Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Album:Best O' Boingo
The theme from the 1985 film Weird Science was the biggest hit for Oingo Boingo. Though in their early days Oingo Boingo was praised for being quirky and offbeat, it wasn't until they embraced a more commercial sound that they had success in the mid-80s. They started out in 1972 as the Los Angeles street theater group The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo founded by Richard Elfman. His brother Danny Elfman joined in 1974. He turned them into a band and shortened the name to Oingo Boingo. Guitarist Steve Bartek joined in 1976. Elfman wrote all the songs. Bartek wrote the arrangements. They started out performing all kinds of music. Elfman turned them into a new wave band in 1979. A 1980 EP got them a deal with I.R.S. Records and the single Only a Lad was played on Los Angeles new wave radio station KROQ. Mainstream commercial success would be more elusive. After three acclaimed but unsuccessful albums on A&M, Elfman considered disbanding Oingo Boingo. Instead he signed with MCA and decided the band's music would be more commercial. At this point, Oingo Boingo was Elfman, Bartek and session musicians. The album Dead Man's Party was released in 1985. The video for the theme from the 1985 film Weird Science went into heavy rotation on MTV. It reached #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified Gold. After Weird Science director and writer John Hughes called him, Elfman wrote the song in his head while driving home. And once he got home, he recorded a demo. He says he hates the video. But I guess the bottom line is it was successful. One would think that this would launch Oingo Boingo into the mainstream. But this was when Elfman and Bartek scored the 1985 film Pee Wee's Big Adventure. And that led to scoring all of Tim Burton's films. Elfman is one of today's most successful composers. Oingo Boingo took a back seat to that and eventually split up in 1995. This comp is a good intro to their music. Here's the video for Weird Science by Oingo Boingo.
Monday, December 30, 2019
Song:Eyes On You
Album:Lambs & Lions
After starting out as an athlete, songwriting success led Chase Rice to a country music career. Maybe you saw him on Survivor. He was born Sept. 19, 1985 in Ormond Beach, FL. but he grew up in Ashville, NC. Rice was a linebacker on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football team. He did not pursue an NFL career due to injury. Instead he joined the Hendrick Motorsports pit crew. He won two NASCAR Championships with Jimmie Johnson. Then he appeared on the CBS reality series Survivor: Nicaragua. After finishing second, Rice got more serious about music. He began playing guitar in college. After releasing an album and an EP, Rice co-wrote the song Cruisin' which topped the Country Singles chart for Florida Georgia Line. He signed with Columbia for the 2013 EP Ready Set Roll and the 2016 album Ignite the Night. Ready Set Roll and Gonna Wanna Tonight were top ten Country singles. The album Ignite the Night was certified Gold. He started working on a new album and released the 2016 single Whisper. When it flopped and was slammed for not being country enough, Rice issued an apology to his fans. This led to him leaving Columbia for BMG's Broken Bow label. The album Lambs & Lions was released Nov. 2017. The single Eyes On You reached #3 on the Country Singles chart. Rice seems much happier on Broken Bow. He accused Columbia of trying to stifle his creativity. He wrote Eyes On You with with veteran songwriters Chris DeStefano and Ashley Gorley and DeStefano produced. Rice will tour Europe in early 2020. He should have a new album coming as a single was released in May. Here's the video for Eyes On You by Chase Rice.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
The Canadian jazz trio Myriad3 were Juno nominated for the 2014 album The Where. The band has been successful since coming together by accident in 2010. Pianist Chris Donnelly is from Toronto. He earned a Master of Music degree at the University of Toronto and he is on the faculty there. He recorded solo in 2008. Drummer Ernesto Cervini is also from Toronto. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he studied at the Manhattan School of Music. He became a popular sideman. Since moving back to Toronto, Cervini has joined the faculty of the University of Toronto. Bassist Dan Fortin is from Peterborough. He has become a very successful sideman since moving to Toronto. The three had never played together when they wound up on the same stage in 2010 through substitutions and schedule conflicts. Sine then Myriad3 has recorded four albums for the Canadian label Alma. Donnelly records solo for them. Undertow was written by Donnelly for the 2014 album The Where. The album was nominated for a Juno. Their latest CD Vera was released in 2018. All three guys record as leaders and have other projects. Myriad3 usually tours the jazz festival circuit. So they could turn up at a jazz festival near you. Here's Myriad3 performing Undertow at the 2015 Jazzahead Festival in Bremen, Germany Apr. 24, 2015.
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Song:On The Way Up 2.0
Album:Out of Body
Apollo LTD is an electronic music duo who have had success in the CCM market. They got mainstream attention when On The Way Up appeared in the Comedy Central sitcom The Other Two. Jordan Phillips and Adam Stark met in 2004 when they were roommates at Belmont University in Nashville. They worked on their music while working various jobs. The group name is because Phillips' uncle was an astronaut in the 90s. After a 2015 EP, Apollo LTD signed with the CCM label Centricity Music. After On The Way Up did well on the CCM charts, it was chosen to appear in the Comedy Central sitcom The Other Two. It's about a 13 year old boy who rockets to stardom after a viral video and how his family deals with it. Season two will premiere in Feb. Lorne Michaels is one of the producers. On The Way Up was used in the show's trailer. On The Way Up was only released as a single. Then they released the EP Out of Body. This EP was expanded to a 2019 album including On The Way Up 2.0. That is available on CD. Apollo LTD have opened for DNCE, Kesha and Panic! At The Disco. They will tour in 2020. They might want to consider signing with a secular label as Apollo LTD looks to have potential beyond the CCM market. Here's the video for On The Way Up by Apollo LTD which is also the trailer for The Other Two.
Friday, December 27, 2019
Song:Bust A Move
Album:Stone Cold Rhymin'
Bust A Move was a top ten hit in 1989. It was the only big hit for rapper Marvin "Young M.C." Young. A dispute with his record company killed his career. He was born May 10, 1967 in London, England but he grew up in Queens, NY. His parents were Jamaican immigrants. While earning a degree in economics at the University of Southern California, he auditioned for Delicious Vinyl owners Michael Ross and Matt Dike. They sent a record contract to his dorm room. After appearing on the Tone Loc singles Wild Thing and Funky Cold Medina, Young released his 1989 solo debut album Stone Cold Rhymin'. Bust A Move reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is built on a sample of the song Found A Child by the 70s horn band Ballin' Jack. They recorded for Columbia in the early 70s. There are other samples but that is the main one. Singer Crystal Blake was a veteran background singer. Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers played bass and appears in the video. Then he left Delicious claiming they made changes to his album without his consent. They sued him for breach of contract. After settling out of court, Young released two albums on Capitol Records which he also produced. When there were no hit singles, Capitol dropped Young. Since then he has recorded on his own label and appeared on TV a few times, most notably on Vh1's Celebrity Fit Club. He last recorded in 2008. Stone Cold Rhymin' is available as a budget CD. Here's the video for Bust A Move by Young M.C.
Thursday, December 26, 2019
Album:Sunday Jazz A La Lighthouse
Howard Rumsey was a jazz bassist best known for running weekly jam sessions at the Los Angeles club The Lighthouse. The band recorded in the 50s for Contemporary Records. It was a good way for young musicians to get experience. He was born Nov. 7, 1917 in Brawley, CA. Rumsey was in Stan Kenton's first band. He also worked for Vito Musso, Johnnie Davis, Charlie Barnet and Barney Bigard. After taking a break from music, he convinced the new owner of The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach to allow him to run jam sessions on Sundays. The Lighthouse was a Polynesian restaurant. The weekly jam sessions became so popular that Contemporary Records signed Rumsey to a record deal. Sunday Jazz A La Lighthouse was the first album in 1953. As I said, the band was different every week though Rumsey played bass. Other musicians were Bob Cooper and Jimmy Giuffre on tenor sax, Milt Bernhart on trombone, Maynard Ferguson and Shorty Rogers on trumpet, Frank Patchen on piano and Shelley Manne on drums. Giuffre and Rogers wrote most of the songs though Bernie's Tune was a jazz standard that was popularized by Gerry Mulligan. Max Roach and Bud Shank were among those who were Lighthouse All Stars members later on. After interest in jazz faded in the early 60s and the club owners decided to book blues artists, Rumsey took the Lighthouse All Stars on tour until he opened his own club Concerts By The Sea in Redondo Beach, CA. He operated the club from 1971 until Rumsey retired in 1985. Rumsey died on July 15, 2015 at age 97. For more, check out the 2005 doc Jazz on the West Coast: The Lighthouse narrated by Rumsey on DVD. Here's a video of Bernie's Tune by Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All Stars.
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Song:Let Us Pray
Album:The Ultimate Collection
After success as a songwriter, Steven Curtis Chapman became one of the most popular CCM artists of the 90s. He had a long string of number one CCM hits including Let Us Pray in 1996. He was born Nov. 21, 1962 in Paducah, KY. His father owned a music store and taught guitar. Chapman wrote songs while attending pre-med courses at Georgetown College in Kentucky. He soon moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. His big break came when the popular gospel group The Imperials recorded his song Built To Last in 1983. This got him a songwriting deal with the CCM label Sparrow. Sandi Patty was among those who recorded Chapman songs. He released his debut album First Hand in 1987. Let Us Pray is from the 1996 album Signs of Life. By this time, EMI bought Sparrow and attempted to cross Chapman over to pop. That never worked out but Chapman continued to have success in CCM. Let Us Pray was one of his many number one CCM hits. He has won Grammys, American Music Awards and Gospel Music Association awards. Chapman faded in the early 00s and left Sparrow for Reunion in 2011. His latest CD was released in 2016. This comp covers his Sparrow recordings. He did release a Bluegrass album through Cracker Barrel in March 2019. Certainly Chapman isn't as popular today as he was in the 90s. But he still very successful in the CCM market as a touring act. here's the video for Let Us Pray by Steven Curtis Chapman.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Song:You're No Good
Album:Down in the Basement: Soul From New York: 2
Dee Dee Warwick was the younger sister of Dionne Warwick. She was mainly a background singer who was never able to achieve the same success as her sister. You're No Good was her first single in 1963. She was the first to record that song which later was a big hit for Betty Everett. She was born Sept. 25, 1942 in Newark, NJ. After graduating from high school, she formed The Gospelaires with her sister Dionne and aunt Cissy Houston. They were also in The Drinkard Singers. They became New York session singers. After Dionne had solo success in 1962, Dee Dee recorded the 1963 single You're No Good for Jubilee Records. It was produced by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. Dee Dee was the first to record that song. But the song wasn't a hit until Betty Everett recorded it a few years later. After a second Lieber and Stoller single, Dee Dee returned to session singing until she signed with Mercury Records in 1965. Working with producer Ed Townsend, Dee Dee had some success with the 1966 top ten R&B hit I Want To Be With You. She was the first to record I'm Gonna Make You Love Me which later was a big hit for The Supremes and The Temptations. She left Mercury in 1970 after Atlantic Records president Jerry Wexler invited her to sign. He liked her session work. She worked with producer Dave Crawford. She Didn't Know was a top ten R&B hit in 1970. But most of Dee Dee's Atco recordings were shelved. She played second fiddle to Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack. She didn't get the same attention from the label. There are comp CDs for Dee Dee's Mercury and Atco recordings. But You're No Good only appears on a few various artists comps like this one from the British label History of Soul. After struggling for many years with drug addiction, Dee Dee Warwick died on Oct. 18, 2008 at age 66. Her name came up in Kevin Macdonald's 2018 doc Whitney. Dee Dee was accused of molesting Whitney Houston and her brother Gary when they were children. Dionne Warwick, Cissy Houston and Whitney's friend Robyn Crawford refuted the allegations. That doc is on Netflix. Here's a video of You're No Good by Dee Dee Warwick.
Monday, December 23, 2019
Sunday, December 22, 2019
Song:One Note Brown
Album:An Introduction To The New Mastersounds Vol. 2
The New Mastersounds are a big part of England's neo soul revival. They are an instrumental band who use occasional guest vocalists. One Note Brown is one of their early singles. The New Mastersounds are from Leeds, England. They were formed in 1999. Guitarist Eddie Roberts was DJing in a local club. When the event moved to a larger club, Roberts decided to add a live band. He called his former bandmates from The Mastersounds and they called themselves The New Mastersounds. The musicians were Bob Birch on keyboards, Pete Shand on bass and Simon Allen on drums. They released a few singles including One Note Brown. DJ Keb Darge signed them to his Deep Funk label and released the 2001 album Keb Darge Presents The New Mastersounds. They started their own label One Note in 2003 and they have been recording and touring ever since. The New Mastersounds are an instrumental band but they have recorded with guest vocalists like Corinne Bailey Rae, Dionne Charles and Grace Potter. And on their latest album Shake It, They work with Lamar Williams Jr. Birch was replaced by Joe Tatton in 2007. When they toured the US, funk legends Art Neville, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley and George Porter Jr. all jammed with The New Mastersounds. To introduce the band outside England, the German label Legere released a two volume Introduction comp. One Note Brown is on volume two. It's a good way to check out the band. Here's The New Mastersounds performing One Note Brown at Forecastle 2009.
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Song:St. Louis Blues
Album:I Remember Bessie
Art Hodes was a stalwart of traditional jazz piano from the 20s to the 80s. And like Billy Taylor, he was important in presenting jazz on TV in the 60s. He was born Nov. 14, 1904 in Nikoliev, Russia but he grew up in Chicago. He started playing Chicago clubs in the 20s. He moved to New York in 1938 and played with Sidney Bechet and others until he formed his own band in the early 40s. Hodes recorded for several labels. But his best known recordings were for Blue Note Records in the mid-40s. He also started the magazine Jazz Record. He frequently wrote about jazz. Hodes moved back to Chicago in the 50s. And though he recorded occasionally, he was best known for his early 60s TV show Jazz Alley. He also wrote for Down Beat and taught piano in Chicago schools. Like Louis Armstrong, Hodes was a staunch defender of traditional jazz. He wasn't interested in bebop or any new kinds of jazz. In the 70s and 80s, he recorded and toured more frequently. This 1977 album I Remember Bessie is a solo piano tribute to 1920s legends Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. Euphonic Sound Recordings released it. In 1993, Delmark Records released the album on CD with five bonus tracks. Art Hodes continued to record and tour until the late 80s. He died on Mar. 4, 1993 at age 88. Here's a video of St. Louis Blues by Art Hodes.
Friday, December 20, 2019
Song:Takin' My Time
Album:Along The Road
This 1994 collaboration by three popular CCM artists won reader's polls as album of the year and it was also nominated for a couple of Dove awards. It turned out to be a one shot deal. So why did they record together? All three were on Sparrow Records at the time. Susan Ashton and Margaret Becker were solo artists. Christine Dente was one half of Out of the Grey. Susan was the most successful of the three. She had albums top the Christian charts. So Sparrow along with Susan's producer Wayne Kirkpatrick may have thought that a collaboration could be successful. Kirkpatrick was also Amy Grant's producer. The lead vocals were divided evenly. Each sang four songs. Christine sang lead on Takin' My Time. She wrote the song with producer Charlie Peacock. He produced Out of the Grey and Margaret Becker. This album is available as a digital download. Though the album was successful, Sparrow was unable to record a second album because Margaret went on hiatus in 1995. She wasn't as successful when she returned to music in 1998. Susan and Christine recorded an album in 2005 with Michelle Tumes intended to be released only in Europe. It was released in the US as Lost in Wonder: Voices of Worship. Here's a video for Takin' My Time by Ashton Becker Dente.
Thursday, December 19, 2019
Album:Totally Wired and Illicit Grooves: Acid Jazz-The Birth of a Scene 1987-1990
A Man Called Adam (AMCA) were a big part in establishing England's Acid Jazz scene in the late 80s. Earthly Powers was an early single in 1989. Sally Rodgers, Steve Jones and Paul Daley started a jazz band in 1986. They started hanging around with DJ and Acid Jazz Records founder Gilles Peterson. Acid Jazz was electronic dance music with jazz elements that was popular in British clubs in the 90s. AMCA started when Peterson was developing the Acid Jazz sound. Earthly Powers was one of two singles AMCA released on Peterson's Acid Jazz label. Featured musicians are Luke Tunney on trumpet and flugelhorn and Gary Barnacle on sax and flute. Both guys are session musicians. Daley and Jones play drums and percussion. Sally plays keyboards and sings. The success of the single encouraged Sally and Jones to continue AMCA though Daley left to form Leftfield. After releasing the 1991 album The Apple on Big Life Records, AMCA started their own label Other Records and became more producers than recording artists. You can get Earthly Powers on this comp from Beat Goes Public. Though AMCA released the album Farmarama in 2019, mostly they produce Other artists like Sensory Productions. They have also recorded as Beachflea and Discrete Machines. Here's a video for Earthly Powers by A Man Called Adam.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Cole Shelton of BJ Penn.com reported today that Felicia Spencer vs Zarah Fairn Dos Santos has been added to UFC on ESPN+ 27 Feb. 29 at the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, VA. Farah confirmed this on Instagram. Felicia is 29 years old. She was born in Montreal but she grew up in Orlando. She trains at The Jungle. Her record is 7-1 and 1-1 in the UFC. She lost to Cris Cyborg in Cyborg's final UFC fight because Cyborg refused to fight Amanda Nunes and then afterwards pretended that she wanted to fight Amanda so fans would blame Dana White. Felicia is really good on the ground. The problem is there aren't a lot of decent Featherweights. Zarah is 33 years old from France. She's 6-3. The lost her UFC debut to Megan Anderson by first round submission. I expect the same thing will happen in this fight.
Song:We're Both In Love With A Sexy Lady
Album: I Told You I Was Freaky
Flight of the Conchords are a comedy duo from New Zealand. They do mostly music parodies. In North America, they are best known for an HBO series that ran for two seasons. They are from Wellington, NZ. Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie were classmates at Victoria University of Wellington studying film and theater. in 1998 they started performing as part of the comedy group So You're A Man. They split off and performed on TV in New Zealand in 2000. Their big break came when they performed at the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This led to a BBC Radio series and an appearance on the HBO comedy series One Night Stand. It also led to a record deal with Sub Pop which tied in with the Flight of the Conchords series. It ran for two seasons on HBO. They recorded two albums for Sub Pop. We're Both In Love With A Sexy Lady is from the second album I Told You I Was Freaky. It appears on episode six of season two of the series. It's a parody of a typical R. Kelly song. Since the TV series ended in 2009, Flight of the Comchords have reunited a few times including for a 2018 HBO special. They haven't recorded any new music. Clement and McKenzie have individual careers in films and TV. Clement seems to do a lot of voice work. And he played Oliver Bird on the FX series Legion. McKenzie was music supervisor on the 2011 film The Muppets and the 2014 film Muppets Most Wanted. He won an Oscar for The Muppets. Variety recently reported that McKenzie will develop a feature film adaptation of the 1977 Jim Henson TV special Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. He is also working on Bob The Musical for Disney and Moonland for Warner Bros. That should keep him busy. Here's the video for We're Both In Love With A Sexy Lady by Flight of the Conchords.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Album:Instrumental Nuggets Vol. 1
Popcorn was a top ten hit in 1972. It's been in the news lately because the songwriter Moog synthesizer pioneer Gershon Kingsley died a few days ago. Popcorn is not technically a one hit wonder because some of their other songs charted. Not surprisingly, studio musicians were behind Hot Butter. Stan Free (born Stanley Friedland Apr. 12, 1922 in Brooklyn) led a jazz trio in New York clubs in the 50s. He also produced and arranged albums for singer Chris Connor. In the 60s he got into studio work for Arlo Guthrie and Astrud Gilberto among others. And that led to Gershon Kingsley's First Moog Quartet. Kingsley wrote and recorded Popcorn on his 1968 album Music To Moog By. Free decided to form his own Moog synthesizer band Hot Butter. They signed with Musicor Records owned by veteran A&R man Art Talmedge. Free played synthesizer. There were other members but it's unclear what instruments were played by who. But it looks like Dave Mullaney wrote most of the arrangements. As Sir Christopher Scott, Mullaney released the 1969 Moog synthesizer album Switched-On Bacharach. He probably was more experienced with the Moog synthesizer than Free. Popcorn reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequent singles didn't do as well and neither did a second album. You can get Popcorn on this various artists budget comp from Repertoire. After Hot Butter, Stan Free returned to his career as a studio musician until his 1995 death. Here's a video of Popcorn by Hot Butter.
Monday, December 16, 2019
Song:All Alone On Christmas
Album:Smooth FM Christmas
Darlene Love is a singing legend best known for her early 60s days with producer Phil Spector. She is also known for Christmas songs including All Alone On Christmas from the 1992 film Home Alone 2. She was born Darlene Wright July 26, 1941 in Los Angeles. Her father was a minister and her sister Edna Wright was in Honey Cone. She was a member of The Blossoms which is how she got into working with Spector. The Blossoms were mainly background singers. One of her best known records from that era was Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) from the 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. That's now a Christmas perennial. Darlene went on hiatus in the 70s to raise her family. When she returned in the 80s, E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt was interested in working with her. That brings me to All Alone On Christmas. This song appears in the 1992 film Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. Van Zandt wrote and produced the song. The E Street Band and The Miami Horns play on it and Clarence Clemons plays the sax solo. The record did well enough that it is now a Christmas perennial. The Home Alone 2 soundtrack is out of print replaced by Home Alone Christmas probably due to music rights issues. I recommend this 2CD various artists comp from Sony. Of course most fans should recall Darlene from the Lethal Weapon films. And if you want to know more about Darlene Love and other great background singers, check out the Oscar winning 2013 doc Twenty Feet From Stardom on Netflix or Kanopy. I reviewed it on the blog. Here's the video for All Alone On Christmas by Darlene Love.
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Song:Like A Wind
Album:Into My Soul
Edin-Adahl was a popular CCM group in their native Sweden in the 80s. An attempt was made to have them sing in English and market them in America. The 1990 single Like A Wind was their best known song. But it didn't pan out and they returned to Sweden. Edin-Adahl were two sets of brothers. Frank and Simon Adahl were children when they started performing in churches across Europe in the late 60s. In the 70s they recorded as Frank and Simon. They met Bertil and Lars Edin in 1978 and Edin-Adahl was born. The group was popular in Scandinavia in the 80s. After the 1990 song Som en Vind won the 1990 Melodifestivalen song contest and was the Swedish entry in Eurovision, Edin-Adahl decided to record an English version and sell it in the US. Som en Vind was now called Like A Wind. Edin-Adahl wrote and produced all the music. Frontline Music Group released the 1990 album Into My Soul on Alarma World Music. After two unsuccessful albums, Edin-Adahl split up and Frontline closed Alarma. Like much CCM music, Like A Wind is too bland for me but I could see how CCM fans might like it. The guys returned to Sweden. Frank and Simon Adahl recorded several years later as Adahl. And Frank Adahl has produced other artists at his recording studio. Bertil Edin also owns a recording studio. Here's the video for Like A Wind by Edin-Adahl.
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Jeff Ballard is one of today's top jazz drummers. He's so busy as a sideman that he rarely gets the opportunity to record as a leader. This 2014 album was Ballard's debut as a leader. It is a must for jazz fans. He was born Sept. 17, 1963 in Santa Cruz, CA. Ballard listened to his dad's big band jazz records and was influenced by Mel Lewis and Elvin Jones. After studying music at Cabrillo CC in Santa Cruz, Ballard moved to San Francisco and heard Tony Williams. Since then he has emulated Williams' style. In 1988 he joined the Ray Charles band and he stayed for three years. Then he moved to New York. Ballard's big break came when Chick Corea hired him in 1998 to play in his band Origin. Ballard had played on a couple of albums by bassist Avishai Cohen for Corea's label Stretch. He has since appeared on several Corea albums and has toured with him. Then he formed Fly with sax player Mark Turner and bassist Larry Grenadier. They have released three albums. In 2005, Ballard and Grenadier joined pianist Brad Mehldau's trio and that band is still active. Ballard and Grenadier have been friends since 1982. Ballard has also recorded with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Joshua Redman among others. The 2014 album Time's Tales was Ballard's debut as a leader on Sony's Okeh label. The musicians are Puerto Rican sax player Miguel Zenon and West African guitarist Lionel Loueke. This is available as a budget CD so be sure to check it out. Ballard continues to tour and record with Mehldau. He recently released the album Fairgrounds featuring Loueke, pianists Reid Anderson and Kevin Hays and sax players Mark Turner and Chris Cheek. It looks like there are plans to tour with this band in 2020. Here's Jeff Ballard with Miguel Zenon and Lionel Loueke performing Beat Street at the 2011 Jazz a la Villette in Paris.
Friday, December 13, 2019
Today the UFC announced that Weili Zhang will defend her UFC Strawweight Championship against Joanna Jedrzejczyk on UFC 248 Mar. 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This was reported a couple of weeks ago but the UFC just confirmed the venue today. So far Weili has rolled over all her opponents including winning the title from Jessica Andrade in less than a minute. The only variable I see here is fighting in the US. There's plenty of pressure. So to get acclimated, Weili has moved to Milwaukee to train at Roufusport. Duke Roufus posted the above picture on his Instagram. She's in good hands. I respect Joanna as a former champ. But as I have said before, she ain't who she used to be. The last time Joanna finished a fight was in 2015. She's a points fighter now. I didn't see anything in her win over Michelle Waterson to change my tune. Weili likes to finish fights and I don't know if Joanna can stop her. Maybe the Joanna of five years ago would have a chance. But not today's Joanna.View this post on Instagram
Martial Arts makes the World a better place & a smaller planet. I am excited to announce I will be assisting the @ufc Straw Weight Champion @zhangweilimma & her team for her Title Defense vs legendary Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk March 7 in Las Vegas. Thanks Coach @cai8005457 & the great people from China for the friendship. Weili will finish her training at @roufusport with her whole team to acclimate to the USA. Special thanks to our friend @tulsigabbard for helping Weili obtain her Visa to the USA. Thank you very much @suckerpunchent for creating this wonderful friendship & collaboration “The Shaolin & Rou-Tang Could be Dangerous” @wutangclan #martialarts is #life 🥋#weilizhang #zhangweili #tulsigabbard #usa #china #chinese #mma #chinesemma #sanda #kungfu #gungfu #wushu #ufc #ufc248 @roufusport #roufusportmma #roufusport #routangclan #positivevibes
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Song:Always Have, Always Will
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Avalon
Avalon is a very successful CCM group with a long string of number one Christian hits. In 1995, Norman Miller of Proper Management in Nashville took the idea of forming a CCM vocal group to Sparrow Records A&R head Grant Cunningham. The idea was to have two male and two female singers who could all sing lead. After listening to many demos, Cunningham found what he was looking for when he saw Michael Passons at a showcase. Janna Long of Truth heard about this and joined. And she was followed by another Truth member Jody McBrayer. The fourth original member was Nikki Hassman Anders. After two Avalon albums, she left to go solo and was replaced by Cherie Paliotta Adams. Always Have, Always Will is from the 1999 album In A Different Light. It's one of four singles to top the CCM charts. Passons sings lead. The album was certified Gold. The album was produced by veteran CCM producer Brown Bannister. Always Have, Always Will was written by Cunningham, Nic Gonzales of the popular CCM group Salvador and popular rapper Toby "Tobymac" McKeehan. Cunningham died in 2002 after suffering a fatal head injury while playing soccer. Cherie left to go solo in 2002 and was replaced by Melissa Greene of Truth. And the big one was when Passons left in 2003. He was replaced by Janna's husband Greg Long who recorded solo in the 90s. They continued to have success in the CCM market. Jody left in 2007 for health reasons and Jeremi Richardson replaced him. Janna, Melissa and Jeremi all attended the same college. Melissa left in 2009 and was replaced by Richardson's wife Ami. This comp is a good intro to Avalon's music. They last recorded in 2009. But they have a new album coming in 2020 on Red Street Records owned by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts. The Richardsons left last year and Jody McBrayer returned and the fourth member of Avalon is now Dani Rocca. We'll see if they can pick up where they left off. Here's Avalon performing Always Have, Always Will.
Thursday, December 12, 2019
West African born Lionel Loueke is one of today's top jazz guitarists. He has recorded as a leader since the late 90s and is a very popular sideman. He was born Apr. 27, 1973 in Cotonou, Benin. He started playing guitar as a teen influenced by Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and others. Loueke moved to the US to study at Berklee on Boston in 1999. Then he auditioned for a spot at the Thelonious Monk Institute at UCLA in Los Angeles. The judges were Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard. Not only did he win the spot but he joined Blanchard's band appearing on the 2003 album Bounce and the 2005 album Flow. He also appeared on Hancock's 2006 album Possibilities and 2007 album River: The Joni Letters. And he has appeared as a sideman for many others. Loueke formed Gilfema in 2005 with Italian bassist Massimo Biocalti and Hungarian drummer Ferenc Nemeth. They were classmates at Berklee. After releasing two albums, Loueke signed with Blue Note. Aziza Dance is from the 2015 album Gaia. This song also appears on the 2016 album by the supergroup Aziza led by Dave Holland along with Loueke, Chris Potter and Eric Harland. Loueke is also a member of The Chick Corea + Steve Gadd Band. They released an album in 2017. Loueke has recently released three albums for Newvelle Records. And he has recorded recent albums with German singer Celine Rudolph and pianist Kevin Hays. And he has appeared on recent albums by Philip Bailey and Jeff Ballard. Loueke has just finished a European tour with Herbie Hancock. Tomorrow he will play Carnegie Hall with his trio. Here's Lionel Loueke with Massimo Biocalti and Ferenc Nemeth performing Aziza Dance at Subculture in New York City as part of the 2015 NYC Winter Jazz Festival.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Song:Vamp for Ochun
Album:Guardians of the Light
Pianist Michele Rosewoman has recorded as a leader since the 80s. She is part of Steve Coleman's M-Base collective which is a branch of avant garde jazz. Michele's music has a lot of Cuban influences. She was born Mar. 19, 1953 in Oakland, CA. Her parents owned a record store and her mom was an artist and teacher. She moved to New York in 1978. She has recorded with Coleman and other M-Base musicians like Greg Osby and Billy Bang. Michele's debut as a leader was the 1984 album The Source on Soul Note. Vamp for Ochun appears on that album but it's too expensive. In the 90s she recorded mostly for the German label Enja. Guardians of the Light was released in 2000. It was recorded live at Sweet Basil in New York City. Musicians are Craig Handy on tenor sax, Steve Wilson on alto and soprano sax, Kenny Davis on bass and Gene Jackson on drums. This is available as a budget CD. In recent years she has recorded with her band New Yor-Uba on her own label. She plays New York clubs and tours the jazz festival circuit. And she also teaches jazz workshops around the US. Here's Michele Rosewoman performing Vamp for Ochun featuring Bob Stewart on tuba at the 1984 Jazz Jamboree in Poland.
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Song:Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
Though Cher didn't become a solo star until the 70s, she did score a top five hit in 1965 with Bang Bang. At the same time, Sonny & Cher were very successful. Cher met Bono in 1962 while he was working for Phil Spector. She appeared as a backup singer on Spector records and released the single Ringo I Love You as Bobbie Jo Mason. Sonny & Cher married in 1964. Bono always wanted Cher to record solo and he would produce. But she suffered from stage fright and he was forced to join her on stage. They released a couple of singles in 1964 as Caesar & Cleo. Cher signed with Imperial Records and released the single Dream Baby as Cherilyn. Her cover of Bob Dylan's All I Really Want To Do reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. An album was released shortly after. Meanwhile Sonny & Cher topped the charts with I Got You Babe. Cher's second solo album The Sonny Side of Cher was released in 1966. The album was mostly covers recorded with Los Angeles studio musicians arranged by Harold Battiste. Bang Bang was one of two Bono songs on the album. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cher recorded three more albums for Imperial. Other than the 1968 top ten hit You Better Sit Down Kids, the albums were unsuccessful. After one album on Atco, Cher reemerged in the 70s with Snuff Garrett produced hits like Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves on Kapp Records. You can get Bang Bang on this 2CD comp that covers Cher's entire career. Here's the video for Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Cher.