Tag: classic R&B

NYC PIANIST RUDI WONGOZI LAUNCHES LATEST RELEASE: JAZZ FOR R&B LOVERS


The word “Balance” has many definitions, especially as a verb or noun..the ones I chose to use here in speaking about Rudi Wongozi are; an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

OR, a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions , as in “Trying to keep a balance between work and relaxation.   There are remarkable and key points to realize when you talk about the artistry of Rudi Wongozi.

I was honored and elated to write about Rudi Wongozi’s latest CD; JAZZ FOR R&B LOVERS. “the album for After the After-Party”. You see I met Rudi over 12 years ago when I was living in the San Francisco Bay area as a journalist and jazz show producer. initially introduced by a longtime friend of Wongozi, Mr. Duane Deterville, artist, cultural archivist, author and an authority on the African Diaspora. Me being new to the S.F. Bay area then and needing to meet as many new performance artists as possible, I was immediately attracted to Rudi’s whole approach to the piano. even more important, was his attitude about NOT being cast inside the proverbial music box. “Is he Jazz or is he R&B or Pop”?? Neither, what I saw and heard was pure music knowledge , unabridged or, even tainted by labels or categories.

Inside the organization I helped to found, San Francisco Bay Area African-American Musicians Association, we collaborated on a show in Tribute to the great saxophonist Jackie McLean. Rudi tackled the very complex music of Mclean easily as I wanted it to be respectful of the artist, but also I wanted to have lots of creative license. To build upon the original foundation while re-creating new images and patterns through my poetry. And, through the band I assembled to bring the soul and heat.

Rudi Wongozi  has a long standing reputation in the East Bay(Oakland/Berkeley) area of California as a first call pianist and bandleader or recording session player in the genres of Jazz and Pop, Soul and R&B.

The Album for After the After Party

In a brief phone chat recently with the very busy pianist, as he is now living in New York city. We spoke about him being able to carve out himself a nice piece of the grass-roots and underground audiences that are hungry for new voices and sounds.

Wongonzi has valid and “legit” Jazz chops. He also has that eclectic voice that in a subtle kind of way reminds me a little of Gil Scott Heron. his original song lyrics are spot on and most relevant today. Hence, an album for after the After-party..that part of the early morning when no one is sleepy, and don’t want the groove to stop. Rudi Wongozi brings it all home in his new production, Jazz for R&B Lovers. 

Rudi has done a stellar job in marrying the different genres of music and placing it in a funnel and letting it blend to a honeycomb of soul and panache’. Still retaining his remarkable flair for the dramatic entrances.

On the song menu are classics by such notables as Denise Williams,Luther Vandross, Eric Clapton and the great Eddie Jefferson to name a few, plus unforgettable original gems written by Rudi , Precious: when the morning comes.

“Like some of my musical heroes, Nina Simone and Curtis Mayfield..they too were hard to put inside a musical label box because their talent was so expansive and universally appealed to multiple audiences” stated Wongozi.

12 tracks of sheer delight and memories, even a straight ahead version of “BAD HABITS” penned by Maxwell, the neo-soul artist.

You have to approach this album with an open mind and heart. then you will quickly get it. and then have a ball at the Party after the After-Party.

“I wanted to write a love song album, but I also wanted to blend in the social in-justice that’s currently happening in our country now. seasoning it with scat, rap and hip hop grooves beats on certain cuts. a recipe for success by artistically integrating multi-genre with the experience of a master musician/songwriter. This record drops NOVEMBER 11 2018… online purchases or at your favorite CD retail outlets

written by Robert J. Carmack, editor in chief, Hipster Sanctuary.com,actor,jazz poet and musician-@blues2jazzguy

press relations or more info regarding concerts or CD listening parties email us at; wongozi@yahoo.com

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SOUTH AFRICAN MUSICIAN HUGH MASAKELA JOINS THE ANCESTORS-RIP 1939-2018


posted by Robert J. Carmack

It seems that a bevy of greats have left the stage and building since January of 2017. I realize that’s just life as we know it. Nothing to say about it case closed. However, I did not want to allow the sudden death of a great man and musician go by without saying anything about it. First, my exposure to Hugh Masakela goes back beyond 50 years(1966). I lived in Los Angeles and was studying music in high school and two off campus jazz bands  too. Soon summer 1966 arrived and I was quite anxious because, word had it, the very first WATTS FESTIVAL was coming to reality.  Heavy announcements of Music, Art and Pageantry to replace all the violence and melee that happened only one year prior.

The opening act was this new guy we had been hearing about from Africa that was making a lot of noise in New York.

Hugh Masakela was the Kick-off concert at Jordan High school gym that launched the 1966 Watts Festival & Cultural events. I can remember like yesterday as me and a group of guys who loved jazz, was quite excited about the possibilities and the fact it would be my first time seeing anyone from Africa that was not a cliché of Hollywood racists attitudes about portraying ,anyone from the motherland. That night was very special in more ways than the obvious. I was 16 and thought I was a grown man…the other was coming from a sociopolitical viewpoint. Black people were making a transition from being negro or colored people to Black people or Afro-American (first popped up as a description of black people at this time). Anyway, back to the music, Hugh was every bit an image and role model for us young men. he had a very interesting hair-style  or “Natural”, wore full African regalia, including “NO Shoes” as he went through the recently released album cuts of 1966 “The Americanization of Ooga-Booga.” Which I know now, was a title given and sanctioned by the marketing department at the record company. I assure you, mine and most of us were concentrating on the musical style of his trumpet playing and the rhythms being crafted by the unit led by Hugh. Larry Willis on piano, Henry Jenkins on Drums, Henry Franklin on Bass and Percussionist Big Black pounding out the beats on African drums and Congas.

Hugh was a master of blending the American style of jazz bop and blues idioms juxtaposition with African Rhythms. The eclectic mix of originals showcased his masterful composing skills . He introduced a whole generation of black folks and others to “South-Africanized” jazz. which was quite different in what we had heard by Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakeley or Randy Weston and their  interpretations. He was bringing it “Straight with No Chaser”.

Some of the highlights of the evening’s performances was a composition by Herbie Hancock, Cantaloupe Island. Two other originals jumped out at the crowd which spawn several standing ovations when they ended.. Hale Se Di Li  Kanna(the Dowry song) and Bajabula Bonke (the Healing Song).

The influence of Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard can be heard, along with McCoy Tyner in the playing of pianist Larry Willis, and he shows his debt to John Coltrane as an inspiration on “Mixolydia” as well as his affinity for Brazilian music on “Mas Que Nada.” But the core sound was what Masekela called “township bop” — his short trumpet bursts, sometimes seemingly approaching micro-tonal territory, are engrossing celebrations of the melodies of his repertory, which is mostly of South African origin. The buzz after the concert was so loud  and the cultural wave became a Tsunami of positive vibes for brother Hugh as he was affectionately called after that night.

 

 

 

 

By the fall ,I was still hearing rumblings about that summer concert.. only to find out that the very same group was scheduled to perform at our school sometime before the Christmas break. Man! what a blessing! Twice in less than two months. By the time they appeared  at our school, most of us was sporting Naturals and wearing sandals, some even wore  traditional Dashiki garb and begun learning more about the continent of Africa, particularly, South Africa. I became a life long Hugh Fan, even as he became more and more commercial in his albums, he always brought it back home with a solid menu of fan favorites like Bajabula Bonke, and Cantaloupe Island at the Live concerts.

I will always believe to my dying breath, he believed he was put here to bring joy from the motherland and  shine a light on freedom and respect for every one. His Nelson Mandela anthem (Bring him back Home) was globally huge and played a strong role in keeping the fire to the feet of the world powers. I know I will miss him and his musical spirit, but the whole world will miss his humanity. Rest in Heavenly Peace Brother Hugh!

COMING FEBRUARY 1 2018 MEET THE CAST FROM INTERVIEW WITH THE HIGH PRIESTESS:NINA!


JANA WILSON / NINA SIMONE

Actress/Singer/Model

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert J. Carmack – Actor/Writer/Producer/Musician/Poet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview With the High Priestess:Nina!

Mar. 3rd 2018 @ World Stage Performance Gallery

4321 Degnan Blvd. LA California, 90008

Ticket sold Exclusively Online only@ http://www.eventbrite.com

general information or media 951-840-7120

blues2jazz2003@yahoo.com / @blues2jazzguy

 

 

 

 

 

 

KIRK ANDRES WILSON XMAS SHOW OF SHOWS!


posted by Robert J. Carmack @blues2jazzguy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multi-instrumentalist and singer, Kirk  Andres Wilson showed up and showed out last Thursday evening (December 28) at Hollywood’s Catalina Bar and Grill on Sunset.

The almost two-hour set was plumb full of music for every taste and style. Starting the evening off with a series of solo ballads and New Orleans funky-traditional piano styles. that was quickly bolstered by his added band mates.

Lofty musicianship was on display that evening as Kirk was joined on-stage by Professor Harvey Estrada,electric bass and acoustic string bass, Munyungo Jackson percussions, Louis Van Taylor sax/flute, Edell Shepard keyboards/piano, and Donnell Spenser on drums. Wilson was magnificent as the band navigated through everything from Professor Longhair, to Antoine “Fats” Domino(RIP) to Funk & Groove beats of today, Kirk sung hard and long, but also did not disappoint on his mastery of the guitar as well .

This was easily the Show of Shows for 2017!

I highly recommend seeing live, this talented entertainer, producer, writer and master musician. Pick up a copy of his latest CD MY LOVE.  follow him on https://www.kirkandre.com/

 

FAREWELL JAZZ SAXOPHONIST MEL MARTIN: PRIDE OF THE S.F. BAY AREA 1942-2017 RIP


 

 

 

 

 

 

Mel and wife waiting in green room to go onstage at Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society -Half-Moon Bay – Todd Barkan’s Keystone Korner 45th anniversary July 8 2017-photo by R.J. Carmack.

jazz saxophonist Mel Martin and Herbie Hancock

jazz saxophonist Mel Martin and Herbie Hancock

COMING SOON: Profiles in Jazz;MEL MARTIN- Reeds & Flute

posted by Robert J. Carmack  @blues2jazzguy

PATRICE RUSHEN: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY FINGERS!


Patrice Louise Rushen (born September 30) is quite the  jazz pianist and R&B singer. She’s also a composer, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and music director. Her 1982 single, “Forget Me Nots“, received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Rushen had great success on the R&B and dance charts. “Haven’t You Heard” went number 7 on the R&B charts, with “Forget Me Nots” as her only top 40 pop hit. Patrice is held high within the Jazz community as one of the Best of her generation on piano.

In her teens, she attended south LA’s Locke High School and went on to earn a degree in music from the University of Southern California.  Respectfully known among her legions of fans as  “Baby-fingers,” a reference to her small hands. Berklee School of Music bestowed on her, a Doctorate in Music. She is currently holding down an important academic post at the University of Southern California in their school of Performing Arts. all the while being a wife,a mom, and still taking first-calls for recording and production assignments in Television and Films. There are rumors floating around ,she may have been selected to be part of an ambitious Television project involving children and the jazz legacy of Hazel Scott. Who by the way, was a child prodigy just like Patrice. According to unnamed sources,we found out, there’s a new children’s book series(Little Melanie) being developed for Television involving British and American kids in the cast.

Ms. Rushen will supervised the musical aspects. a London-based production studio. London-5-Studios are the executive producers. #LittleMelanieMyGrandPiano, #London5Studios

GEOFFREY’S INNER CIRCLE PRESENTS HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLEN PEARSON:DR JAZZ


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #blues2jazzguy

COME ON OAKTOWN AND ALL OF THE EASTBAY

“LET’S MAKE THIS NIGHT FOR THE BAY AREA’s MOST HUMBLE JAZZ MUSICIAN AND EDUCATOR VERY SPECIAL…

Oakland’s best and brightest stars musicians, singers and actors

Lets make some noise for the “Fiery Fingers” of Glen Pearson Dr.Jazz

Friday, July 21st
Doors open 7:00 pm – Program starts 8:00 pm
Geoffrey’s Inner Circle

Special Guest Stars:

Faye Carol
Janice Maxie Reid
Nikita Germaine
Frankye Kelly
Kenny Washington

Special Presentation By:Yancy Taylor

At Geoffrey’s You Never know who might show up to play or watch you perform..even old friends that have moved away..lol!

l-r: Glen Pearson, Charles McNeal, Yancy Taylor & Robert J. Carmack July 9 2017