"…Tanga produced Now on his own, ensuring that his musical vision isn’t diluted in any way. That vision is ripe with inventiveness and a throwback ’70s style that still sounds fresh for 21st century ears. While many albums are front-loaded with the best material leading into filler, Now keeps sounding better and better, as if Tanga is gaining momentum as he goes along. Musically, the album is full of energy and sincere soulfulness, and while many of the lyrics deal with the unpleasant realities of war in his native land, Tanga never loses his uplifting spirit. On “Ngambe,” which begins with the sound of gunfire, Tanga sings “You play with guns to kill people/I play music to save people.”
Some of Now’s highlights in the funk and soul genres include “Upset,” a disco-funk track that is one of those rare songs that is just as heartfelt as it is ready for the dancefloor. The title track and “With You” are straight-up Al Green-style soul tracks, while “Now” also showcases Tanga’s funky bass playing. “Money Honey” sounds somewhere between P Funk and Frank Zappa– a mixture as thrilling as it looks on paper.
However, Now is just as much about the CAR and Tanga’s upbringing as it is about keeping alive the great sounds of decades past. The musical tradition of Central African Republic is present on Now, for instance in the song “Monteguene,” named after a rhythm played in the country’s Lobaye region. That rhythm has a stop-and-start quality that both stands out from other styles on the album and makes it immediately infectious. On “War,” Tanga raps, “We think we brave, but we digging our own grave” over a beat that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Devin the Dude album. Tonga, who grew up listening to the gospel singer Ella Jenkins, brings the influence of spirituals on “Who’s Gonna Be Your Man,” with harmonized singing of “Oh lordy me/Who’s going to be your man?”…
Huun Huur Tu plays Carnegie Hall next week on April 23! The concert is part of David Lang's curated festival called “Collected Stories” which showcases different modes of storytelling in music, from Medieval Beowulf to conceptual Cage to world premieres. http://ow.ly/vUnbq
"Today, let’s get acquainted with singer Catherine Russell, who will be making her St. Louis debut as a headliner next Saturday, April 19 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
Russell is from New York, born in 1956 to Luis Russell, a pianist, composer and longtime bandleader for Louis Armstrong, and Carline Ray, a bassist and vocalist who performed with Mary Lou Williams and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
While she’s been active in the music business for many years, Russell’s career as a solo artist took a while to blossom. Before releasing her debut album Cat in 2002, she earned a living as an in-demand backup singer on tours and recordings with major artists including Steely Dan, Levon Helm, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Carrie Smith, and Rosanne Cash.
Though she’s held on to some of those gigs - even getting a feature spot in the show on recent tours of the Dukes of September (Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs) - her solo career has grown to occupy more and more of her time. Since her debut, Russell has released four more albums, the most recent of which, Bring It Back, came out in February on the Jazz Village label, and in 2012 won a Grammy Award for her appearance as a featured artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire…”
Ace trombonist Steve Turre combines two of his musical passions, the trombone itself and the legacy of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, for the distinctive and enjoyable The Bones Of Art. Turre wrote the bulk of the material, often in tribute to other musicians, like fellow trombonists…
World Village has forged itself a reputation for excellence on the international musical scene in just a few short years. Seeking out talents from all around the world, carefully designed covers and booklets: these are the key values of the label, which is run by four producers working between France, the USA, Spain and the UK, who pursue an ambitious signing policy.
Jazz Village, the newest label in the Harmonia Mundi family, allows audiences to experience the best of current jazz music, from Europe to the Americas, from traditional to modern, through urban soul and new sound crossbreeds. On the menu: a dozen yearly releases featuring musical veterans, young idols and bright emerging talents.