Monday, December 27, 2010

King Britt's Sister Gertrude Morgan Remix featured in The Oxford American

This month, The Oxford American dedicated their music issue to the "Magnificent Variety of Musical Superstars from the State of Alabama."  Included in the list and accompanying CD: King Britt's 2005 remix album featuring the recorded work of Sister Gertrude Morgan.  

Check out this great review of the issue and accompanying CD on!

The Oxford American tackles Alabama Music
Magazine's Southern Music CD No. 12 focuses on state's musical heritage. 
By Shea Stewart
— When someone as famous as Charlie Louvin — one half of harmonizing The Louvin Brothers — says, "Let's start jammin'," it's time to jam. The spoken-word intro kicks off The Oxford American's Southern Music CD No. 12, a collection of 27 tunes featuring a "magnificent variety of musical superstars from the state of Alabama." And it does jam — in it's own weird way.
This is the second year the CD that accompanies The Oxford American's Music Issue (out Wednesday) focuses on the musical heritage of one Southern state in particular. The inaugural year Arkansas was the focus, and this year, OA editor Marc Smirnoff and company chose the Heart of Dixie for their musical exploration. The 27 tracks are either produced in Alabama, or written and performed by native Alabamians. (The actual Music Issue will also include a special editorial section with articles dedicated to the musicians and tunes on the album.)

Alabama doesn't have the rich musical history of a Memphis, New Orleans or Mississippi Delta region, but it does offer a deep and diverse musical bedrock. Hank Williams is an Alabamian. Emmylou Harris, too. Three of the original five Temptations — Eddie Kendricks. Paul Williams and Melvin Franklin — were born in Birmingham, and Dennis Edwards, the man who replaced Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, is also a native Alabamian. Percy Sledge and Wilson Pickett — also Alabama. Of course, country music super band Alabama is from Alabama. Sun Ra was born there, and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section backed some legendary bands at FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. The state is home to a contemporary sound as well, with three of the Drive-By Truckers having north Alabama roots, and Jamey Johnson calling Alabama his native state. Indie acts Vulture Whale, The Dexateens and A.A. Bondy have Alabama roots as well.

So that's a brief, incomplete history of the music of Alabama. But for a fuller, complete history of the state, one needs to turn to the Southern Music CD No. 12. Smirnoff and company are into the business of digging deeper, beyond the crust to the mantle, uncovering gems. None of the above artist are found on the Southern Music CD No. 12. Is the music present obscure? Yes, but it's important...

...But the penultimate track is perhaps the album's best: "Precious Lord Lead Me On" from the album King Britt Presents: Sister Gertrude Morgan. In 2005, Britt, a Philadelphia DJ and part-time performer with the Digable Planets, set the '70s recordings from Let's Make A Record of Alabama-born, New Orleans-based preacher, folk artist and musician Sister Gertrude Morgan to hip-hop beats. The result here is Morgan’s shimmying tambourine over a lush orchestra, creating a strange yet beautiful merger of electronica meets hymnal...


Thursday, December 23, 2010

PHJB in Thailand: Royal New Orleans Jazz Celebration!

Last month, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band traveled to Thailand to unveil and celebrate the release of a brand new recording for His Majesty the King.  Featuring 14 of His Royal Majesty's compositions and performances on vibraphone by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.  Check out some of these fascinating articles, videos and photos from a tremendous visit!

Jazz Fit For A King
Bangkok Post - 12/01/2010
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band tells 'Outlook' about its new album in celebration of the King's 84th birthday

If the King loves music, it is well with the land, said Chinese philosopher Mencius (Mengzi) around 400 BC. This is true for Thailand today, over 2,400 years later. His Majesty the King loves, composes and plays music and is devoted to his country and people. His more than 30 musical compositions have long brought happiness to Thais.

As the musical king turns 84 next year, his favourite band, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, has joined the Thai people's celebrations with a special album featuring 14 royal compositions and a new song in the New Orleans Jazz style. What is extraordinary about the album is Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's role in playing the vibraphone with the band on two songs.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band was founded in New Orleans by Allan and Sandra Jaffe in 1961. Many of the band's founding members performed with jazz pioneers, including Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton. They include Billie and De De Pierce, famed pianist Sweet Emma Barrett, and Wille and Percy Humphrey. The current band members follow in their footsteps.

The band's new album entitled, Royal New Orleans Jazz Celebration, features Thai composer and saxophonist Pathorn Srikaranonda, and the first album to feature His Majesty's 14 royal compositions played in the New Orleans jazz style. The 14 songs are Royal Marines March, Lay Kram Goes New Orleans, Smiles, Candlelight Blues, Lullaby, Love at Sundown, Can't You Ever See, Near Dawn, H.M. Blues, Never Mind the Hungry Men's Blues, Love in Spring, Friday Night Rag, New Year Greeting and When. A highlight is a new song, Royal Celebration 2011, co-written by Pathorn and the band's creative director and tuba player Benjamin Jaffe.

Pathorn, who is also a member of His Majesty the King's Or Sor Wan Sook Band, and Jaffe, who represented the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, recently talked to 'Outlook' about the new album and also His Majesty's penchant for jazz.