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

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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!!

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

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.

Relaterad bild
Photo: http://www.allmusic.com

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.

Bildresultat för booker t jones
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.

Bildresultat för tata vega andrae crouch
Photo: Pinterest

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.

Bildresultat för mavis staples the last waltz
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.

Enjoy your listening!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ioaek7qDgt8

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.

Bildresultat för sisters of glory
Photo: http://www.allmusic.com
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.

Bildresultat för sisters of glory woodstock 1994
Photo: last.fm
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.

Bildresultat för sisters of glory woodstock 1994

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

World of Slick Music

                            World of Slick Music
– Jeff Golub

Happy new slick year 2017 folks. I hope you’ll had a great time during the holidays. I did having almost 2 weeks of like Christmas vaccation. Tomorrow back to work again. Anyway as the headline above says it’s time for us to remember a guy that left us on this day way too early 2 years ago. For the big mass i don’t think this guy, Jeff Golub, was that well known. If you know your artists within the like Smooth jazz genre then perhaps you’ve heard of Jeff.

Bildresultat för jeff golub
Photo: @youtube

He was born in 1955 in a place called Copley located outisde the town of Akron, Ohio on April 15. When he began playing the guitar he was listening and emulating to the blues-rock guitarists of the 60’s like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix. He grew also listening to funk, r&b, jazz, pop and rock besides the blues. Then in the 70’s he left Akron to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He didn’t stay in Boston for too long cause by 1980 he had once again relocated to New York City where he would stay for the rest of his life. In the early 80’s he gost his first bigger gig when he was hired to back arena rock/hard rock star Billy Squier. That session led to others and so on. During the 80’s he was busy working either in studio or live with many different artists such as Tina Turner, Vanessa Willimas, John Waite, Ashford & Simpson, Dar Williams, Peter Wolf.

Bildresultat för jeff golub rod stewart
Photo copyright: @rodstewartfanclub
Jeff with his boss for 8 years Rod Stewart on the left.

In 1988 he began working with Rod Stewart which he would continuing doing for 8 years. The same year he released his first solo album called Unspoken Words although he was still devoting most of his time backing other artists. It wasn’t until 1994 when he formed the group called Avenue Blue he began beeing more like solo artist. This project or what we shall call it Avenue Blue made only 3 albums. As already mentioned the first in 1994 then 1997 and the last in 1999. The thing was on all those three albums it stood Avenue Blue featuring Jeff Golub. Also in 1999 his album Out of the Blue, released by Atlantic Records was strictly under his own name and so it remained he never did any more albums with Avenue Blue or any other like group name. He contiued realeasing albums all the way to end. As a guitarist he was inspired and influenced by Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton to name a few. He once said that he refused playing straight eleveator music but he enjoyed when people compared him with guys like David Sanborn, The Crusaders, Ronnie Laws, Joe Sample, and Grover Washington Jr; that is, instrumentalists who could be commercial- and groove-oriented but still have a jazz improviser’s mentality.

Bildresultat för jeff golub
Photo copyright: @newyorkdailynews
Jeff with his guide dog Luke who was a Labrador.

In 2011 the optic nerves in Golub’s eyes inexplicably collapsed, leaving him blind and requiring a guide dog. In September of 2012, while attempting to catch the subway in New York City, he fell onto the tracks as a train was approaching. He was clipped and dragged by the train as bystanders tried to help. Amazingly, other than cuts and bruises, he was unharmed. Undaunted, the guitarist recorded a collaborative album with British keyboard legend Brian Auger, , ironically entitled, The Train Keeps A-Rollin’. This album came in the summer of 2013.

Bildresultat för jeff golub brian auger
Photo copyright: @jazzdagama
Jeff on the right and keyboardist Brian Auger on the left.

While touring in support of The Train Keeps A-Rollin, however, Golub began suffering problems with his motor skills, including issues with his balance and speech. In November of 2014, he was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), an incurable degenerative brain disease. Golub died of complications from the disease on January 1, 2015. He was 59 years old. The all-star benefit album The Vault, featuring unreleased and reworked recordings from Golub and guests, was released posthumously in April 2015. The album featured appearances from trumpeter Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum and others, with proceeds going to Golub’s family. There are so many weird diseases out there and i’m convinced that the majority of those you can actually cure including Cancer. The sad part is that the big pharma ain’t intrested in kill a disease cause no cash in actually curing a disease but billions of cash in curing the symptoms.

So finally back to the music and the song i’ve choosen is actually a cover again this time a song first recorded by the Beatles for their last recorded album Abbey Road. It’s one of the most beautiful song that George Harrison ever wrote regardless if it was during the years with The Beatles or as a solo artist. The song is called Something and Jeff recorded it in 2007 on his Grand Central album.

Tags: #worldofslickmusic #jeffgolub #ericclapton #jeffbeck #jimihendrix #billysquier #tinaturner #vanessawilliams #johnwaite #ashfordandsimpson #darwilliams #peterwolf #rodstewart #avenueblue #wesmontgomery #georgebenson #leeritenour #larrycarlton #davidsanborn #thecrusaders #ronnielaws #joesample #groverwashingtonjr #thebeatles #georgeharrison