Monday, August 22, 2011

Nick Ashford and Jerry Leiber die

I am so incredibly saddened by the deaths of Nick Ashford of Ashford and Simpson ("Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," along with "You're All I Need To Get By. and Jerry Leiber of Leiber and Stoller (Clovers ("Love Potion No. 9"), the Drifters ("Ruby Baby"), the Cheers ("Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots"), the Robins ("Smokey Joe's Cafe," "Riot in Cell Block No. 9") and, especially, a Robins' spinoff group that Leiber and Stoller helped create, the Coasters ("Searchin'," "Yakety Yak," "Poison Ivy," "Charlie Brown," "Down in Mexico," "Little Egypt").
I saw Ashford and Simpson live many times in NYC and they were among my all-time favorites and brilliant live performers.
With these two great songwriters gone, it’s like a 1-2 punch to the art of songwriting. How many folk are left who can write perfect 3 or 4 minute R&B and pop tunes that will last forever?
A sad day for the music business and music lovers alike.

Evan Ginzburg

Music in France

I just got back from 12 days in France and have some observations re: the music there.
First off, it appeared to me that their tastes are far more eclectic. The friends and acquaintances I spent time with in 5 or so cities loved everything from African music to Salsa to jazz to French pop to bad American imported dance music, etc. It just didn’t seem like the line was drawn in the sand between different genres like they do here in the U.S.. MTV over there even has an R&B show. And on that show the music is also mixed- with straight up soul, neo-soul, world music of all kinds, and sometimes it’s in French and sometimes in English and sometimes even both on the same song/video. It’s more an “if we like it we’ll play it no matter what” kind of vibe then you’d get in America. Ditto at their parties where they play everything regardless of language or genre. There just seems to be a real love and respect for music of all kinds.
I was also amazed at a 30 minute interview I saw with Herbie Hancock on prime time TV there, treating him like a revered elder. You know for a fact that if he were on a talk show here in America, they’d generally let him play one song and wouldn’t even invite him on the chair. Or he’d be the last 3 or so minute segment on a 30 minute show plugging his latest CD. Respect, what a concept.
The subways there also had music piped in. Imagine, clean, efficient subways, with nice music to listen to. On a fraction of New York’s budget. Efficiency is a beautiful thing.
And in a park in Toulousse I saw something wonderful. Over the course of a few hours, in the center of the city outdoors at the Capitol building there were 3 live bands absolutely free. One was Italian and they were multi-lingual, performing songs in Italian, French and English. It was just a beautiful vibe and they combined it with a female dancer and juggler to really put on a show. Later there was an African band. And later a more traditional French accordionist. Again, music in all languages and styles for folk who truly appreciate it.
America could learn a lot about music appreciation from our French brothers and sisters for sure.
And by the way, I found the vast majority of folk there to be warm, friendly, gracious and hospitable.  Taste in music and nice folk. What a combination.

Evan Ginzburg

Friday, August 5, 2011

Upcoming Aug. shows at Gizzi's Cafe presented by Evan Ginzburg

Gizzi's Cafe 16 W 8th St. NYC- NEVER A COVER
Great food/alcohol/ambiance/desserts/coffee/nice folk!

Friday August 5
7:00 PM Susannah Conn
9PM Lace Lavon R&B
10PM Samuel R. Saffery From New Zealand

Monday August 8
7PM Marc Pressman(CD Release) Blues
8PM Sally featuring Jordan Cooper eclectic pop/rock/alternative
9PM Chad Douglas 

Tuesday August 9 James “SoSoon” Gantt Residency
Spoken word/R&B/jazz/hip hop meets music of all genres
7PM Stacee Mandeville blues/jazz
8PM SoSoon Residency
9PM Omni Blaize
There are few artists that display a chameleon-like versatility when it comes to music. OMNI Blaize displays such ability through playing various instruments (guitar, bass, keyboard) as well as his most powerful musical tool--his voice. With the combination of a church-singing background as well as frequenting various emcee competitions and showcases, he has emerged as an impressive fusion of soul music and hip hop.
Not only has his talents provided him with numerous showcase opportunities in New York (Best Buy, Sullivan Hall, Apollo Theatre), they have also taken him around the world and back. In February 2009, OMNI was part of a hip hop/R&B collective, Vice Verse Allstars, that was sent by Jazz at Lincoln Center to be musical ambassadors to countries in West Africa, including Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, and Mauritania where he collaborated with several local artists.
His original sound strives to carve out its own lane in music, creating a pangea of styles.

Friday August 12
7PM Billy Likitsakos Jazz
8PM Ron B and Mandola Joe
9PM Matthew Streppone
10PM Felix Cabrera and Robert Ross blues

Sunday August 14 Adam Schlacter Film Night BOOKED

Monday August 15
7PM Live classic concert footage on our giant screen
*Facebook/Roger Ortega
*MySpace/Roger Ortega
*Youtube Channel/RnBPoPWrytr

9PM Kiernan McMullan
Not really being from anywhere has it's benefits. There is a refreshing perspective that comes when there is no one place you call home.
Born in Hong Kong and having grown up between Ireland and Boston to an Irish father and Australian mother it really isn't surprising that he finds it hard to stay in one place for too long.
In 2008 Kiernan signed his first record deal with Warner Brother's sub label 111 records. The record was released in November 2008 during a time when the music industry's financial crisis was in full swing.
"All i needed was a plane ticket over. I had no van yet so I spent the first 3 months on greyhound buses and hitchhiking. Let's just say every day was it's own story"
With nothing but a hiking bag and his guitar he hitched and bussed the length of the east coast and parts of the midwest playing shows every other day.
Fast forward to now and you find Kiernan with a van and an impressive musical resume. Having shared stages with everyone from Sheryl Crow, Colbie Callait and Sublime to Meg and Dia, Lisa Hannigan and The Proclaimers to name just a few.
It would appear that this is only the beginning. With his full length record "Perfect People are Boring" and his more recent acoustic E.P. "The Best Part" both released to a very enthusiastic grassroots following, the anticipation is building to here his newest record "Two Years" recorded in Ireland this year.
"It's my best attempt to take ten songs and try to tell the story of the last two years from me. There have been some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my entire life within this 730 day adventure from November 2nd 2008 to November 2nd 2010."
It looks like this is just the prologue of a bigger story that is far from over.

Tuesday August 16 James “SoSoon” Gantt Residency
Spoken word/R&B/jazz/hip hop meets music of all genres

7PM Edwin Vazquez
8PM Karen LeVine
9PM SoSoon Residency

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Concert Review- Dr. John/Chuck Brown/Red Baarat

Concert Review-
Dr. John/Chuck Brown/Red Baarat
Celebrate Brooklyn Festival at Prospect Park
July 30, 2011

There’s few things I enjoy more in life than a Chuck Brown concert. The Godfather of Go-Go is the musical equivalent of a “happy pill.”
When you see Chuck you know just what you are going to get- a ton of great musicians having fun, flawlessly mixing multiple styles of music behind that driving, endless, go-go beat.
Plus he always does, “Moody’s Mood for Love,” one of my all-time favorites.
75 year old Chuck just had a street named after him in Washington, DC and he’s always had his cult following here in the Big Apple, so with several thousand strong at the park, it just felt like a party.
In the “death slot” as virtually nobody can follow Chuck, was Dr. John who fared surprisingly well as he was in New Orleans’ party mode. The thoroughly enjoyable set saw the good doctor even do a few steps to charm the appreciative crowd.
Openers Red Baarat mixed Bollywood faves and originals and they truly made a “joyful noise.” They should have been allotted more than the 30 minutes they were given as they’re true crowd pleasers and the many late-comers missed them entirely.
All in the all the evening was an eclectic mix of sounds that sent the large throng home happy.
What more can you ask?

--Evan Ginzburg

Concert Review- Jose James

Concert Review
Jose James- BAM R&B Fest Metro Tech Brooklyn
July 28, 2011

If you didn’t know singer Jose James, you’d assume he was a rapper.
Dressed casually and sporting a Yankees baseball cap on stage, even his mannerisms were more hip-hop than be-bop.
So when his sultry voice and topnotch ensemble triumphantly tackled numbers by Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Charles and other classic jazz and R&B giants, it felt almost surprising. Actually, it seemed like a torch had been passed down.
Mixing covers and wonderful originals, James proved to be humble, gracious, and a bandleader who gave his group plenty of space to “stretch out.” The hour and a half just flew by. My 78 year old mom, who’s seen everyone from Bird to Ella to Sarah Vaughn to Art Tatum said, “He’s GOOD.” And when she says “good,” it means great.
James is that talent worthy of wider recognition that you pull for. Let’s hope that he avoids the pitfalls of the music industry and introduces a generation weaned on hip-hop to some classic music and his immense talent.

--Evan Ginzburg

Concert Review- Urban Guerilla Orchestra featuring Miles Jaye

Concert Review- Urban Guerilla Orchestra featuring Miles Jaye
BAM R&B Fest Metro Tech Brooklyn
July 21, 2011

The Urban Guerilla Orchestra (UGO) is a prestigious combination of musicians and vocalists who appeared on countless hits for groups such as Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, Boyz II Men, Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Kool & the Gang, The Roots and countless others.
Tight is the first adjective that comes to mind in describing the large ensemble.
Whether it was Teena Marie or War covers, these virtuoso artists don’t miss  a note, and their lead vocalists were “right there,” doing the nearly impossible in making classics their own.
Special guest Miles Jaye joined them to do his ballads and he still has the voice and showmanship to make the ladies swoon.
I was also pleased to see the UGO have the business end of things taken care of as well- CDs, concert videos, T-Shirts were readily available as is the group itself for corporate events, high end weddings and concerts.
Bravo to that rarest of acts who mix art and commerce flawlessly.