Monthly Archives: February 2015

Robert Glasper returns to acoustic jazz trip for new album “Covered” June 16th


Ten years after making his Blue Note debut, and following two GRAMMY-winning volumes of his critically and commercially successful R&B-oriented Black Radio albums, Robert Glasper has announced a return to his acclaimed acoustic jazz trio for his new album, Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios), which will be released June 16 on Blue Note Records. The trio, which features Vicente Archeron bass and Damion Reid on drums.


Glasper, Archer and Reid—who form the original trio featured on Glasper’s first two Blue Note albums: Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007)—reconvened at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California in December to record Covered in front of an intimate live audience. The material mainly consisted of covers, drawing from some of Glasper’s favorite songs by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Jhené Aiko, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar, and more, as well as several Glasper originals.


Earlier this month, Glasper won his 2nd GRAMMY Award when Robert Glasper Experiment’s Stevie Wonder cover “Jesus Children Of America” from Black Radio 2 won the award for Best Traditional R&B Performance. The song, which features vocals by Lalah Hathaway and a spoken word poem by Malcolm-Jamal Warner, is dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The Experiment’s 2012 album Black Radio laid out a new paradigm for creative music, reaching beyond entrenched genre boundaries to create a singular vision that drew from all reaches of contemporary black music and beyond. The album won the 2013 GRAMMY Award for Best R&B Album.


Glasper has also been named an official Steinway Artist, joining a select group of world-class pianists who have chosen to perform exclusively on The Family of Steinway-Designed pianos.  As a Steinway Artist, Glasper joins a roster of some of the most dynamic names in piano, including Billy Joel, Lang Lang, Diana Krall, Jason Moran, and Harry Connick, Jr. Additionally, Glasper has been hard at work composing the original music for the Miles Davis film Miles Ahead, which is currently in production. The film is directed by and stars Don Cheadle.


The track listing for Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios) is as follows:


  1. Introduction
  2. I Don’t Even Care (Robert Glasper/Macy Gray/Jean Grae)
  3. Reckoner (Radiohead)
  4. Barangrill (Joni Mitchell)
  5. In Case You Forgot (Robert Glasper)
  6. So Beautiful (Musiq Soulchild)
  7. The Worst (Jhené Aiko)
  8. Good Morning (John Legend)
  9. Stella By Starlight (Victor Young)
  10. Levels (Bilal)
  11. Got Over feat. Harry Belafonte (Robert Glasper/Harry Belafonte)
  12. I’m Dying of Thirst (Kendrick Lamar)


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Photos: Red Bull at Night Present Heather Shaw: A Multimedia Experience [Review]




Red Bull debuts the first of two national Red Bull at Night showcases for this year

LA-based futurist designer Heather Shaw transformed a downtown Los Angeles rooftop into a larger-than-life multimedia experience, inspired by the exponential growth rate of technology combined with the creative explorations of futurist theories. Known for her work with American Idol, Amon Tobin, Coachella, and Infected Mushroom, Shaw has created her most ambitious work to date—an immersive four-story cube, which, through live performances and visual art, will chart the evolution of technology, signifying how the change from analog to digital has impacted human connection.

During this one night only showcase, guests were taken on a journey beginning with analog, moving into the digital age and finally culminating on the top level with a glimpse into the future. As the story progresses, the structure becomes interactive, allowing guests to participate in the multimedia performance unlike no other.

Red Bull at Night enables nightlife creatives to produce unique experiences that realize their most ambitious ideas. These creatives are artists, enablers, or curators who have a tie to nightlife across disciplines such as art, design, fashion, dance, and photography.

Heather Shaw’s The Circuitry of Life is the first of two U.S. showcases in 2015 for Red Bull at Night.










DILLArt @ Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk [Dilla Art Event Recap]



Commemorating the prolific music producer James Yancey aka J Dilla & Jay Dee, we presented the inception of DILLArt on February 12th, 2015 to show the array of influence the late, great musical artist had on visual artists @ Downtown LA Art Walk’s Lounge the day before Dilla Day LA.




J Dilla Foundation http://jdillafoundation.orgFusicology celebrated his February birthday along with Black History Month with an art show during Downtown LA Art Walk commemorating his life through the eyes of creatives who he inspired. Partial proceeds of the sale of the art work benefited the Foundation.



“Lightworks” by Fuse Green


“Hunger to Produce” piece by Jeremy Quant


Apreal Showers, Asya Shein of Fusicology, Marcus Gray of Hip Hop Chocolates & Fatlip of Pharcyde

Featured Artists for the show included Fuse Green featuring his Dilla work “Lightworks” and more key pieces from his collection, along with wood burning creations by Apreal Showers, vendor Hip Hop Chocolate with a special Dilla edition on display and cover artwork entitled “Hunger to Produce” by Jeremy Quant


Apreal Showers wood burning pieces & Hip Hop Chocolate at Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk


Hip Hop Chocolate at DILLArt



Hip Hop Chocolate at DILLArt – Dilla Chocolate


Apreal Showers Wood Burn piece featuring Pete Rock, Dilla & Madlib


“Lightworks” Limited Edition Posters by Fuse Green

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Asya Shein of Fusicology with Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey @ the 1st Annual Dilla Day LA

Naturally 7: Hidden In Plain Sight [New Release]

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In a music world rife with technological tricks of the trade , one vital commodity is getting lost in the shuffle: the beauty of the human voice. Enter Naturally 7. 


This seven-man crew is more than just your average singing group. Its members have perfected an intriguing a cappella style they’ve branded as “Vocal Play”—singing as instruments. In its quest to celebrate the voice, Naturally 7 not only sings but also creates every backing instrument heard on its songs. We’re talking drums, bass, guitars, horns, flutes … even down to turntables.






“Look at John Legend’s success with ‘All of Me,’ just him and a piano,” says Naturally 7 front man Roger Thomas. “People really do want to hear the true essence of a song and the person’s voice. It’s just a matter of being exposed to it. When people eat fast food every day, at some point they’ll say, ‘I have to have something different.’ And we’re that something different.”


Some 8 million people have already cosigned Thomas’ sentiment. Helping to spread the word: compelling live shows drawing nightly standing ovations in Europe, the U.K. Canada, Australia, Asia and the U.S. during three world tours with song stylist Michael Bublé. Naturally 7’s burgeoning resumé also includes an opening stint with hitmakers Coldplay, a No. 1 single in Germany with Sarah Connor, “Music Is the Key,” a top 15 album in Australia, 2006’s Ready II Fly, and 20+ million aggregated spins on YouTube.

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They have also partnered with the General Mills Corporation on two Honey Nut Cheerios commercials which kicked off in November, 2014 first with a :15 second rendition of the classic jingle “Honey of an O.”  A second commercial spot premiered on NBC’s Today Show and features “Keep The Customer Satisfied.” a track featured on Hidden In Plain Sight.


Yet as Thomas acknowledges, “A lot of people still don’t know what we do.” So now the R&B, soul and pop group is revving up its U.S. album debut, the aptly titled Hidden in Plain Sight (Hidden Beach Experiences, February 10). Subtitled Vox Maximus Vol. 1, the 14-track set snaps, crackles and pops with riveting vocal gymnastics and rich, sparkling harmonies infusing a palette-pleasing menu of songs as wide-ranging as the group’s growing audience.


Stepping beyond R&B and pop, Naturally 7 taps into various genres from traditional gospel and rock to 17th century baroque that on the surface don’t seem to mesh. But in the hands of musical director/first baritone/rapper Thomas and his six enterprising cohorts—brother Warren Thomas (drums, third tenor), Rod Eldridge (first tenor, turntables, trumpet), Napoleon “Polo” Cummings (fourth tenor, guitar), Dwight Stewart (second baritone, trombone), Garfield Buckley (second tenor, harmonica) and Armand “Hops” Hutton (bass)—the impossible becomes possible.


Leading the charge is first single “Fix You,” a cover of the Coldplay hit that’s become an audience favorite at Naturally 7’s live shows. The group’s harmonic reinterpretation brings a new intensity to the song’s refrain: “Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones /I will try to fix you.” The associated music video, which premiered on Yahoo! Music, was described as “a beautiful mesmerizing version….which rivaled the original for haunting emotion” and continues to receive rave reviews from music lovers.


The group gives a nod to its spiritual influences by sampling Mahalia Jackson’s gospel classic “Trouble of the World” on the beautiful and raw “Mahalia.” Scoring a musical coup, Naturally 7 samples Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on “Galileo.” Notes Thomas, “We’re the first in the world licensed to sample the rock band, and we’re honored to be able to do that.”


Naturally 7’s aural magic really glistens on what Thomas calls “hybrids”: taking the essence of a well-known song and putting their own melodies and lyrics on top. Wham’s infectious “Everything She Wants’’ provides the impetus for “Life Goes On“ while Art of Noise’s “Moments In Love” finds the group imitating all of the song’s instruments and singing its own song to the mix on “Moments (I’ve Been Loved).” Among the set’s eight original tunes are “Keep the Customer Satisfied” and “Rhapsody of the Queen.”


Thomas likens the musical mash-ups on Hidden in Plain Sightto a chef experimenting in the kitchen. “He’s working with various food items that people have tasted before. But then he decides to mix two or three things together that no one has before. For Hidden, we began building with an operatic, classical vibe over an urban backbeat and jammed from there.”


That’s in keeping with the depth of Naturally 7’s musical influences, which range from a cappella predecessors Take Six and Bobby McFerrin to hip-hop’s Doug E. Fresh, the Fat Boys and OutKast. In between are ‘40s R&B quartet the Ink Spots, the Carpenters, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Bee Gees and the Beatles.


“We want to bring the group dynamic back,” says Thomas. “For too long now, there have been no harmony groups like the O’Jays, Four Tops, Jodeci and Boyz II Men. We want to carry the banner for that resurgence.”


Naturally 7 rose to prominence in 2007. Jumpstarting their exposure:  a video of the group on a Paris subway train singing Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” that went viral and exploded on YouTube. After Bublé tapped the group as his worldwide touring partner,


Naturally 7 has since headlined the Playboy Jazz Festival, played London’s Royal Albert Hall, performed at the BET Honors for Herbie Hancock and sang at Quincy Jones’ 75th birthday party in Montreux, Switzerland.


Now Naturally 7 is ready to stand front and center with Hidden In Plain Sight. “Most a cappella groups just focus on the a cappella part,” says Thomas. “And that’s fine. But we also try to make sure it’s about good songs. Those never die.”






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