Alicia Olatuja came to national prominence with her solo for President Obama’s most recent inauguration with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, but with Olatuja the music goes a whole lot deeper than simply that performance. Between gigs with her husband, Michael Olatuja, as the Olatuja Project and backing up artists like Chaka Khan, Somi, and Christian McBride on vocals, Olatuja has crafted a unique space for her own music which she will releasing this Spring. Be sure to check out her process behind recording the album, working with incredible musicians, and more as we discuss her music.
A dark cocoa skinned ingénue stood on stage, adorned in black leather leggings and a red lace dress, illuminating the dimly lit underground New York haunt, Drom. Somi is her name. Her long locks gently fell on her left side as she read from a handwritten notebook. Her four piece band – drummer Otis Brown III, bassist Michael Olatuja, pianist Toro Dodo and guitarist Liberty Ellman – plaintively played a lilting sheet of melancholy while she read from the pad, telling a tale of a day in a far away land, yet the words placed the crowd, both seated and standing, right where she had been: “This is Lagos,” she stated. “This place might grant me eternal youth.” This spoken word account was the prelude to the dynamic aural transport that Somi was about to take Drom’s audience on. It was a trip she’d already taken.
Every year we have writers comb through the countless shows at Winter JazzFest without much of a prompting to see what they make it to and what new up-and-coming music they can find as well as which of their favorites puts on the best shows. Check out one of our writer’s walk through Winter JazzFest2013!
Winter JazzFest 2013 is upon us and we’re in the thick of rehearsals and preparation for this historic weekend of music. We’ve been running around with the musicians all week and today we’ll be bringing you last minute words and music from these incredible artists throughout the day. Be sure to check back to this page often for interviews, rehearsal footage, and mixes from our stage!
We are proud to once again partner with the 2013 Winter Jazzfest in producing our annual Revive Music Stage taking place on Friday, Jan. 11th and Saturday, Jan. 12th with the first performance starting at 7:45pm and going all night until 4am on both nights. Performances will include the premier of ‘AFRO HARPING’, a tribute to Dorothy Ashby led by harpist Brandee Younger, our monthly remix live jazz party, CHURCH with Mark de Clive-Lowe, Otis Brown III Quintet, Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life, Somi and many many more.
After raising nearly $12,000 from hundreds of donors for his debut record as a bandleader, Otis Brown III is getting down to business. He recorded the album in April 2011 with a set of musicians that have defined music in there own right including Robert Glasper, Ben Williams, John Ellis, Keyon Harrold, Bilal, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato and Nikki Ross.
Joe Lovano Us Five will release Bird Songs, an exploration of the Charlie Parker songbook on Januaru 11, 2011. The album will launch with a a week-long engagement at the Village Vanguard in New York City (January 11-16), and an NPR Live At The Village Vangaurd session that will be webcast on the NPR Music website. Lovano’s band on this record features drummers Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela, pianist James Weidman, and bassist Esperanza Spalding.