Elmore Magazine Reviews William Bell & Catherine Russell Live At Brooklyn Academy of Music R&B Festival
Posted on June 23, 2016
William Bell, who wrote “Born Under a Bad Sign” with Booker T. Jones (a tune first recorded by Albert King and made legend by Eric Clapton and Cream), performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s R&B Festival at MetroTech. The weather was perfect and the music was inspiring. The horn section showcased Stan Harrison on sax, Larry Etkin (the Uptown Horns), on trumpet and Rick Depofi, composer, arranger, music producer and recording engineer, on tenor sax.; Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, songwriter and the band leader John Leventhal played guitar; Dan Reiser sat in on drums, Andrew Hess (formerly of Gov’t Mule) on bass, and Eryn Roberts on keyboards.
Helping William Bell on vocals was Catherine Russell, who worked with David Bowie from 2002 through 2004, and was a backup singer for such artists as Steely Dan, Jackson Browne and Rosanne Cash (aka Mrs. John Leventhal).
The band played William’s 1961 debut song for Stax Records “You Don’t Miss Your Water (Until Your Well Runs Dry),” which became one of the label’s first major hits. As his career was taking flight William Bell was drafted and did a tour in the army, possibly sidelining his chances for bigger stardom..
The group also played some songs from the new album This Is Where I Live, including the title song and “The Three of Me,” “Poison In The Well,” “I Will Take Care Of You,” “Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge,” and “All Your Stories.” If the CD is anything like the live performance, this is an album that should definitely be in your collection.
William Bell's Soulful Return
Posted on June 23, 2016
Now that his voice is being heard once again, William Bell is being hailed as a soul titan. But for too many years, Bell was reduced to a shadow existence as a used-to-be. Bell first got some notice when he wrote and recorded “You Don't Miss Your Water” in '61, but Otis' version in '67 is the one everybody remembers. In '67, Bell co-wrote another memorable hit, “Born under A Bad Sign,” with keyboardist Booker T (Booker T and the MGs.) And once again, somebody else stole all the thunder. In this case it was Earl King and his Gibson Flying V that got the attention with it in '67, then Cream fired it up again the following year. Bell got some notice almost on his own the following year, teaming up with Judy Clay for the soul classic “Private Number.”
He had some sole success with '66's “Share What You Got (But Keep What You Need)” and 1968's "I Forgot to Be Your Lover." But once again, somebody else made the top of the charts with it, this time Billy Idol with a remake of the song in '86 as “To Be A Lover.”
Over the years Bell continued to record, adding his mellifluous soul croon to sessions with Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, Carla Thomas, and Mavis Staples, all on one record, '69's “Soul-A-Lujah.” He also put out singles with Staples and Thomas, and continued to put out albums on his own, recording his last one in '06.
The Philadlephia Inquirer Reviews Van Morrison & William Bell's New Albums
Posted on June 23, 2016
It's Too Late to Stop Now . . . Volumes II, III, IV & DVD
Like snowflakes, or the free-wheelin' jazz horn players he vocally emulates, no two Van Morrison concert performances are exactly alike. Reason this newly unearthed, four-disc collection of 1973 shows at the Troubadour in L.A., the Santa Monica Civic Center, and London's Rainbow Theatre - all with the roaring lion bouncing off the walloping 11-piece, horn- and string-rich Caledonia Soul Orchestra - are such a joy. Even multiple renderings of "Brown Eyed Girl," "Caravan," "Domino," and "Cypress Avenue" don't wear out their welcome. And equally fun are one-offs of Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell For You," Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul," Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'," and the Louis Prima hit "Buona Sera," offering a road map to the Celtic soulster's roots.
Credit the artist's personal catalog takeover and transfer for finally getting these gems out. And thank a top-notch Legacy engineering team for fine-tuning though never sweetening the tapes. The job's done so well you can differentiate performance spaces and track the band congealing in tightness and sass as the tour evolves. Try zeroing in first on drummer Daoud "David" Shaw, a longtime Philly guy.
I do wish there'd been some color correcting of the bathed-in-red video set, so typical of '70s concert shoots. Does put a glow on the "Moondance" man's pasty complexion, though!
- Jonathan Takiff
This Is Where I Live
On the verge of his 77th birthday and the 10th anniversary of the rejuvenated Stax label, Memphis' William Bell is heading home. "This is where I live / This is where I give / All my love, all my time / all my money, every dime," he sings in a cool, yet passionate howl on the title track of his new album. This is a record whose deep soul resonates with every funky element of his past - the molasses-thick Tennessee R&B and the raw, silken blues classics he's penned such as "You Don't Miss Your Water" and "Born Under a Bad Sign."
Bell's tenor voice was always on the sweet side of the rough Stax continuum (as opposed to the gruff Otis Redding), and his craft as a writer leaned on the hard art of the tortured romantic ballad. He uses that lovely, simmering tone best on his acknowledgment of failures and prayer for forgiveness, "The Three of Me," backed simply by a gritty horn chart and a humming Hammond organ. For a humble romancer, Bell is also a pragmatist as he calls out a potentially shipwrecked marriage with the line, "There's more rooms in a house . . . than the bedroom" on "More Rooms." It's when he revisits "Born Under a Bad Sign" - a treasure cowritten by Booker T. Jones for guitarist Albert King - that Bell shines, reconfiguring it into his own weary lament. Welcome back.
America to Celebrate Mavis' Lifetime Artistic Achievements
Posted on June 23, 2016
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced the artists who will receive the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors at the 39th annual national celebration of the arts, and Mavis Staples was named as one of the five honorees.
“The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates the spectacular talents of artists whose brilliance has left a lasting impact on our society,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “The Honorees represent what is possible when creativity is not just cultivated, but unleashed. Mavis Staples’s unmatched gospel and rhythm and blues masterpieces span 60 years and even served as a musical backdrop to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign for Civil Rights."
Informed she was to receive the honor after having performed on the Honors Gala in tribute to past recipients Sir Paul McCartney and The Reverend Al Green, Mavis said, "I've performed at the Honors, but I never thought I would be the one actually being honored. My father, Pops Staples, started the Staple Singers back in 1950 by sitting me and my siblings down on the floor and teaching us songs. And I've been singing ever since. To go from such a humble beginning, to singing for and meeting President Kennedy, to now receiving a Kennedy Center Honor is unbelievable. I've been so blessed to be able to do what I love and to touch so many people with my voice. The Honors is always such a huge thrill and a highlight of the year and to get the call from the Kennedy Center about receiving the Honor blew me away. I'm beyond thrilled."
The Honors will be held Sunday, December 4 and recorded for broadcast on CBS for the 39th consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on December 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET. CBS is the Exclusive Sponsor of the Kennedy Center Honors.
Mavis is currently on a summer tour of North America with Bob Dylan, and will be on tour for the rest of the year in support of her recent M. Ward-produced album Livin' on a High Note
(ANTI-), which was recently named by Rolling Stone
as one of the Best Albums of 2016 So Far
. See www.mavisstaples.com
for tour date information.
Monterey International Announces Signing Of Miles Electric Band For Exclusive Booking Representation
Posted on June 23, 2016
11 Member Ensemble Featuring Miles Davis Alumni Revises Framework For Modern Jazz Improvisation
“Hard to fathom a more professional, traditional and progressive set of jazz musicians all in one band” – Huffington Post
(Chicago, IL) - Monterey International is pleased to announce the signing of the Miles Electric Band, an eleven member, All-Star ensemble featuring Miles Davis alumni, for exclusive booking representation. The progressive, avant-garde, experimental collective, known for revising the framework for modern jazz innovation, revisits repertoire from Davis’ electric period in paying homage to The Chief. Miles Electric represents two generations of Miles Davis players; his contemporaries and the next generation.
The project is produced by Miles Davis Properties LLC , who are celebrating the legendary trumpeter's 90th birthday year with special releases, including the #1 Jazz, #5 R&B/Hip Hop Billboard album Everything’s Beautiful by Miles Davis and Robert Glasper. The reimagined interpretation of Davis’ music features Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Bilal, Illa J, Laura Mvula, John Scofield, Ledisi, KING, Hiatus Kaiyote, Phonte and more.
Additionally, the major motion picture Miles Ahead, starring Don Cheadle,a co-writer who also makes his directorial debut, along with the accompanying Miles Aheadsoundtrack, which explores Davis' musical innovations, combining 11 highlights from his Prestige and Columbia Records catalogs with original new compositions written and performed by Grammy Award-winning jazz/hip-hop artist Robert Glasper.
“We’re extremely excited to be with Monterey International,” comments Miles Electric drummer/band leader Vince Wilburn, Jr., nephew of Miles Davis. “We’re ready to tour the world.”
The eclectic and highly innovative group was put together by Wilburn, Jr. with the intention to continue expanding the boundaries of Davis’ music, while also paying homage to the classics.
Miles Electric will perform at the Black Sea Festival in Georgia, Russia on July 16. The band recently sold out SF Jazz Festival (June 2016).
Principle members of Miles Electric include two time GRAMMY® nominee John Beasley and Robert Irving, III on piano; GRAMMY® nominee Badal Roy on tabla; legendary P-Funk guitarist Blackbyrd McKnight; acclaimed percussionists Munyungo Jackson and Mino Cinelu; GRAMMY® winning drummer Vince Wilburn, Jr.; saxophonist Antoine Roney (Lenny Kravitz, Elvin Jones), iconic bassist Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones, Sting) and hip hop turntablist DJ Logic.
Rotating members include renowned programmer/re-mixer Jeremy Ellis, widely known for his work with The Roots; percussionist Abbos Kosimov; Debasish Chaudhurion tabla and additional keyboardist Greg Spero. Trumpeters include Wallace Roney, Etienne Charles, Christian Scott and Sean Jones.
The Miles Electric Band’s debut performance was at the Miles Davis Festival in Chicago in 2011 with a sold-out, standing room only crowd at Martyrs. This was followed up by another sold-out performance at the Hollywood Bowl in 2012, which also served to launch the record-breaking Miles Davis U.S. postage stamp, with more than 23 million in sales to date. In 2014, Miles Electric Band sold out the SF Jazz Center and received a standing ovation.
The earliest incarnation was called Bitches Brew Re-Mix, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Bitches Brew, with their first performance at Silverlake’s famed Sunset Junction Fair, featuring a live re-mix by J-Rocc from the Beat Junkies.
The live concert Miles Electric All-Star group will be touring globally 2016/2017 and beyond.
For more information:
Rogers & Cowan