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Blackalicious
Tuesday 08/18
Blackalicious @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
It’s one thing to make enduring records, another still to work with luminaries in multiple fields. Another thing still to treat the rhyme not only as a piece of poetry, but to play with the aesthetics of language in ways that represent the voice as a unique instrument in and of itself. Blackalicious do all of these things, and as evidenced by the reissue of 1993’s Melodica, they have been doing these things for years. Originally released exclusively on cassette, Melodica is being reissued digitally for the first time. It’s a vital document of the group’s progression towards their eventual position as lords of the West Coast Underground, Gift of Gab twisting his words with aplomb, his lyrics more carefree than his later work. Chief Xcel’s beats, meanwhile, tread the same funky, lighthearted waters as many of his left-field contemporaries, but everything on Melodica is coated in a murky scuzz that, somewhat conversely to logic, could place the EP alongside much of today’s weird, lo-fi hip-hop. As an added treat, Melodica contains “Changes,” an unreleased cut produced in part by one DJ Shadow, who joins forces withBlackalicious producer Chief Xcel to offer dusty drum loops and subtle, textured samples that would offer a glimpse into much of Shadow’s later work. In an era where hip-hop devolves into half-baked facsimile with alarming regularity, Melodica serves as a reminder that the true school will always triumph over the bullshit.
Lalah Hathaway
Saturday 09/26
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.
Vivian Green
Thursday 08/20
Vivian Green @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
Born in Philadelphia Vivian Green was raised in a home where Motown classics were always blaring. Her parents were avid music lovers with talents of their own. Her mother sang and her father, an engineer, played the trumpet. She began singing at age five, started playing piano by eight, and by eleven began writing songs. She knew by age thirteen, that she wanted to sing professionally. She honed her craft at the piano everyday after school, writing mature love songs far beyond her years. At fifteen she began to record at multi-platinum group Boyz II Men's studio. This gave Green a taste of life as an artist and led to an opportunity to write with the band. At seventeen she received her first professional songwriting credit co-writing the song "Dear God" on their platinum selling album Evolution. Green was also offered a recording contract from Ruffhouse Columbia, but her protective parents felt she wasn't ready. Determined to be a recording artist, Green continued to record relentlessly. Her mature, sultry voice and knowledge of material allowed her to sing in some of Philadelphia's premiere jazz clubs despite her age. She also obtained a job singing with two of the top party orchestras in Philadelphia. Additionally, Green sang background for renown soul singer/actress Jill Scott. Green teamed up with Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Eric Roberson to create the demo that would win her a deal with Sony Music. The demo contained her first smash hit "Emotional Roller coaster". Her debut album A Love Story released in 2002 and was certified Gold. It received rave reviews from People, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and USA Today to name a few. Her second album Vivian released in 2005 and produced "Gotta Go Gotta Leave" a no.1 AC/Dance hit. The New York times called the album a "stellar sophomore performance". Vivian has several notable features and collaborations. She made her film debut in the Oscar nominated biopic De Lovely portraying a jazz singer performing the classic "Love For Sale". She also appeared in the TV Series American Dreams, portraying Brenda Hollaway singing "Every Little Bit Hurts". Green wrote the songs for playwright/film-maker David. E. Talbert's stage play Love in the Nick of Thyme. She is featured on Cyndi Lauper's album The Body Acoustic and the late Guru's Jazzmatazz 4. She was also featured on Soundtrack to a Revolution, a compilation of spiritual songs featuring artist like Anthony Hamilton, John Legend, The Roots, and Mary Mary. Most recently she collaborated with jazz pianist Brian Culbertson for his album Dreams and produced the top 10 AC hit "Still Here". The song also appeared on Vivian's 4th album The Green Room. In 2004 she gave birth to her son Jordan who was born with an undiagnosed syndrome. Between 2005 and 2010, Jordan's multiple surgeries and health issues demanded her to take a hiatus from releasing albums, but her strength and resilience always pushed her to continue doing what she loves. "Being Jordan's mom is my life and I wouldn't have it any other way", says Green. Green is an advocate for children with special needs and will push her #IamDifferentIamHuman PSA campaign. In 2015 Vivian is set to release her latest Album entitled "Vivid" under Producer/Artist Kwamé Holland's label: MakeNoise/Caroline. "It's different from my other albums because of the energy; but very much still me." The title is certainly fitting. Green's prior work established her as a balladeer and this album will add to that; proving her ability to deliver feel-good upbeat records.Totally produced by Kwame, (Mary J Blige, Christina Aguilera, Keyshia Cole, Fantasia) it is the first of Green's to entice you to dance; colored with ballads that showcase her effortless vocal prowess. In the ever-changing music business Green has stayed afloat delivering classy, heartfelt, and often therapeutic music for her fans. Vivid will assuredly continue her legacy in music. "What I can and will always do is produce music that is from my heart" Says Green "I think that's the essence of soul music anyway.Vivid definitely won't be getting you down. If anything, it'll make you get up."