For those who don’t know, you need to know. For those who do know, you don’t need me telling you why Rachelle Ferrell is so respected and admired by all of our musical greats and in the jazz community. There is a reason Jennifer Hudson, Gladys Night, Stevie Wonder and the list goes on and on, can be found at one her live performances. With a little bit of Sarah Vaughan to a little bit of just about everything but the kitchen sink, this contemporary jazz artist creates, channels and delivers styles that nobody has even heard of yet. This is someone that was born to sing and perform music. We hear over and over about certain singers and hopeful talent rising up in the business who are tagged with the word unique. I’m encouraged to watch these new singers to develop and grow. Rachelle Ferrell on the other hand is the definition of the word “unique.”
But don’t take my word for it just listen to what “the voice” can do.
Here are two videos (live) below showing off her jaw dropping vocal abilities and her passionate commitment in how it is delivered.
Rachelle Ferrell – I Can Explain (live)
Rachelle Ferrell & Jennifer Hudson, Improvisational (live) moment on stage
Visit her great collection of music on iTunes.
Posted in Art and Culture, Celebrity, Entertainment, Harlem, Music, New York City, Sunday Jazz Corner
Tagged @HarlemHCL, Apollo Theater, Gospel, Harlem, Harlem Blogger, Harlem Blogs, Harlem House, Harlem Jazz, HarlemCondoLife.com, HCL, Jazz appreciation, Jazz Vocalist, Jennifer Hudson, Pop, R&B, Rachelle Ferrell, Sarah Vaughan, Singing, Soul, Stevie Wonder, Sunday Jazz Corner, Vocalist
A Song For You, was written by Leon Russell in 1970 and is considered an American classic. Many performers have sang this song, from jazz icons to pop superstar Elton John. But nobody has sang it quite like Donny Hathaway. This song is a great example of how a really powerful ballad can transcend all genres and styles of singers from rock to soul, blues to jazz, pop to country. Donny’s version brings out the soulful core of this heartfelt classic with his distinct vocal timing and texture and emotion bringing it to a level that few performers can reach with such conviction and truth. You really believe those lyrics that he is singing. There is no doubt in our minds that he has lived this song and he commands our complete attention with that touch of church added to it from his early gospel roots where he sang in the church choir with his Grandmother, who was a professional gospel singer herself. It definitely ranks in the top 10 songs written of all time, if not in the top five.
Donny Edward Hathaway was an American jazz, blues, soul, and gospel vocalist and musician. Known for his own songs and solo career he also had many hits with vocalist and friend Roberta Flack, including “Where Is The Love” and “The Closer I Get To You”. His friendship with Roberta Flack goes back to college days where they attended Howard University together and remained friends until Donny’s death in 1979. It is reported Hathaway was found dead on the sidewalk below the window of his 15th-floor room in New York’s Essex House hotel. He had jumped from his balcony. His life ended way too soon as it is written he had battled with psychological issues throughout the best part of his career. He began to suffer from severe bouts of depression and it was found that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Over the course of the 1970s, Hathaway’s mental instability wreaked havoc on his life and required several hospitalizations. The effects of his melancholia also drove a wedge in Flack and Hathaway’s friendship; they did not reconcile for several years, and did not release additional music until the successful release of “The Closer I Get To You” in 1978. Flack and Hathaway then resumed studio recording to compose a second album of duets.
Hathaway and his wife, Eulaulah, had two daughters, Eulaulah Donyll (Lalah Hathaway) and Kenya. Lalah has enjoyed a successful solo career, while Kenya is one of the three backing vocalists on the hit TV program American Idol. He also had another daughter, Donnita Hathaway. If you do not have any music by Donny Hathaway here is a great starter album for you to buy A Donny Hathaway Collection. He remains one of the finest singers of our time.
Here is Donny Hathaway singing 1) A Song For You and below it is the original version, 2) A Song For You by Leon Russell. Not just anyone can write a song like this. When you listen to Leon’s version, you can almost hear the song “visually” through his humble conviction and the sincerity in which he sings it. A timeless song transcends through all musical styles. The final video is a duet with Roberta Flack, 3) You Are My Heaven, which was co-written by Stevie Wonder for Donny Hathaway. He had a lot of angels in his corner. A very sad ending for an incredible talent. As one of the commenters writes in the comments section below, “this is music at its best.”
Posted in Celebrity, Culture, Entertainment, Harlem, History, Music, New York City, Sunday Jazz Corner
Tagged @HarlemHCL, A Song For You, American Jazz, Blues, Donny Hathaway, Gospel, Harlem Blogger, Harlem Blogs, Harlem House, HarlemCondoLife.com, HCL, jazz, Jazz musician, Lalah Hathaway, Leon Russell, Roberta Flack, Soul, Sunday Jazz Corner
Our latest podcast Chocolate Butter Funk is a delicious blend of old school, finger-snapping, head-bobbing funk jams, that is sure to bring a smile to your face and some hop to your step. Not to mention great memories.
On this mix you will hear The Brothers Johnson, Earth Wind & Fire, Cameo, L.T.D, Ohio Players, Rick James, Dazz, Chaka Khan & Rufus, Shalamar, The Gap Band and Joyce Sims, just to name a few.
This podcast was compiled and mixed by HarlemHouse for HCL with a volume 2 mix soon to follow.
Chocolate Butter Funk download via iTunes
Posted in Central Harlem, Dance, East Harlem, Free!, Music, North Harlem, Podcasts, South Harlem (SOHA), Sundae Sermon, West Harlem
Tagged @HarlemHCL, Chocolate Butter Funk, Classic's, Digital Downloads, DJ, free, Free Downloads, Funk, Harlem, Harlem Blogger, HarlemCondoLife Podcasts, HarlemCondoLife.com, HarlemHouse, HCL, iTunes, Old School, Podcast, Soul
Gil Scott-Heron was a jazz and soul, musician, and author, known for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and 1980s. With a wide range of diverse fans he delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles. He referred to himself as a “bluesologist”, which he defined as “a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues.”
After a 16 year stretch he recorded his last album released in 2010 entitled I’m New Here. A memoir he had been working on for years up to the time of his death, April 27, 2011. In looking through his video footage today, the reason that I chose this one in particular besides Gils obvious talent and the amazing Midnight Band, was because of something he said before he starts his performance at the half way point in the video. He said “Every once in awhile I have gone into record stores lately and found our music in a category called miscellaneous. Bothered the hell out of me. Folks are often to anxious to put things into various little compartments. To often they are to anxious to sweep certain sorts of music under the corner of the rug. We find that this is particularly true with music that they refer to as jazz.”
Check out Gil Scott-Heron’s last album “I’m New Here” on iTunes MUSIC. And while you are there browse and listen to all of his work and you will understand why he became a cult classic and an inspiration for many new artists.
Posted in Art and Culture, Central Harlem, East Harlem, Education, Harlem, History, Music, New York City, Sunday Jazz Corner, West Harlem
Tagged @HarlemHCL, Blues, Gil Scott-Heron, Harlem, Harlem History, Harlem Jazz, HarlemCondoLife.com, jazz, Jazz in Harlem, Midnight Band, Rap, Soul, Spoken Word, Sunday Jazz Corner