Media Round-Up / Thursday 8th October 2015
Indiscretions, secrets, readings, revelations, and news: our Round-Up highlights the most important musical stories of the week. Truth is always good to read, right?
• Sam Smith meets 007
Performed by Sam Smith, the theme song for the next James Bond film, Spectre, now has a video for it directed by Luke Monaghan. The video does not disclose much about the content of the film itself, but does allow 007 fanatics a glimpse of Daniel Craig, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux. Co-written by Smith and his accomplice Jimmy Napes, Writing's On The Wall is the first James Bond theme to be sung by a man since 1965, when Tom Jones undertook Thunderball.
• Symphonic Kendrick!
Always shaking the rap world, on October 20th Kendrick Lamar will appear on the stage of the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington on October 20th in a rather unexpected configuration. The Compton rapper will revisit his latest album, the immense To Pimp A Butterfly, whilst accompanied by a symphonic orchestra! The phalanx will be led by Steven Reineke, the musical director of the New York Pops orchestra, a conductor who specialises in popular music. Reineke will be especially comfortable with the hip-hop setting, having already worked with the rap icon Nas, in particular.
• The death of a Crusader
The saxophonist and bassist Wilton Felder has died, on the 27th September 2015, at the age of 75 years old. The Texan was one of the founding members of the Jazz Crusaders, who came to be known more prominently as simply the Crusaders, and enjoyed a career as one of the most glittering components of the jazz funk fusion machine that dominated the 70s and 80s with Wayne Henderson, Joe Sample, and Stix Hooper. Felder founded the group on the benches of his Houston school. The Jazz Crusaders were true pioneers of the field fusing jazz, funk, soul, and rock. The newly deceased also worked as a studio musician, playing the electric bass behind many stars. When Motown moved from Detroit to Los Angelos in the early 1970s, he became a leading sessions musician for the label. He can be heard on recordings for both the Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye. More surprisingly, Felder took part in the recording of Paris 1919 by John Cale, as well as the Piano Man and Streetlife Serenade by Billy Joel, Sail Away by Randy Newman, Diamonds & Rust by Joan Baez as well as three albums by Joni Mitchell: For The Roses, Court and Spark and The Hissing of Summer Lawns. On his CV of prestigious names, we also encounter Dizzy Gillespie, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Shuggie Otis, Grant Green, and even Jimmy Smith. Amid this flurry of encounters, Wilton Felder also somehow found time to record eight solo albums: We All Have A Star (1978), Inherit The Wind (1980), Gentle Fire (1983), Secrets (1985), Love Is A Rush (1987), Nocturnal Moods (1991), Forever, Always (1992) et Lets Spend Some Time (2005).
• Stromae conquer America
Is the phenomenon Stromae taking root overseas too? This is what one is tempted to believe in view of the success encountered by the Belgian singer on her American tour, which has just ended. Last Thursday, Stromae had an amazing reception at Madison Square Garden, becoming the only French singer, alongside Aznavour and Celine Dion, to triumph in the legendary New York venue of nearly 20,000 seats! The singer had already rocked the Big Apple, but never in a venue as big… However, according to the AFP, the audience seemed to mostly be comprised of Europeans, who floated a big Belgian flag. For almost two hours, Stromae did not betray any sign of fatigue, which is a good sign, since his health has regularly been the subject of rumours since he interrupted his African tour in June…
• Will Smith takes up the mic again!
We have not heard a line of his rapping for ages, and yet Will Smith has not lost his touch. He exploded upon the general public as part of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, before becoming the star of the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and he has now lent his voice to a song by the Columbian rap group Bomba Estereo. In a remix under the title Fiesta, the first song he has recorded in over a decade, Will Smith utters only a few sentences in a mixture of English and Spanish. It does not even seems so long now since the former Man in Black dropped his fourth and last album, 2005’s Lost and Found.
• Kylie Minogue plays Mrs. Claus...
The Western world is found of the great tradition of Christmas albums, these well put-together pieces that are often kitschy and rarely of transcendent value. But the programme just announced by Kylie Minogue is most enticing. The Australian pop star’s current project, Kylie Christmas, is awaited on the 13th November, and will offer reprises, duets and original songs. Under her Christmas tree, Miss Minogue has already announced the participations of Iggy Pop, the comedian James Corden, her sister Danii Minogue, and also makes room for a posthumous duet with Frank Sinatra!
• The Jesus & Mary Chain actually return to the studio
The rumour mill was well and truly turning, but this time it’s official: the Jesus & Mary Chain are hitting the studio to record a new album, their first since 1998’s Munki, and seventeen whole years have intervened… Jim Reid just this week confirmed the information in an interview with Time Out New York, asserting that the band had just started work on it. Time seems to have been a good healer, it seems that the tension has dropped between the Reid brothers, who have headed back out on tour over recent years. Suspicion of an album to come ignited during their recent tour where the b>Mary Chain played, in its entirety, their 1985 masterpiece Psychocandy.
• Peter Buck without R.E.M.
The next solo album from Peter Buck will be called Warzone Earth. Long-awaited on October 16th on Little Axe Records, this is a record on which the former R.E.M guitars invited many special guests. These include Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, Scott McCaughey, Bill Rieflin, Kurt Bloch, Chris Slusarenko, Annalisa Tornfelt, Chloe Johnson, and Kristin Tornfelt.
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Mirages (Messager, Debussy, Delibes, Delage, Thomas...) Sabine Devieilhe Gramophone Editor's Choice