Phil Collins, Alan Sillitoe and jazz; new album from jazz composer and musician John Aram

John Aram to release single ‘EDT (Envie de Toi)’ on 20th May ahead of album ‘You and I’ to be released on 3rd June. 
Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/johnaram/sets/edt-envie-de-toi-new-single
Background
John Aram is a well known name among jazz musicians. He has worked extensively with legends like Tim Garland, Kenny Wheeler and Scott Stroman along with huge names in funk like Bob Babbit and the Funk Brothers Band. In addition, Aram is Musical Director at the International School of Geneva, where he now lives, and also regularly conducts the Swiss Jazz Orchestra.
Probably his closest collaborator is Phil Collins. John worked closely with him on Collins’ album ‘Going Back’ (2010), writing many arrangements, booking musicians, supervising recording and going on tour. Daryl Stuermer, also of Genesis, plays guitar on ‘Stuck on You’ from Aram’s forthcoming album ‘You and I’. Aram and Phil Collins are in fact close friends and Collins has contributed to many of his musical projects over the years.
It is a busy spring period for Aram. Aside from his album (see below) he is also due to release “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ Suite’; his ode to Alan Sillitoe’s post war classic novel of the same name, featuring Kenny Wheeler.  Aram, hailing from Nottingham like Sillitoe, was in close contact with the author during his writing of the jazz suite in 2010. Tragically, Sillitoe died in the same year just before it was finished so never heard it, as a result Aram decided not to release ‘The Suite’ as a physical disc. He had now taken the decision to release it on vinyl with artwork from Video artist Joss Sessions.
You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/johnaram/sets/saturday-night-and-sunday
‘You and I’
Aram therefore has a huge wealth of experience in the worlds of jazz and funk, which he has used brilliantly in his new single ‘EDT (Envie de Toi); due to, be released 20th May. The track takes his jazz influences and puts them in a funk / disco context giving the track popular potential beyond its appeal to 70s soul connoisseurs. In has the feeling of a Chic comeback track, a Bruno Mars disco revival number of even of a latter day Michael Jackson. Half way through, however, we get a taste of Aram’s jazz background with a hefty Rhodes solo played by Jason Rebello. It’s a solo reminiscent of Roy Ayers on the vibes or a George Benson guitar solo on one of his funkier numbers.
The rest of ‘You and I’ follows similar themes whilst trying to stretch them in different directions. Very much a concept album, all music is heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder, even down to the artwork used for the album. Tracks like ‘Stronger’ and ‘Stuck on you’ follow the soul disco revival route featuring some brilliant vocals and irresistible solos on each. ‘In the Air’ and ‘You and I’ slow the pace down and move closer to a soul ballad in the mould of Earth, Wind and Fire or even Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. ‘In the Air’ features beautiful vocals from Amy Keys  and from cult Swiss hip-hop artist Rootwords. ‘In the Air’ is particularly close to Aram’s heart as it was written for his wife who was suffering from breast cancer at the time.
There is a great feeling of fun and spontaneity in the album, which reflects the way it was made and thought up in the first place. It wasn’t originally planned at all. Aram and his band were on tour in the UK (London in fact)  and had a gig cancelled so, realising he was still paying them, decided they might as well have some fun and make an album! Not all jazz quintets are this productive. They decided to make music which they loved but didn’t always get a chance to play: funk, soul, Motown, Stevie Wonder, which you will find on the bonus tracks of the album; material Aram had played with Phil Collins before and not had the chance to make himself. The full album did, however, take over a year to complete in recording studios all over the world, from New York to Switzerland, ensuring only the very best musicians were to be featured that fit the style of music that Aram wanted to create.
Website http://www.johnaram.com/
Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/johnaram
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JohnAram
YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/johnrogeraram

New Zealand's Julie Lamb is 'Trippin' the Light Fantastic'


This superb 70’s funk inflected tune is a real throwback number – an 11 piece band coming together to create a half-tempo treat that builds and fades expertly. It creates an ominous dynamic, helped by the minor jazz chords and the smooth vocal.

PSAPP: New album release date!

Having shared new track ‘Everything Belongs To The Sun’ with us last week, Psapp have confirmed that their new album (What Makes Us Glow’) will be released on November 11th.
(((Listen to ‘Everything Belongs To The Sun’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1LM12H6No4)))psapp-what-makes-us-glow-2013-295x300
Psapp is made up of Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant who met 12 years ago in a basement somewhere…Their early albums received some decent reviews (‘The Only Thing I Ever Wanted’ and ‘Tiger, My Friend’) but their last album (‘The Camel’s Back’) was not so well received. Pitchfork only gave it a 5.6! Although they wanted to give a 5.63.
They have gained a reputation for cornering the twee market of Juno-types (the film not the goddess of childbirth), who are into mildly melancholic acousticalia with the odd quirk thrown in.
Despite that seemingly patronising critique the band are really pretty decent and new track is also a great listen. It’s got an eerie feel about it, something kind of like something scary creeping up an its unsuspecting prey. Maybe that’s just me.
Although the array of sounds and instruments used on this track certainly does make for a weird and wonderful noise. According to the band “boxes of writhing mealworms, a homemade marimba made from bones and the groans of milk-laden cows” were all used in this album, if not this track alone! Of course the use of writhing mealworms is becoming a bit passé now but Psapp certainly make it work.
A good sign of things to come!
The duo have invited fans to tweet them using the hashtag #thingsthatmakeyouglow and state, what things make you glow…why not give it ‘glow’…
 
What Makes Us Glow’ Tracklisting:
1. Life Hums 
2. Wet Salt 
3. The Cruel, The Kind, The Bad 
4. Seven 
5. That’s The Spirit 
6. In The Black
7. Everything Belongs To The Sun 
8. Bone Marrow 
9. Your Hot Knife 
10. The Well and The Wall 
11. What Makes Us Glow 
12. In and Out
Links
Everything Belongs To The Sun‘ on Soundcloud
Everything Belongs To The Sun‘ on Youtube
Official Site
Facebook
Twitter 
YouTube

Billy Joel and Fyfe Dangerfield mini warm-up tour

After a busy summer with the Guillemots, enigmatic front man Fyfe Dangerfield is embarking on a very brief solo tour with American pop record machine Billy Joel.Image

At only 3 dates it’s not really a tour but more of a brief solo foray as a warm up for a solo show on 22nd November at the Jazz Café in London. Ideal if you don’t fancy sitting through Billy Joel afterwards…
If you’re not much of a Guillemots fan or on the fence about then I can definitely recommend you check out Fyfe live. He is a fantastic songwriter and a very versatile musician who still manages to give the likes of ‘Trains to Brazil’ and ‘I Must be a Lover’ as much energy as ever.
Fyfe will be playing the classics, some covers and is also open to requests so why not pop along to the Jazz Café on the 22nd November.

Jazz quartet Mercury aim to cross over on UK Tour

 L1000539 crop copyFour piece hit the road after 2013 release of self-titled LP

Following the release of their self-titled album in June this year, jazz quartet Mercury are set to take to the road for the final three months of 2013. Hitting major cities across the UK, the four piece are looking to expand on their growing reputation as one of the most diverse jazz acts on the circuit.
With four members who each bring a different range of influences to the table, the sound of the band pushes the genre boundaries more than the usual jazz quartet. Elements of pop, grunge, dubstep and even drum and bass are included to make sure Mercury’s tracks remain versatile while maintaining a solid jazz foundation.
News of their live dates is hotly anticipated by those in the know, as their live set packs quite a punch. So much so that, having only played a couple of decent club gigs, the foursome were invited to play at Manchester Jazz festival. Following their set, representatives from the notorious London jazz venue King’s Place were waiting for them backstage, interested in immediately booking them to play the same stage as countless international acts.
The rest of the tour has been built around that date, and will see them take in cities from their native Manchester all the way to Jersey.
Tour Dates:
31/10 – RNCM, Manchester. (Double Bill/Support gig) Empirical + Mercury
21/11 – The Big Easy, Birmingham
23/11 – Zeffireli’s, Ambleside
05/12 – St James’ Vaults, Bath
06/12 – Colston Hall, Bristol
14/12 – King’s Place, London
18/12 – Benjamin Meakes Theatre (Jersey Arts Centre), St Hellier, Jersey
In the meantime, have a watch of their live performance of ‘Quicksilver’ taken from their self-titled album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6uXkOEcV6M
http://www.mercuryquartetmanchester.co.uk/Welcome.html
https://www.facebook.com/mercurymanchester

https://twitter.com/MercuryMancs