Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DJ Kool Emdee: Kuduro Carnaval

Time to stretch it out and get ready to get your kuduro boogie going. Kuduro is an uptempo genre of electronic music that originated in Angola, similar to Soca and House music. If you want to get a taste of the dance that goes along with the music, check out this video here. You can download this to take with you and share. ENJOY!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Flashback: Joe Simon

Since my mother's birthday was a few days ago, I though I would make this week's Friday Flashback in her honor by posting her favorite tune by Joe Simon titled "Get Down, Get Down (Get On The Floor)". I remember fondly back in 1975 to see her walking in the front door with a bag of records and seeing that green and white 45 rpm with Spring Records on the label. I don't recall the rest of the tunes that were in that bag, but this one was way too easy to remember because of her love for this particular song that remained in heavy rotation in our house for quite some time.

Happy Birthday: Sun Ra & Marshall Allen

SUN RA (May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993), pioneering in being the first to extensively use synthesizers and electronic keyboards in Jazz music and any genre, also pioneering in the genres of electronic and cosmic music, as well as the father of "afrofuturism" by way of his cosmic philosophies of awareness and peace. His compositions touched on the entire history of Jazz, from ragtime to swing music, from bebop to free jazz.

Sun Ra's piano technique touched on many styles: his youthful fascination with boogie woogie, stride piano and blues, a sometimes refined touch reminiscent of Count Basie or Ahmad Jamal, and angular phrases in the style of Thelonious Monk or brutal, percussive attacks like Cecil Taylor. Often overlooked is the range of influences from classical music—Sun Ra cited Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Schoenberg and Shostakovich as his favorite composers for the piano. As a synthesizer and electric keyboard player, Sun Ra ranks among one of the earliest and most radical pioneers. By the mid-1950s, he used a variety of electric keyboards, and almost immediately, he exploited their potential perhaps more than anyone, sometimes modifying them himself to produce sounds rarely if ever heard before.

MARSHALL ALLEN (born May 25, 1924) is an American free jazz and avant-garde jazz alto saxophone player. He also performs on flute, oboe, piccolo, and EVI (an electronic valve instrument made by the Akai company). Allen is best known for his work with eccentric keyboardist/bandleader Sun Ra, having recorded and performed mostly in this context since the late 1950s, and having led Sun Ra's Arkestra since 1993. Critic Jason Ankeny describes Marshall as "one of the most distinctive and original saxophonists of the postwar era."

Allen is best known for his mastery of pyrotechnic effects on the alto - he has said that he "wanted to play on a broader sound basis rather than on chords" (1971 interview with Tam Fiofori). The opportunity came through his long association with Sun Ra, with whom he performed almost exclusively from 1958 to Ra's death in 1993, although he did record outside the Arkestra, notably with Paul Bley's group in 1964 and with Olatunji's group during the mid-1960s. Critic Scott Yanow has described Allen's playing as "Johnny Hodges from another dimension".

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Collective Hallucination ft. Ant Boogie: This Is Our Love Song

If being cool was a drug, then Ant Boogie is the pusher to go get your high from. An overall good person who i've known for about 20 years or so, he definitively knows how to bring the funk with his band Collective Hallucination, who's been around since 1999. With influences like Prince, Incognito, Sly & The Family Stone, Carl McIntosh (of Loose Ends) and a few other notable game changers, CH knows how to give the best of all genres within a single tune. You have to experience live shows by them to get a deeper appreciation of who they are as they cleverly blend original compositions with cover tunes of good songs you might not have heard in ages. Not the same old boring covers that it seems like everybody does. Imagine a live band digging for tunes like your favorite DJ does to smash it. Until you get a live fix from them, get a glimpse of some of their new material. For those who know what time it is and for those who are new to this, always remember; "If it's not HIGH ain't loud enough!

Steve Steele: Dramatic Girls Forever!

I asked a few friends for the names of a few good Rock bands that are located in Houston I hadn't heard of and I got it. Multi-instrumentalist Steve Steele does represent well for the Postmodern Rock movement with his comrades Kez Morris, Daniel Charles and Kyle Lanter. Their single "Dramatic Girls Forever!" from their The Expat album, reaches out to grab you, pulls you in, then takes you on a magic carpet ride. Vocally, he takes you back to the classic eras with his distinguishing rich sound. Just last year he was nominated for "Best Male Vocals" for the Houston Press Music Awards. Thanks to Ant Boogie of Collective Hallucination for the heads up!

Caretta Bell: Growing Painz

Caretta Bell, a young beauty who captured my music heart several years back when I saw her perform at a spot I used to DJ at called Clark's in downtown Houston. Since then, she's been rolling like a tumbleweed in high winds, steadily gaining momentum. (Hope she doesn't mind my Texas humor.) She will be releasing her sophomore project Growing Painz on Coy Records this summer featuring her first single, which is the title track. I'm really diggin' the creativity and cinematography the video captures. Production credit goes to one of my favorite producers, the legendary Red Astaire. Be sure to hit up her website for more info and to give her a shout to let her know how much you appreciate her music. ENJOY!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Flashback: Lightnin' Hopkins

Sam John "Lightnin'" Hopkins
(March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982)

Originally hailing from Centerville, Texas and gaining a deep appreciation for Blues music and musician Blind Lemon Jefferson at a young age. Eventually, after learning how to play guitar from his cousin, Hopkins would accompany Jefferson at church functions. Jefferson supposedly never let anyone play with him except for young Hopkins, who learned much from and was influenced greatly by Blind Lemon Jefferson. Several years later Hopkins came to Houston in hopes of breaking into the music scene. During his second attempt, while singing on Dowling St. in Houston's Third Ward, he was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum from the Los Angeles based record label, Aladdin Records. She convinced Hopkins to travel to Los Angeles where he accompanied pianist Wilson Smith. The duo recorded twelve tracks in their first sessions in 1946. An Aladdin Records executive decided the pair needed more dynamism in their names and dubbed Hopkins "Lightnin'" and Wilson "Thunder".

Hopkins recorded more sides for Aladdin in 1947. He returned to Houston and began recording for the Gold Star Records label. He performed regularly at clubs in and around Houston, particularly on Dowling St. where he had first been discovered. He recorded his hits "T-Model Blues" and "Tim Moore's Farm" at Sugar Hill Recording Studios in Houston. By the mid to late 1950s his prodigious output of quality recordings had gained him a following among African Americans and blues music aficionados. It has been estimated that he recorded between 800 and 1000 songs during his career. Houston's poet-in-residence for 35 years, Hopkins recorded more albums than any other bluesman. His distinctive fingerstyle playing often included playing, in effect, bass, rhythm, lead, percussion, and vocals, all at the same time. He played both "alternating" and "monotonic" bass styles incorporating imaginative, often chromatic turnarounds and single note lead lines. Tapping or slapping the body of his guitar added rhythmic accompaniment.

Brew + Jake: The Call

Since I didn't do it last weekend, I decided to give it a go this weekend by kicking things off for my Houston artists with the new sounds of BREW (of Lower Lifeform) and Jake, with the first single "The Call" off their Brew + Jake EP that's due out this summer by way of Ethos Music Group. This tune is about meeting that hot girl in a local drinkery, exchanging numbers and have hopes that you will keep in contact to see if things will blossom. You will have to watch and listen to the video to get the rest. Don't want to spoil it for you. ENJOY!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

In Memory: Dunn, Woods, Brown & Summer

The music world was still in a bit of shock upon learning of the passing of Adam Yauch, known as MCA of the Beastie Boys. This week has been one of the most devastating weeks as we lost four legendary artists only days apart who made contributions to help change the course of music. We send our condolences to the families and fans around the world.

Donald “Duck” Dunn
(November 24, 1941 – May 13, 2012)

Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame bassist, songwriter and producer for Booker T. and The MG's and also a session musician for Stax Records. He was also a bassist for The Blues Brothers Band and featured in both Blues Brothers movies. He is also featured on several recordings by other notable acts and performances as a sideman.

Belita Karen Woods
(October 23, 1948 – May 14, 2012)

Was the lead singer for 1970's R&B group Brainstorm. She also sang with Parliament-Funkadelic for two decades. Brainstorm had a disco hit in 1977 called "Lovin' Is Really My Game". Their follow-up album, 1978's Journey To The Light, featured a more soul-funk sound, anchored by the album tracks "We're On Our Way Home" and "If You Ever Need To Cry". Prior to joining Brainstorm, Woods released a single "Magic Corner"/"Grounded" on Detroit's Moira label in 1967.

Chuck Brown
(August 22, 1936 – May 16, 2012)

Affectionately known as the "Godfather of Go-Go", Brown is regarded as the fundamental force behind the creation of go-go music. Brown's early hits include "I Need Some Money" and "Bustin' Loose". "Bustin' Loose" has been adopted by the Washington Nationals baseball team as its home run celebration song. Brown also recorded go-go covers of early jazz and blues songs, such as "Go-Go Swing" Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing If Ain't Got That Swing", "Moody's Mood for Love", Johnny Mercer's "Midnight Sun", Louis Jordan's "Run Joe", and T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday". The song "Ashley's Roachclip" from the Soul Searchers' 1974 album Salt of the Earth contains a famous drum break, sampled countless times in various other tracks.

Donna Summer
(December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012)

Commonly known by the "Queen of Disco" moniker, Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the U.S. Billboard chart. Bad Girls, an album that had been in production for nearly two years, was based the whole concept on prostitution, even with Summer dressing as a hooker herself on the cover art. The album became a huge success, spawning the number one hits "Hot Stuff" and the title track and the number two "Dim All the Lights". With "MacArthur Park", "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", and the Barbra Streisand duet "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)", Summer achieved four number one hits within a thirteen month period. Those aforementioned songs, along with "Heaven Knows", "Last Dance", "Dim All the Lights", and "On the Radio" (from her upcoming double-album) would give her eight US Top 5 singles within a two year period. "Hot Stuff" later won her a second Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, the first time the category was included.

Happy Birthday: Grandmaster Roc Raida

Grandmaster Roc Raida
(May 17, 1972 – September 19, 2009)

We pay our respects and say happy birthday to Anthony Williams, better known as Grandmaster Roc Raida, the greatest turntablist of all time. Winner of the 1995 DMC World DJ Championship and was inducted into the DMC Hall of Fame in 1999, he was also a DJ and producer for the DJ group The X-Ecutioners. Raida produced songs for artists including Ill Al Skratch, Showbiz and A.G., the Jungle Brothers, Mad Skillz, Smif-n-Wessun, Jehst and Big Pun, and served as the DJ for MF Grimm (in the mid-1990's) and Busta Rhymes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Birthday: Stevie Wonder

In my book, Stevie Wonder is the the greatest songwriter and composer of all time. Penning an extensive catalog of music that incorporates many different styles and genres, topping the U.S. music charts with more than 30 top 10 hits which won him 22 Grammy awards. A social and political activist, Wonder campaigned to get Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday declared a national holiday in 1980, composing "Happy Birthday" from his Hotter Than July album in tribute to Dr. King and was a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2009. Today we salute this living legend on his date of birth and wish to see him around for many years to come.

Other awards and recognition
1983: inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
1984: received an Academy Award for Best Song for "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from the movie The Woman in Red.
1989: inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1999: received the Polar Music Prize and Kennedy Center Honors.
2002: received the George and Ira Gershwin Lifetime Achievement Award at UCLA's Spring Sing. The same year, Wonder received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
2004: received the Billboard Century Award. Also in 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #15 on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock and Roll Artists of All Time.
2006: was inducted, as one of the first inductees, into the Michigan Walk of Fame. The same year, Wonder received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
2008: Ranked at number five on "The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists", making him as the third most successful male artist in the history of Billboard Hot 100 chart.
2009: Recipient of the second Gershwin Prize For Popular Song.
2009: Recipient of the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award. This special award underlines a popular artist’s extraordinary contribution to the musical world. The Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award is in bronze.
2009: Named a Messenger of Peace by the United Nations.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Flashback: Johnny "Guitar" Watson

Johnny "Guitar" Watson
(February 3, 1935 – May 17, 1996)

Tonight's presentation of Friday Flashback, we're taking you back to one of my musical heroes who influenced many artists on the Blues, Funk and Jazz circuits. A Houston native who composed many hit records that spanned radio stations and music stores, from here, all the way across to Japan. "Superman Lover" is my top favorite by Mr. Watson, which was sampled by producer/emcee Redman, as well as a few other Hip-Hop artists. Get your dose of what he calls Funk Beyond The Call of Duty.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Freddie Joachim ft. Carlitta Durand: Keep Lovin'

I've mentioned before how I can't get enough of Freddie Joachim, because it seems like he has no capabilities of producing anything wack. He added plenty of pepper to the pot to make this cookin' soul a fire track. The extra added spices to bring out the flavor are the flawless vocals of Carlitta Durand. Yes indeed it's a tasty dish. Word is, Eric Lau has his hands in a remix of this tune. I just might go into mental overload. Get a taste now, then order Fiberglass Kisses on May 7th.

Anthony Valadez ft. Mar & The Park: Under Water (Full Crate Remix)

KCRW's Anthony Valadez proves he can be a party rocker on the air, behind the decks and with his own music. He's at it again with his latest single "Under Water" that features Mar and The Park. The original version of this tune is pretty darn impressive. However, I have to give a one up to Full Crate for his remix. If you want to add this to your digital collection, make sure you hit the "buy" button in the player to get it.

Eddie Levert: I Still Have It

Right now, we have to make way for the legend Eddie Levert of the Philadelphia International veteran singing group The O'Jays, as he debuts his first ever solo project titled I Still Have It. The album title looks to me like it's aimed at those who possibly have doubted if he still has what it takes. Here's the promo video of his Reggae and pop influenced "Last Man Standing" single that proves he knows how to reach into your inner core and helps give meaning to why they call is soul music.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Flashback: J.R. Swinga

Our first Friday Flashback is "Chocolate City", written, performed and produced by J.R. Swinga, released in 1994 as part of the State Of Emergency: Society In Crisis Vol. 1 compilation on Mad Sounds Recordings. For a number of years this has been a pretty hard to find album and single. So if you happen to come across either, you better grab them quickly. Give yourself a listen to my Sunflower Jazz II that has the tune in the mix. ENJOY!

Harley & Muscle ft. Christopher McCray: Love's Peace of Mind

For this segment, we're going to take you on a Deep House ride with Italian production duo Harley & Muscle, who's new track "Love's Peace of Mind" is currently topping a few music charts. Special guest vocalist for this tune is Atlanta based veteran singer-songwriter Christopher McCray, who got his start with Grammy Award winning producer Kerri Chandler. You can get the digital download of this massive floor rocker at eMusic. ENJOY!

R.I.P. Adam Yauch (MCA of Beastie Boys)

Adam Yauch a.k.a. MCA
(August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012)

Earlier today founding member Adam Yauch, commonly known as MCA of the pioneering hardcore punk and Hip-Hop band Beastie Boys passed away after a long bout with cancer. Yauch was a multi-instrumentalist and emcee for the band, as well as a director of many of the Beastie Boys' videos and film distributor under the pseudonym "Nathanial Hörnblowér". In 2002, Yauch built a recording studio in NYC called Oscilloscope Laboratories and produced Build A Nation, the comeback album from hardcore/punk band Bad Brains. Oscilloscope Laboratories also distributed Adam Yauch's directorial film debut, basketball documentary Gunnin' For That #1 Spot (2008) about eight high school basketball prospects at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York City, as well as Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy (2008) and Oren Moverman’s The Messenger (2009).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday: James Brown

James Joseph Brown
(May 3, 1933 - December 25, 2006)

On May 3, 1933 the legendary "Godfather of Soul", James Brown was born in Barnwell, South Carolina. A soul brother who's one of a kind earning the title of "The Hardest Working Man In Show Business" after putting in a lot of elbow grease to own a radio station, founded a record label, social activist, making appearances in movies and television, a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and composer who penned a hefty catalog of tunes for himself and artists signed to his People Records. Brown considers Little Richard as his idol who he says is the first person to put funk into rock n' roll music. Brown's Africanised approach to Blues and Gospel influenced many and his music being a key part of the foundation of Hip-Hop music. Thousands of artists have sampled his music in many genres from around the world.

In honor of this late great pioneer and innovator, we celebrate his date of birth with a special tribute podcast by the one and only Dynamite Dave Soul. Help yourself to this FREE download while the getting is good. ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

D.Rose & DJ Cozmos: The Daily Journal

Once again we bring you more Houston heat courtesy of FMWJ's Rappers I Know. D.Rose & DJ Cozmos have been putting in some serious studio work to bring you The Daily Journal, which dropped April 17th. Guests on this project include Scottie Spitten of H.I.S.D., Damien, Big Mon, Magestik Legend, Tray Chaney and BREW of Lower Life Form. King Coz and DJ SoulOne also added their 2 cents in on the production end. Now is the time to help make sure this hard work is paid off by purchasing their album after you listen to the preview below. ENJOY!