Tuesday Reviewsday: Danay Suarez, Saul Hernandez, Daniel Lanois and more - KPCC Take Two
"Femi and Seun Kuti, the eldest and youngest sons of late Nigerian Afrobeat king Fela Kuti, are generally seen as heirs to their father’s crown. Nothing against them — they’ve both been making fine music and putting their stamps on the funky, fiery sounds. But with his new album, "Film of Life," drummer Tony Allen makes a strong case that the title is his.
Of course, given that he’s 74, it’s hard to tag him as an inheritor of anything. Having been at Fela’s side both before and during the revolution that was Afrobeat in the ‘60s and ‘70s, having been one of the key figures in that revolution, Allen today stands at the top of the form’s royal family.
It’s not because Allen’s music sounds like Fela’s. It’s because so much of it does not. That’s the truest realization of his boss/collaborator’s spirit. Fela had no interest in staying put and recreating the past — nor does Allen. Sure, there are some familiar elements — the blaring ensemble horns on some tracks, the steely delivery of his vocals, the burbling funk. And behind it all Allen’s solid-as-Gibraltar pulse that has earned him the nickname the Human Metronome, a completely inadequate moniker that overlooks the colorful complexities of his rhythms and sells short the role he played as the true backbone of Fela’s music…
"Film of Life" encompasses all of that with a vibrancy all its own. Produced by French trio the Jazzbastards, the album sparkles and crackles with unexpected combinations of styles and sounds at every turn. Opener “Moving On” starts at the core: Allen’s mix of interlocking rhythms establishes a foundation to support ultra-funky horns. Next, “Boat Journey” builds with a skittering guitar line and such cinematic touches as dramatic timpani, as Allen speak-singing a cautionary tale warning those “running away from misery” will confront themselves and find “double misery.”
“Tiger’s Skip,” co-written by Albarn and featuring him on melodica, has some of the dub atmosphere the British artist has used with Gorillaz. “Ewa” is almost a jazzy ‘70s film soundtrack, an intricate construction spiked by Vincent Taeger’s vibes. “Go Back” features Albarn on vocals in an introspective soul turn. “Ire Omo” brings in female singers Adunni and Nefretiti for a classic Afrobeat sound.
Each song reveals something new, something unexpected. Each listen shows more layers and depth. Tony Allen could easily get by on his past achievements, but with this album he reaches new peaks — his “Film of Life” still being made.”
Film of Life is out now! Amazon: http://ow.ly/D89tq iTunes: http://ow.ly/D89xF

Tuesday Reviewsday: Danay Suarez, Saul Hernandez, Daniel Lanois and more - KPCC Take Two

"Femi and Seun Kuti, the eldest and youngest sons of late Nigerian Afrobeat king Fela Kuti, are generally seen as heirs to their father’s crown. Nothing against them — they’ve both been making fine music and putting their stamps on the funky, fiery sounds. But with his new album, "Film of Life," drummer Tony Allen makes a strong case that the title is his.

Of course, given that he’s 74, it’s hard to tag him as an inheritor of anything. Having been at Fela’s side both before and during the revolution that was Afrobeat in the ‘60s and ‘70s, having been one of the key figures in that revolution, Allen today stands at the top of the form’s royal family.

It’s not because Allen’s music sounds like Fela’s. It’s because so much of it does not. That’s the truest realization of his boss/collaborator’s spirit. Fela had no interest in staying put and recreating the past — nor does Allen. Sure, there are some familiar elements — the blaring ensemble horns on some tracks, the steely delivery of his vocals, the burbling funk. And behind it all Allen’s solid-as-Gibraltar pulse that has earned him the nickname the Human Metronome, a completely inadequate moniker that overlooks the colorful complexities of his rhythms and sells short the role he played as the true backbone of Fela’s music…

"Film of Life" encompasses all of that with a vibrancy all its own. Produced by French trio the Jazzbastards, the album sparkles and crackles with unexpected combinations of styles and sounds at every turn. Opener “Moving On” starts at the core: Allen’s mix of interlocking rhythms establishes a foundation to support ultra-funky horns. Next, “Boat Journey” builds with a skittering guitar line and such cinematic touches as dramatic timpani, as Allen speak-singing a cautionary tale warning those “running away from misery” will confront themselves and find “double misery.”

“Tiger’s Skip,” co-written by Albarn and featuring him on melodica, has some of the dub atmosphere the British artist has used with Gorillaz. “Ewa” is almost a jazzy ‘70s film soundtrack, an intricate construction spiked by Vincent Taeger’s vibes. “Go Back” features Albarn on vocals in an introspective soul turn. “Ire Omo” brings in female singers Adunni and Nefretiti for a classic Afrobeat sound.

Each song reveals something new, something unexpected. Each listen shows more layers and depth. Tony Allen could easily get by on his past achievements, but with this album he reaches new peaks — his “Film of Life” still being made.”

Film of Life is out now! Amazon: http://ow.ly/D89tq iTunes: http://ow.ly/D89xF

(via Jazz at the SJCC | Summit Jewish Community Center)
Next month, Catherine Russell returns to the US and performs at Jazz at the SJCC in Summit, NJ on November 15! 
Catherine will also play Mountain Stage in Charleston, WV on November 23! http://ow.ly/D3V3w

(via Jazz at the SJCC | Summit Jewish Community Center)

Next month, Catherine Russell returns to the US and performs at Jazz at the SJCC in Summit, NJ on November 15! 

Catherine will also play Mountain Stage in Charleston, WV on November 23! http://ow.ly/D3V3w

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) is on tour next month! Check out their schedule: http://ow.ly/D3lIV Get Book One on Amazon: http://ow.ly/D3nHO 
11/7-8 - Apollo Theater - New York, NY11/13 - House of Blues New Orleans, LA11/16 - Zellerbach Hall - Cal Performances - Berkeley, CA11/18 - Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts - Davis, CA11/21 - Lancaster Performing Arts Center - Lancaster, CA11/22 - Valley Performing Arts Center - Northridge, CA11/23 - Copley Symphony Hall - San Diego, CA

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) is on tour next month! Check out their schedule: http://ow.ly/D3lIV Get Book One on Amazon: http://ow.ly/D3nHO 

11/7-8 - Apollo Theater - New York, NY
11/13 - House of Blues New Orleans, LA
11/16 - Zellerbach Hall - Cal Performances - Berkeley, CA
11/18 - Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts - Davis, CA
11/21 - Lancaster Performing Arts Center - Lancaster, CA
11/22 - Valley Performing Arts Center - Northridge, CA
11/23 - Copley Symphony Hall - San Diego, CA
(via Ahmad Jamal – Featuring Yusef Lateef: Live at the Olympia)
"…This enormous set is practically the next best thing to a small boxed set as it contains a generous helping of music both on CD and on DVD. The music on CD was all recorded on June 27, 2012—one day—that speaks volumes for the youthful energy of the pianist, now over eighty years old. The videos of the songs were recorded at the same time and later edited into this seamlessly beautiful film. If the musicians all draw attention to themselves for their soaring virtuosity the central character remains Ahmad Jamal, who draws not only the musicians but the appreciative audience to himself. Upon reflection it is possible to describe this package as one of the finest of Mr. Jamal’s music made in the decades since he has been performing, hence the belief that the pianist has turned, like a rare vintage, more exquisite with age. It contains over 10 of his recordings; the most popular works of the pianist, each of which is well represented in his catalogue of decades. It is in every one that Ahmad Jamal offers either a benchmark or a version to stand with the very best. To wit, his performances of “The Gypsy” and “Laura” compare with some of Thelonious Monk’s performances of his classic pieces, in the majestic unfolding of themes and the credible dispatch of vaunted arpeggios of the notoriously difficult right hand.
His elementally beautiful version of the chart made famous by Sammy Davis Jr. is among the most exquisite on this repertoire—a miracle of poetry, heady bravura and structural command. And then there is the special guest, the 91-year-old Yusef Lateef who takes the stage and if music could get any more grippingly exciting, then that would be in this CD 2 of this set. The presence of Mr. Lateef makes this a near-mythical set…”
Live at the Olympia is available now on Jazz Village! http://ow.ly/D34Hw

(via Ahmad Jamal – Featuring Yusef Lateef: Live at the Olympia)

"…This enormous set is practically the next best thing to a small boxed set as it contains a generous helping of music both on CD and on DVD. The music on CD was all recorded on June 27, 2012—one day—that speaks volumes for the youthful energy of the pianist, now over eighty years old. The videos of the songs were recorded at the same time and later edited into this seamlessly beautiful film. If the musicians all draw attention to themselves for their soaring virtuosity the central character remains Ahmad Jamal, who draws not only the musicians but the appreciative audience to himself. Upon reflection it is possible to describe this package as one of the finest of Mr. Jamal’s music made in the decades since he has been performing, hence the belief that the pianist has turned, like a rare vintage, more exquisite with age. It contains over 10 of his recordings; the most popular works of the pianist, each of which is well represented in his catalogue of decades. It is in every one that Ahmad Jamal offers either a benchmark or a version to stand with the very best. To wit, his performances of “The Gypsy” and “Laura” compare with some of Thelonious Monk’s performances of his classic pieces, in the majestic unfolding of themes and the credible dispatch of vaunted arpeggios of the notoriously difficult right hand.

His elementally beautiful version of the chart made famous by Sammy Davis Jr. is among the most exquisite on this repertoire—a miracle of poetry, heady bravura and structural command. And then there is the special guest, the 91-year-old Yusef Lateef who takes the stage and if music could get any more grippingly exciting, then that would be in this CD 2 of this set. The presence of Mr. Lateef makes this a near-mythical set…”

Live at the Olympia is available now on Jazz Village! http://ow.ly/D34Hw

Divine Catherine Russell - Sortir 54 - Est Republicain
"La fille de Luis a évidemment de qui tenir ! Généreuse, légère, parfois émouvante, tout le temps pétillante, Catherine Russell a fait voyager La Manufacture, hier soir, pour la clôture du 41e Nancy Jazz Pulsations. Un voyage musical dans cet univers jazz, allant des années 20 à nos jours et dans lequel l’Américaine impose son swing acoustique réjouissant qui fait du bien !…"
Praise for Catherine Russell at Nancy Jazz Pulsations in France!

Divine Catherine Russell - Sortir 54 - Est Republicain

"La fille de Luis a évidemment de qui tenir ! Généreuse, légère, parfois émouvante, tout le temps pétillante, Catherine Russell a fait voyager La Manufacture, hier soir, pour la clôture du 41e Nancy Jazz Pulsations. Un voyage musical dans cet univers jazz, allant des années 20 à nos jours et dans lequel l’Américaine impose son swing acoustique réjouissant qui fait du bien !…"

Praise for Catherine Russell at Nancy Jazz Pulsations in France!

(via Tony Allen returns with Film of Life » Something You Said Something You Said)
"…“Film of life” is Allen’s tenth album and features a cast of world class musicians including Albarn who plays Melodica on “Tiger Skip” and co-wrote and performed “Go Back”. The album brings together bebop, afrobeat jazz and psychedelic pop. Allen entrusted the production to a trio of young French musicians known as The Jazzbastard having heard their work with Malian rapper Oxmo Puccino and Canadian-Haitian singer Melissa Laveaux. The result is a stunning long-lasting album with a rich, varied, Technicolor soundscape. On the opener “Moving On” Allen recalls each of his previous albums depicting his spirit of endurance and powers of reinvention. Elsewhere on “The Boat Journey” and “Go Back”, Allen explores themes of exile and displacement whilst “Ire Omo”, “Koko Dance” and “Insider” pay homage to Africa and its rich cultural and spiritual heritage.
The album is a great addition to an already amazing career and it is impressive that even after all these years Allen is still innovating and not simply sitting back on his laurels.”

(via Tony Allen returns with Film of Life » Something You Said Something You Said)

"…“Film of life” is Allen’s tenth album and features a cast of world class musicians including Albarn who plays Melodica on “Tiger Skip” and co-wrote and performed “Go Back”. The album brings together bebop, afrobeat jazz and psychedelic pop. Allen entrusted the production to a trio of young French musicians known as The Jazzbastard having heard their work with Malian rapper Oxmo Puccino and Canadian-Haitian singer Melissa Laveaux. The result is a stunning long-lasting album with a rich, varied, Technicolor soundscape. On the opener “Moving On” Allen recalls each of his previous albums depicting his spirit of endurance and powers of reinvention. Elsewhere on “The Boat Journey” and “Go Back”, Allen explores themes of exile and displacement whilst “Ire Omo”, “Koko Dance” and “Insider” pay homage to Africa and its rich cultural and spiritual heritage.

The album is a great addition to an already amazing career and it is impressive that even after all these years Allen is still innovating and not simply sitting back on his laurels.”

(via Sandra Nkaké bewitches with Bowie and Simone at ReVoice!)
"Arguably the unknown quantity at this year’s edition of Georgia Mancio’s excellent ReVoice! Festival, French singer Sandra Nkaké also has an uncommon stage presence. With a high auburn Mohawk figure, black halterneck and red trainers she recalls both the heyday of Neneh Cherry and Grace Jones, and certainly has much of the theatrical, choreographic prowess of the latter. Although stationed behind a keyboard-sampler with duo partner Jerome Dru, who also has the same electronic hardware as well as a flute, Nkaké extends long arms, tilts head and raises shoulder to visually underscore many of the songs and generally looks as much like an actress singing a script as a singer evoking the ways of an actress.
Interesting as this visual element is it in no way overshadows the wonder of Nkaké ’s voice, which has a weighty, full-bodied tone and an operatic upper register in which notes are thinned out and embroidered into existence like lengths of ornate silk. Generously, the singer gives a lot of space to Dru who takes several smart solos on the delicate woodwind instrument, often floating upwards in sync with Nkaké’s voice. Among the original songs an untitled improvisation at the close of the evening is memorable but it is the string of covers that takes up the bulk of the set that really hits home. David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ is a touch on the flashy-cheesy side but enjoyable; Nina Simone’s ‘Four Women’ is harrowing and uplifting in equal measure; The Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’ slightly camp fun as the singer-keyboardists tuck into the slow moving backbeat with aplomb…”
Nkaké’s Nothing for Granted on Jazz Village is on iTunes: http://ow.ly/CWINA Amazon: http://ow.ly/CWIUx

(via Sandra Nkaké bewitches with Bowie and Simone at ReVoice!)

"Arguably the unknown quantity at this year’s edition of Georgia Mancio’s excellent ReVoice! Festival, French singer Sandra Nkaké also has an uncommon stage presence. With a high auburn Mohawk figure, black halterneck and red trainers she recalls both the heyday of Neneh Cherry and Grace Jones, and certainly has much of the theatrical, choreographic prowess of the latter. Although stationed behind a keyboard-sampler with duo partner Jerome Dru, who also has the same electronic hardware as well as a flute, Nkaké extends long arms, tilts head and raises shoulder to visually underscore many of the songs and generally looks as much like an actress singing a script as a singer evoking the ways of an actress.

Interesting as this visual element is it in no way overshadows the wonder of Nkaké ’s voice, which has a weighty, full-bodied tone and an operatic upper register in which notes are thinned out and embroidered into existence like lengths of ornate silk. Generously, the singer gives a lot of space to Dru who takes several smart solos on the delicate woodwind instrument, often floating upwards in sync with Nkaké’s voice. Among the original songs an untitled improvisation at the close of the evening is memorable but it is the string of covers that takes up the bulk of the set that really hits home. David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ is a touch on the flashy-cheesy side but enjoyable; Nina Simone’s ‘Four Women’ is harrowing and uplifting in equal measure; The Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’ slightly camp fun as the singer-keyboardists tuck into the slow moving backbeat with aplomb…”

Nkaké’s Nothing for Granted on Jazz Village is on iTunes: http://ow.ly/CWINA Amazon: http://ow.ly/CWIUx

(via Moondog interview- Perfect Sound Forever)
For throwback Thursday, here’s an interview from 1998 with Moondog (Louis Thomas Hardin), whose music is celebrated on the new album Perpetual Motionby Sylvain Rifflet & Jon Irabagon!Perpetual Motion is out now on iTunes: http://ow.ly/CT1Jg Amazon: http://ow.ly/CT214 

(via Moondog interview- Perfect Sound Forever)

For throwback Thursday, here’s an interview from 1998 with Moondog (Louis Thomas Hardin), whose music is celebrated on the new album Perpetual Motionby Sylvain Rifflet & Jon Irabagon!

Perpetual Motion is out now on iTunes: http://ow.ly/CT1Jg Amazon: http://ow.ly/CT214 

Ahmad Jamal livens up Chicago Symphony Orchestra at 84 - The Columbia Chronicle
"…Ahmad Jamal may have been sitting behind a piano for more than 60 years, but he has been able to keep that half-century fresh and inventive. Jamal, now 84, opened the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Jazz Series on Oct. 10, showing the audience in his “second home” that he has still got it.
After coming out on stage to an adoring crowd, Jamal took his place behind the Symphony Orchestra’s concert grand piano, joining his quartet. The quartet, which consisted of Jamal, Herlin Riley on drums, percussionist Manolo Badrena and Reginald Veal on bass, lead off with a reworked version of “Autumn Rain” from Jamal’s 2012 release, Blue Moon. The song showcases Jamal’s virtuosity as a piano player, kicking off with the sporadic rumblings of Thelonious Monk and transitioning into the melodic yet spatial palette of modal jazz that Jamal is known for…
The quartet went onto to play Jamal’s version of Duke Ellington’s “I’ve Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” from Jamal’s 2013 album, Saturday Morning. With the familiar tones of a popular tune, the audience moved with the music in the way that can only be done with jazz, with Jamal leading them along with the traditional chords, inflecting a taste of his own stylings on Ellington’s song.
The quartet closed the show to a standing ovation having only played Jamal’s newer material, but the audience did not let him off that hook that easy. A few moments after exiting the stage, the quartet resumed their places, Jamal thanked the crowd for the applause, then took his seat and went into what is perhaps his best know track outside of his die hard fans, “Poinciana,” which he first recorded at the Pershing Hotel in Chicago 56 years ago…”

Ahmad Jamal livens up Chicago Symphony Orchestra at 84 - The Columbia Chronicle

"…Ahmad Jamal may have been sitting behind a piano for more than 60 years, but he has been able to keep that half-century fresh and inventive. Jamal, now 84, opened the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Jazz Series on Oct. 10, showing the audience in his “second home” that he has still got it.

After coming out on stage to an adoring crowd, Jamal took his place behind the Symphony Orchestra’s concert grand piano, joining his quartet. The quartet, which consisted of Jamal, Herlin Riley on drums, percussionist Manolo Badrena and Reginald Veal on bass, lead off with a reworked version of “Autumn Rain” from Jamal’s 2012 release, Blue Moon. The song showcases Jamal’s virtuosity as a piano player, kicking off with the sporadic rumblings of Thelonious Monk and transitioning into the melodic yet spatial palette of modal jazz that Jamal is known for…

The quartet went onto to play Jamal’s version of Duke Ellington’s “I’ve Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” from Jamal’s 2013 album, Saturday Morning. With the familiar tones of a popular tune, the audience moved with the music in the way that can only be done with jazz, with Jamal leading them along with the traditional chords, inflecting a taste of his own stylings on Ellington’s song.

The quartet closed the show to a standing ovation having only played Jamal’s newer material, but the audience did not let him off that hook that easy. A few moments after exiting the stage, the quartet resumed their places, Jamal thanked the crowd for the applause, then took his seat and went into what is perhaps his best know track outside of his die hard fans, “Poinciana,” which he first recorded at the Pershing Hotel in Chicago 56 years ago…”

(via A&M Consolidated choral students to perform with Grammy-winning Swingle Singers - The Eagle: Local News)
"Students in the A&M Consolidated choral program get the chance to perform three songs with Grammy Award-winning a cappella group The Swingle Singers on Thursday [tonight] at 7:30 p.m. in Rudder Theatre.
The performance is the first of the 2014-15 Intimate Gatherings Series, presented by OPAS. In addition to the concert, The Swingle Singers will also work with students in the high school choral programs of College Station, Rudder and Bryan as part of an OPAS in-school residency program. The a cappella group celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The ever-changing members of the group travel the world performing classical, jazz, Latin, folk and pop music — all using just their voices. Besides winning five Grammy Awards, the group has released 50 recordings, including some original music. Tickets are $42 for students and $50 for regular admission.”

(via A&M Consolidated choral students to perform with Grammy-winning Swingle Singers - The Eagle: Local News)

"Students in the A&M Consolidated choral program get the chance to perform three songs with Grammy Award-winning a cappella group The Swingle Singers on Thursday [tonight] at 7:30 p.m. in Rudder Theatre.

The performance is the first of the 2014-15 Intimate Gatherings Series, presented by OPAS.

In addition to the concert, The Swingle Singers will also work with students in the high school choral programs of College Station, Rudder and Bryan as part of an OPAS in-school residency program.

The a cappella group celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The ever-changing members of the group travel the world performing classical, jazz, Latin, folk and pop music — all using just their voices.

Besides winning five Grammy Awards, the group has released 50 recordings, including some original music.

Tickets are $42 for students and $50 for regular admission.”