Monday, December 20, 2010
What You See is DEBORAH JORDAN's followup to her the brilliant "THE LIGHT" debut. What You See features 14 tracks (incl. 3 remixes). Smooth and soulful vocal tracks that float between downtempo, neo soul and nujazz all with her beautiful and distinctive voice as the focus. SIMON S, KIRA NERIS, MARC RAPSON, and more guest. Tracks Include "If I", "Love From The Sun", "What You See", "Observe", "Escape", "Deeper", "Relax", "See The Light", "Butterfly" and "Rise". Also includes a trio of remixes: "Want It Back (Marc Rapson Remix)", "Nothing Lasts (Rise Remix)" and "Slipping Away (Ty Macklin Remix).
Click Here To Preview Album Tracks
Deborah Jordan's "Slipping Away" Bello's Jazz Rework
Thursday, November 18, 2010
James Yancey, better known as J Dilla was born in Detroit. His work as a producer has a defining role in Hip Hop. He produced hits for A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Common, Erykah Badu and Janet Jackson. At 32 he passed away in Los Angeles in the care of his mother, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey of a lupus related illness. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson pays tribute to Dilla by interpreting his music for a 60-piece orchestra featuring special guests Bilal, Dwele, Posdnuos, Talib Kweli, Karriem Riggins and more. This premiere performance left many in the sold out crowd in tears.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
A consummate artist, the always-inspired Floacist recorded Floetic Soul as if she was on a cosmic musical mission. She recorded 16 songs over 12 days! The result is an incredibly rich album that shows off the many sides of her mind-blowing artistry as a composer, singer, poet, lyricist, and producer. Her willingness and freedom to express herself in various musical contexts is refreshing. A testament to her talent is the caliber of artists she has surrounded herself with on her new CD. Joining forces with the mesmerizing wordsmith, is a stellar line up of guests including soul crooners Musiq Soulchild and Raheem DeVaughn, singer Lalah Hathaway and producers JR Hutson (Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild) and Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis (George Clinton, Kim Burrell, Will Downing) and FREE SUM Music Company, The Floacist's very own production outfit.
Blessed with the gift of communication and ability to enrapture the crowd in her spellbinding flow and magnetic aura, ‘The Floacist’ spins stories of love, lessons learned, conflict and resolution, anthems of personal growth and affirmations of positivity into a tapestry of soulful hymns, infectious hip hop grooves and seductive R&B hooks. Floetic Soul is a deeply personal project for ‘The Floacist’ whose music is soulful, sensual, honest, passionate and introspective. “Floetic Soul is a reflection of the woman that I am, both musically and personally,” confides the 30-something renaissance woman. “It is quite obvious that there have been some major changes that have occurred since the last time that I last released any material. I hope that the peace that I feel within my soul is apparent in my music. It would please my heart greatly for my magnificent fans to take away an understanding that change can be a beauty-filled thing, as long as it is embraced with grace!”
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
"Authenticity" is the 3rd full-length from indie-soul duo The Foreign Exchange.
Picking up where their 2008 Grammy-nominated "Leave It All Behind" set left off, "Authenticity" is the group's most diverse work to date, with a tight, 11-track song cycle spanning the duo's trademark brand of lush electronic soul, to stripped down acoustic pieces that recall the heyday of 70's singer-songwriter driven folk.
Lead single "Maybe She'll Dream Of Me" is a playful, synth-driven hip-hop groove featuring a rapped verse from Phonte that evokes the band's "Connected" era, while the epic opener "The Last Fall" finds Phonte singing some of his most cynical lyrics to date ("Love is at worst an excuse/at best it's a truce...") over a frenzied Nicolay production jammed with layers of strings, guitars, and dense choral harmonies.
"I think every band reaches that point when they come into their own and find a sound that is distinctively theirs," says Phonte in reference to the album's title. "The title refers to me and Nic's journey to find our own unique space within this vast musical landscape. The biggest challenge as a musician is to find that 'thing' that makes you who you are. But I think we're getting there, and we're finding our way more and more with each record."
Featuring guest appearances from longtime contributors YahZarah, Darien Brockington, Zo! and Median, and also relative newcomers Chantae Cann and Jesse Boykins III, "Authenticity" hits stores 10/12 on +FE Music.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
The Strange Games series...which began in the summer of 1997, represents the blueprint for modern R&B and rap music. It joins the dots between 70's soul, 80's rare groove and 90's mass market hip hop. This compilation contains a wide variety of styles of tracks, from classic dance-floor fillers as well as lesser known delights. A more accessible diggers delight if you wish with an emphasis on quality tracks and not just songs worth having for a 2 second sample. Featuring a much more worldly selection than its predecessors - tracks by the multi platinum selling WAR to Sylvia (founder of Sugarhill Records) sit side by side with world music underground icons like C.K. Mann and Francisco Aguabella. This volume is the 5th in a series of compilations that appears to have the widest appeal of all BBE's compilations and proves to be even better by the fact that there is a bonus mixed CD by the one and only DJ Spinna!
01. Ned Doheny – Get It Up for Love
02. Sylvia – Sweet Stuff
03. The Ambassadors – I Ain’t Got The Love (Of One Girl On My Mind)
04. Richard Evans feat. Linda Williams – Capricorn Rising
05. Starvue – Body Fusion
06. Sylvia St James – Motherland
07. The Soul Searchers – Ashley’s Roachclip
08. Willie Hale – Groove On
09. Eddy Senay – Cameo
10. SSO – Faded Lady
11. Cal Tjader – Morning
12. Francisco Aguabella – Ramon’s Desire
13. The Philly Armada Orchestra – For The Love Of Money
14. Family Tree feat. Sharon Brown – Family Tree
15. The Perfect Circle – The Hands Of Time
16. WAR – War Is Coming, War Is Coming
17. Hiroshi Fukumura – Hunt Up Wind
18. Wood Brass And Steel – Always There
19. C.K. Mann & His Carousel 7 – Asafo Beesuon / Obaa Yaa Aye Me Bone (Medley) Edit
20. Merry Clayton – Gimme Shelter
21. Bill Summers – Bra! zilian S kies
Strange Games and Funky Things 5 - Mix by DJ Spinna by MemeMagazine
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Cusp is the third album from Robert Mitchell’s Panacea and the group’s first on EDITION RECORDS. The Cusp is a negotiation of vision and territory. It’s not a facile carving out of ground in an already overcrowded market-place. For pianist and composer Robert Mitchell it’s a matter of securing a space for a highly personal aesthetic. Panacea was the Greek goddess of medicine and cures. In Mitchell’s world the healing finds its expression in song.
The Cusp is the sharp intake of breath before you reply. The title track with fine Fender Rhodes and lyrics from Mitchell and spoken word from HKB Finn cries out for social and ecological transformation while finding solace in the emotional renewal that comes from parenthood. Aura’s angular strings and piano auger a lyric that calls for the transcending of all those things that divide us, not just racially, ethnically or sexually but interpersonally as well, while Mio Inamorato with just voice and piano is about the determination to rescue a relationship gone stale. These songs are an antidote to rock bombast, the misogyny and misandry of R&B and the tired reliance on the Great American Songbook. Hardly surprising then that Mitchell finds inspiration for his adult themes and concerns in the lyrics of such diverse and distinctive writers as Prince, Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout and singer Norma Winstone.
The Cusp is simultaneously modern jazz and contemporary soul music. In Mitchell’s piano one hears echoes of the harmonies of Bill Evans and the warm, Caribbean melodies of Andrew Hill, while his skilled deployment of strings suggests the intriguing influence of European art music. In the gentle and expressive tones of singer Deborah Jordan, Mitchell has found the perfect voice for his words of healing, while his rhythm team move between jazz, rock and soul with accomplished ease.
You will hear nothing else like The Cusp this year. Literate, articulate and authoritative – The Cusp is a work of pride, integrity and remarkable maturity.
Conya Doss has been busy burning the midnight oil composing and arranging music for this dazzling, well-crafted 2010 album that sets the tone for what lies ahead. Her unabashedly emotional fifth studio album Blu Transition, with Blu being the name of her newborn son, is not only a collection of words set to music, it is a gift; an energy exchange that reflects the duality of love and pain. It’s an anointed story. It’s one of endurance, but more importantly it is about life being full of unexpected moments with both tragedies (death) and triumphs (birth).
With a refreshingly crisp and remarkable vocal range, as well as sparse yet beautiful instrumentation, Conya Doss has found success in simplicity. Blu Transition continues in Doss’ brilliant delivery of sweet, supple and heartfelt lyrics but she plunges deep into a bluesy-jazz vibe with spiritual undertones reminiscent of a 70’s sound in both harmony and mood. The music carries a laid-back, earthy quality that features various moments; from truly moving and haunting to a rootsy reflection of where the singer has come from with messages steeped in love, risk-taking, rejection and heartbreak. Composing yet another intricately crafted and cohesive body of work that illuminates her unequaled musicianship.
Blu Transition stretches Doss once again to express herself to the bare bones, this time around in impressive varieties of vocal styles. On the single “Best Thing” we find the songbird flying high in a falsetto tone while dipping low into baritone territory on “Wi Fi.” Doss is most poignant on the records that expose her soul, acknowledging what her life has been like since her last album. “All In You”, “Celebrate” and “Never Be The Same” are sure to overwhelmingly echo the sentiment of fans, newcomers and singers alike that will qualify them as classics. Each note she parts her lips to sing, Doss sets free a pure tone that moves you through lifetimes, which is like a light bulb turning on in one’s head; a gentle reminder that there are other people to consider in life besides oneself.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Musical powerhouses John Legend & The Roots' fiery new offering, Wake Up!, features soulful music from the 60's and 70's all with an underlying theme of awareness, engagement and consciousness — effectively telling listeners to Wake Up!
Inspired by the recent historical Presidential election campaign of 2008, Legend and The Roots felt a need to enter the action. What started as plans for a single quickly developed into a passionate album representing change, hope and activism — not only referencing one particular moment in time, but on a larger scale, holding true no matter what the political climate may be.
The resulting album features eleven profoundly evocative songs infused with sounds of gospel, rock and reggae inflections with hip hop influences. The album is highlighted by familiar tracks like "Wholly Holy" by Marvin Gaye and "Little Ghetto Boy" by Donny Hathaway mixed with the more obscure selections of Baby Huey and the Babysitters' "Hard Times," and "Hang on in There" by Mike James Kirkland.
"These songs sound so relevant now," Legend says. "On most of them, you wouldn't change a lyric. "Wake Up Everybody" (the album's first single, featuring contributions from Melanie Fiona and Common) has four verses—the first one is a general statement, the second is about education, third is about health care, and the fourth is about making a better environment. No editing needed."
The album features one original composition, Legend's song "Shine," which is featured in Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim's upcoming documentary film Waiting for Superman. The song, a "Stevie-Wonder-meets-gospel" stunner, clearly demonstrates the strengths of this specific group of musicians. Wake Up! blends Legend's expressive, thoughtful vocal interpretations with an element of funk that only The Roots can provide.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Grammy-nominated musical artist Bilal (Philadelphia, PA) returns with his third studio album, Airtight's
Revenge, which will be released September 14th through Plug Research Music and distributed through The Orchard. A provocative genre-bending album that dissects love, politics and relationships, Airtight's Revenge demonstrates the Philly-bred singer's growth as an artist. 'It's a mix of jazz, hip-hop, soul, blues, and experimental free music,' says Bilal. The differences in economical social classes inspired the track 'Robots,' which scrutinizes societal and governmental effects on people. After watching the 2007 documentary, 'Zeitgeist: The Movie,' Bilal wrote 'Who Are You.' 'Of all religions, I drive to be human,' says Bilal. At the end of the day, we are all one. We need to connect with the spiritual side of ourselves; we don't need to inflict that on others. It's OK to have free thought. 'Little Ones,' a smooth track with a soulful sound is
dedicated to his sons. 'My youngest son has Sickle Cell and my oldest son has Autism. This song is for them,' stated Bilal. Steve McKie (Jill Scott, Estelle, Kindred, Vivian Green) co-produced the album with Bilal, recorded in Philadelphia, Virginia and Los Angeles. The album also features production by Nottz (Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Drake), 88 Keys (Mos Def, Macy Gray, Musiq Soulchild), Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra and Tone Whitefield.
What a frequency What a voice.. I love Bilal.. I couldn't imagine a music world without his voice. --Erykah Badu
I have a very conected history with Bilal.. I heard his demo years ago.. I heard all of the magic
instantly.. He's a master at interpretation of song. --Q-Tip
Bilal is hands down one of the greatest specimens of voice in post-modern hip-hop culture. --Questlove
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding opened her 2008 Heads Up debut, Esperanza, with a Milton Nascimento cover (“Ponta de Areia”) and she hasn’t looked back. On August 17, Spalding returns with Chamber Music Society. Backed by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Leo Genovese – and inspired by the classical training of her younger years – Esperanza creates a modern chamber music group that combines the spontaneity and intrigue of improvisation with sweet and angular string trio arrangements. The result is a sound that weaves the innovative elements of jazz, folk and world music into the enduring foundations of classical music.
“So much of my early musical experience was spent playing chamber music on the violin, and it’s a form of music that I’ve always loved,” says Esperanza. “I was very inspired by a lot of classical music, and chamber music in particular. I’m intrigued by the concept of intimate works that can be played and experienced among friends in an intimate setting. So I decided to create my version of contemporary chamber music, and add one more voice to that rich history.”
Co-produced by Esperanza and Gil Goldstein, Chamber Music Society surrounds Esperanza with a diverse assembly of musicians. At the core are pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and percussionist Quintino Cinalli. The string trio is comprised of violinist Entcho Todorov, violist Lois Martin, cellist David Eggar and Gretchen Parlato on voice. The great Milton Nascimento also makes a guest appearance on one track.
Chamber Music Society is the first of two current Esperanza projects. Radio Music Society, set for release in the spring of 2011, features an exciting new repertoire of funk, hip-hop, and rock elements fused into songs that are free from genre.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
SunStorm is the latest album from Detroit-area born, DC-area based producer/multi-instrumentalist Zo!
Best known for his 2008 collaboration with Phonte on the cult classic "Zo and Tigallo Love the 80's" as well as his work on The Foreign Exchange's Grammy-nominated LP, "Leave It All Behind," 'SunStorm" is an extensive 12-track set that shows the ever-expanding range and depth of Zo! and the entire Foreign Exchange Music family.
Indie soul siren and American Idol vocalist Sy Smith serves up a slice of 70's soul on the breezy "Greatest Weapon Of All Time," and Lady Alma, a Philly veteran and stalwart of the UK house scene, takes it to the dance floor on the frenetic "Free Your Mind." The album's lead single, "This Could Be The Night," features Darien Brockington, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Eric Roberson, and Rapper Big Pooh of Little Brother over a thumping two-step groove specifically intended for the 'steppers' of Zo's native Detroit. Another highlight is the Phonte-assisted "Flight Of The Blackbyrd," Zo's heartfelt homage to the 70's jazz/funk fusion of The Mizell Bros. and George Duke.
Friday, June 18, 2010
To call it "long-awaited" or "eagerly anticipated" would be the understatement of the year - as hip-hop's most daring pioneers The Roots release their 9th studio album (and third for Def Jam Recordings) on June 22nd, HOW I GOT OVER. The album, which takes its name from Clara Ward's gospel classic (made popular by Mahalia Jackson), is the Roots' first new release since joining Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for a full time gig as the show's house band.
Grammy Award winners the Roots characterize the songs on HOW I GOT OVER as "depicting the everyman's search for hope in this dispiriting post-hope zeitgeist". The lead single from the Roots new set will be "Dear God 2.0." The track re-imagines the Monsters Of Folk song "Dear God" and features MOF members Yim Yames from My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes and M. Ward.
HOW I GOT OVER also includes two appearances from Grammy-winning soul man John Legend: "Doin' It Again" a re-working of his track "Again," and "The Fire," an original song written for the Roots' 2010 Olympic concert performance.
Other guests on HIGO include Joanna Newsom on "Right On," Phonte Coleman (Little Brother, The Foreign Exchange), Blu (Blu & Exile), Peedi Peedi , Mercedes Martinez, Icelandic alt-pop singer Patty Crash, newcomer Sugar Tongue Slim as well as long time Roots' Crew members Dice Raw, Truck North and P.O.R.N.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Critically acclaimed R&B vocalist YahZarah returns with her long-awaited album The Ballad of Purple Saint James, dropping May 4 on The Foreign Exchange Music. The 13-track set, overseen by Grammy-nominated production duo Nicolay and Phonte of The Foreign Exchange, represents her brightest, most complete work to date.
"It feels good to put our combined talents, efforts, and resources behind an artist that so deserves to be heard," says Nicolay. "I couldn't be more proud of The Ballad..."
YahZarah, a singer-songwriter who first made her mark as a background singer for Erykah Badu, has spent the past few years touring in support of her albums "Hear Me" (2001), "Blackstar" (2003), and 2008's "The Prelude." She worked on "The Ballad..." independently for a number of years before reaching out to Phonte (a longtime friend and fellow NC Central music student), and finally selecting +FE Music as her label home.
"YahZarah is the best singer I personally know, and for years it's been my dream to produce her, " says Phonte. "My goal was to take her vast repertoire of melodic influences, and combine it with material that allowed her voice to really shine."
Clocking in at under an hour, "The Ballad..." showcases YahZarah's rich soprano in a variety of musical settings. The new wave bounce of the first single "Why Dontcha Call Me No More" evokes Pat Benatar, while the throwback synth funk of "Change Your Mind" suggests Solar Records in its heyday. Highlighting YahZarah's classical jazz training is "Shadow," a stunning Zo!-produced piece that features her backed solely by piano and a haunting orchestral arrangement.
In addition to production by The Foreign Exchange, "The Ballad..." also includes contributions from TheRealFocus...(Marsha Ambrosius, Raphael Saddiq), Nate Smith (Michael Jackson), Steve McKie (Jill Scott, Bilal), and guest appearances from Jaspects, drummer Lil' John Roberts, and singer Darien Brockington.
"Completing 'The Ballad...' with Phonte and Nicolay allowed me an opportunity to return back to the joy of making music and to create a project that is sexy, fearless, beautiful and sincere," says YahZarah. "This work is a true reflection of me."
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Erykah Badu will release her sixth studio album, New Amerykah, Part II: Return of the Ankh, March 30th on Universal Motown. The 38-year-old Dallas born singer says the set is called "Part II" because, unlike 2008's more conscious-driven "New Amerykah Part I: 4th World War," she is "more free and full of life" this time around. "I called it Part II: The Return of the Ankh' because this album is the sister of the left side of my brain - it is the right side," Badu explained during a listening session at New
York City's Chung King Studios.
"Part I was the left side of my thoughts - it was more socially political and my thought process was more analytical. This time there wasn't anything to be concerned with - the album is more emotional and flowy and talks about feelings. It reminds of the days of Baduizm' - this is just about beats and rhymes in a cipher." Tracks like "Window Seat," featuring The Roots' ?uestlove on the drums and James Poyser on piano, finds Badu requesting "a window seat...I don't want nobody next to me," over drums and claps. Meanwhile, she questions "What did I do to make you fall so far from me?" atop keyboard riffs on the 9th Wonder-produced "20 Feet Tall." On the banjo-laden "Don't Be Long," Badu pleads her lover to return soon although she understands "you gotta get your hustle on." She taps into her inner B-girl and pays homage to the Notorious B.I.G. on tracks like "Get Money," which features elements of the Junior M.A.F.I.A. feat. Notorious B.I.G. track of the same title, and "Incense," on which she harmonizes the Biggie lyrics, "there's gonna be a lot of slow singing and flower bringing if my burglar alarm starts ringing," over a beat reminiscent of Alicia Keys' "Unbreakable." Some of the other stand-out tracks include "Fall In Love," the harp-heavy "Out of My Mind Just in Time (Part I) (Undercover Over-Lover)," and " Out of My Mind Just In Time (Part 2)," in which she confesses, "I am a recovering undercover over-lover / recovering from a love I can't get over / and now my lover thinks he wants another," over piano strokes. "Jump In The Air" was slated to appear on the album, but parts of it leaked on the Internet last week, and as a result Badu is unsure whether she will include it on the set. "If anything leaks, I won't put out this album," she said about potential future leaks. "I worked too hard for that to happen." The track is said to feature nine MCs, including her son Seven's father, rapper Andre 3000, and Lil Wayne.
During the past six years, Badu, who has been working on this album since the release of "Worldwide Underground" in 2003, has recorded over 50 songs for "Part II." She hopes to release an already completed album titled Low Down shortly after this release. New Amerykah Part I has sold 359,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.