Nineteen year old Kalen Henry explodes onto the scene with her debut album, “Not Forgotten”, an exploration of the love songs from the catalog of Nat King Cole. Ms. Henry explores these classic love songs with spacious country and pop instrumentation that perfectly supports her sultry Norah Jones-style voice. The result is a current presentation of classic jazz standards that intimates at every turn Joni Mitchell’s folk-pop exploration into the jazz world.
The idea for this project came simply from a high school choir final that Ms. Henry performed with her father, Trey Henry. The duo performed “Orange Colored Sky” (track 3) and the response encouraged her to explore her growing love of Nat King Cole’s work. “I decided to take the ten love songs that I love the most and order them in a way that depicts a love story”, says Ms. Henry.
“Not Forgotten strikes the perfect balance between old and new”, says Trey Henry. Mr. Henry, Kalen’s father, is a renowned bass player, arranger, producer and performer. He has logged performance credits over the years with Henry Mancini, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Natalie Cole to name just a few. Performing with the Tierney Sutton Band, he has recorded eight albums earning five Grammy nominations. Mr. Henry produced, arranged and played bass on “Not Forgotten”.
“Not Forgotten” opens with “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, written by Nat King Cole in 1943. The song spent ten weeks on the Hit Parade and was number 1 on the pop charts. It is based on a folk tale that Mr. Cole’s father told as a theme for one of his sermons. The track opens to an ambient, ringing foundation when Ms. Henry enters with the fable. Her sultry jazz-pop, resonant mood is immediately head-turning. As the song builds, the listener is treated to bluegrass-tinged, guitar and mandolin (Paul Viapiano - The Chemistry of Crying, LA Philharmonic) based feel and a groove that really moves the audience.
The fourth track on “Not Forgotten” leads with a rhythmic acoustic guitar and follows with Kalen Henry’s haunting expression of awe at the purity and emotion in her love’s eyes. Simple and sweet, the song builds with bass and drums (Ray Brinker - Maynard Ferguson, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole) supporting perfectly the pulsating guitar. The mood escalates but never spills over and leaves the audience captivated as Ms. Henry sails the mystery of “your eyes...your eyes...your eyes...”.
“Not Forgotten” by Kalen Henry is the best debut album that you will hear this year. It is the most listenable fusion of jazz, pop and country since Alison Krauss burst onto the scene...and pop-folk radio is long overdue. Kalen Henry’s tribute raises the bar to ensure that Nat King Cole is “Not Forgotten”.
“I'm living the dream, I'd say” - Kalen Henry
Dynamic organist David Ellington teams up with powerhouse drummer Chris Burroughs to form Duo Elevation with the release of their debut album, "Omar's Lament". Although a Duo, Duo Elevation is far from sparse; using multi-layered tracking to give listeners a look inside the brilliant arranging and production capabilities of these two masters. The result is a high energy journey of funky exploration into the powerful psychedelia of the early 1970's.
David Ellington studied the traditional classical fare that kids typically learn. But as adolescence hit he became attracted to the many burgeoning styles available to him on the FM airways. Garage bands to church musicals gave way to study at Berklee College of Music and eventually the musical gumbo in the city of New Orleans. Mr. Ellington has taken full advantage of the diverse musical culture and studied with jazz statesman Ellis Marsalis all while playing in stylistically varied bands including leader of Chevere who played the NOLA Jazz Fest each year up until the Katrina Hurricane brought David to Atlanta in 2005. Shortly after arriving in Atlanta, David connected with drummer/percussionist/educator and Duo counterpart Chris Burroughs. Mr. Burroughs has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia with artists as varied as jam-guru Col. Bruce Hampton, blues champion Chris Duarte and Broadway singer and actress Jennifer Holiday. Collectively their musical experiences and special artistic chemistry make for an exciting elevated musical duo, known as Duo Elevation.
The Duo's debut, "Omar's Lament", comes out shootin'. Opener "Slingin'" is a full-tilt, non-stop funk, jazz fusion effort that strikes right between the eyes. This song channels classic Yes songs from the early 1970's...capitalizing on straight-ahead jazz chops and drawing from the funk rock of their youth. The manic romp of Mr. Ellington's organ falls perfectly on the powerful, driving flow of Mr. Burroughs pulse. The explosion takes the listener from hectic to tight and together from second to second until the anthem crescendos, retards into Omar's Lament Pt.1, and gently fades away...where is this dynamic Duo taking us?
Duo Elevation takes the listener to an unexpected station next. The pair pay homage to pop great Prince with a cover of The Beautiful Ones from the game changing album Purple Rain. In an era where Prince covers are not uncommon, this version is a remarkable head-turner. Take a floating trip down a lazy river with an organ melody behind the beat and a back beat right in the center to create a pocket you could drive a truck through. The concluding standard results in a hummable tribute that offers fresh insight into an unforgettable artist from an era of often relatively forgettable peers.
Don't miss Duo Elevation's use of space to offer contemporary vision into funky fusion with elements of jazz, rock, soul and R&B. Featuring six originals and two covers, this psychedelia hard-hitting album keeps the spirit of the 1970’s alive, fused with a modern-day funky edgy twist. Heads are turning...
Henderson, NV (July 6th, 2018) - Blue Canoe Records releases "Animazonia" from Turkish-born world musician Melbreeze. The ninth release from this creative world musician started as a Brazilian jazz effort but culminated into a compilation of authentic Brazilian music fused with world, jazz and dance flavors. Melbreeze's passion for world music and stubbornly authentic recreation of Brazilian palettes make for a truly unique creation that demands a close listen.
Melbreeze is a prolific creator that, in true world music fashion, is hard to define. She seamlessly moves from her Turkish roots to Spanish flamenco to South American dance and does so with some of the best musicians and producers in the world. "Animazonia" is produced by Scott Kinsey and Jimmy Haslip. Kinsey is the keyboardist for Tribal Tech and has contributed to motion picture soundtracks such as Oceans Eleven and Oceans Twelve while Haslip has been nominated for 33 Grammy awards and has won two with jazz fusion superheroes The Yellowjackets as well as his recent Grammy win with fusion master Jeff Lorber. Melbreeze has recorded and performed with Grammy award composer and keyboardist Bill Cunliffe. She also has an ongoing partnership with Latin Grammy winner and flamenco master Javier Limón.
"Animazonia" opens with a modern, hypnotic dance piece "So Nice". Jimmy Haslip lays down a solid, soulful groove as Melbreeze sets the tone for the album with a dreamy, trance-like vocal invitation that cannot be resisted. Midway through the opening track, Larry Koonse brings in jazzy guitar hooks that develop into a solo with a rock and roll intensity. All of these textures come together in a crescendo until Melbreeze brings it all back to her opening theme. Powerful.
The fourth track on "Animazonia", "How Insensitive", shifts gears into more of a hindi-jazz feel with Knand Kumar bringing colorful sitar meanderings while Uday Kumar Nari provides a balanced pulse on the tabla. Scott Kinsey and Melbreeze provide the hypnosis on this tune on trillian bass and vocals respectively. By the time Larry Koonse's floating guitar solo relieves the sitar "How Insensitive" is reaching a pulsating, heated state as Melbreeze describes the memory of an “insensitive” break up.
"Animazonia" is a must listen from world music veteran Melbreeze. As she continues to blend musical sensibilities from disparate cultures, Melbreeze continues to warm the listener's heart. Melbreeze is a premier example of an elite artist's potential to demonstrate cultural unity and inclusion through art and magical melody.