Connect with us

JAZZ

CaughtInTheAct | Violinist Damien Escobar Was Performing Live At The Capital Jazz SuperCruise XI, If You Missed It, We Got You. 

Recorded live at the Capital Jazz SuperCruise XI in 2018 

Published

on

The Rebirth of an Artist: The Damien Escobar Experience

Damien Escobar is a world renowned violinist, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, hailing from Jamaica, Queens, New York. His musical career spans over a decade, and his inspiring journey of making it big, losing it all, fighting to rebuild, and getting a second chance at success is as much apart of his brand identity than being among the top violinist in the world.

The now NAACP Image Award nominee and Billboards chart topping artist, was once humbled by homelessness after calling it quits from his famed group, “Nuttin but Stringz.” The group, comprised of Damien and his brother, Tourie— known in NYC for playing their violins on the subway; gained global recognition when they appeared as contestants on “America’s Got Talent.” The competition helped to catapult the duo into stardom and they quickly experienced all the highs of being the most sought after musicians of their time. However, that glory was short-lived and the fall from grace was a hard hit, to say the very least; as the group disbanded and  a bruised Damien made the decision to retire his violin. What came next was a struggle– not only with his identity, and depression, but with finding success in other non-creative endeavors.

Looking back at his journey, Damien realizes it all  needed to fall apart so he could be forced to grow while putting it back together the right way. Prevailing was a process and it started with unburying his talent– his love of playing the violin. And in 2013 Damien released his first album as a solo artist, “Sensual Melodies.” Once thought of as a passion project, the album garnished over 200K downloads; landed on  the iTunes Top 100 chart; and served as a springboard for a successful national tour where he headlined, for the first time, as the one and only, Damien Escobar.

From there, doors that were once closed, became a little easier to push open; affording Damien opportunities to tell his inspiring story to publications like People Magazine and Huffington Post; make appearances on local and national news including “The Today Show”; serve as a guest on radio broadcasts;  and even accept invitations to perform at notable events such as Oprah Winfrey’s “The Life You Want” tour. Back in the spotlight, Damien decided this time around he would do more with his visibility and began his entrepreneurial walk by penning and self-publishing his very first children’s book, “The Sound of Strings”; building his very own line of custom designed violins; and establishing partnerships to develop a wine line, perfume and fragrances, and a non-profit organization that would include a music program for children.

Motivated by his past and grateful for his fans and future, Damien went on to release his second album, “Boundless.” Growing into a self-conscious artist with more than a mission to make good music, Damien sought to inspire change and spread positivity by sharing uplifting messages and telling unfiltered personal stories to sold-out arenas across the world during his second tour. Though he’s achieved more than he could have imagined after pulling himself up by his bootstraps and kick starting his solo career– Damien Escobar’s story isn’t over yet. The breakout artist has partnered with Mitsubishi and is now the face and sound of their latest campaign; he’s releasing new music and videos set to air on major broadcast channels; and, the world famous violinist, continues to build his brand centered around making an impact and inspiring social change. Stay tuned, there’s more to come.


Damien Escobar tour dates 2022

Damien Escobar is currently touring and has 14 upcoming concerts as of 3/23/22. Newer dates (added shows) after this publication date are not included in this article.

Their next tour date is at Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis, after that they’ll be at The Tin Pan in Richmond.See all your opportunities to see them live below!

Upcoming concerts (14) As of 3/23/22 | Updates: Dameesco.Com

Thur-Mar31- SOPAC | South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange, NJ

Sat-Apr02 – Grand Opera House, Wilmington, DE

Sun-Apr03 – The Tin Pan Alley,Richmond , VA

Tue-Apr19 – Rams Head, On Stage, Annapolis, MD.

Fri-May13 – Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, San Antonio, TX.

Sat-May14 – The Echo Lounge and Music Hall, Dallas TX.

Sun-May15 – House of Blues, Houston, TX.

Thu-May19 – Hard Rock Hotel, Los Cabos, LosCabos, Mx.

Thu-May19 – SoulFest, Los Cabos, MX.

Sat-May21 – Blue Note, Napa Napa, CARS.

Sun-May22 – Blue Note, Napa Napa, CARS.

Wed-Jun08 – The Aretha Franklin Amphitheater, Detroit, MI.

Wed-Aug24- The Plaza Live, Orlando, FL.

Thu-Aug25 – Broward Center for the Perforning Arts, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Sat-Aug27 – Mable House Barnes Amphitheater, GA.

Sat-Oct15 – Rialto Theater, Tucson, AZ.

Sun-Oct16 – Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, Avalon Gardens, CARS.

Tues-Nov15 – Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh, NC.


More Damien…

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

JAZZ

So… Who The Heck Is Sean Dobbins and the Modern Jazz Messengers Any Way?

Published

on

Jazz drummer Sean Dobbins got his start as sought-after Detroit area jazz sideman at a young age, when he would regularly play with Blue Note artist Louis Smith. As Sean’s Career progressed, he found himself the recipient of many awards and accolades including the “Woody Herman Jazz Award”, an award for outstanding musicianship, as well as the Louis Armstrong Scholarship. Due to Sean’s great talent both as a player and an educator, he has been the focus of countless news articles and jazz radio programs.

Though still young by jazz standards, Dobbins has amassed an impressive list of playing companions. He has performed/toured/recorded with Johnny Basset, Benny Golson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Frank Morgan, Joey DeFrancesco, George Cables, James “Blood” Ulmer, Marcus Belgrave, Larry Willis, Rodney Whittaker, Claude Black, Johnny O’Neal, Paul Keller, Tad Weed, Kurt Krahnke, Jon Hendricks, David “Fathead” Newman, Donald Walden, Cyrus Chesnut, Barry Harris, David Baker, Randy Johnston, Marion Hayden, Mose Allison, and a host of other great musicians.

Sean’s sound can best be described as hard-driving, solid rhythm with refreshing melodic sensibility. Some of Sean’s influences include Art Blakey, Jeff Hamilton, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Ed Thigpen, Sonny Payne, and also Detroit area greats Gerald Cleaver and the one and only Elvin Jones. A product of the Ann Arbor Public Schools, Sean has stayed devoted to education throughout his life. Early mentor Louis Smith, an Ann Arbor Public Schools band teacher, impressed the importance of a good education upon Sean at an early age. Sean is known in his community as a band director, drum teacher and positive influence for many.

In 1999 Sean was asked to become the director of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Summer Jazz Program. This program was designed to help educate and inspire young artist as they began their quest of learning jazz. In 1998, a year before Sean’s arrival, the program was in jeopardy of being cancelled due to low enrollment. In 2000, a year after Sean took over the reigns, the enrollment more than tripled and a year later, the group was featured on WEMU, a national jazz radio program.

As a father of three, Sean knows, understands, and accepts the challenge of continuing the art from through clinics, master classes, and concerts for up and coming musicians. Sean makes it a point of incorporating educational opportunities into all of his road trips.
His recent recordings include “Odyssey” (PKO Records), “Revealing” (Reparation Records), and “Christmas Songs for Jazz Lovers” (PKO Records), and Blue Horizons featuring Sean and his quintet, the Modern Jazz Messengers.

Continue Reading

& All That Jazz

Trombone Shorty Drops New Album Entitled, ‘Lifted’ And New Single, “Come Back”

Published

on

It was after midnight when Trombone Shorty stepped offstage at the House of Blues in New Orleans, but he wasn’t done playing yet. Not by a long shot.

“I had an idea for a new song right after the show,” says Shorty, “so the band and I decided to go straight into the studio and record it that night. We were still sweaty and buzzing from the energy of the gig, and we definitely carried that vibe into the session with us.”

Take a listen to Lifted, Trombone Shorty’s second release for Blue Note Records, and you’ll hear that same ecstatic energy coursing through the entire collection. Recorded at Shorty’s own Buckjump Studio with producer Chris Seefried (Fitz and the Tantrums, Andra Day), the album finds the GRAMMY-nominated NOLA icon and his bandmates tapping into the raw power and exhilarating grooves of their legendary live show, channeling it all into a series of tight, explosive performances that blur the lines between funk, soul, R&B, and psychedelic rock. The writing is bold and self-assured, standing up to hard times and loss with grit and determination, and the playing is muscular to match, mixing pop gleam with hip-hop swagger and second line abandon. Wild as all that may sound, Lifted is still the work of a master craftsman, and the album’s nimble arrangements and judicious use of special guests—from Gary Clark Jr. and Lauren Daigle to the rhythm section from Shorty’s high school marching band—ultimately yields a collection that’s as refined as it is rapturous, one that balances technical virtuosity and emotional release in equal measure as it celebrates music’s primal power to bring us all together.

“I think this is the closest we’ve ever gotten to bottling up the live show and putting it on a record,” says Shorty, whose audiences have grown exponentially in recent years. “Normally when I’m in the studio, I’m trying to make the cleanest thing I can, but this time around, I told everybody to really cut loose, to perform like they were onstage at a festival.”

If anybody knows their way around a festival, it’s Trombone Shorty. Born Troy Andrews, he got his start (and nickname) earlier than most: at four, he made his first appearance at Jazz Fest performing with Bo Diddley; at six, he was leading his own brass band; and by his teenage years, he was hired by Lenny Kravitz to join the band he assembled for his Electric Church World Tour. Shorty’s proven he’s more than just a horn player, though. Catch a gig, open the pages of the New York Times or Vanity Fair, flip on any late-night TV show and you’ll see an undeniable star with utterly magnetic charisma, a natural born showman who can command an audience with the best of them. Since 2010, he’s released four chart topping studio albums; toured with everyone from Jeff Beck to the Red Hot Chili Peppers; collaborated across genres with Pharrell, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Foo Fighters, ZHU, Zac Brown, Normani, Ringo Starr, and countless more; played Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Newport Folk, Newport Jazz, and nearly every other major festival; performed four times at the GRAMMY Awards, five times at the White House, on dozens of TV shows, and at the star-studded Sesame Street Gala, where he was honored with his own Muppet; launched the Trombone Shorty Foundation to support youth music education; and received the prestigious Caldecott Honor for his first children’s book. Meanwhile in New Orleans, Shorty now leads his own Mardi Gras parade atop a giant float crafted in his likeness, hosts the annual Voodoo Threauxdown shows that have drawn guests including Usher, Nick Jonas, Dierks Bentley, Andra Day, and Leon Bridges to sit in with his band, and has taken over the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s hallowed final set, which has seen him closing out the internationally renowned gathering after performances by the likes of Neil Young, the Black Keys, and Kings of Leon.

“I owe all that to my mother,” says Shorty. “She passed recently, but she continued to inspire me right up until she transitioned, and that’s why I put a picture of her holding me up at a second line on the cover of this album. She lifted me up my whole life.”

As if his New Orleans roots weren’t already deep enough, Shorty decided to take over a recording studio in the Lower Garden District after the release of his latest album, 2017’s Seefried-produced Parking Lot Symphony. Dubbing the space Buckjump in a nod to the second lines he grew up playing in, Shortly immediately set about converting the studio into a freewheeling sonic laboratory, one where he and his friends could push themselves creatively without any artistic or commercial restraints.

“Having my own studio meant that the band and I could capture stuff in the moment any time we were feeling inspired,” says Shorty. “It meant that we could take chances and experiment. I could call the guys up with an idea in the middle of the night and they’d say, ‘We’ll meet you there in an hour!’”

That sense of excitement and liberation is palpable on Lifted, which opens with the addictive “Come Back.” Fueled by a bottom-heavy rhythm section, buoyant keys, and bright flashes of brass, the track pairs a hip-hop groove with hard rock energy as Shorty delivers silky smooth vocals that float effortlessly above the instrumental fray. As its title might suggest, the song is a reckoning with loss and regret, but like much of the album, it refuses to surrender to disappointment, keeping its chin held high as it presses forward and fights for what it wants. The effervescent “What It Takes” gets profoundly funky as it celebrates the strength and growth that can emerge from times of struggle, while the bittersweet “Forgiveness” leans into the band’s R&B side as it works to move on from pain and betrayal, and the blistering “I’m Standing Here” (which features a mind-bending guitar solo from Gary Clark Jr.) rushes headlong into the maelstrom.

“I grew up watching wrestling as a kid,” Shorty says with a laugh, “and I if I was a wrestler, ‘I’m Standing Here’ would be the song they played when I came into the ring. It’s all about standing tall no matter what life throws at you.”

Shorty makes sure to celebrate the good times on the album, too, reveling in the joy of love and friendship and family throughout. The spirited “Might Not Make It Home” commits to letting go and living in the moment; the playful “Miss Beautiful” embraces the thrill of desire while offering a twist on the second line tradition, with an electric bass stepping in for the tuba; and the feel-good “Everybody In The World” (which features the New Breed Brass Band) finds common ground in our universal desire for love and acceptance. But it’s perhaps the electrifying title track, which lands somewhere between Earth, Wind & Fire and Shorty’s old tourmate Lenny Kravitz that best encapsulates the spirit of the album, wrapping earnest emotion in a high-octane package that offers you no choice but to move your body.

“The whole time we were making Lifted, I couldn’t help but think about how much fun it would be to get onstage and play it for an audience,” Shorty recalls. “Usually when I make an album, I record the songs first and figure out how we’re going to present them live afterwards, but with this record I was in the studio imagining the lights flashing on the hits and the audience singing everything back to us. I could see the whole thing in my head.”

For Trombone Shorty, the show never ends. Not by a long shot.


Continue Reading

& All That Jazz

NOIRE CLASSICS | In 1991, Jazz Quartet Fourplay Teamed WIth El Debarge For Marvin Gayes’ “After The Dance”

El Debarge was the guest vocalist when Fourplay recorded Marvin Gayes’ Classic, “Dance With Me” in 1991, the session was captured live and is presented here as a RNTV Noire Classic .

Published

on

For over 25 years the legend of Fourplay has grown.  Exploring the limitless possibilities of jazz has allowed the quartet to evolve musically, drawing musical elements from a wide range of styles, to hone their own unique and innovative sound.

The story begins in 1990, with keyboardist Bob James, who had already established himself as a formidable figure in jazz, known not just as an instrumentalist, also but as a composer and arranger, with a solo career dating back to the mid-1960s.

It was in 1990, when James decided to reunite with Harvey Mason during the recording of James’ album Grand Piano Canyon.  Mason, one of the most highly sought after drummers of all time (Herbie Hancock, Barbra Steisand, Notorious B.I.G.), was also well known as a composer and producer.  This project also included Lee Ritenour, and bassist Nathan East (Barry White, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Daft Punk).  This recording marked the genesis of the group known as Fourplay.

The original lineup of James, Mason, East, and Ritenour released their self-titled debut in 1991, and stayed together for three successive albums, including Elixir in 1994.  Elixir features vocalists such as Phil Collins, Patti Austin and Peabo Bryson, along with East, who has continued to contribute vocals throughout the course of the group’s history.

For the release of album in 1998, Fourplay brought in Larry Carlton (The Crusaders, Joni Mitchell, Quincy Jones) to replace Ritenour, who left the group to pursue other projects.  Album 4 included compositions by all four members, and featured an impressive crew of guest vocalists, including El Debarge, Babyface Edmonds, Kevyn Lettau and Shanice.

Carlton stayed with the group for 12 years, before delving into his own solo career.  During that time, the group continued its creative evolution, with releases such as 1999’s, Yes Please!, and album which challenged the standard definitions of contemporary jazz by incorporating elements of blues, funk and Celtic.

Improvisation reigned supreme in 2002 with Heartfelt, born from a series of improvisational performances developed into full compositions with less clearly defined melodies.  After releasing Journey in 2004, Fourplay released X in 2006, which featured vocals by the iconic Michael McDonald.

2008 brought the release of Energy, which spent three consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart.  The album weaves a variety of genres into a tapestry of Fourplay’s signature jazz foundations, and features vocals Esperanza Spalding.

In 2010, virtuoso guitarist Chuck Loeb joined Fourplay on Let’s Touch the Sky, which features vocals by Anita Baker and Ruben Studdard.  2012 brought Esprit De Four, which is highlighted by “Put Our Hearts Together”.  The song is a tribute to raise awareness and relief efforts in Japan after the disasters of 2011, and featured vocals by Seiko Matsuda.

The group has enjoyed consistent artistic and commercial success by grafting elements of R&B and pop to jazz, appealing to a broad mainstream audience.

Continue Reading

JAZZ

DEBUT | After A Five Year Trek In Hell, And Back, Guitarist Eric Gales Shares His ‘Crown’

After being sober five-and-a-half years , Eric who spent decades in the throes of drug addiction, ending up in jail and almost dying a number of times, is back with a Crown

Published

on

Eric Gales is a blues firebrand. Over 30 years and 18 albums, his passion for the music and his boundless desire to keep it vital has never waned, even when his own light dimmed due to his substance struggles. Gales has new music out now, an album he calls “Crown.” on Provogue/Mascot Label Group, Crown.

The songs are delivered with clarity and feature Eric’s personal experiences and hope for positive change. In addition, the 16-track collection boasts his finest singing, songwriting, and his signature guitar playing that burns throughout.

In the years since Eric Gale released his debut album as a 16-year-old guitar prodigy in 1991, the guitarist, singer and songwriter has been to Hell and back.

Prior to getting sober five-and-a-half years ago, Eric spent decades in the throes of drug addiction, ending up in jail and almost dying a number of times, all the while watching the success many had predicted for him as a teenager go down the drain.

But now he’s back, he’s sober, and he’s just released the album of his career in “Crown,” which was co-produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith. It’s been a wild ride for Gales to get to this point. Erics’ first single from the album is “I Want My Crown,” give it a listen and let us know what you think.

Gales was also recently interviewed by Rod Yates for his Humans Of Music (HOM) Podcast where he describes his voyage, Take a listen below.

Continue Reading

JAZZ

CaughtInTheAct | Captured Live, And With The Crusaders, Randy Crawford Performs “Street Life”

Published

on

Continue Reading

Trending

It's a New Year.
Join the Nation Now, and your First Resolution is Done.

Join a community dedicated to R&B Music in all of its sub-genres and incarnations and be first to receive the latest relevant music related  News & Updates, Feature Articles, New Music Videos and Special Offers curated  from our strategic retail and media partners, sponsors and supporters.  Joining the Nation has Benefits!