Sunday, November 28, 2004

Outro



















THANK YOU ROY AYERS, COUNT BASIE, BEASTIE BOYS,
BEN FOLDS FIVE, TONY BENNETT, CLIFFORD BROWN,
RAY CHARLES, NAT COLE, D'ANGELO, SAMMY DAVIES,
DUKE ELLINGTON, DONNY HATHAWAY, MAHALIA
JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON, LOUIS JORDAN,
QUINCY JONES, KING PLEASURE, CAROLE KING,
LEFT EYE, CHARLIE MINGUS, THELONIUS MONK,
MINNIE RIPPERTON, SALT N PEPA, FRANK SINATRA,
JAMES TAYLOR, TENNA MARIE, SARAH VAUGHAN,
DINAH WASHINGTON AND STEVIE WONDER

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Real Deal





The Real Deal

Brecon Jazz Festival in Wales
August 14, 2004


This is the 21st year of the Brecon jazz festival and among the headlining acts were Brit-nominated Amy Winehouse, Jane Monheit and Claire Martin.

It is no hidden fact that Miss Winehouse stands out from the rest. Musically, sure - why not? But try hiding the young beauty in a crowd - that pure fact, or her rustic voice will surely separate and define her.

In the pursuit for credibility and acceptance, it is the performance of any aspiring musician that is closely scrutinised. But even her tender age doesn't hamper her from the experience. Performing in many festivals, and the famous Jazz Café in London, Miss Winehouse is quite a character and charmer.

Usually accompanied with a decent sized band, Miss Winehouse actually plays her own music! Renown for that voice, Amy always has a guitar by her side. Her ability to draw in the most collective bunch of music lovers, young and old is her drawcard. Ever sultry, but not always vocally perfect, Miss Winehouse uses her wildly inventive control vocals to full advantage. From the slurring of midnight jazz to almost quirky - one thing is for sure, her songs are always packed with soul.

One could that be her downfall? Dissatisfied with the commercial success of "Frank", one can only imagine the two minds of Miss Winehouse. In the one corner, the struggle for a young, female soul artist to rise above the ranks of mediocrity and establish herself amongst the long, respected peers in the jazz industry. But on the other corner, any measure of "success" comes from garnering and maintaining sales. But it is the craving of the both that puts Miss Winehouse in a predicament.

Solo performer with acid jazz, or commercial mainstream success?


One or the other?


Or does she even need to choose?








[quote, photography by Barry Quick]

Saturday, November 20, 2004

You Sent Me Flying





AT LEAST YOU'RE ATTRACTED TO ME WHICH I DID NOT EXPECT. DIDN'T THINK YOU GET MY NUMBER DOWN AND SUCH. BUT I NEVER HATED MYSELF FOR MY AGE SO MUCH.



LYRICS
Lent you "Outsidaz" and my new Badu,
While I was thinking you didn't have a clue.
Tough to sort files with your voice in my head,
So then I bribed you downstairs with a Malboro red.
So now I feel so small discovering you knew,
How much more torture would you have put me through?
You probably saw me laughing at all your jokes,
Or how I did not mind when you stole all my smokes.

And although my pride is not easily disturbed.
You sent me flying when you kicked me to the kerb.
With your battered jeans and your beasties tee,
Now I can't work like this with you next to me.

And although he is nothing in the scheme of my years,
It just serves to blugdeon my futile tears.
And I'm not use to this, I observe, I don't chase,
So now I'm stuck with consequences, thrust in my face.
And the melodramas of my day delivery blows,
That surpass your rejection it just goes to show.
A simple attraction that reflects right back to me,
So I'm not as into you as I appear to be.

His message was brutal but the delivery was kind,
Maybe if I get this down I'll get it off my mind.
It serves to condition me and smoothen mi kinks,
Despite my frustration for the way that he thinks,
And I knew the truth, when it came, would be to that effect.
At least you're attracted to me which I did not expect,
Didn't think you get my number down and such.
But I never hated myself for my age so much.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Frank





ALBUM REVIEW
By Reuben


The woman is full of contradictions. Perhaps, it is this that questions us how a typical music artist should be. A jazz singer. A beautiful jazz singer. A beautiful jazz singer with spiteful, bitter words. But every much so a woman.

Who is "Frank"? The very nature of the title leads the listener down a path, perhaps lost in the vein of blissful beats, or sultry vocals. The more disturbing notion is, that Winehouse deliberately leads us down the path, and then suddenly vanishes - leaving us confused and utterly disoriented. "Frank" opens up emotions, opens up the hurt locked inside, and opens up the truth within us. But one cannot go pass her smoky scat and grooves without feeling refreshed, loosened and thoroughly lubricated.

It is then we realise that "Frank" isn't about a man. It is just that. Frank.

Although much of "Frank" documents her highly complex relationships with males. "What Is It About Men" dissects her father's serial infidelity and her own teenage experiences as "the other woman"; Winehouse now finds it too personal to perform.

"Writing it made me realise a lot about myself and why Dad cheated," she explains. "I've grown to realise he's not a big bastard, just a man with a dick." And several songs, including "Stronger Than Me," derive from a torrid nine-month relationship she had with her "extremely emotional" older boss while working in a London office. "He's pissed off with me," she sighs.

"I Heard Love Can Be Blind" derives a seemingly guilt-free act of infidelity - "What do you expect when you leave me here alone?" she asks coyly, as if by way of justifiable explanation. "You wouldn't want me to be lonely," she adds. You can't help warming to her, despite what she's singing. Her blunt, fancy-free lyrical content at times provoke and invite criticism and controversy, it is understandable why she appeal to the young and the old, the hip and the crooner.

But it's not about revenge, comical comparisons and inquisitive gestures. The sparkling jewel of "Frank" is a love song. A touching piece of chill-out jazz, "You Sent Me Flying", this powerfully understated piano-driven groove tells all on the effects of love - with touches of insecurities and trust.

This is a stark piece of work - comprising husky, frequently sexually charged vocals, painfully honest lyrics, soft trumpets, laidback beats and sparse guitar work. Who said soulful jazz was bland? Winehouse makes it resoundingly clear that it can also be playful, twisted and arrogant.


"Amy, Amy, Amy"



__________________________________________________________________


"it's these contradictions (old jazz with new hip hop, lyrically witty, but musically serious, unique but uncannily familiar) that make Amy's debut so engrossing, so vital" - Time Out

"'Frank' is a staggeringly assured, sit-up-and-listen debut, both commercial and eclectic, accessible and uncompromising, the kind of record that people will still be playing far into the future. It is no exaggeration to state that the voice with which Winehouse articulates this mental warfare is one of the most extraordinary to be heard in pop music for years" - Sunday Times

"Dirty, flirty, funny, sarcastic, abusive, self-lacerating, heartbreaking and extra-ordinarily worldly-wise" - Daily Telegraph

"The new Badu? Hell, why not!" - Jockey Slut

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Sex & Cigarettes





No longer is rock all about sex, drugs and alcohol. Jazz is the new state. Step in Amy Winehouse, a neo-soul jazzer, born and raised in North London. Seriously fresh, addictively bad - her sound is late 40's, thrown in with hip-hop beats and a nasty lyrical content.

Amy has a saucy, universal, obsessive, seductive, smoking appeal. With a firery attitude and grinding bass lines, she constantly sends up her own songs - whether it be sultry, teasing, grieving or soulful. Touted as the next big thing in British jazz and neo-soul, Amy's critically acclaimed debut album "Frank" clearly sets her apart from any Jamie Cullen, Norah Jones and crooner, Michael Bublé.

At the wise old age of 20, Amy is a force to be reckoned with. Exciting, urban and gritty, this talented artist has come of age to even warm next to the audio pleasures of Erykah Badu and even Lauryn Hill. Of course the comparisons come is fast and thick. Although rivaled in sound, the comparisons should come from Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald.

Noting both as influences in her life, Amy muses on Fitzgerald's perfect technicalities and Washington's style. "It's the style that is so important." she ponders. "I always loved to sing but I didn't think it would make me any money ever! I always thought it would be the one thing I would always have for myself, that I'd make my money elsewhere. But I was wrong."

Regardless of the profession she is now immersed in, her songs are still deeply personal, despite all the ramblings, swearing and bitterness. "When you get to a point where you're so fucked up about one particular thing, you have to write it down. Before you know it, you've got a song. I've probably saved thousands of pounds on therapy!"

As most of her reflections on "Frank" is man-eating and explicit in the dealings of male weakness, Amy laughs at the reminder of her ex. "When we used to see each other I used to give him songs as I was writing them, so I know he's heard 'You Sent Me Flying' and 'Take The Box'. He must of heard 'Stronger Than Me' because I spoke to him and he was like "Amy, you called me gay" I was like "I didn't call you gay," and then I said "Are you gay? I asked you if you were gay, and you didn't respond, so its very open ended."

Always on the verge of controversy, the line in "Stronger Than Me" has opened a pandora's box full of subtleties and eyebrow raising questions. "I'm not gonna sit here and go "all my friends are gay" although they are, I'm not gonna sit here and be a prick like that but?.that line is contextual. I'm talking to my boyfriend, saying you should be stronger than me. And he's like a big woman. The line "Are you gay" is asking "DO you find me attractive or are you attached to men? What's going on here? He wasn't sexual like I was sexual, and I thought maybe he was just hiding stuff from me and himself."

Tantalisingly sexual, Amy doesn't shy away that she has become a baby gay icon! Reveling in her quirky self, she recalls - "A journalist came up to me last night after we'd finished the interview and he said to my manager "Shes really camp" I said "I'm a girl, how can I be camp? I must be a gay man trapped in a woman's body". He asked me to repeat that in his tape recorder so that he could quote me. So I did and he asked "What makes you say that?" And I was like " You just told me to!"

Not accustomed to the bright lights of showbiz, Amy definitely does not restrain her dissatisfaction and somewhat, envy of more successful contemporaries.


"Madonna is an old lady. She should get a nice band, just stand in front of them and sing."


She said. On Dido -


"Kids listening to her thinking 'I want to be like Dido' makes me want to vomit."


And definitely not last, on Britney Spears -


"I wish her luck with her marriage - I hope it stops her going into the studio."


Outspoken and feisty, she honestly admitted -


"I'm slightly bitter because I haven't sold as many albums."


[quote, extracted from an interview by Lucie Greene - A University of Nottingham Impact Magazine article].



















Sincere apologies to any persons offended by the course language presented in this material. The language presented here is in due with music. The author does not take any responsibility for lyrical content, however an advisory warning has been issued due to raised concerns.





Saturday, November 06, 2004

Fuck Me Pumps






YOU CAN'T SIT DOWN RIGHT, COS YOUR JEANS ARE TOO TIGHT. AND YOU'RE LUCKY IT'S LADIES NIGHT. WITH YOUR BIG EMPTY PURSE, EVERY WEEK IT GETS WORSE. AT LEAST YOUR BREAST COST MORE THAN HERS.




Co-written with Salaam Remi, Amy ridicules "girls who genuinely think they have to go out and meet an athlete, and then their life will be perfect." In what could be the most offensive, yet bluntly told tale of the oh-so fabulous lifestyle of the common "bird", Amy uses her acid jazz to swear, cajole and poke fun at.

Not only does she manages to state the obvious, Amy is also female. In the typical tale of misogynistic overtones, usually reserved to slick male chauvinists, this is more a complete send up of the female kind that has erased all progressions in equality and respect built up by the feminists movement over the past few decades.

However, you have to listen carefully to Amy's observations and not laugh along with her. She certainly know how to capture a gasp from the traditional jazz appreciator and also reel in the youthful with her bad sailors mouth, funky beats and cut-throat lyrics. This is acid jazz - dressed up to the nines.




LYRICS
When you walk in the bar,
And you dressed like a star,
Rockin' your F me pumps.
And the men notice you,
With your Gucci bag crew,
Can't tell who he's lookin' to.

Cuz you all look the same,
Everyone knows your name,
And that's you whole claim to fame.
Never miss a night,
Cuz your dream in life,
Is to be a footballers wife.

You don't like players,
That's what you say-a,
But you really wouldn't mind a millionaire.
You don't like ballers,
They don't do nothing for ya,
But you'd love a rich man six foot two or taller.

You're more than a fan,
Lookin' for a man,
But you end up with one-nights-stands.
He could be your whole life,
If you got past one night,
But that part never goes right.

In the morning you're vexed,
He's onto the next,
And you didn't even get no taste.
Don't be too upset,
If they call you a skank,
Cuz like the news everyday you get pressed.


You can't sit down right,
Cuz you jeans are too tight,
And your lucky its ladies night.
With your big empty purse,
Every week it gets worse,
At least your breasts cost more than hers.

So you did Miami,
Cuz you got there for free,
But somehow you missed the plane.
You did too much E,
Met somebody,
And spent the night getting cane.

Without girls like you,
There'd be no fun,
We'd go to the club and not see anyone.
Without girls like you,
There's no nightlife,
All those just go home to their wives.

Don't be mad at me,
Cuz your pushing thirty,
And your old tricks no longer work.
You should have known from the job,
That you always get dumped,
So dust off your fuck me pumps.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Amy Amy Amy





Introducing Amy Winehouse


Passion. Instant. Sex. Jazz. This is the sound of filthy jazz - fit for the London streets and darken alleyways. Clouds, smoke and sweat create an atmosphere of a midnight lounge. With sticky table tops, torn curtains and the subtle, yet insistent chit-chatting in the background, a lone crooner takes the stage. The night is wistfully and the alcohol seeps through the bloodstream. Then the beautiful crooner opens her mouth.

Instantly, the seedy bar is transformed into a 40's lounge and the night is deathly quiet. Every eyes and ears are transfixed on this woman. Minds are confused. On the surface, the woman is youthful and vibrant. But deep inside, her voice is liken to roughen silk.

She has the vocal prodigy bit covered. If words have already worn themselves out trying to describe the


HORNY, SLEAZY, SALTY, SPIRITUAL, WORLD WISE, LATE NIGHT, TIRED OF BULLSHIT, DOWNTOWN, FLIRTY, VELVET RESONANCE


that makes for a great soul-jazz singer, brace yourselves. You are going to fall apart entirely over her. This is her debut on the world stage, with just the bright stage lights, the ever-faithful piano and all her experiences, hurts, sin and love to share with you.

Ladies and gentlemen, Amy Winehouse.


[quote, biography extracted from Amy Winehouse]