Drummer Herlin Riley moves in ‘new direction’ with project

rileySince coming of age in the nurturing environment of a very musical family and a distinguished bloodline of drummers, New Orleans native Herlin Riley emerged from that most creative era of all things rhythmic in the late ’70s and early ’80s, to enliven the ensembles of such influential and demanding improvisers as pianist Ahmad Jamal and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis through his commanding yet elegant rhythmic presence. His authoritative style of melodic percussion is deeply imbued in the fertile creative soil of the Crescent City, encompassing as it does the entire length and breadth of America’s ongoing musical journey.
Now the release of his debut recording for Mack Avenue Records, Riley’s New Direction (available on Feb. 12) is an engaging, wide-ranging recital that distills a lifetime of experience into a swinging body of new music that defines what a big tent the music of New Orleans has always represented stylistically and spiritually.
This joyous cultural amalgam of Afro-Cuban, jazz and blues speak not just to Riley’s command of all things swinging — from the formative days of Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong — but which evoke, what for want of a better term we might call “the pocket” — those deeply dancing grooves that have nurtured parallel streams of rhythm & blues and funk in the tradition of such great Crescent City drummers as Vernel Fournier, Earl Palmer, Ziggy Modeliste and Idris Muhammad.
“You see,” Riley explains, “New Direction  reflects a personal transition from being a musical associate with the likes of Ahmad and Wynton, to functioning in a leadership capacity, both as a bandleader and a composer. Like Art Blakey, I’m trying to maintain a certain exuberance by using all younger musicians, while helping them develop their own voices. So many great musicians and drummers have come out of New Orleans, and that really defines my personal legacy; I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. But I’ve been playing drums since I was three years old; so, while the title New Direction may suggest new bottles, this is surely some well-aged wine.
“As a boy growing up in New Orleans, way before you heard that big bass drum in the street parades, you could feel it coming from four or five blocks away, and it would literally beckon you to come on down to the street, check out this music, and participate in it. On ‘Connection to Congo Square’ I quote the ‘Reveille’ in my intro. It reflects the melodic nature of how I tune my tom toms and is also a symbolic call to arms, for all the cats from the different neighborhoods to gather ‘round, and participate in this celebration, this collective dialog.”
Well-traveled listeners might hear echoes of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo in the Afro-Cuban celebrations of “The Crossbar” and “Connection To Congo Square.” The down and dirty groove of “Harlem Shuffle” suggests a connection to Benny Golson’s venerable “Killer Joe,” while the title tune (in the person of guest guitarist Mark Whitfield) evokes echoes of George Benson and those classic hard bop and grooving CTI sessions of yesteryear.
So when Riley and his band reference iconic elements of the jazz tradition, listeners might very well smile contentedly in recognition of audible gems with which they are conversant. Nevertheless, throughout New Direction, Riley and company also essay a very personal, original rhythmic signature on visceral, dancing arrangements such as “The Big Banana,” “Herlin’s Hurdle” and “Hiccup Smooth.” As Riley explains it, “in everything I play, there’s some reference from my own personal experience, and while it may not be explicit, it’s all underneath there somewhere.

Mitch’s Muse spotlight: Artist and filmmaker David Lynch on Artsy

David Lynch

David Lynch

If you’re a lover of art, feel free to view and browse the David Lynch page. As specified on his Artsy page, considered among the top living American filmmakers, David Lynch is revered for his singular, mind-bending vision of reality that both entrances and disturbs viewers. Among his best-known feature-length films are Eraserhead (1977); The Elephant Man (1980), a critical and commercial success that launched his career; and Blue Velvet (1986). His famed television series, the surrealistic murder mystery Twin Peaks (1990–91), has been credited with redefining the possibilities of the medium. Lynch is also a painter, singer-songwriter, and avid practitioner of and advocate for transcendental meditation. His work is lush, dark, and often shot through with violence.

Describing his creative process, he once said: “I used to go to well-lit diners, because in a well-lit diner I could sit and think and daydream and I could go to dark places knowing that I could surface in a well-lit, safe place.”

Artsy’s mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. For more information, go to https://www.artsy.net.

Brandon Camphor & OneWay to release “His Name” on Dec. 4

Photo Provided. Brandon Camphor & OneWay

Photo Provided. Brandon Camphor & OneWay

Brandon Camphor & OneWay, has earned its third Billboard Top 30 Gospel AirPlay hit within two years with the new anthem “His Name.” The inspiring song of praise debuted at No. 30 two weeks ago and continues to build momentum at radio. “His Name,” a digital EP featuring a radio edit and a karaoke track, is available for pre-order on iTunes and will officially release to all major digital retailers on Dec. 4.

The group will perform “His Name “ live on the Word Network’s two-hour primetime cable television program “Rejoice in the Word” at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time Dec. 4 (Check local television listings for channel). Fans can also watch the show online at www.thewordnetwork.org during the live broadcast.

A Washington, D.C., area native, Camphor formed OneWay in 2007 with singers Angela Jones, Julia McMillan, and Fred Cleveland. Their debut album “Regeneration” was released in 2009. With Pop-flavored shades of rock and funk, the inspiring songs of faith and worship included fan favorites “It’s Possible (Gotta Have Faith)” and “Bless the Lord.”

The group won Music World Gospel and the Gospel Music Channel’s “The Most Powerful Voices Competition” in 2011 and in 2012, Camphor launched the “Jesus Rock: Live It Loud” college tour that found OneWay touring with Tye Tribbett, Kierra Sheard and Group1Crew. Camphor has also been a soloist on the Grammy Award winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s “Love Lead the Way” and “Pray” albums. In 2014, OneWay hit the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart for the first time with the track “You Are God.” OneWay is now putting the finishing touches on its sophomore album “Hope Is Alive,” tentatively scheduled for a spring 2016 release.

Mitch’s Tuesday night music spotlight: Ken Navarro, “Juliet”

Contemporary smooth jazz guitarist Ken Navarro performs his No. 1 hit single “Juliet” from his 2015 album “Unbreakable Heart.” For more information about Ken, go to http://www.kennavarro.com/.

Jacob Garchik’s ‘Ye Olde’ explores prog rock and faux-medieval influences

(Photo by Peter Gannushkin)

(Photo by Peter Gannushkin) Trombonist/composer/arranger Jacob Garchik with Brooklyn avant guitarists Mary Halvorson, Brandon Seabrook, and Jonathan Goldberger as well as drummer Vinnie Sperrazza.

From trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik comes a fantastical and sublime work of the imagination. Ye Olde is a super band of three of Brooklyn’s baddest guitar heroes, let loose in a fun house, playing ping pong with listeners’ ears: guitarists Mary Halvorson, Brandon Seabrook and Jonathan Goldberger are joined by drummer Vinnie Sperrazza and Garchik on trombone.

Over the past 21 years in New York City, Garchik has created an eclectic career, working with Henry Threadgill, Laurie Anderson, Natalie Merchant, John Hollenbeck, and Lee Konitz; crafting over 50 arrangements as the “in-house”arranger for the Kronos Quartet; leading his award-winning jazz trio; creating his acclaimed solo project The Heavens: The Atheist Gospel Trombone Album; and co-leading Brooklyn’s first Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos.

Ye Olde, his fourth CD, draws from such varied influences as prog rock concept albums, Richard Strauss’s tone poems, and 90s game consoles. Garchik envisions Ye Olde as a “band” of heroes, traversing a Brooklyn that never was, taking part in surreal adventures amidst a landscape of ruined castles/apartment buildings. To help his quest he brings along Mary Halvorson (Anthony Braxton, Marc Ribot’s Sun Ship), Brandon Seabrook (Gerald Cleaver’s Black Host, Ben Allison), Jonathan Goldberger (Red Baraat, Bizingas), Vinnie Sperrazza (James Williams, Stew) and a pile of analog electronics.

 

Mitch’s Commercial Break: Oregami Luggage designed to keep travelers organized

Oregami Luggage

Oregami Luggage

Oregami Luggage launches the first bag in a line of suitcases that makes packing and traveling a breeze.

“Packing is this long, involved process for most people,” says Oregami Luggage President David Kao in a news release. “You plan, you prepare, and then you execute. Even with careful planning, you arrive at your destination and still can’t find anything. We’ve taken that whole system and turned it on its head. We’ve made packing smarter and faster, and less of a hassle.”

The concept came from an awareness of Kao, an avid traveler, skier and cyclist, who just wanted to spend less time prepping for his trips, less time organizing his suitcase and finding items once he got to his destination, and less of a headache once he returned home. Any frequent traveler, especially those with children, can appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into the packing process.

In addition to being easy to pack, Oregami is forging the way with a patent pending internal organizing system that includes three organizer compartments that fold out easily, can each be taken out separately and placed into hotel drawers, and reconnected and folded back into the suitcase when it’s time to leave.

To learn more, go online to www.oregamiluggage.com.

‘Stargazer’ propels Sam Way to new height

Sam Way

Sam Way

London based singer-songwriter Sam Way launches new single ‘Stargazer’, a track that inspired his entire forthcoming record ‘Architect’ E.P. this month. Sam Way recently aired on BBC London, featured in ‘One to Watch’ of Rollacoaster Magazine and on ‘Not The One Show’. No stranger to show business, Way has appeared in TV modeling for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel and Levi’s. The EP was mastered by award winning Mandy Parnell (Bjork, The xx) at Black Saloon Studios (Paul McCartney, Brian Eno).

‘Stargazer’, a ballad of lost love, ebbs and flows between regret and hope, showcasing Sam Way’s ability as an artist and a writer. Sam Way began writing on piano from age 16, but it wasn’t until his move to London to pursue his modeling career that his father introduced him to the guitar. Since then, Sam Way has aspired to create an EP with great depth, cinematic atmosphere and lyrics that speak from the heart. Sam writes with soul, fearlessness and dynamism. His songs are positively catchy, yet still captivate the listener to explore their own stories, own worlds and own emotions. A total departure from his previous work, ‘Architect’ EP is a product of years of travel, songwriting and collaborations featuring many exciting artists – including, soul singer Matt Henry (The Voice finalist), the acclaimed London Contemporary Voices Choir (Basement Jaxx, Sam Smith) and prolific chart topping composer/orchestrator Edward Abela.

Following a successful appearance at Somersault Festival 2014 and subsequent tour of the South West of England, including interviews with BBC Devon and BBC Cornwall, Sam had announced 12 dates across the UK for October 2015 with Anna Pancaldi in support for the release of ‘Architect’ EP.

Simple Minds’ Once Upon a Time CD release available Dec. 4

Simple MindsOriginally released in October 1985, Once Upon a Time became Simple Minds’ most successful album to date, selling two million copies in two months, hitting the top spot in the UK and making the top 10 in the U.S. It spawned four top 20 singles and launched a  15 month-long world tour that kept Simple Minds’ name in the music weeklies for most of 1986. With Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain providing a production dream team, and Anton Corbijn contributing to its instantly recognizable artwork, then Once Upon a Time had all the attributes of a classic 1980s album.

“Alive And Kicking” was the obvious first choice of single and its release preceded Once Upon a Time by a month.  The new sound, artwork and video indicated what was to come and whilst the single reached the same chart position as its predecessor in the UK, it just slipped short of the top spot in the U.S., stalling at No. 3. But Once Upon a Time easily eclipsed Sparkle in the Rain when released in October 1985, shifting two million copies in two months.

In support of the album, Simple Minds undertook their longest and biggest tour yet, beginning in the USA in October 1985 (kicking off at Poughkeepsie on the 31st) and visiting mainland Europe, the UK, the U.S. again (now with The Call as support), Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This included a series of massive outdoor summer concerts at Ibrox, Milton Keynes Bowl and Torhout-Werchter. Their first three top 10 singles from the album were signposts detailing the progression of the tour, and the fourth, Ghost Dancing, was released as the tour wound up, all profits being donated to Amnesty International. As Simple Minds took a well earned rest, after years of relentless writing, recording and touring, Virgin released the lavishly packaged Live in the City of Light, a massive live souvenir of Once Upon a Time recorded over several nights at Le Zenith in Paris, which earned them their third successive UK No. 1.

“When I think of our most complete albums,” said Kerr. “I would say New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) is definitely a complete album – it just feels very complete to me from start to finish; and I don’t think I’d change anything on Once Upon a Time and I wouldn’t change anything on Big Music. They, for me, are the most complete albums.  Someone might say ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ should’ve been included; and when you think about it, leaving it off is rather eccentric thing to do – you wouldn’t get away with that now. It would’ve sold double the amount of copies though! But it’s very complete: the artwork, everything about it, it is bang on.”

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of its release, Simple Mind’s classic album Once Upon a Time will be released on Dec. 4 as a standard CD and a two CD Deluxe Edition.  The remastered standard edition contains the full original remastered album, including the singles “Sanctify Yourself,” “All The Things She Said” and the timeless “Alive and Kicking.”  The two CD Deluxe edition features the full original remastered album, as well as 13 single mixes, B-Sides and alternate versions, four of which have been previously unreleased.

Cloud Nothings to headline 2016 Norman Music Festival 9

Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings

Norman Music Festival 9 announced today that Cloud Nothings – making their first Oklahoma appearance – will be the headliner for the April 21-23, 2016, free event in Norman, Okla. On the bill with the rock band from Ohio will be Small Black, Open Mike Eagle, Nobunny, Skating Polly, Woozy and Traindodge, celebrating their 20th year together.
The festival will be undergoing a few other changes this year. Dallas based-metal band Power Trip will be the headliners for the very first heavy stage at the festival Friday, April 22, located at the Bacardi Stage in the Gray Street parking lot. The hip-hop stage will be moved to The Depot as well. More bands will be announced in the coming months.

Local and regional bands can now apply through the open-call to play alongside the headliners. The open call is running through Dec. 20. Last year, more than 600 bands applied in the 50-day window to perform at the festival.

The mission of the Norman Music Alliance is to help develop the arts community in Oklahoma through support of local original artists, support of music fans, support of art education and support of local businesses. What started as a one-day festival has now grown and expanded to a three-day festival with more than 300 artists in downtown Norman and more than 80,000 people in attendance at Norman Music Festival 8.

For festival, VIP and sponsorship information, visit http://normanmusicfestival.com.

normanfestposter

Mitch’s Travel: NOLA Christmasfest 2015 tickets now available online

DSC_2061The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center today announced that NOLA ChristmasFest tickets are available online at www.nolachristmasfest.com. The third annual NOLA ChristmasFest will kick off on Friday, Dec. 18 and continue through Sunday, Dec. 27.

NOLA ChristmasFest 2015 will feature the only indoor ice skating rink in New Orleans as well as an amazing walk-through maze, themed inflatables and rides such as the Kringle Carousel, Winter Whirl, Snowball Fight and Snowy Summit Climbing Wall. NOLA ChristmasFest visitors will have the opportunity to take photos with Santa and several of his North Pole friends. The Christmas festival will take place inside Hall B at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and will be open from noon to 8 p.m. each day during the 10-day holiday celebration.  Special hours are noon to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve and from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Christmas Day.

NOLA ChristmasFest will display thousands of dazzling lights and more than 70 Christmas trees decorated by New Orleans businesses. Additionally, Convention Center Boulevard will once again be draped in holiday décor and mesmerizing lights synced to traditional and contemporary Christmas music.

Dozens of businesses and organizations are already getting involved with NOLA ChristmasFest. Anyone looking to participate in this year’s Christmas Festival can visit the sponsor tab on the website where sponsorships are still available for the ice skating rink, carnival rides and the signature Christmas trees. Businesses can also host their corporate holiday parties and events at NOLA ChristmasFest by emailing info@nolachristmasfest.com.

NOLA ChristmasFest is sponsored by Entergy, Capital One, UnitedHealthcare, P&N Postlethwaite & Netterville, Raising Cane’s, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and is presented by the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.