World of Slick Music
– Lindsey Webster
Hi there folks!
So i’m here again with a brand new edition of the slickest blog on line! Today i’m gonna write about an artist/singer i don’t believe is so well know for the big mass. I discovered her some time during the fall last year while checking out other artists/musicians on Spotifty. Well known or not she has one really great voice while beeing beautiful as well. Some people seems to get like everything!
Photo cred: EURweb.com
She’s a narrative from Woodstock, New York and before singing the played the Cello which she was very good at. She played that for about ten years often in the first chair. Then when she attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia School for the Music, Art & Performing Arts in New York City she put the Cello back in its like box and grabbed the microphone instead. When meeting her husband in 2009, pianist Keith Slattery, she began working professionally and released her first eponymous album in 2013, see picture below. It was an independent production follwed by You Change on Atlantic Records.
Photo cred: itunes.apple.com
I mentioned her second album this became a success containing the hit “Fool Me Once”, a vocally driven song that reached #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. There it stayed #1 for 4 entire weeks which meant that she had beaten Sade who held the previously record for 3 weeks. This didn’t pass by unnoticed by contemporary jazz label Shanachie Entertainment who signed her and released her third album “Back To Your Heart”, picture below. Just a little side not Shanachie is a giant in smooth jazz/contemporary jazz circles while also releasing modern R&B, Blues, Reggae, Gospel, Celtic music.
Photo cred: shanachie.com
Along with her band, consisting of top notch players, they have played at many different clubs. Some of them are classical ones such as The Bitter End, classic rock club located in Greenwich Village, NYC, The Iridium, also located in NYC, Yoshi’s Oakland, located in Oakland, California. Lindsey can handle the most styles from like straight – ahead jazz to R&B. On one of her shows none else than Sting, yes the Sting, was in the audience and the following quote is from Lindsey herself.
“We were playing at a club in NYC over the summer and Sting was in the audience. On my second song of the set, he got out of his seat to come shake my hand, say ‘wow’ and thank me for my talent. I was unfortunately in the middle of singing God Bless the Child so I couldn’t even really say thank you.”
How about that when a guy like Sting all of a sudden leaves his chair in the middle of a song to express his admiration for Lindsey then you can tell that Lindsey is quite something special! She has also won “Best Acoustic Song” in the Independent Music Awards. This is just the beginning more will definetely follow. Sax player/horn arranger Jays Collins says about Lindsey:
“Lindsey has got a world-class singing ability and really knows how to win the audience’s heart”.
I mentioned Sade earlier and until recently she was the only one to score two Smooth Jazz radio hits in a row. Now there are two vocalists who have done this, Lindsey is the second one. You cand find Lindsey on socila medias like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on her Youtube channel. You should definetly follow her on social medias. Check out her Instragram where sometimes posts clip where she sings acapella and trust me she CAN sing!! Trust me when i say it’s big time goose bumbs alert!! She is very open about that one of here biggest heroes is Mariah Carey.
Someone described Lindsey as “If Sade was to take over Mariah Carey’s body and sing to tracks written by Steely Dan, the combination might hit somewhere close to Lindsey Webster’s sound”.
A matter of fact is that she has been compared with the likes of Anita Baker, Mariah Carey and Sade.
Finally time for the song and the one i’ve choosen is called Back to Your Heart the title song from her latest album released in 2016. It’s a kinda bluesy laid back song yet with a groovy slick feeling.
As always enjoy your listening!!
Tags: #worldofslickmusic, #lidseywebster, #keithslattery, #shanachie, #sting #jaycollins, #sade, #mariahcarey, #anitabaker
World of Slick Music
Hi there folks!
Been a while since last post but here i am again with another edition of this little blog of mine. Today’s artist i think is fair to call an “institution” in American popular music. They’ve been around since 1967 and still have 4 original members left that’s quite impressive i think. Anyway as the headline above says today’s artist is the legendary band of Chicago!
Chicago of today left to right: Keith Howland (Guitar, Vocals), Lee Loughnane (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Lou Pardini (Keyboards, Vocals), James Pankow (Trombone), Robert Lamm (Acoustic guitar, Keyboards, Vocals), Walfredo Reyes Jr (Percussion), Jeff Caofey (Bass), Ray Hermann (Woodwinds, live subbing for Walter Parazider also Woodwinds), Tris Imboden (Drums)
So what can be said about this band that no one hasn’t already been telling? Have i somehow got some super exclusive information never shared before, some really heavy secrets? If i claimed that someone might sue me for that or maybe not but no point bullshitting anyway!
So let’s go back in time to year of 1967 cause that was the year the group was officially founded in the city with the same name as the band, Chicago, Illinois. They described their music as “rock n’ roll with horns” although i’d say it’s a mix of like everything! It’s rock, soul, jazz, fusion, funk, slick, mainstream, latin according to me at least.
A band having horns is nothing unique in itself but in the case of Chicago it was more the arrangements of the horn parts that was standing out.
Photo: Past Daily
Chicago sometime late 1960’s/early 197o’s left to right: Peter Cetera (Bass, Vocals), James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, Terry Kath (Guitar, Vocals), Walter Parazider, Danny Seraphine (Drums), Robert Lamm
The founding members were Robert Lamm, Walt Parazider, Terry Kath, Lee Loughnane, Danny Seraphine, James Pankow.
Walter, Terry, Danny and James met while beeing students at the De Paul University. Later Robert was recruited from Roosevelt University. First they called themselves “The Big Thing” and played like hit list music. After a while they realized they needed tenor as a compliment to baritones Lamm and Kath. Further they also needed a bassist since the basspedals on Lamm’s organ didn’t “adequate bass sound”. They found a local guy who was a tenor as well a bass player and that guy was Peter Cetera.Eventually they moved to Los Angeles and changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority. In L.A. they played at the local clubs and began getting famous in the late 60’s. They were opening acts for Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. As related to William James Ruhlmann by Walt Parazaider, Jimi Hendrix once told Parazaider, ” ‘ “Jeez, your horn players are like one set of lungs and your guitar player is better than me.
Photo: Ultimate Classic Rock
So in April 1969 their eponymous first record, see picture above, it was actually a double album which is/was very uncommon for a first album to be. Still it was a success and sold over 1 million copies by 1970. The album contained several tracks which are like “Chicago standars/classics” today. Songs like Beginnings, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is, Questions 67 and 68 and I’m a Man. The last one originally a hit by Spencer Davis Group.
After this album they were forced to shortened their name to simply Chicago. The reason was that in Chicago the public transportation company happened to be called Chicago Transit Authority. Obviously Chicago is much easier to say and remember.
Not long after the first album they released Chicago II which also happened to be a double album. The album’s centerpiece is a 7 piece, 13 minutes long suite by Pankow called “Ballad for a Girl in Buchannon”. The suite yielded two top 10 hits “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World”, both sung by Kath, songs they still perform at their shows. Another song that also is a classic song for the band is the cryptic “25 or 6 to 4” by Lamm, this was the band’s first top 5 hit. The song is supposed to be about a singwriter trying to write 25 or 26 minutes before 4 o’clock in the morning. Cetera sang on this one.
Photo: WCBS-FM 101.1
Chicago sometime 1972/73 left to right front row: Peter Cetera, Walt Parazider, James Pankow, Robert Lamm. Top row: Danny Seraphine, Laudir de Oliveira (Percussion), Lee Loughnane, Terry Kath.
On the Chicago V album they had a member in the group Brazilian percussionist Laudir de Oliveira and on this album it became clearer that Cetera was the main singer for the band. In 1976 the band finally got their first #1 on Billboard the ballad If You Leave Me Now a ballad both written and sung by Cetera. In the U.S. it stayed on top for 2 weeks and in the UK for 3 weeks that song is found on Chicago X. With the next album Chicago XI they got their last top 10 hit for the decade. The year 1978 began first with a split with their manager since 1968 James William Guerico and then on January 23 Kath died of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound from a gun he thought was unloaded. After this the band kinda lost themselves for a long time. From a commercial point of view the 80’s was a very succesful decade but they had like sold their souls musically speaking. Phil Ramone was one great producer with a cv that would make any other producer super jealous but he wasn’t right for the band. Neither was Tom Dowd or even David Foster himself. They turned down the horns or remowed them completely. Chicago IS a horn driven band and has always been.
Photo: Addicted to Vinyl
Chicago mid 80’s left to right: Danny Seraphine, Walt Parazider, Peter Cetera, James Pankow, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, Bill Champlin (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards)
In 1981 another member joined the band a multi instrumentalist and awesome singer a guy called Bill Champlin. In AOR/West Coast circles his names is mentioned with a great respect. Actually a person close to the band suggested that Bill should replace Kath already in 1978 but he felt he could never fill up those shoes. In 1981 he was working on a off Chicago project with Danny Seraphine and Peter Cetera. Seraphine and Champlin co-wrote a few songs together and Seraphine invited Champlin to sing on “Sonny Think Twice” as a guest vocalist. Champlin then suggested that David Foster would be a great choice for producing the band at that time. Now Seraphine began campaigning for Champlin to join the band despite some obstacles, a singer/songwriter, producer called Kenny Loggins called Champlin to talk him out of joining Chicago! He was saying that the band is over, they peaked a long time go and if you join you’ll sink your own career. Champlin joined the band despite the warnings of Loggins and thinking “i’ll give it a year” That “year” became no less than 28 years!
Chicago mid 90’s left to right: Walt Parazider, James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, Tris Imboden (drums), Robert Lamm, Jason Scheff (Bass), Keith Howland, (guitar), Bill Champlin
From the mid 80’s until the mid 90’s many people were passing by the band and lot of things happened. In the early 80’s Cetera began a solo career and wanted to focus on his solo career while not touring. The rest of the band declined this kind of arrangement and Cetera ultimately left in 1985. Replacer became Jason Scheff son of Elvis Presley bassist Jerry Scheff. Then early in 1990 co-founder and drummer Danny Seraphine got sacked and replaced by Tris Imboden, a session player whom also had played with Kenny Loggins. During the 80’s and early 90’s many different guitarists came and gone in the band but in 1995 they hired Keith Howland as permanant guitarist.
Picture above Chicago shares stage with legendary band Earth, Wind & Fire back in 2004. The last show at their tour was recorded live on dvd at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in August 2004 and became released in June 2005. After only two months the double dvd was certified platinum. My recommendation is for you to find it and buy it!
On March 25 2006 their first all-new studio album was released Chicago XXX. The first that wasn’t a like “Best of” or rerecording of old songs or live album since Chicago Twenty One. In 2009 a new guy became member of the band, Drew Hester. First he was subbing for Tris as a drummer when Tris was ill then he became a full time member but playing the Percussion he stayed until 2012. First he was replaced by Daniel de los Reyes and later his brother Walfredo Reyes Jr whom just like Drew also plays the drum kit. Then in 2009 the re-joined forces with EWF once again for a tour. Those guys obviously loves eachothers company cause in 2015/16 it was time for a third tour with these two bands!
In 2015 the band was listed among the nominees for induction to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. The original lineup was inducted at the 31st annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 8, 2016. I’m happy for their sake but i think it’s a little unfair for like Tris Imboden and Bill Champlin for not beiing included since Tris has now been a member for 27 years and Bill was a member for 28 years not to mention Jason Scheff member for 30 years . Maybe it’s not a big thing for them, i don’t know. Anyway in February 2016 it was announced that the original drummer and founder would join the currnet line up for the first time in 25 years, picture below.
Photo: Modern Drummer
Speaking of Jason Scheff after taking a temporary leave in May 2016 citing “family health reasons” he eventually left for good in August 2016. His replacer was the guy who had been subbing during the summer Jeff Caffey.
If you think about it there are many similarities between Chicago and EWF, both are horn driven bands and has been around since like forever! They both have been produced by David Foster although i think he did a better job with EWF than Chicago. But on the other hand the 80’s wasn’t exactly “the golden age” for the styles of EWF and Chicago or Tower of Power. As i mentioned Bill Champlin was a member for almost 30 years and he co-wrote one the most famous songs of EWF, After the Love Has Gone. In the Live at the Greek Theatre show Bill actually perfoms the song along with EWF. Then as like favor in return EWF lead singer Phillip Bailey sings the classic and famous Chicago ballad If you Leave Me Now with Chicago. When you scratch the surface you see that there are many things these two bands have incommon. If you ever gets the opportunity to catch these guys live take it! They are a really great live act, seen them once in my town. I will recall it was a great show!
Ok last but not least as the saying goes it’s finally time for the song with Chicago. It’s taken from their latest album from 2014 called Chicago XXXVI:Now. I’ve choosen the title song called Now and listen very caryfully about 10-11 seconds in the guitar solo cause then a super cool syncope comes!!
Tags: #worldofslickmusic #chicago #keithhowland #leeloughnane #loupardini #jamespankow #robertlamm #walfredoreyesjr #jeffcoffey #rayhermann #walterparazider #trisimboden #petercetera #terrykath #dannyseraphine #janisjoplin #jmihendrix #williamjamesruhlmann #spencerdavisgroup #laudirdeoliveira #jameswilliamguerico #philramone #tomdowd #davidfoster #billchamplin #kennylogginsearth #jasonscheff #elvispresly #jerryscheff #trisimboden #earthwindandfire #phillipbailey #drewhester #danieldelosreyes #towerofpower
World of Slick Music
– Gospel Special
Hi there folks!
Time again for another edition of the slickest (?!) blog on line. As the headline above says today it’s a Gospel special i got. So Gospel maybe you think of a mass choir singing happy clappy often syncopated songs. Well that’s perhaps the average image of Gospel music and not saying it’s necessarily is wrong. However Gospel music can be and also is much more than a mass choir and in my opinion their music isn’t especially slick. Now what kind of Gospel music am i gonna write about today then? Two different “projects” from back in the 90’s. First one is a project from 1993 called Soul Mission, see picture below.
This thing started when two guys Darrell Brown and David Batteau managed to make a dream come true. They had both grown up in church with all that comes with it including music. They wanted to take the fun of old school Soul music from the 60’s and then add the inspiration and earthiness of the Gospel music. This whole thing started in a thin sheet-metal construction trailer out in the desert of Arizona. In the dust and heat out there, the songs were conceived and the demos completed. Next thing they called on the assistance of their friend Bob Glaub. His vast experience as a studio bassist on three decades (from John Lennon to Bruce Springsteen). With his help they put together their all star dream team Soul band. The number one choices for the guys was the legendary Memphis musicians Booker T Jones (Hammond B3) and Steve Cropper (guitar). They were both members of the group named Booker T & the MG:s. They played on albums with Soul icons such as Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. Kinda hard to believe that this skinny guitarist were writing songs that are considered beeing Soul classics today. He co wrote songs with Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd to name a few and he also was/is one of two guitarists in the Blues Brothers Band.
Picture: Jazz wax
Left to right: Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn (R.I.P.), Booker T Jones himself, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson Jr (R.I.P.)
Steve and Booker T both accepted and joined the project, Darrel and David felt like their prayers were answered. Next guy to track down was R&B/Soul/Funk drummer James Gadson. He first got a reputation as a great Funk drummer in the late 60’s as a member of Charles Wright & His Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. After that band was dissolved he became a prominet session drummer and worked with Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers. After that they needed a bassist and they wanted to get Ready Freddie Washington a guy who has played with dosens of artists. After him they got a second guitarist Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was). Then percussionist Bobby Hall (Diana Ross & The Surpremes, The Four Tops). Horns were provided by Joe Sublett (Sax), Darrell Leonard (Trumpet) and Jerry Donato (Sax). They were also joined by Michael McDonald on piano on one track. This was the band now they needed singers.
The first name they came to think about was Soul/Gospel singer Tata Vega whom worked a lot with Gospel giant Andrae Crouch, picture above. Second was the legendary Stax vocalist Mavis Staples whom is featured along with her sisters and father in the concert movie The Last Waltz directed by Martin Scorsese, picture below.
Picture: Something Else Review
Through friends and colleagues they were introduced to singers Victor Cook, Grady Harrell, Lynn Davis, Alfie Silas and Gavin Christopher. Finally they also got a few other singers to be like a choir and they are on the album simply called “The Church”. Not gonna mentioning their names but trust all professional singers. So after the background of how this project came to be it’s now time for the song. Since not all of them are to be found on Youtube you can’t pick exactly anyone you want. Although one of my favorites are and it’s a kinda bluesy old school Soul with a touch of Gospel. Here’s Salvation Road featuring Lynn Davis on lead vocals.
Tags: #worldofslickmusic #soulmission #darrellbrown #davidbatteau #bobglaub #johnlennon #brucespringsteen #staxrecords #bookertjones #stevecropper #bookertandthemgs #otisredding #wilsonpickett #eddiefloyd #thebluesbrothersband #donaldduckdunn #aljacksonjr #jamesgadson #charleswrightandhis103rdstreetrhythmband #marvingaye #billwithers #freddywashington #randyjacobs #bonnieraitt #wasnotwas #bobbyhall #dianaross #thesurpremes #thefourtops #joesublett #darrellleonard #jerrydonato #michaelmcdonald #tatavega #andraecrouch #mavisstaples #martinscorsese #victorcook #gradyharrell #lynndavis #alfiesilas #gavinchristopher
That was part 1 now time for part 2 which is also the last one. This project took place a few years later than the Soul Mission one. The album was released in 1995 and project number is called Sisters of Glory.
A project featuring five female Gospel/R&B/Soul singers and they are Thelma Houston, Cece Peniston, Phoebe Snow (R.I.P.), Albertina Walker (R.I.P.) and Lois Walden. This prjoect was meant to be “one time only” project. The group was put together by Lois Walden, whom also came up with the name, for a event on April 25 in 1994 for a TV-Show called Gospel Music: From the church to the charts as part of it’s thirteen weeks to benefit charity. The event took place at the intimate Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. It was a group of artists gathered around a piano in front of an audience filled with entertainment industry notables.
Left to right: Thelma Houston, Cece Peniston, Phoebe Snow, Lois Walden and on the small pic Albertina Walker.
The show was both hosted and directed by Lois Walden and they performed some of the most important songs of the gospel tradition, shared behind-the-scenes stories and interacted with eachother and the audience in a fun-filled and high energy celebration of gospel music. That small room went electric as the audience joined in singing, clapping and testifying. The media reception was immediate and overwhelming. Then came a phone call from one of the producers of the 25th anniversary of the classic and legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969. He had heard about the evening and wanted the ladies to recreate this thing one Sunday morning August 14 1994. This was nothing planned but the ladies performed infront of over 200 000 people in upstate New York and infront of million tv-viewers. There were no costumes no elaborate sets no preparatory tour. There where only time for one-three hour rehearsal before the newly named group boarded the bus for Saugerties. Accompanied by only organ, bass and piano the Sisters of Glory entered the North Stage and sent forth a musical wake up call.
Left to right performing at Woodstock 94
Cece Peniston, Thelma Houston, Lois Walden,
Phoebe Snow and Albertina Walker.
As they were performing people came from all over the place to hear them. The crowd were dancing, clapping, singing along, swaying, holding hands. The audience gave back as much as they were getting from the 5 singers on stage! Bet that was a moment to remember. In the album’s liner notes a woman named Jennifer Cohen along with Lois Walden writes “for those of us priviliged to on that stage, the true meaning of days of peace and love was captured in that early morning hour. Now after this huge success a guy living in the Vatikan State in Rome Italy had most likely seen and heard them on tv and got totally blown away! They guy was the Pope John Paul II who invited them to his Christmas concert on December 16 “Christmas at the Vatican II”. This led to the 5 ladies singing a record deal and in 1995 there only record was released, see picture below.
It contains old classic songs from the mostly American church tradition although some of them i’ve heard choirs in Sweden singing. I did it as well when beeing member of a youth Gospel choir. There are differen arrangements to every song, some more funky some more traditional some with a twist! For example “Oh Happy Day” is with a like Carribean twist! You can find it on Youtube if you wanna know how it sounds. The song i’ve choosen is called “How i Got Over” and it’s a more funky version here, i guess you can call it “Gospel Funk”!
Enjoy your listening!!
Tags: #worldofslickmusic #sistersofglory #thelmahouston #cecepeniston #phoebesnow #loiswalden #albertinawalker #jennifercohen