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Reflections From a Universal Poet | Mr. Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack: Universal Truth

Interview by A. Scott Galloway

On March 4, 2014, Bobby Womack will turn 70 years-old. 

That day will mark an amazing milestone for a music man whose legacy spans from singing gospel & R&B, respectively, with his brothers in The Womack Brothers and The Valentinos under the guidance of the late great Sam Cooke to writing and playing guitar behind kindred spirits such as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Sly Stone and Janis Joplin. After a few solo albums on the Minit/Liberty Label, Womack came out in earnest in 1971 on United Artists Records with one of the greatest soul albums of all-time, Communication, where he excavated The Truth from his own spirit in songs such as “Give it Back,” “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha” and a young Leon Ware’s “Come L’amore” as well as the soul inside of songs by Pop peers such as James Taylor (“Fire & Rain”), Bacharach & David (“Close to You”) and Ray Stevens even (“Everything is Beautiful”).  

Over the next couple of decades, though never clockwork consistent, Womack would manage to deliver many more unforgettable lasting musical mementos
including an autobiographical song used as the theme for a gritty action flick (“Across 110th Street”), “Breezin’” (made world famous by The George Benson Band as arranged by Claus Ogerman).

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Gregory Porter Goes Deep in Interview with A. Scott Galloway

Gregory Porter – Afro Perennial Waterfall
By A. Scott Galloway

In a 2006 interview with Ken Sharp for Record Collector magazine, Bill Withers was asked whether he views himself more as a songwriter or an artiste. He responded, “I never was able to separate the two since I never did it any other way. It’s like asking somebody who’s ambidextrous, ‘Are you right-handed or left-handed?’” As 2012 comes to a close, we can add Gregory Porter to the list of the profoundly musically ambidextrous.

This has been nothing short of an incredible year for singer/songwriter Gregory Porter, an artist whose work finds him straddling stylistic genres like an emperor as he represents the future perpetuation of the deep culture of African American song craft and music at its highest level. He is a most welcome newcomer in a time when we consider the loss of the great Eugene McDaniels passing away this year or Bill Withers perfectly content with not having written or recorded anything new in decades. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing him when he came to Los Angeles to play a show so packed out at The Mint club that they had to remove most of the tables and chairs to accommodate what was – for them - a totally unexpected standing room only overflow of fans. This was following a similarly sold out show at Yoshi’s in Northern California and a much buzzed about set at The Monterey Jazz Festival. No less than Dee Dee Bridgewater insisted that he was outstanding.

I spoke with brother Porter, who is swiftly becoming less of a mystery, about his slow and steady climb to excellence and renown, plus highlights from the golden canon of songs he has gifted us with from his two Motéma Music CDs: Water (2010) and this year’s Grammy-nominated Be Good (2012) which was released on Valentine’s Day.

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Our Conversation with Teddy Riley & BS2! | 2013

Ladies & Gentlemen...

The Urban Music Scene.com welcomes one of the most prolific producers, songwriters and arrangers in the history of all music:


Our Publisher Terrill Hanna sat down with Mr. Riley recently to discuss many of his upcoming endeavors, including the re-emergence of hit R&B group BS2, his new tour sweeping across the U.S. and much more. You are going to want to pull up a chair and check out this conversation
Ladies and Gents!

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Moore Precious Than Ever

Chanté Moore: More Precious Than Ever…and Still Blossoming
by A. Scott Galloway

There’s a lot awaiting so I’ll make this quick. I had the pleasure of documenting the evolution of singer/songwriter Chanté Moore since before her debut album Precious made her an immediate darling of the R&B-Pop world...especially on what was left of the Quiet Storm circa 1992. She has always been very open in her writing, very classy yet always willing to take a dare or two. Her latest “dare” is her raised public profile as one of six cast members of TV-One’s runaway hit reality show “R&B Divas: L.A.” on which she co-stars with Michel’le, Lil’ Mo, Claudette Ortiz (formerly of City High), Dawn Robinson (formerly of En Vogue) and Kelly Price (who has turned out to be her arch nemesis). 

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“Drop Top Drive By” Interview w/The O'Jays' Eddie Levert | "Long Beach Jazz Festival" Special Edition

Drop-Top Drive-By Interview with Eddie Levert –of The O’Jays
A T.U.M.S. “Long Beach Jazz Festival” Special!
by A. Scott Galloway

Ain’t nothin’ like a live performance from The O’Jays! I can tell you firsthand from MANY occasions I have enjoyed their shows including one just last year. This year Southern California will be treated to a show like no other from The O'Jays at the 26th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival which is taking place Friday August 9 thru Sunday August 11. The O’Jays (Eddie Levert, Walter Williams and Eric Nolan Grant) take the stage Prime Time on Saturday night on a bill with others that include Phil Perry with Kim Waters, Euge Groove and newcomer Elle Varner.

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Bob James Talks Reunion With David Sanborn | Playboy Jazz Special 2013

Playboy Jazz Festival Special -
Bob James: The A. Scott Galloway Interview

by A. Scott Galloway

Once upon a time called 1986, two pillars of contemporary jazz named Bob James & David Sanborn pooled their resources and recorded an album together titled Double Vision that became a million-selling Grammy winning classic on the strengths of a soulful vocal version of “Since I Fell For You” featuring Al Jarreau (penned by Buddy Johnson in 1945 who debuted it with his orchestra featuring his sister Ella Johnson singing yet was made a big hit in 1963 by Lenny Welch), and an instrumental inspired by the capital city of Mozambique, “Maputo” penned by Marcus Miller (born this day on June 14, 1959 – “Happy Birthday Marcus”). Unlike most successful ventures in the music business, no immediate sequel was ever mounted making it a one of a kind affair…until last month that is.

On May 20, 2013, keyboard master James and alto saxophone giant Sanborn finally released a follow-up collaboration only this time in an acoustic jazz quartet vein inspired by the legendary and capriciously adventurous time signature shape shifters The Dave Brubeck Quartet. The title of this ear-pleasing new CD is Quartette Humaine and also features stellar drummer Steve Gadd and formidable bassist James Genus. This foursome is among the main draws for this year’s 2013 “Playboy Jazz Festival,” performing Day 2: Sunday, June 16 – Father’s Day!

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"Drop Top Drive By" w/Poncho Sanchez | Special Playboy Jazz Edition

Playboy Jazz Festival Drop Top Drive By Interview:
Poncho Sanchez

by A. Scott Galloway

Los Angeles-based conga master Poncho Sanchez has been a regular and welcome presence at the “Playboy Jazz Festival” One of this writer’s most awesome PJF memories is when Poncho and his band dropped down into their Latin Soul version of James Brown’s “Cold Sweat” (based, of course, on the Latin classic version recorded by Mongo Santamaria with Bernard Purdie on drums) as the finale of their early evening set a decade or so back, sending the entire crowd into euphoria, up on their feet and groovin’ hard! This year, Poncho will be paying homage to another great musician at this year’s festival with his special “Ole’ Coltrane” set dedicated to the legendary saxophonist/composer John Coltrane that will feature special guest saxophonist James Carter.

Other recent recordings by Sanchez include Chano y Dizzy, a collaboration with trumpeter Terence Blanchard in tribute to Latin Jazz composing pioneers Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie.

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"Drop Top Drive By" w/Jeffrey Osborne | Special Playboy Jazz Edition

Playboy Jazz Festival Drop Top Drive By Interview:
Jeffrey Osborne

by A. Scott Galloway

Jeffrey Osborne came to prominence as the lead singer/drummer of the `70s soul band L.T.D. (Love Togetherness and Devotion). After singing such now classic hits as “Love Ballad,” “(Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again,” “Holding On (When Love Is Gone)” [all #1 Billboard R&B charters] and “We Both Deserve Each Others’ Love,” he segued into a solo career in the `80s that rendered him among the biggest R&B heartthrobs in the business with hits like “She’s On The Left” (#1), “I Really Don’t Need No Light,” “On the Wings of Love,” “Stay With Me Tonight,” “Love Power” (w/ Dionne Warwick), “The Last Time I Made Love” (w/ Joyce Kennedy), “The Borderlines” (produced by the late, great Raymond Jones) and “Only Human” (an album just reissued on CD by SoulMusic Records).

This year, Jeffrey has realized a lifelong dream of recording a jazz-oriented album of standards titled A Time For Love (on Saguaro Road/Time-Life Records).

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Ndugu Chancler + Patrice Rushen: "1+One...4 Life"

Ndugu + Patrice Rushen: 1+One…4 Life
By A. Scott Galloway

Ndugu Chancler and Patrice Rushen are two of South Central Los Angeles’ most amazing poster artists for rising out of the L.A. Unified School District to achieve blinding heights of glory in multiple facets of the music industry then come and give back with generosity, passion and a master plan based on all they learned academically and in the field. Their collective resume essentially includes every major artist and professional situation an open-minded musician could dream of achieving – hit records, awards, band leading, composing, arranging, education, mentoring, coveted sideman/woman gigs, covers and samples – the list is long and fully deserved. It also includes them being in a band together called The Meeting with saxophonist Ernie Watts and bassist Alphonso Johnson.

Today, Chancler and Rushen are both educators at the University of Southern California (USC). Mr. Chancler holds the position of Adjunct Professor of popular Music and Jazz Studies. He has been teaching on the campus for 19 years. Ms. Rushen is the Chair of the Popular Music Department and just saw her first full graduating class this month at the close of her fourth year in the position which is the current life of the program – 4 years-old.

On Sunday June 2 in a FREE community concert at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza that is also tied in as pre-promotion leading up to this year’s Playboy jazz Festival, the duo will pool their talents within an ongoing performance project they started in the late `80s which they call 1+One – a synchronistic partnership that enables them to fully express the breadth of all their passions and masteries in music. Just returning from Germany where they did shows and some live recording (with bassist Rhonda Smith – formerly of Prince’s band), Ndugu + Patrice will play as a duo (naturally and with pre-programmed tracks) as well as with guest musicians Reggie Hamilton on bass and Paul Jackson Jr. on guitar.

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Huggy Bear Jumps on The Blues Bandwagon!

Actor Antonio Fargas Leaps Into Song With The New Jump Blues Band
by A. Scott Galloway

The New Jump Blues Band is one of the most exciting, foot-stomping musical acts to leap onto the national stage in years. Based in Los Angeles, this tight combo of 4+3+4 (rhythm quartet, 3-piece horns and 4 singers/dancers) brings new energy to a style that has its roots in the swing era, blending up-tempo elements of blues and jazz and adding touches of calypso. It showcases dynamic front man/MC Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas, the singer and actor who gained fame and a nickname as the iconic street character from mid-'70s TV’s “Starsky & Hutch.” And they’re going to electrify audiences on Sunday May 5 at 3:30pm for a FREE Cinco de Mayo special show in conjunction with the “Playboy Jazz Festival” pre-concerts at the Beverly Hills Civic Center.

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