Sunday August 28th, 2005
New CD's this past week:
- Wade O. Brown - All night, all love
- Terry Cummings - Nothing is what it seems
- Joaquin - Child support
- Cafe Soul All-Stars - Love pages
- Craig David - The story goes (UK release)
Music news headlines this week:
Glenn Jones, Vesta, George Benson, Maysa
And More On Same "Love Pages"
“The goal is to bring back quality music. Music that engages people
emotionally, intellectually and spiritually,” says Clarence Smith, founder
of Essence Magazine and now CEO of YOU Entertainment, who along with
producers Duke Jones and the legendary Norman Connors, is the guiding
force behind one of this years most refreshingly musical, star studded
collections in Love Pages.
A conceptual album by a collective aptly named The Café Soul All-Stars,
Clarence feels it fills a definite void in the musical marketplace.
“Like many others, I love and appreciate two seminal eras in American
music: Jazz and R&B. Both have had a profound impact on my musical tastes
and they’ve also greatly influenced my sense of what constitutes great
songwriting and musicianship. For me, the idea behind the Love Pages
project was simple, create an environment that allows great players and
singers who share a similar reverence for the musical traditions I’ve
always held dear to showcase their talents on one fantastic CD.”
The story behind Love Pages is a fascinating one. It dates back to the New
Orleans-based Essence Music Festival of 2000. Clarence, on a musical high
from the event, enlisted musician/producer and friend, Duke Jones to
recruit a band from the festival to play on a cruise ship he was
chartering for a trip from New Orleans to Mexico. Having listened back to
the nightly sessions they recorded on the ship, both Clarence and Duke
realized that this simply had to be heard by the masses. Duke, who has
been a staple in many classic R&B bands from the 70’s onwards, was given
the enviable task of assembling a line up that would bring the band’s name
and album concept to life. He responded by enlisting some of the most
respected names in both jazz and R&B; George Benson, Peabo Bryson, Glenn
Jones, Vesta, Christopher Williams, Jon Lucien, Maysa (of Incognito fame),
not to mention the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section among the many noted
musicians. He also summoned up long time friend and fellow
musician/producer Norman Connors (who discovered R&B legends Phyllis Hyman
and Jean Carne), in whose band Duke had been a mainstay for many years, to
help steer the ship.
Love Pages is anchored by the Café Soul All-Stars, who are comprised of an
equally stellar cast of renowned session musicians; Duke Jones - trumpet,
Chris Albert - trumpet, Bobby Lyles – keyboards, Kaspar Galli - guitar,
Steve Williams - drums, Rene McLean - sax and Alex Blake – bass. The end
result is a riveting collection of songs that segues effortlessly from
radio friendly, soulful R&B jams such as the first single, “What You Gonna
Do” featuring Glenn Jones and “Used To Be” featuring Christopher Williams
to Vesta’s heartfelt vocals on the superlative, “One More Bridge To
Cross.” New offerings from Peabo Bryson (his powerful delivery on “Don’t
Make Me Cry” is a standout) and George Benson (singing the melancholic
title track, “Pages”) remind us why they remain two of the most important
names in the last quarter-century of urban music. Round this out with the
sensual sound of Café Soul All-Stars own Bobby Lyle and the steamy fusion
brew, “Urban Jungle” (featuring Roy Ayers and Kenny Garrett) and it should
be readily apparent why Love Pages is destined to become a staple in every
true R&B lover’s collection.
“When you consider the range and level of creative talent present on Love
Pages, I felt Norman would be the perfect person to help bring it all
together” says Duke. “I also believed his prior experience putting
together concept albums would be invaluable to our efforts.” It was a
wise move. The end result is a CD that brims with the best there is in
Soul and Jazz, allowing musical connoisseurs and casual fans the chance to
revel in legendary names performing new material that will remain, like
their older works, timeless.
Asked how he made the transition from magazine publisher to record
executive Clarence Smith is pragmatic: “I believe there’s a huge,
untapped market for music whose appeal focuses on consumers who are 25 and
over. I started YOU Entertainment, in part, as a vehicle to address this
need because I believe the success of contemporary artists whose appeal
fits this profile like Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Jill Scott and Kem, to
name a few, is not accidental. Although the medium is different, Essence
was created with a similar fundamental belief: that high-quality content
targeted towards an underserved and upwardly mobile consumer-base would
resonate. I believe YOU Entertainment’s timing is perfect to fill that
void in the market.”
Duke Jones concurs, while offering a further take on the project’s
origins: “We called our collective Café Soul, because in most cultures, a
café is typically a destination point that allows diverse people to come
together, relax, and immerse themselves in music, without fear of
conforming to commercial stereotypes or restrictions. This is the
conceptual vibe we sought to create and thankfully Clarence Smith gave us
the green light to do that. Hopefully, listeners will appreciate the
quality and sense of musical freedom that makes this album what it is. It
was an incredible environment in which to create and be creative.” The
results speak for themselves.
Love Pages is executive produced by Clarence O. Smith and the album
producers are Duke Jones and Norman Connors.
Jeffrey Osborne To Release New Album in October
On October 4th, KOCH Records will release "From The Soul", the
eagerly-awaited new soul album from legendary singer/songwriter Jeffrey
With his distinctive baritone voice, Osborne confirms why he remains one
of R&B's enduring talents with his rendition of Teddy Pendergrass' sexy
"Close The Door," featuring the saxophone of smooth jazz giant Bony James;
Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions' anthemic "People Get Ready;" Aretha
Franklin's melodious "Until You Come Back To Me" and Roberta Flack's stark
"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."
Produced by none other than king of today's popular smooth jazz genre Paul
Brown, "From The Soul" delivers wonderful songs from the '60s, '70s and
'80s, such as the Gerry Goffin/Carole King soul standard, "Hey Girl,
Stevie Wonder's tender "Knocks Me Off My Feet, the coy "Yes, I'm Ready"
and the melancholy Brenda Holloway classic, "Every Little Bit Hurts," as
they've never been heard before, in the sultry style of smooth jazz.
On "From The Soul", Osborne delivers a soulful remake of the iconic '60s
rock band Buffalo Springfield's biting "For What It's Worth." Released by
the band in 1967 as commentary on the social unrest of an era, Osborne
transforms the song into a modern R&B masterpiece that is as musically and
lyrically relevant today as when it originally hit the charts.
"From The Soul", a sultry classic, breathes sassy new life into renowned
compositions while maintaining the artistic integrity of the originals
that any music lover would enjoy.
New Charlie Wilson Album In Stores September 13th
As the lead singer of the Gap Band, Charlie Wilson along with his brothers
Ronnie and Robert, some 16 albums and scored hits like “You Dropped
a Bomb on Me”, “Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)”, “Yearning
for Your Love” and the much sampled “Outstanding”
He also released two solo albums, the latest one in 2000, and is now getting
ready to re-introduce himself with “Charlie, Last Name Wilson”.
On this album he is working intensely with R. Kelly, but has also collaborated
with Justin Timberlake & Will.i.am.