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BIG NIGHT FOR BANDIER, SONY/ATV AT BMI POP AWARDS
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Critics' Choice
HISTORY LESSONS AT JAZZ FEST
4/30/19

By Phil Gallo

Between the crawfish beignets, po-boys and gallons of Abita Amber, we were able to catch a few sets of music at the first weekend of the 50th edition of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  

The O’Jays defied age and the heat to deliver a spectacular energetic set; Irma Thomas was, as always, a cool and soulful presence; and a band featuring The MetersZigaboo Modeliste and George Porter Jr. called Foundation of Funk sounds ready to hit the road and rejuvenate interest in their music from the early ‘70s.

Being a rookie at JazzFest, I figured we’d be in for a lot of renditions of songs by Professor Longhair, Louis Armstrong and The Meters and indeed their auras loomed large over many of the regional performers playing to packed houses in the various themed tents. It was striking how many other acts went deep into the covers.  

Van Morrison, whose most recent Sony Legacy release is packed with jazzy interpretations of standards and blues, went hog-wild in performing other people’s songs, starting early with Lester Young and King Pleasure’s “Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid” and tacking Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-A-Lula” onto the end of “Cleaning Windows” and Miles Davis’ “So What” onto “Moondance.” Early in the set of a superb, nuanced performance he delivered a blues medley that included Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” the Muddy Waters hit “Got My Mojo Working,” Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Mojo Hand” and Earl Randle’s “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down.”

On the unexpected front was Katy Perry who added the Janet Jackson smash “What Have You Done for Me Lately” to her set along with the Crescent City fave “Iko Iko” and the gospel crossover hit “Oh Happy Day.”

Lauren Daigle, a Louisiana native, was less regional in her selections, though they complemented her originals nicely: Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” Bob Marley’s “One Love” and Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” a song she recorded for the Spotify Singles series.

Carlos Santana delivered a cool segue into John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” from “Jingo”; the New Orleans Suspects, a horn-driven band under the heavy influence of The Meters, gave Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” a serious dose of funk. Boz Scaggs celebrated the 50th anniversary of his debut album with a sizzling version of Wilton Felder’s “Loan Me a Dime,” and closed his show with a song he has never recorded, Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell.”

BLUE NOTE JOINS VINYL CLUB
4/9/19

Vinyl Me, Please  has partnered with Capitol’s Blue Note to celebrate the storied jazz label’s 80th anniversary with a box set with a six-week release schedule that includes an online operation.

VMP Anthology: The Story of Blue Note Records is a seven-LP box set that begins with the release of Horace Silver’s Horace Silver Trio and Dexter Gordon’s Dexter Calling.

To accompany each shipment, Vinyl Me, Please will release a four-part podcast and content series featuring Blue Note President Don Was and Vinyl Me, Please’s Editorial Director Andrew Winistorfer who will talk through each album’s story and its imprint on jazz.

“Every one of the Blue Note VMP Anthology records shows artists in transition, moving to something different than what they did the album before and, in retrospect, you can see where it aims into where they were going next,” Was said. “But they are all beautiful snapshots of a significant moment of pushing the envelope and that’s what ties them all together.”

Only 1,000 copies will be available for purchase. Sales start today.

 “Great labels and artists can’t be summed up in a single album or quick spin,” said Cameron Schaefer, Head of Music & Brand, Vinyl Me, Please. “They require slow listening across a lifetime of work, in-depth storytelling, and space to think and discuss.” 

 

 

FRANKLIN SPREADING LOVE WITH ALBUM AND TOUR
3/27/19

Gospel superstar Kirk Franklin has a new album, Long Live Love, coming on 5/31 on Fo Yo Soul/RCA. Lead single “Love Theory” is #16 at UAC and #4 at Gospel.

The artist/writer/producer dropped by the Steve Harvey Show (episode airing Wednesday) to perform “Love Theory,” talk about the album, his 13th, the 34th annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, which he’s hosting this Friday, and the 25-date Long Live Love Tour, which begins 7/11 in Austin. Show dates and ticket links can be found at KirkFranklin.com.

Prior to the tour, on 5/26, Franklin will headline the Exodus Music & Arts Festival in Irving, Tex. This year the festival, which was launched in 2018 in conjunction with Live Nation Urban, will feature Fred Hammond, The Clark Sisters, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Travis Greene, VaShawn Mitchell and Kelontae Gavin.