The Boston Creative Jazz Scene – Live May 1st

 

 

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We have a very special event coming up on May 1st! In conjunction with ArtWeek and JazzWeek in Boston we are hosting a live performance and celebration by some of the musicians featured in our Boston Creative Jazz Scene Book + Album.

The Boston Creative Jazz Scene, Then and Now

Piano Craft Gallery (http://pianocraftgallery.org/)

793 Tremont St, Boston MA

May 1

7 – 9 PM

Donations

The wild and woolly free jazz era of the 1970s comes to life at an event inspired by the highly praised album produced by Cultures of Soul Records with a historical essay by musician Mark Harvey, who was there through it all. The essay chronicles prominent members of the scene – including Syd Smart, Leonard Brown, John Voigt, Jon Damian, Tom Plsek, Lowell Davidson, Stan Strickland, Stanton Davis, Phill Musra, Baird Hersey, and Jamyll Jones – and influential events like the inaugural John Coltrane Memorial Concert.

Don’t miss this opportunity to talk with some of the musicians featured on the album – Arni Cheatham, Peter Bloom, Mark Harvey – and listen as these veteran experimenters and some of the most intrepid adventurers among today’s generation of improvisers create great music.

The Piano Craft Gallery is located in Boston’s South End, a neighborhood important for a wide spectrum of  jazz musicians over many decades.   Donations are welcome to support the ongoing work of the Gallery.

 

Pre-Order – Greg Belson’s Divine Disco

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Cultures of Soul Records is proud to present a brand new compilation curated and researched by Gospel Soul music authoritarian Greg Belson. Greg Belson’s Divine Disco – American Gospel Disco 1974 to 1984 is a snapshot in time encapsulating the raw power of a spiritual performance, set to the pulsating 4/4 rhythms that were in vogue on the dance floors of the day.

This compilation focuses on a breed of Gospel performers that were forward-thinking enough to explore a funkier style; a powerful message with which a younger audience could identify. Music that could stir their mind, body and soul…..while stimulating their senses with a basic need to dance!

Labels like Savoy played a key part in identifying artists that fit nicely into this brand new movement….performers like Shirley Finney and The Gospelaires, both of whom were established within the scene but carried the ‘Disco’ torch brightly with their tunes, are featured here. Divine Disco also paints a picture of the lesser known acts that privately released their message to the hopeful masses, such as the Gospel Ambassadors and the Inspirational Souls, whose recording budgets would have been significantly less than any ‘major’ label. As proven here, they had no less of an impact to the listener.

Other tracks on this compilation such as Betty Griffin’s “Free Spirit” have become big club spins for the likes of the NYC Downlow and Horse Meat Disco crews. Also included here are recently discovered tunes like the Masters of Music’s “Trouble Don’t Last Always” as well as a future classic by The Testimonial Singers, which features several young members of the Winans Family. We’ve got you covered too for those more modern soul, boogiefied moments with rarities from Delores Fuller, Herman Harris and two offerings from the killer LP released by Enlightment.

-Greg Belson

Coming out on CD and 2LP on July 8th you can pre-order here.

  1. Enlightment – Faith Is the Key

     

  2. Delores Fuller – One More Chance Lord

     

  3. Gospel Ambassadors – What Kind of Man Is This

     

  4. Enlightment – What’s Happening People

     

  5. Betty Griffin – Free Spirit

     

  6. The Inspirational Souls – Jesus Is Going Away (But He’s Coming Back Again)

     

  7. Gospel Ambassadors – Thank You Jesus

     

  8. Gloria Griffin – You

     

  9. Masters of Music – Trouble Don’t Last Always

     

  10. The Gospelaires of Dayton, Ohio – No Where To Run

     

  11. Shirley Finney – Give Your Best To The Master

     

  12. The Testimonial Singers – No Greater Love

     

  13. Herman Harris & the Voices of Faith, Hope & Love – Give Yourself to Jesus
  1. Gospel Ambassadors – Thank You, Jesus (Steve Cobby Remix)
  2. Masters of Music – Trouble Don’t Last Always (Rahaan Edit)

Stop the Presses – The Boston Creative Jazz Scene

The Boston Creative Jazz Scene has been in stores for a little while now and we’ve received a wave of great reviews. You can pick up your book and CD or 2LP package here. You can read the reviews below.

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Also a few other quotes from other reviews that have come in:

The music on the “Creative Jazz” set showcases a wide variety of styles, from the Mark Harvey Group’s near-silences and tumultuous eruptions to the transcendent explorations of the Phill Musra Group, which worked in the sacred space carved out by late Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and other masters of questing free jazz.

From the Boston Globe

For lovers of adventurous jazz expression The Boston Creative Jazz Scene 1970-1983 is a necessary acquisition.

From Vinyl District

Cultures of Soul and Mark Harvey are to be commended for putting together this compilation in a way that honors the entire scene and places it into a broader perspective.

From All About Jazz

 

Going Out In Style – Creaturos Signs to Cultures of Soul!

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We’re happy to announce that Cambridge-based band Creaturos, has signed with Cultures of Soul Records. We are reissuing their excellent album – Popsicle coming out on February 19th at all digital retail outlets and on cassette. You can order the cassette in our shop here.  The band are currently finishing up their next album which we will be releasing this summer!

Creaturos is Spenser Gralla (guitar/vox), Noah Bond (guitar/vox), Joseph Marrett (bass/vox) & Dominic Mariano (drums). Originally a three-piece featuring Gralla & Bond (formerly of Doomstar!) along with Marrett (of Hallelujah The Hills, Ketman), Creaturos formed in late 2011 and soon after released their critically acclaimed debut cassette EP Swampp Thingg on Bond & Gralla’s label pRIMORDIAL sOUNDS. A chaotic fusion of distorted tones, raw energy, and pop hooks, Swampp Thingg laid the foundation for the fundamental elements of the group’s sound. In early 2014, Bond switched to guitar and invited Mariano (of Skimask, Viva Viva) to join on drums. The group has supported a number of notable acts including White Fence, Ty Segall’s Fuzz, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, & Grass Widow among many others. In 2015, the band began compiling tracks from a variety of sessions between 2011-2014 to form their latest release, Popsicle, the band’s warped take on psychedelic scuzz contorted and distorted into pop flavors.  Popsicle gives you a taste of the band in a variety of shapes and colors, from lo-fi trips such as “Sunrise Wedding” or “The World” to more hi-fi edibles like “Going Out In Style” or “Short Shorts”  – just be sure not to eat it up too quick – jams this sticky sweet are apt to give you a stomach ache. Here are some pressing clippings from Popsicle.

“Psych-rock has always walked a thin-line between mirrored realms: beauty and violence, melody and noise. That dimensional straddling is on full display on Popsicle…considering that this cassette release is an odds-and-ends collection of tracks the band recorded over the past few years, “Popsicle” falls well on the right side of the only binary that matters: quality.” -Boston Globe

“Bright guitars, handclaps, a vocal cadence Mick Jagger would be proud of, and plenty of easy charisma to spare.” -Dig Boston

“…Eight tracks of musical mindfuckery and beautiful sonic fury…” -Vanyaland

“Without a doubt, CreaturoS is a band that would have had a big record contract in the ’90s, back when there was a proper *music industry.* Don’t let their semi-chill profile fool you into thinking they won’t destroy you.” -Boston Hassle

Tracklisting:

  1. The Master’s Dope

     

  2. Sunrise Wedding

     

  3. Hand In My Pocket

     

  4. Short Shorts

     

  5. The World

     

  6. Weird Queen

     

  7. Going Out In Style

     

  8. Popsicle

The Jagger Botchway Group – Odze Odze

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Jagger Botchway is most famous for his work with the Hedzoleh Soundz and Hugh Masekela. Jagger was also the driving force behind the highly sought-after Ghanaian afro-funk masterpiece Moving World by the Kelenkye Band. Deano Sounds, along with Voodoo Funk’s Frank Gossner, teamed up to release the Kelenkye Band’s later material, Jungle Funk, back in 2012.

Jagger went back into the studio with a group of musicians he had played with from various points in his career to record an album of unique soca and highlife sounds. What was put down on tape was a heavy mix of percussion, striking highlife guitar lines and futuristic synth stabs with soaring African voices.

Deano Sounds and Jagger rescued the original multi-track DAT tapes that were hiding in obscurity in Ghana. Cultures of Soul invited a host of today’s best remixers to give them the freedom to create their own interpretations of the material. These producers include Berlin’s Africaine 808, Manchester’s Ruf Dug, Switzerland’s Alma Negra and New York’s Names You Can Trust. Coming out on CD and 2LP on March 18th you can pre-order here!

1. Odze Odze


12. Odze Odze Alma Negra Remix feat. Luca Glausen (drums) and Samuel Sole (bass)

Behind the Art – Robert Beatty

Robert Beatty is an extremely talented artist and musician from Lexington, Kentucky. Beatty is the vision behind the highly celebrated artwork for Currents by  Tame Impala and VEGA INTL. Night School by Neon Indian. He also created the cover art for the Boston Creative Jazz Scene. Robert took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with us.
 
When did you decide you wanted to be an artist? What inspired you?
 

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I’ve made art as long as I can remember and I’ve always known that that’s what I wanted to do. I grew up in a small Kentucky town before the internet, so as a kid I was into the weirdest stuff that was easily accessible- Mad Magazine, Monty Python, whatever weird stuff I could find in the encyclopedia or on cable TV. I have always been very investigative and I’m always looking for new inspiration so I pretty quickly gravitated towards more out there stuff.

How did you get into creating album covers? What was your first project like?

I started doing record covers for bands I played in; starting out with Hair Police and Burning Star Core and my solo project Three Legged Race. From there friends I had met through touring started asking me to do art for their records. All of my early covers were for people I already knew, which made the transition very natural.

What is your process for creating album covers?

 

Usually I’ll talk with the artist to see what they have in mind and then start sketching things out to get a basic idea and then go from there. Sometimes I’ll pull ideas from my sketchbooks or sometimes things just start to come together on their own from listening to the music. The process varies widely from project to project though.

What has been your favorite album to create?

 

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The Neon Indian artwork that I worked on this year was very fun to work on. It’s not necessarily something I would have done on my own, but I got to create a ridiculous and strange language of images that we then arranged into the different single covers and album artwork. As far as my favorite covers I’ve done I still really love the Brad Laner “Nearest Suns” art and the cover I did for AIDS WOLF’s final LP.

With the huge success of the Tame Impala album cover has the phone being ringing off the hook so to speak?

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The response to the Tame Impala artwork has been overwhelming at times. The reception from fans has been really amazing, I try to respond to every email, but it’s tough to keep up. I’m definitely staying busy and have no shortage of potential album projects, but I’ve actually been trying to take some time to focus on some of my own projects- an art book of all new material, some video work, some music, and some artwork for some upcoming gallery exhibitions.

You are also a musician. Tell us about some of the bands you are playing with or have played with in the past. Does this correlate at all with the artwork you do?

 

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I have a solo project called Three Legged Race (https://threeleggedrace.bandcamp.com). Lately I’ve been calling it “volatile mixed fidelity electronic music.” The music I perform and record varies widely, but it’s mostly rooted in live electronics and improvisation which is then collaged together; musique concrete collage style.

I also play in the band Hair Police and a few other projects that aren’t as active as Three Legged Race.

What do you have planned for the future?

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I’m currently working on finishing up an art book that will be coming out later this year, making some music for a couple upcoming records, getting ready to play a few shows in Europe in the spring, and making art for a few art shows coming up. I also just started a small label called AHEM Editions (http://ahemeditions.com/) so I’ve been enjoying getting a few releases planned out for this year.

What are your top 5 favorite albums?

Not neccesarily top 5 of all time as that’s basically impossible for me, but here are 5 that I come back to often and have been listening to a lot lately

Herbie Hancock “Sextant”
White Noise “An Electric Storm”
The Incredible String Band “Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter”
Maher Shalal Hash Baz “Blues Du Jour”
Nuno Canavarro “Plux Quba”

Welcome to 2016!

It’s 2016 and we’re off!  Depsite the sad news of David Bowie’s passing things are looking up.  Releases include – electronic African Highlife from the Jagger Botchway Group with remixes by Africaine 808, Ruf Dug, GRC, and Alma Negra, Gospel Disco compiled by Greg Belson, South African Disco with remixes from Gerd Janson, Boston Free Jazz and a couple of other surprises thrown in for good measure! It’s shaping up to be another great year!

Exclusive Preview Cultures of Soul 2016 Releases by Cultures Of Soul on Mixcloud

 

Behind the Art – Zachariah O’Hora

 

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Zachariah O’Hora is the man behind the artwork for many of our releases starting with the World’s Funkiest Covers to our newly released Brasileiro Treasure Box of Funk and Soul. Zach’s unique vision for art and vast knowledge of music have helped to forman identity for our label. He took the time to speak with us about his work and some of his favorite projects with us!

When did you decide you wanted to be an illustrator? What inspired you?

It was in 4th grade. I was in a new school. I drew on all my book covers (remember the old paper shopping bag cover) and got a rep as the new kid who could draw. Soon I started drawing on other peoples book covers and getting paid in candy. My specialty was Garfields and Smurfs. I invented the Michael Jackson Smurf which would cost you extra.

 

How did you get into the children’s illustration business? Do your kids inspire ideas for your work?
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I was doing freelance illustration for magazines and newspapers and it was something I always wanted to do. I started pursuing to before I had kids, but its a very opaque business to break into and it took a long time. By the time I had a book deal my son Oskar was on the way. He was the inspiration for my second book “No Fits Nilson!”
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How did you connect with Wax Poetics to do the 7inch sleeve for the Moments?

I think I was just so excited to discover Wax Poetics, I had picked up their 4th issue in a record/coffee shop in Brooklyn (Halcyon on Smith street R.I.P) and saw their address was just down the street and I just flooded them with postcards and offered to work for free even. I was lucky to do a few illustrations with them, a cover for the Hip-hop issue and even did an interview on Grant Green with Grant Green Jr. Shout out to WaxPo!

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What has been your favorite project with Cultures of Soul to date and why?
Honestly I’ve dug them all for different reasons! I listen to the World’s Funkiest Covers record the most often. I just love covers, especially when they are made funky and soulful. I’m probably most proud of the art for Tommy Stewart’s Disco Love Affair. The continuation of the art to the labels worked out pretty nicely.  I was in a record store the other day in Buffalo, New York and I was excited to see they had vinyl of the Stanton Davis LP on the wall and they had the CD version of the Brazilian Box set on display.

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What’s been your favorite book to illustrate?

This all depends on what I’m working on. I tend to love whatever I’m working on at the moment the most. When I get done I worry that its crap. A year or two later when it’s out in the stores, I wonder how I did what I did, because it looks fresh again.

Right now my favorite is written by Ame Dyckman and it’s called “Wolfie the Bunny”. It’s a hilarious and sweet story that I wish that I wrote. Another book that came out this year that I wrote and illustrated is called “My Cousin Momo” There’s going to be a French edition coming out in January and I like the cover even better than the original. (That’s the French version below)
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What books do you have planned for the future?
Ame and I did another book together called “Horrible Bear” that comes out in April and we are working on a couple other secret projects. I have a book that I just finished of my own called “The Not So Quiet Library” that will be out next June. There’s some other stuff but I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about them yet.
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What are your favorite top 5 books?
My top 5 picture books in no particular order are:
1. Father Foxes Penny Rhymes by Clyde and Wendy Watson
2. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
3. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
4. Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson
5. Templeton Gets His Wish by Greg Pizzoli

 

And favorite top 5 albums?

This is a tough one, as there are so many desert island picks. In 20+ years of collecting records, these are five I always go back to, listen all the way through without skipping any songs.

Charles Mingus- Mingus Plays Piano
Weird one-off Mingus record- he’s not even playing bass as the title suggests. Beautiful improvisations.
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Sly and the Family Stone- There’s a Riot Going On
All the Sly records are great but this is the best and darkest.
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Various Artists
I don’t even know what you call this record- The Black Caucus record? It’s not rare but it’s slept on. Amazing live jams from everyone listed.
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John Coltrane- A Love Supreme
 I used to go to the Coltrane Church in San Francisco on occasion and their priests would play this live for hours in a little storefront on Divisadero Street.
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Grant Green- Alive!
I was fortunate to meet Idris Muhammad (R.I.P.) back in the 90’s when I worked for the SF Jazz Festival and he signed this for me. Probably my #1 record of all time!
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I’m super psyched to be a part of the extended Cultures of Soul Records family! First off, as a fan.  I love everything you guys put out. And I’m honored to be a small part of what you are doing.
Thanks for having me!
Peace
You can see more of Zachariah OHora’s work online at www.zohora.com or www.stayfuzzy.tumblr.com
Books are available everywhere books are sold.