Blur’s Olympia

At this year’s BRIT Awards Blur were awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Music award. The band are supposedly recording new material, but a new album doesn’t seem to be coming together all that smoothly.
After completing Bobby Womack’s latest album as co-producer, and almost two years after their last release, Damon and his crew unveiled a new Blur track Under The Westway this month. The guys deliver a sad piano ballad, unlike any previous Albarn material. The man who gave us Parklife now celebrates an ugly West London motorway underpass. The track is one of two brand new songs the band recorded for the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony, the other being The Puritan, a song they performed at the poetry festival POEM2012 last month. The band will also headline a show at Hyde Park August 12th to celebrate the end of the Summer Olympics. Tonight, let the Games begin…

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D’Angelo @ Ghent Jazz

Last night D’Angelo got to close Ghent Jazz Festival. With only two albums to his name, Brown Sugar (1995) and Voodoo (2000), and everyone yearning for that third release James River (only a working title so far), expectations were none. Speaking for myself, that is. This may well be the best attitude to start a gig though. The crowd got pretty excited, waiting, as D turned up a fashionable thirty minutes late. D’Angelo and his band served a totally phunked-out party. The set, almost two hours long, had everyone mesmerized. The singer’s impressive vocal range and the band’s incredible sense of rhythm had everyone on their feet. Somewhere in the middle, a more acoustic set included his signature songs Brown Sugar and Untitled (How Does It Feel). In the encore the heat was turned up a few notches more. Best way to describe the performance: James Brown meets George Clinton, with a touch of Prince. Respect!  A pity Bobby Womack was forced to cancel. Still, a night to remember.

Dayglo sees the light

June 12th is nearing, when Bobby Womack’s new and highly anticipated album The Bravest Man In The Universe will see the light of day. XL Recordings already let us have a look behind-the-scenes of the recording sessions, confirming rumors of a Lana Del Rey collaboration, with a snippet to tease.
This week the full version of Dayglo Reflection surfaced. Bobby’s soulful, grainy vocals and Lana’s warm voice laid over a contemporary RnB melody work darn well. Both this track and the lead single Please Forgive My Heart instigate the expectation, and believe, that this new album ensures a spectacular return for the Soul Legend.
July 14 Bobby is headlining Ghent Jazz Festival, together with D’Angelo. Yes, D’Angelo. If you are around, make sure you don’t miss out.

Return of the Womack

The brilliant collaboration between Gorillaz and Bobby Womack on Stylo seems to have instigated the need for more. June 12th the Soul Legend will be releasing his new album The Bravest Man in the Universe, the first in 13 years, via XL Recordings. Womack is working on 10 tracks (see tracklist below) with Gorillaz’ Damon Albarn and label owner Richard Russell as producers. Having been diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year does not seem to stop him in his tracks.
The new single Please Forgive My Heart was already revealed a few weeks ago. Now XL Recordings lets us in the recording studio for a sneak preview of the making of the album, with snippets of the tracks and the singer talking about the new project.
Judging by what we get to hear, this album will be another collectors item. Listen in closely, at the end of the video; sounds like the rumours of a Lana Del Rey collab get confirmed.

TRACKLIST:
01 The Bravest Man In The Universe
02 Please Forgive My Heart
03 Deep River
04 Dayglo Reflection
05 Sweet Baby Mine
06 Stupid
07 If There Wasn’t Something There
08 Love Is Gonna Lift You Up
09 Nothin’ Can Save Ya
10 Jubilee

Sofie & So Four

Last Thursday singer Sofie joined a few friends for jazzy jam session. In an intimate setting they brought classics such as Wonderful World and Bluesette. Highlights of the evening included Billie Holiday’s God Bless The Child and the encore You’ve Changed. Coming Friday Sofie is opening for Toots (Thielemans) in Leuven, Belgium.

Sofie (Verbruggen) is what you would call one of those powerhouse vocals, comparable to Tina Turner or Taylor Dayne. She started out as a member of disco-band Trinity. Going solo she scored her first hit in 1982 with the beautiful ballad I Love You.  It wasn’t until ’93 when Sofie got her band So Four together, that she repeated that success with the albums So Far So Good and especially Love Loops (1995). The latter included a duet with Bobby Womack, a powerful rendition of I Wanna Know What Love Is and the groovy Play It Cool. Take a listen here to some of her material recorded over the years.