Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Interview with Victor Wooten

Victor Wooten is best known as the much-celebrated low end of the Grammy-winning jazz-fusion group Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. He's also an educator, an author and a solo bandleader who has been playing music professionally since he was a small boy. He's currently touring behind a new solo album, “Trypnotyx,”  another expansive genre-mixing of jazz, funk, hip-hop and experimental fusion,

Read my Richmond Magazine interview with this singular instrumentalist -- named one of the greatest bassists of all time by Rolling Stone -- by clicking here.

And for more on Victor Wooten, go here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Fallen Angels: It's a Long Way Down

I don't normally put my "smaller" work on this blog - reviews, previews, blurbs-- but my recent piece in The Washingtonian on the legendary Washington D.C. psych band, The Fallen Angels, grew out of a longer feature that I wrote for the magazine that got cut down for space.

Attention all editors: I still have a wonderful long-form feature article here, if you want it. Contact me if there's interest.

The story of the Fallen Angels is rich with period detail, and several key members survive to tell it. Popular in Georgetown clubs in the late '60s, the group opened for  bands like the Velvet Underground and the Yardbirds, recorded at the same time and in the same studio as Hendrix, and had the misfortune of getting tied up with the Roulette record label, which was mob-owned.

The piece that ran in the Washingtonian is mostly about the band's rarer-than-rare second album, It's a Long Way Down, which was released 50 years ago.  Read the article here. 

And here's a Fallen Angels' promotional video from that album, a strange little time capsule.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Interview with Bettye LaVette

"Bettye LaVette does Bob Dylan. It's like those movies they did in the '50s, like 'Dracula Meets Frankenstein.'" 

For years, Detroit native Betty LaVette was the secret weapon of soul, beloved by music purists and record collectors, but comparatively little known next to her peers Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross.

All of that is changing these days, thanks to a series of well-received comeback albums and a jaw-dropping autobiography, “A Woman Like Me.” She's got a brand new album of Dylan covers, and a new, autobiographical one-woman show that reflects on her rocky past, the people she's known, and her signature songs.

Read my Richmond Magazine interview with this soul music legend right here.

(Photo by Mark Seliger)

A History of Jazz in Virginia

Even in unlikely hamlets like Bedford, Suffolk and Lawrenceville (home of legendary saxophonist Sheldon Powell, pictured), Virginia has been one of jazz music’s most fertile growing fields.

My cover feature on Virginia's jazz history is now online at the Virginia Living Magazine website, tricked out with all kinds of rare photos, music clips and supplementary pieces -- like my feature article on Salena Jones, and Markus Schmidt's interview with Richmond jazz keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith.

Spend some time here and learn about all that jazz.