Sunday May 21st, 2006
New CD's this past week:
- Christina Milian - So amazin'
- Karen Bernod - Life at 360 degrees (UK release)
- Omar - Sing if you want (UK release)
Music news headlines this week:
Al Green Working On New Recording Projects
The Reverend Al Green says he is already at work on his next album for
Blue Note Records, which would follow his 2005 Everything's OK and 2003's
comeback set I Can't Stop. The veteran soul star says he's been recording
at the legendary Electric Lady studios in New York and is close to
wrapping up the new set, due early next year. That's not all -- Green is
looking ahead to new gospel and jazz projects as well.
Asked about his recording activity, Green said: "Yeah, I have cut eight
tracks at the Electric Lady studio that Jimi Hendrix used, and they've
redone it and put Jimi's guitars and stuff all in there, and it's like a
multi-, hundred and fifty-track studio. We cut eight tracks already for
Blue Note and got four more to cut."
Green added that he and longtime collaborator Willie Mitchell are starting
an all-gospel album, and is negotiating a jazz-centered recording: ["Well,
I have a contemporary gospel album that I'm doing in my studio in Memphis,
and Willie Mitchell is going to help me with that. And then we go to
Boston and cut a jazz album -- they said, boy the Reverend gets around!
(laughs) We go to Boston and cut a jazz album, hopefully, we're working on
a deal with the Duke Ellington Band."] SOUNDCUE (:19 OC: ... Duke
Further details about titles and release dates for the proposed projects
are not yet available.
Green performed Sunday, May 14th, at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival in the
Caribbean. His next public performances include a July 22nd show at
Tacoma, Washington's Emerald Queen Casino and August 2nd at the Hollywood
Bowl in Los Angeles.
Smokey Robinson Says Spiritual Beliefs Have Kept Him Centered
Smokey Robinson, who'll be heading to Britain next month to announce a
series of 50th anniversary concerts, will release his first set of
standards, titled Timeless Love, on June 11th. Robinson told Ebony
magazine that thanks to his spiritual beliefs, he's never lost sight of
the fact that he's been granted a gift, explaining that, "I'm blessed. And
I respect it, and I don't take it for granted. I don't trip on (being)
Smokey Robinson. I never lose my focus on the Lord, and I can't thank Him
Robinson, whose last album, Food For The Spirit, was his first-ever gospel
collection, says that writing songs for that album felt natural to him:
"I had never been a church-goer until I got to be grown, but I've always
had a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, close-knit relationship with
God. Even as a child -- you know, I wouldn't do certain things, 'cause I
felt like God was watching me. So I've always had that relationship with
God, so it came pretty natural for me to write these songs."
Robinson upcoming album, Timeless Love, features Robinson's versions of
standards such as "Fly Me To The Moon" and "I've Got You Under My Skin,"
as well as the new original track "I Love Your Face."
Smokey Robinson will next appear on June 17th in Red Bank, New Jersey at
the Count Basie Theater
Lyfe Jennings Is Ready For “S.E.X”
Lyfe Jennings has no problem talking about “S.E.X.” The crooner recently
serviced the first single from his forthcoming sophomore album, The
Phoenix, to radio. However, he’s quick to point out to BET.com that the
song "S.E.X." has a deeper meaning than what the title suggests. “It’s
basically about young girls coming into their sexuality around 15 and how
the older guys are there taking advantage of them. I just want to bring
awareness,” he explains.
Penning songs that his audience can relate to is just one of the qualities
that drew fans to the Ohio native’s music when he released his debut
album, Lyfe 268-192. He considers himself lucky to be able to share his
life’s lessons with music fans. “I don’t feel obligated [to share]. I feel
more privileged to be able to share these things with someone and know
that it could possibly touch them,” he says.
While he collaborates with established artists such as Young Buck and
Three 6 Mafia on the new album, Lyfe is also using the album to introduce
the public to two new artists, Lala Brown and Doc Black. Both artists are
signed to his new company, Jesus Swings.
Heatwave Frontman Johnnie Wilder Jr. Dies
Johnnie Wilder Jr., frontman and co-founder of the 1970s R&B group
Heatwave, died May 13 at his home in Clayton, Ohio. He was 56. No cause of
death has been made public.
In 1979, Wilder became paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident
and subsequently stopped touring with Heatwave, though he continued to
serve as lead vocalist. The band’s hit singles include "Boogie Nights,”
“Always and Forever” and "The Groove Line.”
Wilder and his brother Keith formed the group in the late ‘70s while they
were stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army. After leaving the service,
the pair added several musicians, including songwriter/keyboardist Rod
Temperton, who has written several hit records for Michael Jackson.
Heatwave released seven albums, beginning its 1977 debut “Too Hot To
Handle” (Epic) and including a 1997 reunion set, “Live at the Greek
Theater” (Century Vista). The group disbanded in 1983 after enduring a
series of member arrivals and departures (Temperton quit in 1978).
The Wilder brothers released “Sound of Soul” (Blatent) in 1989, and
Johnnie recorded two gospel albums, “My Goal” (Light) and "One More Day."
Donell Jones Album Back On Track
Originally due last December, R&B singer Donell Jones' fourth album,
"Journey of a Gemini," will now be issued June 20 via LaFace/Zomba. The
set features appearances by Jermaine Dupri and Houston rapper Bun B, in
addition to production from the Underdogs, Tim & Bob and Ryan Leslie,
As previously reported, the first single is the Dupri-featuring "Better
Start Talking." Another album cut, "I'm Gonna Be" is currently No. 59 on
Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
"Journey of a Gemini" will be the follow-up to Jones' 2002 set "Life Goes
On," which debuted at No. 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and has
sold 610,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Funk Diva Kelis to Get "Bossy" on New Album
Eclectic R&B singer Kelis -- known for proudly professing her rage on
1999's "Caught Out There" ("I hate you so much right now!") and boasting
about her, um, "milkshake" on 2003's Tasty -- is plotting her return this
summer. The lady unleashes her fourth album, Kelis Was Here, in August.
The funked-out diva has collaborated with a roster of impressive hip-hop
artists in the past, including the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, OutKast, the
Neptunes and her hubbie, Nas. But when she was searching for talent for
her new single, "Bossy," she wanted to reach into the annals of West Coast
"I did the record, and I thought, 'Who would be perfect for this track?
Who's the real boss?' I wanted Too Short, and everybody was saying, 'We
can't find him,'" Kelis says of her search for "the ultimate O.G." "No one
really supported that move, but when I put him on there everyone thought
it was crazy."
Kelis continued to trust her instincts while working on the rest of the
album, cross-breeding her diverse inspirations, from old-school R&B to
funk punk. "I never do just one thing," she says. "It's from one spectrum
to another. It goes from really punk and fun and glam-ish to 1970, Roberta
Flack, Chapter 2."
The singer's favorite tracks represent both ends of that spectrum. "'Fire'
has, like, a dance-party vibe to it," says Kelis. "But 'Appreciate Me' --
that's a really grown-up, woman's song."
The latter, softer track also finds the feisty performer digging just a
bit deeper. "There's a lot of storytelling on the record," she says. "It's
just my life."