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.” 

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.

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.

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.

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.”