Tag Archives: United States of America

Artist Profiles: Jerry O’Sullivan

Jerry O’Sullivan

Uilleann piper flutist and whistler Jerry O’Sullivan has been at the very heart of the traditional Irish music scene in New York for many years and is always the first to help when a member of the community needs it. A gifted performer he has worked with many groups in the area as well enjoying an enviable career as a solo artist.

He has amassed a substantial discography with appearances on over sixty albums. He has been a music teacher for many years at The Tara Circle and many Irish arts weekends and has always been happy to share his time and talent.

Discography

The Invasion (Green Linnet 1997)
The Gift (Shanachie 1998)
O’Sullivan Meets O’Farrell (2005)
O’Sullivan Meets O’Farrell: Volume II (2010)

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Artist Profiles: Jerry Grcevich

Jerry Grcevich born in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh studied tamburitza (Croatian string music) with his father and uncle both musical directors and performers. At the age of 21 Grcevich made a pilgrimage to Yugoslavia to study with the famous tamburitza prim player Janika Balaz the first of many musical journeys to the homeland of tamburitza. In 1980 he began composing and recording his own musical pieces. Because he mastered all five of the instruments of the tamburitza ensemble – the prim brac, tamburitza, cello, bugarija and tamburitza bass – he often uses,sound-on-sound” recording techniques to construct an ensemble featuring only his own playing. As a result of his special musical skills he is able to capture the characteristic melody harmony counterpoint and rhythm of the tamburitza orchestra.

In addition to leading a live ensemble the Jerry Grcevich Orchestra he has recorded and toured with most of the well-known tamburitza musicians alive today. He is generally recognized as the premiere prim player in the world. At a performance in Slovenska-Pozega Croatia in 1994 he realized that many of the tamburitza groups were playing songs that he had composed a testament to his influence in the homeland. In 21 he was inducted into the Tamburitza Hall of Fame the youngest musician to receive that honor. s.’ ”

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Artist Profiles: Jerry Gonzalez

Puerto Rican-American Multi-instrumentalist Jerry Gonzalez (congas/flugelhorn/trumpet) leads The Fort Apache Band, one of the most influential modern Afro-Caribbean Jazz Group of the past years. The group blends complex Latin rhythms with impeccable jazz improvisations.

Jerry Gonzalez’s first High profile professional engagement came at the age of 19 in 1971 with Dizzy Gillespie. Since then he has worked with masters from the jazz and Latin music fields such as: Kenny Dorham Tony Williams McCoy Tyner Jaco Pastorius Tito Puente Eddie Palmieri and Manny Oquendo y Libre. Jerry Gonzalez’ first session as a leader came in 198 with the critically acclaimed recording of Ya Yo Me Curé on the American Clave’ label. Following the success of Ya Yo Me Curé, The Fort Apache Band was formed and included such members as Kenny Kirkland, Sonny Fortune, Nicky Marrero, Papo Vazquez, the late Jorge Dalto and Milton Cardona. The ensemble’s first two albums were recorded live at European jazz festivals The River is Deep 1982 in Berlin: Obatala 1988 in Zurich.

In 1989 Fort Apache recorded the groundbreaking Rumba Para Monk as a quintet featuring: Jerry Gonzalez (trumpet flugelhorn congas), Andy Gonzalez (bass), Steve Berrios (drums), Larry Willis (piano) and Carter Jefferson (tenor saxophone). Rumba Para Monk was named album of the year by the French Academe du Jazz and resulted in the group being voted The Word Beat Group of the year in Downbeat’s 55th annual Readers Poll. It is this recording that has been cited as leading the resurgence in Afro-Caribbean Jazz in the past decade.

The group became a sextet with the addition of Joe Ford (alto & soprano saxophone) for 1991’s Earthdance (Sunnyside) and 1992’s Moliendo Cafe (Sunnyside). Following the death of Carter Jefferson, former Fort Apache member John Stubblefield returned to the band on tenor sax to record Crossroads (Milestone). The ensemble’s 1995 recording Pensativo (Milestone) also received a Grammy nomination. On the heals of the Grammy nominations for Crossroads and Pensativo the ensemble was awarded The Beyond Group of the Year by both Downbeat Magazines reader’s and critic’s polls in 1995 and 1996.

Firedance (Milestone) was recorded in February 1996 at Blues Alley in Washington DC and is the first live recording of the ensemble as a Sextet. Following this fiery recording the ensemble won the award of Best Jazz Group in Playboy Magazines Readers Poll for 1997. In 1998 the ensemble swept the Latin Jazz category at the New York Jazz Awards winning both the Industry and Journalist Polls. In 1999 the group swept the critics and readers polls for Beyond Group of The Year in Downbeat Magazine.

In 2000 Gonzalez moved from New York to Madrid. The Spanish capital, a cultural melting pot full of Flamenco musicians as well as Cuban Argentine Brazilian Equatorial Guinean Sudanese and many other expatriates welcomed the Newyorican musician with open arms and he quickly joined the bustling Flamenco and jazz scene.

In 2001 Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band were prominently featured in Fernando Trueba’s film on Latin Jazz Calle 54 (Miramax). This film received critical acclaim throughout the world and was followed by a series of concerts promoting the film including an engagement at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. The Soundtrack Calle 54 – Music From The Miramax Motion Picture is available on Blue Note Records.

The collaboration with Fernando Trueba also resulted in the production of a new CD Jerry Gonzalez y Los Pirates Del Flamenco featuring Jerry Gonzalez along with a Gypsy Flamenco group that includes the esteemed Flamenco singer “El Cigala.”

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Artist Profiles: Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys

Jeffrey Broussard

Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys hail from Southwest Louisiana. They have a fresh approach to the Creole dance music traditions they are dedicated to preserving. Its leader accordionist fiddler and singer Jeffery Broussard was a mainstay in the famous Zydeco Force a group that took zydeco and Cajun roots and updated them for modern dance crowds without losing the feel of the original Creole zydeco gumbo.

Broussard’s Creole Cowboys take the music into the next generation still linked to the great roots music of such masters as legendary fiddler Canray Fontenot and Jeffery’s well-known accordionist father Delton Broussard. Joining Jeffery in the band’s frontline is fiddler and guitarist D’Jalma Garnier III a one-time student of Canray Fontenot.

Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys

With Fontenot’s passing in 1995, Garnier made it his mission to keep alive and spread this unique style of fiddle playing. The band’s debut CD Keeping the Tradition Alive was named top zydeco album of 2007 by Blues and Soul magazine.

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Artist Profiles: Jake Armerding

Jake Armerding

Jake Armerding performed around Massachusetts from an early age often with his father Taylor’s popular bluegrass band Northern Lights. Armerding has won both regional and national acclaim for his mix of bluegrass instrumentation with contemporary melodic songwriting.

His album Jake Armerding was released in the spring of 2003 on Compass Records. It combines Armerding’s fine instrumental skill on guitar fiddle and mandolin with an ingenious set of songs that draw from the traditional forms while staying firmly grounded on contemporary ground.

Discography:

Wrong Highway Blues with Northern Lights (1994)
Living in the City with Northern Lights (1996)
Caged Bird (1999)
Jake Armerding (Compass Records 2003)
Walking on the World (2007)
Songs in Stained Glass (2009)
Her (Stick Shift Records 2009)
Cellar Sessions, with The Fretful Porcupine (2010)
C’mon!, with Barnstar! (2011)
Cosmos in the Chaos (Stick Shift Records, 2013)

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Artist Profiles: Jai Uttal

Jai Uttal

Jai Uttal is a pioneer in the United States’ world music community. His eclectic east meets-west sound has put his music at the forefront of the world fusion movement. Jai Uttal’s musical roots embrace a rich variety of cultures and traditions that span the globe and the centuries. From the traditional music of the Appalachian Mountains to the passionate strains of Bengali street singers from the haunting rhythms and melodies of ancient India to contemporary electric rock sounds Jai’s music distills the essence of diverse musical forms.

As a child in New York City, Jai’s home was filled with music. He began studying classical piano at the age of seven and later learned to play old time banjo harmonica and guitar. His musical interests encompassed a wide variety of styles and over the years he experimented with many forms of musical expression.

Eventually this led him to the work of India’s National Living Treasure Ali Akbar Khan. At the age of 19 Jai moved to California to become a student of Khansahib for traditional voice training and to learn the sarod a 25-stringed Indian instrument. Later he traveled to India where he was deeply inspired by the Bauls the wandering street musicians of Bengal. Jai settled among them communicating only through music which ultimately helped establish his unique style.

During these early visits to India Jai also met his Guru Neem Karoli Baba and spent time with many great beings of both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He became deeply absorbed in the practice of kirtan the ancient yoga of chanting or singing to God. This form of prayer became the core of his musical and spiritual life.

When Jai returned to the United States his music had been transformed. He continued to study Indian music diligently while also performing in reggae, R&B, punk and blues bands. He also began leading kirtan groups all over the country. The combination of Jai’s exceptional vocals and exotic instrumentation produced a new and captivating sound.

In 1991 Triloka Records released his debut album Footprints featuring world music innovator Don Cherry and Indian vocalist Lakshmi Shankar. The album received critical acclaim and led Jai and his band the Pagan Love Orchestra to international prominence. By the time his second album Monkey was released in 1993 Jai and the Pagan Love Orchestra had an enormous fan base with a top ten record on the world music charts.

In 1994 Beggars and Saints was released a tribute to the Bauls of Bengal and again the album received international recognition solidifying Jai Uttal’s position as a world music visionary. During this time Jai also produced two CD’s for his teacher Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Combining the brilliance of Khansahib’s playing and composing with Western orchestration Journey and Garden of Dreams became extremely popular in the Indian community.

Jai’s fourth release Shiva Station was another leap forward. Capturing the raw urgency of his live performances with the Pagan Love Orchestra and adding the mixing wizardry of veteran producer Bill Laswell Shiva Station presented traditional chants in a totally new way. The concerts at that time united the temple and the nightclub the sacred and the worldly; emphasizing the underlying theme that spirituality and devotion can pervade all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, with the rise of interest in Yoga, Jai was receiving more and more requests to lead kirtan workshops and concerts all over the world. In the last few years chanting has brought him to Israel Fiji Brazil Germany Switzerland and India. Jai released a live kirtan CD titled Nectar to begin to chronicle these powerful events.

Finally in February of 2002 Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra released Mondo Rama on Narada Records. The product of several years of deep musical and self-exploration Mondo Rama combined Brazilian influences, Hebrew prayers, Appalachian Blues, Beatles psychedelia and of course Indian music and chants, Mondo Rama explodes from the speakers in celebration and rebirth. “I went through many difficult heart-wrenching transformations in the last year” says Jai, “and I decided to put it all into this CD. The anguish the pain the joy and the redemption. Mondo Rama means the World is Rama or Everything is God. This CD is an attempt to express that feeling and the sense of surrender and gratitude that I try to remember everyday“. Mondo Rama went on to be nominated for a Grammy as Best New Age Album of 2002.

Jai adds, “world music is music from everywhere. Music that creates bridges. Music that unites hearts and cultures. Music that brings peace.”

In recent years Uttal has drifted away from world music, focusing on music for the new age market.


Discography:

Footprints (Triloka Records” 1991)

Monkey (Triloka Records 1993)

Beggars and Saints (Triloka Records 1994)

Shiva Station (Triloka Records 1997)

Nectar (Etherean 2000)

Mondo Rama (Narada Records 2002)

Kirtan (Sounds True 2004)

Music for Yoga and Other Joys with Ben Leinbach (Gemini Sun Records 2004)

Pranayama (2005)

Loveland – Music for Dreaming and Awakening with Ben Leinbach (Gemini Sun Records 2006)

Dial M for Mantra (Sounds True 2007)

Thunder Love (Nettwerk 2009)

Bhakti Bazaar (Sounds True 2010)

Queen of Hearts (Nutone 2011)

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Artist Profiles: Ivan Neville

The Neville Family is a gifted musical and creative family in the United States. Ivan Neville began absorbing the musical attitudes of his family at birth and learned to play keyboards guitar bass and drums.

It wasn’t long before he became a pivotal member of Bonnie Raitt’s band Rufus Keith Richards & the Xpensive Winos and the Spin Doctors.

Ivan launched his solo career with the acclaimed If My Ancestors Could See Me Now and Thanks. Ivan also wroteand co-produced Saturday Morning Music which includes a timeless hybrid of soul, rock and New Orleans Funk that translates into an incomparable modern musical gumbo.

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Cajun Accordion Master Belton Richard Dies at 77

Belton Richard

Louisiana accordionist and vocalist Belton Richard died on June 21, 2017. He was a well-known Cajun accordionist who recorded various hits.

Belton Richard was born on October 5, 1939 in Rayne, Louisiana. He formed the popular band The Musical Aces in 1959.

Belton Richard was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association’s Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2003, he was welcomed into the Acadian museum’s ‘Living Legends’ list. He also received the Cajun French Music Association’s ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’ award in 2004.

His discography includes I’m Back! (Swallow Records, 1996), Belton Richard, Vol. 2 (Swallow Records, 2000), Good N’ Cajun (Swallow Records, 2000), Louisiana Cajun Music (Swallow Records, 2000), Older the Wine the Finer the Taste (Swallow Records, 2003), Live at Jazzfest 2016 (Munck Music, 2016).

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Artist profiles: Howard Levy

Howard Levy

Multi-instrumentalist Howard Levy has appeared throughout the Americas, Europe and Japan in a variety of jazz, Latin, folk, blues, pop and world music settings. A superb pianist and composer, Howard’s most remarkable music is made on the harmonica.

He has revolutionized the technique of playing the instrument by devising a method of playing all twelve tones of the chromatic scale on the diatonic harmonica (which is only designed to produce eight tones).

In addition Howard is revered for performing with intense musicality a beautiful tone and a commanding stage presence. Howard was an original member of the outstanding Bela Fleck &the Flecktones. Howard is also credited for performances and recordings with the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, David Grisman, Kenny Loggins, Paquito D’Rivera, Glen Vele,z John Prine, Bonnie Koloc, Styx, Chuck Mangione and Dolly Parton.

Howard Levy’s discography is really extensive. His Web site has a long list of titles where he appears as a member of various ensembles and as a guest.

Discography

The Old Country (1999)
Stranger’s Hand (1999)
Cappuccino (2004)
Howard Levy & Paul Sprawl (2005)
Tonight and Tomorrow (2009)
Time Capsules (2009)
Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra (2010)
Alone and Together

DVD

New Directions For Harmonica-Expanding Your Technique

www.levyland.com

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Artist profiles: Henry Butler

Henry Butler

New Orleans pianist and vocalist Henry Butler is a virtuoso jazz, blues and r&b pianist, a schooled vocalist naturally imbued with gospel credibility a fierce r&b performer and an expressive composer. “Once I sit at the keyboard it’s right there,” says Butler “I have an instrument on which I can express anything I want.” Calling himself a perpetual “work in progress “ Butler is a classically trained vocalist a critically lauded jazz recording artist and an accomplished photographer (all the more stunning considering Butler has been blind since infancy).

Born in the musical hotbed of New Orleans, Louisiana, Butler was attracted to piano at a very young age. By the time he was seven he had joined the glee club at the Louisiana School for the Blind where he was already studying piano. He was gigging by the time he was 14 and went on to study voice in high school.

Butler attended Southern University in Baton Rouge where he fell under the spell of jazz giant Alvin Batiste who quickly became Butler’s mentor. Batiste taught Butler the importance of playing what’s in the mind’s eye to improvise. With Batiste’s help Butler began adding the jazz legacy of Art Tatum Bud Powell Charlie Parker and John Coltrane to the Crescent City r&b he’d absorbed from Eddie Bo Tommy Ridgley James Booker and Professor Longhair.

After graduating from college Butler plunged into performing around New Orleans playing his own mix of jazz and r&b. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Michigan State University before returning to New Orleans in 1974 where he began gigging with every important jazz and r&b musician in the city. While teaching at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts Butler spent a few very intense afternoons in the living room of Professor Longhair learning Fess’ shuffle patterns trills and parallel thirds and sixths. “Fess showed me how he approached the piano and mainly taught by demonstrating,” recalls Butler. “I listened and tried to emulate what he had shown me.”

Butler moved to Los Angeles in 198 where he gigged and worked as a talent development consultant for Motown Records and the Stevie Wonder organization. After sitting in with bassist Charlie Haden Butler’s fortunes changed. He recorded his first album Fivin’ Around for MCA/lmpulse! in 1986. After a second MCA/lmpulse! release The ½llage Butler’s reputation as an important force in the jazz world began earning him hordes of new friends and tans. Critics raved about virtuoso pianist who mixed soul with brains and about a live performer who consistently knocked audiences oft their feet with his scattering lightning-fast runs.

Butler recorded two albums for Windham Hill, 1990’s Orleans Improvisation and 1992’s Blues And More before heading back to New Orleans in 1996. He released For All Seasons that same year on Atlantic Jazz again to massive critical acclaim. He won the 1998 “Best Of The Beat” Award from OffBeat Magazine for Best New Orleans Piano Player and continues to impress critics fans and fellow musicians with his massive talents.

www.henrybutler.com

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