Monday, January 29, 2007



Since converting to Islam and leaving the music business 28 years ago, Yusuf has channeled the royalties from his Cat Stevens records to charitable causes, including a string of Muslim schools he personally established in London. His pioneering work resulted in a landmark decision by the British government to certify and support Islamic education throughout the country.

His U.N. registered charity, Small Kindness, provides humanitarian relief to orphans and families in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and other regions. He is also one of the few individuals to finance women to attend university in Baghdad.

He donated the royalties from the Cat Stevens Box Set, released in October 2001, to charity – with half going to The September 11th Fund and the remainder to orphans and homeless families in underdeveloped countries.


Yusuf's celebrity has made him a media and government target. Over the years, his beliefs and actions have often been misunderstood and misrepresented. He accepts this as a reflection of how extremists on both sides have attempted to use Islam as a combatant in a global struggle.

Yusuf was not heard from in public for a decade until 1989, when it was erroneously reported that he supported the death sentence ordered by the Ayatollah Khomeini against novelist Salman Rushdie for writing "The Satanic Verses." It was what he calls a "monstrous myth":

Yusuf was speaking to students at a university in London about his journey to Islam when he was asked about the fatwa (Islamic legal pronouncement) calling for the death of Rushdie. “Of course, I was going to be a prime target for a question on this issue,” so he responded with a simple statement of what he understood at the time of Muslim law. “I was simply a new Muslim who had stated something which I considered quite plain and obvious. If you were to ask a Bible student what the Ten Commandments are, you would expect him to repeat them honestly, and you wouldn’t blame him for doing so…”

“What I said was that, like the Bible, the Koran defines blasphemy without repentance as being a capital offense. And that’s all I stated. I never supported the fatwa. It was very sad to see such irresponsibility from the 'free press' and I was totally abhorred. I released a statement the very next day after I read the headlines, completely contradicting what they’d said, but that never got the headlines. Of course, once the damage is done, everybody perceives you for what they’ve seen on the front page. It was a matter of me learning the hard way.”


In September 2004, Yusuf was on a United Airlines flight from London to Washington when the plane was diverted to Maine because he had apparently been mistaken for someone on the post-9/11 "no fly" list. He was deported back to England the following day, and an international controversy was provoked. “It was like I was reading a script where I was the star, and I didn’t even know what the plot was and how it was going to end. Perhaps it was about the fact that my name happens to carry my religion with it.”

When The Sun and The Sunday Times in England published articles agreeing with the U.S.’s actions, Yusuf sued the newspapers for libel. He received a substantial settlement from both papers, along with published apologies and acknowledgements that he had never supported terrorism. He donated his settlement to help orphans of the Asian tsunami.

”It seems to be the easiest thing in the world these days to make scurrilous accusations against Muslims,” he said at the time. “In my case, it directly impacts my relief work and damages my reputation as an artist.”

Acclaimed around the globe for his devotion to peace and charity, Yusuf has received a series of prestigious awards for his life's work. He was named as the 2004 “Man for Peace,” voted for by a committee of all Nobel peace laureates and presented by Mikhail Gorbachev

"It may come as news to some, but the word Islam itself derives from the word peace," Yusuf points out. "That is the heart and soul of the religion and is what I've always followed. Other horrendous events that have taken place mean that it's now necessary to educate people that this religion is based on spiritual love, unity, and tolerance. I think that I've made that journey, and perhaps I can help others to an understanding that the vast majority of Muslims simply want to live a good life and be at peace with the rest of the world. Today I am in a unique position as a looking glass through which Muslims can see the west and the west can see Islam, and it is important for me to be able to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross.”

He has often been asked why he gave up music so completely and did not find a way to accommodate his faith and his career. “I gave an interview in 1980 to a Muslim magazine and they asked me about music and the future, and I said I'd suspended my musical activities for fear that it may divert me from the true path," he recalls. "But I also added that I couldn't be dogmatic and say I'll never make music again. There's nothing in the Koran that says music is forbidden; yet when I looked at the music business I realised it was definitely a negative infringement on what I wanted from my spiritual life. I didn't want to have to worry about it, so for me that meant giving away my guitars and getting down to the job of living, starting the charitable work I wanted to do, and having a family life."

Ultimately, he says, the reason for his return to pop music is simple. "The language of song is simply the best way to communicate the powerful winds of change which brought me to where I am today, and the love of peace still passing through my heart. I feel gifted to have that ability still within me. I never wanted to get involved in politics because that essentially separates people, whereas music has the power to unify, and is so much easier for me than to give a lecture."

Although Cat Stevens’s conversion to Islam and departure from making music 28 years ago took the world by surprise, it was actually the culmination of a decade-long spiritual quest. "To some people it may have seemed like an enormous jump," he says. "But for me it was a gradual dawning, and my songs had already primed me for it.”

In 1968, having already achieved pop stardom in his native UK, his career was suddenly derailed when he contracted tuberculosis. “Because I was close to death, I started to think more purposefully about the meaning of life and why we are here,” he says. “That was the beginning of my search for something beyond, that eventually led me on a long journey to find out."

Having spent a year in recovery, he returned to recording with a new introspection and sensitivity. Throughout his hugely successful career in the 1970s, “I was always seeking, and my songs reflect that very clearly," he says today. "I was looking beyond the surface of the material world and wanted to find some higher truth.”

A major turning point in his life came while he was swimming off the coast of Malibu, California. "I was in the ocean and suddenly I'd lost it, I had no power to swim any more," he remembers. "I was fighting the ocean and I had nobody with me. Yet I did have someone. I called out, 'God, if you save me I'll work for you.' A friendly wave swept me in to shore and from that arose within me a deep conviction and belief that there is a higher control over one's life."

In 1976 his brother gave him a copy of the Koran. "I began to read it and found a totally unique form of revelation in terms of the communication between God and man," he recalls. “Today what some people think about Islam is something completely different form what I discovered when I started reading the Koran. It was that final discovery of the Koran and the message it contained which brought me home and from that moment my thoughts and all the things I had been leading to made sense.”
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Friday, January 26, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jazz legend Annie Ross in New York!

Jazz legend Annie Ross continues her run of Tuesday's at the Metropolitan RoomAt GothamNew York’s newest and best music room34 West 22nd St. (between 5th & 6th Ave.)New York CityReservations (212)206-0440

Dates and times:
Tuesday, January 16th @ 7:00 PM (Jon Weber-piano and Leroy Williams-drums)
Tuesday, January 23rd @ 7:00 PM (Live Recording)
Tuesday, January 30th @ 7:00 PM (Live Recording)
February 6th @ 7:00 PM (Live Recording)

Tardo Hammer – Piano
Neal Miner – Bass
Jimmy Wormworth – Drums
Warren Vaché - Trumpet (when in town)
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Jamie Cullum: Mad About Music from ALLABOUTJAZZ

Published: January 2, 2007
By Katrina-Kasey Wheeler

Jamie Cullum is an innovator and an artist whose music speaks to a new generation of music fans and jazz enthusiasts alike. The title track from Twentysomething (Verve Forecast, 2004) is much like an anthem for this new cohort of music fans. He is a consummate musician and his passion for his art is clear, repeatedly showcased by his skilled improvisation and the clever lyrics of his compositions which set him apart from any artist of his kind. There is such sincerity in his vocal interpretations that fans of various ages can relate to the topics discussed in his songs.
Cullum maintains a composition’s original structure, while breathing captivating new verve into timeless songs such as, “Singing In The Rain,” “I Get A Kick Out of You” and “I Could Have Danced All Night,” to name a few.
As a young artist who is well on his way to becoming a household name, he appreciates who the great storytellers were before him. His music is a product of his intense love for various genres fostered during his adolescence, among them an admiration for jazz.
Having played countless gigs as an adolescent, he was able to competently gain the experience that seasoned players obtain through years of extensive travel on the road.
He has an air of both veracity and professional integrity. Cullum has enjoyed much success since his debut release Pointless Nostalgic (Candid, 2002), and likewise his most recent release Catching Tales (Verve Forecast, 2005) has garnered much critical acclaim and success.
Although currently on tour, I was able to speak with him during one of his free moments.
All About Jazz: You come from a musical family, your father played the guitar and your mother played the piano.
Jamie Cullum: Well my father played very badly, he could only play three chords. I think the musical part of the family really comes from the fact that we had a piano in the house and my mother sang in church. My brother was always interested in music from day one, so that is the connection.

AAJ: When was the first time that you knew that you had the talent to make music your career?
JC: That was not until I was twenty-one. I had already made my first album and played many gigs. I never thought that it would be my career, even when I was playing clubs and pubs. I earned a degree in Film and English Literature and in the back of my mind I didn’t think that I had the talent or the drive, but it just happened.
One turning point I think was the night before my final. For one of my film exams, which was on Alfred Hitchcock, I went to the movies to watch Rear Window, and I went to Ronnie Scott’s after the show to see the Mingus big band and something really clicked that night. There were twenty-five people in the band and ten people in the audience. As I watched them play they looked so happy just to be playing. When I saw that, I thought, “I want to do that, I want to be that good and I want to play with that much passion.”
AAJ: Your brother was one of the major influences for you as you grew up. He showed you how to be very open-minded about different styles of music. Was there one particular artist that inspired you to become a pianist?
JC: There were so many really. I guess it would have to be Herbie Hancock, if I have to go back to a true source of inspiration. Another great source of inspiration was Harry Connick, Jr. and Ben Folds as well. I was listening to a lot of rock, disco, rave, electronica and hip-hop during the time when I started to listen to Herbie Hancock. My brother and I checked out albums like Head Hunters (Columbia/Legacy, 1973), Thrust (Columbia/Legacy, 1974) and albums like that.
The first Harry Connick, Jr. album I listened to was an album called, She (Columbia, 1994). Which was a big album for him, which kind of freaked everyone out because he did all this funky stuff. It is the first album of his that I heard and really fell in love with. I had the opportunity to hear him perform that album live and that blew me away, and it was around that time that I was really into Ben Folds Five and I went to see him. Those are the three people who made me want to play. After that it was Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Keith Jarrett that inspired me as well.
AAJ: All extremely talented artists. You have been playing music longer than some may think. You have been playing in bands since you were a teenager. Did that help you become even more focused in knowing exactly what direction you wanted your music to take?

JC: Well, what really helped is all that kind of pre-production. It was really just the experience of playing onstage. When I made Twentysomething, Pointless Nostalgic and Catching Tales, in terms of what music I wanted to do I absolutely knew, but there was far more experimentation. I went into the studio—you know, these are the ideas, these are the songs, and these are the arrangements, but I wanted to play around with them, I wasn’t completely closed off and not open to other ideas.
The experiences I had really enabled me to take the chances I had and make the best of them. You know when Universal did sign me and I did my first showcase, I didn’t choke because I had played so many gigs, I knew how to play to audiences. I pulled it off and that was really important—having that experience because these days, you shove a new artist in front of a showcase audience and they freak out. I probably did five or six hundred gigs before my first showcase and that was pretty easy compared to playing a wedding gig.
AAJ: I think that it is great for an upcoming artist to have that level of experience. If you look at a show like American Idol so many of the artists do not really know what they are getting into.
“As I watched them play they looked so happy just to be playing. When I saw that, I thought, 'I want to do that, I want to be that good and I want to play with that much passion.'”
JC: That is true, but that is what a show like that is for. I am really fond of the two idols that the show has produced, Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard. They are both really good, they are great singers they are true pop stars. I think the industry needs people like that to mold. One of my favorite songs of last year was “Since You’ve Been Gone,” by Kelly Clarkson, and a song like that can only come from the product of a really good song writer or a really good producer and then a really good singer. Sometimes something that good can only come about when every part is taken care of by the best in their field. I’m not too quick to criticize that kind of show because you have to know what you’re getting with them. You’re not going to get the next Brad Mehldau but you just might get the next Dionne Warwick, someone with a really great voice for their craft.

AAJ: There is a definite need for more forums to discover new talent. These reality shows can be great platforms in that respect.
JC: It is but it has also made getting discovered even that much harder in some ways because young kids are growing up thinking that that is the only way to get into the music industry. They need to know that they can get out there and play gigs and learn their craft.
AAJ: What do you think when people compare you to crooners of the golden age, and call you “Sinatra in sneakers”? Are you comfortable with that? Is that a validation for you or are you uncomfortable with such comparisons?
JC: When people do say that it is normally because they have seen a clip on television or they have heard about half a track. As soon as you have been to one of my shows or have heard an album all the way through, those common thoughts go out the window.
AAJ: Exactly. Anyone who is not entirely familiar with your music would jump to that conclusion.
JC: Right. They would make that assumption. There are moments of crooning in my shows and then moments of rocking-out, moments of electronica, moments of pop and moments of straight-ahead jazz. You know the crooning aspect is really a very small part of what I do. That includes the repertoire and the approach to singing.
AAJ: You have said before that your music has an intelligent bedrock and an intelligent edge that many people can enjoy, not exclusively jazz aficionados. Does it bother you at all if someone says that your music is not truly jazz? I would think that your very successful career would be a validation to keep doing what you do. You have many fans.
JC: It would bother me if I couldn’t do certain things. I have played opposite Coldplay and The White Stripes. I had the chance to play the Newport Jazz Festival opposite Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. At most of those shows we managed to engage the audiences. We have engaged the rock and pop audiences. The Newport Jazz Festival is probably one of the most famous jazz festivals in the world and we managed to engage the main stage audience with no difficulty.
I am not out to impress the hardcore jazz fans as much as I am not out to impress the hardcore indie rockers. I am just making good music which has a bedrock in jazz, a bedrock in pop, and good song writing. I play with jazz musicians and we improvise and we change the set up, and we do change the way we play the songs. We are also not too proud to play a good groove and stick to it, play harmonies and have fun on stage. If we want to play a certain song then we will do it. That is what makes it special, different and interesting.
If a jazz purist doesn’t like it, that’s great. He can go back and sit in a dark room and listen to what he does, like I do on a night off. I’ll be sitting there listening to Sonny Rollins reissues with no problem, but sometimes, I want to go out there and wrap my head around Queens of The Stone Age. I am a music fan, not a music snob.

AAJ: That is a great distinction—a music fan versus a music snob. Your fans see you at your concerts performing material from George Gershwin and Pharrell Williams to your own compositions. You have to be connected and have a love for music to be able to do that.
JC: Absolutely, the jazz artists that I have always really admired apart from the obvious greats are really the ones who switch it around and don’t do what you expect. People like, Dave Douglas, Brad Mehldau, Patricia Barber, people that are not afraid to do what is outside of what jazz aficionados expect them to do. Jazz musicians are very open, but sometimes the audience thinks that for example, Brad Mehldau sits at home and listens to nothing but Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett and that’s just not true.
AAJ: In your opinion, what is the best jazz album of all time?
JC: That is an extremely difficult question to answer really. I don’t want to go straight to the clichés but, I think one of the first jazz albums I really connected with—you know, as a youngster before I knew anything about jazz, was In a Silent Way (Columbia/Legacy, 1969), by Miles Davis. I know it is not like his most outgoing record, it is very spacey and it is very single chord driven, but there is something about the way that music was put together, it spoke to me in a way that no other music had spoke to me before. I realized that the essence of jazz was in the way that I connected to it: the space, the inter-vibration, the conversation, the spontaneity, and the groove. It wasn’t swing and it wasn’t funk or fusion, it was just this music that seemed to come from the heart and the brain at the same time. This album—I couldn’t quite get my head around it but I knew I loved it, and for that reason I always think of that album as the birth of my real understanding of what jazz is.
AAJ: I think one of the great things about jazz is that you can take various influences and explore them and create something new, which is like what you do with your music.
JC: I see other artists who aren’t jazz artists but are doing similar things, like Bjork, Brad Mehldau, and all these artists who are creating their own sounds, and that is why jazz is so great, because it is so open to that. It is so malleable it is the widest path to take you wherever you want to go.
AAJ: You create new adaptations to songs that are already thought to be great in their own right, like songs from the Great American Songbook. Do you ever feel the pressure to make a cover song great in a new way, or do you feel that it is at all expected of you to make it completely your own?
JC: When I think of a song I want to do, it is because I have an idea for it. I don’t really pick songs and say to myself, “How can I make this different?” It is normally more about hearing a great song that I love and having a way to approach it. If I was just going to take a song and make it different, I don’t think that it would have the same kind of passion connected to it. For instance, when I did Jimi Hendrix’s “Wind Cries Mary,” apart from the fact that I loved it, I had this crazy dream about Dr. John and Hendrix having it out together. From that moment on the idea was born, and it comes in those types of impulses. I’m always thinking about ideas, lyrics, chords, and songs, so I’m never really short on ideas.
AAJ: Were you at all surprised by the success of your most recent release, Catching Tales?
JC: Well, I think it is always going to be difficult following up to an album as successful as Twentysomething. I didn’t expect one thing or the other I just made music that I believed in.
AAJ: Every artist hopes to leave their mark through their music, what do you hope yours to be?
JC: All I have ever really wanted to do is be a great musician. Long before I ever had a career, I just wanted to play well and play with good musicians. It sounds maybe over modest, but that is still really all I want to do—be a really good player. Careers don’t last very long these days, just having a career that lasts longer than ten years is a big enough deal in the industry today, so that would be a good start, at the end of all that, I would like to be regarded as someone who could really play, really sing, and really write. I don’t need to shift another ten million units I would just like to be regarded as a great musician.”

Selected Discography:
Geoff Gascoyne, Keep It to Yourself (Candid Records, 2006)
Jamie Cullum, Catching Tales (Verve Forecast, 2005)
Jamie Cullum, Twentysomething (Universal/Verve, 2004)
Jamie Cullum, Pointless Nostalgic (Candid Records, 2003)

Visit Jamie Cullum on the web.

Vocalist Suzanne Pittson Presents The Music Of Freddie Hubbard At Sweet Rhythm, Wednesday, January 24th Sets at 8 & 10PM


The Suzanne Pittson Quartet will present the music of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard with original lyrics on
Wednesday, January 24 at Sweet Rhythm in New York City.  

The Quartet includes:
Suzanne Pittson, vocals
Jeff Pittson, piano
Harvie S, bass
Anthony Pinciotti, drums

Suzanne will perform such Freddie Hubbard compositions as "Birdlike," "Crisis," "Cunga Black," "Jodo,"  "Hub-tones" and "The Intrepid Fox" with original lyrics, as well as  "Up Jumped Spring," with lyrics by Abbey Lincoln.

Sweet Rhythm is located at 88 Seventh Avenue South (between Grove and Bleecker), NYC. Sets at 8 & 10PM; $15 cover, $10 minimum.
for reservations call: 212.255.3626

'Suzanne Pittson is a gusty, informed scatter...she knows her chord changes. The singer is one to watch for."
Zan Stewart-Down Beat

"Suzanne Pittson is a true jazz singer...her scat work is breathtaking."
Jerome Wilson - Cadence

Suzanne Pittson lives in New York and is Assistant Professor of Jazz Vocal Studies at The City College of New York.  Called a "true jazz singer" by
 Cadence magazine and a "true musician" by JazzTimes, she is rapidly gaining the respect of the jazz world because of her scatting and technical accuracy, her creativity and musicianship, and her broad improvisational vocabulary.  All About Jazz  says "Pittson is like an additional horn in the ensemble. Her 'scatting' drives the rhythm section and they respond to her urgings." 

Suzanne's most recent CD, "Resolution: A Remembrance of John Coltrane"  features unique vocal interpretations of the music of John Coltrane—including 2 movements of "A Love Supreme"—and is mentioned in Ashley Kahn's 2002 book A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album (Viking). Her bold and adventurous improvisations, based on study of John Coltrane and the post-Coltrane saxophonists, push the development of the jazz singing language into new realms of expression. 

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jazz World Mourns Michael Brecker and Alice Coltrane

by Paul Cashmere - January 14 2007

It has been a sad weekend for the jazz world with the death of two
prominent musicians. Alice Coltrane and Michael Brecker both died this

Born Alice McLeod in 1937, she met and married John Coltrane, credited
as the creator of avant-garde music. Alice played with John's band until
his death in 1967.

Her instruments of choice were piano, harp and Wurlitzer organ.

Alice's most recent albums were recorded for the Verve label.
(more about Alice Coltrane can be found here: (

Michael Brecker had been suffering from the pre-leukemic disease MDS. He
was diagnosed in 2005. In May 2006, he underwent an experimental stem
cell operation that did not go as well as hoped. Doctor's had been
searching for a suitable bone marrow match for Brecker over the past
year but were unable to find the right match.

Born in Philadelphia in 1949, Brecker recorded his own albums with his
bands Horace Silver and the Brecker Brothers (with brother Randy).

He was also a well-known session musican appearing on albums by Paul
Simon, James Taylor and Yoko Ono.

More about Michael Brecker:

Saturday, January 13, 2007

New Oscar Peterson/Ray Brown/Milt Jackson release


Telarc unearths unreleased tracks from famed 1998 Blue Note date by The Very Tall Band

When pianist Oscar Peterson, bassist Ray Brown and vibist Milt Jackson convened for a performance at the Blue Note in New York City on Thanksgiving weekend in 1998, the music that emerged was as brilliant as it was spontaneous. The performance itself – a landmark collaboration by three jazz giants – garnered critical praise from all corners, as did the resulting recording, The Very Tall Band (CD-83443), released on Telarc the following year.

But for as fine a recording as The Very Tall Band was, there was plenty of material from the three-night gig that didn’t make the final cut. Elaine Martone, Telarc’s executive vice president of production and producer of the original Very Tall Band release, has dug into the vaults and emerged with seven additional tracks recorded at the Blue Note date. The result is What’s Up?, nearly 60 minutes of unreleased material from this historic 1998 performance.

1. Squatty Roo

2. Salt Peanuts

3. Ad Lib Blues

4. If I Should Lose You

5. Limehouse Blues

6. Soft Winds

7. The More I See You

Oscar Peterson - piano
Ray Brown - bass
Milt Jackson -- vibes
Karriem Riggins -- drums

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Rhythms del Mundo - CUBA

• This unique compilation project brings together the legendary musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club,
some of today’s most popular music stars Chris Martin (Coldplay), Dido, Franz Ferdinand, Sting,
Bono, Radiohead among others, performing collaborations of some of their classic hits.

STING Fragilidad
JACK JOHNSON Better Together
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
FRANZ FERDINAND The Dark Of the Matinee
GORILLAZ Feel Good Inc.
MAROON 5 She Will Be Loved

Released on November 2006 Through Hip-O Records/Universal Music Enterprises Featuring collaborations from members of The Buena Vista Social Club and the hottest US/UK artists of the moment

Album proceeds will benefit disaster relief efforts and climate change awareness



Hip-O Records/Universal Music Enterprises released Rhythms Del Mundo, an exciting collaborative album, which fuses the hot Afro-Cuban sounds of The Buena Vista Social Club with tracks from today's biggest artists such as U2, Coldplay, Sting, Jack Johnson and Maroon 5 as well as some of the buzziest bands, including The Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, The Kaiser Chiefs and many others. It also features the amazing vocals from famed Cuban vocalists, Omara Portuonda, and the last ever recording of the much beloved Ibrahim Ferrer. The album is in aid of Artists Project Earth (APE), which lends support for natural disaster relief and climate change awareness. Universal Music Enterprises will donate a portion of its proceeds from sales of the album in the United States to the Music Rising campaign, an instrument replacement fund for musicians of the Gulf Coast.

Rhythms Del Mundo is an electrifying album that fuses music of different cultures and comes up with a melting pot of rare sounds. Arranged by Demitrio Muniz, the main recording sessions took place in Havana at Abdala Studios from April 2005 to June 2006. While the majority of the vocals remain the same, The Buena Vista Social Club took the original orchestration from each song and created something utterly unique casting their trademark mastery over each track. Their noted and exceptional musicianship seduced even the notoriously protective Arctic Monkeys into handing over their track. As a rule, the band has never licensed their music for compilation albums, but were so enamoured with the result that they were happy for it to be included on the album. As well as The Arctic Monkeys' track "Dancing Shoes", Rhythms Del Mundo includes reworked tracks such as "Clocks" by Coldplay, "Better Together" by Jack Johnson, "She Will be Loved" by Maroon 5, "High and Dry" by Radiohead and others.

Rhythms Del Mundo also includes music by famed Cuban singers Omara Portuondo and the last vocal recording of Afro-Cuban bolero singer, Ibrahim Ferrer, who died tragically in 2005. The other Cuban musicians from The Buena Vista Social Club who perform on this album are as follows: Barbarito Torres, Amandito Valdes, Virgilio Valdes, Angel Terri Domech, Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal, Orlando Lopez 'Cachaito' and Demetrio Muniz.

Kenny Young, producer and Founder/Trustee of APE, explains how the project emerged: "The project was sparked off by the devastating Tsunami of Xmas 2005. The idea came in to do a project with The Buena Vista Social Club to fuse their Latin sounds with Western artists and their familiar popular songs. The project evolved when more environmental disasters struck - the Asian Earthquakes and Hurricane Katrina. But the big picture was climate change. You can call these natural disasters but after all the research and scientific data, we know that we're at least partly to blame for some of these disasters. Global warming is now in the news daily. If we don't act in the time frame our experts give us, our grandchildren will curse us eternally.

The artists on this album fully support the record as a show of commitment to the music and to the cause that it endorses. Thom Yorke comments, 'We need a law, we need to have the Government put climate change in its place. If you leave industry to sort it out on a voluntary basis that's never going to happen. So everybody if they've got any concerns about climate change has to register that concern with their Government officials because it's the only way to go.'

The packaging for the album is carbon neutral.

Rhythms Del Mundo is released on November 14, 2006 through Hip-O Records/Universal Music Enterprises.

For more information on the charities that will benefit from this album go to and to

Monday, January 08, 2007

University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One Releases New CD

The University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One has released their latest CD entitled Destination Unknown. It contains a wide mix of progressive new compositions and more traditional big band music. Some composers and arrangers whose work is featured on the album include Chris Merz, Jim McNeely, Kyle Novak, Jeff Holmes, Kim Richmond and Duke Ellington.The recipient of numerous awards and honors, UNI Jazz Band One, the School of Music's top jazz performing group, is one of the premier collegiate jazz ensembles in the Midwest. Formerly directed by Robert Washut, Jazz Band One appeared at festivals all over the country and in Europe. The band performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1998, 1989, and 1995 and at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1998 and 1989. Jazz Band One has received outstanding band recognition at the Notre Dame (Indiana), Wichita (Kansas), Kansas City (Missouri), Eau Claire (Wisconsin), and Elmhurst (Illinois) Jazz Festivals. It has twice been a featured band (by invitation) at both the Greeley (Colorado) and KU (Kansas) Jazz Festivals and has performed at IAJE Conferences in Long Beach, California (2002) and Chicago, Illinois (1981). The band has also been the recipient of three Outstanding Performance Awards (1999, 1995 and 1993) in the collegiate big band category of Downbeat magazine's Annual Student Music Awards. As of August 2002, Jazz Band One is under the direction of Chris Merz.Jazz Band One has been a pioneer in innovative programming and instrumentation. Maintaining a balance of classic Basie and Ellington works and contemporary original compositions, the ensemble's repertoire consistently display's depth and diversity of style. The repertoire also showcases the versatility and high level of musicianship of the players in the band. Several original compositions and arrangements have been commissioned by the band from composers such as Manny Albam, Jane Ira Bloom, Ed Sarath, Chris Merz, Paul McKee, and Rob Hudson.The band has recorded fifteen CDs. Prominent guest artists who have appeared with Jazz Band One include: Rich Perry, Maria Schneider, Cuong Vu, Peter Erskine, Ben Monder, Benny Golson, Tim Hagans, Ryan Kisor, Bob Berg, Jimmy Heath, Dick Oatts, Terell Stafford, Bobby Shew, Matt Wilson, Donald Harrison, Steve Turre, Jerry Bergonzi, Jane Ira Bloom, Carl Fontana, James Williams, Conrad Herwig, Jiggs Whigham, David Liebman, Sunny Wilkinson, and Hal Galper, among many others.