the summer, Giant Step will host their Private Park summer series on Monday nights. Miguel Migs and Lisa Shaw kicked off the first night. Lisa, above sings the title track from Miguel Migs latest cd "Those Things" while Miguel works the turntables.
NYC-Colors:Future Soul sessions treated everyone in attendance to a great night of broken beat, soul, jazz and hip-hop. And of course, the talented Michelle Amador, making her NYC debut with her quintet as well at Vault at Element in SOHO. Also, check out the catchagrove interview with Michelle in the interview section while you're here!
Black corners, The Bloom effect & Rebel Events hosted a nice little show recently that featured StephanieMcKay, Alice Russell and an unsigned group from Minneapolis called Blackblondie. Their sound is sort of trip hop soul electronica. Trust me, they're worth checking out. They were also part of the lineup at the recent Black Lily show in Philly that featured the Roots and Ursula Rucker, among others. A five piece band with the two vocalists upfront. On the left is Sarah White and Samahra Linton on the right. DJ Moni did her thing on the turntables throughout the night.
Joe's pub in NYC is definitely one of my favorite venue's to see a live show. It's just the right size and the acoustics are great. Of course having a consistent line up of talented artists will keep me coming back for sure. Last Friday I checked out the PJ Morton Band. Hailing from New Orleans, their sound is a mixture of soulful pop music with a touch of gospel. That shouldn't be surprising since his father is the legendary Bishop Paul S. Morton. PJ is blazing is own trail and based on his outstanding performance, it won't be long before he is a household name. His show featured songs from his brand new cd "Perfect Song".
We can't wait until the release of Marsha's solo debut! Marsha Ambrosius, one half of the duo known as Floetry inked a deal with Dr Dre's label Aftermath records last year. Wednesday night at SOB's in NYC, Marsha premiered some of her new songs for the first time. All I can say is based on what I heard, this joint will be bumpin' through my speakers the first week it drops. Also on hand was L.A. based duo J*Davey. Recently signed to Warner Bros, this duo has been creating a buzz on the underground scene for quite some time. Thankfully, someone at Warner Bros had the vision to sign these two because they are going to be huge. Their brand of new wave electronic funk delighted the crowd to no end. J*Davey consists of JackDavey on vocals and Brook D'Leau on keys. Watch out for their debut this year as well.
I became a fan of Marcus Strickland when I heard him along with Kenny Garrett on the Jeff "Tain" Watts cd "Detained at the Blue Note". His tone was rich and melodic and his energy was incredible. Right after that, I went searching for his music. I purchased all three of his cd's, "Brotherhood", "At Last" and the current disc "Twi-Lite". Well, Tuesday night Marcus and the Twi-Lite band was in full effect recording live at the Jazz Standard in NYC. Marcus premiered new music and also featured guests Keyon Harrold on Trumpet and spoken word artist Malachi. Watch out for these brothers. In the meantime, go cop the cd "Twi-Life" by Marcus Strickland and be on the lookout for the forthcoming live cd.
A star in the making
First of all, if you don't know who Alice Smith is by now, you need to ask somebody right now! The girl is about to blow up! Her debut cd, "For Lovers, Dreamers and Me" has garnered critical acclaim and rightfully so. It's time some big time A&R person sign this girl up. Why is it that all the indie artists have to work so damn hard when they have ten times more talent than anyone on the radio. Hey Clive Davis, maybe when you're done working with Whitney you can come check out one of Alice's shows. Just a thought. Anyway Alice flat out ripped it at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. As if singing fan favorites such as "Dream", "Do I" and "Love Endeavor" wasn't enough, she brought the house down with the Lyn Collins classic "Think (about it)". Awesome! Alice, you are the truth!
Props go out to the New York Times promotion team for "musicians presents musicians", hosted by Roberta Flack at Joe's Pub in NYC. The night began with the Bronx born nu-soul artist Stephanie McKay, who performed songs from her self-titled cd as well as songs from her forthcoming cd "Tell It Like It Is". Stephanie is one of soul music's best kept secrets and that's a shame because she is so talented. Her sound is raw and her lyrics are honest and powerful. For people familiar with her, it was satisfaction guaranteed. For those who weren't, they were visibly impressed. I suggest you pick up her ep entitled ""Tell It Like It Is" to hold you over until the full length disc comes out.
Closing the show was the trio Sherrod "Licspiffy" Barnes, Jerry Barnes and Ric Jordan. Sherrod and Jerry have performed and recorded with world renowned artists such Chaka Khan, Quincy Jones, Queen Latifah, Beyonce and many others. Ric Jordan is the leader of the Atlanta-based band Cherokee Rose and recently toured with George Duke. These multitalented musicians entertained the crowd with their rock-infused r-n-b material that will be on their forthcoming cd. Sherrod sung lead on most of the material but all three showed they can command the stage. No date has been mentioned for their upcoming album release but based on their show, it's going to be a winner.
Rude movements rocks at APT.
Much Respect to "My Favorite Things" for the event of the week at APT in NYC. DJ's Tyler Askew and London's Big Bang moved the crowd the entire night while Taylor McFerrin did his thing on the mic. Capping the night off was special guest Tiombe Lockhart (Platinum Pied Pipers, The bootleg EP), who tantalized the crowd with her sexually charged stage show. Although performing without her band, Tiombe poured her heart into the Triple P's "Stay with me" as well as some forthcoming jams.
The Hiro Ballroom in NYC was the place to be as DJ Gilles Peterson served up his usual stellar DJ set comprising of all flavors of music. When he wasn't dropping the serious tracks, he premiered some of the artists on his new record label Brownswood records. He currently has a cd out called Brownswood Bubblers.
The night started off with the Brazilian Artist Tita Lima. Tita sung a few songs from her new album titled "11:11". Her sound can be described as a cross between modern bossa, acoustic soul with a touch of samba jazz. She displayed a nice sultry voice and despite playing without her regular band, she did a nice job of warming up the crowd.
I came away very impressed with the voice of Jose James. I
wondered to myself, where has this guy been??? The tone of his voice
reminded me very much of the great jazz vocalist Johnny Hartman. Jose
did put out a album in 2001 called "With Faith" and according to his myspace page, he has an album out now called "The Dreamer". I think I'm going to have to check it out based on his performance. The Jose James quartet rocked the house and garnered new fans. Including me.
The man I was looking forward to seeing the most was Taylor McFerrin. The son of Bobby McFerrin. Taylor has been creating quite a buzz with his ep "Broken Vibes".
When I first heard the title track, I wondered, "Who is that?" It was
clear that the man had talent. Believe me when I tell you that the man
killed it with his performance as the human beatbox and displaying
incredible keyboard work while the rest of his band complemented him
well. With an album forthcoming, you can be sure that you're going to
hear a lot of Taylor in the 07'.
Wrapping up the night of performances was the jazz band Soil and Pimp. Hailing from Japan, Soil & Pimp was making their first NY appearance and made quite an impression. The six piece band gave a pulsating live performance. I mean these cats came on the stage playing their first jam like it was their last and didn't let up. Although their brand of jazz was frenzied and rough around the edges, the crowd didn't seem to care at all. They brought the house down and put the climax on a wonderful night of live music.
Happy New Year, Everyone!
The last couple of weeks were relatively quiet on the new music front. However, there are plenty of highlights to look forward to.
For starters, there is the 4hero album "Play with the changes" due on Jan.29th. We finally have a new Maxwell album titled "Black Summer's Night" which is due Feb.13th. Musiq is back on the scene with his new album titled "Luvanmusiq" which will be out in March. The first single, "Buddy" uses the Tanya Gardner "Heartbeat" sample. We also have a new Amerie album tilted "Because I Love It" due out in the spring
Talib Kweli's new album "Eardrum" is due out this month on his own Blacksmith label. I suggest you grab the Blacksmith mixtape that is out right now. It features Jean Grae and Strong arm Steady. Pure fire!!! Also, The Talib & Madlib collaboration, titled "Liberation", is available via download only.
By now, everyone should have Nas’ "Hip Hop is Dead". If not, you have some explaining to do.
We are also patiently awaiting the release date for "Desire", the long-awaited album Pharoahe Monch. A video was recently made for "Gun Draws", a song that addresses gun violence in America.
Stephanie McKay's self titled EP is a nice appetizer but I'm anxious for the full length album. Her album, titled "Tell it like it is", is due out in early spring.
After her critically acclaimed debut "Frank", UK sensation Amy Winehouse is back with "Back to Black". The song "Rehab" has a classic Motown feel to it. Only 22 years old, Amy has a very mature voice and at times sounds like a seasoned jazz singer. She is currently on tour in the US.
Sunshine Anderson is back with "Sunshine at Midnight", her first album since 2001's "Your Woman". "Sunshine at Midnight" drops on Jan. 23 on Mathew Knowles' Music World company. Featured producers are Dr. Dre and Raphael Saadiq. The first single, "Something I Wanna Give You" is a funky jam that finds her checking her no good man. Hmm! Heard it all before? Not quite the club banger of her smash hit but very satisfying nonetheless. Can't wait for the album.
Another album I can't wait for is "The Young Lioness" by Teedra Moses. Man! Can this girl sing or what? Her 2004 debut "Complex Simplicity" was slept on by many and should be picked up if you don't have it. In the meantime, you can download her current single "Take My Love Away". The album is due out in the spring.