Reviews

Linda Carone - The Jazz Bistro Toronto - Live

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

The chestnut haired jazz singer finished Kitty White's "So Many Beautiful Men" with a knowing grin and a vocal swagger and as the place erupted in applause murmured, "Story of my life in my younger days. Now I'm focused on my big bad handsome man," beaming at the lucky gent in a scrum of well wishers as she launched into Imelda Mays "Big Bad Handsome Man."

So yeah, Linda Carone is a damn fine singer but she also brings da show. Abetted by a stellar crew of George Koller ( upright bass) Johnny Johnson (saxes, bass clarinet) Michael Shand ( piano) and Mark Kelso( drums), LC did that thing where she sets up a time trip by telling a little bit about the origin of a tune, applies her own vocal interpretation, then hands it over to the personna who takes it all the way home to the Thirties or so with a sense she fits the period like a kidskin glove and with nary a break in character.

On another hand, it was a lovingly curated shoutot to the huge contributions made to the blues by female artists, with Carone introducing the likes of Une Mae Carlisle (Oh I'm Evil), Lane Leighton(The Spring Don't Mean A Thing To Me) and Helen Humes ( Livin' My Life My Way) with such rapport that she surely made fans for herself as well as the artists she drew from.

Monica Chapman Small World

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Submitted by Gary Richardson

Monica Chapman has a love for the classic movies but it was the musical selections that stole her heart. As a young girl, she watched the movies and Broadway songs captured her.

This is her third CD offering and this one covers a span of over five decades, from the 1930’s, adding jazz classics and For her third album, she has gathered a number of tunes from motion pictures and put her own spin on them. They cover nearly five decades and go as far back as the 1930’s and up to the 1960’s.

With the extremely talented hand of producer/arranger/pianist Bill King and some of the best jazz players on the scene and you have her new CD Small World.  The song choices are exquisite and the production is smooth and tasteful.

The opening track, ‘A Shine on Your Shoes’ takes your right back to the time of Broadway show tunes. The band really cooks on this one and Monica Chapman belts it out with all her heart.

‘Goldfinger’ at the best of times is a tough one to tackle, but the sultry vocal and breathy deliver does this James Bond classic justice. The title track ‘Small World’ encompasses the whole concept of this classic CD, and the production is clear and clean.

The Duke Ellington tune ‘Caravan’ has an interesting arrangement, with driving horns and drums, with a passionate vocal. The holiday classic ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ is a sweet duet featuring Mark Kelso and is always great to hear a new version of it.

The Inimitable Miz Linda Carone

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

"There are songs and lyrics that are timeless and that deserve to be heard. I think of music as timeless, an old song can sound new. If you haven't heard a song before, it's new to you. It's all about finding these songs I love and doing them my way. People who hear me sing say I seem to find just the right songs from an era that suit my voice, but that I don’t necessarily sound like any other singers in particular."

Introducing Linda Carone, vintage jazz and blues vocalist, a niche song stylist and interpreter of popular music from the 1930’s and beyond. A late bloomer currently making a name for herself around Toronto, an interpreter who goes way, way back and deep for her songs and then reimagines them. Delivers them with a voice that can do beautiful, rich, sultry and provocative, often in the same song. Ms. Carone’s natural and diverse approach to music has shaped her vocal style in a way that is playful, intimate, and unpretentious. An equal opportunity music appreciator, she's equally at home at a Jackie Richardson gig as at a concert by The Damned.

She played piano as a kid but but only started singing in her thirties. It took hold immediately.

Stony Plain Records and Duke Robillard Remember Jay Geils

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

When guitarist Jay Geils passed away at age 71, he left behind a legacy of wonderful music, not only for the blues-rock sounds he created within his namesake J. Geils Band, but also on several albums he recorded for Stony Plain Records that explored the music of his formative years – jazz and swing – instilled in him by his father.

“Stony Plain was honored to release several swing jazz recordings by Jay Geils including two projects by New Guitar Summit (Jay Geils, Duke Robillard and Gerry Beaudoin),” said Stony Plain Records founder Holger Petersen. “It was a joy to be in the studio with them and to witness Jay's ability to arrange big band songs for three great swing guitar players. Jazz and blues were his first love and he had a deep understanding of their roots. I admired him for turning his back on rock stardom to play the music he loved.”

“I am truly saddened by the loss of Jay Geils,” said Duke Robillard. “He was a wonderful human being; intelligent, talented, charming and a good friend. His in-depth knowledge of blues, jazz, guitars and Italian cars was remarkable and he was always enthusiastic and fun to be around. Jay was a down to earth guy in spite of his rock legend status. He will be missed by his legions of friends and fans.”

Blackjack Billy Team Up with Madeline Merlo on New Single, “How to Get the Girl”

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Blackjack Billy, good-time group, known for getting the party started, has a brand new single titled “How to Get the Girl” featuring Canadian country act, Madeline Merlo. The single, set for release to Country radio May 3 and available everywhere May 5, was written by Noll Billings, Jeff Coplan and Tim Hicks. It showcases the powerful vocals of both Blackjack Billy lead vocalist Noll Billings and Merlo, while playfully breaking down the right way to ‘read the signs’ and win over a girl in up-tempo, high-energy, Blackjack Billy style.

Born as a result of discussing failed attempts at winning the admiration of women as Billings, Hicks and Coplan were songwriting in Nashville, Coplan notes, “it became clear that some crazy things had been done and said to try to get girls. Tim said that maybe there’s actually some good advice from all our failures, and that’s how ‘How to Get the Girl’ was born. We thought it would be great to get the female perspective on it so we immediately thought of Madeline. We are all fans of her and not just for her killer voice. She’s a sweetheart and tons of fun,” said Jeff Coplan.

The group garnered international attention with the independent release of their party hit “Booze Cruise”, becoming an overnight success. With minimal promotion, the summertime anthem nonetheless won frequent rotation by SiriusXM’s “The Highway,” achieved Platinum certification in Canada, charted #1 in Australia, and became the hottest-selling iTunes song in America by any act without a label deal that year.

Matt Andersen Live and Spellbinding

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Submitted by Don Graham
Photo Credit: Fiona Lawson Studio 22 Photography

Listening to a Matt Andersen CD is an exciting audio experience, seeing Matt Andersen with a full band is awesome, but seeing Matt Andersen solo takes it to a whole other level. 

The man and his guitar is something I wasn’t really prepared for. Andersen was over the top on all levels, his hold on the audience, his powerful and controlled vocals with acres of dynamics and guitar mastery that made his acoustic guitar sound like an entire band.

King Wizard and the Lizard Gizzard Danforth Music Hall (Toronto)

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

"Please don't be smoking anything in the entrance. Please move away from the entrance." The security was addressing a large fogbank of high-grade resin hanging over the sidewalk directly in front of the venue as fans of the Aussie septet got their weed on. The vibe out front was all love and brotherly hugs as the fans of the neopsychedelic outfit adhere strongly to the hippie ethic and inside, it was thus also with the addition of genre touches like wizard hats and an excellent Lizard Gizzard mask.

Opener Orb stormed through the bottom half of their set to a two-thirds full room. When the left the stage it was full and by the time King Wizard and the Lizard Gizzard came on we were jammed up against the walls and the bars and if the woman in front of me stepped back just another millimeter I was gonna have to buy her dinner. Not bad for an act that gets zero airplay, whose albums are hard to find and whose music fits no genre. Someone noted that this was their third time in Toronto and each time, they play a larger venue, then turned to cheer for the roadies moving stuff around. That was how pumped the crowd was and the band did not disappoint.

Eric Bibb Migration Blues

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Submitted by Iain Patience

There are some musicians who seem to achieve the near impossible by imprinting themselves in a memory with a flash of sheer individuality, a signature sound or something similar that makes them instantly recognisable. We can think of Dylan, The Beatles, The Stones – all musicians that have captured that remarkable essence over the years. I’m not trying to say that New York-born bluesman Eric Bibb is the new Lennon, McCartney or Dylan but he does have that extraordinary quality of a voice and musical style that renders him immediately recognisable, a rare familiarity bound up in his very being.

By my reckoning this is about his third release in the past twelve months, following hot on the heels of The Happiest Man In The World and Lead Belly’s Gold. Migration Blues takes as its theme the seldom more relevant subject of often necessary movement of the underprivileged and disadvantaged and the struggle for survival in a harsh world. Bibb has the evident ability to write songs with depth and meaning that also retain memorable melodic hooks and soulful purpose.

Anyone who has caught Bibb at his sound-check before a live gig will know just how much effort he puts into the search for aural perfection, a trait that he carries into the studio; he recently told me he loved touring but was comfortable and relaxed in the studio where he can hear what’s going down in an optimum setting.

Linda Carone – Black Moonlight

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

An early passion for jazz and blues developed upon first hearing the raw and emotive melancholy of Billie Holiday. This inspiration laid the foundation for growth as a vocalist and as an artist. Linda’s musical journey was further influenced by jazz and blues vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Mildred Bailey, Helen Humes, Valaida Snow and Lil Armstrong.

Linda’s eclectic repertoire includes rare and sometimes risque vintage songs of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, classic jazz and swing standards, cocktail lounge and torch ballads, to boogie woogie & roots blues.

Most recently, Linda has been found thrilling audiences at venues such as 70Down in Yorkville, Relish Bar & Grill, SpiritHouse/Foundry GastroPub, RasaBar, 120 Diner, Salutè Piano Bar, Gate 403, White Elephant Restaurant & Bar and Rasputin Vodka Lounge, and as well as various other venues and private functions.

Linda Carone’s debut recording, “Black Moonlight” is a must for any vintage blues/jazz lover and a worthy purchase for anyone’s music library.

‘Guilty’ sets the stage for the sultry, romantic vocal offerings of this talented singer, with the standard torch song about love and lost. A classic horn solo rounds out with just the right sound, soft percussions and mellow piano – a perfect combo.

‘Big Bad Handsome Man’ is reminiscent of Keely Smith, lovin’ her man, ready to sing and tell the world about him.

Singer/Songwriter Ian Janes Releases New Album ‘Yes Man’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

On February 24th, 2017, Ian Janes released his latest solo album, Yes Man, to critical praise and acclaim from some of Canada’s most prestigious press.

A confident and soulful record, Yes Man creatively mixes Ian’s deepest influences and experiences. It is a combination of singularly written songs, as well as collaborations with other great writers from across North America. The album includes co-writes with Andy Stochansky (Goo Goo Dolls, Ani DiFranco, Shannon Noll), Jamie Hartman (Joss Stone, James Bay, Christina Aguilera) Lee Ann and Daryl Burgess (Irma Thomas, Colin James, Patty Loveless) and iconic Canadian songwriter, Joel Plaskett.

Earlier in February the first single from the album, “Broken Record”, was released and has been receiving regular play from CBC, Clic Franco, Sirius XM, and Stingray radio, and has kept Ian busy with interviews and in-studio performances.

Check out the lyric video for “Broken Record” here: http://bit.ly/2luXYbj

Last week, Janes’ song, “Can’t Remember Never Loving You”, co-written with Byron Hill (George Strait, Ray Charles, Alabama), was prominently featured in the groundbreaking music-based TV drama, Nashville. The song was performed as a posthumous duet by lead characters Deacon (Charles Esten) and Rayna (Connie Britton) as a dramatic conclusion of the show’s mid-season finale.

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