“The Revolution Will Be Live!” – Malik & The O.G.’s come to Cambridge.

The revolution will not be televised… but it will be at Cambridge Jazz Festival this upcoming weekend as Malik & the O.G.’s prepare a run of events at the festival celebrating the work of Gil Scott-Heron.

The upcoming appearance at Cambridge Jazz Festival include multiple seminars, talks and performance by Malik Al Nasir, showcasing why Gil Scott-Heron is still relevant to artists  as well as social politics today.

Gil Scott-Herons most notable work comes in the form of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, a spoken word track released in 1971 – it’s free form style and spoken-word, poetic approach to lyricism within music is an example of breaking down the wall between music and art, the song is not only musically but literarily insightful.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” holds lyrical significance even by today’s musical standards, whilst contemporary lyricism is more explicit and straight forward. The message it gave was a public one and that if there was going to be a revolution within 1970s America is not going to be televised; it was going to stare you in the face and it was going to be real.

“The Revolution will be not be re-run, the revolution will be live.” Are the final words of the iconic track that Gil Scott-Heron is most notable for – it’s a message that still holds strong within the current socio-political climate within America.

Malik Al Nasir who was Gil Scott-Heron’s protégé is currently following in his footsteps, delivering a message that is direct, insightful as well as artistic.

Malik Al Nasir is a Guyanese activist, poet and filmmaker from Liverpool, following in his mentors footsteps; Malik’s work Malik discusses how colonialism and slavery destroys identity, he also establishes the significance of genealogy, anthropology and DNA as an insight into “who we actually are” as well celebrating our inherited roots and cultural identity without anyone else dictating otherwise – using his Guyanese roots as an example of claiming his heritage and being self-aware of one’s cultural inheritance.

“My own journey back to Guyana to re-connect with my South American roots, was actually both a quest for lost family ties and a search for historical truth. Discovering I had an indigenous Amerindian grandmother, further complicated an already convoluted sense of self and the discovery of my Scottish aristocratic slave-owner ancestry, will offer the basis of a paradigm shift in how we view Transatlantic slavery – as it was practiced in Demerera South America.”

Malik will also explore the significance of the “Black Arts Movement” in America and how he contributes to that via Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets – with his role as an activist in breaking down colonialism and its control over identity.

Malik will be running an “Artist as Activists seminar” at the University of Cambridge, Centre of Latin American studies at 5pm on the 17th of November. “The Revolution Will Be Live!” will take place on the 18th of November at 8:30pm, Cambridge Wine Merchants. Finally Classic Album Sundays event; a tribute to Gil Scott-Heron will be running two events on the 19th of November at 2pm, Hidden Rooms, and 8pm Arts Picture house.

Links to tickets for these events can be found here;

https://www.cambridgejazzfestival.info/malik-the-o-g-s – “The Revolution Will Be Live!” tickets.

http://skiddle.com/e/13023561 – “Classic Album Sundays” @ Hidden Rooms

Free – “Artists as Activists”

You can keep up to date with the events at Malik’s social network links found below;

https://www.facebook.com/Malik-The-OGs-171722166201820/

https://twitter.com/MalikAndTheOGs?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

http://malikandtheogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Canada’s answer to Earth, Wind & Fire; Crack of Dawn are revitalizing the classics.

Not many artists can say they’ve outsold legendary acts such as Earth, Wind & Fire, except for Canada’s own Crack of Dawn who are back with Spotlight, featuring a collection of classic tracks.

With other titles such as being the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS) as well as being picked up by Otis Redding’s producer, Crack of Dawn were anticipated for bigger things, though word from them remained quiet… until now.

Returning with a selection of re-recorded classics from the band as well as some new tracks, Crack of Dawn’s Spotlight is an authentic return to the classic funk and soul sounds of their era.

The overarching theme of the album seems to be nostalgia and sentimentality, what Spotlight does exceedingly well is maintain an authentic sound throughout; it does not do anything out of the ordinary and the album is actually not that adventurous – and that’s fine.

For funk fans, there is something for everyone, from the strong Stevie Wonder vibes on one of the lead tracks ‘Booby Ruby’ to the falsetto vocals on ‘Keep the Faith’ that allude to a sound similar to what the Ohio Players had on their album Honey.

The album opens up strong with the classic and unmistakable funk sounds, ‘Crack of Dawn’ does a great job in laying out what the band is capable of, from the jazz inclined funk virtuosity to the soaring synth melodies and strong bass grooves. The first four tracks of the album maintain that uplifting funk quality as seen with their contemporaries, what Spotlight manages to capture in the earlier parts of the album are different flavors of funk from their era, ‘Somebody’s Watching’ features almost a 1970s “cop-drama” tonality to it with the wah-heavy guitars with a catchy descending riff during the chorus.

Halfway through the album with ‘It’s alright’ changes the pace with an authentic funk ballad that heavily enforces the theme of sentimentality and nostalgia throughout the album. The theme reaches its pinnacle with the track ‘Ol’ Skool’ which sounds like it could have come straight out of the late 70s, the track also pays homage to their contemporaries through the years within the lyrical content, ‘Ol’ Skool’ comes across as a a labor of love and defines the bands mission.

Whilst the album remains authentic to its sound and doesn’t deviate from its purpose, its biggest flaw is the length in which the album tends to latch on to the sentimental ballad sounds. Tracks five through to nine are all sentimental ballads with only slight variations on how they approach the stereotypical funk-ballad sounds, and whilst the dynamics of the album are thoroughly consistent, by track nine the ballads become exhausting, despite how well they are crafted. With only one track left of the album there is very little opportunity to pick up from where the album started.

spotlight

Click here to check out a review of the title track ‘Spotlight’.

‘Changes’, the final track finally picks up the pace and invokes a big finale to the album, bringing it back to the big, groovy funk tracks that started the album and brings a full circle to what the band can do.

Spotlight is a great album because it’s an authentic return to funk. In a time where experimentation is key to surviving in the music world, it’s nice to hear something new and modern that throws the listener back to the 1970’s and the dawn of funk. Spotlight is not adventurous and doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and that’s okay – because it’s a nostalgic throwback to the times where they outsold Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s the bands opportunity to reminisce the good old days.

You can keep up to date with Crack of Dawn and purchase the latest album by following their social network links below;

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoNzxEP5sJc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CrackofDawnBand/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crackofdawnofficial/?hl=en

Website: https://www.crackofdawn.ca/

 

 

 

Lawrence Preston has ‘Something For You’ in funky single.

What do you get when you combine the immaculate harmonies of the Ohio Players and the easy-listening soul of Lionel Richie? Lawrence Preston.

San Francisco Bassist and vocalist Lawrence Preston delves into a throwback of the funk and soul peaks with his single ‘Something For You.’

The track features a combination of influences and styles that will be sure to catch anybodies ear and peak interest, from smooth gospel-like harmonies, to jazz flavorings on the bass (in the same way contemporaries such as Thundercat) the song is a fresh and modern take on a cemented genre.

An artist can take a genre and reinvent it by putting their own mark on it, but where ‘Something For You’ shines is the authenticity to modern music, it deserves in place alongside the contemporaries – with influences from the original days of funk with the guitar licks, all the way to early 2000’s soulful RnB love croon, the track is a collective of Lawrence’s influence and proves that he has honed his craft.

However, whilst the track stands alongside contemporaries, it’s also a very familiar sound, for right and wrong reasons – it’s not going to alienate fans of the genre, the sound or Lawrence’s music anytime soon, yet I feel like I’ve heard it all before, it doesn’t achieve much in terms of shock and awe, bar a few tasty bass licks thrown in every now and then, which shows off some of Lawrence’s virtuoso tendencies.

‘Something For You’ is a track that not only shares passion that Lawrence has for his craft, but also shows the skill that Lawrence has as a musician; a man of influence.

‘Something For You’ is available now, you can grab the track on the links below as well as keep up to date with Lawrence Preston on his social network links;

iTunes: http://apple.co/1kHFv9T

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Wk0mMj

https://twitter.com/@law_preston

https://www.facebook.com/lawrence.preston.37

 

 

 

 

Crack of Dawn take the spotlight in upcoming single

Canada’s answer to Earth, Wind & Fire; Crack of Dawn are preparing to step back into the ‘Spotlight’ with the upcoming release of their new single.

The track ‘Spotlight’ is a reflective return to the band after a period of absence, with melodic, soulful vibes in a modern take.

The band hold the mantle of being one of the first black bands to be signed to a major label (CBS) and outsold their funky contemporaries; Earth, Wind & Fire.

The new track ‘Spotlight’ is a ballad through & through, it’s a safe comeback and yet a sentimental sound that ticks all the right boxes.

The aesthetic is laid as soon as the rolling drums hits the first beat, along with the chunky sounding guitar coupled with a faint “siren-like” synth playing a counter melody alongside the the repeated opening phrase.

The song then goes straight into the nostalgic sounding soul-ballad, held by a strong vocal performance and with stops to keep the listener on their toes, adding dynamic flair.

As with virtuoso soul/funk artists, the harmonies are impeccable, keeping that notorious smooth texture; with a belted main vocal being supported by harmonies that present no flaw.

‘Spotlight’ is Crack of Dawn’s attempt at standing on it’s own two feet, in a world of neo-soul and the evolution of classic genres, ‘Spotlight’ proves that Crack of Dawn’s modern evolution of their sound can stand up in the funk & soul scene of today, and this track is assurance to the fans that they’ve still got what it takes.

‘Spotlight’ is out on the 19th of November, you can keep up to date with the band on their social networks below;

https://www.facebook.com/CrackofDawnBand/

https://www.instagram.com/crackofdawnofficial/?hl=en

https://www.crackofdawn.ca/

Rising stars Row Z get set for ‘Green Penny’ EP

Much anticipated 3 track release out through GHOSTNOTE Records, June 9th
Tapping into the recent boom in British funk music, Row Z are a Liverpool based five piece with a taste for moody blues. Their new EP, ‘Green Penny’  is due June 9th and is currently one of the most eagerly awaited releases in the world of new UK Blues.
Led by the incredible Richard James Smith, the band specialise in sprawling jazz spiced funk tracks, full of intricate rhythms and virtuoso musical performance throughout.
For a taste, check out the EP’s lead single/title track ‘Green Penny’ – complete with a raw sound reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXvo0OdIslY
Row Z first made a splash with Ska/Jazz single ‘Stalemate’ in 2006, released to universally good reviews and – improbably – a huge chart success in Germany.
Now though, this new material sees them hitting new heights with great crossover potential, pulling together their roots sensibilities with sound that is instantly accessible. It’s the kind of music that can (and has) turned small, impromptu gigs into full on dance parties, bringing in elements from breakdance to swing.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Richard James Smith comes with something of a reputation. After receiving Masterclasses from Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), Joan Armatrading, Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Yngwie Malmsteen and José Feliciano, Richard had the honour of being awarded his degree by Sir Paul McCartney; but this was just the start.
Since then, Richard has featured as a finalist in ‘Young Jazz Musician of the Year’ and ‘Acoustic Guitarist of the Year’, and featured on Oscar winner Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds To Mars track ‘Up in the Air’ (Remix). Fans include Jools Holland, who swapped numbers with Guitarist Richard after a performance for ITV.
However, Smith isn’t the only band member with pedigree.  Drummer Jay Irving has toured with Tony Christie/The Christians,  while Keyboard player John has toured with the Seahorses, John Squire, DJ Vadim, Cinematic Orchestra,  and played and composed for Lily Allen hits ‘Smile’ and LDN. He also played on the acclaimed debut album from Corinne Bailey Rae.
Meanwhile, Alto sax player Alex Harris has performed for Richard Branson, Prince Charles and Kate Middleton, as well as numerous television shows, radio shows and short films including BBC’s Call the Midwife and BBC Radio London. He has also performed with Kevin Spacey at Ronnie Scott’s, London.
Row Z’s killer combination of skill and experience is what makes their music so brilliant and their EP so highly sought after. And when The Beatles’ first manager Allan Williams asks to book your band for parties after watching them at the Cavern Club, it’s clear you’re doing something right.
You can listen to the other two tracks from the ‘Green Penny’ EP here –
Arthur: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HibIVgB7Ow
Blues for Buddah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6luu4Fon4k
Links:
Row Z Official website: http://www.rowz.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rowzmusic
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Row_Z_Music
YouTube:  www.youtube.com/user/rowzmusic1
Reverbnation:  http://www.reverbnation.com/rowz
Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/rowzmusic

Highly anticipated Fjokra EP ‘Thoughtsteps’ arrives June 9th

Versatile Irish songwriter looks to build on a growing reputation with brand new release
Influenced by a list of genres and artists taking in classical, metal, funk, jazz and more, Fjokra is an artist who is nigh on impossible to pigeonhole.
Born in Dublin and now living in London, he is a multi-instrumentalist whose music takes in so many different ideas and angles that to tie him down to one genre or style is a fool’s errand – just as it seems you have his sound sussed, a new idea will come and slap you in the face. And that’s just the way Fjokra likes it.
You can see the video for EP track ‘Infinite Loops’ here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5FrW1UyVyY
‘Thoughtsteps’ is an EP that tantalises and astounds. With the album name, artwork and musical content designed to demonstrate alternative, free and independent forms of thinking, the varied style is all tied together by the consistent high quality of the recordings. Even more impressively, the EP is primarily self-produced but for one track from producer Donald Clark (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Muse).
It’s little wonder that Fjokra counts Mick Jones (The Clash), Duran Duran, and Beardyman amongst his fans – and this range of musicians gives you a glimpse into the wide audience demographics the music is connecting with. Peanut Baines of the Kaiser Chiefs put it his own way, labelling Fjokra ‘sex music for metallers’.
With a fan base that is widening thanks to a unique live show (performed with his eponymous band), Fjokra has already graced the stage at Beach Break Festival and Liverpool Sound City. They also performed at a very special concert which saw Tyondai Braxton (of Battles) premiere his new orchestral piece ‘Central Market’ – a truly inspiring experience for the band. And now, with ‘Thoughtsteps’ only a few weeks away and a slot at the Isle of Wight Festival this summer, he is using that inspiration to fuel his forward momentum.
And if you’re still not convinced that this is an artist with a unique approach, then perhaps his unusual approach to promoting the EP will help. In addition to releasing the songs and music videos, Fjokra has also recorded for each track a cookery show, punning on the song titles from the EP. Due to be posted on YouTube and fjokra.com shortly after the songs themselves are released, the tasty teasers will make this EP a truly multi-sensory experience.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for acoustic versions of the EP tracks, recorded in a guitar shop and due on the Fjokra YouTube channel soon.
‘Thoughtsteps’ will be available from June 9th.
Links:
www.facebook.com/fjokraofficial
www.twitter.com/fjokra
Instagram: fjokra
www.youtube.com/fjokra
www.soundcloud.com/fjokra

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

‘CRYING DAYS’ ARE OVER WITH RELEASE OF NEW NYIKA SINGLE

New Single Released 17th January, 2014

NyikaNyika is a soul funk singer songwriter with Bulgarian and Zimbabwean roots. She has a sound which is reminiscent of other soul acts, such as Omar (both artists having studied at WAC). Being a self managed and published artist, Nyika is indie in the truest sense of the word. In addition, this staunchly independent artist also runs her own record label Too Hip Records. This independence allows Nyika to release music that is unfiltered, personal and direct. This personal approach is reflected in new single ‘Crying Days’, which focuses on her childhood.
Nyika is not complacent and continues to grow as an artist. She has already released two albums which have allowed her to work with some of the same collaborators as George Michael, Dusty Springfield and Kylie Minogue. All of the knowledge she has gained from her previous collaborations have helped to shape ‘Crying Days’.
Having performed at London Gay Pride and being labeled as ‘One to watch’ by Tony Blackburn (BBC Radio), momentum is really building for Nyika. Listening to ‘Crying Days’, it’s clear to see why. The track is a triumphant statement about overcoming past strife and how this ultimately strengthens us.  This is all made clear in the chorus, which proudly states ‘My crying days are over’.
This uplifting message is backed by thudding drums, giving the song a real energy and forward propulsion. This energy permeates the entire song and makes for an exciting listen. This backing is built on by soulful piano chords and funk guitar. If you’ve not listened to Nyika before, ‘Crying Days’ is a great introduction to her indie soul funk style.
‘Crying Days’ will be available for purchase from January 17th.
 
Links:
www.facebook.com/NyikaMusic
www.facebook.com/TooHipRecords
www.soundcloud.com/too-hip-records

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.

Fudge & the Frequency plug in to ‘Planet Radio’ for new single

What do you get if you cross Daft Punk and Alex Clare with the vocal stylings of Jamiroquai and Maroon 5? Not the start of a bad joke, the answer is the new single from futuristic funksters Fudge & the Frequency.

Released on November 16th, ‘Planet Radio’ is a funk track with an electro lilt that can’t fail to get your toes tapping and your head nodding. You can hear it here:

Built around a funky bass line written and performed by John Blackburn (Skunk Anansie), it’s no surprise to learn that Stevie Wonder, having heard their music, is a fan of their sound. It’s immediately infectious, and as effective live as it is recorded.

After only two performances, booking giants all around London picked up the collective for their rosters. Since then, Fudge & the Frequency have headlined some of the top live music spots in the city, including Kensington Roof Gardens, The Clapham Grand, The Notting Hill Arts Club, Camden Barfly, Cargo (Shoreditch) and The Social (Oxford Street).

The band returns to Kensington Roof Gardens for their single launch show on Saturday, November 16th.

Their current success is a testament to their independent spirit, and a rallying call to other unsigned bands who fear they may have to compromise on their sound to make their mark. Having turned down investment opportunities of £70,000 because they felt backers would become to controlling of their approach, Fudge & the Frequency are forging ahead with their own undiluted sound. Their debut EP title, ‘Futuristic Funk’ was the fitting, two word phrase the band would use to describe their music.

 

Band links:

Website: www.fudgeandthefrequency.com

Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/fudgeandthefrequency

Twitter: @fudgeofficial & @fudgeandthefrequency

Instagram: www.instagram.com/fudgeandthefrequency

iTunes EP Download: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/futuristic-funk-ep/id614737605

Electronic Press Kit: www.fudgeandthefrequency.com/EPK