Soul Tours 

Akua Naru: A Powerful Voice Wrapping Up Huge Tour

Living in New Haven, Connecticut does not make anyone sit in the center of the world, but far from it. Still, this is the place where a strong voice has developed, a voice spreading revolutionary thoughts, telling tales of anything from justice to love and sex. Akua Naru is a story teller, an advocate for justice and a poet thinking about love and tenderness. The lady from New Haven, who has lived in China and Germany, spreads her message using Hip Hop rhythms, which she mostly speaks on. Some would…

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Collectors 

Real Music Collectors: Mario Moya in Mexico City

Mario Moya is from Mexico City, an¬†Electronics & Communications engineer and a Real Music person. Growing up in a family of Jazz, Soul and Funk lovers, he soon became a connaisseur. This applies to other genres too, including Brazilian music. When Mario was a kid, he did listen to one of the greatest radio stations ever: “Jazz FM 104.1” in Mexico City was founded by Roberto Morales in 1979, a decade before Europeans “invented” that kind of radio station, and used the same name. The original “Jazz FM”, which was…

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Birthdays 

Dianne Reeves at 60: The Evolution of a Star

Note: The plural form of the word Grammy is part of this article. Reader discretion is advised. The minute she was born sixty years ago today, she was exposed to all of this great music. Her mother was a trumpeter, her father a vocalist. He is obviously the one she inherited her singing talent from. When, on top of all of this parental influence, which you inhale 24 hours a day, your cousin’s name is George Duke and your uncle is bassist Charles Burrell, you are supposed to be discovered…

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Lost Heroes 

Dizzy Gillespie 99: Exploring him in Reverse

Dizzy’s contributions to Jazz could not be bigger. The same applies to his influence on Jazz trumpet heroes, but also on other instrumentalists and vocalists. On everyone. He was born 99 years ago today. Some Jazz purists of older generations might still remember the times of Dizzy’s first gig in 1935, when he played with the Frank Fairfax Orchestra, or Cab Calloway’s orchestra, in 1939. But there are those who have been or still are exploring his work in reverse. There are people, who first heard of Dizzy Gillespie, when…

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Birthdays 

Mark King at 58: Slapping the Shit out of that Bass

Mark King, who is celebrating his 58th birthday today, was a big Jazz-Funk hero. When the self-titled album of his band Level 42 was released in 1981, and tunes like “Love Games” or “43” came through powerful loudspeakers in the community room of a boarding school in southern Germany, everyone was stunned. There he was, the European version of Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson. That “right in the face” kind of Funk, the off-beats the group came up with, and the entire approach, including that record cover, were simply sensational. It…

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Birthdays 

Jennifer Holliday: One of the Most Powerful Soul Voices Turning 56

Jennifer Holliday is one of the most powerful Soul voices ever recorded, or ever seen on a Broadway stage. She is being celebrated and does have many fans, but it seems she would have deserved a lot more. “Your Arms Too Short to Box With God” was the first musical she took part in. When she was only 21, she got the biggest role of her career. On Broadway, she became Effie in “Dreamgirls”. Her more than brilliant performance, singing “And I Am Telling You”, was beyond great. Hardly ever…

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Birthdays 

Chuck Berry at 90: The Rhythm & Blues Pioneer

The 1950-s would never be the same again, after Chuck Berry started making huge crowds love his Rock’N’Roll. It was a revolution. And he was the messenger. When Chuck Berry was born, 90 years ago today, in 1926, Rock’N’Roll was unheard of. When he started fascinating the masses, with his first hit, in May of 1955, most other Rock’n’Roll greats were kids, and some of them not even conceived. We have to thank Chuck Berry for co-inventing Rock’N’Roll, and by doing so, contributing to the evolution of Rhythm & Blues…

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Birthdays 

Esperanza Spalding: The Unconventional Jazz Heroine Turning 32

The word unconventional hits the nail on the head. That is because Esperanza Spalding, born 32 years ago today, in Portand, Oregon, definitely has her own, unique approach in absolutely everything she does. She is being rewarded for being brilliant, yes, unconventional, for mirroring her music with her beauty and for just doing what she wants to do. Does she deserve the four Grammys she already has? Yes. Will she deserve the ones she might receive in future? Yes. But, would other Jazz and Soul artists have deserved the kind…

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Young Jazz Heroes 

Charlie Stacey: The 21-Year-Old Genius Pianist

Charlie Stacey first discovered the piano at the age of 8 through imitating recordings of boogie-woogie and stride piano he heard on the radio. From there, he continued to listen and imitate obsessively, adding Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Keith Jarrett, Sun Ra and Mccoy Tyner to his list of favourites, as the years went on. He became competent at playing with others, as a member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and Tomorrow’s Warriors education program. His first major successes were being featured on BBC1’s One Show as a child…

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