3 2 B On The Lookout 4
Welcome SoulReaderz to the first real post of 2010…
Hope NYE was as good to you as it was to TSR Admin as we were mos def on R&R status but all good things must come to an end.
Time to get back to the grind. So to start, we’ll share some info with you of peepz we think you will be hearing a lot more from this first year of the new decade…
First up: Everett James
I’ve known many individuals in my lifetime. Some I keep in contact with on the regular through social media (Bookface & Twitter) and some I haven’t seen or spoken to in a great while. Some are “Everyday People” ala Sly Stone. Some own businesses of some sort. Some are artists or promoters and some just happen to create music, namely Everett James. In fact EJ comes from a very, very musical family.
I know it’s not a new phenomenon or anything of the sort as there are quite a few musical siblings or whole families out there already, such as The Clark Sisters (my favorites), The Winans, The Isley Brothers, The Rambos (Tim Dillinger‘s favorites) and of course The Jacksons to name a few. Even Toni Braxton’s sisters had a group outside of her career in the 90’s, though they only released one LP, which from my understanding didn’t do very well on the charts for various reasons. Come to think of it I picked up the album back then but I couldn’t even hum the tune of one their songs for you right now if you paid me. I digress…
EJ and I go waaaay back to those aforementioned salad days. I fondly remember talent shows, MLK Breakfast choirs and Bele Chere performances we were either part of or had a hand in. So after doing some touring and settling in ATL he began working in earnest on his craft. We lost touch during that time but through the power of Bookface, we’ve caught up on old times and he sent me a good bit of what he’s been working on. So while a Braxton’s song escapes me, what I can hum is the tune to is this little gem from his first LP “Life“:
Everett James – “My Star”
IMHO the song has all the right elements, it’s catchy, well sung and it’s simple but on point lyrics convey that young love feeling we all like to have.
You should hear his sister belt a tune. Though she has toured with several artists adding her angelic voice to their shows and arrangements, she opted to take those incredible talents and use them in the arena of teaching our youth about the joys of music. TSR salutes her for that but I can’t help but wonder what the world may be missing with her not on a National Stage sharing that gift…
I’ll see if I can get her to part with some music to share on TSR one day…
EJ also shared with me that he’s been back in his studio working on some new sounds to share with the world since being inspired and buoyed by his recent marriage and expectation of a welcome addition to the Harrell family. Check his his Twitter page here to wish him success on both fronts and peep more of his music at his bandcamp page here too.
Moving right along, I’d like to put this statement out there for readers to marinate on… “There is nothing else in the world like Jazz music…Honestly.” – TSR
Jazz is not formulaic, Cookie-Cutter or robotic in nature. No way, no how. Not when it has upwards of eighteen different variations within the genre’s confines, all of which have their own unique nuances and strong followings. Jazz, unlike some other music classifications, does not have to struggle to constantly be cutting edge or re-invent itself to keep listeners intrigued. It just flows and breaths on another level, taking on a life of it’s own when the artist is at one with their instrument and begins to improvise a melody. All that being said, there have been occasional forays of Jazz into other genres as well since it’s very nature can more often than not be seamlessly woven into other completely different branches of the music tree.
Of course on the Hip-Hop side there have been a number of groups that successfully have incorporated and interpolated one of the oldest genres into their musical creations such as A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Gangstarr to name a few. And from the other end of the spectrum there is also the Hidden Beach imprint’s “Unwrapped” series and other similar compilations that take the R&B and Hip-Hop hits of yesteryear and today, strip them almost completely of their previous vocals leaving only the familiar semblance of the original production for the Jazz artist to then use as a new canvas to create on. I for one really dig those compilations as they more often then not are right on the money with their reworking/rendition.
Especially when I want to hear the song but maybe not the actual vocals from the original artist.
Example: As great a songwriter as Ne-Yo has been for other artists, I for one, don’t really care to hear him sing his own stuff.
So something like this
Streetwize – “Miss Independent” by Ne-Yo
is right up my alley.
Which brings me the LP at hand from The Jazz Boyz.
TJB is an instrumental Jazz group, based in Washington D.C. and co-lead by saxophonist Marcus H. Mitchell and flautist Trey Eley as well as produced by David Joubert, who pulls double duty as their keyboardist as well.
Almost in the same vein as the aforementioned Unwrapped and Streetwize compilations, The group’s recent full length set has taken some of the myriad of hits that Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and the stable of various artists that either formerly or still do reside on his Bad Boy imprint, re-crafting them into their own restyling, while still keeping the original flavor intact.
The Jazz Boyz – “Luvin’ You Tonight”
for example. Any music lover worth their weight in vinyl would know those familiar opening chords anywhere. Couple that with the fact that the notes being played are in a lower register to almost emulate Biggie’s voice on the track and if you close your eyes tight enough and wish real hard you can almost convince yourself you hear his baritone afresh. That’s not the only classic that gets the Jazz Boyz treatment either as the LP ranges from Biggie to Faith to Craig Mack to even Yung Joc.
Also of note, if you want to check Trey & Marcus live, you can do so on Jan 16th as they perform with the legendary Chuck Brown @ The Half Note Lounge in Bowie, MD for the Music for America Concert Series. The CD being created from this series of concerts will help to support the Grammy Cares Foundation. If you’re gonna be in the area around that time, then click here to go to Marcus’ website for tickets & info. Oh and also click here for the LP’s purchase info.
Last but mos def not least, make sure to keep your ears open for the homie Dubbs Lane.
Fresh off his win at 50 Mics in the DMV last year, Dubbs is setting himself up to be a major contender in 2010. I’ve known Dubbs since my Navy days back in VA as we were stationed on the same ship. Wasn’t long before we figured out we both did music and linked up on a song or two like this one here that we did for a talent show the ship was holding
SquarerootZ – Rock It, Shake It, Bounce It feat. Dubbs Lane
and yes, that IS me singing. It’s amazing what a 6 month deployment will do for your creativity when you can’t go anywhere for months at a time.
Long story short, we recorded it while out to sea in a little used compartment that another guy had set up as a makeshift recording booth with a mic, his PC & Sonar 3.
Once we performed this one at the show, it immediately became the entire ship’s anthem for the remainder of the deployment. We literally couldn’t walk anywhere without someone wanting to hear it.
Since then, Dubbs Lane has been cranking out mixtape after mixtape for his MySpace page and getting a lot of buzz around his name in the DMV area by completely ripping the stage down at various shows despite whatever venue he happens to be at that night.
I’m happy to say that I’ve seen his growth, so songs like this one
Dubbs Lane – “Right Now”
are fresh and new to most listeners but an example of his potential to me.
Dubbs told me that lately has been in the studio putting together tracks his new mixtape “Everybody Hates Chris but Loves Dubbs” set to drop around March, polishing up songs for his debut full length LP all while also gearing up for what he’s calling his “Marathon Run“. Meaning that he plans to drop a new mixtape every one to two months until the release of said debut album.
Three artists, three different genres, all worth spending some ear time with. Don’t ever say TSR isn’t trying to expand your horizons. Thank me later…