Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Column

THE SNOWBOY COLUMN

Welcome to Blues and Soul and The Snowboy Column
Welcome to Blues and Soul and The Snowboy Column Lizzy Parks Nostalgia 77 aka Ben Lamdin Eliane Elias – Bossa Nova Stories (Blue Note) Imelda May James Hunter Big Boy Bloater – That Ain’t My Name (Azan) Aaron Parks – Invisible Cinema (Blue Note) Funk Off – Jazz On (Blue Note)

Happy new year to all of you. Let̢۪s hope it̢۪s a better one than 2008. With this incredible world-wide recession and lack of money in everyone̢۪s pocket it̢۪s obviously affecting the music industry. As if things weren̢۪t bad enough with the crippling amount of illegal downloading taking food out of musician̢۪s mouths - then this comes along! As you can see, although I haven̢۪t done my column for a while there isn̢۪t much to review this month (unless you know something that I don̢۪t!).

Lizzy Parks̢۪ debut concert

On December the 19th my new Prestige/Blue Note-style Funk band ‘The Perceptions’ played our debut concert and album launch at the amazing and plush venue Luminaire in Kilburn. Also doing her album launch with us that night too was Tru Thoughts recording artist Lizzy Parks. As you know, I gave her album‘Raising The Roof’ a stunning review late last year, and rightly so. She initially came to our attention through guesting regularly with Nostalgia 77, and it was the genius Ben Lamdin and Riaan Vosloo of that band who produced her album. That night Ben was deejaying and Riaan was on bass with Lizzy. Not only a very nice person, she is extremely attractive with a voice to match too. I didn’t hear a note out of place and her voice reminded me of a cross between Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jean Carn. Her accomplished band were fantastic and they burned through the album material plus a few well chosen covers such as ‘Psychadaelic Sally’ and ‘It Was A Very Good Year’ too. I love the classic deep Funk Jazz music of labels such as Black Jazz and Strata East and her music is very reminiscent of those labels, therefore I have no choice than to support it the best I can. The gig was over too soon but I look forward to checking out the band again soon and I urge you to too.

The History Of UK Jazz Dance

My book ‘From Jazz Funk And Fusion To Acid Jazz – The History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene’ is finally out in February. It will be published by Paul Bradshaw of ‘Straight No Chaser’ magazine and there will be lot’s of really interesting things happening to promote the book worldwide. In February we will launch across the UK, with the US in April and Japan in June (where it is being published in Japanese). Watch out for the events! More details next month.

Rhythm And Blues Is Back

â€Â¦Ã¢€Â¦Ã¢€Â¦.and not only that: Rock And Roll, Rockabilly and Jump Blues too! With Rhythm and Blues artists like James Hunter, Imelda May and Big Boy Bloater crossing over in to our scene with their late 50’s early 60’s R&B Soul sound, it is creating a big buzz. In the UK Rock And Roll and Rockabilly scene I’ve heard that they are playing what they call ‘60’s Garage’. I’ve heard a CD of that music and they’ve got the musical term wrong: they are playing a lot of organ instrumental stuff and R&B that our scene would term as Boogaloo and wouldn’t be out of place at the more open-minded Northern Soul events which are also playing a lot of early 60’s R&B. DJ’s such as Keb Darge, Andy Smith, Andy Weatherall, Cut Chemist, Jazzman Gerald etc are all playing a lot of rocking music now. Ok, it’s not everyone’s taste (a lot of you will argue against Rockabilly and Hillbilly obviously) but to me the thought of going to a night and hearing Funk, Mambo, Bossa, Mod Jazz, Blues, Rocking Blues, Rock and Roll, Hillbilly, Jump Blues, Doo Wop, Rhythm And Blues, Northern (rougher variety), R&B Soul, Ska, Rock Steady and Skinhead/Trojan Reggae, Boogaloo (both varieties), and Cajun altogether really appeals to me. Aah, a night of ‘roots music’! There are a lot of nights springing up like this now and I, for one, am very excited.

Reviews

Eliane Elias – Bossa Nova Stories (Blue Note)

There̢۪s no doubting the beautiful Brazilian jazz pianist Eliane Elias̢۪ skills. She is both a fantastic song-writer and world-class soloist and here she gives us a CD of the classic Bossa Nova̢۪s and standards (turned into Bossa̢۪s). It̢۪s very lush and well played but ultimately pointless. The last thing the public need is yet another CD rehashing these classics, and there is nothing new here or anything to test her incredible ability. Very contrived. What a shame.

Funk Off – Jazz On (Blue Note)

Funk Off are a New Orleans-style marching band from Italy, and very good too. I’ve heard ‘Dirty Dozen Band-style’ New Orleans bands from all over the world (including ‘Black Bottom’ from Japan) and this band are as good as any of them. I’m imagining that ‘live’ they have a separate bass drum and snare player but on this album it sounds like one person playing drum kit and it works very well with the powerhouse 11-piece horn section. There are many things off-putting about the CD too, unfortunately, mainly due to the heavy-handed production by the band. All the songs are done in Funk-style but for some reason the band have thought by making the snare drum louder it will make it Funkier; infact it makes the CD sound dated in an 80’s kind of way and, believe it or not, drowns out the massive horn section. Secondly, the vocalist (singing in Italian) is not Funky at all, although he contrives to be, and it is most off-putting. By doing this they have guaranteed themselves no club play. It’s a shame because I’m sure that they are incredible live (as this CD indicates).

Big Boy Bloater – That Ain’t My Name (Azan)

I’m very happy to review this. Here are twelve tracks of tough, furious 50’s Rhythm and Blues sounding and recorded completely authentically. This is Bloater’s seventh CD (I believe) and you can see why he’s very much an institution in the authentic R&B movement. The CD contains both originals and well-chosen covers such as ‘Matchbox’ and ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ but unfortunately it doesn’t include his current club-smash ‘Double Whammy’. That track is only available as a 7 inch single. It’s that excellent that I brought 5 copies to give as gifts for friends!

Aaron Parks – Invisible Cinema (Blue Note)

What can one say? Bleak, majestic, staggering, intense, dark, challenging, joyousâ€Â¦Ã¢€Â¦Ã¢€Â¦ Pianist Parks has delivered a very important CD here. Anyone will tell you that. It’s such a huge sound that I had to check that I was indeed listening to a quartet, and the playing is delivered with complete commitment from all concerned. Exploring many complex time signatures (pinned down by the immensely talented drummer Eric Harland) this CD, although not reminiscent of Chick Corea’s most adventurous works, can be easily filed alongside them equal in its importance. As I hinted at earlier, this is not an easy ride and you’d definitely have to be in the right mood to listen to it, and so I suggest that you try and listen before you buy it. However, if you want to take my word for it, just get your credit card out.

Don't forget to contact snowboy@bluesandsoul.com with any NEWS, REVIEW or GIG information.

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