There are very few artists whose sound can capture the sentiments of a generation. The Brooklyn born and raised, Melanie Charles, is one of these artists. Over the past few decades, she has made a name for herself through dynamic engagements with jazz, soul and R&B. Her bold genre-bending style has been embraced by a range of artists including Wynton Marsalis, SZA, Mach-Hommy, Gorillaz and The Roots. In 2021, she appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk and stunned with her eclectic style. Through it all, she has remained committed to making music that pushes listeners to consider new possibilities—both sonically and politically. “Make Jazz Trill Again,” a project that she launched in 2016, demonstrates her allegiance to everyday people, especially the youth and is focused on taking jazz from the museum to the streets. “I love jazz, I really fell in love with it deeply. But I was interested in young people interacting with it,” Charles says. The album Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women is reflective of Charles’ tremendous versatility and imagination as an artist but of also her deep care for community.
Charles’ initial approach to the album was simple—to find music in the Verve catalogue that spoke to her. As a Verve remix project, with Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women she set out to take this group of songs and breathe new energy into them. She was immediately drawn to the rapturous voices of Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn who inspired her to record arrangements of “God Bless the Child” and “Detour Ahead.” By the time she was ready to move forward with recording the rest of the album, the world had transformed into a very different place. When the pandemic hit, Charles was faced with a new set of concerns. She no longer had access to the same resources and was forced to make the album from home. Charles was not discouraged. “This is at the center of our experience as brown and Black people, making something out of nothing,” she says.
The remainder of the album was recorded during the summer of 2020 while the pandemic continued and Americans were in the throes of a racial reckoning sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. Taylor’s death, in particular, had an impact on Charles’ creative process. “I was rudely reminded that Black women are and always have been undervalued, uncared for, unprotected and neglected. I decided to focus on songs written and or sung by the Black women who paved the way for me,” says Charles. Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women is a love letter to the un¬heralded labor of Black women. At the same time, it asks listeners, as they consume the artistic pro¬duction of Black women—the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Abbey Lincoln and Di¬nah Washington and others—to be accountable to and care about them as well.
The album is a tribute to the brave and courageous spirit of children standing up against adult cruelty. This text, written 50 years ago by the famous raw artist Henry Darger, is set to music for the first time, here by Philippe Cohen Solal (Gotan Project) and Mike Lindsay (Tunng).
To celebrate Henry Darger’s anniversaries, Philippe Cohen Solal presents in collaboration with the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris his new short film “OUTSIDER, inspired by Henry Darger” co-directed with Pascal Gary, with animations by Gabriel Jacquel.
This special video includes new music videos for “We’ll Never Say Goodby”, “Can A Boy Forget His Mother” and “851 Webster Avenue”.
The whole project including his fantastic short film can be explored at: http://outsideronline.co/
Gregory Porter’s new release Still Rising, due out November 5, is an exquisite collection of musical delights. The first disc includes five brand-new tracks, two new arrangements, and nine of Porter’s most loved global tracks. The second disc features breath-taking covers and duets, boasting songs with Moby, Jamie Cullum, Jeff Goldblum, Renée Fleming, Dianne Reeves, Lalah Hathaway, Laura Mvula, Lizz Wright, and others. The new song and first single from the album “Dry Bones,” written and produced by Troy Miller (Diana Ross, Rag’n’Bone Man, Emeli Sandé), is available to stream or download.
Watch here the video: https://youtu.be/KA7ugBiySOI
Of the collection, Porter says: “This is my music up until now, but it’s not a ‘Greatest Hits’. They often come at the end of someone’s career, and I still feel new and young in mine. I have much more to say. There is always something in an artist’s career that people don’t know about; I wanted to bring it to their attention. The album title echoes my last one, ALL RISE, because I am reiterating something evident in my music and the new songs here—this upward-looking optimism about life and love. It’s an unfinished story for me, both musically and personally. And I’m still learning how to do this. Still rising.”
Over the past decade, Porter has taken the world by storm, bringing Jazz to the masses and collecting numerous accolades and acknowledgements, including two GRAMMY Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
In 2019 the singer launched and hosted his own podcast, ‘The Hang’, which has amassed two successful seasons to date and played host to a range of celebrity guests. Earlier this year, Porter released ‘The PorterHouse with Gregory Porter’ Presented by Citi, a six-episode cooking series in which the singer shares recipes inspired by his local community, culinary experiences on tour and his own family cooking traditions.
The track listing for Still Rising is as follows:
01 – Hey Laura
02 – Liquid Spirit
03 – Revival
04 – Illusion
05 – 1960 What?
06 – L.O.V.E
07 – Holding On
08 – Concorde
09 – If Love Is Overrated
10 – I Will
11 – Real Good Hands
12 – My Babe
13 – Bad Girl Love
14 – No Love Dying
15 – Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?
16 – Dry Bones
17- Love Runs Deeper
18 – It’s Probably Me
01 – Natural Blues (with Moby & Amythyst Kiah)
02 – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (with Jamie Cullum)
03 – Raining in My Heart (with Buddy Holly)
04 – People Will Say We’re in Love (with Ella Fitzgerald)
05 – GrandMas’ Hands (with Ben L’Oncle Soul)
06 – Christmas Prayer (with Paloma Faith)
07 – Insanity (with Lalah Hathaway)
08 – Make Someone Happy (with Jeff Goldblum)
09 – Fly Me To The Moon (with Julie London)
10 – Satiated (with Dianne Reeves)
11 – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (with Renée Fleming)
12 – The Girl From Ipanema (with Nat King Cole)
13 – Water Under Bridges (with Laura Mvula)
14- Right Where you are (with Lizz Wright)
15 – Heart and Soul – (with Yo-Yo Ma & The Silkroad Ensemble, Lisa Fischer)
16 – Making Love (with Trijntje Oosterhuis)
Myles Sanko is back with his wonderful new album Memories of Love: and its one of his best and private. The media feedback is enthusiastic and his first 3 singles “Freedom Is You”, “Rainbow In Your Cloud” and “Streams Of Time” gained fantastic radio air play and went onto several play lists such as Soul `n` the City and on Jazz FM.
“This album is my most personal album yet, each song is a memory of love, a story of love, good or bad, happy or sad. Love is not always as we picture it in fairy tales but a work in progress for as long as we choose to love, says Myles Sanko. Over the years I have written love songs and most of them have some reality in them but also a lot of fiction. Maybe this was because I wasn’t truly ready to share that part of me in a way that I am defiantly more comfortable doing now. I’d say becoming a father has changed my outlook and made me a little “more brave” and accepting of myself“.
Dana Masters was born and raised in the deep south of the United States by family who ushered in and were deeply involved with the Civil Rights Movement of the 50 ’s and 60 ’s. Granddaughter of a celebrated Civil Rights Activist, Dana left home at the age of 17 to pursue a life in music, believing deeply that music could tell human stories with such poignancy and conviction that it could transcend divisions.
She found herself in Minneapolis, MN for 4 years (working with Prince ’s guitarist), followed by Los Angeles, CA (and accidentally doing a gig with Kanye West) trying to find a place where she could feel inspired to write and develop her gift. In LA she met and fell in love with a Northern Irishman and decided to take a leap and make Ireland her home.
It was here in Ireland, a chance meeting with jazz trumpeter, Linley Hamilton, catapulted her into the world of the Irish Jazz scene, igniting her appetite for the expression, freedom and musicianship that jazz carried. With jazz, infused with the music she grew up on (soul, funk, r&b and gospel), she found she could tell not only her story but the incredibly rich story of the women and men who raised her.
Soon, Dana was asked to perform with Van Morrison, and one show turned into 6 years of touring. Now, back home, Dana is determined to pour all of the experience, passion and creativity collected in the last 6 years into a unique project inviting the listener to not only hear, but to see behind the curtain of songwriting, producing, arranging and the rebirth of an artist as she moves from the shadow of one of the world ’s most iconic musicians to stand on her own stage and tell her story in her own words.
Chiara Civello joined forces for the 2nd time with Marc Collin, French musician, film music composer, record producer and founder of the project Nouvelle Vague. After her first cooperation with Marc in 2017 on the album ‘Eclipse’, they present now 12 classic French chansons all original written between 1945 and 1975. The album is called: “CHANSONS” (Chiara Civello sings International French Standards).
These songs, carefully selected from artists like Michel Legrand to Charles Aznavour, Charles Trénet, Édith Piaf, Jacques Brel or Gilbert Bécaud and Francis Lai mostly are well-known but do surprise, as they have crossed borders for over 70 years sometimes without reference to their French heritage.
Marcs production is pure with a little retro touch; a sort of vintage minimalism and covers a variety of styles from swing to Cuban beats via soul to blaxploitation, Chiara’s voice intimist, often baring her soul, simply wonderful and sensitive.
Chiaras and Marcs lovely version of the 80s Hit Pour toi (Feelings) was released in December already.
ALL RISE will be his sixth studio album, marks a return to Porter’s beloved original songwriting — heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues, and gospel. Produced by Troy Miller (Laura Mvula, Jamie Cullum, Emili Sandé), the set also represents the evolution of Porter’s art to something even more emphatic, emotive, intimate, and universal too.
„Yes, you could say that I went big,“ says Porter about his latest, which combines the talents of his longtime loyal bandmates, a handpicked horn section, a 10-member choir, and the London Symphony Orchestra Strings. „But, quite frankly, the way I write in my head, it all happens with just voice and piano first, and it’s built up from there. It feels good to get back to the rhythms and the styles and the feelings and the way that I like to lay down my own music from start to finish.“
REVIVAL seems to be straight-up gospel. This what we’ve heard in church. When somebody caught the Holy Ghost this was the beat,” says Gregory of “Revival,” which was co-written with the album’s producer Troy Miller( produced Laura Mvula, Jamie Cullum, Emili Sandé). “Troy knows the importance of message in music, but the message that we both agreed on with the lyric was what I believe in, that renewal of the spirit and the energy. It’s both heavenly and earthly. You don’t have to be a believer to understand revival and renewal, starting all over again afresh. For me, it’s the message of walking into this life and having some fear and some self-doubt, and at the point that you grab onto something that you know is real, the truth. Once you can grab onto the truth then this fearlessness comes.”
While the strings were recorded at Abbey Road, the core of ALL RISE was made in two locations: in Los Angeles at the legendary Capitol Studios just a couple of hours from Porter’s Bakersfield home; and at a cozy studio in Paris‘ Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter, a historic hub for literature and jazz.
In fact, Porter himself wrestled with this album’s direction. Like many concerned citizens these days, he’d found himself obsessed with the politics of the day, every new song morphing into a response to the powers that be. It was unhealthy, and exactly the kinda thing those powers feed on: attention, influence, anger. So Porter scrapped nearly all of that, looked inward, upward, and around him, and arrived at a new raison d’être found in the title, ALL RISE. „We hear that phrase when presidents or judges come into the room,“ says Porter, „but I’m thinking all of us rise — not just one person being exalted. We are all exalted and lifted up by love. This is my political thought and my real truth. It comes from my personality, my mother’s personality, the personality of the blues, and of black people. It’s this idea of making do with the scraps, of resurrection and ascension, and of whatever the current situation is, it can get better through love.“
Drop the needle on „Revival“ and just try to pretend you aren’t lifted by the spirit no matter your personal faith or affiliation. Once again, Porter cuts through the noise of genres and the mess of life to reach us all where we live: the heart.
Like wine, it’s interesting to put music through the test of time. Mind Food was composed and recorded in 2000, and it is only now that we can tell if it is a good vintage. Originally I had the idea to create music for an imaginary film or a film yet to be released. During this period of my life, I was composing a lot for featured films, documentaries or commercials. I’ve always enjoyed working under the constraint of a scenario or a director, but I also know that the best films are often those where the images were assembled on music that was already scored or recorded. „The Thomas Crown Affair“ with Steve Mc Queen & Faye Dunaway, which is the main reference for the arrangements on Mind Food, is one of these rare films, where the director Norman Jewison decided to follow the tempo of Michel Legrand’s score and not the other way around. Chassol who appears on this record also worked with me at this time, in fact it was one of his first „job“. Neither of us could have imagined then that he would go on to produce incredible work with the likes of Frank Ocean or Solange, yet Chassol has always produced his own brilliant solo material, musical performances and visuals like Indiamore, Big Sun or just recently Ludi. For the song „Inverno“, I had the chance to collaborate with a rare and precious singer, Green Gartside, frontman of the legendary band Scritti Politti, whose album Cupid & Psyche changed my youth in the 80s and whose sweet and fragile voice foreshadowed James Blake and the likes, 30 years earlier. There are also two wonderful female performers, Nivo Rahoerson, jazz singer of Malagasy origin for „The Signs“ and Gabriela Arnon, a New Yorker based in Paris, for the only cover on the album, the beautiful blue eyed soul and folk-jazz gem „Living’s worth loving“ by Bostonian brothers David & Robin Batteaux, circa 1973.
None of this music seeks to follow any current trends, but instead deliberately wants to slow time down so that you can catch your breath and feel which way the wind will blow, I am hoping then it will be into your curious and attentive ears.
New forms of ‘club-oriented’ music, influenced by various genres, characterize the recent history of our globalized world: the overlapping of individual experiences creates new collaborations, as it happened here: DJ, musician and producer Nicola Conte meets again, sixteen years after the release of “New Standards”, his friend and colleague Gianluca Petrella (Blue Note, ECM), an internationally renowned talent emerged from the Italian jazz scene, an eclectic musician open to new experiences and collaborations.
The collaboration wasn’t limited to the production of these tracks, but involved a collaborative research effort; the two have in fact been diggin’ together, exchanged rare records, sampled and worked with analog vintage gear. This new album comes from two seasoned Italian jazz men, expressing their idea of a dancefloor; an experiment nodding to the scene of Detroit, with Conte and Petrella filtering and distilling the many impressions and influences coming from jazz to disco, house and beyond.
Some of the tracks such like “African Spirit” -a spiritual mantra, a simple dancefloor groove capable to induce an ecstatic feel; “New World Shuffle”- built on the same element and is enhanced by Bridgette Amofah’s vocals ; ”Sun Song “ – a delightful journey into Detroit-influenced contemporary disco whose mesmerizing and hypnotic samples bring the listener into a buoyant ecstatic trance and “Nigeria” – the afro-jazz track adding a tribal vibe are available on 3 pre released EPs.
more info on bandcamp