Stephanie Mills in Concert Feb-June 2017

When I think of Stephanie Mills, I think of an artist that can bring it.  When I say bring it, I mean the different musical stylings.  I mean, who else can seamlessly move through a top disco song, Never Knew Love Like This Before, and perform a classic R&B track, Something In The Way (You Make Me Feel).  It doesn’t stop there.  She can break it down and sing an all time slow jam, I Feel Good Al Over, and to top it off, she can pull from one of her BROADWAY stage songs, and take it Home. Everything else is just gravy, right?

Personally, my favorite Stephanie Mills track is Two Hearts, the duet with Teddy Pendergrass.  There is just something about it that gets me going.  Also, do not sleep on Where Is The Love, the duet with Robert Brookins.

To many songs to name.

Stephanie Mills in Concert Feb-June 2017

Well, Stephanie will hit the stage for a few dates as we get through the first half of 2017.  Stephanie will be in Long Beach, CA at the Terrace Theatre inside the Long Beach Convention Center on February 11th.  Showtime is at 7:30.

Stephanie Mills in Concert Feb-June 2017Stephanie Mills & Michael Bolton

On February 17th, which just happens to be Valentines weekend, Stephanie will team up with Michael Bolton, yes Michael Bolton.  It is called the Valentine’s Celebration, and the event will be held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Prudential Hall, for a night of hits.

In case I need to remind you, Michael Bolton was doing hard rock music in the late 70’s-early 1980’s.  He started to smooth out in the early 80’s, when he wrote How Am I Supposed To Live Without You for Laura Branigan.  Bolton then broke out with the Otis Redding remake – (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, then it has been smooth sailing ever since.

Bolton had performed with a who’s who of solid artists:  Patti Labelle, Celine Dion, BB King, and Ray Charles among others.  He has sold more than 60 million albums, and Bolton has won several Grammy Awards.

Stephanie Mills & Will Downing

Stephanie Mills in Concert Will DowningMarch 4th in Durham, NC – Ms. Mills and Will Downing will hit the stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center.  We have already written about Will in a couple of posts, so no need to rehash that.  Needless to say that this is a show that you will not want to miss.

Showtime is at 8pm, and you can get tickets here.

By the way, Will has a radio show called the Wind Down.  You can listen to some episodes here.

 

 

Stephanie Mills & The Whispers

stephanie mills and the whispersThe NYCB Theatre at Westbury, NY will be the scene as Stephanie will be joined by The Whispers.  This will be happening on June 2nd.  Showtime is 8pm, and you can get your tickets here.  Don’t you think it is about time to get your fix of Walter and Scotty Scott?

This opening sequence is the greatest in music video history….That strut, though.

Stephanie Mills in Concert Feb-June 2017

These are some great shows.  Get out and enjoy the performances!

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Stephanie Mills in Concert Feb-June 2017

Selina Albright New Album Conversations

Selina Albright New Album ConversationsTherapeutic “Conversations”: Smooth soul singer Selina Albright comfortable and confident enough to “Eat Something”

 

Empowering radio single about self-love and acceptance previews her March 17 debut album release.

 

FRISCO (30 January 2017): While a song about the joy of packing on a few pounds and a widening booty may seem contrary to the messages bombarding the popular music and media landscapes, smooth soul singer Selina Albright‘s “Eat Something” is instantly resonating with fans and radio programmers, including SiriusXM Watercolors’ Dave Koz Lounge, which will feature the song on the February 5 national broadcast. The mid-tempo adult R&B song bolstered by guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno‘s crafty touch is the lead single from Albright’s first full-length album, the very personal “Conversations,” which will be released March 17 by Golden Rays Music with preorders beginning February 1 on iTunes.

 

“Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that I’ve reprioritized my life and stopped putting so much emphasis on doing and being what’s most acceptable to others, and instead focused more on appreciating and expressing who I’ve become. Getting to that place in my life inspired me to write about topics I normally wouldn’t, such as ‘Eat Something.’ I know it’s unconventional to write a song about being so happy that you gain weight from eating more, but there’s a freedom in the candor of the lyrics. There was no way I was going to change that. It was far too special,” said Albright, who selected the heartening cut as the first single based upon the immediate and rousing response she receives whenever performing the song in concert and from the fervent reaction from her “FanFamily” on social media.

 

Describing the custom-tailored blend of sensual soul and sultry jazz album as “my own therapeutic diary through joy, betrayal, liberation and hope, all written without holding back,” Albright wrote the lyrics for all nine original tunes and co-produced three tracks on “Conversations.” Her subject matters are based upon intimate and probing conversations she’s had, shared as if she’s confiding in a close friend. Whether skillfully unleashing the full power and magnitude of her gravity-defying voice or harnessing her passion in a reassuring caress, Albright’s demeanor remains sunny and glowing on uplifting numbers like “Possible” and “Highest High.” Even when confronting weightier subjects head on like she does on “Wifey Anthem (You Don’t Have To Fight At Home)” and “Victim,” her inherent optimism remains present and undaunted. “Let Go” also is wrought with emotion and includes dramatic flute flourishes from multiple Grammy nominee Gerald Albright, Selina’s father. The disc’s lone cover is a stripped down, jazzy take on “If I Were A Boy” with accompaniment by contemporary jazz hit-maker Peter Whiteon acoustic guitar and Randy Ellis (Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé) on sax. Also contributing to the date are producers Chris “Big Dog” Davis and James “JRob” Robersonas well as guitarist David P. Stevens.

 

To help launch the album, Albright will perform at three record release parties: February 12 at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California, April 6 at the Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pennsylvania and April 15 at The Soiled Dove Underground in Denver, Colorado. The Southern California show is already nearly sold-out.

 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Albright was reared in the jazz and R&B scene, making her first appearance singing on one of her father’s albums twenty years ago. She has since sung on several of his collections, including penning lyrics and singing on the Grammy-nominated “24/7,” a 2012 duet set from the chart-topping saxophonist and Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown. Oozing stage presence, exuberance and captivating charisma, Albright has made her own name while singing on records and stages around the world, shining brightly amidst a galaxy of contemporary jazz stars and R&B legends that spans Brian CulbertsonDavid BenoitDave KozKirk WhalumDavid SanbornBoney JamesRichard Elliot and Rick Braun to Chaka KhanWill DowningRegina BelleThe TemptationsHugh Masakela and the late George Duke. In an entirely different setting, she injected her soul-powered energy into the electronic dance music world by collaborating with Manufactured Superstars, leading to a performance with the internationally-revered DJ duo at Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival in 2011. Recording as a solo artist, Albright placed the spirited jazz original “You and I” on the iTunes Top 100 Singles Downloads in 2010. A few years later, she topped the soul chart in the United Kingdom for four weeks with her R&B/soul single “Brighter.” Last year, Albright primed the marketplace for “Conversations” by issuing “Sun Comes Up,” which outpaced her previous singles.

 

“Conversations” contains the following songs:

 

“Eat Something” (featuring Kay-Ta Matsuno)

“Possible”

“If I Were A Boy” (featuring Randy Ellis)

“Talk To Her”

“Highest High”

“Wifey Anthem (You Don’t Have To Fight At Home)” (featuring David P. Stevens)

“Search My Name”

“Victim”

“Let Go” (featuring Gerald Albright)

“Uncharted Love”

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Selina Albright New Album Conversations

Ledisi and the National Symphony Orchestra Pops

Ledisi and the National Symphony Orchestra PopsWashington D.C. will be the place to be on February 24-25, as Ledisi will join the National Symphony Orchestra Pops for two unforgettable shows.  The Kennedy Center has played host to many incredible shows over the years, and this event will not be any different.

American R&B and jazz recording artist Ledisi joins the NSO Pops for two inspired evenings spotlighting her unique sound and “strident, soulful voice” (The New York Times) led by conductor Darin Atwater. Nominated for nine Grammy Awards and a mainstay on Billboard‘s R&B charts, the prolific New Orleans native artfully channels gospel, blues, and funk influences with style, navigating intimate ballads and up-tempo grooves with ease. For the first half of the program, the NSO is joined by The Mellow Tones, an ensemble from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

Show times for both performances are at 8pm, and you can get them here.

 Ledisi and the National Symphony Orchestra Pops

To say that the Kennedy Center is a bust place is an understatement!  They host approximately 3,000 shows per year, and about 2 million people visit the venue every year.  They hose all types of shows, including Theatre, Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary Dance, and of course, the National Symphony Orchestra Pops.  If you have never been I think it is time to make your first visit for this show.

 

 

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Ledisi and the National Symphony Orchestra Pops

Hampton Spring Jam Music Festival 2017

Like the name indicates, this is purely a JAM.  Or as Aaron Hall sings it…JAAAMMMM! Teddy jam for me!

That’s right, Guy is headlining the Hampton Spring Jam Music Festival 2017.  It will take place Saturday, March 18th, at the Hampton Coliseum.  Hampton, Virginia in case you were confused.

This venue holds major events throughout the year, including the annual Hampton Jazz Festival.

We will get to that in another post.

The Hampton Spring Jam Music Festival 2017 will feature some great R&B acts:

  • Guy
  • Dru Hill
  • Monica
  • Jagged Edge
  • Michel’le

Sooo, I really did not know that Michel’le was still performing.  Don’t forget, her first album, Michel’le had some other hits besides No More Lies and Nicety.  Keep Watchin’ was a good uptempo track, and Something In My Heart was the slow jam.

For me, We’re Not Making Love No More is Dru Hill’s best.  That is a Babyface production, so that is probably why I am partial to that particular track.

Jagged Edge is one of those groups that should have had more hits.  They have a nice flow and hopefully they will continue to churn out some hits.  Their song Baby samples the song Happy, by Surface.

I have to be honest…I was not down with Monica when she first came onto the scene.  Once she matured, her music reflected that, and then she grew into her style.  My favorite from her is a duet…not The Boy Is Mine.  My favorite is Trust, the duet with Keyshia Cole.

What can you say about Guy?  They wrote the blueprint for the New Jack Swing movement.  My Fantasy, the song from the Do The Right Thing movie soundtrack, embodies the whole New Jack style.  It is uptempo, have a pumpin’ groove, and those shakers are “front and center” in the song.

This should be a good show so if you are in the Hampton area, make plans to attend.

Hampton Spring Jam Music Festival 2017

 

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Hampton Spring Jam Music Festival 2017

Clint Holmes New Album Rendezvous

Vocalist Clint Holmes has an intimate “Rendezvous” with a star-studded jazz collective

Clint Holmes New Album Rendezvous

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jane Monheit, Ledisi, Joey DeFrancesco, Dave Koz, Patti Austin and The Count Basie Orchestra help bring the veteran crooner’s story to life on the album due February 24.

 

LAS VEGAS (26 January 2017): A song that singer-songwriter Clint Holmes wrote fondly recalling the Sunday afternoons he used to spend with his father at the historic Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo in upstate New York where he was first exposed to jazz serves as the centerpiece of “Rendezvous,” his new album slated for release on February 24 from LL Music.

“I was twelve and it was a true coming of age moment for me. I had never seen my dad in his world. He worked three jobs and never seemed happy until I saw him in this element. I fell in love with jazz and how cool it felt to interact with the ‘cats’ the way my dad did,” said Holmes, the son of an African-American father and a white British mother who was a classically-trained opera singer.

With jazz timing and phrasing informing his velvety tenor croon on eleven cuts, including three new songs that he co-wrote, Holmes surrounded himself with a royal herd of jazz “cats” on the collection that was produced by two-time Grammy winner Gregg Field. The sophisticated session offers a diverse play list that reinterprets modern day and classic pop hits, soulful R&B, theatrical tunes and numbers culled from the Great American Songbook. Field placed Holmes’ voice front and center amidst live instrumentation, sweeping strings and orchestra accompaniment, and sparse piano and vocal settings. The first single shipped to radio stations for airplay is “Say Something,” a duet between Holmes and multi-time Grammy nominee Ledisi. Grammy winner Patti Austin sang, conducted and arranged the background vocals on the track that will also be remixed for dance floors and serviced to club DJs.

Class and elegance reign on a cunning big band mashup of “I Loves You Porgy”/”There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” pairing Holmes and Grammy-winning chanteuse Dee Dee Bridgewater backed by The Count Basie Orchestra. Holmes will join Bridgewater and the famed orchestra on stage at the legendary Blue Note in New York City on February 4 and 5 to perform the showstopper arranged by four-time Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin.

Stellar contributions proliferate “Rendezvous.” Holmes and Grammy winner Jane Monheit break hearts on a sublime rendition of Cole Porter‘s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” Swinging jazz and blues mingle “At The Rendezvous,” which is illuminated by a storming Hammond B-3 solo from Grammy-nominated organist Joey DeFrancesco. Closing the record with poignancy, Holmes penned lyrics to the sweetly melodic “What You Leave Behind,” composed by contemporary jazz luminary Dave Koz, who embellished the acoustic guitar and vocal track with a gracefully emoting sax solo.

“Every track does come from a personal place for me and this CD is a ‘rendezvous’ in every sense of the word – a coming together of great and generous artists. The material I selected for the album is specific and biographical while being universal at the same time,” Holmes concluded.

Holmes burst onto the pop landscape nearly 45 years ago with the million-selling smash “Playground in My Mind.” His enduring and accomplished career as a recording artist, multidimensional showman and consummate entertainer includes tenure as Joan Rivers‘ sidekick on her late night television program, a stint as musical feature and event correspondent on “Entertainment Tonight,” and his own Emmy-winning talk/variety show. Along with appearing in marquee musicals across the country, he has written the book, music and lyrics to original shows and cabaret acts. A critically-acclaimed draw in Las Vegas and New York City in recent decades, Holmes concluded an extended run at the Palazzo a short time ago and soon expects to announce a new Vegas residency with a production inspired by “Rendezvous.” For more information, please visit www.ClintHolmes.com.

 

“Rendezvous” contains the following songs:

“Stop This Train”

“At The Rendezvous” featuring Joey DeFrancesco

“I Loves You Porgy”/”There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater and The Count Basie Orchestra

“Every Time We Say Goodbye” featuring Jane Monheit

“All Of Me”

“Say Something” featuring Ledisi

“Maria”

“The Perfect Trance”

“Marie”

“My Way”

“What You Leave Behind” featuring Dave Koz

We will let you know when the album becomes available.

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Clint Holmes New Album Rendezvous

Phil Perry New Album Breathless

Phil Perry New Album BreathlessONE OF THE GREATEST BALLADEERS OF OUR TIME PHIL PERRY RETURNS 

WITH A NEW CD THAT PROMISES TO LEAVE YOU BREATHLESS

“I try to become the story, not just the Storyteller.  The goal is to allow listeners to hear

themselves in the story.”- Phil Perry

Phil Perry has been in the game since the mid-70’s, but I was introduced to his music in 1994.  This is when the album Pure Pleasure was released.  I remember hearing a remake of the Patti Labelle classic, If Only You Knew.  Now, if you are like me, even the thought of someone trying to remake that song just made me cringe.

The first verse in the song is probably one of the greatest EVER.

I must have rehearsed my lines

A thousand times

Until I had them memorized

But when I get up the nerve

To tell you, the words 

Just never seem to come out right

WHAT????

And Phil Perry NAILED it….

So I was officially a fan.  Don’t sleep on the rest of the album, because there are some other nice tracks on there.

Anyway, I have been following his career ever since, and when a Phil Perry album comes out, you know what you are going to get:  Strong ballads and some mid-tempo grooves with some tight musicianship.  That is the formula.  There is no need to deviate from that.  That is how you build an audience.  Many artists try to get “creative” and “explore different musical stylings.”  That is how they lose their audience over time.

Perry’s latest, Breathless will drop  on February 24th.  I just need to say that he has another winner here.

The title track, Breathless, is first out of the gate.  Now, I always say that song order is very important.  The opening track should be something that would lead off a live show.  If you are promoting an album, you need an upbeat song to get people in the mood.  Breathless does the trick.  The horns grab you at the onset, and the guitar fills compliment Perry’s playful vocals.

It doesn’t take long for Perry to break out those high notes.  Never Can Say Goodbye starts out with some strings and a hi-hat.  Those are in the background as Perry’s vocals are front and center….They are restrained, but powerful.  Then about halfway through, he hits those high notes, and you are reminded of his vocal prowess.

Perry speeds the tempo a little with Do Whatcha Gotta Do.  This is a song where the commitment is questioned.  If you stay, If you go, You gotta do whatcha gotta do.  Figure out what you want, but I gonna do what I gotta do.  We have all been through this, right?

The Stevie Wonder classic is next.  Love’s In Need Of Love Today.  This song has been remade several times, but there is something about Perry’s delivery that makes it great.  When you have vocal chops like that, you can command the song.  Perry ad-libs for about a minute to close out the song, and you cannot help but sing along.

Ok, I am happy and mad at the same time about the next song.  Lee Ritenour’s Is It You is one of my favorite tracks, and I am happy that Perry put his stamp on the song.  I am mad because it is only 2:13….WHAT!?  You cannot tease us like that.  I guess I will take what I can get.

We get back to a mid-tempo song with Nobody But You.  Guitarist Tony DePaolo is featured on the track.  This is one of those “Live” songs….one you need to hear live to get the full effect.

Heaven’s Away is up next, and it has that signature Phil Perry sound.  He takes his time with the delivery, and at the end you get those signature high notes.

One Less Bell To Answer is a 5th Dimension classic. You get the old school feel, but it is definitely a new song.  Can you believe this song originally came out in 1970?

Someday We’ll Met Again has Perry once again at his finest.  The song reminds me of a Luther performance.  The back and forth between the lead and background vocals is something I had always enjoyed.

Perry closes out with Moments In The House Of Love.  With just a piano backing him up, it is one of those songs where you may be sitting at a lounge.  The house band is playing, and the singer notices that Phil Perry is in the audience.  After a little prodding, Phil takes the stage and croons for a few minutes.  It does not get any better than that.

Perry is one of those singers where you just know that the new album will be good.  This is definitely the case here.  Like I mentioned earlier, he sticks to the formula.  Slow jams, mid-tempo songs, and a couple of remakes sprinkled in.  Breathless is an album that you will enjoy.

The album drops on February 24th, and if you want to add it to your collection, you can pre-order it here.

Phil Perry New Album Breathless

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Phil Perry New Album Breathless