New Jazz & Blues News – 5/24/2022
Joey Alexander – Origin (Mack Avenue): “Born in Bali, Indonesia, Joey Alexander has been performing professionally since 2013 when he was invited by Wynton Marsalis to perform at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala. Alexander subsequently moved to New York City and released his debut album, My Favorite Things, in 2015 on Motéma Music, followed by three more on the label and a fifth on Verve. Alexander’s albums have netted three GRAMMY® Award nominations – one for Best Jazz Instrumental Album (My Favorite Things), and two for Best Improvised Jazz Solo (“Giant Steps,” from My Favorite Things, and “Countdown” from the album of the same name) – with My Favorite Things and Countdown securing the No. 1 spot on the Billboard jazz charts and Eclipse coming at No. 3. Over the course of his astonishing career, Alexander has performed with Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding at the Obama White House, for President Bill Clinton at the Arthur Ashe Learning Center Gala, at the Grand Ole Opry, the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall and at major jazz festivals and night clubs around the world. Born in Bali, Indonesia, Joey Alexander has been performing professionally since 2013 when he was invited by Wynton Marsalis to perform at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala. Alexander subsequently moved to New York City and released his debut album, My Favorite Things, in 2015 on Motéma Music, followed by three more on the label and a fifth on Verve. Alexander’s albums have netted three GRAMMY® Award nominations – one for Best Jazz Instrumental Album (My Favorite Things), and two for Best Improvised Jazz Solo (“Giant Steps,” from My Favorite Things, and “Countdown” from the album of the same name) – with My Favorite Things and Countdown securing the No. 1 spot on the Billboard jazz charts and Eclipse coming at No. 3. Over the course of his astonishing career, Alexander has performed with Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding at the Obama White House, for President Bill Clinton at the Arthur Ashe Learning Center Gala, at the Grand Ole Opry, the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall and at major jazz festivals and night clubs around the world…. Much of Origin was composed in New York, but the fluttery, hypnotic “Midnight Waves” comes from an extended return visit to Bali, where Alexander spent his early years. The place he stayed was near the beach, so at night, he could hear the waves. After his busy life in New York City, the stillness and calm there was a welcome change of pace that let him “pause and enjoy the moment.” He hopes the tune will encourage listeners to do the same. Alexander closes Origin with the ballad “Hesitation,” another tune of unusual length that is also a bit of a formal pun, with its unresolved progression. “I did that on purpose, yes,” he confirms. “The tune is asking, ‘What’s next?’ and the answer is of course, ‘I don’t know.’ I just hope my music will bring some sort of comfort to these troubling times.” (https://joeyalexandermusic.net/about/) Click here to listen to “Promise of Spring” from this new disc.
Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9 – Manifesto Of Henryisms (Ropeadope): “Steven Bernstein first saw the late, great New Orleans pianist Henry Butler play in 1984. “He was genius-level brilliant, man,” he says, still marveling. “I couldn’t believe there was a guy who could sound like the most ancient music and the most futuristic music at the same time.” Fourteen years later, Bernstein took Hal Willner’s recommendation and hired Butler to play in the touring band that played the score for Robert Altman’s film Kansas City. In 2013, the two musicians formed the Hot 9, the name a tip of the fedora to Louis Armstrong’s landmark Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions of the 1920s. They released the acclaimed Viper’s Drag album the following year, and toured until Butler’s untimely passing in 2018. Manifesto Of Henryisms is Bernstein’s term for the rhythmic and harmonic idiosyncrasies in Butler’s piano playing. For his inventive arrangements, Bernstein isolated those “Henryisms” and distributed them to different musicians in the Hot 9, so now Butler’s style was emulated by an entire ten-piece band, effectively turning his piano into an orchestra. To hear Bernstein’s Henry-istic arrangements in action, listen to Butler’s solo piano version of his James Booker tribute “Booker Time” (from 2002’s Patchwork: A Tribute to James Booker) and then hear Bernstein’s full-band version, and the way it demonstrates the lineage between Dixieland and funk. While Butler is no longer here to play the arrangements that Bernstein wrote for him, his spirit remains deep in this music. “I wanted to document these arrangements,” Bernstein says, “while we still had Henry’s feeling in our bodies.” But, without Butler’s resounding musical presence, Bernstein urged the band to go its own way. “We know what he taught us,” he says, “so let’s take that and make it ours. We’re carrying it forward.” On Manifesto of Henryisms, Bernstein and the band carry on that Butler-esque mix of ancient and futuristic, innovation with a reverence for tradition, embracing the virtuosity, ingeniousness and jaunty swing of early New Orleans jazz, but incorporating all kinds of music that happened in the meantime.” (https://stevenbernstein.bandcamp.com/album/manifesto-of-henryisms-community-music-vol-3) The players are Steven Bernstein (Trumpet, Slide Trumpet), Curtis Fowlkes (Trombone), Charlie Burnham (Violin, Vocals (My Girl) Josephine), Doug Wieselman (Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone), Peter Apfelbaum (Tenor & Soprano Sax), Erik Lawrence (Baritone Sax), Matt Munisteri (Guitar), Brad Jones (Bass) and Donald Edwards (Drums) with special guests: John Medeski (Organ & Piano, Tracks 1-5) and Arturo O’Farrill (Piano Tracks 6-7). This set mixes the old time and solid jams for authenticity mixed in the pot! Click here to listen to three songs from this release!
Andrea Brachfeld & Insight – Evolution (Origin): “An ode to flowers that peek through https://www.instagram.com/p/CdYbNR_NquP/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=embed_video_watch_againconcrete, Evolution is a work of art and love. It’s a chapter in the transformation of a recording. It’s a road in the progression of an artist. I remember Andrea Brachfeld when she graced the cover of Charanga ’76 as part of the Afro-Cuban band. Her prior jazz workshops with Jimmy Heath honed her improvisational skills needed for the robust New York Latin scene of the ’70s. She sat in with the musical masters, lived and worked in Venezuela, produced her own CDs, and led Cocomama, the all-woman salsa group she founded. She earned her own Master’s degree and found time to be a mother, a grandmother, and a spiritually evolved being. Maestro Tito Puente would be proud of that young, hippie Jewish girl he invited to sit in with his band. I’m proud of her too. Evolution is Andrea’s plea to the Universe for healing, transformation, and change. (Aurora Flores-Hostos) The players are Andrea Brachfeld (C flute, alto flute, spoken word, Colombian clay flute, African wood flute, kalimba), Bill O’ Connell (piano), Harvie S (bass) and Jason Tiemann (drums).” (https://andreabrachfeld.com/recordings/evolution/) Click here to listen to a warm up beyond to a performance.
Chicago Soul Jazz Collective Meets Dee Alexander – On The Way To Be Free (Jmarq): “If you are a lover of punch-driven, Tower-of-Power type horn harmonics and Earth Wind & Fire music, some of this album by the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective is reminiscent of that musical era. Tenor saxophonist, John Fournier has composed eight of the songs out of the nine offered. The musicians do an excellent job of interpreting this original material and Dee Alexander is a powerful lead vocalist. They open with “Mama Are we There Yet?” which is quite reminiscent of the original Chicago based group, Earth Wind & Fire, featuring unison ensemble singing and funky horn lines with Keith Brooks II clearly slapping the rhythm into place. Ms. Alexander is the lead singer on their title tune, “On the Way to be Free” arranged at a moderate swing pace. John Fournier plays a tenor saxophone solo that puts the “J” in jazz as he floats above the funky rhythm track. Marquis Carroll offers a complimentary improvised solo on a tune called “Carry Me” and Larry Brown Jr. shows off his mad guitar skills. The percussion of Victor Garcia peppers this tune with spicy licks. “Behind the Crusaders” is a toe-tapping instrumental persuasion that moves and grooves. The final tune spotlights the beautiful bass work of Andrew Vogt who opens the piece. This is another instrumental that has a catchy horn line and gives a nod to Mr. Brooks II on drums with an energetic, featured solo by Arm Fahmy on electric piano. The Chicago Soul Jazz Collective is a very soulful band that blends R&B, funk and jazz into a contemporary mix of excitement that’s interpreted by solid jazz players.” (https://www.chicagosouljazzcollective.com/blog/2022/4/28/chicago-soul-jazz-collective-meets-dee-alexander-on-the-way-to-be-free) Click here to listen to a stone knock-out for you to want more of this group.
Yelena Eckemoff – I Am a Stranger in This World (L&H Production): “Yelena was born in Moscow, Russia, in the Soviet Union. Her parents noticed that she had musical talent when she started to play piano by ear at the age of four. Yelena’s mother, Olga, a professional pianist, became her first piano teacher. At the age of seven Yelena was accepted into an elite Gnessins School for musically gifted children where, in addition to common school subjects, she received extensive training in piano, music theory, music literature, solfeggio, harmony, analysis of musical forms, conducting, composing, and other musical subjects. She was fortunate to study piano with Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who also trained one of today’s most celebrated pianists, Evgeny Kissin. Later Yelena studied piano with Galina Nikolaevna Egiazarova at the Moscow State Conservatory. Upon graduation with Master’s Degree in piano performance and pedagogy, she worked as a piano teacher in one of Moscow music schools, gave solo concerts, attended courses at the Moscow Jazz Studio, played in an experimental jazz-rock band, and composed a lot of instrumental and vocal music. In 1991, with her husband, Yelena emigrated to the United States. While assimilating and surviving in a new country and raising children, she had to put her musical career on hold. During these years Yelena experimented with synthesizer and MIDI sequencer in her little home studio, then founded an ensemble of local musicians. She self-released albums in various genres including classical, vocal, folk, Christian, and her original music…. Pianist-composer Yelena Eckemoff adds to her already impressive corpus of settings for the Psalms on I Am a Stranger in This World, due for a May 20 release on her own L&H Production label. The album is a new installment in a long-term musical project that began with 2018’s Better Than Gold and Silver, and once again teams Eckemoff with that album’s trumpeter Ralph Alessi and bassist Drew Gress, along with guitarist Adam Rogers and drummer Nasheet Waits. (Violinist Christian Howes—with Ben Monder and Joey Baron also in lieu of Rogers and Waits, respectively—also appears on three holdover tracks from Better Than Gold and Silver.)” (https://yelenamusic.com/albums/all-albums/) Click here to listen to “I Am a Stranger in This World” of this release.
Cathy Segal-Garcia / Phillip Strange – Live In Japan (Origin): “Cathy Segal-Garcia and pianist Phillip Strange spent many years traveling throughout Japan and a bit of Europe together, enjoying the pared-down intimacy of performing as a duo, building strong bonds with each other and with their audiences. This live 2-disc recording from a Japan tour in December 1992 came just three months after recording their debut, Song of the Heart, with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Peter Erskine. Inspired and completely in-tune musically, ‘Live in Japan’ offers a peek into that intimate musical space where the resultant authenticity and transparency creates a rich listening experience.” (https://www.challengerecords.com/products/16523517567756) This song is not on the current release, it does is a good service and interaction together. Click here to listen to “Alright, Okay, You Win”.
George Cotsirilos Quartet – Refuge (OA2): “The George Cotsirilos Quartet has performed at various venues over the years and will release a new CD, Refuge, May 20, 2022 on OA2 records. The quartet’s previous CD, Mostly In Blue, received excellent notices, climbed the national jazz radio charts to number fifteen, and was named by Downbeat as one of the best recordings of 2018. The current quartet features pianist, Keith Saunders, as well as long time trio associates, bassist Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto. Keith, Robb and Ron have worked with a wide variety of jazz luminaries, including Chet Baker, Hank Crawford, Richie Cole, Art Pepper, Carmen McCrae, Tommy Flanagan, and Pepper Adams, among many others. The new CD, whose title track is accessible here, features original compositions. An earlier iteration of the quartet, including drumming great Eddie Marshall, pianist Paul Nagel and bassist Robb Fisher can be heard on the CD Seems To Be, released on Jazz School Records in 2011.” (https://www.georgecotsirilos.com/projects) Click here to listen brief samples of two songs from this release.
Michael Orenstein – Aperture (Origin): “Los Angeles-based pianist/composer/arranger Michael Orenstein comes to his debut recording with a stout jazz education pedigree and ten years of topflight performance experiences, all shining through on this robust set of 8 originals and intricate arrangements of “Giant Steps” and a Herbie Hancock tribute. Much like two major influences, Hancock and Billy Childs, Orenstein’s arrangements are surprising and dynamic with an expansive sound palette, challenging any limitations of the jazz quartet. Orenstein’s Aperture focuses light on a prodigious young talent with a doubtlessly promising future. “…one of the most talented and creative young musicians I have ever heard.” (Dan Wall) Orenstein is a wonderful pianist and his eight originals offer wonderful fantastic reach. Logan Kane (bass) and Myles Martin (drums) are terrific as well. The additional players are Barclay Moffitt (tenor sax 4 songs), Nicole McCabe (alto sax on 2 songs); Sean Harrison (alto sax 2 songs and soprano sax on 1); Chase Jackson (vibes on 4 songs) and Sam Klein-Markman (guitar 3 songs). Click some slices from this release.
John Scofield – John Scofield (ECM): “With a career spanning over half a century, it’s all the more striking that this is in fact John Scofield’s first-ever guitar-solo recording. The long wait, however, pays off, as John is able to benefit from his decades of experience and charts an intimate path through the styles and idioms he has traversed up until today. He is not entirely all on his own on this endeavor though: the guitarist enters into dialogues with himself, soloing to his own tasteful chordal and rhythmic accompaniment via loop machine. “I think that there’s a delicateness that I have acquired from playing at home alone,” Scofield has recently said in a conversation with The Boston Herald. “I am so used to playing with a slamming band […] and there’s a certain musicality to that. That went away and was replaced by this more delicate approach of pinpointing the beauty of the strings. When I play solo, I make these little guitar loops on the fly, […] and it’s almost like I’m playing with another person.” (https://jazzguitartoday.com/2022/05/john-scofield-releases-his-first-ever-solo-guitar-recording/) Click here to listen to John Scofield discuss this new release.
Tuba Skinny – Magnolia Stroll (Self-produced): “Magnolia Stroll is an ode to all the musicians, alive and dead who have nurtured and inspired them along their journey, as well as to the city of New Orleans and the neighborhoods that took them under their wings and continue to do so. Magnolia Stroll features compositions from band members Erika Lewis, Shaye Cohn, Robin Rapuzzi, Barnabus Jones, Craig Flory, and Max Bien-Kahn.” (https://tubaskinny.bandcamp.com/album/magnolia-stroll) The players are Craig Flory (clarinet), Shaye Cohn (cornet; piano on track 15), Barnabus Jones (trombone), Max Bien-Kahn (resonator guitar and tenor banjo), Greg Sherman (guitar), Erika Lewis (bass drum on tracks 1, 4-6, 11-12; vocals on track 12), Todd Burdick (sousaphone: upright bass on track 3), Robin Rapuzzi (washboard; kit on track 3), Jason Lawrence (6 string banjo on tracks 2-3, 7-10, 12-14). Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this release.
Tuba Skinny – Some Kind-A-Shake (Self-produced): “For over a decade Tuba Skinny has grown steadily in popularity, releasing twelve albums and touring all over the world. They’ve attracted a wide variety of fans- young and old, neophytes and niche-enthusiasts- with the strength of their musicianship and the scope of their jazz and American roots music catalog. While they’ve become known as world-class interpreters of traditional jazz, over the years they’ve branched out into jug band music, spirituals, country blues, string band music, ragtime, and New Orleans R&B. Their approach is a true reflection of Americana, encompassing the full genealogy of popular American music from an early 20th century perspective. Despite a general lack of interest in social media and a limited release of their music online, they’ve amassed an enthusiastic digital following. After a decade of playing (mostly) other artist’s songs, Tuba Skinny decided to fulfill a long-time dream with the release of Magnolia Stroll- their first album of all-original tunes. Featuring compositions from Erika, Shaye, Robin, Barnabus, Craig, and Max, it is their love song to all the musicians, living and dead, who have inspired them, as well as to the neighborhoods of New Orleans that have nurtured them.” (http://tubaskinny.com/about-us) Click here to check out Tuba Skinny performing “Gimme Some”.
Doug Webb – The Message (PosiTone): “Saxophonist Doug Webb delivers “The Message” loud and clear with the able assistance of an expert ensemble of musicians on his 11th release for Posi- Tone Records. Highlighted by a full complement of tour de force performances, the album features powerful showings bespoken from the eminent saxophones of Greg Osby and Bob Reynolds, organist extraordinaire Brian Charette, and the steady metrics of drummer Charles Ruggiero. Each musician performs their part seamlessly, with feeling and mind blowing precision. Everyone works to keep the session in the pocket as Webb and company cover a wide variety of styles and moods with effortless mastery and melodic brilliance. This saxophone extravaganza is a hard swinging jubilee of joy that will certainly entertain jazz enthusiasts again and again with amazement and delight.” (https://www.israbox-music.org/year/2022/3137957584-doug-webb-the-message-2022.html) Click here to listen to samples of each song on the disc.
Delbert McClinton – Outdated Emotion (Thirty Tigers): “I’ve always wanted to do an album of the songs that influenced me the most. It’s important music from another time. There is a whole generation, maybe two generations now, who don’t know this music. My whole idea here was to show them how it was and how we got here. Hank Williams, Jimmy Reed, Lloyd Price, Ray Charles. These songs take me to my youth. They are good if not better now than they were then, and they were great then. They are songs people should just get to hear.” (Delbert McClinton) “I’ve always wanted to do an album of the songs that influenced me the most. It’s important music from another time. There is a whole generation, maybe two generations now, who don’t know this music. My whole idea here was to show them how it was and how we got here. Hank Williams, Jimmy Reed, Lloyd Price, Ray Charles. These songs take me to my youth. They are good if not betternow than they were then, and they were great then. They are songs people should just get to hear.” (Delbert McClinton) This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Delbert always does it his laid-back way and that’s just fine! Click here to listen to “Ain’t That Lovin’ You” just for a touch!
Charlie Musselwhite – Mississippi Son (Alligator): “Mississippi-born, Memphis-raised, Grammy Award-winning legend Charlie Musselwhite doesn’t just sing and play the blues; he is, in every sense of the word, a bluesman. On each of Mississippi Son’s 14 songs, including eight powerfully stark originals, Musselwhite’s straight-from-the-soul vocals and harmonica playing are the perfect foil to his deceptively simple, hypnotic guitar work.” (https://bishopmusselwhite.bandcamp.com/album/mississippi-son) “Having recently moved back to Mississippi from northern California, Musselwhite recorded Mississippi Son in Clarksdale, right in the heart of the Delta. His honest, soulful vocals, like his every-note-matters harmonica playing and idiosyncratic guitar work, overflow with hard-earned authenticity and lasting emotional intensity. Musselwhite calls his blues, “secular spiritual music,” a sound he’s been perfecting since he, as a young teenager, played his first E7 chord on his Supertone acoustic guitar. Upon hearing and feeling the chord’s blue note, the future blues master thought, “I have to have more of that.”…. Charlie Musselwhite doesn’t just sing and play the blues; he is, in every sense of the word, a bluesman. Growing up, he not only learned the music first-hand from many of the genre’s most influential artists, he also absorbed the lifestyle. “It’s an attitude,” Musselwhite says of playing the blues. “A way of living life.” Musselwhite’s life story reads like a classic blues song: born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis and schooled on the South Side of Chicago. A groundbreaking recording artist since the 1960s, Musselwhite has never stopped creating trailblazing music while remaining firmly rooted in the blues.
Over the years, Charlie has released nearly 40 albums on a variety of labels, his exploratory recordings including straight blues but often mixing in elements of jazz, gospel, Tex-Mex, Cuban and other world musics. Four of those albums—1990’s Ace Of Harps, 1991’s Signature, 1994’s In My Time, and 2010’s The Well—were released on Alligator Records and remain among his best-selling titles. In 2020, Musselwhite joined up with his friend Elvin Bishop and released the Grammy-nominated, Blues Music Award-winning 100 Years Of Blues on Alligator. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart. DownBeat named it the Best Blues Album Of The Year. It was named the #3 Best Blues Album of 2021 by UK tastemaker magazine MOJO, who declared, “These are exquisite harmonica-guitar duets like Muddy Waters and Little Walter, or Johnny Shines and Big Walter Horton…mature, masterly, endlessly rewarding.” In addition to his own albums, Musselwhite has been featured on recordings by Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, INXS, Cyndi Lauper, and many others. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall Of Fame in 2010, has been nominated for twelve Grammy Awards (winning one) and has won numerous Living Blues Awards and Blues Music Awards. The Chicago Tribune says his music is “imaginative and stunning…utterly convincing.” Now, with Mississippi Son, Musselwhite has come full circle, returning home to Mississippi after decades in Memphis, Chicago, San Francisco and points in between. Amalgamating all he’s learned and absorbed throughout his years of worldwide touring, Musselwhite imparts sage wisdom in every song he writes, sings and performs. “Blues tells the truth in a world that’s full of lies,” he intones in Blues Gave Me A Ride, at once telling his own story and plainly summing up the genre’s timelessness. Through his evocative vocals, masterful harmonica playing, and note-perfect Southern country blues guitar, Charlie Musselwhite, on Mississippi Son, leans forward and delivers the blues’ honest truth.” (https://www.rockandbluesmuse.com/2022/04/08/blues-icon-charlie-musselwhite-to-release-mississippi-son-on-june-3/) Click here to listen to the first single on this release.
Kenny Neal – Straight From The Heart (Ruf): “Down in Louisiana, they do things differently. The Southern state’s musical giants have always had their special recipe for American roots: spiced with jazz, steeped in swamp blues, and cooked up a little differently by every artist who performs it. As a second-generation child of the Bayou State, Kenny Neal has taken his inimitable guitar, gale-force harp, and roadworn voice all over the globe. But in 2022, the Grammy-nominated blues master’s latest album, Straight From The Heart, finds him drawn by the siren call of his hometown and musical ground zero, Baton Rouge.“This is the first album I’ve ever recorded on my turf, and it truly came straight from the heart,” says Neal, who led and produced a crack team of local musicians at his own Brookstown Recording Studios. “All the tributaries of the blues converge here, flowing into one rich tradition. If there’s a guiding concept behind the eleven songs of Straight From The Heart, it’s Neal’s mission to rewind the reels of his life and channel the spirit of the music that crackled from the family record player in his early years. Neal couldn’t have picked better circumstances for his childhood. He was born in New Orleans on October 14, 1957, and quickly found early inspiration in his father, the harp master Raful Neal, who blew a gale and moved in the same orbit as Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo. Nature and nurture couldn’t help but rub off. At 13, Neal Jr was wowing the crowds in his father’s band; four years later, he played bass with Guy himself. His fabled period working with his siblings in the Neal Brothers Blues Band is still spoken of in reverential tones on the Toronto circuit whose roofs they blew off. But perhaps Neal’s actual arrival came in 1988 when the Alligator label reissued his first solo LP as Big News From Baton Rouge!! and ears pricked up for a modern swamp-blues master who had the touch and voice of an old soul but the vision and hunger of a young gun. Stick a pin in Neal’s discography since then, and you’ll strike gold, from 2008’s Let Life Flow (which shook up his playbook with a dose of Memphis soul) to 2016’s Bloodline (which not only scored a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album but won two Blues Music Awards). From Neal’s W.C. Handy Blues Award of 2005 to his 2011 induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, few contemporary artists are more decorated. You’ll hear all of Neal’s travels in Straight From The Heart, but this latest album brings it all back home. Lining up in the studio alongside his Baton Rouge compadrés, Neal invited some special guests to appear on the album; including Grammy Award-winning blues sensation Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram (who co-writes and plays stinger guitar on “Mount Up On The Wings Of The King”), pop royalty Tito Jackson (on “Two Timing”), and two songs with Rockin’ Dopsie Junior & The Zydeco Twisters. You’ll even hear Neal’s supremely talented daughter Syreeta drive the vocal outro of “Two-Timing.” “It was like a family reunion,” says Neal of the good-natured sessions.” (https://www.rockandbluesmuse.com/2022/04/13/kenny-neal-to-release-straight-from-the-heart/) Click here to listen to “New Orleans” from this disc.
The McNamarr Project – Run With Me (A.Marr & JMcNamarr): “The stars aligned in the musical universe when Andrea Marr and John McNamara, both well respected and experienced Australian Soul and Blues artists in their own right, combined forces to become The McNaMarr Project. Together? Wow. They’re right up there with the very best. In 2019 they released ‘Holla & Moan’ – their debut collaborative work. And the global blues and soul scene sat up and took serious notice, with great airplay support worldwide, and fabulous reviews likewise pouring in from all corners. Now, three years and a whole new world later, The McNaMarr Project are back with their second album – Run With Me. Recorded under vastly different circumstances; without the atmosphere and history of Memphis, Tennessee, the feel and talent of the wonderful Stax Records Producer Lester Snell and those amazing Southern US backing musicians behind them and combined with all the restraints that Covid has thrown at musicians everywhere – the pressure was on. Could The McNaMarr Project deliver on the expectations, both from within and without, for their next release? You betcha, baby. Run With Me literally bursts out of the blocks – bold, confident, immediately engaging and dripping with the soul, blues, sass and joyous vibe of its predecessor. This album is a statement, The McNaMarr Project is no flash in the pan.” (https://www.themcnamarrproject.com/) Click here to listen to “Run With Me”.
The Monophonics – Sage Motel (Colemine): “The world’s premier psychedelic soul band, Monophonics, cordially invites you to attend the grand re-opening of the once thriving, once vibrant establishment, the legendary Sage Motel. A place where folks experience the highs and lows of human existence. A place where big dreams and broken hearts live, where people arrive without ever knowing how they got there. It’s where individuals find themselves at a crossroads in life. What started as a quaint motor lodge and a common pitstop for travelers and truckers in the 1940s morphed into a bohemian’s hang by the 1960s and 1970s. Artists, musicians, and vagabonds of all types would stop there as seedy ownership pumped obnoxious amounts of money into high end renovations, eventually attracting some of the most prominent acts of the era. But when the money ran out, The Sage Motel devolved into a place where you rent by the hour. Sage Motel, Monophonics’ fifth studio album since 2012, tells its story. Once again produced by brilliant bandleader Kelly Finnigan, the album captures a timeless sound that blends heavy soul with psych-rock. With their previous album, It’s Only Us, selling over 10,000 physical units and garnering over 20 million streams, Monophonics have built a reputation over the past decade as one of the most impactful bands in the country. If these walls of the Sage Motel could talk, this is what they’d say. So join us as we examine where the stories are told and experiences unfold…..and sink into a soft pillow of soulful psychedelia…..down at the Sage Motel.” (https://www.coleminerecords.com/products/monophonics-sage-motel?_pos=1&_sid=e7f786947&_ss= Scroll down a little deeper to listen all of the songs on this disc.