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Jazzhole | Features



 
 
 
 
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JAZZHOLE

Circle of the sun
 

Circle of the Sun, Jazzhole’s fourth studio recording, finds founding members Warren Rosenstein, John Pondel and Marlon Saunders exploring the new hybridity of modern urban soul: a sound that incorporates downtempo grooves and acoustic R&B, with hints of ambient electronica and bossa nova. As much a neo-soul as a nu-jazz release, Circle of the Sun benefits from performances by several new guests: tabla player Naren Budhakar; vocalist and Cameroon-native Kaïssa Doumbè (Manu Dibango, Jean-Michel Jarre, Salif Keita); and percussion star Daniel Sadownick (Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Maxwell, Screaming Headless Torsos). Refreshingly, Jazzhole remains an evolving collective of many of New York’s most accomplished live and studio musicians.

While Jazzhole’s roster has changed since their 1994 self-titled debut, the band’s core—songwriting and production trio Marlon Saunders, Warren Rosenstein and John Pondel—has not.

Marlon Saunders provides much of Jazzhole’s signature soulful sound. Raised in Maryland on a diet of church singing, Saunders has recorded with legends such as Bobby McFerrin, Michael Jackson and Sting.

John Pondel’s emotive guitar playing on songs such as “A Love Thing” and “Superstar”, draws on his many live and recorded performances with artists such as Gerald Wilson, Diane Schurr and Carmen McRae. John also comprises half of Verve’s smooth jazz duo, Kombo. and was a founding member of the critically-acclaimed Uncle Festive (Mesa/Blue Moon).

In additional to writing, producing and engineering, Brooklyn-born Warren Rosenstein contributes rhodes and drum programming to Circle of the Sun. In the early 1990s, while working on seminal acid jazz tracks “Hot Music” (Soho) and “Jazz it Up” (CFM Band), Rosenstein drew from the rich pool of talent that was hovering around Context Studios on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to form Jazzhole, pulling in rappers KCB (US3), Ahmed Best (Stomp), Jack Ruby, Jr. (The Toasters), as well as vocalists Ronnie & Rosa Russ, and Michelle Lewis for their 1994 debut album on Mesa/Blue Moon. A summer of jamming in the studio, with musicians like bassist Scott Colley (Jim Hall, Greg Osby) and saxophonist David Binney (Lost Tribe, Medeski, Martin & Wood) resulted in the eponymous debut album, hailed by Music Retailing as “the coolest thing since US3 and the Brand New Heavies” and Rolling Stone as “the most danceable of all the new-groove groups”. This recording showcased the trumpet playing of Kevin DiSimone on the acid jazz classic “Forward Motion”.

…And the Feeling Goes Round, Jazzhole’s 1995 sophomore release on Blue Moon/Atlantic, was met with similar critical acclaim: “Infinitely funky… and if you don’t feel the need to groove, it’s time for a visit to the booty doctor” raved Impact. DJ Times added: “Some of the most poetic lyrics and turning out some of the fiercest grooves in the burgeoning acid jazz scene.”

Released in 2000, Blackburst marked a change in direction for Jazzhole. Blackburst saw the group mixing elements of electronica and chillout with their soul roots, and moving away from acid jazz and hip-hop. These changes were well-received by fans and press alike. Billboard reported: “Blackburst is filled with luscious grooves and intense rhythms… Saunders and Russ lay down sensuous riffs, perfect for late nights with that special someone.” BRE added: “A yummy collection of jazz-influenced tunes that inspire lust, laughter and lounging.”

For Circle of the Sun, Rosenstein enlisted the talents of many new players: vocalist Kaïssa Doumbè delivers a melodic soft-soul rendition of Leon Russell’s “Superstar” in Duala, her native language, and contributes lead vocals on two other tracks; Naren Budhakar’s tabla colors several tracks, particularly the warm, organic cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”; percussionist Daniel Sadownick anchors the vibe with congas, udu, and bongos, helping create the Bossa flavor of tracks like “Circle of the Sun”.

Poet's Walk
2006
Jazzhole - Poet's Walk Track Listing:
1. Poet's Walk
2. All The Ways
3. Jonesing
4. Lowdown
5. One More Time

6. It Would Have Been Enough
7. Slipping Of Time
8. Do It Right
9. Timeless
10. All The Ways
Circle Of The Sun
2003
Jazzhole - Circle of the sun Track Listing:
1. Love Philosophy
2. Three Days
3. Ndolo
4. Um Ritmo No Meu Sono
5. Enjoy the Silence
6. Who Do You Love?

7. A Little Dress for Mary
8. Circle of the Sun
9. Winter's Melting
10. A Love Thing
11. Horn Interlude
12. Superstar
Blackburst
2000
Jazzhole - Blackburst Track Listing:
1. What Kind Of Love?
2. You're My Baby
3. Pillow Talk
4. 4D
5. Hush
6. Winter Sky
7. Interlude
8. Femme Fatale
9. Dancing In My Head
10. Interlude Two
11. Never Can Forget You
12. Wondering
13. Black Heaven
The Beat Is the Bomb (EP)
1998
Jazzhole - The Beat Is the Bomb Track Listing:
1. Do You See What I See
2. The Beat Is The Bomb
3. Put A Groove On
4. Never Could Forget You
5. Round And Round
6. Truth Is Plain
7. Shining Star (Julio Mix)


And The Feeling Goes 'Round
1995
Jazzhole - And The Feeling Goes 'Round Track Listing:
1. 98.8 WACJ-Guitar Intro
2. Beat Is The Bomb, The
3. Do You See What I See?
4. Shining Star
5. A Day In The Life
6. 98.8 WACJ-Trumpet Break
7. Moodness Of Cool
8. A Kiss In Mid-July

9. Is It Still Love?
10. 98.8 WACJ-Sax Break
11. Round And Round
12. Truth Is Plain
13. Rain Falling Down
14. Saying Nothing
15. 98.8 WACJ-Guitar Outro
Jazzhole
1994
Jazzhole - Jazzhole Track Listing:
1. Intro
2. Forward Motion
3. Bumrush the Jazzhole
4. Gotta B Everything
5. Betcha Gonna Want Me Back
6. Guitar Break
7. Wild Is the Wind
8. Time of the Season
9. Tres Belle
10. Piano Break
11. Smile
12. Body Fi Match
13. Outro
 
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