ALEPH RECORDS TO RELEASE JAMES MORRISON SNAPPY TOO


Snappy Too is the Follow-Up to the Gold Certified Album Snappy Doo

Los Angeles, CA – Aleph Records will release James Morrison’s new recording Snappy Too on September 11, 2012.  The album is the sequel to the 1990 release Snappy Doo, which featured Morrison along with three legendary artists (Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, and Jeff Hamilton) creating a seventeen-piece big band sound through the use of overdubbing.

“It was tremendous fun and the album went gold,” said Morrison of Snappy Doo.  “I knew I’d want to do a ‘sequel’ at some stage but it has taken over two decades to finally get around to it. Sadly, in the meantime we have lost Ray and Herb, so when the time came to choose musicians for this recording I had a decision to make – do I replace them (who could?) or do we stick with the original band…meaning Jeff and I alone?”

Morrison made the decision that, since no players could replace Brown and Ellis and in the spirit of Snappy Doo, to record Snappy Too with Jeff alone. Which meant that he had to pull out his acoustic bass and brush up on guitar, in addition to playing trumpet, trombone, sax, and piano as he did for the first album.

Morrison joked, “after many laughs, a few tears and a lot of writing, blowing, strumming and plucking, we now have the long awaited Snappy Too a seventeen piece big band album where you only have to get two autographs on the cover to have the whole band!”

The recording of Snappy Too started in Morrison’s studio in Sydney, Australia. “Last time (Snappy Doo) we started with the rhythm section and then layered the brass and saxes on top,” Morrison described. “This time I started with a single trumpet and gradually built up all the horns until we had thirteen. Next I added the bass, then guitar and finally piano.”

The recording then shifted to Los Angeles where Hamilton added the drum tracks and Morrison played a few improvised solos.  “It was really something to see a man who is arguably the world’s best big band drummer sitting there playing away on his own – while listening to sixteen ‘other’ guys who weren’t in the room!” Morrison said.  “I can’t tell you how hard that is, playing drums to a band that is already there and can’t respond to anything you do – but I can tell you that nobody else could do it better than Jeff Hamilton.”

One person whose contributions were essential to the recording of Snappy Too was recording engineer Tod Deeley.  Morrison explained, “The recording engineer is always important when capturing music but in this case, where the band was created by over-dubbing so many tracks, the engineer becomes almost one of the players. For many of the hours that it took to create this work, there were only two people in the studio – Tod and myself. This meant that I was relying not only on his expertise as an engineer but also on his musicality, to advise when we needed another take, when tuning was an issue, when the groove was shifting. This is something that not any engineer could do – but that’s ok because Tod isn’t just any engineer, he’s a musician that I trust to know when the music is right.”

Morrison continued, “It’s been an odyssey creating this album and I feel lucky to be able to do it. I hope you delight in listening to what for me has been a labor of love and joy.”

James Morrison Snappy Too will be released by Aleph Records on September 11, 2012.

ABOUT JAMES MORRISON
James Morrison is, by anybody’s standard, a virtuoso in the true sense of the word. Besides the trumpet, this multi-instrumentalist also plays trombone, euphonium, flugelhorn, tuba, saxophone, double bass and piano.

At the age of seven, Morrison was given his first instrument, at nine he formed his first band and at thirteen he was playing professionally in nightclubs. His international career developed just as quickly. At only age 16 he debuted in the USA with a breathtaking concert at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Following this were performances at the big festivals in Europe including Montreaux, Pori, North Sea, Nice and Bern – playing with many of the legends of jazz. Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Woody Shaw, Red Rodney, George Benson, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Ray Brown and Wynton Marsalis to name a few. There were also gigs in the worlds most famous jazz clubs – The Blue Note and Village Vanguard in New York, the New Morning in Paris and Ronnie Scotts in London.

James Morrison’s career thus far has been diverse and perhaps not typical of most jazz musicians. He recorded Jazz Meets the Symphony with The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lalo Schifrin, performed concerts at the Royal Albert hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for Princess Anne. Royal command performances on two occasions for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and for US Presidents Bush & Clinton at Parliament House in Australia. He was also the artistic advisor to the Sydney Symphony’s “Kaleidoscope” series, which has included performances by Chick Corea, Dianne Reeves, Gary Burton and Kristjan Jarvi.  In 1997, Morrison was recognized for his service to the arts in Australia and awarded a medal of The Order of Australia.

Morrison spends much time in education, doing master classes and workshops in many countries and presenting the James Morrison Jazz Scholarship at Generations in Jazz. An avid user of the latest technologies James is very involved in furthering the presence of jazz and music education on the Internet and also uses computers extensively in his writing, recording and performances.
Follow Robert Carmack and this blog on twitter @blues2jazzguy.

 

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Kindred Spirits: Ndugu Chanceler


Kindred Spirits: Ndugu Chanceler 

It’s not often you get an opportunity to actually watch the professional growth of a musician up-close through most of their career,but in the case of Leon “Ndugu” Chanceler,I did. There’s many good things about growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950s or 60s..You had opportunities a kid from Shreveport, Louisiana during that era was never going to have. My parents moved us to Los Angeles in 1960. 

By 1963,I was learning saxophone and music theory. As in the case of Ndugu Chanceler, he too was from Shreveport, Louisiana. he started playing and studying music at 13,He grew up in LA (Watts area)in the 60s,just like me! I graduated from Cal State University Dominguez Hills, so did he. I guess that makes us kindred spirits and “Home Boys”. But that’s where the the meter on his side rises and explodes off the Charts. One Night, I was attending the famous jazz club, the Lighthouse where Willie Bobo & the BoGents were the group performing. Willie Bobo, a Purveyor of great talent,a master drummer- percussionist himself. He no longer playing the “Traps”.

 Bobo was out front now on timbales and vocals.. but, seated behind this mountain of drums,cymbals,and gear, was this youngster who hardly looked all of 15 or so. It was,at that time Leon(Ndugu) on drums. And man! could he play. I cut my teeth on listening to all the jazz masters on drums and seeing all I could, when they came to the Lighthouse or Shelly’s Manne Hole in Los Angeles. Billy Higgins,Frank Butler, Louis Hayes,Max Roach and Art Blakey frequented the LA club scene often.. I now have a guy from my generation who displays all of the jazz history and legacy into his playing AND,then piles on monstrous groove patterns at tremendous tempos with the greatest of ease,smiling like he just ate the canary! That was my introduction to Ndugu Chanceler! 

In my humble opinion, the two “baddest Cats” on drums coming out of Los Angeles late 60s to early 70s were, Ndugu Chanceler and “Sunship” Theus(RIP) another great drummer from my generation. These drummers were younger than Jack DeJohnette, Billy Hart,Billy Cobham, but still played on a higher level as the 70s emerged. Jazz went all “Electric Fusion”,Fender Rhodes pianos Synthisizers(MOOG)technology was in play, and Ndugu was was right in the middle of that music era strong! Still maintaining his roots in Jazz performing with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, and Gerald Wilson Big Band. In a flash of an eye, doubling up on calls with George Duke, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock’s Jazz Fusion bands. In addition, his recording sessions list was equally stellar also. Chanceler has also worked with Stanley Clarke,Jean-Luc Ponty,Donna Summer,George Duke,Patrice Rushen,Carlos Santana,Hubert Laws,The Crusaders,Frank Sinatra,Weather Report,Lionel Richie,Kenny Rogers,Thelonious Monk,Herbie Hancock and John Lee Hooker. Most famous of all, The King of Pop.” Michael Jackson! THE Drummer on Thriller’s Billy Jean”. 

Ndugu(Leon)Chanceler, from his humble beginnings in Los Angeles at Holy Chapel Missionary Baptist Church under Pastor William Cobbs,to, Grammy winning recordings,to being honored at the University of Southern California’s  www.usc.edu/visionsandvoices Visions and Voices Humanities & Arts program Sept 23. 

60 years of Life & Music!

Chanceler is also a member of Percussive Arts Society and has been named as one of the top 25 Drummers in the world! Follow Robert J. Carmack discussions and reviews on jazz at twitter: @blues2jazzguy