Scotty Barnhart’s Solo Debut: Say It Plain

albumcoverFeatured trumpet soloist with The Count Basie Orchestra for 17 years, Scotty Barnhart records his debut album Say It Plain out May 19th.

On it, he has assembled an incredible lineup of musicians including Wynton Marsalis and Clark Terry to perform his arrangements of six originals and six standards. From a radically new arrangement of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” complete with whistle and its danceable New Orleans groove, to a duet with Wynton Marsalis on Dizzy Gillespie’s Latin standard “Con Alma” and the rocking church feel of the title track complete with tambourine, the music contains a variety of styles from early jazz to straight ahead 4/4 swing, ballads, blues, medium Latin grooves, and up tempo burners that will satisfy any listener regardless of particular taste.

Barnhart “possesses one of the loveliest trumpet tones I’ve ever heard, can be playful, a deep thinker, virtuosic, adventurous, and a down home summoner of the sort of soul from which jazz comes,” says Stanley Crouch in the liner notes.  “This recording is well thought out and superbly executed.”

More info here.

El Michels Affair Interpolates Wu-Tang Classics On Enter The 37th Chamber

coverWith the release of their finally-completed album Enter the 37th Chamber, El Michels Affair steps out of the shadows of the retro-soul trend and establishes their status as one of the most exciting and versatile bands in modern recorded music.

In 2007, their two smash 7″ singles featuring instrumental reinterpretations of the Wu-Tang classic songs “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Bring Da Ruckus” prompted a contract with indie hip hop powerhouse Fat Beats Records to record an entire album of Wu-Tang Clan interpolations.

Led by saxophonist/organist Leon Michels and producer/engineer Jeff Silverman, El Michels Affair began as a loose collaboration of session musicians (including members of top-selling acts Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, the Budos Band, and Antibalas) that looked to blend some of the vibrant quality of soundtrack records with the recording aesthetic of early reggae, and the rawness of 60′s rock–they called it ‘Cinematic Soul.’

Stream “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Uzi (Pinky Ring)” and “Can It All Be So Simple” here.

Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band Out Now, Listening Party 4/23

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Combining musical versatility, instrumental prowess, beautiful vocal harmonies and a superb rhythm section, the Easy Star All-Stars focus their latest album in the series of reggae reinterpretations on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Entitled Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band, it follows the best-selling tribute album releases, Dub Side of the Moon (2003) and Radiodread (2006), as well as Until That Day (2008).

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