Promoting recording artists of power and distinction since 2003.
Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin brings forward a different flavor with her debut album RETOX out June 12th.
On RETOX, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin delivers a deep, kaleidoscopic and ingeniously arranged mix of original old school soul and funk songs as well as the Stevie Wonder classic, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” An A-list of edgy vocalists, both established and emerging, such as Krystle Warren, Amp Fiddler, Maya Azucena, Chinah Blac and Melanie Charles, join Benjamin on an album that’s as electrifyingly diverse as the cast that plays on it.
Benjamin is no stranger to the stage, performing alongside music heavyweights for many years including Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, The Roots and Macy Gray. Now the saxophonist steps into the spotlight with her debut album, Retox. Benjamin’s summery, sultry alto saxophone, adds something special on every cut – be it a smoldering late-night ambiance, an erudite, forceful jazz intensity or the tight funk multi-horn harmony sections that pepper the proceedings throughout.
“Each song ‘feels’ like it is a stand alone artistic masterpiece. Retox, very much has the ‘feel’ of what Black radio should sound like today.” -Bob Davis, Soul Patrol
JUMP AND SHOUT
With its wickedly catchy hook, the first single and video from the album, “Jump and Shout,” holds nothing back, delivering a driving but sultry kiss-off anthem. Featuring vocalist China Blac, Lakecia had been looking for a singer to channel her lyrics’ righteous rage and when she heard Blac singing at a house party, she realized she’d found the perfect match. Purchase the single.
Watch the EPK below to learn more about Retox, Lakecia’s inspiration for the album, and what it’s like as a female sax player in the music industry!
Whimsical Treatment of CD’s Title Track, “Be Good (Lion’s Song)” Directed by Award Winning Filmmaker Pierre Bennu, with Cinematography by Shawn Peters and Special Set Work by Visual Artist Dirk Joseph
Riding high on the out of the box success of soul/jazz vocalist Gregory Porter’s sophomore release, Be Good, Motéma Music has just released a video of the CD’s title track, “Be Good (Lion’s Song.)” The video, which was directed by Pierre Bennu of ExitTheApple Productions, features cinematography by Shawn Peters, who worked with Porter on the two videos from the singer’s Grammy nominated CD, Water (“Illusion” and “1960 What?”), and who has also shot videos and short films for Pharoahe Monch, Blitz The Ambassador, and Terence Nance.
Shooting entirely on location in Baltimore, Maryland, director Pierre Bennu visually compliments Porter’s intense lyrics and smooth, soulful vocals with vibrant colors and whimsical storytelling, and sets it all against Charm City’s unique backdrop. As two lovers traverse their everyday lives amidst the mundane, Bennu draws on the power of everyday magic, the fear of loss, and the yearning for love in what he calls a “lullaby for your inner child.”
“The dance of love is something that can be done alone but it is also fun with somebody else,” says Bennu. “I wanted to show two characters; one who was so busy dancing alone, never looking to have a partner… and another so desperate for love that he would do whatever it took to get it. What that character finally realizes is that all he needed to offer forth was himself.”
To compliment his artistic vision, Bennu tapped the talents of Baltimore-based multidisciplinary visual artist Dirk Joseph, whose ‘magical props’ add significantly to the video’s playful and enchanting sensibility.
Watch “Be Good (Lion’s Song)”
Based on the groundwork laid by the volume of positive critical and public response to his 2010 ‘Best Jazz Vocal’ Grammy®- nominated debut CD Water, Be Good has been met with a spate of critical and commercial success. The track “Real Good Hands” was selected by iTunes as its Single of the Week, propelling the track to the #1 position on iTunes jazz chart for two weeks, and sending it soaring into the Top 100 overall album chart the first week of release. In the month since Be Good dropped, the CD has drawn critical raves from the likes of Soul Tracks, who declared, “Porter fuses jazz and soul better than anybody working these days… We are only one month into 2012 and we may have already heard the album of the year. Very Highly Recommended.” The site also ranked Be Good as the #1 CD, based on Amazon sales, for the month of February.
In its four and a half star review of Be Good, Downbeat stated, “In addition to Porter’s superb songs—many of which have the potential to be this century’s new jazz standards—Be Good comes alive because of the accord he ignites with his band members…Be Good signals the arrival of a great jazz artist with long range staying power. A major jazz talent… A must-have disc.”
Monty Alexander, Randy Weston, Malika Zarra, Rene Marie, and JC Stylles Are Among Nominees
Of The 11th Independent Music Awards
Artists Among More Than 300 Self-Released & Independent Label Artists Nominated
Recordings by Motéma artists Monty Alexander, Randy Weston, Malika Zarra, René Marie, and JC Stylles are among the nominees named by Music Resource Group (MRG) for The 11th Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential awards program for independent bands and fans.
Two Motéma projects were nominated in the “Live Performance Album” category, both of which were recorded live at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola: Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express Live! (which was nominated for Best Reggae Album at this years 54th Annual Grammy Awards, and spent multiple weeks at #1 in both world and jazz radio charts on JazzWeek), and NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston & his African Rhythms Sextet’s The Storyteller. Motéma is also represented with two projects in the “Jazz Album” category: Vocalist René Marie’s outrageous emancipation proclamation: Black Lace Freudian Slip and Australian guitar ace JC Stylles, whose critically acclaimed break-out album Exhilaration & Other States was hailed by All Music Guide as, “a highly charged state of musical pleasure, presenting a range of styles that work well on Exhilaration And Other States,-a state worth exploring.” In the “World Beat Album” category, Moroccan artist Malika Zarra is honored for her outstanding CD Berber Taxi, which gained major radio and press attention including multiple weeks at #1 on the JazzWeek world music chart. Zarra & Marie were also honored last week with awards from SESAC.
These nominations recognize the diversity and excellence on Motéma Music’s growing roster of award-winning jazz, and visionary jazz, world and other creative musicians.
About The IMAs
Representing the broad spectrum of today’s global independent music scene, the Nominees in over 70 Song, Album, Music Video and Design categories were culled from thousands of submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe.
Winners will be determined by a panel of 77 influential artist and industry judges including Keith Richards, Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Suzanne Vega, Joshua Redman, Tori Amos, Michael Franti, Bettye LaVette, Del McCoury, Ozzy Osbourne, Shelby Lynne, Alan Light (Live From The Artists Den), Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour), Bill Bragin (Lincoln Center), Sara Beesley (Joe’s Pub), Chris Diaz (Knitting Factory Entertainment), and Evan Schlansky (American Songwriter). The results will be announced in April 2012.
In addition to industry-determined Winners, music fans from around the world have until Friday, July 20, 2012 to cast their votes at The IMA Vox Pop Jukebox to determine the fan-selected program winners.
For details and to see a complete list of Nominees and Judges visit: TheIndependentMusicAwards.com
More About Motéma’s Nominees
Monty Alexander just completed a sold out two-week residency at the renowned Blue Note, celebrating the pianist’s 50 years in music. Time Out New York hails, “Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander has built a comfortable niche for himself by doing something that few other pianists with his credentials would attempt: He makes the reggae backbeat a base for swinging improvisation.”
Randy Weston, has been celebrating a remarkable year in music. The NEA Jazz Master and 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, who’s received multiple awards and honors this year, premiers his Guggenheim Fellow project, “An African Nubian Suite” on April 8th at NYU’s Skirball Center for Performing Arts. Weston composed the piece, with funding from his Guggenheim fellowship, which pays tribute to the Nubians, the first human race on earth and the oldest of the great civilizations in Africa. See details on the show here.
Rene Marie’s Black Lace Freudian Slip, nominated for Jazz Album has received consistent critical acclaim and made it into many 2011 “Best of” lists including JazzTimes and Jazz Police. Marie also made the short list for the JazzTimes 2011 Expanded Critics’ Poll for Female Artist and Christopher Loudon hailed the album as “one of last year’s most exciting jazz vocal releases.”
Malika Zarra brings a unique point of view to her recording Berber Taxi, nominated for World Beat Album. Born in Morocco, raised in France, and now thriving in the polyglot metropolis of New York City, this gifted composer, producer and singer has invented a new Moroccan urban-world-jazz sound by tastefully using traditional North African chaâbi, Berber and Gnawa polyrhythms to underpin her distinctly contemporary urban compositions, all the while maintaining a sophisticated improvisational modern approach. French Culture Guide calls the singer, “a multi-cultural shape-shifter.”
JC Stylles, mixing a range of R&B and pop tunes with jazz standards, expands the guitar/organ trio into exciting new territory on Exhilaration & Other States, nominated for Jazz Album. The Australian-born guitarist serves up a mix of relentless swing, relaxed grooves and beautiful ballads on this recording. Jazz Inside hails, “JC Stylles and his trio swing out strong!”
Motéma congratulates all its artists nominated for the Independent Music Awards. For more information on the nominated artists and to sample their music please visit www.motema.com and www.independentmusicawards.com/imanominee/11th
Please vote for your favorites in the Vox Pop Jukebox and spread the word.
On February 28th and 29th the LSU Jazz Ensemble will perform Quiet Pride, bassist and composer Rufus Reid’s suite of jazz movements inspired by artist Elizabeth Catlett’s sculptures at the The Manship Theatre at The Shaw Center for the Arts. Watch a video of Rufus Reid explaining the project here.
The piece – “QUIET PRIDE” – was inspired by four of Elizabeth Catlett’s sculptures; “Recognition”; “Glory”; “Mother & Child” and “Singing Head.”
QUIET PRIDE was written for a large jazz orchestra but can be arranged for smaller ensembles.
The goal of QUIET PRIDE is to showcase the extraordinary life and talent of Elizabeth Catlett along side of a phenomenal jazz orchestra. which will enlighten, entertain, inform, and stimulate conversation and study between art departments, women’s studies, music departments, Afro-American studies of colleges, universities, museums and performing arts centers serving the community at large.
Museums – Rufus Reid and orchestra (of multiple sizes) will perform as a special concert in the museum alongside of Elizabeth Catlett’s four sculptors in which the jazz piece is based. The concert will take place on pre-arranged days, while her pieces will be on display for the length of the exhibit. This can be a ticketed event or a special event for your museum patrons.
Universities – This project is a multi-layered piece in which can tie in the music department, women studies, and art departments. Rufus Reid will lead a master class with your jazz dept and by weeks end use your student jazz department to be the musicians for a concert of the piece “Quiet Pride”. The works of Elizabeth Catlett will be taught thru the art dept and as well thru women’s study and / or Afro-American studies.
QUIET PRIDE was awarded the Sackler Composition Prize for 2006, the very first year in which jazz was chosen as the composition genre.
For press inquiries contact Geodesic Management – www.geodesicmanagement.com
Randy Weston sits down with Democracy Now! for this hour long special, where the pianist discusses the impact of African rhythms, his collaboration with Langston Hughes and two of his biggest influences: Marcus Garvey and Paul Robeson.
The interview was hosted at the TRIBECA Performing Arts Center, where Randy Weston and his African Rhythms Orchestra are performing a special tribute concert celebrating James Reese Europe & the Harlem Hellfighters, on Saturday, February 25th.
Via TRIBECA PAC: “James Reese Europe was an American ragtime and early jazz bandleader, arranger, and composer. In 1918, Lt. James Reese Europe made military and music history by being the first African American to lead troops into battle during World War One and to spread the ‘jazz germ’ throughout continental Europe. Mr. Europe obtained a Commission in the New York Army National Guard, where he saw combat as a lieutenant with the 369th Infantry Regiment (the “Harlem Hellfighters”), the band of which he directed to great acclaim.”
The African Rhythms Orchestra includes: T.K.Blue — saxophones, Neil Clarke — percussion, Alex Blake — bass, Howard Johnson — tuba, Vincent Ector — drum, Ayodele Ankhtawi Maakheru — banjo and Robert Trowers – trombone.
Roseanna Vitro, Monty Alexander and Oran Etkin were all out in Los Angeles for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards last week. Roseanna Vitro’s The Music of Randy Newman was up for Best Jazz Vocal album, Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express Live! was nominated for Best Reggae Album and Oran Etkin appeared on the Cool Beans Records compilation All About Bullies…Big and Small, nominated for Best Children’s album.
The festivities began on Saturday with the NARAS Merit Awards Ceremony and the Grammy Nominees Reception at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, where medallions were passed out to those being honored that evening. The night included celebratory Grammy cocktails and impressive performances by the Grammy Camp — Jazz Session band featuring top achieving high-school musicians from around the country.
Roseanna Vitro and Monty Alexander at the Nominees Reception
When the big day arrived on Sunday, the jazz and reggae categories were announced during the pre-telecast which was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Sadly for Motéma, Monty Alexander and Roseanna Vitro did not walk away with awards this year, but Terri Lyne Carrington’s The Mosaic Project (Concord Jazz), which won Best Jazz Vocal Album, featured Motéma’s Geri Allen on piano keyboard on 7 of the 14 tracks including, “Unconditional Love” written by Allen, and sung by Esperanza Spalding. Allen is also featured on a cover of The Beatle’s “Michelle” on The Mosaic Project. All About Jazz described Allen’s fusion of jazz and funk on “Michelle” as “riveting.”
During her acceptance speech, Carrington graciously recognized the great work of her fellow nominees, including Roseanna Vitro. A fitting acknowledgement from the drummer and band leader, who conceived of The Mosaic Project especially to bring women together, to support and celebrate one another other from a musical and social perspective. Congratulations to Geri for being a part of this extraordinary project!
Taking home the Grammy for Best Children’s Album was the socially conscious All About Bullies…Big and Small from Cool Beans Music & East Coast Recording Co. The project addresses the major issue facing children on a daily basis. We are proud to announce that the album features two tracks by Motéma’s Oran Etkin, who composed and performed original music for two poems on the compilation: “Albert (An Einstein)” and “Anna Louder” written by Steve Pullara. Etkin released his own children’s jazz release, Wake Up Clarinet in 2011, which received multiple accolades including a parents choice award. Oran now officially holds the position as Motéma’s first Grammy winning artist for the All About Bullies…Big and Small win. All proceeds from the album go to pacerkidsagainstbullying.org to aid in their effort to engage and educate children against bullying.
Etkin said of the win, “I am very humbled and honored that we won the Grammy today for Best Children’s Album! The camaraderie and support between all the musicians at the awards was a joyful and uplifting feeling. I am also happy that this Grammy win increases the exposure of the work with children that I am developing through my Timbalooloo organization. I hope it will help us continue fostering fluency in the language of music through concerts, CDs, music classes and videos for children.”
Congratulations to Oran for being a part of this important project! And congratulations again to Monty Alexander and Roseanna Vitro for their excellent Grammy nominated albums.
View pictures of Motéma on the red carpet and at the festivities below:
Elio Villafranca and Arturo Stable, two Cuban-born maestros of jazz and world music, unveil Dos y Mas, the debut recording of their exquisite new piano and percussion collaboration, with an album release show at the Brooklyn Public Library, February 15th. Villafranca’s virtuosic and multifaceted pianism engages Stable’s poly-rhythmic percussion genius on ten original compositions that pay tribute to the spiritual, classical and traditional legacies of Cuba, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Spain.
Steinway artist Elio Villafranca and Ritmo artist Arturo Stable were both classically trained at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, and are now at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban artists making major creative contributions to the international development of modern jazz.
RECEPTION AND CD SIGNING
The night will include a wine reception courtesy of Standing Stone Vineyards beginning at 6:15 followed by the performance at 7:00. The evening will end with a special CD signing by Villafranca and Arturo after the show.
Brooklyn Public Library : Central Library, Dweck Center
10 Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Ave Brooklyn, NY
(Subway: Take 2 or 3 to Grand Army Plaza)
DATE: February 15, 2012
TIME: 7:00 show
This Series is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties.
PIANIST MONTY ALEXANDER CELEBRATES 50 YEARS IN MUSIC WITH AMBITIOUS TWO-WEEK ENGAGEMENT AT BLUE NOTE, FEBRUARY 20 – MARCH 4
TWO-PART ENGAGEMENT TO FEATURE: RUSSELL MALONE, CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE, DR. LONNIE SMITH, PAT MARTINO, FREDDIE COLE, DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER, ERNEST RANGLIN, JOHN CLAYTON & JEFF HAMILTON, AND ROBBIE SHAKESPEARE & SLY DUNBAR, AMONG OTHERS
HARLEM-KINGSTON EXPRESS: LIVE! NOMINATED FOR 2012 GRAMMY® AWARD IN “BEST REGGAE ALBUM” CATEGORY
“Monty Alexander’s blend of jazz and reggae made for an outrageously good time… When Mr. Alexander-the Jamaican-born pianist with a cheerful, chatty style-surrounded himself with a Caribbean quartet to the right and a jazz trio to the left, the result was fresh, lilting interpretations of Bob Marley’s greatest hits, as well as Mr. Alexander’s original compositions…” – Pia Catton, Wall Street Journal
In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has distinctively bridged the worlds of jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica. With over 70 albums to his name, Alexander celebrates his 50th year in music with an ambitious, two-week engagement at New York’s Blue Note, beginning on Monday, February 20 through Sunday, March 4. Alexander will present the engagement in two parts: Part 1 – The Full Monty: 50 Years in Music! (February 23 – 28) and Part 2 – Jamaica Meets Jazz – A One Love Celebration (February 29 – March 4). The featured body of work and lineup will vary throughout the engagement, with each evening focusing on a project from Alexander’s extensive career (six projects total will be presented throughout the engagement). Special guests throughout the two weeks include Russell Malone, Christian McBride, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Pat Martino, Freddie Cole, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ernest Ranglin, John Clayton & Jeff Hamilton, and Robbie Shakespeare & Sly Dunbar, among others.
“I derive great personal joy and satisfaction from being able to present music that can bring out people of all persuasions and life styles,” says Alexander, “from Kingston, Jamaica to New York and the rest of the world – that’s my Harlem-Kingston Express train. That is what this Blue Note booking is all about.”
Part 1 of the engagement will kick off on February 20 with a performance by one of Alexander’s working ensembles, Harlem-Kingston Express, featuring special guest, guitarist Ernest Ranglin. They will perform music from their GRAMMY® nominated debut, Harlem-Kingston Express: Live! (Motéma Music – released in June 2011).
On February 21 & 22, Alexander will bring back his long-standing Triple Treat project. Originally consisting of guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown (a group that toured and recorded together throughout much of the 80′s), Alexander will reinvigorate the trio in a program titled “Triple Treat Revisited,” featuring one of the “living descendants” of Brown, bassist Christian McBride, as well as guitarist Russell Malone, who appeared on Brown’s last recording, along with Alexander.
Alexander’s Uplift! trio project (stemming from the March 2011 Jazz Legacy Productions release of the same name) will perform on February 23 & 24, featuring organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and guitarist Pat Martino respectively. On February 25 will showcase Ivory & Steel, a project that reflects the music of Trinidad and the steel drum tradition (much like the Iron & Steel group Alexander led in the 70′s and 80′s).
“Uplift! is a name that came to me and represents how I feel within myself when I play. It seems that when I play, many others also share this experience,” says the pianist. “I wanted to have a straight trio record of mine out there, doing what I do the way I do it when I play live concerts – that old classic setting. And we have a ball doing it. The trio is my own personal big band/orchestra.”
With “A Night at Jilly’s” on February 26, Alexander will honor the first jazz club he performed in when he arrived to New York City from Jamaica in 1963 – Jilly’s. It was here that Alexander began to establish himself on the U.S. scene. During his three year’s at the club, he had the privilege of accompany the great Frank Sinatra. Special guests for the evening will include vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Freddie Cole.
Closing out Part 1 of Alexander’s engagement will be “The Montreux Alexander ’76 Trio Reunion” on February 27 & 28, dedicated to one of the pianist’s most celebrated albums, Montreux Alexander: The Monty Alexander Trio Live! at the Montreux Festival. The show will feature the original trio, with bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton.
“Ray [Brown] used to frequently say to me ‘you should form a trio with younger musicians’ and in 1969 he introduced me to a young bass player named John Clayton, who I stayed in touch with,” explains Alexander. “In 1975 my regular bass player suffered a physical ailment and John Clayton came and played with me in Annapolis, MD (on drums was Louis Hayes) and for the second week of that same booking he suggested his good friend from music school, Jeff Hamilton on drums. This unit stuck together for about two and a half years, playing consistently all year round. Montreux in 1976 was one of the nights where this trio was captured and to this date it still is one of my most popular recordings. This was a very well oiled combo.”
Alexander goes directly to his Jamaican roots with Part 2 of the engagement. On February 29-March 2, Alexander will present “Monty meets Sly & Robbie,” performances with drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare. Sly & Robbie are two of reggae’s most recognized trailblazers and collaborated with Alexander on his album, Monty Meets Sly & Robbie. The pianist will conclude the engagement by bringing back his Harlem-Kingston Express group for two final nights on March 3 & 4. Special guests for these performance dates are TBA.
Alexander has been on the express track his whole life and now, in this 50th year of phenomenal musicianship, he shows no sign of slowing down. In 1961, the urban sophistication of jazz and the American songbook, and an invitation to accompany none other than Frank Sinatra, lured the teen prodigy Alexander away from Jamaica and the art form most associated with that nation. The move led to an extraordinary career in jazz, reggae and popular song including collaboration with greats such as Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby and Bobby McFerrin.
* SET TIMES AT 8PM & 10:30PM FOR ALL PERFORMANCE DATES *
PART 1: The Full Monty: 50 Years in Music!
February 20: Harlem-Kingston Express w/ Special Guest Ernest Ranglin (guitar)
Monty Alexander (piano), Hassan Shakur (bass), Obed Calvaire (drums), Karl Wright (Jamaica drums), Joshua Thomas (electric bass), Courtney Panton (percussion), Earl Appleton (electric keyboards), Andy Bassford (rhythm guitar)
February 21 & 22: Triple Treat Revisited
Monty Alexander (piano), Christian McBride (bass), Russell Malone (guitar)
February 23: Uplift! with Special Guest Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ)
Monty Alexander (piano), Hassan Shakur (bass), Herlin Riley (drums)
February 24: Uplift! with Special Guest Pat Martino (guitarist)
Monty Alexander (piano), Hassan Shakur (bass), Herlin Riley (drums)
February 25: Ivory & Steel, a Jazz Tribute to Trinidad
Othello Molineaux (Steel Drums), Etienne Charles (Trumpet) and “Designer” (vocals)
Monty Alexander (piano), Hassan Shakur (bass), Obed Calvaire (drums),
Robert Thomas Jr. (hand drums)
February 26: A Night at Jilly’s w/ Special Guests Dee Dee Bridgewater
& Freddie Cole
Monty Alexander (piano), Hassan Shakur (bass), TBA (drums)
February 27 & 28: The Montreux Alexander ’76 Trio Reunion
Monty Alexander (piano), John Clayton (bass), Jeff Hamilton (drums)
PART 2: Jamaica Meets Jazz – A ONE LOVE Celebration
February 29, March 1 & 2: Monty Meets Sly and Robbie w/ Special Guests TBA
Monty Alexander (piano), Robbie Shakespeare (electric bass), Sly Dunbar (drums)
March 3 & 4: Harlem-Kingston Express with Special Guests TBA
Monty Alexander (piano), Hassan Shakur (bass), Obed Calvaire (drums),
Karl Wright (Jamaica drums), Joshua Thomas (electric bass), Courtney Panton (percussion), Earl Appleton (electric keyboards), Andy Bassford (rhythm guitar),
Robert Thomas Jr. (hand drums)
Blue Note Jazz Club
131 W. 3rd Street
New York, NY 10012
For more information on Monty Alexander, please visit montyalexander.com
For more information, please contact:
DL Media · 610-667-0501
Amy Miller · firstname.lastname@example.org
Jordy Freed · email@example.com
We’re Off To The Grammys!
Motéma is proud and excited to announce that two of our albums have received nominations for the 54th Annual Grammy® Awards, and two artists are on compilation albums that are also nominated! A big congratulations to Roseanna Vitro: Best Jazz Vocal Album nominee for The Music Of Randy Newman and Monty Alexander: Best Reggae Album nominee for Harlem-Kingston Express Live!
Geri Allen collaborated on Terri Lynne Carrington’s Mosaic Project, Best Jazz Vocal Nominee [Concord Jazz] and Oran Etkin has selections on the children’s compilation, All About Bullies…Big And Small, Best Children’s Album Nominee [Cool Beans Music & East Coast Recording Company]. Congrats to both of them for being a part of these wonderful and inspiring projects. Please visit the links above to learn more.
It’s been another amazing year of music, with impressive releases all across the board. We’re proud of the achievements of everyone on the Motéma roster, and are thrilled to see the Grammys® recognizing the talent of these artists.
ROSEANNA VITRO’S THE RANDY NEWMAN PROJECT BEST JAZZ VOCAL NOMINEE
With the Grammy® nominated The Music Of Randy Newman, Roseanna Vitro explored groundbreaking new territory, as the first jazz vocalist to explore the richly melodic, sharply observant Randy Newman songbook. Her fearlessness paid off, earning her a Best Jazz Vocal Album nomination. Many took notice of Vitro’s fresh arrangements and orchestrations of these classic songs, who worked closely with her manager, Jeff Levenson to bring to light. Randy Newman himself was compelled to rave, “Roseanna is a great artist.”
The critics agree: DownBeat rated the album 4 1/2 stars while Jazz Times declared Vitro “..one of the most compelling vocal stylists around.”
Other nominees in this category include:
Karrin Allyson, ‘Round Midnight [Concord Jazz]
Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists, The Mosaic Project, [Concord Jazz]
Kurt Elling, The Gate, [Concord Jazz]
Tierney Sutton (Band), American Road, [BFM Jazz]
MONTY ALEXANDER’S HARLEM-KINGSTON EXPRESS LIVE! BEST REGGAE ALBUM NOMINEE
Monty Alexander celebrated his 50th year of phenomenal musicianship by releasing two outstanding recordings: the now Grammy® nominated Harlem-Kingston Express Live! and Uplift (via Jazz Legacy Productions). Co-Produced by Jana Herzen, Katherine Miller, and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola’s Todd Barkan (who introduced Motéma and Monty to each other), the Best Reggae Album nomination is truly a fantastic accomplishment in what has been a hugely successful year for the pianist. Upon its release, Harlem-Kingston Express Live! dominated the airwaves, reaching #1 on both Jazzweek’s Jazz and World radio charts, while press buzzed over the album’s Jamaican influences, which include elements of mento, ska as well as R&B.
Jazziz heralded the project a “joyous recording,” and NY Daily News labeled it a “honeymoon of musical bliss.”
Monty Alexander is nominated alongside:
Israel Vibration, Reggae Knights [Mediacom/VPAL]
Stephen Marley, Revelation Pt. 1: The Root Of Life
[Tuff Gong/Universal Republic]
Ziggy Marley, Wild And Free, [Tuff Gong Worldwide]
Shaggy, Summer In Kingston, [Ranch Entertainment]
René Marie follows up her much publicized Motéma debut Voice of my Beautiful Country, with the release of Black Lace Freudian Slip, her second album on Motéma and her 10th release overall, available now. This time around the singer ups the ante with this emotionally gripping, all original set, revealing herself not only as one of the most exciting vocalists in jazz but also as one of today’s most relevant song writers. Here René talks about the new album, and some of her favorite things.
What was the inspiration behind Black Lace Freudian Slip?
Inspiration? I think the inspiration for all my albums has been a sense of desperation, but none more so than Black Lace Freudian Slip. I mean, don’t we all have that little black lace freudian slip somewhere in our closet that we’re just dying to wear? Seriously, though, as a rule, these songs build up in me and in our group in general, gaining momentum and intensity each time we play, it seems, until I can’t take having all this unreleased music inside me! I’m desperate for it to be released to make room for the next batch. It’s like the aroma of a homemade pound cake baking in the oven; the closer it gets to being done, with that glorious vanilla aroma wafting through the air, the more desperate I am to satisfy my longing and just eat the damn thing.
Some tracks on BLFS I’d been too afraid to release because of how different the music is from anything else I’ve ever done. The title track is one example, “Falling Off A Log” is another. The desperation to express this side of myself compelled me to finally record it. With some other tracks I used fear as a source of energy, forcing myself to record them because I had let the “who-do-you-think-you-are” phenomenon overpower me for so long. “Gosh, Look At The Time” is an example of this particular peculiarity. I wrote that tune 10 years ago! Desperation drove me to finally record it…
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
Y’know that song? That one song that, when I’m singing it and everyone on stage is moving individually and in tandem and then I catch the eye of someone – it only has to be one person – in the audience with that look on their face that indicates they are being deeply touched? Touched right there, in that emotional G-spot that’s lain dormant for so long? The look on their face at that moment brings me to my knees at the realization that something we did caused expression on one person’s face…whichever song is doing that in any given moment, THAT’S my favorite song to perform live.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Bobby McFerrin. Bonnie Raitt. Darius Rucker.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about being in the music industry?
Honestly? My least favorite thing about being in the “music industry” someone somewhere thought it appropriate to put those two words together. In the context of a “music industry,” I cannot think of one single thing that could be considered a ‘favorite thing.’ However, because i do not wish to be thought of as grumpy, I have made a list of some of my favorite things.
Favorite song of all time: Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”
Favorite piece of jewelry that I own: My grandmother’s wedding ring
Favorite season: Autumn
Favorite joke: Q. What did the grape say when the elephant stepped on it?
A. Nothing, it just let out a little whine (wine)
Favorite hobby: Gardening/landscaping
Favorite car: Jaguar XJ6, silver
Favorite quote: “We simply must do the thing we think we cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Favorite movie: It’s A Wonderful Life
Favorite Miles Davis anecdote: Miles had just finished a concert that featured his latest work, “Bitches Brew,” right? A fan approached miles and the gist of what he said was, “Miles, I love the straight ahead tunes you used to do – they are fantastic! This new stuff you’re doing now? I just can’t get into it, man.” So Miles looks the fellow in the eye and, without missing a beat, says “So…I should wait on you, then?”
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played and why?
Any gig we play at a homeless shelter. Because homelessness has affected me and my family, it’s a social issue I choose to focus on, both personally and musically. Whenever we can, we like to do community outreach concerts at homeless shelters in whatever city we’re playing. What I love about these concerts is the up close and personal vibe between us and the audience. In a homeless shelter, ain’t no pretense or bullshit. It is what it is. It’s that and a lot of personal dignity and compassion. You can’t go in there and NOT be touched by the humanity of everyone you meet – whether they work there or not. when we finish our concerts there, it feels like I’ve been given a gift.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
10/22-10/23 Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge, Denver, CO
10/25-10/26 Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA