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Sy Smith | Sometimes a Rose Will Grow in Concrete


 
Sy Smith Blossoms into Full Singer/Songwriter Bloom on “Sometimes a Rose…”
 
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
Sy Smith has been a work in progress as a most valuable session and touring singer for others, and a developing artist in her own right with four acclaimed albums behind her. Her latest, Sometimes a Rose Will Grow in Concrete, is her first since 2012, its title foreshadowing that a sister has been through some things but come out the other side steeped in artistry, ancestry and ‘Les Fleur de la Corazon.’

Dr. Lonnie Smith | All in My Mind


 
Dr. Lonnie Smith | All in My Mind
Blue Note Records
by Brent Faulkner
 
Ah, Dr. Lonnie Smith! He’s one of the legendary jazz musicians still alive and well who continues to record sweet music. What makes Smith most unique – besides his beard and turban – is the fact he’s a jazz Hammond B3 organist. While there are numerous organists in jazz, compared to other instruments, it’s rarer.

Soul Man Owens’ Country Cash Project Pays Off Some of the Time


 
Bryan Owens & The Deacons of Soul
Soul of Cash

(LIFE Arts Music)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
The junction where R&B and Country Music intersect has been traversed by many artists from Charlie Rich, Lucinda Williams and The Rolling Stones going one way to Ray Charles, Esther Phillips and Gladys Knight & The Pips heading in the other. The fourth and latest project by singer Brian Owens & The Deacons of Soul is an intermittently successful yet tight 8-song CD, Songs of Cash, that finds the man and his band tippin’ their Stetsons to one of Country’s tallest figures, Johnny Cash.

Fantasia | Christmas After Midnight


 
Fantasia | Christmas After Midnight
Concord Music
by Peggy Oliver
 
When it comes down to the annual barrage of holiday musical fare, music connoisseurs can be very fickle about their beloved artists singing Christmas set-in-stone standards. Sometimes the best intended orchestrations and re-constructions of hymns and pop pieces fails to elicit anything remarkable from past renditions.

Dee Dee Bridgewater Returns To Birthplace For Soul Food on Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready


 
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready
(Okeh/Sony Masterworks)
 
Dee Dee Bridgewater is a woman who has lived…well…and in a lot of places. She grew up in Flint, Michigan, recorded her first album in Tokyo, Japan, won her Tony in New York, won her Grammys in L.A., escaped to Paris where she thrived as a pure jazz singer, returned stateside to Nevada where she regrouped, and now resides in New Orleans where there was enough of Mother Africa to sustain her after she’d traced her roots back to Nigeria (musically documented a decade ago on her 2007 album, Red Earth).

Krystle Warren | Three The Hard Way


 
Krystle Warren | Three The Hard Way
by Peggy Oliver
 
When musical boundaries are loosed, a musician experiences an indescribable freedom as their notes jump so high off the page. As an independent artist who shapes her music in several directions, Krystle Warren dives in with full steam as a multi-instrumentalist and as a profound storyteller who digs so deep spiritually and uncompromising emotions.

LaBelle Tries On Jazz Hat To Troublesome Effect


 
Patti LaBelle
Bel Hommage
(GPE/Sony Red)
 
Patti LaBelle sits on a throne as among the greatest R&B to Pop singers recording and performing. However, the list of singers that can authentically swing between the Pop world and the Jazz world is a short one highlighted by Aretha Franklin, Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nancy Wilson (retired) and the late incomparable Natalie Cole and Teena Marie.

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