Phil Perry – Laugh

Phil Perry (born in Springfield, IL on January 12, 1952) is an American R&B singer, songwriter, musician and a former member of the soul group The Montclairs from 1971 to 1975.

Born and raised in East St. Louis, Phil Perry has spent most of his career as one of the most sought-after backing vocalists in the music business. His bright, multi-octave range has played a supporting role on dozens of albums by such acts as Anita Baker, Boz Scaggs, Rod Stewart, Peabo Bryson and George Duke. But he has also distinguished himself through a series of strong solo albums that have highlighted both his ability to interpret classic soul songs as well as his own songwriting skills.

Perry first came to the attention of Soul Music fans as the lead singer of the Montclairs, whose “Begging’s Hard to Do” was a moderate hit in 1972. In 1985 he married soul/jazz singer Lillian “Tang” Tynes, and began a marriage partnership that has lasted ever since. After a brief stint as part of the singing duo Perry and Sanlin, Perry went solo in 1991 with The Heart of a Man, an album most notable for Perry’s sheer guts (or some thought audacity) in releasing as a single a remake of Aretha Franklin’s “Call Me.” It was a real coming out for Perry, as he ripped through the song in bold fashion, even surpassing Aretha’s revered original version.

His follow-up album, 1994’s Pure Pleasure, was perhaps his best, and included fantastic remakes of “After the Love is Gone” and “If Only You Knew” and a seven minute cover of the Spinners’ “Love Don’t Love Nobody” that was sheer magic. During the 90s, Perry also received increased coverage on Smooth Jazz radio through his guest work on albums by Lee Ritenour, the Rippingtons and others, and inspired Windham Hill subsidiary Private Music to sign Perry, along with Barry White and Peabo Bryson, in an attempt to become the major label in the confluence of the Urban Adult Contemporary and Smooth Jazz formats.

His Private Music debut, One Heart One Love, was aimed straight at the Smooth Jazz market and hit the top five on the back of its killer title track, despite being perhaps his weakest album. His follow-up album, My Book of Love, received less attention, but was a far stronger album. Book was also the album on which Perry began to take a more active role in songwriting and production, putting his personal imprint beyond the vocal performance. This led to his lead songwriting role on 2001’s Magic, an excellent album on Peak Records that showed Perry in complete control over his music.

In 2005, Perry signed with New Jersey-based Shanachie Records and issued two albums of classic soul covers. Each disc was well received by Perry’s audience, with the second disc, A Mighty Love, earning for him the 2007 SoulTracks Readers’ Choice Award for Male Vocalist of the Year. He parlayed the success of those two albums into a new album of original material, Ready for Love, released in August 2008. Perry recorded the disc with veteran producer Chris “Big Dog” Davis, who helmed the previous two Shanachie Releases. It was an excellent return to form that again revealed Perry’s often underrated ability as a songwriter.

In 2009, Perry teamed up with another soul veteran, Melba Moore, and released The Gift of Love, an album of new songs and covers that was well received by both his audience and by critics. It won another SoulTracks Readers’ Choice Award for best performance by a duo or group.

If ever an artist’s catalog has screamed for a solid compilation – both from his solo albums and from his guest work – it is Phil Perry. However, this seems unlikely given the number of labels and artists that would be involved. And while the material and production on his albums have, at times, been uneven, his marvelous voice has made every disc a keeper, and should keep him in demand as a vocalist for years to come.

by Chris Rizik

Phil Perry – Laugh published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

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Reggie Duffie – Simply Miles

Reggie Duffie of Duffie and Duffie Visual Designs, creates custom artwork and portraits, and can create a custom portrait from your photo. Most of his recent artwork and design is created digitally, combining years of traditional art techniques with the ever-expanding capabilities of digital painting. These detailed digital paintings are all originals, created by the artist’s hand from scratch using a simple track ball mouse as a virtual paint brush and the computer screen as a virtual canvas.

No pre-drawing or line drawing, no tracing or digital manupulation, no altering of scanned or digital photographs or images and no using filters – this is real digital painting, bar none! Because each print is made from the original digital file, each print should be considered an original piece of art, not a copy. Digital Images are available in any size canvas or glossy print, signed and numbered by artist.

For any information or specific requests or sizes please contact artist —- Reggie is also a gifted versatile multi-medium artist specializing in traditional and conventional art work ranging from oil on canvas, water color, pencil drawings, and pastels. When it come to graphic art, Duffie and Duffie Visual Designs is a one stop shop.
Duffie and Duffie Visual Design at duffieandduffieart.com.

Brad Cooper – Add Ice

Brad Cooper is a Phoenix based painter and illustrator. His passion for multi-cultural, traditional and folk art drives him to immerse himself into the roots of a variety of International artistic mediums and styles.

His most recent discoveries have focused him on the early nineteen hundreds jazz scene that birthed out of the sub-culture night life of New Orleans and parts of the Caribbean. After several ventures to the Gulf Coast, Brad began painting and illustrating passionately. His modern take, bright colors and vintage subject matter come together complimenting each element while maintaining longstanding traditions.

Brad’s choice of medium varies, depending on the subject matter and desired mood. Pattern and texture, intricate detail, and his affinity for craftsmanship pushes him to forge the best. For more information about this artist and his works visit http://cooperdesignstudio.com.

Rick Braun – Midnight Caller

Rick Braun’s been playing trumpet since he was a kid. No news there for the legions of fans his richly melodic playing style has attracted since the release of his first album, Intimate Secrets in 1993. Less known is the fact that he’s been a singer, and a good one (backing Rod Stewart and Sade among others, with vocals as well as his stellar trumpet) for most of his life, as well.

Rick Braun Sings With Strings brings both those skills front and center. And it does so in a way that dips back into the music he’s been captivated by since he first picked up a horn.

“This album,” says Rick, “feels a lot like coming home. I grew up hearing this music all around the house. Singing it, playing it. Listening to my mom, who was a singer and piano player. She was one of those people who knew every part of a song – the verse, the chorus, the refrain, all the lyrics.”

The album will no doubt produce similar comfort feelings for anyone with a love for song. And not just Great American Song. Because what Braun and producer/arranger Philippe Saisse have put together in this eminently listenable recording is a gathering of tunes unlimited by boundaries of origin or style. Some are familiar. Songs such as “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “I Thought About You” and “The Things We Did Last Summer” have been memorable themes from the soundtrack of American love life for decades. Rick also especially recalls, “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” and “Time After Time” as “tunes I’ve known since I was a kid.”

Others are less familiar, but no less memorable. “Once Upon A Summertime” is an English version of Michel Legrand’s gorgeous French song, “La Valse des Lilas”; “It’s Love” is from the musical Wonderful Town by the brilliant songwriting team of Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Leonard Bernstein; and “Say It (Over and Over Again)” was written by Loesser and Jimmy McHugh for a 1940 Jack Benny film titled Buck Benny Rides Again. Continue reading

Marc Antoine – Marc & Rebeca

Guitarist, composer and producer, Marc Antoine, was born in Paris (France) on the 28th of May 1963. His parents bought him his first guitar when he was 11 years old which quickly became his third arm. Marc has had a guitar in his hands ever since.

At age 13, his father saw such rapid progress that he sent him to the conservatory where he would study classical music. By then his mentors were Andres Segovia and John Williams.

At 17 he’d already won many prizes and started showing an interest in a variety of music genres including jazz, rock, Afro, pop, and more. At the same time he was playing in local bands in Britany (France).

Tragedy struck in the summer of 1981 when his debut career got cut short by a devastating accident to his left hand. The surgeon told him that his chances of playing guitar again were very slim and next to nothing. However, through the adversity, his love and passion for music helped him overcome this tragedy and in 1984 he was back on the scene in Paris, performing in clubs and recording for artists like Philippe Petit, Charlelie Couture, Jill Kaplan, France Gall, and Ray Lema.

In 1988 he moved to London where he joined Basia’s band and worked with The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra, Soul to Soul, Pato Banton, and General Public. He was also part of the London Acid Jazz scene. His world tour travelling lead him to spend time in Tokyo where he became an acclaimed session player.

As a true citizen of the world, Marc kept moving, this time to Los Angeles in the late 90’s. He stayed there for 12 years playing for music royalty such as Sting, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Cher, Selena, Queen Latifah, George Benson, Guru Jazzmatazz, Take 6 and others. He composed and performed for major movie soundtracks: “Get Shorty”; “The Fan”; “Patch Adams”; “Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil”; “Demolition Man”; and “Celtic Pride”. He also worked with producers of the likes of Tommy LiPuma, Philippe Saisse, Marcus Miller, Mike Pela, Guy Roche and Stoker.

Most importantly, however, Marc began his successful solo career. His first album was “Classical Soul” NYC records 1994. Then came “Urban Gypsy” NYC 1995, “Madrid” GRP 1998, “Universal Language” GRP 2000, “Cruisin'” GRP 2001, “The Very Best of Marc Antoine” GRP 2002, “Mediterraneo” Rendezvous Entertainment 2003 and “Modern Times” Rendezvous Entertainment 2005. “Hi-Lo Split” Peak Records 2007 (Latin Billboard Nominated as Jazz Album of the Year) and “Foreign Xchange” Peak Records 2009

Marc’s career boasts many #1 hits on the R&R contemporary jazz charts, as well as topping the Billboard charts. In 1995, R&R elected him Best New Artist of The Year, which was followed by his Gavin Award in 1998. He has also received numerous nominations for jazz awards in the US and Canada.

Regularly touring with contemporary jazz artists like Dave Koz, Chris Botti, Jeff Lorber, Jeffrey Osborne, David Benoit, Larry Carlton and others, he also performs or records with Jazz Legends such as Peter Erskine, Jimmy Haslip, Mike Mainieri, Dave Valentin, Christian McBride, and Mark Egan to name a few. Marc was honoured when George Benson mentioned him as one of his favorite guitarists.

Marc currently resides in Madrid (Spain) where he writes and produces in his studio when he´s not giving concerts.

Marc & Rebeca published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Corey Barksdale – Dance Of Our Lives

Corey Barksdale was born in Nashville, Tennessee into a family of Artists. He was exposed to color and form at an early age by his grandmother a quilt artist, and his mother who was gifted with an intuitive feeling for design and a fastidiousness for detail which she expressed in all aspects of her daily life. This rich beginning is the root of Barksdale’s creative expression.

Barksdale earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at the prestigious Atlanta College of Art in 1994. During this period he was heavily influenced by the abstract expressionists and admired such mainstream artists as Jasper Johns, Clifford Still, William deKooning. The African-American masters Aaron Douglas, John Biggers, Romere Bearden, and William Tolliver instilled in him a appreciation of African/American artistic heritage.

A prolific artist, his fine art subject matter ranges from human figures to non-objective abstracts. In recent years he has concentrated his talents on themes that portray the love and strength that exists within the African American community. His paintings grace the covers of books, magazines, CD covers, and posters. Among his convictions, is to give back to his community through art education.

For more information about the artist and his work visit his website.

Laurie Maves – Love for Jonathan Butler

Laurie Maves is a visual artist and live painter/performing artist based in Denver, Colorado.  She works as ‘green’ as she possibly can, by recycling canvases, paint, collage materials and whatever else she can get her hands on. She also provide various artist services such as portrait commissions, mural work and most recently table and bar tops. Her work historically has been influenced by Picasso and Gauguin and most definitely Modigliani, but more recently by Frida Kahlo and Basquiat.

Most of her work is figurative in nature, but her deepest focus has always been on color and texture. She uses materials that build up the surface of her canvases so that the color can jump out at the viewer. She paints figures, faces, eyes, orbs, moons, landscapes and poppies.  Her newest endeavor has been in the ‘fashion’ industry, by creating and selling one-of-a-kind hand-painted recycled handbags. These are great little art items which she aims to make affordable for everyone.

Please stop by her rockin’ studio located in Denver’s bustling Santa Fe Arts District, at Studio Shakta, 773 Santa Fe. Drive, Denver, CO 80204, USA or visit her website. Also read her interesting blog about this picture and the story behind it.