“Blue Note Jazz Festival
FINDING THE FUNK: Directors Cut
IFC Center | June 12, 2014
In association with Jill Newman Productions
323 6th Ave. @ West Third St.
New York, NY 10014
Thursday June 12, 2014
Purchase Tickets Here
FINDING THE FUNK is a road trip in search of the past, present and future of funk music. Starting with funk’s roots in Jazz and the James Brown bands of the ’60s we travel to the Bay Area to celebrate Sly & the Family Stone, then to Dayton the birthplace of so many of funk’s originators, then Detroit where from the ashes of Motown, P-Funk’s Mothership arose, and onto LA where a new crop of musicians are creating their own funk history. On our journey into Funk, we talk to legends Sly Stone, Bootsy, George Clinton, Nona Hendrix, Maceo Parker, Bernie Worrell, and Steve Arrington and their descendants Mike D, D’Angelo, Sheila E, Shock G and Stuart Matthewman. Narrated by Questlove of the Roots.
” Mumbo Jumbo”
Bobby McFerrin & Questlove
In Musical Dialogue
The Town Hall | Friday June 13, 2014
Produced by Jill Newman Productions
The Town Hall
123 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
ON SALE @ TICKETMASTER
$45 – $85
For decades Bobby McFerrin has broken all the rules. The 10-time Grammy winner has blurred the distinction between pop music and fine art, goofing around barefoot in the world’s finest concert halls, exploring uncharted vocal territory, inspiring a whole new generation of a cappella singers and the beatbox movement. He redefined the role of the human voice with his a cappella hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” his collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea and the Vienna Philharmonic, his improvising choir Voicestra, and his legendary solo vocal performances.
Most people don’t know that Bobby came from a family of singers. Bobby’s father, the Metropolitan Opera baritone Robert McFerrin, Sr., provided the singing voice for Sydney Poitier for the film version of Porgy & Bess, and his mother Sara was a fine soprano soloist and voice teacher. Bobby grew up surrounded by music of all kinds. He remembers conducting Beethoven on the stereo at three, hiding under the piano while his father and mother coached young singers, dancing around the house to Louie Armstrong, Judy Garland, Etta Jones and Fred Astaire. He played the clarinet seriously as a child, and he began his musical career as a pianist, at the age of 14. He led his own jazz groups, studied composition, toured with the show band for the Ice Follies, played for dance classes. Then one day he was walking home and suddenly he understood that he had been a singer all along. Bobby’s history as an instrumentalist and bandleader is key to understanding his innovative approach to mapping harmony and rhythm (as well as melody) with his voice. “I can’t sing everything at once,” he says, “but I can hint at it so the audience hears even what I don’t sing.”
All that pioneer spirit and virtuosity opened up a great big sky full of new options for singers; so did Bobby’s experiments in multi-tracking his voice (Don’t Worry, Be Happy has seven separate, over-dubbed vocal tracks; Bobby’s choral album VOCAbuLarieS (with Roger Treece) has thousands). But virtuosity isn’t the point. “I try not to “perform” onstage,” says Bobby. “I try to sing the way I sing in my kitchen, because I just can’t help myself. I want audiences to leave the theatre and sing in their own kitchens the next morning. I want to bring audiences into the incredible feeling of joy and freedom I get when I sing.”
André Previn has enjoyed a number of successes as a composer. His first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque. Recent highlights include the premiere of his Double Concerto for Violin and Double Bass for Anne-Sophie Mutter and Roman Patkoló, premiered by the Boston Symphony in 2007. His Harp Concerto commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony premiered in 2008; his work “Owls”, was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2008; his second opera, “Brief Encounter”, commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera premiered in 2009; and his double concerto for violin and viola, written for Anne-Sophie Mutter and Yuri Bashmet, received its premiere in 2009.
For his 80th birthday celebrations in 2009, Carnegie Hall presented four concerts which showcased the diversity of his career. Other highlights this season include concerts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, and the Czech Philharmonic at the Prague Spring Festival.
Bobby McFerrin’s tour schedule in 2014-2015 features a number of exciting projects. Bobby will welcome local musicians and dancers onstage for Bobby Meets Paris, Bobby Meets Stockholm, and Bobby Meets Cleveland. He’ll perform throughout the US, Candada, Europe and South America with the bluesy, roots-influenced Spirityouall band, singing his own versions of classic spirituals alongside original tunes; he’ll sing material from the choral album VOCAbuLarieS with the 18-voice a cappella group SLIXS & Friends; and in 2015 he’ll play duets with his longtime friend collaborator Chick Corea.
Drummer, DJ, producer, culinary entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author and member of The Roots – Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, is the unmistakable heartbeat of Philadelphia’s most influential hip-hop group. He is also the Musical Director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and soon to be The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, where his beloved Roots crew serves as house band. Beyond that, this 4-time GRAMMY Award winning musician’s indisputable reputation has landed him musical directing positions with everyone from D’Angelo to Eminem to Jay-Z.
Questlove has appeared as a Guest Judge on Top Chef Season 11, his food has been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appetit, and the cover of New York Magazine and seen on The View, Watch What Happens Live, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon . He is a Celebrity Ambassador for The Food Bank NYC, he is on the City Harvest Food Council, and the first Artist-in-Residence at the Made in NY Media Center. In 2013, Ahmir also released two books including the New York Times Bestseller Mo’ Meta Blues and Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation.
“Blue Note Jazz Festival
Andy Bey Solo
Blue Note Jazz Club | Mon. June 16, 2014
Produced by Jill Newman Productions
Blue Note Jazz Club
131 West 3rd Street
New York, NY 10012
MON. JUNE 16, 2014
Tickets $20 – $35
Doors 6:00pm | Showtime 8:00pm
Doors 9:45pm | Showtime 10:30pm
After a twenty two year absence from recording Andy Bey returned with four albums that have become a permanent part of the musical landscape. The 2005 Grammy Nominated American Song is a delicious celebration of one of America’s great gifts to the music world: The American Songbook. On his new release Ain’t Necessarily So Bey brings the energy of live performance to compositions by the gods of American Songwriting. Insiders have always known about Andy Bey. Given his limited output of studio recordings, live performances were the source of Bey’s reputation as singer. Aretha Franklin reminisces about the nights when Andy and The Bey Sisters worked the Village in New York: “Soon as I finished my gig I’d run over to hear them. Andy never got the recognition he deserved . . . jazz originals . . . brilliant and precious.” Like the playground legend who never made it to the NBA, Andy Bey was almost consigned to the fading murmurs of those who caught him in Paris in ‘59, or Birdland in the mid ‘60s. There are few left who remember when Lena, Nina and Carmen crowded into Harlem’s Shalimar to hear Bey light it up. That tantalizing footage of Andy Bey and his sisters delighting a crowd of Parisian partygoers in the Chet Baker documentary Let’s Get Lost, gives us a clue of the years of brilliance that were never committed to vinyl. One can only imagine what we’ve missed. But, we have been blessed with four records that have changed how we think of Jazz vocals. Decades intervened between those after hours below the radar sessions and the 1996 recordings presented on Ain’t Necessarily So. But the vivid performances haven’t dimmed. Like so many before him, British vocalist Jamie Cullum described what it’s like to fall under Bey’s spell: “Andy Bey was at Ronnie Scott’s and I saw him six nights in a row. I got into a huge amount of debt going to see Andy Bey. What I love about him is that he creates an atmosphere. As soon as he opens his mouth, you’re transported to another place.”
A recording of standards has become the default option for artists in search of an audience or a late career boost. A new cadre of singers has been anointed keepers of the Songbook flame. But as The New Yorker observed, the proof is in the listening: “The “jazz vocal section of your record store is probably dominated by young white singers , but Andy Bey an African-American veteran has made this year’s record to beat.” Andy Bey’s live performance, on Ain’t Necessarily So makes the point that the best performers raise the standards by drawing more from a song than the obvious. At 67 Andy Bey is one of the last major performers with a personal connection to the era. But he refuses to be bound by precedent. He invests these eight songs with an accumulation of musical sensibilities that make them sound as if they were born yesterday. The songs may be standards, but the interpretations are by no means routine. As People magazine confirmed “American song has met an American Master.”
The release of an Andy Bey recording is a cause for celebration. During the last five decades Bey’s deeply engaging four octave baritone voice has taken on the character of a musical instrument. Was that a bowed bass or a ship’s horn through the fog? An Alto flute or cascading water? Since the critical acclaim surrounding the release of Ballads, Blues and Bey in 1996, much attention has been paid to the fact that Andy Bey did not record as a leader for over two decades. His absence was, as Newsday put it, “like having Ella Fitzgerald take a vow of silence.” But the truth is that Mr. Bey did not aspire to be a star, he strove to be an artist. And he has actively engaged in cultivating and manifesting his gift during his entire lifetime. Bey approaches the discipline like the great musician he is. But, his performances are more than musical exercises. Frank Wess says “What’s special about Andy Bey is that he knows how to tell the story.” Al Pryor in Jazziz wrote that Bey “reminds us of how emotionally powerful the great American song can be.” Bey’s four albums since his reemergence have become legend.
Andy Bey has been hailed as a cultural phenomenon, and has been applauded by the tastemakers of contemporary music. From Pharrell Williams to Mos Def, and Jamie Cullum, Andy Bey has become an icon for the next generation, many of whom attend his performances not only for the pure pleasure, but also for enlightenment at the feet of a master.
Andy Bey will have a new, Solo CD, to be released on HighNote Records June, 2013. “The World According To Andy Bey,” will surely be a treasure the world will embrace.
Andy Bey MySpace »
“Blue Note Jazz Festival
B.B.King Blues Club & Grill | Thursday June 27, 2014
Produced by Jill Newman Productions
B.B.King Blues Club & Grill
237 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
THURS. JUNE 27, 2014
Tickets $35 – $70
Doors 6pm | Showtime 8pm
Time away from the spotlight can be a bad thing. To say the album title is fitting would be an understatement. Chrisette is giddy and proud to share the name of her fourth album with anyone who asks if only because she is a living embodiment of the word. “I’ve sang a lot of broken-hearted love songs because I had a broken heart from love,” says Chrisette. “I began to write a little bit darker. And for me, dark just means a song that doesn’t have a happy ending.”
On Better, even when Chrisette is laying her heart out on a table, she sounds confident and composed. Whether it’s the emotional Prince-like balladry of “You Mean That Much To Me” or the stern warning of “Snow,” Chrisette sounds independent and resolute. Even on “Soopa” a song where she explains to her lover that she won’t always be the perfect woman, Chrisette isn’t apologizing for her flaws as much she’s telling him, take it or leave it, and if you leave it, that’s okay.
Chrisette’s 18-month long journey to be the better hasn’t been completely downtrodden. “There were some really, really low and really, really high moments,” says Chrisette. “So over the past year and a half, I took the time to regroup and pull my heart together.” Chrisette insists her time away had little to do with the music industry and more to do with how she was feeling within. Around the time she began to promote her last album, “Let Freedom Reign,” Chrisette felt what in hindsight looked to be burnout. She was physically, mentally, emotionally, and artistically fatigued. So she took time for herself, traveling the world as a global citizen instead of an artist.
But along the way, Chrisette says she developed a vice – albeit not with the kind of substances we typically associate with vices like drugs and alcohol. Rather, it was an unhealthy addiction to food. “I literally gained 40 pounds,” she says. “And I began to feel not beautiful; heavy on the inside and outside.” The effects of her eating habits began take a toll on her public persona. “I would avoid everything from the red carpet to television appearances,” she says
Though Chrisette could feel and see the effects her unhealthy lifestyle had wrought, the biggest wake-up call that she was not in the best of places was in her music. “I felt myself beginning to give music that doesn’t have a happy ending.”
To get right, Chrisette began to open up in therapy sessions and in her journal about the way she was living, focusing specifically on the way she was eating. “It wasn’t natural,” she says looking back on that time period. By meticulously documenting her daily eating habits, she began to gain some introspection. “I was able to find my spiritual self, my writer, and most important to me as a girl who likes all things girly, my love for love again.”
Recognizing what was missing on her own was a crucial turning point in Chrisette’s path to better. But another important point came during a recording session with producer Harold Lilly. “Harold offered me some green stuff,” Chrisette recalls. “And I said, `No thanks, but I’d like some Reisling please.’” Lilly acted as though he didn’t hear her. “No,” he said. “You have to try this.” The green stuff Lilly was referring to was juice. “After Harold told me how green juice changed his life, I decided to try it myself and I’ve been juicing and a vegan since January of last year.”
A healthier lifestyle has begat a healthier Chrisette Michele as an artist. “A lot of artists don’t really worry about what space they’re in when they create, then they give people things that aren’t healthy,” she says. “Then you wonder why people aren’t healthy when they listen to certain types of music. It’s important for me to become healthy in order to give music.”
In other words, a better Chrisette Michele = BETTER.
Though Chrisette took her time to put together her new album, she didn’t stay completely silent. She was featured along with MusiqSoulchild on “Ah Yeah,” the single from jazz pianist Robert Glasper’s 2012 Grammy winning album, BLACK RADIO.
And in late 2012, she excited fans with a surprising free mixtape project, AUDREY HEPBURN: AN AUDIOVISUAL PRESENTATION.
The mixtape was a necessary reminder to her fans. “I went to the record label and I said, “It’s taken us a long time to put out this album, but I need to tell my fans what’s going on’,” Chrisette explains. The result is a concise but bountiful 9-track collection of soulful goodies that features collaborations with Wale, Bilal, and 2Chainz. A close listen to songs like “Rich Hipster” featuring Wale, is a good way to understand exactly what kind of changes Michele has made in her personal life like her move to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “`Rich Hipster’ is kind of my whole life,” says Chrisette. “In Williamsburg, there is a type of a look. There is a type of sound. There’s food, there’s music. I’m not afraid to be a part of that.”
Chrisette is also no longer afraid to let people in, which is part of what her campaign leading up to the release of BETTER is all about. Not only is she active on social media through her Twitter (@ChrisetteM) and Instagram (@ChrisetteMichelle), she is producing a web video series called, “Journey to Better” that gives her fans an inside look at the kind of lifestyle changes she’s made as a vegan. She’s also posing for PETA and releasing a cookbook/coffee table book called, “Fat Vegan,” which features her one of her favorite recipes, Fat Vegan pizza. “I want to make lifestyle contributions to my fans, not just musical contributions,” says Chrisette.
But it is through the musical contributions Chrisette is really going to let people into areas of her life she hasn’t previously exposed. For instance, the bedroom. “I’ve not been vulnerable on any of my past albums in a sensual way because I was so upset with love,” she says about songs like the sultry “Get Through the Night.” “I wasn’t comfortable being beautiful but this time I’m comfortable talking about the bedroom.”
Artistically, Chrisette is also comfortable with being one of the best singers in her genre. “You have to understand I’m young and when you are an R&B singer, it’s who you are by mistake. I didn’t wake up in the morning and say I wanted to sing R&B,” she says.
But on the title track, Chrisette sounds completely comfortable with the singer she is. “Secretly it’s my favorite song on the album,” she says. “This song is straight old-school R&B, it has the title. It is the type of record, and I’m going to say this because I think it’s important, that I’m an expert in.”
Whether it’s the traditional sound of the title track or the whimsy of “A Couple of Forevers” or the sleek bounce of “Charades” featuring 2Chainz, “BETTER” is about exposing Chrisette’s fans to the new Chrisette. “This album about me is about having as much fun as possible and showcasing my healing,” says Chrisette. “Being able to sing these songs is about the ability to be able to love again.”
Jill Newman Productions