As a child growing up, Marcus Anderson would hear his father tell him repeatedly, “protect your hands, that’s going to be your ticket.” Those words kept Marcus from having to do too much heavy work growing up, and they also were instinctively true. Marcus became a skilled saxophone player throughout his younger years and continued growing as a musician, thus inevitably becoming a multi-instrumentalist; not to mention that he is also a producer, songwriter, vocalist, and thrilling entertainer. Anderson works with some of the best artists in music. With too many to name, however, I’ll just name a few: Alex Bugnon, Brian Simpson, Nicholas Cole, and PRINCE. Although he is in a fortunate situation, Marcus embraces the opportunity to learn and grow from the wisdom of his fellow musicians. He will be releasing his fifth album titled “Style Meets Substance” on March 25th–appropriately titled as he shows that he not has “style” but also “substance.” And both style and substance are definitely recognizable on this sexy, smooth, and funky album. Marcus exhibits versatility along with his creative instincts and ability to collaborate with just the right musicians to bring his music to life.
Najee once again very poignantly delivers a collection of songs that we can all connect with on his latest album, “The Morning After.” It encompasses stories of love and journeys well traveled, and it debuted #1 Contemporary Jazz album on the Billboard charts. With a career that spans over several years, Najee continues to captivate audiences without fail. Over the years, he has collaborated with everyone from George Duke to Jeff Lorber to Phil Perry. Najee has the ability to create songs that everyone loves and that reach across multiple genres. As is displayed with the release of the single titled “In The Mood To Take It Slow,” featuring his long time friend Meli’sa Morgan, he does this by making music that is accessible and relevant. She was the perfect person for this sensual slow groove. Smooth Jazz radio stations as well as R & B stations have been giving the single a lot of airplay, and fans are starting to request it more. Najee will be on tour throughout the upcoming year, promoting “The Morning After” and continuing to share his new music.
Najee and I discuss it all via Skype.
Soul of Summer a multicultural affair
U.S. concert tour featuring Jonathan Butler, Sheila E. and Elan Trotman launches May 25th in San Diego
Los Angeles, CA (14 May 2013): The spirit of spring is followed by the Soul of Summer, which this year will take on an international flair. The third edition of South African singer-songwriter-guitarist Jonathan Butler’s summer concert trek will feature multi-talented Latina Sheila E. and Barbadian saxophonist Elan Trotman. Backed by a 3-piece band and Butler’s daughter Jodie Butler on background vocals, the set list will showcase the artists’ hits along with a few cover tunes. The Soul of Summer 2013 will debut at the San Diego Jazz Festival on May 25th with dates booked across the U.S. into August.
“I’m excited to get on the road with Soul of Summer 2013. This year, we have the Latin flavor of Sheila E., the Caribbean flavor of Elan Trotman, and with my South African roots, it creates a great world music experience. Music can be a unifying force and unity is the spirit of Soul of Summer,” said Butler after the outfit’s first rehearsal at which they created the 14-song set list.
Butler’s Soul of Summer excursions are collaborative by nature. Each artist will have time during the show to perform individually, but the magic comes from the pairings when Butler, E. and Trotman will share the stage in various combinations to play their chart-toppers, fan favorites and Grammy-nominated singles, including Butler’s “Sara Sara” and “Lies” and E.’s “Glamorous Life.”
A two-time Grammy nominee, Butler became a child star while growing up under Apartheid and was the first black artist to be played on radio stations in South Africa. His 17-deep album catalogue is a study in diversity as Butler refuses to limit the scope of his musical vision that spans contemporary jazz instrumentals, soulful R&B, sophisticated pop and stirring gospel. Blessed with an impassioned voice that cries for justice, romantic pleas for love, and worshipful praise, Butler is dually noted for his nifty guitar-play on both nylon string and electric. Whether in a full band setting or stripped down to his roots as a spellbinding singer-songwriter, Butler pours his heart and soul into his live shows that uplift, enlighten and inspire. His latest recording, the gospel offering “Grace and Mercy,” was released last fall and continues to spread the word at radio. Butler will release a Christmas album this fall.
The daughter of Latin jazz patriarch Pete Escovedo, E. is a dynamic drummer, percussionist and vocalist who had her commercial breakthrough as a protégé of Prince with whom she still occasionally collaborates. Proudly braiding elements of her Hispanic heritage to funk, jazz, soul, fusion and gospel, she captivates with her high-energy performances and rhythmically-astute beats that have enabled her to play with some of the biggest names in popular music while collecting her own #1 Billboard hits and multiple Grammy and American Music Awards nominations along with an MTV Best Video Award win. The stunning beauty, a multimedia star that has graced the silver screen and small screen, released a concert DVD, “Sheila E. Summer Tour 2012 – LIVE in Lugano, Switzerland” last December.
Trotman is a feted newcomer winning fans and plaudits for the good-natured spirit of the Caribbean that he brings to R&B and contemporary jazz grooves. The saxman who attended the Berklee College of Music on a scholarship from the government of Barbados released his sixth album, “Tropicality,” earlier this year, which he wrote and produced with guitar star Peter White. The disc containing performances by an array of accomplished musicians is a celebration of island life that also chronicles Trotman’s journey from Barbados to Boston.
The Soul of Summer 2013 band is comprised of bassist and musical director Dan Lutz, drummer Jay Williams, and keyboardist Dennis Hamm.
The 2013 itinerary for Soul of Summer featuring Butler, E. and Trotman is:
May 25 Carlsbad, CA San Diego Jazz Festival
July 10 Detroit, MI Chene Park
July 17 New York, NY Spirit Cruise Ship
July 20 Norfolk, VA Norfolk Jazz Festival
July 27 Temecula, CA Thornton Winery
August 2 Austin, TX One World Theatre
August 3 Houston, TX Houston International Jazz Festival
August 10 Kettering, OH Festival of the Vine
August 11 Richmond, VA Richmond Jazz Festival
Additional dates will be added, which will be posted at http://www.jonathanbutler.com.