Lafiya Music artist Bobby Watson to release new album on in honor of 50th anniversary of March on Washington

watson_check_cashingSaxophonist-composer-producer-educator Bobby Watson is proud to release, Check Cashing Day, the second self-produced recording on Watson’s label, Lafiya Music. Coinciding with Watson’s 60th birthday, the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech, the project is now available digitally and set for  release on Nov. 26, 2013.

As Watson reflects, Check Cashing Day serves as “a commentary on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we need to go as a people, as a country, and as a global community.” Instead of focusing on the iconic “I Have A Dream” aspect of Dr. King’s speech, Watson chose to concentrate on another very significant part: the reason why over 300,000 people, black and white, gathered in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963. Dr. King spoke of coming to Washington to cash a 100-year-old check, a moral check that the founding fathers wrote into the Declaration of Independence, but to this day, the check keeps coming back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ “This, being the year of my 60th birthday, I sadly understand that Dr. King’s dream has not been fully realized and the struggle continues,” says Watson in a news release.

Introducing poet and spoken word artist Glenn North from Kansas City, Mo, Check Cashing Day is a concept recording with 15 tracks portrayed in the vein of musical theatre. “I asked Glenn to put some poetry, from his perspective, to several of my compositions, as well as one written by vocalist Pamela Baskin-Watson and two by bassist Curtis Lundy,” Watson says. “It was my desire with this project to produce poetry that would in some ways cleanse the soul,” North says. In addition, Watson’s release features trumpeter Hermon Mehari, pianist Richard Johnson, drummer Eric Kennedy, flutist Horace Washington, and trombonist Karita Carter.

With Watson’s commentary on the ongoing struggle of today’s racial inequalities spotlighted on compositions such as the title track “Check Cashing Day (For Ms. Trudy)” and “MLK on Jazz (Love Transforms),” he offers a recording that provokes positive conversation and continued movement towards Dr. King’s ‘dream,’ so that the ‘dream’ becomes a reality in today’s world. “The result is something more powerful and thought provoking than I could have imagined,” reflects Watson.

2013 promises to be a banner year for Watson, reuniting with his critically acclaimed Horizon quintet for their 30th anniversary as well as celebrating his own 60th birthday. Boasting a top-notch resume that ranges from his tenure as a member of Art Blakey’s JazzMessengers (eventually becoming musical director) to co-founding Horizon with drummer Victor Lewis as an acoustic quintet modeled after the Jazz Messengers, Watson plans to tour in 2014 with Horizon for their seminal anniversary. Watson will also tour with his “I Have a Dream” project in 2014 and is planning several release performances (to be announced).

 

Chrystal Rucker to perform at “Sharing the Harvest” benefit concert on Nov. 23

Chrystal Rucker

Chrystal Rucker has been giving back to Kansas City for years with her annual “Sharing the Harvest” benefit concert. This year will be no different as she’s giving Kansas City some great gospel music while raising funds for The Brookside Charter School, Ronald McDonald House and Sarita Lynne Ministries (which manages two homeless shelters). Appearing on the program will be gospel megastar Vashawn Mitchell of “Nobody Greater” fame, Top 20 newcomer Anita Wilson, Sheri Jones Moffett, smooth jazz bass player Julian Vaughn, sister act Tobbi and Tommi and Kansas City worship leader, Na’Ron Hamilton.

Although, she’s been singing professionally for two decades, Rucker just released her first CD this year. The new project, “You Deserve” (EPM Music Group), debuted at No. 10 on Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart this summer and the dynamic radio single, “You Deserve” is a Top 30 smash.

“To say that Chrystal Rucker is a power vocalist is an understatement,” GospelFlava.com reviewer Gregory Gay writes in a recent commentary. “To her credit, she can preach in the middle of the song and close with a run that will leave the listener in awe, asking, `Now, how did she do that?’”

The event takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 at Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ, 11922 Food Lane, Grandview, Mo., with host pastors Ben Stephens III and First Lady LaTanya Stephens. Tickets are $10 and available by calling (816) 665-0506. For more information on Rucker and other EPM Music Group artists, go to www.epmmusicgroup.com or www.chrystalrucker.net.