The pairing of guitarists Paul Brown, smooth jazz’s top producer, and Marc Antoine was a brilliant idea. One listen to Foreign Exchange and you’ll agree. These two superstars combine a variety of genres, including pop, jazz, R&B, Brazilian & Latin music to create a perfectly smooth listening experience. Foreign Exchange is a fantastic record! All ten tracks standout; there are no fillers here.
This listener has been a fan of Marc Antoine since his early album Madrid, and felt he needed no further accompaniment on the guitar. However, Paul Brown and his Gibson L-5 electric complement Antoine and his nylon acoustic quite fabulously. Brown’s production and playing is slick, while Antoine co-produces and adds his special touch of French and Spanish flavors to the mix. Both contribute drums and percussion to some of the tunes on Foreign Exchange.
As often happens on smooth jazz albums, many songs just blend into one another without being noticed by the listener. This is certainly not the case on Foreign Exchange. All tracks differ enough from each other, so that a listener could have his or her favorites to replay. Smooth grooves like Wine Night, Flight Of The Conchords, the bluesy Brother Earl and What About Bob, the title track, and the closer Bridges of Paris are possible favorites.
These chart-topping smooth jazz masters are stellar and talented musicians, including Jerry Hey on trumpet, Philippe Saisse on keys, Dan Higgins on the sax, and Bill Rickenback on the trombone make them shine even brighter.
It wouldn’t be a too much of a stretch to say that this CD deserves to be the best-selling smooth jazz recording of 2009. Paul Brown and Marc Antoine should continue collaborating, since it is a magical combination. Foreign Exchange is a flawless collection of ultimate smoothness.
Mr. Blue-Eyed Soul, Michael McDonald, with his distinctive baritone voice, pays tribute to Motown’s greatest hits once again in this live performance for the PBS concert series Soundstage. Michael McDonald: A Tribute to Motown was taped in Memphis, Tennessee, hometown to McDonald and most of his band members.
The Grammy Award-winner, along with some special guests, performs classics from his two critically acclaimed and highly successful Motown concept albums. McDonald and guests Toni Braxton, India.Arie, Take 6 and the legendary Billy Preston, perform about a dozen of the most influential and famous American classic songs.
He jump starts the concert with Smokey Robinson’s “I Second That Emotion.” He pays homage to Stevie Wonder by performing “I Was Made to Love Her,” with Billy Preston on the keyboard and vocals, and “All in Love is Fair,” McDonald’s favorite (my favorite too).
From the Marvin Gaye vast music catalog, McDonald performs a very stirring rendition of “What’s Going On,” also with Preston, and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” And later, with the help of the very talented India.Arie, he takes on Marvin’s most famous duets with Tammy Terrell, “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing,” songs composed by Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, two of Motown’s greatest songwriting duos.
Toni Braxton joins McDonald on “Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart” and Take 5 lend its harmony to “Tracks of My Tears” and “Since I Lost My Baby.” “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever” and “Nowhere To Run” are two uplifting tunes McDonald includes in this great Motown tribute.
A Tribute To Motown runs a little over one hour and is quite enjoyable for Michael McDonald and Motown fans alike. And the audience certainly seems to be having a blast. McDonald’s “soul” shines brightly on these songs and he does a fabulous job at honoring some of America’s great songwriters by singing their timeless songs.
Today, May 24th is Bob Dylan’s 68th birthday. America’s musical poet has released 33 albums and has written and performed some of the most influential and popular songs of this century, some of which appear on Greatest Songs lists.
Let’s take a listen to some of Dylan’s timeless songs below:
Okay, so today might not be your birthday, but it is mine. So, happy birthday to me and my fellow May 23rd people.
Here are some tunes to help me celebrate. Feel free to use when it’s your birthday.
“Today is Your Birthday”- The Beatles (performed here by Paul McCartney)
“Happy Birthday” – Stevie Wonder
“Happy Birthday to You” – Mariah Carey (performed for Muhammad Ali)
“Snuffy’s Birthday Song” – Sesame Street Gang
American Idol, or rather America, chose Kris Allen as the winner. And that’s cool. He can play guitar and piano and has that singer-songwriter thing going on. He also deserves credit for showing improvements each week. He is a winner and deserves to be successful.
But, there’s no way he has the voice or the star factor of the runner-up Adam Lambert. Adam’s got the Elvis Presley look circa 1968 and a touch of the Freddie Mercury flamboyance, and when KISS joined him on stage, he held his own. So, I was disappointed with America’s decision, but realized that it was probably best Adam wasn’t chosen. He’s better off working on his own career rather than abiding by the Idol contract restraints. He’s already a star and just needed the exposure that American Idol provides.
Here he is singing Tears For Fears’ Mad World
Federico Aubele, the Argentinean singer-songwriter and classical guitar payer, is known for blending a variety of genres and styles, including reggae and ambient. On his most recent album Amatoria, he mixes the classic and passionate sounds of the Argentine tango and the Mexican bolero. It is no surprise that Aubele records on the Eighteenth Street Lounge Music label of the master mixers themselves, the Thievery Corporation.
One of Aubele’s inspirations for his third album and its title was the Roman poet Ovid’s Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love), a poem in three books that claims to instruct on matters of the heart. Aubele composed the twelve love songs on Amatoria; sings and plays classical and electric guitars and the electronic beats on all songs; and produced the album.
Luna y Sol (Moon and Sun) and Suena Mi Guitarra (My Guitar Sounds) start things off with a reggae beat. The lyrics are sensual and set the tone of the album. For example, the first song says: En tu boca, el primer beso y todo el amor de tu luna y mi sol (In your mouth, the first kiss, and all the love of your moon and my sun).
To add a sexy female touch to the album, Aubele duets quite nicely with his wife Natalia Clavier, Sabina Sciubba, and Miho Hatori on Este Amor (This Love), Otra Vez (Once More), and Riendo Asi (Laughing Like This) respectively. These compositions standout and add substance to the album.
Even with its electronic aspects, Amatoria has an intimate feel to it. Aubele’s sultry voice and guitar-playing style easily fit into a small club with a dozen people in the audience. Hermosa is a good example of an acoustic performance in this type of setting.
Del Ayer (About Yesterday) and the upbeat Siempre Nuevo (Always New) are this listener’s favorite songs so far, but with more listens of Amatoria that might change.
Federico Aubele is an artist of many talents and proves it on this album. The man, who lived in Buenos Aires, Berlin, Barcelona, now lives in another B locale, Brooklyn, New York, allowing him to better make his mark in America. Whether he continues singing in his native Spanish or tackles English, he’s got a sensual voice that transcends languages and cultures. Amatoria is an outstanding work of art.
Visit Federico Aubele’s MySpace page to hear his music: http://www.myspace.com/aubele
David Bowie had the Number One spot on the charts on this day in 1983 with “Let’s Dance.”
Let’s take a look at his performance of this song and other classics.
Here in NYC, it’s been raining, and raining. So, in honor of all the water that keeps falling from the sky, let’s enjoy some “rain” songs.
“Here Comes The Rain Again” – Eurythmics
“Rain King” – Counting Crows
“Rain” The Beatles
“It’s Raining Again” – Supertramp
“The Rain Song” – Led Zeppelin
“Rhythm of the Falling Rain” – The Cascades
“Purple Rain” – Prince
“Blame It On The Rain” – Milli Vanilli
“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” – Bob Dylan
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
And my favorite rain song: “November Rain” – Guns N’ Roses
On May 6th, these were the Number 1 Billboard Pop Hits:
1958: “All I Have to Do Is Dream” – The Everly Brothers.
1984: “Hello” – Lionel Richie (Is it me you’re looking for?)
The following 1973 song sold 3 million records in three weeks.
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando & Dawn
Here are some past Number 1 songs on this day:
1982: “Chariots of Fire” – Vangelis.
1979: “Reunited” – Peaches and Herb.
1970: “American Woman” – the Guess Who
Your Heart Is A Glorious Machine, the sophomore album from the trio Sometymes Why, is marvelous and harmonious, and even mesmerizing at times. Aoife O’Donovan, Kristin Andreassen, and Ruth Ungar Merenda take turns singing lead on the songs in this collection. They also share the songwriting.
Sometymes Why doesn’t belong in any one genre, and that’s what makes this group so extraordinary. The trio’s music is a mix of bluegrass, folk, and country. Every song in Your Heart Is A Glorious Machine is special, and this listener can’t decide which one is her favorite.
The opening song “Aphrodisiaholic,” aside from having a great title, is a flirty love song with fun metaphors and great lyrics like: “I’m gonna take you home and love you better than Juliet. And honey, you’ll be Romeo, but even sweeter yet.” “Slow Down” and “Diamond” are both a little dark and sentimental.
“The Stupid Kiss” and “Cold Feet Blues” are cool bluegrass tunes, and could pass as Alison Krauss songs. The first one is about crossing the line between friendship and love, while the later would fit nicely at a hoedown.
“Shine It,” with its Dylanesque guitar and harmonica, offers some good advice: “Pick it, dust it off, you can do better. Pick it up, dust it off, and shine it.” The album concludes with “The Sound Asleep,” a sweet and soothing lullaby. It’s a perfect end to a perfect album.
Sometymes Why’s Your Heart Is A Glorious Machine is a piece of art created by three talented ladies. It’s an album that’ll sound good the first time and even better each time after that.
Here they are singing “Cold Feet Blues.”