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.

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.

Boney James – He Has A Hat

Boney James dislikes labels and refuses any and all of them. “In fact, I have never thought of myself as a ‘jazz’ artist specifically,” he says.

Of course, this statement may serve as a source of confusion for the musician’s legion of fans that have scooped up over 3 million copies of his twelve albums (with eight of them going to No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart). It also may seem contradictory to the respected opinions of music critics who consider him one of the most influential jazz artists of his generation. In 2010 Billboard Magazine named him “The No. 3 Top Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Decade.”

Even so, Boney James, who has four Gold albums, three Grammy® nominations, a Soul Train Award and an NAACP Award nomination to his credit, says, “I am just a saxophone player whose music has several different influences. Jazz is only one of them.”

His newest CD Contact — completely produced, arranged and co-written by James — is driven by the signature soulful grooves the world has come to expect from him, but with an added intensity. “I felt really inspired putting together the arrangements and producing the record,” he says. “There are a lot of things happening right now in modern music. The title, in one sense, refers to me reaching across genres and creating music that I believe is relevant and fresh.”

This incredibly accomplished artist — who broke into music in the mid-80s touring with acts such as The Isley Brothers, Morris Day (The Time), Randy Crawford and Teena Marie, and emerged as a solo force in 1992 with his breakthrough debut, Trust — has long been influenced by contemporary R&B.

Boney James  published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Dianne Russell – Mel Brown

Diane Russell was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She began to paint while attending Portland State University, and studied illustration at Parsons School of Design in New York. After graduating she returned to Oregon, where she has lived and worked as a professional artist for over 30 years. Diane began her professional career as a fashion illustrator, and over time her art has evolved towards portraiture.

Many of her paintings reflect her passion for music and dance, as well as people from all walks of life. Her portraits capture more than a likeness, they bring to light the inner soul. Diane uses her own photos as reference; then goes beyond the photograph to bring the portrait to life on canvas. Diane paints with M. Graham oil paints, using only pure paint with a touch of linseed oil, which she applies in many thin layers to achieve the vibrant and translucent color in her paintings.

Clients include the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, the Blues Foundation, Pendleton Woolen Mills, and Palmer/Pletsch Publications. Her work appears on the 2005 W.C. Handy Blues Awards poster, CD and book covers, and in private and corporate collections across the country. Diane is a member of the Portrait Society of America, the Blues Foundation, the Cascade Blues Association, and the Jazz Society of Oregon.

This painting of Mel Brown was taken from one of Dianne’s photographs of his weekly performances at Salty’s and Jimmy Mak’s in Portland, Oregon. While well known in Oregon, Mel has played and traveled worldwide, including many years with Motown. He is an accomplished musician and teacher, and in recognition of his contributions to the cultural life of Oregon, he received the Governor’s Arts Award in 2002. Labeled the “Gentleman of Jazz”, his career has spanned over 40 years.

For more information about this artist and her work visit Dianne’s website.

Eric Darius – The Smooth Breeze

Eric Darius released his latest album and Shanachie Entertainment debut, On A Mission, in the summer of 2010. Danny Weiss, VP of Jazz A&R for Shanachie states, “If you think of jazz as a wonderful tree whose trunk is its great tradition and whose branches are the never ending innovations of its young disciples, then Eric Darius is the newest branch of that tree. He can swing like the masters and funk like a hip-hopper; truly the blossoming of tomorrow’s jazz.”

The seeds have been sown and Eric Darius unearths his talents not only as a saxophonist but equally important, as a composer and co-producer on On A Mission. The saxman ,who first started experimenting with writing at age thirteen, cites Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock as among his biggest compositional influences. Darius acknowledges that music has always been an outlet for him to express his emotions and experiences.

Hailing from a musical family (his father from Haiti and mother from Jamaica) and raised in Tampa where he still lives, Eric Darius realized his calling for music at an early age. “ I remember being nine and hearing a saxophonist play at my church. I instantly loved the sound…I remember being blown away by the soul and emotion of the instrument. It was as if I could almost hear the words and lyrics with each note being played…it was at that point that I fell in love with the instrument. The saxophone has a way of reaching people in a way that no other instrument does. It is the closest to the human voice.”

Eric Darius published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Bruni Sablan – Miles Eyes

Bruni Sablan was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil circa the mid-twentieth century. Artistry has been her heritage. Her father Joseph Parello, of Sicilian decent, a civil engineer and architect, also painted. Her mother, Clo Parello, of Lebanese decent, was an accomplished classical pianist and beloved piano instructor for many years in the Northern California bay area.

Bruni’s father introduced her to American jazz at a very early time in her life, she was five years old. She describes him as a “quiet soul” who loved the music of Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Artie Shaw, Louis Armstrong, June Christy, Sarah Vaughan, and many more. At the same time, her Sicilian grandfather, Caetano Parello, was teaching her how to “see” art… He was a sculptor/painter himself. When caught “correcting” an Italian masterpiece owned by the Parello family, the child received accolades from her father and grandfather, although she was properly reprimanded for interfering with a great work of art by the rest of the family….

Bruni grew up with art and music in her blood, and lived for a while in Los Angeles during a hazy, passionate time when the great Brazilian music masters had become prominent in the U.S.A. She sang and traveled with the likes of Joao Donato and Walter Wanderley. – But, painting is what kept her “sane” during those turbulent years. After ten years of marriage and a beautiful daughter, Kristina, -Now a singer, songwriter, and sculptor – Bruni immersed herself in the art and developed (over the last twenty-five years) what has become a legendary body of work, “The Jazz Masters Series by BRUNI.”

Today, as restless as ever, she continues her pursuit of painting “every great jazz musician who ever lived.” Some of her tributes, such as Miles Davis, encompass more than two hundred and eighty canvasses. She presently is working simultaneously on five bodies of work: the continuation of the Jazz Masters Series; a tribute to the great humanitarian Mother Teresa; a Tribute to Africa entitled “Africa: Look at Us”; a tribute to the legendary Brazilian musicians and composers, past and present; and her abstract still-life and figurative paintings.

Bruni is a highly spiritual being, and feels she connects with the souls of her subjects, which results in a tremendously fast, energetic, and sometimes aggressive venture. This can leave her in a state of complete exhaustion. But, her energy and inspiration seem to get replenished endlessly.

BRUNI Gallery is located in San Jose, California – 408-298-4700.

For more information about the artist and her works visit  www.BruniJazzArt.com.

Russ Harris – Floating Guitar

As a graphic designer, photographer and traditional artist Russ Harris has painted in acrylic, chalk, pen & ink, pencils and water colors and is now combining these elements to create and capture visual reality that a photographic moment does not completely capture.

As a fine-artist, Russ Harris adds the moment and expression that visually speaks a thousand words through the use of creating lights, textures traditional artist detail in brush stokes and combining fine detail with pencils, pen & ink and chalk. His artworks have been commissioned and acquired by private clients and is currently offered for sale worldwide. Russ’ lives and creates in the seaside community of La Jolla, California.

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

Dan Haraga – Miles Davis Live

Dan Haraga is a professional American artist, who lives and works both in Hudson County, NJ and New York City, NY; he is gaining a fast reputation among art lovers and collectors worldwide, having an increasing number of sold original artworks and prints throughout United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and numerous artworks in several commercial art galleries in New York City and beyond.

On Fine Art America he is presenting a selection of his most recent artworks consisting of oil paintings, watercolors and photographs. For more information about the artist and his work visit his website.

Bob James – Kankiyu

The career of Bob James is long, varied and continues to evolve at every turn. From his first days in Marshall, Missouri, the music of Bob James has captivated audiences throughout the world.

In September, 2011 Altair & Vega, the four-hand piano duet collaboration with Keiko Matsui, was finally released. This unique collaboration which started 10 years ago, had already resulted in several memorable live tour performances, but Bob & Keiko had long hoped that this music would eventually result in a commercially released CD. They got even better than that when E-1 agreed to the concept of including a live performance DVD from a performance at Manchester Craftsmens Guild. Bob & Keiko plan to tour in 2012 showcasing this project.

This album is a good starting point to recapitulate Bob James’ work as painter. The album reminds me of his image Kankiyu, showcasing the four-hand piano playing. During the event Dave McMurray and Friends at the Apollo Theater in London-Hammersmith I had the opportunity to attend his Art exhibition. Today’s it’s very difficult to find any information about the painting talent of the great musician. His website offers currently no information about Bob’s art work. A good reason to present this picture.

Bob James commented his passion for visual art with these words:

Through much of my life I have had an on-and-off flirtation with the visual arts, my desire to create visually more often than not being pushed to the background by my passion for music; the adventure of jazz in particular. I know there must be many similarities in what drives some people to need to create. Whether it be music, painting, ….. theater, dance. The desire to explore uncharted territory can become an obsession that only will be satisfied by creating.”

The images were created on a Macintosh laptop computer, the canvas was a digital drawing tablet, and the studio was anywhere Bob happened to be when inspiration came; frequently during spare time on his concert tours. Whether it was in the back of the tour bus, the tray table of a plane, backstage dressing room, or a hotel room, his palette came from the application software, and the subject matter ranged from his musician comrades with whom he spend a large percentage of his time, recording and performing concerts here in the U.S., Europe and in Japan, to photographs, scans of old newspaper clippings and video still frames. Once the raw material (sketches) had been assembled they were altered and manipulated, utilizing the endless variety of choices the computer makes available.

I connect the publication of this picture with the hope in Bob’s return to the visual art.