EVENT Review – – The Marvin Gaye Experience – – 19 September 2014 – Presented by Mike Scott

EVENT:
The Marvin Gaye Experience
DATE:  Fri 19 Sept. 2014
VENUE:  The State Theatre Sydney  NSW  Australia
PERFORMERS:   Armondo
Hurley, Doug Williams, Pat Powell, Franchesca Appolis,
Kimi Tupaea, Keren Minshull, Noel Elmowy, Darryl Beaton, Victor Rounds, Calvin Welch, Eric Rasmussen, Sunil De Silva, James Greening, Bob Coassin, Ross Middleton.

The crowd was buzzing as we entered the State Theatre.  Many long-lost friends joyfully greeted each other while an excited expectancy grew as showtime drew nearer.

The support act – Kachina
Lewis & Sound of KoKo – who began the show, were unknown to this reviewer.  Kachina appeared a little nervous at first, but was warmly received by her audience fans allowing her obvious vocal ability to ably handle the short set which included Sade and Chaka Khan songs, and was enjoyed by the swelling crowd.

During the first interval Mike Scott spoke about his 20 year dream of presenting this event, then introduced the Wayside Chapel representative who urged the audience to donate to this worthy cause.

As the lights went down for the MARVIN GAYE EXPERIENCE first set, goose- bumps were evident as the familiar strains of a Marvin Gaye song filled the theatre.  Once the four celebrated singers had entered the stage, each singing a verse of Abraham Martin & John, we knew this was going to be an event to remember for a very long time.

The State Theatre audience was treated to a splendid menu of music, singing along to Mercy Mercy Me, How Sweet It Is, You’re All I Need, Heard It Through The Grapevine, Let’s Get it On, and Ain’t No Mountain, which closed out the set.  Each song, under the direction of musical director Noel Elmowy, was admirably interpreted, not only by the gifted singers but also by the talented band members and vocalists who individually brought further credit to the overall performance!  The interplay between the singers and band members was a joy to watch, and each musician had time to shine during performances.

The final set – which included Inner City Blues, I want You, Got to Give It Up, What’s Going On and the finalé, Sexual Healing – was truncated due to time constraints which was somewhat disappointing, only because we wanted to hear more of Marvin’s marvelous music.
Towards the end of the show, many of the audience rose to their feet, and many more gathered at stage front, dancing and singing jubilantly to the final songs.

With a standing ovation, the resounding response was a definite…
“When’s the next one?”

ThePerformers

Mike Scott
.
A very successful first effort by Mike Scott, and may there be many more …MARVIN GAYE EXPERIENCES!

CD Review – Machiniso – May 2014

Machiniso-LoS_400px Title:      Lounge-O-Scope
Label:    Independent
Year:      2012
Tracks:  4

Website:  http://www.facebook.com/Machiniso

Location:
Sydney, Australia

..
The husky, sensual and sultry vocals of Anne-Lise (pron. Anne-Leesa) Larsen is the first thing you notice when listening to this 4 track EP, superbly played by the 4 piece rhythmic combo featuring vibes, drums, bass & vocals.
Anne-Lise interprets the songs in a torch-come-vamp style jazz rather than the purist or straight ahead kind, but that’s okay because these tracks are far more accessible for the listening public than the introspective, esoteric jazz variety.

The vibes bring a melodic pizazz to each track, with “Hexotica” conjuring up images of middle eastern belly dancers gyrating to the dance of the seven veils, while “Vampire Jazz” incorporates a theatrical burlesque feel.  “The Weather” (written by Larsen) with it’s incessant drum rhythm tells the story of relationship discontent.

Anne-LiseMy pick, “Miss Lil’Lethal Blues” (remodeled by Larsen) warns potential suitors to beware of this smouldering seductress.  With lyrics that paint a vivid picture… the message is  clear… get too close and you’ll get burned!!

A professional cellist in a previous life,  Anne-Lise isn’t merely an exotic singer, she has oodles of songwriting talent as do the other musicians who all give solid performances
on this not too serious, and sometimes quite quirky CD.

 MachinisoAlbum Personnel
Anne-Lise Larson – vocals
Dave Smith –  vibraphone
Scott Leishman – bass
Rich Machine – drums

 

 

CD Review – Nina Ferro – February 2014

NinaFerro-Cover-300x265Title:      Into The Light
Label:    Independent
Year:      2013
Tracks:  11
Website:  http://www.ninaferro.com
Location:
London, England

(Note:  Nina is an Australian artist, based in the U.K.)

The first thing I do when I get a new CD is to listen to about the first 30 seconds of each track.  If the track has what I call radio appeal, that is, I consider it will keep my radio audience listening, then I keep listening.   To distinguish tracks,
I use this code:  No tick = not for airplay;  1 tick = like,  2 ticks = like a lot.

So, here’s what happened when I listened to Nina Ferro’s album…
EVERY track received at least 1 tick and some received 2 ticks!     Conclusion:  Not one mediocre track on this album.  That in itself, is extraordinary because most albums have at least one or two dodgy additions or ‘fillers’.

I absolutely love Nina’s voice.  It’s the kind of voice you don’t get sick of hearing.  Some albums sound very ‘samey’ after awhile.  Not so this album.
Nina’s voice has a beautiful maturity, with emotion permeating each song, whether it’s a beautiful ballad or a raunchy rocker.

The opening track which is somewhat reminiscent of a Michael Franti song, has a country feel, and there’s plenty more country, blues, rock, jazz and soulful influences throughout the album.

As with many songwriters, Nina’s songs are about her own experiences, and the poignancy with which she writes takes you on a journey to the very core of her soul… with many tracks giving you an insight into what has wrenched at her heart.

There’s only one problem with this CD…  choosing what song/s to play on my radio show!  They are all so accessible, not just for the casual listener, but for the demanding and critical radio audiences.
Outstanding tracks for me:   When I Find You;  Look Speak Fall;  Let You Go.

Nina has a natural gift for songwriting and telling stories that pull you in, giving you a feeling of empathy with her own experiences.

Finally, the superb Nashville-based musicians, the production, and everything about this album is pure class.
I suggest you get a copy ASAP and play it often, at home, in the car, on your ipod… in fact, whenever and wherever you have music with you.

Album Personnell:NinaFerro
Sam Hawksley –
guitar, vocals
Rob McNelley – guitars
Steve Mackey – bass
Jano Rix – drums
Michael Rojas – keys
James Farrell – keys

See album liner notes for production and songwriting collaboration details, and read Nina’s bio on her website for more info.  http://www.ninaferro.com/bio/

EVENT Review – Funk & Soul Jam – 29 Dec 2013

Soul&FunkLateNiteJam-Beth29Dec13EVENT:  Funk & Soul Jam
DATE:     Sun 29 December 2013
VENUE: Blue Beat, Double Bay
NSW, Australia
PERFORMERS:  Sarina Jennings, Carlos C Major, Lauren Dawes, James Tuialii, Laura Stitt (+ Uncle Jed – Shannon, Ben Ackland, Dave Jackson, Adam Pringle, Noel Mason, Simon Ferenci), Victor Rounds, Marcello Maio, Paul Mason, Abe Rounds, Danny G Felix, David Weir,  Nic Jeffries, Salvatore Santoro, Dauno Martinez, Josue Vilches and Elias Vilches

The fourth in a series of events created and produced by promoter Beth McLachlan, this event was not only about the music, it was also a mighty fine excuse to celebrate her 40th birthday!

We arrived mid-way through the nights proceedings to find an almost full house of people partying to the heady vibe that permeated Blue Beat.  Being a Sunday night and 2 days before New Years Eve I’d wondered if many people would venture out, but I was thrilled to find the funk & soul fans enthusiastically appreciating the excellent program of music.

Laura Stitt (of UNCLE JED, the recent “Australia’s Got Talent” contest winner), was in ultra fine form, at one point causing the audience to stop in their tracks to gaze in awe at her sensational singing talent ably assisted by the boys in the band.

Sarina Jennings, Lauren Dawes, James Tuialli, Carlos C Major, Nic Jeffries, Victor Rounds… all sang their hearts out, while the muso lineup was a virtual who’s who of Sydney’s soul & funk scene.  With generous crowd encouragement, each artist took turns in showcasing their considerable artistry.

One of the night’s highlights was when Amelia Rounds, playing bass, joined her father – the ubiquitous Victor Rounds [playing keys at that stage] – and brother Abe on drums, for her first ever “professional” performance playing Sly Stones’ “Everyday People”, which nearly brought the house down!

After the second set came to a close, DJ Sam Z kept the crowd entertained until more muso’s took to the stage, including Dauno Martinez, Josue & Elias Vilches and others, with Victor taking over the mic to continue the jam late into the night.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening of splendid selections played by a plethora of talented muso’s featuring fantastic musicianship, presented with skill, dedication and happy abandon!

The crowd enjoyed helping Beth celebrate her birthday in the best possible way.   Although she’s moved to Adelaide let’s hope Beth remembers to bring her talents back to Sydney to present more of these events in the not too distant future.

CD Review – Zkye – December 2013

Zkye-JustTheWayItGoes2012Title:      Just The Way It Goes
Label:    Independent
Year:      2012
Tracks:  10
Website:  http://www.zkye.com.au
Location:
Adelaide, South Australia

Born in Adelaide, Zkye (pronounced Sky) Compson-Harris has been singing since she was very young.  Unfortunately I had not heard of Zkye until I received this CD, so I had absolutely no idea what she sounded like.

After first listen, what struck me was the distinctive timbre and gutsy-ness of her voice.  I expect others have compared Zkye with many and varied blues singers from contemporary to bygone days including Koko Taylor, Etta James, Irma Thomas and Janis Joplin, and this girl certainly does not ‘look’ like her voice sounds!

If I’d heard her without seeing her, I would not have expected this diminutive diva who doesn’t just write great blues songs, she sings them with oodles of soul, gusto, passion and credibility.  And on “Just The Way It Goes” her self-penned songs fit comfortably amongst the other well-chosen selections.

Although blues based, the album has elements of rock and soul mixed with its country leanings.  The songs – full of raw emotion and heartfelt lyrics, the musicianship, the production, the CD continuity, in fact the whole shebang makes for a fine blues album which can be enjoyed time after time.

Once you’re familiar with the songs they become like comfortable slippers that you can slip into any time for a leisurely listen.
Here’s hoping Zkye makes the journey back to Sydney some time soon!

Zkye-Reddress

Zkye

Album Personnell:
Electric guitar – James Mitchell
Acoustic guitar – Pat McGrath
Drums – Greg Morrow
Bass – Damien Steele Scott
Hammond B3, Electric Piano, Piano 
Dennis Wage
Backing Vocals – Gale Mayes, Angela Primm
Diane Dixon, Callum Campbell, Zkye Compson-Harris
Produced by:  Damien Steele Scott

CD Review – Gary Honor 2012

GaryHonor-heads&TalesTitle:        Heads & Tales
Label:      Trippin’N’Rhythm Records
Year:        2012
Tracks:    13
Website:  www.garyhonor.com
Location:  Sydney, Australia

From the bright and breezy title track, Heads & Tales is an album loaded with the sorts of grooves that conjure up cruising along an ocean highway in a luxury sports car!

For comparison, although Gary is a standout player all on his own, track 3 Under the Influence gives a nod to David Sanborn’s style, although with the smooth jazz flute on Southern Exposure further stylings and playing parameters are exposed.

The single lifted from the album, Close To You  is an excellent cover of the song Maxi Priest took to No.1 on the UK charts in 1990 and features Sydney’s Briana Cowlishaw & Troy Anthony Smith on vocals.

The very funky Don’t Push It really gets into the groove with slinky sax and a killer bass-line, while Chatswood Chase has a fun-filled urgency that lifts the spirits.

Gary handles the smoother tracks with equal aplomb and dexterity, a la Island Pearl, Leave Tomorrow Behind and Dreamweaver, the latter utilising flute and didgeridoo to fine effect.

Rock The Jazzbah – one of the best track titles I’ve heard in awhile, delivers a more programmed sound with some interesting guitar & sax riffs, then Cor Blimey returns to the live feel, complete with a funky growling sax and a groove as fat as a hamburger!  Very tasty!

In conjunction with the outstanding writing and production skills of the UK’s
Oli Silk, there’s no need to flip a coin, Heads and Tales delivers the goods.

On a scale of 1 to 10… I give this set 9.5!   Highly Recommended!

GaryHonor3

Gary Honor @ Camelot May 2012

Album Personnell:
Gary Honor
soprano/alto/tenor
/baritone saxes/flute
Oli Silk piano/keys/programming/didgeridoo
Orefo Orakwue bass
Andrew Small drums
Mark Jaimes/Matt Park/Neil Youel guitar
Craig Mitten trumpet
Gary ‘Big G’ Stanionis percussion
Briana Cowlishaw and
Troy Anthony Smith vocals

Produced/Arranged by:  Oli Silk
Mixed by:  Oli Silk & Gary Honor

CD Review – Lily Dior – June 2012

LilyDior-coverTitle:        Let’s Talk About It
Label:      Independent
Year:        2012
Tracks:    12
Website:  https://www.lilydior.com
Location:  Sydney, Australia

Having been a fan of Lily’s for many years and knowing her superb talent, I was eagerly anticipating this album.  I’m even more delighted than I’d expected!

Lily had said this set would be more soulful than her previous jazz releases, which it is, but it also encompasses funk, blues, gospel, ballads, and a whole lot more.

The production is superb, the musicianship exceptional, and Lily’s musicality and singing is breathtaking.  Her writing skills, which I’d never thought about before, are outstanding and IMHO she’s up there with Diane Warren!

Although the album was in gestation for a considerable period, the time taken to ‘get it right’ has certainly paid off, and if you’ve never heard Lily before, here’s your chance to be blown away!  Be prepared for the goose bumps!

I love every song on the album, with the standouts being Love’s Like a River (co-written with Ben Fink), and the blues ballad Can’t Stop Me Crying – one of Lily’s finest compositions to date… there’s those goose bumps again!   Also included is a superb cover of Billy Holliday’s Who Needs You.

The late Carolyn Shine wrote Set Me Free and with Lily’s gospel-laden treatment, and Brendan St.Leder’s organ/piano work, this track is just sublime.  (More goose-bump material!)

Lily invited singer/composer Daryl Aberhart to contribute a couple of  songs  and he delivers two fine blues/funk tracks Surely By Now and Don’t Say a Thing (Lily co-wrote the latter).

You may think I’m being dramatic, but I cannot say it any clearer – this is one of the finest albums I’ve heard in recent times!   If you don’t include this on your listening list immediately, you are missing out!  Get a copy for yourself and one for someone who’ll appreciate your exquisite taste!

Lily Dior -colour

Lily Dior

Album Personnell:
Piano/Organ/Wurly/Rhodes – Brendan St.Ledger,
Bass – Alex Hewetson
Drums – Jamie Cameron
Guitar Arne Hanna
Trombone – James Greening
Tenor Sax – Matt Keegan
Trumpet – Nick Garbett
BVs – Tina Harrod, Virna Sanzone, Mitch Anderson,
Ben Fink and Rebekah Jensen.
String arrangements: Sarah McCallum.
Produced by:  Lily Dior
Sound Engineer & Mixing:  Richard Belkner