ROBIN STINE

* Your musical inspirations?  

I am inspired by people when they play their instrument or write songs and you feel that the music is being pulled from somewhere deep inside of them. It feels genuine and I can sense that they love the music as much as I do.

* Favorite CD's, songs, or musicians?

I don't have a set of favorites that I can pinpoint, just many people who influenced me along the way and that list is really too long to write down.

* Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

Music helps me through EVERY difficult time in my life. It inspires me to have hope, to persevere, to be compassionate toward myself and others, to live an authentic life and enjoy the moments.

*Your thoughts on the connection between music and healing--

It is a mystery how music enters your soul and lifts it. But we all know that it does.

Robin Stine BIO

On her debut album Daydream, Robin Stine brews up a genre-bending blend of original jazz and bluesy folk tunes. With sultry, enchanting vocals her songs sound as if they're straight out of a smoke-filled room in Tin Pan Alley. A mixture of sweet lullabies, sassy swinging tunes and bluesy folk tunes, Daydream speaks about the bitter and sweet sides of love. "Jazz and blues music is all about connecting with our emotions and enjoying the simple things of life. I like to write about life and love--naiveté as well as naughtiness--all rolled up in one beautiful package."

Born and raised in Kansas City, Robin began singing in church when she could barely see over a pew. All eight of the Stine children would stand in a row from oldest to youngest (that being Robin) and sing for the congregation. Later she toured and sang with the Light Singers gospel group for three years, singing in almost every state in the USA as well as Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Hong Kong and China. In college Robin began performing jazz throughout South Florida in various venues including the Jackie Gleason Theatre, Coconut Grove Arts Festival, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the Grand Bay Hotel, Sunset Place and area bookstores. During this time she also performed regularly with the band “Mike Suman's Swing City” and her own trio “Simply Stellar”, integrating elements of jazz and pop music. 

While living on the Gulf Coast of Florida for the last two years she's managed to survive two major hurricanes, composed and recorded her debut album and performed in various cities such as Pensacola, Mobile, Destin, Nashville, Miami, Los Angeles and Atlanta
.
www.robinstine.com
cdbaby.com/cd/robinstine
www.myspace.com/robinstine

SAVING JANE

Has music helped you through a difficult time in your life?

Music is the one thing that I can always count on to get me through rough
patches.  Just listening to music alone can be so healing, but writing a
song when you're in pain is one of the best outlets I've ever known.  It's
like a chance to say everything you're thinking, everything you're afraid to
say out loud-sometimes you turn it into something you can share with other
people, and sometimes it's just for you.  Either way, it's a powerful thing!

Saving Jane Bio

"Hey…do you know the words to Bobbi McGee?"

Through a haze of woodsmoke and woozy late night chorus, she almost didn't hear the question. But for some reason Marti Dodson sat back down at that campfire four years ago and made a new friend. 

At the time, Marti was a college student at Ohio State University, where she sat in the back of her classes writing songs instead of taking notes.  She brought the words to life on the rooftop of her broken down apartment building, playing around with a cheap guitar and a beginner's chordbook.

One summer night she ended up at a campfire party hosted by a local musician.  Self-conscious around the group of professional players, Marti was sitting quietly, listening to an incredible guitar player she had just met named Pat Buzzard. It was almost time to go home when Marti's girlfriend piped up, "She can sing". 

Before long Pat and Marti made a musical connection that outlasted the campfire and forged into a deep friendship.  When the duo headed into the recording studio to put down some of their songs, they contacted a local drummer to help them out with the recording process, and that's how they met Dak Goodman. 

They knew there was something special about the music, so the friends decided to start a band. They booked a show and borrowed a bass player from another local band before it occurred to them that they might need a name. Ideas were tossed around, but nothing felt right to the group. Then one late, delirious night at the studio, Marti was doodling on a blank notepad, illustrating a comic strip featuring the three of them as bungling superheroes. The title of the comic strip? "Saving Jane".

The band recruited a lead guitar player and began recording an album. Fans were drawn in quickly by the witty, snarling lyrics and emotional vocals, and Saving Jane's popularity continued to grow.  Bass player Jeremy Martin joined the group in 2002, and with the recent additions of keyboard player Joe Cochran and guitarist Mike Unger, the lineup is complete.

With their October '05 debut full length release, Saving Jane begins their introduction to the world outside of Columbus. Armed with their title track, "Girl Next Door", a defiant female anthem from the girl who never gets the guy, SJ is ready for the world.

If you're looking to get your heart broken and super-glued back together with a few hours worth of music, Saving Jane is the band for you. Don't be the last to know about Saving Jane.

www.savingjane.com
www.myspace.com/savingjane

SCOTT HUCKABAY

* Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

HEALING FREQUENCY
It took a major motorcycle accident in Arizona during
the Harmonic Convergence Weekend in the summer of 1987
for music to open my world of spiritual healing.
Before the accident, I was taking in allot drugs,
alcohol and riding like a rebel without a cause. I had
no idea what I was doing with my life. It was a dead
end. I believe that person who pulled in front of me
with their truck on that hot August day changed the
course of my life. When I woke up in a hospital room
with metal rods in my left leg and right hand, there
laid an acoustic guitar on my lap. I never did find
out who actually did leave it for me but when I picked
it up and started messing with it, a new energy I
never felt before surged through me. I had no previous
musical talents at all. It was an amazing profound
experience, a rebirth, for me. I also believe the
Great Spirit guided me to this path to share this
musical inspiration to help open up people’s
creativity on this planet. Not long after the accident
or shall I say destiny, I moved to Hawaii and
connected with a pod of wild dolphins for one year.
They were my bodhisattvas of the sea and taught me
everything I needed to know about healing sound
frequencies for this mission I am on now. I am here to
share the unconditional love through the music

BIO INFO: Scott Huckabay a.k.a. The Guitar Alchemyst
Genre: Instrumental 'Electrified' Acoustic Trance Guitar

SOLO RELEASES

"Secret Portal" (Sonic Alchemyst Productions), May 2005
"Temple of Dendara" (Sonic Alchemyst Productions), May 2004
"Virtual Altar"(Sonic Alchemyst Productions), re-released June 2000
"Alchemy"(Soundings of the Planet), released in February 1999
"Peace Dance"(Soundings of the Planet), released March 1997

ENSEMBLE ARTIST/COMPILATIONS

Mountain Meadow Meditation with Dean Evenson(Soundings of the Planet), released 2003
Sound Yoga with Dean Evenson(Soundings of the Planet), released 2003
Composer/Featured Artist on Sonic Tribe's sophomore release, Spirit Rising(Soundings of the Planet), released 2000
Sound Massage with Dean Evenson(Soundings of the Planet), released 2002
Healing Sanctuary with Dean Evenson(Soundings of the Planet), released 2002
Healing Dreams with Dean Evenson(Soundings of the Planet), released 2001
Native Healing, guest guitarist(Soundings of the Planet), released 2001
Composer/Featured Artist on Sonic Tribe(Soundings of the Planet), released 2000
Tao of Healing with Dean Evenson(Soundings of the Planet), released 2000
Live performance of Neptune's Forest featured on NPR's Echoes Living Room Concert Compilation CD Volume #5 released 1999
Sound Healing with Dean Evenson(Soundings of the Planet), released 1998
Healing Waters with Dean Evenson(Soundings of the Planet), released 1997

NOTEWORTHY ACCOMPLISHMENTS

New 2004 release, Temple of Dendara is currently playing on over 300 college radio & NPR stations across the US
Featured Artist on Sonicnet.com
Voted Guitar player of the Year by BAM Magazine in Los Angeles
Peace Dance reached #24 on the NAV Top 100 World and Acoustic Radio chart
Alchemy debuted at #21 on the NAV Top 100 World and Acoustic Radio
Alchemy won Independent Music Award for Album of the Year.
Scott has performed two live "Living Room Concerts" and interviews on the Public Radio International program Echoes, heard on over 150 PRI affiliate stations throughout the U.S.
Airplay on the nationally syndicated NPR program Hearts of Space
Music featured on the MTV program, The Real World
Featured artist of the week on broadcast.com and CDNOW
Invented well over 300 open guitar tunings
Written poetry for a book, "Angels of the Sea", published by Hay House
Featured in the film, "Quest for the Dolphin Spirit"
Creates a wide variety of multimedia projects including the recent release of "Alchemy", which incorporates an interactive CD-ROM, "The Sonic Alchemyst Journey" and the website, www.scotthuckabay.com

LIVE PERFORMANCES

Burning Man Festival (past 7 years)
Earth Day (Los Angeles), Whale Day 2000 (San Diego)
Oregon Country Fair Mainstage (7 times)+
Bumbershoot Music Festival
NAMM International Music Market for Taylor Guitars and Morley
Mountain Aire Music Festival
Many, many other festivals, events, theatres, etc, worldwide
Scott has opened for such artists as Joe Satriani, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sarah McLachlan, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Morse, Chicago and Jackson Browne

ENDORSEMENTS

Official spokesperson for Taylor Guitars, Ebow, Shure, Rapco, D'addario, Ernie Ball, Dunlap and Morley Pedals

BACKGROUND

Descended from the Chiricahua Tribe (Apache) in Southern Arizona
Involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1987 that left him partially paralyzed for one year which led him to play the acoustic guitar that created a new inspired lifestyle & sound
Musical inspirations and influences include Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Michael Hedges, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, the Edge, Jeff Buckley, Peter Gabriel, Seal & Ani Difranco

THE STORY THAT STARTED IT ALL:

Journey of the Guitar Alchemyst
With incense burning between strings, wearing bells on his right ankle, the passionate ritual begins. The stage echoes, rolling like thunder under his bare feet, pounding a mesmerizing heartbeat. Dancing in a circle, shaking his dolphin guitar like a shaman shaking his magic medicine rattle, he lifts the guitar to his lips and howls the ancient cries from the deepest seas, leading us on a mesmerizing journey...

Scott Huckabay is a brilliant guitarist whose groundbreaking style incorporates elements of Rock, Blues, Jazz and Fusion. To watch Huckabay play the guitar today, you are struck by his overall mastery of the fretboard and the way in which his fingers fly up and down the neck of his acoustic guitar. Including using a meteorite for a guitar pick, Scott utilizes every known guitar trick and then adds a few of his own just for fun. Behind the explosive dynamics and pulsating rhythm of Scott Huckabay's guitar work lies an inspiring story of healing and recovery that is perhaps, more powerful than the music itself.

Involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident during the Harmonic Convergence Weekend in Arizona, August of 1987. Doctors told him that he would never walk or use his right hand again. He turned to the acoustic guitar, for therapy and a new music began to well up from deep within his soul.

Scott attributes his healing not only to his new music, but also to the year he spent recuperating on a Hawaiian beach, swimming and being inspired by dolphins and whales. He has accepted this entire experience as a gift. Scott believes his mission in life is to share this gift with the world and to help others find healing, joy, and peace through music.

Inspired by the genius of Jimi Hendrix, as much as by dolphins, Scott's performances are powerfully electrifying. Using a violin bow, an E-bow, percussion styling, and other effects, he creates mystical landscapes that are vast and breathtaking. Scott's original style of making music with the guitar has led him to many awards, such as BAM Magazine's Guitarist of the Year Award and his release of Alchemy that won the Independent Music Award for Album of the Year.

Scott has performed with such artists as Chicago, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, Crosby, Still & Nash, Bonnie Raitt, Albert Lee, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Shadowfax, Jackson Browne, John Trudell, Toni Childs, Sarah McLachlan, Pierre Bensusan, Ram Das, Hapa, Bob Weir, and Randy Hanson. Scott has performed at various festivals, theatres, stadiums, and coffeehouses across the United States & all over the world.

Scott plays with an endless supply of energy, which he gives to his audience freely and generously. At the end of each performance, his audience is physically and emotionally renewed. Scott's music encompasses a joy of being, a passion for life, and a love for all of Earth's creatures...

A Rapturous Celebration... "At times, Scott's music is like an ancient dream, long forgotten, that transports us to the cool and misty heavens where we can find that which has been lost to us. At others, it is a passionate and rapturous celebration of life, and of the divine energy of Love that binds all living creatures and is the nature of the Universe itself. When Scott plays his music, he has a profound connection to this Divine Light that so many of us seek and yet find so elusive, and while he is playing we are able to experience that connection ourselves through his music."From an inspired fan...
www.scotthuckabay.com
CD BABY

KURT ELLING

Musical influences?

Mark Murphy is certainly the door through which I found out about the broadest range of Jazz singing possibilities. By this I mean that Mark distilled a great number of things which preceded him, and then showed how one could point them in the direction of his own new and original ideas. He recreated songbook classics and hipped up bop through his phrasing, arranging and unique vocal ingenuity. Mark shows us all that the singers' art is never done evolving. He showed how moving and dramatic an evening of Jazz singing could be. I also became aware of Kerouac and the whole Beat/Jazz connection through Mark. He has made a lifetime of innovative, truly great vocal Jazz records, and continues to innovate: I recommend Mark Murphy Sings Beauty and the Beast, Bop For Kerouac I and II, September Ballads, I'll Close My Eyes.

Jon Hendricks, of course, perfected the art of vocalese, which is the writing and performing of a lyric to a previously recorded instrumental solo. His brilliant work as a lyricist is unrivalled in this field for rhyming ingenuity and Mother Wit. His work leading the groundbreaking vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross cannot be underestimated. Jon is one of the all-time great improvising singers, and is the premier singing showman in Jazz. ANY Lambert, Hendricks and Ross side is a classic. What's more, Jon has made a number of solo records which are great. If you see Jon's name on it, it is important.

Frank Sinatra is THE example in swing and natural phrasing for all who are smart enough to know where to look. Never forget to listen to Big Frank. I especially love his live sides (At The Sands With The Count Basie & The Orchestra,
Live in Paris, any live Rat Pack stuff)

While she lived, Betty Carter was the paragon of Jazz singer as total artist, total bandleader and total business manager-head. Her recording of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" from The Audience With Betty Carter is probably the most masterful modern reinvention of a standard ballad by a vocalist to have been recorded.

Al Jarreau at his best is as inspiring and swinging a singer as you are ever likely to hear. I listened to a lot of Al in college, and learned (or, tried to learn) most of his licks beat for beat. He is a great writer, too, and I continue to check out all of Al's stuff, because it has a tendency to be very human and very beautiful. His take on Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rhondo" is a virtuoso statement beyond category.

Joe Williams brought a refinement and natural manliness to Blues-oriented Jazz singing which has gone unparalleled. His live, small group recording A Swingin' Night At Birdland (featuring Harry "Sweets" Edison) is among the hippest available. Digging him swing with the Basie Band on recordings is a necessary experience

Ella Fitzgerald, of course, brought singer's sensibility to the improviser's art, making every line she ever sang sound like the most natural and necessary thing in the world. The genuine sweetness of her personality comes through in all her recordings.

Eddie Jefferson invented a new art form. Who gets to do that? Vocalese, the aforementioned art of transcribing an instrumental solo and then writing a lyric for it belongs to Eddie alone, and could only have happened with the advent of recorded sound. God bless Eddie and also the great King Pleasure for bringing this baby to the broader world.

Tony Bennett continues to knock audiences out with his willingness to give his whole self to every audience, holding nothing back. It is his great gift - to open his heart up so completely every night on every song. I loved Tony before it was cool. However, I must admit that his comeback records in small group settings with the Ralph Sharon Trio are his best.

Andy Bey = soulful and intelligent art of the highest order. Cat can make your dog weep. A great singer/player foolishly unheralded by the broader Jazz consortium. ANY Andy Bey record is a great record.

Have you heard of Nancy King? You should have. She is a marvellous, witty, liberated Jazz singer living in the Pacific Northwest and she is great. It is a crime that she has been offered no deal by the major labels. I tell you, she could make a lot of people very happy if they only could get a hold of her sides. Especially check out her duo records with my friend Glen Moore (from the super group Oregon.)

Don't forget my lovely friend Sheila Jordan. She's also a liberated Jazz singer of the finest kind. There a lot of lessons in freedom and wisdom to be learned from a Sheila Jordan set. Pick up anything of hers you can find.

I also listened to a lot of Chet Baker coming up. He is a great teacher of how few "extras" a great song needs to communicate with real depth. Chet was a master minimalist, and yet not one iota of emotive power is ever missing from his work. Though the work he did in his youth is the first most people think of when they think of Chet, I recommend
Let's Get Lost, which he made in the year before his death (with McCoy Tyner doing magnificent work on piano).

Of course, none of this could have happened without Pops. Louis Armstrong pointed the way for all of us, infusing singing with his own complete instrumentalist's consciousness. He was a master musician and improviser on all levels. He was transparent to his audiences. Because of that, he became a friend to the world

BIO

In just over eight years, thirty-five-year-old Kurt Elling has risen
to international prominence as a groundbreaking Jazz artist,
has established himself as a composer and lyricist, and has
gone on to write and direct broadly based literary and artistic
events. Every one of his recordings for the prestigious Blue
Note label has been nominated for a Grammy Award. That’s
five consecutive nominations (with an additional nomination
Elling shared with collaborator Laurence Hobgood for arranging,
making six nominations in all).


Known as a writer and performer of lyrics in the neglected art of vocalese (putting words to the recorded horn solos of Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Paul Desmond, etc.) Elling has often interpolated images and references from such writers as Rilke, Kenneth Rexroth, Proust and Kerouac into his work. The genre’s poet laureate, Jon Hendricks, called Elling vocalese’s “next man-on-fire”. Beyond vocalese, the Down Beat article naming Elling Male Vocalist of the Year for 2000 proclaimed that, “To varying degrees, each of Elling’s CDs . . . has been vital to the evolvingart of male Jazz singing. . . They have shown the directions that male vocalists can pursue to push beyond the innovations of Mel Torme’, Joe Williams, Cab Calloway, Frank Sinatra and other fallen icons.”(Aug/00) The Chicago Tribune agreed, noting that, “in an era when bona fide young jazz singers are in perilously short supply . . . Elling seems hellbent on rewriting the definition of what jazz singing is all about.”(Feb/01)


Elling has been featured in profiles for CBS Sunday Morning, for CNN, and in hundreds of newspaper and magazine reviews and articles. The New York Times called him “hugely talented” (Jun/96) and called his shows at Birdland “good, battering entertainment.”(Jan/99) “More importantly,” said the Chicago Tribune, “Kurt Elling is going to change many listeners’ minds on the meaning and purpose of Jazz singing.”(Jan/96) Playboy Magazine named Elling “the male Jazz vocalist of the Nineties.”(Oct/98) More recently, The Guardian (UK) declared that “Elling is an omnicompetent artist of almost ruthless efficiency . . . (He) is truly a musical phenomenon.” (Feb/02) And Jazz Review (UK) opened the possibility that “Elling may be the greatest male Jazz singer of all time.” (Jan/02) He has won the Down Beat Critics’ and JazzTimes Readers Polls three years running and the Jazz Journalist Association award for Best Male Jazz Vocalist twice.


Beginning as a bandleader at age 27, Elling co-produced “Close Your Eyes,” a nine selection demo which was accomplished enough to secure a recording contract with Blue Note. With the addition of additional tracks, this demo was released and secured Elling his first Grammy nomination. Since then, Kurt Elling has been touring extensively in the U.S., and has performed to critical acclaim in Canada, Israel, Japan, Australia, and throughout most of Europe. Touring highlights have included opening for Herbie Hancock in France, performances in Carnegie Hall and at the Chicago Jazz Festival, and rarely offered consecutive engagements at both the Montreaux and the Montreal International Festivals.


With his second recording, “The Messenger,” Elling furthered his reputation (along with that of collaborator Laurence Hobgood) as a producer, arranger, and composer. Said the Chicago Sun- Times, “More than any mainstream singer to come along in recent times, (Elling) thrives on free expression . . . But as much of a wild streak as all this suggests . . . Elling imparts a sense of being in complete control of his destiny.”(Apr/97) In addressing Elling’s writing for this record, The Boston Globe said, “the lyrics (Elling) has written to Dexter Gordon’s ten minute ‘Tanya’ solo are to most attempts at vocalese what an epic poem is to a sonnet.” (May/97) In addition to a second Grammy nomination, “The Messenger” also won the Prix Billie Holiday from the Academie du Jazz in Paris and Jazz Record of the Year at the Chicago Music Awards.

“This Time It’s Love,” Elling’s third recording for Blue Note, featured new arrangements of Jazz standards, new compositions by the Elling/Hobgood team, and more of Elling’s vocalese expansions.  DownBeat gave the recording four and-a half stars and said, “Again, the singer reveals his grand gift for vocalese lyrics, “ calling his lyric to Freddie Hubbard’s classic ‘Delphia’ solo “a superb love paean”.(May/99) The record won Elling a third consecutive Grammy nomination. Elling’s next release for Blue Note was recorded live at Chicago’s storied Green Mill Lounge, where Elling still plays every week he’s not touring. “This CD reflects Elling’s utterly creative genius, tearing down conventional perceptions,” wrote the Jazz Educators Journal. (Jan/00) “An on-location recording of Kurt Elling is absolutely the way to go to capture higher measures of his literal uniqueness as a nouveau phenomenal male Jazz vocalist. A ‘live’ session truly unveils the spontaneous, sizzling charges and poetic imagination he develops in the venue, promptly pulling in the audience close-up with an intensity that is both tender and fierce . . .”(Mar/00) The record features among its guests vocalese master Jon Hendricks and Chicago’s respected tenor man, Von Freeman. Here again Elling is heard pushing the boundaries of vocalese on his tour-de-force lyric for Wayne Shorter’s signature composition, “Night Dreamer”. The Grammy nomination for “Live in Chicago” marks Elling’s fourth consecutive nomination. Elling has also gone beyond Jazz performance to write and direct more broadly based literary and artistic events, most notably in works commissioned by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. In 1998 he undertook a critical, multi-dimensional exploration of the life and work of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. In reviewing the show, The Chicago Tribune called it “audacious” and “provocative . . . Elling’s [treatment] turned a fairly predictable survey of Beat Literature into a more balanced view of a key chapter in American history. Here was an evening of poetry and music informed by a sense of morality, as well as an aversion to politically correct points of view.”(Jan/98) This show was remounted to further critical acclaim at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia, and at the Galway Festival in Ireland. Mr. Elling was commissioned one year later to create an event fusing Jazz and modern dance, this time featuring his wife, professional dancer Jennifer Elling. Again Elling was praised as an innovator. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that, “Having risen as a Jazz singer on the wings of modern poetry, including his own, (Elling) is in full thrall of art’s interactive possibilities.”(Feb/99) The Chicago Tribune agreed, proclaiming, “Because spoken word, subtle lighting design, fluid stage direction and a heady spirit of improvisation all play key roles, the evening touches on more aesthetic forms than one generally encounters in a week’s worth of concert going. . . So many of these vignettes prove eloquent – with the crisp imagery of Elling’s lyrics enhanced by the abstract, poetic motion of the dancers – that it’s difficult to single out highlights.”(Feb/99) The most significant commission to date has come from the City of Chicago, which invited Elling to write, direct, perform in and host a ninety-minute performance event for its millennial celebration.  Two guests from every country in the world were invited to Chicago and were hosted by the city for a week long celebration, “The Whole World Comes Home To Chicago.” Elling’s production, “This Is Our Music, These Are Our People”, served as the showcase of the city’s artistic life. The show featured blues great Buddy Guy, Von Freeman, author and historian Studs Terkel, word artist Ken Nordine, Illinois’ Poet Laureate the late Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, members of the Joffrey Ballet, visual art from Ed Paschke and Tony Fitzpatrick and a ninety voice gospel choir, The Reginald McCracken True Voices of Christ Concert Ensemble. The Chicago Tribune called the results “stirring . . . magical . . . Such seamless blends of talent resulted from long hours of planning . . .”(Jan/00)


In February of 2001, Elling created yet another new work for the Steppenwolf Theater. For this production, titled “LA/CHI/NY”, he invited one poet and one musician from each of America’s three great cities to bring the sounds of their environments to the stage in a new collaboration. Poets Kamau Daa’ood and Tracie Moore represented Los Angeles and New York, with Elling himself speaking for Chicago. The musical ensemble featured Elling’s Blue Note label mate, New Yorkerdrums, with Chicago’s Mars Williams (NRG Ensemble, Liquid Soul) playing tenor saxophone. The Sun-Times wrote, “. . . ‘LA/CHI/NY’ was less about geographical connections than spiritual ones. But it radiated such good vibe, you can only hope that plans to take it east and west come to fruition.”(Feb/01) The Tribune went further, saying, “Someone, somewhere ought to give Elling the means to take stage work, or any of his others, and bring them to fruition through a longer engagement. With that opportunity, Elling might truly be able to change the way audiences think about jazz, poetry and life in America.”(Feb/01)


Elling’s next Blue Note recording, entitled “Flirting With Twilight”, was released in the summer of 2001. The rhythm section for that release featured collaborator Laurence Hobgood on piano, bassist Marc Johnson (Bill Evans, Steps Ahead, Bill Frisell) and drummer Peter Erskine (Weather Report, John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine Trio). Reviewers were stunned. DownBeat wrote that “ . . nothing . . . prepared me for Elling’s accomplishment on ‘Flirting With Twilight’, a cohesive, highly personalized exploration of 12 demanding love songs . . . which he addresses with the legato grace of a master ballroom dancer.”(Dec/01) JazzTimes, “With ‘Flirting With Twilight’ . . . Kurt Elling continues his triumphant reign as the thinking man’s vocalist.”(Dec/01)


Since the release of “Flirting . . .”, Kurt Elling has been busy writing, directing and touring. He has co-written, directed and performed in another show for the Steppenwolf Theater called “Petty Delusions and Grand Obsessions”. Elling collaborated in its creation and performance with Steppenwolf co-founder, the actor Terry Kinney (“Oz”). Elling has also produced and directed a show featuring fellow singers Jon Hendricks, Mark Murphy and Kevin Mahogany. Excitement about that show, called “Four Brothers”, landed all four singers on the cover of DownBeat Magazine.(Dec/ 02) The headline read, “Full Vocal Attack: Kurt Elling unites Mark Murphy, Jon Hendricks and Kevin Mahogany For A landmark Summit.” That show is touring Europe in the summer of 2003. U.S. dates are in the planning stages for the following fall and winter.


A new record, “Man In The Air”, will be available July of 2003. For this new recording, Elling wrote and performed lyrics for nine Jazz compositions he believes to be modern classics. Great compositions from writers like Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Bobby Watson and Joe Zawinul all receive the Elling treatment. Writes biographer Lara Perigrinelli, “It was unavoidable: Elling ambitiously applied his literary talents to the music of Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard. By comparison, the challenges on “Man in The Air” are subtler. Rather than pyrotechnics, the success of these pieces tends to hinge on vocal control, sonic atmosphere, and use of space. Their lyrics follow suit. Elling wrestles with themes of love, life, loss, and the indefatigable human spirit in all of their complexities without allowing himself to indulge in clichés or platitudes.”(May/03) The album features intelligent, swinging performances from guest artist Stefon Harris and from Elling collaborator Laurence Hobgood.


In addition to working to forward his own career, Elling served as a national trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences beginning in 1999, In May of 2003, he was elected Vice Chair of the 17,000 member service organization. Mr. Elling is proud of his association with the Academy, and looks forward to the challenges which lie ahead.
www.kurtelling.com

EVERETTE HARP

* Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

Music has always been the one sustaining constant in my life. I've learned in life that I can depend on the 2 things without fail.....God and my music. They are always there for me. Two years ago when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer I was working on my latest cd "All For You". It was hard to put my full concentration into the cd, but when I did get into it I was magically carried away. It turned out to be one of my favorite cds that I've been blessed to record.

BIO

As the 90's progressed and smooth jazz artists began incorporating more hip-hop and classic R&B grooves into the music which came to define the genre, Everette Harp found himself ahead of the curve. Raised in church and weaned on gospel and soul music, the Houston born saxman on his first two Blue Note recordings, Everette Harp (1992) and Common Ground (1994), was already leaning this way, combining dynamic funk edges and urban textures into the mix. His popular 1997 tribute to Marvin Gaye's 1971 watershed album What's Going On combined the best of his two worlds, modern day contemporary jazz and the classic soul he grew up with. 1998's Better Days further solidified his place among the chart-toppers of smooth jazz. While on his previous albums, Harp sought to push the envelope stylistically and show off all of his abilities as writer, arranger, producer and player (even of straight ahead jazz), For the Love strips away the diversions and focuses purely on Harp's ability to convey powerful emotions via lyrical playing, beautiful melodies and sensuous rhythms.

While high ambition has always been Harp's trademark as an artist and performer, on For the Love, the saxman looked forward to the challenge of letting go of pretension, focusing on the love of song and above all, keeping things simple. "I've always looked upon each album as a learning experience, and for me that used to mean trying to fill each song with huge arrangements and every sonic idea that came to mind, scattering styles on the other songs once the radio tunes were recorded, and playing a lot of notes. But like George Duke has long told me, there is an art form to being simple and communicating honestly. The result, I believe is my most focused project to date."

Keeping with that sensibility, the album title For the Love is not simply a reflection of the very romantic vibe found in many of the collection's titles. Rather, it refers to his overall intention to play from the heart for the love of the music. "The title encompasses the whole feeling of the project and the personal place I'm in right now. There's less riffing, less eclecticism and more real feeling. I stepped back a bit and took a more laid back approach. That was a bit of a struggle at first, but I absolutely love the results."

To help him find that crucial balance, Harp brought in veteran producer Steve Dubin (George Benson, Al Jarreau, Richard Elliot) to co-write (with Harp) and produce six of the tracks -- the bubbly retro-funk opener So Automatic, the soulful hip-hop flavored romance I Just Can't Let Go, the edgy, throbbing alto showcase Right Back Atcha (featuring Ricky Peterson's lively electric piano), the bluesy and atmospheric Love Conditionally, the snappy and percussive jam Dancin' With You (with Doc Powell's crisp electric guitar harmonies and solo) and Put It Where You Want It, a rollicking, brassy and blues-drenched cover of a Crusaders classic conceived as a duet between Harp and electric guitarist Jeff Cobb. "Steve knew my reputation as a guy who loved big and beautiful productions, and I knew he would bring a centered approach and a sensibility to the tunes which radio would respond to," says Harp. "His objective point of view added so much to the recording process."

Harp produced the moody, eloquent soprano piece I Miss Me With You, which he co-wrote with popular smooth jazz keyboardist Brian Culbertson; and a lush, dreamy soprano-driven cover of the Stevie Wonder chestnut, Where Were You When I Needed You. For the Love also features two magnificent vocal tracks -- the R&B/pop flavored I Can't Take it Anymore, featuring the up and coming group 20/20 and produced by Buster and Shivani, and We Don't Have To Say Goodbye, on which Harp shows his own strong vocal abilities; the track was co-produced by co-writer Shaun LaBelle.

As with his previous recordings, For the Love features some of smooth jazz and R&B's most dynamic and acclaimed musicians. Aside from those previously mentioned, Harp is joined by keyboardist George Duke (on I Can't Take It Anymore and Where Were You When I Needed You), guitarists Ray Fuller, Tony Maiden and Paul Jackson, Jr.; bassists Larry Kimpel and Alex Al; drummer Li'l John Roberts and percussionist Lenny Castro.

Most musicians can reach back and find a turning point moment when they realized exactly what their lives would be about. But as with his lifelong, ever powerful faith in God, Everette Harp only remembers that he always played music. He started playing piano at two, sax at four and says, "It was just like breathing for me." Born and raised in Houston the youngest of eight children, Harp's most profound early influences were the gospel music he heard at the church where his dad was the minister and the great jazz performers he began listening to in high school -- Grover Washington, Jr., Hank Crawford and Stanley Turrentine. After graduating from North Texas State as a music major, he worked for a brief time as an accountant before playing in a handful of local bands and picking up studio jingle work.

Harp moved to Los Angeles in 1988, and his career as a sideman took off; after a brief tour with Teena Marie, he traveled internationally with Anita Baker (an association that went on and off until 1995), performed with Sheena Easton and Kenny Loggins and began developing his studio chops behind such artists as Patti LaBelle. Harp signed a solo deal with Manhattan/Blue Note in 1992 and recorded his self-titled debut between tours with George Duke and Marcus Miller.

That album's popularity led to further developments which established Harp as one of smooth jazz's greatest ambassadors -- a date at the Montreaux Jazz Festival; a tour with labelmate Rachelle Ferrell; playing alongside President Clinton, performing Your Mama Don't Dance at the 1993 Inaugural ball (Clinton borrowed one of Harp's saxes for the occasion!); and appearing weekly with The Posse on The Arsenio Hall Show. In the later Nineties, his sax was heard performing the theme song for Entertainment Tonight, as well as the Soul Train theme (Produced by George Duke), which is still being heard over the main titles. He also played the main title theme to Roger Ebert at the Movies. Over the years, Harp has also performed and/or recorded with a wide variety of pop, R&B and jazz superstars -- Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick, Jeffrey Osborne, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Al Jarreau, After 7, Phil Perry, Go West, Natalie Cole, Chante Moore, Will Downing, John Tesh, Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, Chaka Khan, Stanley Clarke, Michael McDonald and Larry Carlton among others.

While Harp has cut back on his side gigs over the past few years to focus more on his solo career and other musical endeavors, the one superstar association he has continued is with Kenny Loggins. Over the past two years, Harp has opened for Loggins' concerts with his own band, then joined the singer/songwriter as keyboardist, saxophonist and backing vocalist. "I love playing for other artists because I can show up, have a good time and not have to worry about anything beyond doing a great performance," Harp says. "I've learned so much from working with different artists. Anita Baker taught me all about stage presence and audience rapport, while studying Kenny's amazing musicianship has helped build my own musicality. Also, production Zen-master George Duke taught me musical maturity and an amazing amount about how to produce great records."

Two of Harp's brothers followed in their father's footsteps by becoming Baptist ministers, and the saxman feels that playing music is his way of bringing the love of God to his own audience. "I see my music and career as a gift from God, as though I am simply a conduit with a force working through me to entertain people and make them happy," he says. "My spiritual side helps me get in touch with my emotional side, and together, they create the feeling that comes from my horns. Before every performance, my band and I pray that God help us fill our audience with the love of music He has given us. My focus is always on God and influencing my listeners in a positive way."

... played alongside President Clinton at the '93 Inaugural Ball. (Bill Clinton borrowed one of Everette's saxes for the occasion!)

... appeared with The Posse on the Arsenio Hall Show!

... can be heard nighly playing the theme song for Entertainment Tonight ...

... and on At The Movies with Roger Ebert ...

... as well as performing the theme song for Soul Train!

... has been on tour with Anita Baker!

... performed on John Tesh's "Live at Red Rocks".

... was a featured artist at the "Montreux Jazz Fesival" for 2 consecutive years.

... did a Jimmy Hendrix remake with Tony Williams and Stanley Clarke.

... toured with Al Jarreau in Europe.

... has been a Bluenote recording artist since 1990

... was a featured artist on "Soul Train's Christmas Special" in 98 and 99.

Everette has performed & recorded with or for ...

Babyface
Anita Baker
Quincy Jones
George Duke
Bonnie Raitt
Lyle Lovett
Isley Brothers

James Brown
Vanessa Williams
Brian McKnight
Luther Vandross
Dionne Warwick
Jeffery Osborne

Aretha Franklin
Gladys Knight
Billy Joel
Al Jarreau
After 7
Peter Cetera

James Ingram
Sheena Easton
Phil Perry
Go West
Natalie Cole
Chante Moore

Will Downing
Branford Marsalis
Herbie Hancock
Tony Williams
Wayne Shorter
Chaka Khan
Earl Klugh

Stanley Clarke
Kenny Loggins
Michael McDonald
Larry Carlton
Teena Marie
Marcus Miller
Pattie LaBelle
Lou Rawls

... and many others!

www.everetteharp.com

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