Archive for August, 2005
Simi Valley, September 10th 2005- Write 4 Hope, a (501c) non-profit
corporation based in Simi Valley, will be hosting an evening of Jazz on
September 10th 2005 to promote the Write 4 Hope Charity Event taking
place on October 8th 2005.
The Nolan Shaheed Quartet, will be performing at Borders Booksellers in
Simi Valley, from 7:30pm to 8:30 pm. Later that same night, the Nolan
Shaheed Quartet will be performing at Dakota's 2525 Stow St. Simi
Valley, California from 9:30 pm to Midnight. Nolan Shaheed is not a
newcomer to the Jazz scene. Some of his extensive credits include,
being the Musical Director for Marvin Gaye, he was also the lead
trumpet with Count Bassie, and played with such greats as: Natalie
Cole, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Phil Collins and Anita Baker. Nolan
has been one of LA's top studio musicians since 1974 and is in great
demand in the Jazz scene. He currently owns a recording studio and is a
Write 4 Hope is very proud to present one of LA’s Finest Jazz bands!
Dakota's has graciously agreed to donate a percentage of their proceeds to Write 4 Hope on September 10th 2005.
During the evening, Write 4 Hope, will be selling tickets to the
Charity Breakfast portion of the October event for $25.00. General
admission tickets will be sold for $10.00 each. The public will also be
given the option of preordering books, which can then be purchased on
the day of the event. For those attending the Charity Breakfast in
October, the Nolan Shaheed Quintet will be performing during the
breakfast and will then be signing cd's during the Book Signing portion
of the event.
The Write 4 Hope Charity Event will be taking place on Saturday October
8th 2005. The event will be held at the Posada Royale Hotel &
Suites in Simi Valley, California. Featuring over 50 authors from all
genres for a Book Signing, a Charity Breakfast with some fantastic jazz
from the Nolan Shaheed, a Poetry Slam, a variety of author
presentations and a live auction, this event should appeal to all ages.
Special guests include, Sci/Fi Grandmaster Larry Niven, The Simi Valley
Historical Society, Aspen Comics, creators of the very popular Fathom
and Soulfire comic books series, the Simi Valley Samaritan Center and
LA Family Housing.
The proceeds of the Write 4 Hope Charity Event will be donated to
two local charities which benefit the disadvantaged. .Both charities
will be present for the October event. The charities are: The Simi
Valley Samaritan Center and LA Family Housing.
Detailed information regarding the October event can be found on the Write 4 Hope website www.write4hope.org
In all the years that I have listened to, appreciated and
grown in my musical taste, Michael Franks has been one that has remained
on my good music radar. Yes, I am the Jazzcat and yes I live my life in the
straight ahead vain however, Duke said it best and I follow his philosophy when
it comes to music.
It is interesting because my musical taste have grown in
an extremely different direction than when I first began listening to music.
Here is my dirty little secret:
I started out listening to hip-hop on KDAY, a radio station
that has come back and made a serious rebound after all of these years. I broke
away from that and started listening to other music, which they now have a name
for that I am sure that you know quite well: Artist like Jeff Lorber, Earl
Klugh, Spyro Gyra, George Howard, and even a few I dare not mention. However,
this type of music helped put me on the path to the core of straight ahead
music, real jazz – the essence of life which I hold dear and which molds my
character and determines my destiny.
I have pretty much closed the door on anything that remotely represents
the touch of silk, a tsunami of the smallest magnitude or weather that causes
thunder and lightning when it comes to music. I probably should not be so
harsh. I am just fond of music that makes a statement with simplicity and not
just for simplicity's sake. If they called it adult contemporary music, I would
be fine with that because that is what it is.
Now, having said all of that, any music that has
me over the years and has not fallen by the wayside must have something
I believe that about Michael Franks and his music. I believe that there
sides to his music. This could probably be said about many artists but,
is one side of Michael that is contemporary (the record label side) and
another side which exudes an extremely profound and creative lyricist.
I have had
most of his records over the years and I am amazed by them. Amazed that
same record there could be something so intriguing and also something
contemporary. To me, it is like oil and water, but what this tells me
Michael's imprint is present on all of his work, regardless of the way
would like to present him as an artist.
Times have unfortunately changed since the old days. Artists
were given record deals because of their sheer talent and once proven, allowed
to freely express their art and creativity through their music. Jazz musicians
who speak and play the truth do this every day and are not financially rewarded
nearly as abundantly as others. Michael is a wonderful storyteller who has
created beauty from the heart. He has captured some very poignant aspects of
the love between humans and expressed the joy, pain, and sorrow with things
that make you laugh, feel and think. But as the years progress, the avenue for
these types of expressions change and that change sometimes leaves artists on
an island of creative prowess with no market. Television is not about the
programs you watch and radio is not about what you are listening to.
I took the Blue Line train down to the Long Beach Jazz Festival
in Long Beach because it is always an easy ride and it pretty much drops you
off right at the back door of the festival. I met two women on my way back home
that had just been at the festival. They both saw Michael’s performance and one
thought his lyrics were corny and the other said that she just liked his voice.
I have been listening to these lyrics for over 20 years and I have always
looked upon them as fun, humorous and yes, sometimes a little silly. But, I get
it. I felt like I was a fly on the wall when he composed some of these songs
and I understood where he was coming from. I think you have to look, feel, hear
and live between the lines to understand the song’s true meaning. I am not sure
that the world hears Michael’s messages correctly.
This is the same approach I take with jazz music. I like to
hear between the lines and experience the possibility of notes not played. I
know that those who love adult contemporary music only listen to and want to
hear what is coming out of the speakers. There is so much more to life and
there is so much more to music and so much more to art. I relish in those
lyrics because, like most of us, they take us back to a time to remember. Only,
I heard the music in its entirety back then, when it was presented in a free
form and not a part of a radio formula that works financially.
During his performance at the very successful Long Beach
Jazz Festival, Michael covered some of his popular tunes like, “Eggplant”,
“Monk’s New Tune”, “Rainy Night in Tokyo” and of course everyone’s all-time
favorite “Popsicle Toes”. On vocals, backup vocals and percussion, a friend
that I have for only known a short time (though it seems like we go back many years)
was Veronica Nunn, adding the flavor of “A Love Duet”. That’s what Michael
Franks's lyrics do– make you seem like you have known him for quite some time. Through
time, Michael has remained the same all of these years. I have seen him at
performances for many years here in Los
Angeles and he has a certain approach and relationship
with his microphone that is hard to explain in words. My guess is that he respects
its power and wants its recipients to hear and get his message.
Of course all of his songs are great, but what is even more
dynamic is when you spend time with the albums in a serene environment in their
entirety. You can’t always get your music through the radio. When was the last
time you got together with some friends, made some dinner at your house and
spent some intimate time listening to music? This can be more rewarding than
“War of the Worlds”, “Star Wars” or “Deuce Bigalow”. Believe me, take your
discs or MP3’s of some of your favorite tunes over to a friend’s house and
spend some time getting into the music. You play two tunes and let your friend
play two tunes. You really get to know your friends and you really get to know
the music. Do me a favor, take some Michael Franks. If you really want to
impress them, play “Still Life”!
When you think of love and music, you imagine a ballad that
sings your song perfectly. Lyrics that tell the story of your life as you love
or suffer the pain of it. It is truly the emotion that rotates this planet and
when someone can deliver a thought, feeling or scenario that describes how you
feel, it penetrates your exterior and pierces your soul.
Angela Carole Brown sounds good, looks good and synchronizes
with the rhythm that lies within. Standards have been sung since the beginning
of time. They act as a barometer that determines style, tone, pitch, creativity
or lack there of, personality and many other factors to base your impressions upon.
If the piece is an exact replica of the original, boring. If it is sung
pleasantly, that’s just okay. But, when you take life’s experiences, reality,
the creative power within yourself, wrap it all up and pull sound from your
lower diaphragm, the music soars.
Angela has a quality trio backing her which, of course,
always contributes to a magnificent sound. Ed Czach flowing with waltzing
melodies of love on piano, Don Kasper plucking full and rich tones on bass and
Craig Pilo providing just the right touch of timely percussive precision on the
Angela has two disc out which I have not heard yet but, I am
sure that they aim to please. From originals to standards, Burt Bacharach to
Miles, you are going to like what you hear!
Maddox and Phil Upchurch will be on KMIR TV channel 6 in Palm
Springs. The show will air with Phil and Sonya throughout
the segment, from 6am – 7:30 am Monday, August 22, 2005.
Sonya Maddox & Phil Upchurch
New CD Release!
* Available Now! Not available in stores, proceeds also
“The Jimmy Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund”
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Friday, August 26th
Fine Food &
12514 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
Reservations suggested 818-980-8158
Interview with Vivian
KWVE- 94.7 FM
KEARTH- 101 AM
WONDERVISION Entertainment Public Relations
Legendary Guitarist Phil Upchurch and
Vocalist Sonya Maddox
Release New CD “Truly” at La Ve’ Lee
Jazz Club in LA
Proceeds From CD Will Help Benefit
”The Jimmy Smith Memorial Scholarship
CA July 14, 2005) WONDERVISION Entertainment & Music announce the
release of legendary guitarist, Phil Upchurch and vocalist Sonya Maddox New CD
“Truly.” The refreshing originality of
this duo is sure to satisfy most music lover’s palate. This performance will take place Friday,
August 26, 2005 at La Ve’ Lee Jazz Club 12514 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604
Showtime: 8:30 & 10:30 Reservations suggested 818-980-8158
Jazz enthusiasts love Phil
Upchurch for his music. In developing his own sound, Phil demonstrates no
allegiance to his contemporaries. He
goes from classical to jazz to contemporary funk as easy as walking from room
to room in your home. A prolific
guitarist, with over 1,000 recordings, Phil Upchurch is comfortable playing
blues, soul, R&B and jazz. He has
been a prominent figure in music circles for more than 50 years. In addition to his work with Jimmy Smith,
this self-taught musician has performed and recorded with some of the music
industry's biggest names. His talents
have teamed him with musical legends such as Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Ramsey
Lewis, George Benson, Carmen McRae, Marlena Shaw, Jack McDuff, Joe Williams,
Stan Getz, Cannonball Adderly, Herbie Hancock, Grover Washington, Jr., Chaka
Kahn, Donny Hathaway, Wynton Kelly and Eddie Harris, to name a few. He has performed extensively throughout the United States
His credits also include 23
albums, movie soundtracks and television commercials too numerous to count.
Today, Mr. Upchurch still enjoys a very active performing career.
Sonya Maddox, CEO of
WONDERVISION Music and Entertainment, has the grace and charm of a Southern
belle coupled with the confidence and allure of a Hollywood
diva. This Atlanta-born, television,
screen, and stage actor/songs tress has become one of the most sought after,
respected performers in the commercial arena.
With over 200 commercials to her credit,
loves the essence she brings to their projects. Her most recent commercials
include Listerine, Home Depot, and South Beach Diet. In addition to her acting, Sonya's musical
career is on the fast track, performing both on screen and to live
Her first starring screen
role was in the award-winning Hanelle Culpepper Film A Single Rose,
which made it to the 12th cut for the 2005 Oscar Awards. Maddox received national acclaim for her
portrayal of the character Rose. In
addition, Sonya performed three songs for the film. Maddox also wrote and starred in Wonder,
an autobiographical one-woman show. She
wrote and sang all the lyrics for the productions score. Sonya continues to
perform her music with a renewed sense of purpose. Sonya joined forces with music legends Phil
Upchurch and Howard McCrary. “Truly, CD”
is produced independently by WONDERVISION Music and Entertainment. All of the
songs are by far, original.
Jimmy Smith memorial Scholarship fund in which Sonya and Phil are founders.
Focus on the awareness and importance of true jazz in today's music. Says
Upchurch, “The Jimmy Smith Memorial Scholarship Foundation was founded as a way
to honor my friend, one of the world’s greatest jazz pioneers.” Both Upchurch and Maddox (who have teamed on
numerous projects around Los Angeles)
are excited and honored to pay homage to one of the worlds most influential
jazz organists of all time. The
scholarships provide financial assistance to talented high school-aged
musicians who may not otherwise have the resources to further their musical
will be for sale at the performance and proceeds will help benefit the Jimmy
Smith memorial Scholarship Fund. Your support helps
to keep the memory and musical contributions of such a great jazz legend alive,
and at the same time, provides financial assistance to talented high
school-aged musicians who may not otherwise have the resources to further their
About Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith, who began his
career in the early 1950’s, is known for his clean, volcanic executions, in the
tradition of Charlie Parker. Smith
single-handedly, in 1956, brought to prominence the Hammond B-3 organ, as a
solo voice in the jazz world. He
revolutionized the jazz organ, turning what was for the most part, an
overlooked instrument into one of the most inclusive, dynamic jazz instruments
of all time.
Being credited with
creating the distinctive sound of “soul jazz,” Smith was also the recipient of
the prestigious Jazz Masters Lifetime Achievement Award from the National
Endowment for the Arts, the nation’s highest honor in jazz. Smith died at age 79 at his home in Scottsdale, AZ,
in February of this year. He has over
100 albums to his credit.
donations are welcome and can be made out to The Jimmy Smith Memorial
Scholarship Foundation, and mailed to P.O. Box
38821, Los Angeles, CA 90038.
For more information or to
schedule and interview, please contact a Foundation representative at
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