Tag: pop

Throwback: Happy 63rd Birthday, Prince!

JOVM celebrates what would have been Prince’s 63rd birthday.

Throwback: Happy 52nd Birthday, Mariah Carey!

The first two weeks of Spring and of the astrological sign Aries is rather auspicious for music — Aretha Frarnkin, Diana Ross, Elton John, Damon Albarn, Lee “Scratch” Perry are all among an incredibly talented and legendary array of artists who were born between March 21-March, 31. Of course, we can’t forget Mariah Carey, who turns 52 today.

Carey is the voice of a ridiculous amount of smash hit songs — many which I know deep in your soul you love, and will happily sing along to in the shower or while doing karaoke. Personally, I’ve always adored her cover of The Jackson 5’s “I’ll be There.” So, to that end, Happy birthday, Mariah. May there be many, many more!

Throwback: Happy 88th Birthday Quincy Jones!

This weekend has proven to be a rather auspicious weekend for music and music history: Yesterday Roy Haynes celebrated his 96th birthday and the equally legendary Quincy Jones celebrates his 88th birthday today. Much like Haynes, Jones has worked with a who’s who of music. including Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and a lengthy list of others.

Of course, Jones has been behind some of the best-selling, most memorable and beloved songs of the past 60 years — including some very obvious ones. So it should be unsurprising that he is one of the most decorated producers, composers and arrangers of the past 60 years. But instead of the regular choices, I went with some earlier and more jazz-based work of Jones’ including some live footage shot in 1960 with his big band.

Happy birthday Quincy! Thank you for so much great music!

Throwback: Black History Month: Nina Simone

Today is February 21, 2021. It’s the 21at day of Black History Month. And as I’ve mentioned throughout this series, I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles — with the hopes that it’ll be a bit of a primer on the Black experience and on Black music.

Of course, I hope that these posts will serve as a reminder of these very important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

Nina Simone is arguably one of the most uncompromising and important artists of the past century. She did it her way, while being bold, brash and defiantly black.


Sarah Walk is a rising Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter and keyboardist who currently splits her time between Los Angeles and London. Walk’s full-length debut, 2017’s Steve Brown-produced Little Black Book found the Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter and keyboardist crafting piano-based ballads.

Last year’s Leo Abrahams-produced sophomore album, Another Me was a radical change in sonic direction for the Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter and keyboardist with the album’s material finding Walk going towards shimmering and contemplative synth pop centered around percussive arrangements and soaring melodies. Another Me was inspired by a period of immense challenge and transformation, and thematically, the album touched upon marginalization, survival, death, misogyny, vulnerability, reclamation of oneself, learning how to be bold and take up space and the unique challenges of being a queer woman.

The Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter and keyboardist follows up the release of Another Me with a slow-burning and spectral cover of Prince‘s “Nothing Compares 2 U” centered around atmospheric synths, twinkling keys, brief and subtle bursts of strummed guitar, Walk’s achingly tender vocals and supple and soulful bass lines. Featuring guest spots from Abe Rounds and the acclaimed singer/songwriter and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, Walk’s cover deconstructs the song’s melody but in doing so, pulls out the song’s bitter loneliness, yearning, confusion but imbuing the proceedings with a complete detail and inability to move forward.

Walk has wanted to cover Prince for some time — partially because she’s a Minneapolis native; but also because Rounds and Ndegeocello played at the Purple One’s Paisley Park studio in the past. “Truthfully, it had been a really long time since I heard ‘Nothing Compares 2 U,’” Walk says in press notes,” and I thought that may work in my favour — I didn’t want to get too inside the other versions that already existed because I wanted to make sure I approached it my own way. 
 
“I recorded the main wurly piano part first and sort of just improvised that ending build up – I liked the idea of repeating the title over and over, almost trance-like, with these ominous chords and angry guitar sounds building up behind it. I kept seeing this visual of me singing that repetitive lyric on stage, almost trying to convince myself I was okay… while the curtain opened up behind me without me knowing it, exposing all of the memories and anger and heartbreak I was really feeling but not able to accept or admit yet.”
 
“Sometimes I think Prince would want everyone to play his music and sometimes I think he’d want it to never be played again, but I knew Sarah was the kind of spirit who would make it her own and she does,” Meshell Ndgeocello adds.

Throwback: Black History Month: The Supremes/R.I.P. Mary Wilson

Today is the ninth day of Black History Month. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few days of this month, you’d see that I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience.

Through the month — and throughout the year, I hope that you’ll come to understand and appreciate the following:

Black culture is American culture
Black music is American music.
Black history is American history.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
You can’t love black art and black artists without loving black people.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

I was awakened to see an alert from CNN that read “Mary Wilson, co-founder of The Supremes dead at 76.” I knew then that a tribute post to Wilson — and the legendary Supremes would be necessary.

The Supremes were one of the best selling, most popular acts of their day. They were also among a handful of Black acts that saw widespread mainstream success: They were not only Ed Sullivan Show mainstays, they were on practically every single variety show and entertainment show in the country — and they knocked off The Beatles from the top spot of the charts, eventually dominating the charts with hit after hit after hit after hit.

Throwback: Black History Month: Prince

Today is the first day of Black History Month. And throughout this month I’ll feature Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience. Throughout the month I hope that you’ll appreciate these facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

Prince. I mean what the fuck can I say about Prince? I don’t think the guy was capable of writing a bad song, ever. So enjoy some of my personal favorites from the Purple One.

New Video: Swiss Jazz Act Gianfranco GFN Teams up with Florence Chitacumbi on a Breezy and Sweet Love Song

Gianfranco GFN is a Swiss guitarist, composer and bandleader, whose work is influenced by jazz, blues, bossa nova, funk and rock. Leading a band that features longtime collaborators Stèphane Joerg (percussion) and Mimmo Pisino (double bass), Gianfranco GFN has released two instrumental albums and an EP — 2011’s Linnea, 2016’s Downtown in Person 70s and the Interlude EP. Interestingly, Interlude and Downtown in Person 70s had a handful of tracks — two and four respectively — that received airplay on Swiss radio.

Before the writing and recording of the band’s third album, 2019’s CA’GIAZZ, the trio expanded into a quartet with the addition of vocalist Florence Chitacumbi. The 11 song album features collaborations with 14 different artists with several tracks off the album receiving airplay on Swiss, French, German, Irish and Russian radio stations.

In February, Gianfranco GFN and his band entered the studio to record the material which would comprise their fourth album, slated for release next year. Simultaneously the Swiss act recorded acoustic material, which they’ve immediately released online, including their latest single “Adagio.” “Adagio” is a breezy and strutting blues featuring Chitacumbi’s easygoing and soulful Sharon Jones-like vocals, shimmering acoustic guitar, shuffling percussion and supple double bass. And at its core, the song is a sweet and old-timey love song, full of devotion and a familiar longing.

Gianfranco GFN released an intimately shot bit of live footage of the act performing “Adagio” in the studio.