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GOOD NEWS WEEK
Roger Lewis' ALRIGHT! returns to #1
among Contemporary Jazz albums
charted by Roots Music Reports
across North America. We celebate
by releasing a remasterd "Bobee (What
A Spirit Walks That Way)" with the voice
of Herlin Riley and the rhythms and
harmonies of Kirk Joseph. With love,
in short. You might want to hear "Bobee
on BANDCAMP while you read.
This past week was "tree-mendous" (original coinage: Buster Worley of the Thorne Bay, Alaska logging-camp, October 1976) for good news.
Last Sunday five artists we particularly appreciate won Grammies. KIRK JOSEPH and ROGER LEWIS shared the Award with their band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and with Aaron Neville for their and many, many more's "Stompin' Ground" (George Porter, Ivan Neville, Jason Neville, ..,. produced by Eric Krasno for Martin Shore's "Take Me to the River" series_ as Best American Roots Performance.
Our friend ERICA FALLS is center among the backing singers you can see HERE. Check out Erica's 2022 releases HERE. Check her out in conversation with Gwen Tompkins about her extensive past as a musician HERE.
Also winning Grammies were RYAN SUFFERN as co-director of the feature documentary, "Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Love Story", Best Music Documentary, and Oklahoma-based composer and keyboardist KITT WAKELEY for his seven-movement "An Adoption Story", Best Classical Compendium.
Last Monday Charts arrived from Roots Music Reports' survey of 225 community-radio and college-radio Stations across the U.S. and Canada.
Roger Lewis' ALRIGHT! continued its re-ascension, rising to #5 among all Jazz Albums. ALRIGHT had rebounded from #84 to #7 two Weeks earlier, proving again that folks like to keep warm in Winter. That Week it jumped back to #1 among Contemporary Jazz Albums.
Four other Albums from I / R Records (whose sometimes motto steps after Popeye's: "I are what I are") also featured in Charts for the Week ending Feb 4, 2023.
COMPASSION, Poems and Drums, with Hamid Drake,and WOMEN and MUSIC, Meld #2, both released IN LATE 2021, and The Time We Have, Meld #1, released in October 2020, over TWO YEARS AGO, all somehow remain among the Top 40 Jazz Albums played by Stations across North America.
COMPASSION sits at #7 among Contemporary Jazz albums and #4 among ALL albums played in the State of Indiana.
LOVE OVER WAR rejoins ALRIGHT! in the top 10 among ALL albums played in Louisiana.
We are inexpresibly grateful.
Grateful to all who made the music on the albums--players and engineers. Grateful to Progammers at Stations. Grateful to our teams at Kate Smith Promotions and to Jim Eigo of Jazz Promo Services. Grateful most, of course, to listeners.
Something is happening out there!
Today we celebrate by offering an advance listen of the Fine Tooth Comber remastering of the version-with-voices of "Bobee (What A Spirit Walks That Way".
This track originated from Roger Lewis' tune, "Song for Bobe", about his first-born son, recorded by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band for their The New Orleans album of 1990.
January of 2020, just before "the COVID", Roger and I were talking about prospects for his début album as a leader, and Roger told me how his son, nicknamed "Bobee", had passed away from osteosarcoma at age 22, while in his prime as a young college-student and Marine reservist. Two stanzas of lyrics came to me with Roger's story and his tune. Magic happened in rehearsal at the New Orleans' Musicians' Union for the recording of ALRIGHT!. Herlin said: "Maybe I can come up with something." And he did--the superlative opening of polyrhythms from a mere two hands and two feet that begin the track. "How do you do that? You got someone else there with you? " Roger asked.
Further magic happened in Rick G. Nelson's Marigny Studio the next day, August 3, 2021.
We cut the track twice and were listening to playback. Herlin sat next to me on a chair next to the couch. He began to sing--a kind of ululating, sympathetic accompaniment. "That's good. You should put that in. It's great!" I said. "Aww," Herlin said. "No. Really. It's great. Could you give it a go?" Herlin went into the Iso-Booth and responded with shifting pitches of empathy and brilliant syncopation and a kind of "talking-in-tongues" that must owe (like Kirks's playing on this track) to these peers knowing Bobee in their adolescence and their feelings for Roger ... and that must owe to gifts from Ancestors deep and far back as Africa and Spirit such as informs New Orleans' streets and Churches ... and must owe, I'll say, to the love that kept perking up in that session.
Below is a photo that Maryse took after Herlin's vocal and before we (the Rivers Answer Moons band) did our tribute to Kidd Jordan, 'Maybe You See Horses'.
Rick G. Nelson, Roger Lewis, DP with Cisco Bradley's book about William Parker, Universal Tonality, Herlin Riley, and
Kirk Joseph. Photo by Maryse Philippe Déjean. Roger wanted to know about the language that Herlin had introduced.
Now, what's this 'Fine Tooth Comber'. Well, Fine Tooth Comber was my grandfather in Nova Scotia's name for the Team of Red-Headed Lobsters (Molly and Lolly and Tilly and Tally) whom he'd trained there to claw-sweep up the Tub's particulate matter after a Broil. This Quartet of Red-Headed Lobsters lived to perform and perfomed to live, you might say. They were big--"tree-mendous, even--on Prince Edward Island.... Naw--just a little joshing there.
Fine Tooth Comber is really how I termed a second-by-second amplifying or de-amplifying of a Track, intending chiefly to accent interplay between performers. Often takes an hour to FTC a minute. So: it can be stressful, but it's always a pleasure, because the musicians with whom I'm so lucky to work are so gifted and good.
Photo by Jake Ricke on back cover of the booklet for Roger's ALRIGHT!
Kirk by Ryan Hodgson Rigsbee at the
2017 Sticking Up For Children Festiva
at the Ashé Cultural Center.
Michael Torregano Jr. with Roger, appreciating engineer Adam Keil's work during playback of a Track during the LOVE OVER WAR session,
Feb. 1, 2022.
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