Monday, March 12, 2007

Interpretations: Celebrating The Music of Earth Wind & Fire”

In celebration of Stax’s 50th anniversary in 2007, Concord Records will release the first new album on the revitalized Stax imprint with the all-star project Interpretations: Celebrating the Music of Earth Wind & Fire.

Here is an extract from Concord's press release:

"This 10-song album (in-stores March 27, 2007) fits snugly into the legacy of Stax with first-rate artists including singer/songwriter Angie Stone (a 20+ years veteran of soul and hip hop who is also the New Stax label’s first signee), self-contained sextet Mint Condition (among the last of the bands in contemporary Black music), Meshell Ndegeocello (a mercurial all-around singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist), Lalah Hathaway (the golden-voiced daughter of esteemed soul man Donny Hathaway) and the legendary Chaka Khan. The project is rounded out by neo soul stalwarts Ledisi, Musiq, The Randy Watson Experience Featuring Bilal and Dwele who represent the evolution of soul music at its most illustrious and positive.

“When we (Kalimba) took the concept to Concord,” White shares, “they were very receptive and I felt confident that they would get behind the project and market it effectively. I am honored that this project was chosen as the one to re-launch a legendary record label for Black music.”

The album’s first single is an interpretation of “September” by platinum Contemporary Gospel artist Kirk Franklin, a man among the chosen few to successfully return more spiritual music to the secular airwaves. Dedicated to the people of New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama, Franklin’s rendition of “September” reinforces faith and fortitude using the seasons as a metaphor for the sunshine and rain of life. It will impact at radio on January 22, 2007.

“We believe that the artists participating on ‘Interpretations’ represent Stax’s legacy of soul music,” stated Collin Stanback, Vice President of A&R for Stax Records. “We’re looking forward to continuing that legacy with our upcoming releases including our first signing, singer/songwriter/producer Angie Stone.”

The relevance of a project shining the light on Earth Wind & Fire as the springboard for bringing Stax back to life lies at the feet of the band’s leader/founder, Maurice White. The Memphis native went to grade school with a young Booker T. Jones who was already recording for Stax as a teenager. Inspired by his friend’s achievement, White traveled to Chicago to study music. After stints as a session drummer for Chess Records and member of jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis’ world-renowned trio, White started the band Earth Wind & Fire that became an international music phenomenon with its timeless fusion of uplifting lyrics wedded to music woven from the tapestry of the complete African American diaspora."

In the near future , I hope to bring you an interview with Maurice White so watch this space!

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