One artist, two distinct but interwoven concepts: this is the captivating logic behind Double-Booked, pianist Robert Glasper‘s third album for Blue Note, following up Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007). An artist who “unfailingly gets the feeling right” (New York Magazine), Glasper has made waves throughout the music world as leader of both the acoustic Robert Glasper Trio and the electric, hip-hop-oriented Robert Glasper Experiment. With Double-Booked, the 32-year-old Houston native puts his enviable versatility front and center, emphasizing these different hemispheres of his musical brain at the same time.
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The new CD from three-time Grammy award winning trumpet player and composer Terence Blanchard was recorded in March 2008 in Blanchard’s hometown of New Orleans at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Choices addresses the choices we all make in life – both as a society and on a personal level. “Life is all about expansion and evolution. We make choices every day, none of which are right or wrong. They are simply choices that allow us to explore the variety of what’s before us.” — Terence Blanchard
Accompanying Blanchard on the album are longstanding band members Fabian Almazan on piano, Derrick Hodge on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums, along with newcomer Walter Smith lll on saxophone, all of whom wrote significant track contributions to the CD as well. Guest artists include writer, speaker, educator and activist Dr. Cornel West, critically-acclaimed guitarist and Blanchard protégé Lionel Louke, and singer, musician and composer Bilal. West performs spoken word pieces on the album with Bilal providing vocals on several of the tracks.
Choices was premiered at a series of concerts at the Ogden in late July 2009 which were filmed for an upcoming documentary. It will also be accompanied by a worldwide tour featuring Terence and his band.
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Vocalist and songwriter Marie Daulne aka Zap Mama‘s 7th project ReCreation is out now on Heads Up International, featuring Bilal, G. Love, actor Vincent Cassel (La Haine, Ocean’s Twelve) and several others.
To honor mothers around the world, Zap Mama’s teamed up with CARE and will donate a percentage of the proceeds from the iTunes download of “Hello To Mama,” the first single.
In the developing world, one woman, every minute of every day, dies giving birth. CARE helps reduce persisting high maternal mortality in the world’s poorest countries. For more regarding CARE and its partnership with Zap Mama, visit: www.care.org/zapmama.
The Beauty Created: An Interview With Singer Jesse Boykins III
By Mawuse Ziegbe, Photo (c) J. Shotti
No one has more swoon-worthy finesse than Jesse Boykins III. With his breathy intonations, boyish hustle and collaborations with artists like Melo-X and Theophilus London; he’s making noise in a soul music scene aching for something classic and new. In an age where vocals course through vocoders and double-clicks rule the DJ booth, Boykin’s New School-bred production and arrangement skills are both novel and necessary. His second album The Beauty Created is awash in richly textured instrumentation and driven by Jesse’s lyrical adoration of a woman’s quirks. Giant Step spoke with the Miami native about ’90s boy bands, working out with Bilal and, of course, the fairer sex.