Jazz bass legend Stanley Clarke, whose 40 albums and 60 film scores have made him on of the most recognized names in the annals of contemporary music, has announced the releases of the very first two artists on his Roxboro Entertainment Group label, from Lloyd Gregory and Kennard Ramsey. The guitarist Gregory’s eponymous album and multi-instrumentalist Ramsey’s album Somos are available today on iTunes and Amazon.com. The albums will be made available on CD later in December. “When you are starting a record company, diversity plays a major role,” says Clarke. All of Roxboro’s artists come from different locations in the world and offer remarkable cultural differences.”
A master of both acoustic and electric guitar as well as a musical director who has played and recorded with artists as diverse as Martha Reeves and Gerald Albright, San Francisco-based Lloyd Gregory’s smooth, soulful, melodic, and flowing sound evokes unique hints of his extensive R&B roots. His fifth album’s twelve tracks include standouts Brazilian Sea and Moment in Time. Music magazine Minor 7th: Acoustic Music Review says, “Lloyd expertly fuses soul, pop and jazz, forging a hybrid that is both enjoyable and intellectually stimulating.” Gregory himself says of the new record, “As we grow in time, age, experience, knowledge and wisdom, there comes a time when it’s time to put it all to music and share it with the world. For this album, it was time to make music for my friends.”
“Lloyd is what I like to call a household musician,” Clarke says. “He is just a sweet warm guy, which comes out in his music. His music reminds me of a modern-day Wes Montgomery. Jazz fans can find Lloyd Gregory on: http://www.riovida.net/channels/multi-kulti/lloyd/lloyd_gregory_official.asp.
Kennard Ramsey’s debut album Somos is a fresh blend of jazz and world influenced beats and textures. Contributing artists on this album include DJ Maga Bo, Chiwoniso, Stanley Clarke Band keyboardist Ruslan Sirota and Charlie Paxson. The album was produced by Stanley Clarke & Kennard Ramsey. The album’s ten of tracks explore varied ranges of sound, from the tropical, atmospheric rhythms of This Time to the insistent complex vocal of White Owl (Pressure) featuring the vocal talents of Chiwoniso.
Ramsey, who has worked with artists ranging from Barry White to Ronnie Laws, explains his album is influenced by the arrangements and orchestrations that personified the innovation of Verve, CTI and Blue Note era recording artists. "I've looked forward to the release of this album,” he recalls. “My film and television background helped me explore the language of sound in new and intimate ways, and made the recording of the album such an adventure.” Ramsey, who, like Clarke, has composed music for films (among them, orchestrations for ROMEO MUST DIE) and television ranging from Knots Landing to Lincoln Heights, is currently in the process of preparing for touring and beginning work on his next film. www.kennardramsey.com. Clarke says, “Kennard is both a film composer and a very precise musician. He said that he wanted to do a record with more world type music, and I knew because of his composing work that he would hit it right on the head. He can work between a number of different styles and genres.”
The next two albums on the Roxboro Entertainment Group label will come from keyboardist Sunnie Paxson (mother to Charlie) and Ukrainian-born Ruslan Sirota, pianist, arranger and keyboardist on The Stanley Clarke Band’s most recent album. Her upcoming album, Jazz Divertido, is shaping up to be a classic jazz record featuring original compositions, standards and a Stanley Clarke composition. Her debut solo album, Groove Suite, contained a hit single “Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied). “Sunnie is a genius,” Clarke informs. “She has longevity matched only by her continuous reinvention. She may not be as well known as a straight-ahead pianist but is an amazing jazz keyboardist and this new record will convey that.”
Meanwhile, “Ruslan’s Israeli background gives him a unique twist on things.” Clarke notes. “He is one of the few musicians I’m aware of that knows a thousand songs. He has a remarkable understanding of the jazz language and is one of my favorite kinds of musicians: he combines emotional impact and high technical expertise.” Sirota’s upcoming album Ruslan, will feature, among other things, duets with renowned pianists Chick Corea and George Duke. Roxboro has slated these albums for a spring 2011 release.
Finally, Clarke is about to release a music video of I Wanna Play for You Too from the Stanley Clarke Band album. Directed by Frank Aleph Agrama, the video is a funky fresh, invigorating and lively take on a genre seemingly creatively exhausted. Agrama’s music film—his second for the album—mixes freehand animation, manipulated imagery, stage and special effects. The result is, well, a genre and style-bending romp that manages to stick together with wonderfully satisfying results. It’s scheduled for release in early December.