Marc Cary and Orgone: Musical Revival for the new Decade

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.

Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report

www.thepacereport.com

thepacereport@yahoo.com

The 2010 Detroit International Jazz Festival Review

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to revisit some of my old stomping grounds over the holiday season. Labor Day weekend I was blessed to cover the 31st Detroit International Jazz Festival in Detroit, Michigan. The DIJF is the largest free jazz festival in North America. Jazz, soul, R & B, and gospel are showcased on main stages that stretch from Campus Martius to Hart Plaza right on the Detroit River overlooking Windsor, Canada. As person who lived and spent all of my summer and Christmas vacations as child and adult in Detroit, the DIJF is a cultural gem that everyone should experience once in their life.

Every year the DIJF selects a jazz musician that serves as the Artist in Residence where they program and perform a series of events throughout the entire festival. This year’s AIR was pianist and educator Mulgrew Miller. Miller, a Greenwood, Mississippi native, fuses the blues and post-bop in his piano playing. He played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, vocalist Betty Carter, Art Blakey, Tony Williams, and Johnny Griffin. Mulgrew opened this year’s festival with his trio and legendary jazz vocalese group Take 6 in a wonderful tribute to Miles Davis’s landmark “Kind of Blue.” Wingspan, the group he founded 20 years ago, also played a set featuring Steve Nelson (vibes), Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Steve Wilson (alto saxophone), Ivan Taylor (bass), and Rodney Green (drums). One of the most special events of the night was the battle of duo pianists with both he and NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron.

Over the years, one of the most important components of the DIJF is how all genres of music, whether its world music to soul, is showcased for music fans that travel all over the world. Soul and R & B powerhouse Tower of Power headlined during the opening night festivities. The group performed their many classics like “What Is Hip?”, “Your Still a Young Man,” “Oakland Stroke,” and “Credit.” New Orleans native Ledisi rocked the Chase Main Stage with her hits “Alright” and “In The Morning.”

Of all of the stages, the festival is free of charge, something Executive & Artistic Director Terri Pontremoli wants to continue to do during the entire run of the festival. The DIJF also stages some of the best educational performance workshops with major college and university ensembles from across the country. Some of the headlining performers sat in as well as taught master classes to some of the following: Berklee College of Music Jazz Ensemble, The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, Juiliard Jazz Quintet, Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra with Mulgrew Miller and Gary Smulyan, William Paterson University Jazz Ensemble will Mulgrew Miller, Western Michigan University Jazz Orchestra with saxophonist Bobby Watson, and the Wayne State University Big Band with trumpeter Terence Blanchard.

This some of this year’s headliners included: Freddy Cole Quartet, Allen Toussaint, Branford Marsalis, Bobby Watson and Horizon,  The Kurt Elling Quintet with Ernie Watts, Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band, Tierney Sutton Band, Robert Hurst, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Terence Blanchard, The Yellowjackets, Mike LeDonne Quartet, Hot Club of Detroit, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Danilo Perez, and Tia Fuller.

The best performance from this year’s 2010 DIJF were the closing ceremonies and sets by multi-Grammy-Award Winning The Manhattan Transfer with the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra with special guest Gerald Wilson. Wilson, a native of Detroit, graced the stage and conducted the orchestra before TMT performed. At 92 years young, Wilson still has the energy and drive like a teenager. You could clearly see music has kept him vibrant and is still keep him going. The Manhattan Transfer raised the roof as they closed the DIJF. They sung their classics “Birdland,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “Killer Joe,” “Soul Food to Go,” and a couple of songs off their latest CD “The Chick Corea Songbook.”

This year’s festival was a tremendous success due to the vision of Artistic & Executive Director Terri Pontremoli, whose mission is to keep the festival free. Also, to continue expose and present the past, present, and the future of American’s only and true musical art-form, jazz music. For more information on this year’s jazz festival, or to find out about next year’s festivities, visit them on the web at www.detroitjazzfest.com.

Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report

www.thepacereport.com

thepacereport@yahoo.com