Saturday, February 09, 2013

Free Mr Chop

Wicked sampler of Mr Chop's mighty work, some great bleepy business...

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Feb 9

 Johnny Hammond - Higher ground
Buddy Miles - Them changes
Idris Muhammad - Express yourself
Mantarays - Originator
Quincy Jones - Hummin
Nat King Cole - Ay cosita Linda
Eli Goulart - Meu samba - Nicola Conte remix
Thelonious Monk - Straight no chaser
Madhouse - Two
Sheila E - Love bizarre
SOS Band  - SOS (dit dit dit dash dash dash dit dit dit)
Slim - It's in the mix
Womack and Womack - Teardrops
Laidback - Get laidback
Chancha via curcuito - Vaina
Comfort fit - Nitro
Stinky Jim - Get ready to talk
Cos ber zam - Ne noya - Daphni mix
Michael Olatunji - Soul makossa
Hugh Masekela - Languta (live in Auckland, March 14, and at Womad)
Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren band - Savannah
General Echo - Drunken master
Donald Byrd - Think twice
John Davis and the monster orchestra - Holler

Friday, February 08, 2013

Aaradhna signs US album deal

Last night on TVNZ's Seven Sharp, Aaradhna announced her new five album deal with US major label Republic Records (formerly named Universal Republic). Watch that announcement here. Exciting news!

Of course, now comes the hard work to make some kind of impact in the US market, but having a great album for starters is sure gonna help. Good luck, Radz!

Catch Aaradhna on the Summer Vineyard  Tour with Opshop, Missy Higgins, and Che Fu in February, dates here. Official press release on Aaradhna's album news here.

Previous post: Aaradhna live instore, Real Groovy

RIP Donald Byrd

photo: LastFM
Posted on Facebook by Byrd's nephew, Alex Bugnon...

"Donald Byrd 1932- 2013
Donald passed away Monday in Delaware, where he lived. His funeral will be held in Detroit sometime next week. I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family ( NOT His children! We are very tight! ) who are "handling" it. I'm letting y'all know, so spread it as far as you can! Let's remember Donald as a one of a kind pioneer of the trumpet, of the many styles of music he took on, of music education. In sum, Donald was an avid, eternal student of music, until his death. That's what I try to be, everyday!!
Rest in peace, uncle!"

ADDED: from Potholes In My Blog: " His influence, as you may know, is massive, as he played with everyone from John Coltrane to Eric Dolphy to Ahmad Jamal while amassing a highly notable discography in his own right. Additionally, Byrd left a huge mark on the hip-hop community, and it wasn’t just through producers sampling his music. Fans of Guru’s Jazzmatazz albums know full well that Byrd’s trumpet could be heard throughout the first two releases.

For us here at Potholes, two of Byrd’s most treasured moments came when J Dilla and Madlib reinterpreted his tunes on “Think Twice” and “Stepping into Tomorrow”, respectively..."

ADDED Feb 12: New York Times obit:  Donald Byrd, Renegade Jazz Trumpeter, Dies at 80

Bio from LastFM:
Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II (born December 9, 1932) is an American jazz, rhythm and blues trumpeter. Born in Detroit, Michigan. He performed with Lionel Hampton before finishing high school. After playing in a military band during a term in the United States Air Force, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State University and a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. While still at the Manhattan School he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, replacing Clifford Brown. After leaving the Jazz Messengers in 1956 he performed with a wide variety of highly regarded jazz musicians.

In the 1970s, he moved away from his previous hard-bop jazz base and began to record jazz fusion and rhythm and blues. Teaming up with the Mizell Brothers, he produced Black Byrd, which was enormously successful and became Blue Note Records’ highest-ever selling album. The follow-up albums, Places and Spaces, Steppin’ Into Tomorrow and Street Lady were also big sellers, and have subsequently provided a rich source of samples for hip-hop artists such as Us3.

He has taught music at Rutgers University, the Hampton Institute, New York University, Howard University, and Oberlin College. In 1974 he created the Blackbyrds, a fusion group consisting of his best students. They scored several major hits, including “Walking In Rhythm” and “Blackbyrds Theme”.

Full bio at AllMusic...

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Igelese - Groovalation

Iglese, from Rip It Up issue 214, 1995
Igelese Ete released the single Groovalation in 1995, on local label Papa Pacific Records, run by Manu Taylor, then working at Marbecks (these days he is station manager at BFM). Papa Pacific also released early recordings by Dei Hamo, Johnny Sagala (Lost Tribe), Stellar, and Fieldstyle Orator [now Tha Feelstyle].

Igelese moved from Samoa to Wellington when he was 7. Rip It Up's John Russell (Issue 214, 1995) writes that "Igelese began singing in the choir at the church where his father was a preacher, and wound up as both a member and conductor of several singing groups, including the National Youth Choir. At age 15, he was resident pianist at the Park Royal Hotel in Wellington." Igelese went on to complete a music degree at Victoria University, with a major in performance singing.

Igelese says Groovalation was his "plan to combine different styles of music, and by doing that I hoped to get a unifying effect. I included the Polynesian styles because that's my background,  and Maori because I wanted to pay tribute to the tangata whenua. The other reason I wanted to do Groovalation was to prove to young people that if you have a vision, not to give up."

Once he had the song recorded, getting a NZ On Air video grant proved difficult without a record company backing it. Russell writes that "Igelese was turned down three times ... for video funding. He had no initial success when he began searching for a recording contract."

Igelese : "I'm no record company, but I think most of them were too scared to take a song that had a Samoan and a Maori rapper. Maybe they just thought it was too extreme to try and sell"

He eventually got a deal with indie label Papa Pacific (distributed by Warners), and RIU reports that there was an album planned for later in the year (95).

RIU: "Meanwhile,Igelese has begun collaborating with Gifted and Brown and former Rough Opinion rapper Kas [now known as Tha Feelstyle] on what he describes as a new urban sound. Igelese  "I think the next thing people are going to get into is Polynesian fusion - mixing up a lot of different styles. That will be the thing to look out for." [which neatly points to the rise of the likes of Urban Pacifika/OMC]

Groovalation proved successful at commercial radio, earning Papa Pacific a Radio Hits funding rebate from NZ On Air, given to acts that achieved a significant level of radio airplay. The song spent 11 weeks in the NZ singles chart (and 5 weeks in the top 20), peaking at number 13 on 2nd July, 1995. Video directed by Makerita Urale (one of King Kapisi's sisters) and Simon Beaufield.

From NZ on Air Kiwi Hit Disc #13 liner notes "Groovalation started life as Tutufa'atasi (Meaning "standing together" or unity) and was written for the 1994 International Festival of the Arts' finale concert."

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Haring meets Koch

photo: from Keith Haring the authorised biography

In 1984, Keith Haring was asked to design a logo for an anti-litter campaign by the New York City Dept of Sanitation, and to thank him for his efforts, he was invited to meet the mayor, Ed Koch, who was notoriously anti-graffiti.

In Haring's authorised biography by John Gruen, Haring says the campaign was called 'Don't be a litter pig', and he came up with a cartoon pig for them. He met Koch at the campaign's launch  and used the opportunity to present the mayor with Haring's book Art In Transit, which included photos of Haring's subway drawings.

Hearing about the meeting, Haring finds that "This is hysterical, because Mayor Koch is an avowed enemy of graffiti art [see below clip], but I go to the ceremony and present him with my book... [and get a snap] of the mayor looking completely horrified at this book of my graffiti art!"

Monday, February 04, 2013

Opensouls Lewis M mix n mash

" I've had this sitting around unfinished for some time now. Can't remember if it was sidelined because I was working on my albums or because my son was born - probably both! Anyways, it's far too epic (8min long!) to stay locked up so I knocked it out and here it is. Thanks to Julien Dyne for the percussion bits."

RIP Cecil Womack

Cecil Womack passed away aged 65 last Friday, Feb 1st. Via Potholes in my blog...

"Cecil Womack, who with his wife Linda formed Womack and Womack, passed away Friday, Feb. 1 at the age of 65. Soul Source reports that he died in an unknown African country, where he and Linda moved some years ago. His final request was to have his ashes spread over a river close to their house.

Cecil began his career as part of a gospel group with his brothers, including Bobby Womack, called the Valentinos. They were guided by Sam Cooke up until his death in 1964. During that time, Cecil was married to fellow soul legend Mary Wells, though they split in 1977 and Cecil later married Linda Cooke.

In the years following that, the Womack couple recorded several albums together with 1983′s Love Wars and 1988′s Conscience serving as their most popular efforts. The latter spawned their biggest hit, “Teardrops”, which charted high in the United Kingdom and New Zealand [the song hit no 1 in NZ and Australia].

They continued recording together in the ’90s when they moved to Africa and adopted the surname Zekkariya."

ADDED: From The Independent, 1994: How we met: Womack and Womack 

ADDED Feb 8: From Bobby Womack, on his official Facebook page: " I was terribly upset when I heard about my brother's passing, and I still am. We made music together for a long time, but we've had many differences over the years. Thankfully we got a chance to reunite last year after a very long separation - and little did I know that it would be the last time I would see him. I can only pass along what I have now learned, which is to not let anything - money, success, etc, come between you and your family.
- Bobby Womack"

Picassos - Clap your hands video

This video turned up on the revived Deepgrooves website, and has also surfaced on Youtube. I directed this video for my band Hallelujah Picassos, in 1989. I was at art school, and we knew Mark Tierney from BFM, where he was in-house studio engineer, prior to going to work at the Lab recording studio for Bill Lattimer. We recorded with Mark at both BFM and The Lab.

When Mark scored this tv co-hosting gig (alongside Robert Rakete and Lani Gifford), I was able to hit him up for some TVNZ film stock (16mm positive), and he got me into TVNZ to do the film to video transfer/telecine, and then scored me some editing time, all done via contra under the auspices of the tv show CV. This was how NZ bands got videos made before NZ On Air funding came along.

I hired a cameraman and his camera, we borrowed a studio to film in, and I bought fish and chips for all our mates who came along as extras. Total cost of video = $138. The other band in this clip, Drone, were also at art school, coincidentally.

from the Deepgrooves website:

"Mark's CV:  Bit of a tangent here, but note worthy none the less. Prior to forming the label in 1991, Mr. Tierney was quite a well known TV "personality" fronting, along with a couple of others, a music show called CV. We were at the time, oddly enough, fans of both of these bands.

Bob and Harold would later form the Riot Riddum Sound System (2R2S) and would go onto record a number of tracks for the label including Home Girl (produced by Mr. Tierney), which featured on our first compilation. Bobbylon would also later guest on 3 The Hard Way's Hip Hop Holiday. We currently have a number of 2R2S DAT tapes slotted in line to be digitized and uploaded. "

Como Mamas

Como Now is a fantastic acapella gospel album that came out in 2008 on Daptone Records, home to Sharon Jones and the Dapkings, Charles Bradley, Antibalas, and the Menahan St Band.

"In the summer of 2006, Daptone Records placed a small ad in local papers and on the radio inviting singers to come down to Mt. Mariah Church [in Como, Mississippi] to record their songs. The result is COMO NOW, a stirring collection of traditional and original acapella gospel from the voices of Panola County’s own families." You can read the background about that album over here.

Now Daptone are releasing a followup, from the Como Mamas. Out Feb 5th.

"There are only three instruments on this recording: The powerful, raspy voice of Ester Mae Smith, the deep soothing voice of Angela Taylor, and the energetic, spirited vocals of Della Daniels. There are no other musicians on this recording, yet the harmonies the Como Mamas create are so powerful, musical accompaniment is not missed.

"Recorded on a sweltering morning in the humble wood structure that is Mt. Mariah church, this record is sure to mirror that heat throughout your body and soul. Don't be fooled by the term Gospel for this record will move everyone from the pious Pastor to the staunchest atheist. The Como Mamas believe whole-heartedly that these songs have the power to help and inspire people in their everyday lives. As Della put it "We just want folks to listen and get an understanding." Audio previews on Daptone's site.