Lalah Hathaway Talks Playboy Jazz Festival Debut, New Album, 5 Grammys and Tour with Mary J Blige

Lalah Hathaway Makes Playboy Jazz Festival Debut This Sunday June 11
 
by A. Scott Galloway
 
Many fans might be surprised to learn that Lalah Hathaway – who has collaborated with numerous jazz artists from Marcus Miller to Joe Sample – has played most of the grandest jazz festivals around the world but never performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival. She’s never even been to one as a spectator! That’s all about to change when she takes the stage at Playboy Jazz Festival 2017 – Sunday, June 11 – with some nice surprises in store. She talks about a new album dropping this summer, how she is so NOT an overnight sensation, what her 5 Grammy wins mean to her, her upcoming tour with Mary J. Blige and more in the memory lane conversation below with A. Scott Galloway, a music journalist who has been writing about the lady and her music since her very first album in 1990.
 

Prepare to Dance to Kenny Garrett Sunday at Playboy Jazz Festival 2017

Sax Man Kenny Garrett Aims To Make The Crowd Move In “Do Your Dance” Collaboration with Dance Ensemble Jazz Antigua at Playboy Jazz Festival 2017
 
by A. Scott Galloway
 
Saxophonist/Composer Kenny Garrett is no stranger to the Playboy Jazz Festival both as a leader and featured sideman. This year on Sunday June 11, he is animating a special presentation of his most recent CD, Do Your Dance (Mack Avenue – 2016), by joining forces with the Jazz Antigua dance ensemble for a set that promises to be soulful, multi-cultural, highly contagious and irresistibly interactive! His band will include pianist Vernell Brown Jr. (an L.A. native whose family will be in the house), drummer Marcus Baylor, bassist Corcoran Holt and percussionist Rudy Bird. Garrett breaks down what we can expect in the quick chat that follows.
 

The Drums Will Speak of Legacy at Playboy Jazz Festival 2017

Drummer Carl Allen To Salute Elvin Jones and Art Blakey at Playboy Jazz Festival 2017
 
One of the true jazz highlights of this year’s Playboy jazz Festival will be drummer Carl Allen wearing his bandleader hat fronting a band that will pay tribute to jazz drumming immortals Art Blakey (leader of the legendary Jazz Messengers band- a school through which scores of then-young lions such as Horace Silver, Donald Byrd, Wayne Shorter and Lee Morgan graduated with flying colors) and Elvin Jones (the mercurial titan most famous for being a member of John Coltrane’s classic quartet – including A Love Supreme – and as a leader in his own right).
 

Charlie Wilson 2017 – As He Wins…We Win!

Charlie Wilson Is Back and In It To Win It!
by A. Scott Galloway
February 15, 2017
 
Charlie Wilson, the former lead singer of The GAP Band (“Outstanding,” “Party Train,” Yearnin’ For Your Love,” “Burn Rubber”) releases his eighth solo album Friday, February 17, entitled In It To Win It (RCA). It is a testament to his rarified longevity and greatness that his special guests range from Lalah Hathaway, Snoop Dogg and (with mild controversy) Robin Thicke to Pitbull, Wiz Khalifa and T.I. on songs that run the gamut stylistically from R&B, Club, Gospel and Pop. “Uncle Charlie” has also just embarked on a two month tour with Fantasia, Johnny Gill and a new duo named Solero that is part of his affiliated P Music Group production company.
 
In the chat that follows, The Urban Music Scene Music Editor A. Scott Galloway talks with Wilson about this sweet spot where he’s arrived in his enviable career.
 

Austin, Cole, Bridgewater and more to Salute Natalie Cole at the Hollywood Bowl

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The Stars Come Out to Give Natalie Cole Her Due at the Hollywood Bowl
by A. Scott Galloway
September 13, 2016
 
As New Year’s Eve was transitioning from 2015 to 2016, a uniquely gifted, beautiful and anointed woman of music made her graceful ascension to Heaven. When Natalie Cole, daughter of the immortal Nat “King” Cole, slipped from this earth that night, little did any of us know that she was the first in a painful and profound train of irreplaceable icons making their way to Jordan this year.

A Comprehensive Leap “Frog” Through The Career of a Legend

Sergio Mendes Talks 50th Anniversary of Brasil `66 and Rio Olympics-themed Weekend of Shows at The Hollywood Bowl
 
by A. Scott Galloway
August 8, 2016
 
Sergio Mendes is world renowned as the master of the Brazilian Jazz-Pop crossover. Born in Niteroi, Rio de Janiero, Brasil, he grew up surrounded by the sea, sunshine, soccer and people happy with the simple things in life. Key to that was the music of the region –a cultural fusion of Africa and Portugal. He began studying classical music of Bach and Chopin at 7 on a piano bought by his mother. Then at 12 years-old, a childhood friend turned Sergio onto The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s classic jazz LP Time Out featuring “Take Five” which blew his mind. He started putting jazz bands together playing Brazilian flavored jazz that led to recordings for the Philips label while still a teen and a legendary November of 1962 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City that featured Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Joao & Astrud Gilberto and Sergio’s mentor, Antonio Carlos Jobim. The next night, Sergio went to Birdland to hear The Cannonball Adderley Quintet (then featuring Viennese pianist Josef Zawinul). The next day, Adderley had Mendes in the studio cutting Cannonball’s Bossa Nova for Riverside Records. The rest is five decades plus of sweet musical and cultural mingling history.
 
PHOTO 1 - Sergio Mendes - Piano
Sergio at the piano

L.A. Radio Vet LeRoy Downs Brings Jazz Back To Television

Jazz Radio Host LeRoy Downs Brings Contemporary Spin to Jazz on Television with “The Jazz Creative”
Story by A. Scott Galloway
February 25, 2016
 
Jazz on television has gone from cigarette sponsored quarter hour black-and-white segments – often put on late night – to a cable network scrambling to fill 24/7 with jazz content. Los Angeles Jazz radio host LeRoy Downs has long held a vision of presenting the music in a fresh context to keep lovers of the music up on the latest and, more importantly, coaxing others that hold the art form at arm’s length to step into the embrace. In the interview that follows, Downs discusses his new monthly television program “The Jazz Creative,” debuting Friday, February 26 at 10 P.M. PST/1 A.M. EST, on the Aspire Network (check internet listings for how to see it on TV where you live).
 
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Jody Watley Reloads Shalamar and Keeps on Steppin’ in Her Jerome C. Rousseau Shoes

Jody Watley: Fashionista…Flashinista…Shrewd Criminista
Interview and Concert Reflections by A. Scott Galloway
February 3, 2016
 
It’s Friday night on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood – the winding boulevard that was once the funky vanguard of Rock & Roll debauchery, California-style. Tonight at The Roxy – a landmark club of the `70s that would open its doors to everyone from Neil Young (opening week in `73) and Genesis to The Crusaders, Frank Zappa, George Benson and Bob Marley & The Wailers (who all recorded live albums there) to the `80s/`90s-era when I personally saw Chaka Khan, Wynton Marsalis, Average White Band, The Time, Phoebe Snow, Tracy Chapman, Lenny Kravitz, Israel Houghton, Wendy & Lisa and Ernie Isley, to all the local hopefuls that fill in the nights between starbursts – I was on a mission. This night marked my first trip there in years to check in on iconic and ever-evolving Jody Watley, the Soul-Pop-Dance superstar who spun out of the trio Shalamar to become an international superstar of music, video and fashion.
 
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Jody Watley – Dancer

Jazz Violin Master Jean-Luc Ponty Teams With Rock Vocal Guru Jon Anderson For Visionary World-Unifying Epic “Better Late Than Never”

Jean-Luc Ponty Talks Team-Up with Former Yes Front Man Jon Anderson for Life Affirming “Anderson Ponty Band (APB)” CD/DVD/Tour Extravaganza
Interview by A. Scott Galloway
 
As current events overwhelmingly decree, our planet is creaking under the weight of hate and wailing for peace and balance. For the musically astute and love-filled at heart, an unimpeachably brilliant and joyous new collaborative project between pioneering jazz-rock fusion electric violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and uber-optimistic singer/songwriter Jon Anderson, former front man of the progressive rock band Yes, is the soundtrack of hope at its most passionately sought and prayed for. Leaping over perceived pigeonholes in glorious strides and bounds, Anderson and Ponty have pooled their catalogs to create the most humanity reconfirming musical offering of 2015 – the 14-song CD/DVD Better Late Than Never.
 
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Black History Month Special: Valerie Simpson: Reflections From Soul-Pop’s Windmill of Amour

Valerie Simpson: Reflections From Soul-Pop’s Windmill of Amour
by A. Scott Galloway
 
Best known as half of the songwriting/performing duo Ashford & Simpson, Valerie Simpson is under-recognized today for her multi-faceted accomplishments as an individual singer/writer/pianist that was also a featured vocalist on the projects of others, plus recorded solo albums. She never scored a solo project that sold like Carole King’s Tapestry – a historical breakthrough that inspired many women singer/songwriters – but Valerie’s third and most recent solo project, Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again, deserves serious attention for showcasing the lady’s singing, playing and writing skills in a cornucopia of themes and styles.
 
Valerie Simpson Photo:  Maurizio Bacci / Babaldi