funk Archive

Jonathan Scales, Man of Steel

Spontaneity is a highly valued commodity in the jazz world. And Jonathan Scales has that quality in great supply. He brought that just-in-time approach to competing in a national search for musicians to serve as cultural ambassadors for an international concert tour in 2017. And in December, he toured with a collective of esteemed musicians

Best of 2016: Interviews

In 2016 alone, I’ve interviewed more than 140 artists; that’s nearly half the number I interviewed in the decade prior to this year. I hope 2017 will be at least as busy; I find my conversations with creatives extremely rewarding. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and one of the most important realizations

Best Music of 2016: Concerts

There’s a bit of overlap where my best albums and best concerts of 2016 are concerned. And there are some old favorites, too. John Mayall Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte NC March 11, 2016 It was only around this time that I pivoted to writing as a full-time job (in other words, how I make my living).

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 1 of 10

Time to clear out the backlog before the year’s end. Here’s the first installment; lots of great titles here. Consider doing your holiday shopping, and note that I’ve provided purchasing links (when available) to Amazon. As it happens, these five are all from Real Gone Music, one of my favorite reissue/archival labels. Fanny – Mother’s

Esperanza Spalding’s Musical Evolution (or D+Evolution?), Part Two

Continued from Part One… Working with Tony Visconti In the music business, Tony Visconti is something of a household name. Since his start in 1968, Visconti has produced more than 120 albums for a wide variety of artists, including more than a dozen for David Bowie. He’s worked in a variety of musical genres, but

Esperanza Spalding’s Musical Evolution (or D+Evolution?), Part One

Note: portions of this feature appeared previously (and in different form) in altweeklies in Asheville NC, Chicago and Salt Lake City. — bk Cross-genre sensation Esperanza Spalding is something of an anomaly – albeit a welcome one – on today’s pop music landscape. A fine singer with an impressive range, she’s also a supremely accomplished

The Get Right Band: Taking Charge

Having good songs isn’t enough; to make it in the post-label world of the music industry today, artists have to supplement their musical prowess with an understanding of how to promote that music. Asheville-based The Get Right Band does indeed get it right, and they’ve been rewarded for their efforts. The rock-funk-reggae trio’s latest album

Hundred-word Reviews for July 2016, Part 4

Genre-wise, I’m all over the map today with the next five of my quick reviews. Shannon Labrie – War & Peace On her second album, Labrie applies her strong and expressive vocals to quality material. The album title suggests something weighty and expansive, but unlike Leo Tolstoy‘s 1869 novel, it’s a warm and inviting collection

The Digs: Travel to the Beat of a Different Drum

“We’re pulling from a lot of places at once, trying to create our own thing,” says Ram Mandelkorn, guitarist and songwriter for Asheville-based soul/jazz/funk outfit The Digs. “And we’re getting closer to it.” The instrumental group features a unique lineup: guitar plus a keyboardist who plays bass lines with his left hand, and a rotating

Album Mini-review: Bobby Rush — Chicken Heads: A 50 Year History of Bobby Rush

File next to: James Brown, Buddy Guy, Otis Redding Bobby Rush‘s musical career has spanned fifty years, at least twenty record labels, and most American popular music genres. He’s tough to pigeonhole: Rush’s music encompasses soul, r&b, funk, blues, and more. He’s earned several awards and scored chart singles. Compiling a career-spanning survey of his