Phil Collins, Alan Sillitoe and jazz; new album from jazz composer and musician John Aram

John Aram to release single ‘EDT (Envie de Toi)’ on 20th May ahead of album ‘You and I’ to be released on 3rd June. 

Background

John Aram is a well known name among jazz musicians. He has worked extensively with legends like Tim Garland, Kenny Wheeler and Scott Stroman along with huge names in funk like Bob Babbit and the Funk Brothers Band. In addition, Aram is Musical Director at the International School of Geneva, where he now lives, and also regularly conducts the Swiss Jazz Orchestra.

Probably his closest collaborator is Phil Collins. John worked closely with him on Collins’ album ‘Going Back’ (2010), writing many arrangements, booking musicians, supervising recording and going on tour. Daryl Stuermer, also of Genesis, plays guitar on ‘Stuck on You’ from Aram’s forthcoming album ‘You and I’. Aram and Phil Collins are in fact close friends and Collins has contributed to many of his musical projects over the years.

It is a busy spring period for Aram. Aside from his album (see below) he is also due to release “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ Suite’; his ode to Alan Sillitoe’s post war classic novel of the same name, featuring Kenny Wheeler.  Aram, hailing from Nottingham like Sillitoe, was in close contact with the author during his writing of the jazz suite in 2010. Tragically, Sillitoe died in the same year just before it was finished so never heard it, as a result Aram decided not to release ‘The Suite’ as a physical disc. He had now taken the decision to release it on vinyl with artwork from Video artist Joss Sessions.

You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/johnaram/sets/saturday-night-and-sunday

‘You and I’

Aram therefore has a huge wealth of experience in the worlds of jazz and funk, which he has used brilliantly in his new single ‘EDT (Envie de Toi); due to, be released 20th May. The track takes his jazz influences and puts them in a funk / disco context giving the track popular potential beyond its appeal to 70s soul connoisseurs. In has the feeling of a Chic comeback track, a Bruno Mars disco revival number of even of a latter day Michael Jackson. Half way through, however, we get a taste of Aram’s jazz background with a hefty Rhodes solo played by Jason Rebello. It’s a solo reminiscent of Roy Ayers on the vibes or a George Benson guitar solo on one of his funkier numbers.

The rest of ‘You and I’ follows similar themes whilst trying to stretch them in different directions. Very much a concept album, all music is heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder, even down to the artwork used for the album. Tracks like ‘Stronger’ and ‘Stuck on you’ follow the soul disco revival route featuring some brilliant vocals and irresistible solos on each. ‘In the Air’ and ‘You and I’ slow the pace down and move closer to a soul ballad in the mould of Earth, Wind and Fire or even Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. ‘In the Air’ features beautiful vocals from Amy Keys  and from cult Swiss hip-hop artist Rootwords. ‘In the Air’ is particularly close to Aram’s heart as it was written for his wife who was suffering from breast cancer at the time.

There is a great feeling of fun and spontaneity in the album, which reflects the way it was made and thought up in the first place. It wasn’t originally planned at all. Aram and his band were on tour in the UK (London in fact)  and had a gig cancelled so, realising he was still paying them, decided they might as well have some fun and make an album! Not all jazz quintets are this productive. They decided to make music which they loved but didn’t always get a chance to play: funk, soul, Motown, Stevie Wonder, which you will find on the bonus tracks of the album; material Aram had played with Phil Collins before and not had the chance to make himself. The full album did, however, take over a year to complete in recording studios all over the world, from New York to Switzerland, ensuring only the very best musicians were to be featured that fit the style of music that Aram wanted to create.

Website http://www.johnaram.com/

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/johnaram

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JohnAram

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/johnrogeraram

Blues Rock/Country band Cowboy Hat release debut album ‘A History of The American West and Other Stories’

Released 3rd June 2014

London based Americana enthusiast Cowboy Hat is set to release debut album in June.

Could it be the best Alt. Country debut album you’ll hear this year? Well, it has already been described as ‘Timeless’ and ‘Lyrically breath taking’. With some strong lyrics based around a historical theme, alongside the rich warm vocals from Nigel Barker, it is certainly an album worth listening to.

And ‘These Men Dreamed America’ Here: http://youtu.be/qJqhAbH6rZI

Singer songwriter Nigel Barker formed Cowboy Hat in 2012 in London which is surprising as the songs are heavily influenced by American music and history. With band members changing over time, he is the only official member of this innovative country rock band.

Nigel Barker’s musical life hasn’t always been an easy ride. When assistant engineering at Air Montserrat Recording Studios for the Elton John ‘Jump Up’ album, he encountered a terrible accident.

On one of his rare days off he crashed his car off a steep drop, the car was upside down and if it hadn’t been for an off duty cop, Nigel would have bled to death. Whilst he narrowly escaped death, he was left without the use of his left hand, which at the time came at a huge blow to his music career as he could not continue on with the record deal he had signed just months ago.

As at this stage Nigel could not continue his dream of music he used his creative energies to become film director, even though he saw some great success creating 3 feature films and winning awards for his work, it didn’t fill that hole that music had left in his life.

Nigel didn’t play his guitar for 30 years after the accident, however after 17 years he got a Harley Davison motorcycle and Nigel believes it was the heavy clutch that built the strength back into his left hand.

When he rediscovered music, he went out and bought the very same guitar he had all those years ago (A sunburst Gibson Les Paul). He spent 18 hours a day practicing until he learnt to play again.

Now back and stronger than ever Nigel is stepping into the spotlight with Cowboy Hat, the music is, raw, rich and full of power. The vocals and lyrical content really are the backbone of this fantastic release. There are big things to come for this innovative record and inspiring man.

Links:

http://www.cowboyhat.tv
https://www.facebook.com/cowboyhatmusic
http://www.reverbnation.com/cowboyhatandthatfuzzboxvoodoo
https://www.youtube.com/CowboyHatMusic
https://soundcloud.com/cowboyhatmusic

Eleanore & the Lost release Part I of highly anticipated album: ‘The Gift’!

New release available this month, the first section of a three part album

After winning many fans with the release of debut album ‘Parlour Game’, Eleanore & the Lost have recently announced the release of follow up “The Gift”, which will be released in three parts.

Formed in November 2010 after the release of ‘Parlour Game’,the band have enthralled audiences with stunning live performances which also showcase Eleanore’s spectacular four octave range. It really is no wonder that all the reviews they’ve received have showered them with compliments.

The Gift (Part I), out this month, doesn’t disappoint. In the studio as well as on the stage, Eleanore’s range is truly captivating, but it’s also apparent that her song writing has taken on a new dimension. With refreshing lyrics covering a range of subjects, the songs vary from the beautiful, mid-tempo ‘Leap of Faith’, to the emotionally powerful rock re-working of ‘My True Nature’ (2014).  Meanwhile, ‘Sorry, Child’ will send chills down your spine, and the band’s first cover song – a version of Gershwin classic ‘Summertime’ – leaves the predictable jazz renditions behind in an unexpected blend of Fleetwood Mac’s psychedelic rock style, haunting melodies and tight harmonies.

Clocking in at just four tracks, ‘The Gift (Part I)’ leaves you wanting more. Fortunately, Part II is planned for release later this year.

The Gift (Part I) will be available to stream and download March/April.

Track List:  “My True Nature (2014)”, “Leap of Faith”, “Sorry, Child”, “Summertime”

Social Networking

www.facebook.com/eleanoreandthelost

www.twitter.com/eleanorelost@EleanoreLost

www.reverbnation.com/eleanoreandthelost

www.soundcloud.com/eleanoreandthelost

www.youtube.com/eleanoreandthelost

Bollywood Star Kumar Sanu releases album ‘Hum-Tum’

Album out now!

A true Bollywood legend who now has designs on the UK music industry, Kumar Sanu is an artist who has always seemed destined to find a career in music.

His father Shri Pashupati Bhattacharjee was prominent classical singer who, after a long career, found his place in Bollywood movies – setting the tone for his son’s career to follow.

Walking in his father’s footsteps, Kumar Sanu inevitably went on to sing for Bollywood films, eventually outshining the achievements of his predecessor. Sanu made his own way, winning an unprecedented collection of awards including the Filmfare Award for the Best Playback Singer in 1990, ‘91,’92, ‘93 and ’94 – a consecutive record that still stands in the Bollywood industry to this day.

In fact, Kumar Sanu has now won a total of 69 awards over a glittering career including 64 in his native India (from Filmfare, Zee Cine, Kishore Kumarand more) plus 5 internationally (from Sunrise Radio-London, West Indian Academy, Grammy-West Indies, Bollywood Music-U.S.A. and Radio Lotus-South Africa).

His success and his undoubtable vocal talent has made him one of the highest profile names in the industry, a standing which he has also used for good causes.

With charity work that includes Tsunami Victims Support, Cancer Research donations and school & orphanage development programmes, Sanu certainly can’t be accused of resting on his laurels. In fact, in 2009, he was awarded the Padma Shri award – the 4th largest civilian award it is possible to receive from the Government in India. There’s even a Mumbai hospital using one of his songs in their treatment of cancer patients!

And now, having enjoyed unparalleled success in his home environment and the USA (he is so well loved in Dayton, Ohio that they have an annual Kumar Sanu day on March 31st), Kumar Sanu is hoping to carry that success to the UK, where he is set to release new album Hum-Tum. As a teaser here is a new track and video recorded alongside fellow Bollywood artist Princess Almas Noor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBrr5leFZX0

The video, set in and around London, shows the pair taking in the city sights before eventually meeting on the Millennium Bridge. The sound, which blends the Bollywood sensibilities with more standard pop tropes, is an excellent crossover introduction to one of Bollywood’s top stars.

New track ‘Lottery’ from The Afghan Whigs

Taken from ‘Do To The Beast’ – their first album in 16 years – ‘Lottery’ is the new single from The Afghan Whigs, released April 14th.

Embarking on a world tour to support the album, the band will make it to the UK in January – their London gig is sold out but there are still a few tickets left for the other shows up and down the country, including a slot at Latitude Festival:

Jul. 15 – London, UK – Electric Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
Jul. 17 – Manchester, UK – Cathedral
Jul. 18 – Glasgow, UK – O2 ABC
Jul. 19 – Suffolk, UK – Latitude Festival

R ‘N’ B/Soul singer Monica Azull releases debut single ‘I Like It’, May 12th

https://soundcloud.com/monica_azull/i-like-it

Half Ugandan half Congolese, Monica came to England aged eight. She is now living in London, signed to QH Music and is a star in the making.

On her first performance at performing arts school, an overwhelming audience response confirmed what she had known since writing her first song – music and performing was her true passion and a career she felt she had to pursue.

Her debut release ‘I Like It’ is about a man, ambitions and fantasies…

“At the time, there was this guy that was pursuing me, I also happened to think he was cute but didn’t want to tell him how I felt towards him. I feared that a relationship would interfere with my ambitions… I’m sure every woman has their fantasies!”-Monica Azull

Musically speaking the track has a very soulful R’N’B vibe to it. There is a strong beat that really drives the song which is topped off by Azull’s impeccable vocal skill.

Check out ‘I Like It’ here: https://soundcloud.com/monica_azull/i-like-it/s-jJ5Ji

For a debut release Monica has already had an overwhelming positive response to her track, this is one artist to listen out for and is sure to be making big waves in the music industry.

Links:

Twitter – @Monica_Azull

Instagram – Monica_Azull

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Monica.Azull

http://www.qhmusic.co.uk/

Caribbean songwriter Lateefah to release ‘Love Me Through’ single April 18th

St. Lucian beauty currently living in London, Lateefah is a soulful singer-songwriter who, having come to the UK to study her craft at University, is now looking to make it the first international music scene she breaks into.

 The soulful single ‘Love Me Through’, produced by London based KING, is released on April 18th – an excellent introduction to her smooth vocal and laid back electronic soul sound. Having sang in church from a young age, many of her songs are pages from her diary influenced by her relationship with God and situations she’s had to deal with.

Links

Interview: Kelly Oliver

Kelly Oliver PRHaving only started gigging in May last year, folk singer-songwriter Kelly Oliver has made quite an impact. Within months of starting she found herself invited to open Folkstock Festival before, incredibly, bagging herself a spot at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival. It marks a mighty rise for someone who has been on the circuit for less than a year, and with single ‘He Walked on the Side of the Sea’ out March 17th, we took the chance to ask her a few questions.

 

Many of our readers won’t have heard of your music before, how would you describe your sound?

I would say it’s influenced by traditional folk music. Traditional Irish folk music definitely, but I do have country influences. I’m influenced a lot by Dolly Parton, and people like Kenny Rogers, singers like Alison Krauss and Cara Dillon. But I think the way I write songs is influenced a lot by Irish folk music, the traditional ways. Really I take influences from all sorts, so I’m not sure how I’d describe it but that’s probably the best way.

 

The upcoming single ‘He Walked on the Side of the Sea’ features BBC Folk Awards Musician of the Year nominee Will Pound on Harmonica. How did that collaboration come about?

That was through Twitter! I followed him on Twitter – I was a fan of his a little bit before – and because I play harmonica I’d already had the song recorded [for EP ‘Far From Home – Ed]. But my manager just approached him to see if he wanted to do a collaboration, we sent him the song and he agreed. So it was quite quickly done actually, it was really good fun.

 

Your rise since starting out last year has been stratospheric – did you have any inkling you’d get the reaction you have when you started out?

Not at all. I went travelling basically, and once I went I decided while I was out there that I wanted to at least have a go at the music. I didn’t know anything, I never thought what could happen. At the beginning I just focussed on trying to do gigs, got myself a Facebook stage and started at the bottom really. Started with trying to promote myself online and approach people for gigs. I guess it’s the same way every musician starts, so I never thought I would even have the chance to record an EP let alone the things that have come from that so it was really shocking!

 

‘He Walked on the Side of the Sea’ was originally released, minus Will Pound, as part of your EP ‘Far From Home’, which has been a big part of your success so far. Do you have any plans for a follow up as yet?

Yeah, we do. There’s going to be an album that will be recorded and released this year. I have got some songs that I’m looking to put on there but then there might be some that I haven’t written yet, depending on finding the time to write and record.

 

Where is the best place to find your music online?

My website is www.kellyoliver.co.uk, and from there there’re links to my Facebook page, my Twitter and Soundcloud.

You can listen to ‘He Walked in the Side of the Sea’ here: https://soundcloud.com/kellyoliver/kelly-oliver-ft-will-pound-he

And it can also be found on Amazon and iTunes.

Savvy Releases ‘Powerskills’ Video

Savvy vidHuddersfield’s very own Brit hop hero Savvy is set to release the new single ‘Powerskills’ on 6th April.

The video which is now available on YouTube sees Savvy spoofing a cross between an advert and an episode of The Cook Report. The video is deftly shot and shows that Savvy and his band members have a real sense of humour and are on a mission to entertain.

The ultra-catchy tune produced by Camp America sees Savvy collaborate with Athlete’s Joel Pott, who lends his vocal talents and Russell Lissack from Bloc Party who is on guitar duty.  The result is a unique fusion of jazz-spiced indie Brit Hop that will please fans of both hip hop and indie guitar music.

Savvy has already had the support of DJ Sarah Love (BBC 1Xtra), DJ MK (Kiss FM / Roots Manuva) and Laurent Garnier to name a few.  Under his previous moniker of Asaviour, Savvy has a rich history of critical acclaim going back to 2001.  Through the 2005 album ‘Borrowed Ladder’, 2008’s ‘Play to Win – Volume 2 and 2009’s ‘The A Loop Theory’, Savvy has gathered an impressive list of radio and press support (Gilles Peterson, Ras Kwame and many more), “The production shows deft touches” – Q Magazine.  New single ‘Powerskills’ looks set to keep Savvy’s career on an upward trajectory.

A seasoned live performer with his band The Savoir-Faire, Savvy has performed alongside acts like De La Soul and KRs One, Groovrider, Goldie Lookin Chain and Jehst.

“It all started with a random email from Athlete about working on some side project stuff that never actually saw the light of day in the end.  But I guess they liked my style and recommended me to a producer call Camp America.

 

He sent me the original track and I really liked it!  I wrote it and sent them a really really badly recorded demo, but somehow Joel (lead singer of Athlete) dug it and despite the hiss and crackle he invited me to come down to his studio in South London to record.

 

When I first heard it I don’t think Russell (lead guitarist of Bloc Party) was on it but by the time I got to Deptford he was and his parts brought the track together nicely.” – Savvy on working with Athlete and Bloc Party.

The package includes remixes by Masters of None, Noji and Sticky Edit and is available on pre-order 23rd March (exclusive to iTunes).

Savvy – Powerskills feat Bloc Party & Athlete http://soundcloud.com/savvy/powerskills

Savvy – Powerskills EP snippets http://soundcloud.com/saving-grace-music/sets/powerskills-ep

iTunes Pre Order Link https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/powerskills-ep/id817100928

Savvy – Twitter

Jugurtha album ‘Orientation’ aims to bring Arabic culture into the spotlight

Out early April, ambitious new LP looks to bridge cultural gaps to the West

Integrating Arabic and Oriental music styles with Western dance music tropes, Jugurtha’s new album has lofty aims to bridge both artistic and political gaps between Arabic culture and the Western world.  ‘Jugurtha’ was the name given to the king of Numidia who fought to free his North African kingdom from Roman Rule.

By mixing traditional Arabic music with a heavy influence of Western house, they hope to keep those traditions alive and thriving in the modern world, showing just how when two different genres combine, they can create something which is versatile yet alluring. Jugurtha’s aim is to deconstruct what they call the ‘derogatory image’ of the Arab world, whilst allowing a new generation to maintain their cultural heritage in an industry that is increasingly dominated by the mainstream pop music. By throwing the spotlight on the Arabic music traditions whilst combining a domineering heavy house beat, the target is to attract new Western audiences as well as keeping the next generation of Arabic musicians interested in musical traditions.

It’s a laudably ambitious aim, backed up by the decision to fund the project completely from scratch – with no outside funding or interference, Jugurtha has had the artistic freedom to produce their own style of dance music. A great example for young people, who they fear will fall into the trap of ‘hyper-consumerism’ and materialism, there is a real independent spirit to the album. It’s no surprise then to learn that the group immersed themselves in anti-establishment culture to inform their work throughout the writing process.

The album’s lead track ‘Arab Lovers’ can be heard below, alongside the oddly compelling video – a collection of Arabic film clips showing the titular ‘Arab Lovers’ from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Video ‘Arab Lovers’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsPFlH5K-XI

Further Links:

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/jugurthamusic

SoundCloud : http://www.soundcloud.com/jugurtha-music