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Songwriter Derrick Stark receives BMI award for most performed gospel song of year

Photo caption: BMI Senior Director, Writer/Publisher Relations Wardell Malloy; BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Catherine Brewton; 2010 Most Performed Gospel Song of the Year writer Derrick Starks; 2010 Trailblazers honoree Donnie McClurkin; co-host Yolanda Adams; and BMI President & CEO Del Bryant. (Photo by Arnold Turner).

According to a news release, veteran songwriter Derrick Starks, who resides in Atlanta, was recently honored by Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), the performing rights organization, at their 11th Annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon in Nashville, TN.
BMI Vice President of Writer/Publisher Relations joined Grammy winner Dorinda Clark Cole to present Starks with the BMI Award for the Most Performed Gospel Song of the Year for composing Dorinda Clark Cole’s smash hit “Take It Back.” The song reached #2 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs and #17 on its Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles charts in 2008 and remains a popular recurrent.
A gifted organist/keyboard player, Starks founded the contemporary gospel ensemble Today’s Generation in 1991. His group has backed such artists as John Tesh and Shirley Caesar. Starks and his group released best-selling gospel CDs such as
“Derrick Starks and Today’s Generation” (1994), “He’s On Time” (1999) and “Sacrifice” (2001). His 2001 remake of the Commodores’ classic “Jesus is Love” proved to be a major hit for Starks as well.
Currently the music director for the Trumpet Awards on the TBS television network, Starks is also a gifted songwriter. He’s written Dorinda Clark Cole’s big hit
“So Many Times,” “Been Good to Me” for The Mighty Clouds of Joy, “I Am Yours” for Dorothy Norwood and “Let the Healing Begin” for Bishop Paul S. Morton, among others.

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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.” 

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Pianist/Composer Greg Burk takes fans to “Many Worlds” on Jan. 26

Pianist/composer Greg Burk returns to the spotlight on Jan. 26 with his fourth release “Many Worlds” on 428 Music.
The project marks the first recording of a quartet featuring Burk, Henry Cook on woodwinds, bassist Ron Seguin and drummer Michel Lambert. According to a news release, Burk and Cook’s collaborations date back to their time with Boston’s Either/Orchestra, and Burk, Cook and Seguin have a performing history in Rome, Burk’s home since 2004. 
Nevertheless, to Burk, “Many Worlds was inspired by the mysterious lives and folk dances of electrons, quarks, neutrinos, protons, neurons and the like.”  His diverse interests which include the innovations of John Coltrane, studies with Yusef Lateef, Archie Shepp and Paul Bley help conjure his involvement in the rhythmically flexible group concept which pervades much of the quartet interplay on “Many Worlds.”

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Saxophonist Dave Rempis, drummer Frank Rosaly release “Cryllic”

Chicago jazz musicians Dave Rempis and Frank Rosaly have released new compact disc “Cryllic,” comprised of improvisations produced without written material or standard licks, on the 482 Music label.

Rempis and Rosaly have worked together in The Rempis Percussion Quartet and The Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten Quintet, and since 2004, they have been performing as a duo. “Cyrillic” consists of seven improvised tracks ranging from “Still Will” to the heavy swing of “In Plain Sight” to the pseudo blast beats of “How to Cross When Bridges Are Out.” While the music can be explorative, “Cyrillic” is a high energy affair with heavy grooves recorded during a short four-hour session at Chicago’s Strobe Studios.

According to a news release, Rempis has been named twice “a rising star” in the annual DownBeat Critic’s Poll on both alto and baritone saxophones. Rosaly is an active member of several bands, such as Matana Roberts’ Chicago Project, Rob Mazurek’s Mandarin Movie, Jeff Parker/Nels Cline Quartet, as well as leading his own quintet.

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Pianist Marian McPartland receives order by Queen Elizabeth II

Legendary jazz pianist and National Public Radio host Marian McPartland, 91, was awarded the prestigious “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” honor by Queen Elizabeth II.

McPartland, one of two honorees with New York ties, received the citation (the highest honor other than “Dame”) for services to jazz and for aspiring young musicians in the United States.

“I am thrilled and proud to have received this great honor bestowed on me by Queen Elizabeth,” said McPartland in a news release. “I am truly grateful.”

The Order of the British Empire recognizes distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organizations of all kinds.

McPartland continues to showcase the world’s top musicians on NPR’s longest-running and most widely carried jazz program, “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz,” which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary on-air.

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Mitch’s Reflection: Bil Carpenter Presents “An Uncloudy Christmas”

If you’ve enjoyed the book “Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia” by Bil Carpenter, music journalist and co-founder of Capital Entertainment, then you will enjoy the compilation “An Uncloudy Christmas.”

The 12-track compact disc features artists Bryan Wilson, Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels, Ann McCrary, Candi Staton, Richard Hartley, Markas Nair and Carpenter ending things country style with title single “Uncloudy Christmas.”

Opening with “The Savior Has Come,” Wilson presents such a feel-good house of prayer shout band style that it’s hard not to clap your hands a few times. Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels presents traditional gospel style tracks “The Angels Watching Over Me” and “I Just Want to Thank Him.” McCrary brings a modern touch to the compilation with the jazzy “Remember Not to Forget Jesus.”

In “An Uncloudy Christmas,” there is a song to fit any fan’s musical taste or holiday mood, and each artist does a fine job of presenting the true meaning of the holiday season.

Editor’s Note: Review CD was provided by Capitol Entertainment.

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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.