music national releases United States

Contemporary gospel group Greg Roberts and Soulful Celebration to record live CD in Washington D.C.

Gospel recording artist Greg Roberts and Soul Celebration prepare to record the upcoming CD/DVD project “Go Forth” at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23 at Temple of Praise, 700 Southern Ave., SE, in Washington D.C. 
Doors will open at 5 p.m.  Tickets are available online at General admission is $10 and $15 for V.I.P. Seating. General seating admission will be available at the door for $12.
The recording will include guest artists Melonie Daniels, Nakita Clegg-Foxx of the Kurt Carr Singers, and Angela White of Tye Tribett & GA.
According to a news release, Greg Roberts and Soulful Celebration began in 2000 while Roberts was enrolled at Hampton University in Hampton, Va. Since then, the group has relocated to the Washington, D.C. area where it has cultivated a strong and loyal underground following. The group’s previous projects include “All Things: The Soulful Experience LIVE”  and “Soulful Worship.” 

arts blues Bryan Lee music national

Bluesman Bryan Lee releases “My Lady Don’t Love My Lady” this week

Justin Times Records recently announced the release of Blues guitarist Bryan Lee. Titled “My Lady Don’t Love My Lady,” the compilation features a star-studded blues affair, featuring top tier, special guest performances by the legendary Buddy Guy; Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who was mentored by Bryan early in his career; pianist David Maxwell, who intuitive playing blends seamlessly with Bryan’s; and guitarist Duke Robillard, who also expertly produced the session at his studio in Rhode Island.
According to Lee’s bio, he was born in Two Rivers, Wis., and he completely lost his eyesight by the age of eight. His avid interest in early rock and blues was fostered through the 1950s by late night listening sessions via the Nashville-based radio station WLAC AM, where he first encountered the sounds of Elmore James, Albert King and Albert Collins. By his late teens, Lee was playing rhythm guitar in a regional band called The Glaciers that covered Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry material. In January 1982, Lee headed south to New Orleans and eventually landing a steady gig at the Old Absinthe House, where he became a favorite of tourists in the city’s French Quarter.
Lee’s been a regular at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (FIJM) since signing with the Montreal-based label in the early 1990s, and also performs regularly throughout Europe and North America.

gospel kingdom records music national reflection reviews the whispers

Mitch’s Reflection: The Whispers “Thankful”

Legendary R&B group The Whispers release their first gospel project “Thankful” this week on Kingdom Records. Grammy-winning gospel artist Fred Hammond lends his creative production skills to the project, along with the songwriting and vocal skills of Magic of Magic Muzik Productions Inc., Ralph Hawkins of ND Hawk Entertainment and Nicholas Caldwell of Heavens Gate and Unified Tribe.

“Working with The Whispers was truly a dream come true,” Hammond said in a news release. “I grew up listening to The Whispers and patterned a large part of my personal vocal style after, who have now become affectionately known as, uncles Scottie and Walker.”

The Whispers’ perfect, harmonious style is prevalent throughout the 10-track CD. Fans will appreciate up-tempo tracks such as “Praise His Holy Name” and the soft disco rhythm track of “In the Name of Jesus.” For a bit of Quiet Storm, The Whispers offers the track “For Thou Art With Me,” now viewed as a hit for Urban AC and gospel radio formats.

With almost 50 R&B chart singles, The Whispers are one of the most successful vocal groups in soul music history. The Grammy and American Music Award nominated ensemble has earned seven gold or platinum singles/albums, a 2002 NAACP Image Award and an induction into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003.

Editor’s Note: Review CD was provided by record label.

contemporary jazz jazz music national releases United States Vijay Iyer

Vijay Iyer releases a bit of “Historicity”

In a recent news release, Vijay Iyer explains the word “historicity” as the simple fact of being placed in the stream of history — along with everything it may imply. The idea of today’s creations drawing from older sources compelled Iyer to title his new trio CD “Historicity.”
A presentation of interpretations of other composers’ material, “Historicity” explores tunes ranging from Leonard Bernstein to Andrew Hill to Stevie Wonder to M.I.A. Joining Iyer on this project is bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore.
Iyer has worked with a wide range of contemporary artists, including Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Amiri Baraka, Wadada Leo Smith, Oliver Lake, Imani Uzuri, Dafnis Prieto, Karsh Kale, and John Zorn, composed pieces for classical ensembles including the string quartet ETHEL and Imani Winds, and scored film, dance and theater works. Iyer shares a bit about his project to fans via youTube.

CD contemporary jazz Jason Stein jazz music national releases traditional jazz

Chicago Bass Clarinetist Jason Stein presents 2 releases in November

When he was 16, Chicago-based Jason Stein was known to be more of a rock guitarist than a base clarinetist. But it was jazz great Thelonius Monk who drew him in. And later when he heard Eric Dolphy play the bass clarinet, Stein was so inspired that he forged an unwavering commitment to cultivate a single tonal voice.
Also a student of drummer Milford Graves, saxophonists Charles Gayle and Donald Walden and brass player/theoretician Ed Sarath, Stein assimilated from these powerful figures the conceptual and philosophical lessons that compelled him to capitalize on his innate nature as a serious, self-motivated musician.
Fans will have two chances to appreciate Stein’s talent on November 10. His compositions are contained in the upcoming release “Three Less Than Between,” from a reconfiguration of Stein’s original trio, Locksmith Isidore, on the Clean Feed label, and in Stein’s debut solo outing on Leo Records, “In Exchange for a Process.”
“Three Less Than Between” will feature Chicago bass player Jason Roebke and drummer Mike Pride in a traditional jazz setting. “In Exchange for a Process” is described as “an articulated source for endless discovery of the elements indigenous to a world that is known only to Jason Stein. Treating the bass clarinet with energy equal to that applied by sax players, he follows in the footsteps of many contemporary avant-garde solo saxophonists, who have each expanded the concept of tonality.”

jazz Kenny Rankin music national releases

Mack Avenue/Sly Dog Records to release 7 titles by late singer/songwriter Kenny Rankin

Mack Avenue label imprint Sly Dog Records has released seven titles by Kenny Rankin (who died in Los Angeles from lung cancer on June 7, 2009 at 69) for download and the titles will be available by compact disc at popular retailers on Nov. 3, 2009.
The following titles are “Mind-Dusters,” “Family,” “Like a Seed,” “Silver Morning,” “Inside,” “The Kenny Rankin Album,” and “After The Roses.” All seven CDs will be available at online digital sellers (iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, etc.).
Rankin, who grew up in New York City, came into the larger public consciousness in the early 1970s. It was the era of the singer-songwriter, and although he fit the profile, Rankin transcended that genre. Rankin brought a finely tuned sophistication and a capacity for a surprising variety of musical expression to contemporary pop music.
absorbed the many forms of music around him like a sponge. He sang a cappella in the hallways of the same neighborhood that Dion DiMucci and Teddy Randazzo lived in. It would be no surprise to his old friends when doo-wop elements surfaced later in songs such as “Roll-A-Round” on the “Inside” album.
A Greenwich Village apprenticeship brought Rankin into contact with producer Tom Wilson in 1965. At Wilson’s invitation, Rankin played rhythm guitar on “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Maggie’s Farm” for Bob Dylan’s “Bringing It All Back Home.”

Isaac Hayes music national reflection remembrance

Mitch’s Reflection: Roses for Black Moses (Isaac Hayes)

Family and friends of Isaac Hayes invite the public to attend the unveiling of grave marker at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at Memphis Memorial Park, 5668 Poplar Ave. in Memphis, Tenn. Attendees are asked to bring a rose to be placed next to the marker.

Bishop Alfred Owens church national religion

Bishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. to become International Presiding Prelate and Senior Bishop of MCHCA

Mount Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc. will consecrate Bishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. into the official office of International Presiding Prelate and Senior Bishop during their 80th Annual International Convocation.

Bishop Owens has been a member of MCHCA for over 30 years. He was consecrated a Bishop in the organization in 1988 and was appointed Vice-Bishop in 2001. In August 2008, Bishop Harold I. Williams stepped down as Presiding Prelate taking Emeritus status and appointed Bishop Owens as the Presiding Prelate.

Owens and his wife, Co-Pastor Susie C. Owens, pastor Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, the largest church in Washington, D.C. proper with a membership of almost 8,000. He is also the Dean of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops.

The consecration service will take place Thursday, August 20, 2009, at the International Headquarters of MCHCA Inc. Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church is located at 610 Rhode Island Ave., NE Washington, DC 20002. The service begins at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Bishop J. Delano Ellis, President of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops will be the Consecrator and serve as speaker of the evening. For more information, call (202)529-4547.

jazz music national Ramsey Lewis releases september

Ramsey Lewis to release new album Sept. 29

Pianist/bandleader Ramsey Lewis will release “Songs From the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey” on Concord Records. The CD will contain a refined collection of 12 new originals that he composed over a period of two years.
The collection includes music from two commissioned world premiere performances at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill. Eight songs come from the 2007 ballet score “To Know Her,” written for the Joffrey Ballet Company and four pieces come from 2008’s “Muses and Amusements” suite performed with the Turtle Island Quartet.
“Songs From the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey” features eight pieces with bassist Larry Gray and drummer Leon Joyce, and four piano solo performances. The project marks a turning point in Lewis’ storied career – now as a composer.

CD jazz national releases Sean Jones

Journey of Sean Jones continues with upcoming CD release in August

Trumpeter-bandleader and Mack Avenue Recording artist Sean Jones has not only performed at the Jazz Studio at the White House, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama, in June, but Jones is preparing to release a new project “The Search Within” in August.
“The Search Within,” Jones’ fifth project, is described as “a journey inside my soul that’s taken place over the past 10 years.” He says “it’s an assessment of where I am in the present as well as how I’ve learned from my mistakes and triumphs as a way of looking into the future. This album goes very deep for me. It’s a spiritual and sonic journey for me.”
Jones and his quintet, consisting of Orrin Evans (piano), Brian Hogans (alto sax), Walter Smith (tenor sax), Luques Curtis (bass), and John Davis (drums) – will perform at a CD release event at Jazz Standard at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11 and Wednesday, Aug. 12. For more information, go online to