World of Slick Music

                                        World of Slick Music
– Fourplay

Hi folks and happy new year 2018!

Time for another edition of this blog called world of slick music. A little blog dedicated to all kind of, in my opinion, slick music with all kind of artists.
I was told by the site host wordpress.com that it’s the 3 year anniversary of this blog! So happy 3 year blog birthday to me! Best way to celebrate it is to do a new edition.

Since it’s the first editon of the year let’s have a little look on what happened last year. We lost some guys related to this blog unfortunately.
On February 12 we lost one of the most unique voices that has ever existed the one and only Al Jarreau. I wrote about Al in 2015.
The second person to leave us was guitarist Chuck Loeb, a guy i actually haven’t written about but he was the latest guitarist in today’s artist.
The third and last person to leave us was guitarist and cofounder/second half of Steely Dan Walter Becker. He passed away September 3.
R.I.P. guys your legacy will forever remain and be with us.

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Photo cred: ohridskoleto.com.mk
The last/latest line up of today’s artist Fourplay.
Left to right: Bob James (Keyboards), Nathan East (Bass, Vocals), Chuck Loeb (Guitar, R.I.P.), Harvey Mason (Drums)

Now let’s focus on 2018 and today’s artist, photo above, which i should have written about for 6 months ago. Shame on me.
Why’s that you might wonder, do they only do like songs about summer, beach, paradise?
They might have some songs on that theme in one way or another but the main reason i’ve already mentioned, the passing of their guitarist Chuck Loeb.
Just beacuse it’s a new year it doesn’t mean i’ve changed the way i used to do this meaning let’s go back to the very beginning.
Fourplay actually started out the same way as another jazz/fusion band i’ve written about called Yellowjackets. In this case keyboardist Bob James had hired Nathan, Lee and Harvey for some sessions. He was recording an album called Grand Piano Canyon, picture below.

Grand Piano Canyon

During the sessions the four of them realized that it was such a thrill and great chemistry to play together so they decided to do it in a more regulary way so to speak. This was told by bassist Nathan East to the music site allmusic.com when he was speaking with them about his first solo release.

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Photo cred: microsoft.com
Fourplay first line up early ’90s left to right: Lee Ritenour (guitar), Harvey Mason, Bob James, Nathan East.

These 4 guys were by far no beginners when they started this group. Bob, Harvey and Lee had all been doing albums and sessions since the ’70s so they go way back. Especially Lee and Harvey had been working together since the ’70s when formost Harvey had been drummer on several Lee albums. Beside Fourplay they have continued doing albums of their own or as guest artists or as session players. Nathan has been Eric Clapton’s sidekick since the ’80s. Anyway they got a recored deal with Warner and in 1991 their first  self titled album, see picture below, was released. So how did they sound back then?
They found their style blending elements of jazz, pop, R&B yet having a slick sound perhaps to attract a bigger mainstream audience. Their debut album sold over 1 million copies and remained #1 at the Billboard contemporary jazz charts for 33 weeks. That’s quite an debut i’d say!

Fourplay

Next album Between the sheets came in 1993 and it did also reached #1 on the Billboard contemporary jazz chart sold gold and received a Grammy nomination. The third album Elixir became a success just like the previously ones. It reached #1 and remained on the chart for more than 90 weeks. That’s almost 2 years!
After this album Lee felt he had done his within the band and left sometime in the mid ’90s. His replacer was not a rookie so to speak his name is Larry Carlton and in jazz/smooth jazzz/fusion circles he is a very highly respected musician with a long career of his own. He started out way back in 1968. In 1995 he and Lee did an album together released on GRP records and it’s simply called Larry & Lee just a little side note.

Bildresultat för fourplay
Photo cred: Jazz Musician Database – All About Jazz
Left to right: Nathan, Bob, Harvey and Larry Carlton

The first album featuring Larry came in 1998 and with the very creative title 4. The year after their christmas album was released called Snowbound and it contains some classic/traditional American christmas songs still with their typical slick sound. Although the title song is written by Donald Fagen and can be heard on his Kamakirirad album from 1993. There’s also a very beautiful version of the old classic Christian hymn Amazing Grace. Great playing from Larry on that one. Larry remained within Fourplay until 2010 when Chuck Loeb took over. Just like the ones before him he was an established solo artist.
His first album as a member was Let’s Touch the Sky and before his passing he was featured on another 2 albums. The last one with Chuck was called Silver which was referring to the 25th anniversary of Fourplay. On this album both Lee and Larry was featured.

Bildresultat för fourplay
Photo cred: Youtube

All 6 members gathered together and left to right: Nathan, Larry, Bob, Chuck, Lee and Harvey.

Over the years they have had several guest apperances on their albums or shows. Guys like Anita Baker, Phillip Bailey (lead singer EWF), Chaka Khan, Michael McDonald, Esperanza Spalding (singer, bassist and a huge star in contemporary jazz today), Ruben Studdard (contemporary gospel singer), Kenny Mason & The Voices of Praise Choir, Phil Perry (contemporary R&B/gospel singer) and Japanese singer Seiko Matsuda Sorry for all the name dropping here.
As i mentioned in the begining Chuck Loeb passed away last year and due to that the other 3 decided to take a break during 2018. Chuck was ill during the entire spring/summer and was unable to perform. His standin was actually not another guitarist but saxman Kirk Whalum. Although on April 7 and 8 there will be 2 like memorial concerts for Chuck. Done enough name dropping already so if you’re interested check out the band’s official webpage http://www.fourplayjazz.com/

Ok time for the music then and the song i’ve chosen is taken from their first album and it’s called 101 Eastbound and it’s very slick!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwBpGU8RY3A

Tags: #worldofslickmusic #fourplay #aljarreau #chuckloeb #steelydan #walterbecker #bobjames #nathaneast #harveymason #yellowjackets #ericclapton #larrycarlton #donaldfagen #anitabaker #phillipbailey #ewf #chakakhan #michaelmcdonald #esperanzaspalding #rubenstoddard #kennymasonandthevoicesofpraisechoir #philperry #seikomatsuda

 

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World of Slick Music

Hi folks!

I admit i’ve not been “a good guy” this fall since i haven’t written anything, shame on me. Anyway since christmas is only a few days away it’s time for the christmas edition of this blog. Two years ago i was revisting some “old friends” meaning i chosed songs of the season with artists i had written about. Last year i featured artists i planned written about this year…we all know how good that went 😉
So what’s the plan for this time?
I thinking about a combination of revisiting maybe one or two old friends and “introduce” some new ones.

First one out is a trumpet player i wrote about for 2 years ago and his name is Chris Botti. Here he does his version of the classic christmas song “Little Drummer Boy”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okox_6kqMKE

That was Chris Botti doing his take of Little Drummer Boy.

Next one is a guy whose name i’m pretty sure you’ve heard about. He’s not just a like Soul icon but also a Reverend. This guy is called Al Green and he does the perhaps not so well known song “What Christmas Means to Me”.

That was Reverend Al’s take on the Motown christmas song What Christmas Means to Me.

Artist #3 is a woman whom i, according to Spotify, discovered exactly one year ago. I had totally forgotten about her when christmas was done last year. I “rediscovered” her when i began listening to my christmas playlist on Spotify about a month ago. Her comes Morgan James with an orginal song for the season called “Last December”.

That was Morgan James with the original christmas song Last December.

Next one is another Trumpet player called Arturo Sandoval. In Jazz circles famous for mixing Jazz with Latin rhythms/music. Together with pianist Jim Gasior and saxman Ed Calle he’s playing the classic christmas song “Jingle Bells”.

Now it’s time to revisit an old friend again, Trijntje Oosterhuis don’t ask me how that name is supposed to be pronounced!
This woman from the Netherlands (Holland)  is also someone i wrote aboout two years ago. She sings the classic song “Merry Christmas Baby” but in a unusual arrangement. This live version also features her fellow countrywoman Candy Dulfer on alto sax. I love this, for me, new arrangement!

The last artist in this christmas edition 2017 is actually not just one or maybe two or so but several! It’s a big band under the direction of Gordon Goodwin. The full name for the band is Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. They do a funky with some fusion vibes version of another old classic christmas song “Carol of the Bells”.

My new years resolution gotta be to write way more!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Slick Year!!!

World of Slick Music

World of Slick Music – Spyro Gyra

Hi there folks!

Since it’s summer now and i’m having vaccation i thought why not have like a “summere theme”!
As the headline says today’s artist is jazz/fusion band Spyro Gyra. This band have released 30 albums and sold over 10 million copies. So what might be so much “summer” about them?
Well guess it’s very individual what we might consider beeing “summer” here. At least i think of the Carribean as always warm, sand beaches basically summer climate or if you prefer tropical climate. In the music of Spyro Gyra you can often hear influences from like Carribean/Latin music. Besides the Latin influences you can also hear some R&B vibes.
However if that would make them a more “summer band” than others well i leave it up for you to decide.

     Bildresultat för spyro gyra 2017
Photo Cred: Brian Friedman

Spyro Gyra 2017: Left to right: Lionel Cordew (drums), Julio Fernandez (guitar),
Jay Beckenstein (saxophone), Scott Ambush (bass), Tom Schuman (keyboards)

So let’s go back to the very beginning and the year 1974 in Buffalo, New York   cause      it was there and then the band officially began its career. The band’s name comes from Spirogyra, a genus of green algae which founder Jay Beckenstein had learned about in college. The founding members were Jay Beckenstein whom also is the bandleader and have always been. Further it was Tom Schuman along with Jay the only founding members still left. We also had bassist Jim Kurzdorfer, another keyboardist Jeremy Wall and drummer Tom Walsh. A bar owner asked what they were called before a gig and Jay said Spirogyra but the guy misspelled it but name got stucked anyway. Their first, eponymous album they released indepently beforing signing with Amherst Records. The record company later re-released the album with a new cover.

Bildresultat för spyro gyra 1974
Photo cred: Magic Mac – Blogger

The band circa 1980 left to right: Alone top: Tom Schuman, Chet Catcallo (gray jacket, guitar), David Woodford (bass), Eli Konikoff (drums), Jay Beckenstein and Geraldo Velez percussion)

Their first eponymous album contained the song Shaker Song which until today is one of their most famous songs. Next album Morning Dance was partly recorded in New York with the assistance from some of finest cats from the big apple. There were bassist Will Lee, guitarist John Tropea, saxman Mike Brecker his brother trumpet player Randy Brecker, drummer Steve Jordan and synthesizer player Suzanne Ciani. When the recordings began Ted Reinhardt (drums) and Rick Strauss joined the band but by the album’s completition Eli Konikoff and Chet Catcallo were members. Things can definetely change fast in the music business. Members comes and goes guess that’s life.
The sextet of Beckenstein, Konikoff, Velez, Schuman, Catcallo, Kurzdorfer became the touring line up when Morning Dance introduced them for a internatioal audience.

Morning Dance reached No. 11 in the UK Albums Chart and No. 27 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. The song “Morning Dance” reached reached No. 17 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary singles chart. The album was certified gold in 1979, then platinum in 1987 by the RIAA.

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Now as the 1980:s were approaching many members come and gone. Jim Kurzdorfer left to be replaced by David Wofford to later be replaced by Kim Stone. On one album Marcus Miller was featured as bass player and so were a few other cats like Tom Scott (saxophone), Steve Gadd (drums), Toots Thielemans (harmonica), Richard Tee (keyboard) and Jorge Dalto also keyboards. In 1982 both Eli Konikoff and Chet Catallo left and they were replaced by drummer Richie Morales and guitarist Julio Fernadez. As you might have noticed Julio is still member of the band. Further this year 1982 vibraphonist Dave Samuels became a full time member. He had been playing on Shaker Song and Morning Dance. I realize it’s a lot name dropping going on here which might be quite boring to read. Members continued to come and go throught the entire decade. The most of them remained with the band for a few years. In 1989 Julio Fernadez actually left the band only rejoin one year later.

The band ended the 1980’s as Billboard’s most successful jazz band.
The 1992 release on GRP records introduced the bass player Scott Ambush whom still is a member of the band. Some previously members have made albums on their own and are definetely worth checking out. The music business is a very small world in which basically everyone knows everyone and have played with everyone!
Spyro Gyra is by far most definetely no exception to this “rule”.
Basically it’s the drummers who mostly have come and gone the last 25 years. The present one has been with the band since 2015.
Their first bassist Jim Kurzdorfer died of cancer in 2011 and former drummer Ted Reinhardt died in a airplane crash March 4 2015.

Over the years the band have received a couple of Grammy nominations but so far no win. Below is a list of their Grammy Nominations. To me at least two stands out “Best Pop Instrumental Performance” and “Best Pop Instrumental Album”. I wouldn’t by far call their music “Pop” but that’s me. Neither would i call it “R&B” although they are inspired by it but that’s not the same thing as actually playing R&B. Maybe it’s just me beeing picky here!
Anyway if you haven’t heard the band you shouldn’t hesitate checking them out unless Smooth jazz/Fusion ain’t your thing if so still give it a try you got nothing to lose!

  • Best Jazz Fusion Performance: Catching the Sun (1980), Incognito (1982), City Kids (1983), Access All Areas (1984), Alternating Currents (1985)
  • Best Pop Instrumental Performance: “Shakedown” (1985), “Simple Pleasures” (2008)
  • Best Pop Instrumental Album: Wrapped in a Dream (2007), Good to Go-Go (2008), A Night Before Christmas (2009), Down the Wire (2010)
  • Best Rhythm & Blues Instrumental Performance: “Stripes” (1982)

So finally today’s song and it’s taken from the 2004 The Deep End album and it’s called Summer Fling. If i was to say something about the song so i’d say it’s a typical Spyro Gyra song meaning it is a mix of Jazz/Fusion with some R&B and Latin vibes.

 

As always enjoy your listening!!

Tags: #worldofslickmusic #spyrogyra #lionelcordew #juliofernandez #jaybeckenstein #scottmayo #tomschuman #jeremywall #tomwalsh #johntropea #willlee #stevejordan #michaelbrecker #randybrecker  #suzanneciani #tedreinhardt #rickstrauss #elikonikoff “chetcatallo #gerardovelez #kimstone #marcusmiller #tomscott #stevegadd #richardtee #tootsthielemans #jorgedalto #richiemorales #davesamuels

World of Slick Music

                     World of Slick Music
– Robbie Dupree

Hi folks!
Time again for another edition of what i call “the slickest blog on line”, gotta call it something right?!
Anyway the artist this time i suppose is another one not so well known for the average music loving person. I believe i found him through Spotify just like many other artists. From that point of view Spotify is a great thing to happen then one can always discuss the flip side of it but this is not the forum for a such discussion.
The guy this time is called Robbie Dupree and is a singer/songwriter, musician, producer.

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Photo cred: http://www.bearsvilletheater.com

He was born as Robert Dupois December 23 1946 in Brooklyn, New York City.
The first musical experince he gained was when singing with local doo wop groups in the neighbourhood. His first influences were classic soul music icons such as  Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. In the eary ’70s he was singing with a group called
New World Rising. This group featured a guitarist called Nile Rodgers unknown at that time but would later become co-founder and leader of the disco/soul/funk group called Chic as well a hotly sought after producer.
Robbie relocated to Woodstock, New York and spend most of the ’70s doing live jobs with a variety of bands as well as polishing his sound while at the same time honing his songwriting chops.

Bildresultat för robbie dupree
Photo: Youtube

Then in 1978 he once again relocated, this time to Los Angeles and reinvented himself as a solo act. He got a record contract with Electra Records and with the help from Rick Chudacoff and PeterBunetta, who produced his first album, Robbie made a polished but catchy album that revealed the influence of soft rock hitmakers the Dobbie Brothers as well as Michael McDonald. The self titled album was released in 1980 would spawn two major hit singles, “Steal Away,” which rose to number six on the Top Singles chart, aSnd “Hot Rod Hearts,” which peaked at 15.
The following year his second album Street Corner Heroes was released  and it featured a minor hit “Brooklyn Girls” which topped out at 54 on the Top Singles survey. See picture below. He received a Grammy Nomination in 1981 for Best New Artist but lost it to Christopher Cross.

Bildresultat för robbie dupree
Photo: amazon.com

He fell in dispute with the record company and didn’t release an full album for about 8 years. In 1987 he released “Girls in Cars” which was featured on “The Wrestling Album vol 2: Piledriver. His third full length album Carried Away came in 1989. However his popularity in the U.S. was waning but in Japan he still had loyal fans so his next two albums was recorded for the Japanese label Polystar. In 1993 Walking on Water came and then in 1995 Smoke and Mirrors.

Bildresultat för robbie dupree all night long
Photo: allmusic.com

In 1998 he released an album for the American market again and this time he did it by himself and it was called All Night Long, picture above. This was a live recording. As you can tell even thou he’s been around for quite some time but for several reasons he has not been that productive, well if you count or measure productivity by the amount of recorded albums. Anyway in 2003 he joined forces with celebrated pianist David Sancious they made a jazz-oriented album called Robbie Dupree with David Sancious.
Then in 2010 he signed with Spectra Records and once again teamed up with David Sancious for the album Time and Tide, from which i’ve picked today’s song. Further in 2010 on May 21 Dupree performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as part of Jimmy’s ongoing tribute to Yacht Rock, the smooth West Coast sound of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Bildresultat för robbie dupree david sancious
Photo: Robbie Dupree. Robbie and his band back stage at The Cotton Club Tokyo in February 2008.
Left to right: David Sancious (keyboards), Leslie Smith (percussion, background vocals), Peter Bunetta (drums), Robbie himself, Rick Chudacoff (bass), Larry Hoppen (R.I.P. guitar/keyboards, trumpet).

In 2011, Robbie Dupree toured as part of the All Star Rock concert series. The tour featured John Cafferty, Orleans, David Pack (Ambrosia), John Ford Coley, Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie, Joe Lynn Turner, and Joe Bouchard.In 2012, Dupree released a new album, an EP entitled Arc of a Romance, a collection of timeless classics spanning five decades. You can find Robbie on Facebook if you’re intrested.

So time for the song then and as i’ve mentioned earlier it’s taken from the Time and Tide album from 2010 and the name of the song is “Blue Monday”. If i was to describe this song besides beeing slick offcourse. It has a nice catchy kinda groove with a bass hook that gets you immediately.  It feels more jazz than like pop or rock.Basically the bass line is what makes the song great. Towards the end of the song a muted trumpet “sneaks in” and it sounds so right!

As always enjoy your listening!!

 

Tags: #worldofslickmusic #robbiedupree #samcooke #marvingaye #newworldrising#nilerodgers #chic #rickchudacoff #peterbunetta #doobiebrothers #michaelmcdonald #electrarecords #christophercross #polystar #davidsancious #lesliesmith #larryhoppa #spectrarecords #jimmyfallonshow #johncafferty #orleans #davidpack #ambrosia #johnfordcoley #jimmyhall #wewillie #joelynnturner #joebuchard

 

World of Slick Music

World of Slick Music
– Marilyn Scott

Hi there folks!

Time again for another edition of the slickest blog on line!
As the headline reveals today’s artist is the female singer Marilyn Scott. Perhaps not that well known for the big mass or maybe she is. Super famous or not it doesn’t really matter.

Bildresultat för marilyn scott
Photo: Jazz Monthly

As always let’s go way back and this time that means to December 21 1949 in Altadena, California. She grew up in southern California but eventually moved up to the north and the San Fransisco bay area to attend college on a art scholarship. She discovered music when she was 11 while listening to her mothers records of Nat King Cole, Then 3 years later she discovered Ella Fitzgerald when her friends dad played her. However the real “moment” when realizing music would become her thing so to speak came when she was 15. The location was the Prison of Socrates in Newport Beach there she saw Big Mama Thornton. In her own words “I knew I would never feel the same. Something real sat inside me called the blues”. Now she began performing with different local bands and at different local clubs in the bay area.

 

Bildresultat för marilyn scott
Photo: Jazz Monthly

While performing with some band at some venue she was spotted by a guy called Emilio Castillo, founder and leader of Tower of Power, who hired her to do some background vocals for TOP. She became good friend with Emilio whom has hired her 4 times for doing background vocals for the band. Her job with TOP eventually led her way back to L.A. and its music scene as a studio session singer. Among others she got to work with fusion band Spyro Gyra, a band i’m gonna write about, Yellowjackets, Hiroshima and her idol/influence Etta James. Among her earliest vocal influences she counts Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Gladys Knight, Janis Joplin and Sam Cooke.

Before she became a full time singer she among others worked for Billboard magazine calling radio stations and record stores. Further she worked with a blues band supporting Chuck Berry (r.i.p.) and Joe Turner. She was a cast member of “Selma” a musical about Marthin Luther King Jr and worked with Ruth Brown who played Mahalia Jackson.
She also says she has been lucky enough to work with muscians and producers who helped her find and define her real voice. Look at her albums she was worked with some of the finest producers and baddest cats!

Bildresultat för marilyn scottPhoto: Youtube

Marilyn in action during a christmas show.

Marilyn switches easily between singing jazz/smooth jazz, pop, blues and knows perfectly how to use her voice. Her first solo recording was a single version of the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys song “God Only Knows” that hit Billboard top 100 and led to her first full album Dreams of Tomorrow released in 1979. Her second album Without Warning  released in 1983 made her the darling of the jazz critics. Then album number 3 Sky Dancing which features a duet with Bobby Caldwell as well as one with Bobby Womack. This album became a huge success in Japan which led to her first tour there as the headline. Marilyn continues recording albums even today and her most recent one was released earlier this year which is a more straight ahead jazz album. On her own homepage she mentions, among a few others, two guys who helped her develeope and define her voice. Those guys are Jimmy Haslip co-founder and former bass player of Yellowjackets and Russell Ferrante also co-founder of Yellowjackets and their keyboardist.

Bildresultat för marilyn scott yellow jackets

Photo: marilynscott.com

Left to right: Will Kennedy (drummer Yellowjackets), Jimmy Haslip (former bass player Yellowjackets), Russell Ferrante (keyboardist Yellowjackets), Michael Landau (top notch session player guitar), Marilyn herself and Rich Breem

So time for today’s song it’s taken from the 1998 album Avenues of Love, see picture below. The song i’ve choosen is called “Love Is A Powerful Thing” and it’s written by a guy i’ve written about some year ago, Michael Ruff and it features none else than George Duke on keyboards. This song has a more like “Memphis soul” vibe rather than contemporary jazz yet it’s a really great song with a southern soul feeling!

Bildresultat för marilyn scott avenues of love

Photo: allmusic.com

So as always enjoy your listening!!

 

Tags: #worldofslickmusic #marilynscott #natkingcole #ellafitzgerald #bigmamathornton #emiliocastillo #towerofpower #spyrogyra #yellowjackets #hiroshima #ettajames  #aretha franklin #donnyhathaway #gladysknight #janisjoplin #samcooke #chuckberry #joeturner #martinlutherkingjr #ruthbrown #mahaliajackson #bobbycaldwell #bobbywomack #jimmyhaslip #russellferrante #willkenndy #michaellandau #richbreem #michaelruff #georgeduke

World of Slick Music

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!

Bildresultat för lindsey websterPhoto 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.

Relaterad bildPhoto 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.

Lindsey Webster - 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.”

Relaterad bildLindsey in action. Photo cred: http://www.youtube.com

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

                                World of Slick Music
– Chicago

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!

Bildresultat för chicago the band 2016
Photo: cnn.com

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.

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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.

Bildresultat för chicago transit authority the band 1967
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.

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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.

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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!

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Photo: http://www.notinhalloffame.com
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.

Bildresultat för chicago the band earth wind & fire

Photo: http://www.virginiabeachamphitheater.com
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.

Bildresultat för chicago the band hall of fame danny seraphine
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!!

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