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Lalah Hathaway
Monday 09/28
Lalah Hathaway @ The Howard Theatre
$52.50 / $60
An instrument embodied, timbre unmatched with words that call our most internal emotion… Lalah Hathaway’s presence is never mistaken nor forgotten. Skilled to the highest order, Hathaway’s voice possesses both power and vulnerability with a quiet resonance that fills spaces of grandeur and the hearts of many. “Lalah Hathaway is, quite simply put, the truth.” (Diriye Osman, Huffington Post) Born into musical legacy, the offspring of musicians Donny Hathaway and Eulaulah Hathaway, Lalah Hathaway’s career was never a choice: “I was always a musician” Hathaway clarifies, “there was never a moment of maybe I’ll be…” Preparations for the release of Hathaway’s debut self-titled album were firmly in motion during her final semester at Berklee College of Music, where the Chicago-native nurtured her multi-instrumental and songwriting talents. Since inception, Hathaway’s musical journey has remained devoted to education and musicianship. “I never wanted to be known as just a singer. I always wanted to be a well-rounded musician, with my voice as my primary instrument.” Proof of Hathaway’s musical prowess is evident in her work, operating as performer, musician, writer and producer. Revered by some of the greatest musicians of the last century, a myriad of collaborations and international performances signpost Hathaway’s 25-year success. A true bridge between masters of the Jazz and Soul traditions and new generations of Popular Music innovators, Lalah Hathaway has performed with greats such as Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Prince, Mary J. Blige, Metropole Orkest, Esperanza Spalding, David Foster, Snoop Dogg, Natalie Cole, Robert Glasper Experiment, Terri Lyne Carrington, Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, Dizzy Gillespie, David Sanborn, Rachelle Ferrell, Take 6, The Winans, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Kirk Whalum, Donald Lawrence, Snarky Puppy, Christian McBride and many more. Enamoured with colour, space and the evolution of music, Hathaway’s six studio albums chronicle an emotive journey through R&B, Jazz, and Soul. The inflections of Blues, Funk, Gospel, Classical, Country, Rock and Folk cited in her work, are a reflection of this virtuoso’s versatility. With the 2014 Grammy win for Best R&B Performance fresh in mind, Hathaway describes how her career continues to rejuvenate with new beginnings and possibilities. “Throughout my career there have been points where new recognition or opportunity has emerged that inspires me in new ways.” Underscored by singing three notes at one time (a chord), the Grammy-winning performance of Hathaway’s 1991 single “Something,” recreated with Jazz collective Snarky Puppy, affirms Hathaway’s timeless relevance and documents the vast breadth of her vocal capabilities. Lalah Hathaway is, in every sense, a live performer. 2015 will bring the release of Lalah Hathaway LIVE, Hathaway’s first ever live album. Supported by her international fans and peers, Lalah Hathaway LIVE is a result of a successful internet-based crowd-funding campaign. “I wanted to make an album for the fans and with the fans. My fans constantly relay to me how the music they love on my records is taken to a whole new level when they experience it live.” Evident in her online presence and strong interaction with social media, Hathaway’s engaging, comedic personality is embraced by her fans, both new and longstanding. “The listeners are a huge part of my live performance and I want their presence to be captured and acknowledged on this album.” Whether live, recorded, televised or online, Lalah Hathaway’s incomparable skill, talent, musicianship and presence are recognised by artists and fans the world over. Like her father before her, Lalah Hathaway stands as music quality personified, optimum in every way.
Scarface & Backyard Band
Friday 08/28
Scarface & Backyard Band @ The Howard Theatre
$30 / $50
Scarface quickly became the South's most admired rapper and remained so throughout the '90s after breaking away from the Geto Boys to launch his solo career in 1991.Even if he never scored any national hits or stormed up the charts with any of his numerous albums throughout the '90s, no one could question his clout throughout the South. He essentially defined what it meant to be a Southern thug rapper years before anyone even coined the term Dirty South. This became glaringly evident in the late '90s when a massive wave of young MCs arose from Houston, New Orleans, and Memphis emulating his style of hard-boiled, ghetto-bred, straight-up hardcore rapping. Besides serving as the father of Southern thug rap, it seemed as if every hardcore rapper wanted to align himself with Scarface during the '90s -- everyone from Ice Cube and Dr. Dre to 2Pac and Master P collaborated with the former Geto Boy -- all in an attempt to foster credibility among the loyal Southern rap audience. Yet despite his unquestionable influence, Scarface never crossed over to mainstream success. His albums were often plagued with filler, his lyrics were simply too harsh for radio, and his devotion to producer Mike Dean led to a stagnant, albeit trademark, sound. Still, likely because Scarface never crossed over and remained aligned to the streets, his influence never waned, making him one of the few veterans able to sustain in the here-today, gone-tomorrow rap game. In the early 2000s, Def Jam Records rewarded his staying power with a lucrative contract, a wealth of industry connections, and a powerful marketing push. Scarface consequently enjoyed the most successful album of his career, The Fix (2002), and a revival of interest in his back catalog, which his former label, Rap-a-Lot, repackaged that same year on Greatest Hits. Before Brad Jordan (born November 9, 1970) became known as Scarface, he called himself Akshen. As such, he began his rap career first as a solo artist in his native Houston during the mid-'80s for James Smith's then-fledging Rap-a-Lot label. Smith was trying to launch a group he tagged the Geto Boys, and he eventually asked Akshen to join the group in the late '80s. The Geto Boys' second album (and first to feature Scarface) -- Grip It! On That Other Level (1990), later repackaged and re-released that same year simply as The Geto Boys -- shocked many with its vivid depictions of violence and its overall extreme nature. This album featured the song "Scarface," which introduced Akshen's alter ego, a title he would keep from that point onward. The ensuing controversy surrounding the group's debut put the Geto Boys on the map and set the stage for the impressive We Can't Be Stopped (1991). In the wake of the group's national success came solo albums, one of which being Scarface's debut, Mr. Scarface Is Back (1991). The album made it evident who the group's most talented member was, and the acclaim showered on Scarface resulted in bitter tensions among his fellow Geto Boys: Bushwick Bill and Willie D. By the time Scarface returned with his follow-up album, The World Is Yours (1993), his reputation overshadowed that of his group's. Willie D consequently departed, and the Geto Boys never again rivaled We Can't Be Stopped, releasing half-hearted, albeit popular, efforts with a new lineup before later reuniting in the late '90s. In the meantime, Scarface continued to funnel his efforts into additional solo efforts: The Diary (1994) and Untouchable (1997). He then released the double-disc My Homies (1998), a bloated effort laden with guests, many of the South's leading rappers. It wasn't until 2000, though, that Scarface won substantial admiration from the greater rap community with Last of a Dying Breed (2000), his most personal and focused album in years. As a result, he was awarded Lyricist of the Year at the 2001 Source Awards and was offered a promising deal with Def Jam Records. The powerhouse East Coast label wanted Scarface to helm its Def Jam South subsidiary division, and the rapper obliged, first signing Ludacris, who became an overnight superstar, and then releasing his own album, The Fix (2002). Led by a Kayne West-produced collaboration with Jay-Z, "Guess Who's Back," it spawned a popular single, "My Block," and attracted widespread embrace. Rap-a-Lot furthered Scarface's newfound coast-to-coast acceptance with the rapper's first best-of collection, Greatest Hits (2002). In turn, he reunited with Willie D and Bushwick Bill and put together The Foundation (2005), another Geto Boys album. In 2006 he introduced his new crew, the Product, with the album One Hunid and released a second volume of My Homies. Also landing in 2006 was 2 Face, a collection of tracks featuring Scarface and the late 2Pac. MADE proved that Scarface was still relevant in 2007; it debuted at number two on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart. A year later he retired his solo career with the good-bye album Emeritus.