Music has been in a major state of insanity with Justin Bieber, American Idol, and Gucci Mane, that people are being force fed music from a “cookie-cutter” philosophy. Meaning, music is currently fed through lack of A & R development sold to pre-teens and young adults. Even worse, radio has become so streamline that there are no more smooth jazz, classic hip-hop, jazz, and classic soul and rock formats. The only time you can get these forms of music is through satellite radio or maybe public and community access radio.
As a music journalist and critic, over the last week I witnessed some musicians I believe have resurrected both funk and jazz. Clearly music that was created out of a major necessity from musicians that openly expressed themselves musically and as a new art form. Icons like Louis Armstrong to James Brown planted the seeds to the American music vernacular which encouraged generations among generations to express themselves for the sake of artistic sake versus commercial success and financial success.
Pianist and composer Marc Cary is doing just that. His Focus Trio has been together for quite sometime, but heads are turing. I’ve seen Marc perform for well over 15 years in many musical ensembles as both a leader and as an accompanist. Marc Cary’s latest Motema Music release, “Live 2009,” features the unit playing some of the most innovative music on the planet. Cary fuses both straight-ahead jazz with forms of fusion jazz and world music. He’s been hailed as a “Baby-Herbie” and rightfully so. Of all the jazz pianists on the scene, Marc isn’t afraid to venture in the unknown as a musician as well as composer. The Marc Cary Focus Trio have been together for close to ten years and consists of Burniss Travis on bass and Sameer Gupta on drums.
The Washington, DC native is no stranger in the record business. He’s played and backed some of the legendary Soul, Jazz, and Hip-Hop artists for 25 years. Artists as diverse as Abbey Lincoln, Wynton Marsalis, Ani DiFranco, Jackie McClean, Erykah Badu, Betty Carter, Arthur Taylor, Larry Willis, Shirley Horn, Dizzy Gillespie, and Meshell Ndegeocello.
The four-time Grammy-Award Nominee was recently nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a participant for vibraphonist Stefon Harris’s Blackout project from last year. Also, his work with Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest) on his “The Renaissance” CD got a nomination for Best Rap Album of last year.
Funk Music will also get a bit of a boost as the group Orgone makes a heavy presence on the music scene this year. Again, these guys have been around for well over ten years and have been on the “down-low” because of their active presence on the Los Angeles local and national music scene.
The 9 member ensemble pays tribute to the classic jam bands like The Meters, Booker T. and MG’s, Junior Walker and the All Stars, War, and Mandrill. They also reach out and compose and write new funk and soul classics like their contemporaries Kool and the Gang, Parliament, The Ohio Players, and Dazz.
Orgone consists of Sergio Rios (guitar), Dan Hastie (keys), Ethan Phillips (bass), Stewart Killen (percussion), Sean O’Shea (Drums), Darren Cardoza (Trombone), Devin Williams (Trumpet), Joel Bowers (Saxophone), and Fanny Franklin on vocals. Franklin gives the band that soulful drive to Orgone’s groove; reminiscent of the classic Rufus and Chaka Khan records during the 1970’s.
Their debut Ubiquity Records release “The Killion Floor” is a disc that covers new funk originals and classic hits with a new twist like “I Get Lifted” (KC and the Sunshine Band) and “Funky Nassau” (Beginning of the End), which landed the band a spot in an Adidas ad. “Cali Fever” is their latest CD and are currently on the road opening for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. This is also the first time that Orgone has performed on the East Coast and in New York City.
Orgone has been together for 10 years, but, the group has been the touring and record band for artists such as Macy Gray, Too Short, De La Soul, Pharcyde, Alicia Keys, Estelle, Anthony Hamilton, Jennifer Hudson, and Solange Knowles. Also, they’ve been part of variations of other Ubiquity Records such as Breakstra, Connie Price and the Keystones, and The Lions.
Both Marc and Orgone are some artists that you need to check out. Both are currently on the road. To find out upcoming tour dates or to buy their CD’s visit them on the web at www.marccary.com and http://www.orgonespace.com.
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