Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farwell: Jim "Dragon" Kelly

Jim "Dragon" Kelly
(May 5, 1946 - June 29, 2013)

Moments ago I found out from my homie Bobby Phats that Jim Kelly, one of my childhood heroes, has passed on after a bout with cancer. Kelly's movie career started in 1972. In 1973 he co-starred with Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon for his most well known role, cast as "Williams". The following year he would take the starring role for a 1970's cult classic, Black Belt Jones. Following years, he starred in other blaxploitation classics like The Tattoo Connection [also known as Black Belt Jones 2], Three The Hard Way, Black Samurai and a few other films.

For the motion picture soundtrack of Black Belt Jones, Dennis Coffey and Luchi De Jesus are credited as the composers and conductors of the soundtrack. The "Main Theme" of the album has been a favorite and staple for b-boys and b-girls in the Hip-Hop community for many years.

Tenor Saw: No Work On Sunday

Tenor Saw
(February 11, 1966 - August 1988)

Since it's Sunday afternoon and people normally relax on this day, I just thought I would post this classic dancehall tune by the legendary Tenor Saw titled "No Work On Sunday", which was released in 1985 on the "One Dance Riddim" produced by Donovan Germain for his Germain label. Here's a clip from Tenor's 1986 performance of "No Work On Sunday" at Japansplash.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Flashback: Kool & The Gang

We continue our segment with another tune about the season at hand. Kool & The Gang, previously named the Jazziacs, have been together for nearly 50 years, releasing 23 studio albums, where several of them have garnered gold or platinum status. Their seventh studio album Light of Worlds, considered by them as their ninth, counting two compilation releases, chose to have nine tracks on the LP to represent the nine planets in our solar system. The highlight of the album is "Summer Madness", a smooth, melodic song that incorporates jazz, rock and funk.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DJ Kool Emdee: Ziel: Back To The Future

Early this morning I decided to knock out this 1990's Soul mix I had been thinking about doing for awhile. So here it is for you all to enjoy. It's featuring some classics from Omar Lyefook, Jhelisa, Ambersunshower, Davina, Amel Larrieux, Caron Wheeler, Groove Collective, The Brand New Heavies and more.

Ziel: back to the future by Djkoolemdee on Mixcloud

Michael Jackson: Remember The Time (Louis La Roche Remix)

Today is the day we pay our respects in remembering Michael Jackson, who passed away on this day four years ago. With this fantastic remix of "Remember The Time" by Louis La Roche, this is an excellent way to celebrate the life and legacy of the King of Pop. Oh yeah. It's a free download folks!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Farewell to Bobby "Blue" Bland

On yesterday we lost another one of our soul and blues legends, Bobby "Blue" Bland (January 27, 1930 – June 23, 2013), also known as the "Lion of the Blues" and "Sinatra of the Blues", after battling a lengthy illness. It's reported that he was surrounded by family and friends when he passed away at his home. Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Bland had a string of consistent hits throughout the 1960's, having charted 23 Top Ten hits on the Billboard R&B Charts. One of my top favorites from him that was a strong R&B hit in the 1970's was "Aint' No Love (In The Heart of the City)", from the album The Dreamer (1974). Other hits on the "chitlin' circuit" were "I Pity The Fool", "Let The Good Times Roll", with B.B. King, "St. James Infirmary", "Members Only" and other "juke joint" favorites.

Bob Marley & The Wailers: Legend Remixed

On tomorrow, June 25th, an amazing rework of the classic Legend album by Bob Marley & The Wailers will be released on Universal Music. The re-imagined version will feature remixes by sons Stephen and Ziggy, along with contributions from Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, Jason Bentley, Z-Trip with Lee “Scratch” Perry, Photek, Jim James, Roni Size, RAC, Beats Antique, Nickodemus & Zeb. According to Billboard, Legend is the second longest charting album in music history, with U.S. sales taking it to diamond (more than 10 million) status, and an average of 2 to 6 times platinum in several other countries.

The following video is of Stephen Marley, executive producer Jason Bentley, and engineer Dan Chase remixing "Three Little Birds" in-studio and explaining the concept behind the album.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Astrud Gilberto: Corcovado (Tokimonsta Remix)

Los Angeles based producer TOKiMONSTA has re-imagined the vocals of the lovely Astrud Gilberto from the "Corcovado" single taken from Getz/Gilberto (1964), a groundbreaking project that's considered one of the best Jazz albums of all time. "Corcovado" was originally composed by notable Jazz pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Friday Flashback: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

It's the first day of summer, here stateside, so we're going to kick it off by taking you back to 1991, the year that DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince dropped their platinum selling single "Summertime", which was produced by a Chicago production duo consisting of Hula and K. Fingers. Jeff and Will were the first ever Hip-Hop group to win the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1989, and were also the first to win in 1991 in a new category for Hip-Hop/Rap, the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for the "Summertime" single, taken from their Homebase LP.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

London Grammar: Wasting My Young Years (Star Slinger Remix)

There comes a time where I feel like I deserve a little punishment. I haven't blogged before about this amazing group founded in 2012 called London Grammar, consisting of Hannah, Daniel and Dot, but I have been spinning their Metal & Dust EP, mainly "Hey Now" because of Hannah's soul stirring delivery. Just days ago they released their Wasting My Young Years EP that features remixes of the title cut. This is another group on my radar to bring stateside to delight fans of indie music. Be sure to visit their website and grab a freebie while you're visiting. Remember to purchase something to show your appreciation.

Shigeto: Ringleader

In our last post on Shigeto, we covered his amazing Lineage album that took fans by storm. He's releasing No Better Time Than Now on August 19th/20th on Ghostly International, that will blow your mind again and keep you on your toes with its diversity. First up, he released a sneak preview of "Detroit Pt.1" three days ago and a day later hits us with his Samba influenced "Ringleader" track that brought a huge smile to my face. There's the play button below. Click it to see why I have this smile.

Amel Larrieux: Afraid

What has been passing along through the grapevine for so long has finally come to fruition. Amel Larrieux precedes her forthcoming album with her first single, "Afraid", produced by her husband Laru Larrieux. Ice Cream Everyday comes out on August 27th on Blisslife Records after a 6 year hiatus. Get ready music fans to tear up dance floors this summer with this sizzler.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gas-Lab & Traum Diggs ft. Natayle: Jazz Hop

One of our blog followers by the name of Gas-Lab, a very talented producer from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has blessed us with some fresh newness by collaborating with New York rapper Traum Diggs and vocalist Natayle to release the first single and title cut of their Jazz Hop album that's due out real soon.

"This project is about the global power and influence of hip-hop music and how it can be used to unify (across) cultures, continents, and languages. We dedicate this project to lovers of jazz, lovers of hip-hop, and to the pioneers who came before us. We conspired to inspire a rebirth of a jazz-influenced hip-hop sound on the dawn of an electronic wave that is poised to dominate the genre for the foreseeable future. Maybe we’re brave; maybe we’re stupid, only time and our fans will tell." - Traum Diggs

After that reflection from Traum about the project, and already being familiar with Gas-Lab's work, I can't wait to hear the rest of the album. This single already has me pretty excited. Enjoy!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Birthday: Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky
(June 17, 1882 - April 6, 1971)

Igor Stravinsky was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor. He is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. Being called "one of music's truly epochal innovators". The most important aspect of Stravinsky's work, aside from his technical innovations (including in rhythm and harmony), is the 'changing face' of his compositional style while always 'retaining a distinctive, essential identity'.

Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). The last of these transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure and was largely responsible for Stravinsky's enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary who pushed the boundaries of musical design. Source: Wikipedia

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Birthday: Linda Clifford

Today we wish Mrs. Linda Clifford a very happy 65th birthday. One dynamic artist who seems to be a very lovely person and usually has encouraging words to say when she makes appearances on Facebook. With a career spanning more than 30 years, Mrs. Clifford started as a Jazz singer, later transitioning to Soul, Rhythm & Blues and House music, scoring several hits during the 1970's and 1980's.

Right now, we're going to go back to 1978. The label is Curtom Records headed by the legendary Curtis Mayfield. The album is If My Friends Could See Me Now, the title cut being her first number one hit on the Billboard charts, which is a dance cover of the tune taken from the Broadway play Sweet Charity. The leads done by Mrs. Clifford are explosive, as with the instrumentation, which includes Mayfield on guitar. The extra sweetness added are the background vocals of another group of legends known as The Jones Girls.

We wish continuous good health, plenty of good fortune and look forward to many more years of hearing Mrs. Linda Clifford make sweet music.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Evil Needle ft. Freddie Joachim: Vibin'

Some music collaborations are thought to be epic before you press a play button. Here's the case with both Evil Needle and Freddie Joachim, who both aren't afraid to let their atmospheric snares rattle like a snake getting ready to strike. Evil Needle takes you on another musical journey with his latest release titled Qualia, which happens to be out now. Delight your mood by grabbing a copy from HW&W Recordings: Evil Needle: Qualia

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gadget: Herbz [Free Download]

The following post is taken from Gadget's Soundcloud page.

Originally made for the Octaves compilation by the Jazz Jousters. The track didn't make the album due to Gadget falling ill and being unable to finish the track in time for the deadline. So rather than it just sitting in a folder and wasting away, it has been uploaded as a free download for anyone that feels it worth playing.

If you haven't already listend to Octaves please check out the full project by the Jazz Jousters collective on Millennium Jazz Music:

DJ Kool Emdee: Fire It Up!

A few of my electronica heads asked about me doing another mix for them to get hyped to. So, I did this little ditty in true heavy weight fashion. Feast your ears on the Drumstep, Drum n Bass and Future Bass mix done days ago by yours truly. FIRE IT UP!

Fire It Up! by Djkoolemdee on Mixcloud

Stephen Marley Ft. Spragga Benz & Damian Marley: Bongo Nyah

I've already heard through the grapevine some time back that both Stephen Marley and Damian Marley were in the studio working on new tunes. Not to say that Stephen is incapable of production like this, but it did catch me off guard...a little. Not that it's a bad thing. If making weird faces would end up stuck that way, "Bongo Nyah" would leave permanent damage, if this were true. Employing the lyrical style of veteran dancehall artist Spragga Benz makes it a serious "three the hard way" combo. ENJOY!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Naibu ft. Jinadu: Decay (Om Unit Remix)

Honestly speaking, i'm not very familiar with Parisian producer Naibu. However, OM Unit uploaded a preview of a delightful remix he did of Naibu's "Decay" single that features British soul singer Jinadu. Hearing this made me rush to find out more about Naibu. Turns out he's a pretty epic Drum n' Bass producer with some real good synth work, who's been putting out music since 2005. Be sure to stop by his Bandcamp page and purchase his catalog. I'm already on it and getting ready to pre-order this one from Horizons Music.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Jack Freeman: Nobody

I gotta give mad props to my homie Jack Freeman for this soulful joint with a slight blues feel to it. Imagining what it was like during the heyday of the Houston music scene in the 3rd Ward and 5th Ward areas, the vibe of "Nobody" seems to have been inspired by the sounds of that era, yet has a modern twist. With a helping hand from Chris Rockaway on production, Jack takes the credit as the writer and co-producer of this great tune. I look forward to more Houston artists taking this cue to do more good music. ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Andreya Triana: Song For A Friend

For those who are familiar with the talented Andreya Triana, you know how dynamic as an artist she is, who has one of the most soulful deliveries on the music scene. Currently, she has a new song called "Song For A Friend" that she has premiered at several of her recent shows. The original plan was to do a breakdown of the tune, but I decided to pass on that and just give you the chance to give your own take on this beautiful song. [grabs tissue]

The Return...

Times have been pretty tough lately, so I had to take a break to get a few things in order. Amongst all the chaos, my laptop died on me again as I was setting up for my niece's wedding reception. Days later, my bike was stolen. But as they say...LIFE GOES ON! Thanks for hanging in there with me guys.

By the way....the good news is, i'm now the A&R (Artist & Repertoire) for a new local label. I've already been checking out talent at a few venues, as well as searching online for undiscovered artists. The goal is to keep things organic and maintain artist integrity. We are not going to contribute to the massive pile of garbage that's already overflowing. I will keep you posted as things develop. CHEERS!