Diane Marino by AJ Shapiro

            Diane and Frank Marino in concert photo by AJ Shapiro protected by copyright © All Rights Reserved

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Ada Rovatti's Disguise

ada rovatti disguise coverItalian / American saxophonist Ada Rovatti is a renowned saxophonist, composer and arranger and her current album Disguise also serves as a testament to her versatility in all of those areas, as eight of the ten songs are original compositions and there is a re-arranged interpretation of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” and a funky version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven,” with guests Adam Rogers (guitar) and Randy Brecker (trumpet).

As she did with Harold Arlen’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” on her previous solo album The Green Factor, Ada Rovatti created a new arrangement for another classic song “Smile.”

She says, “The melody is gorgeous and the lyrics are amazing.  It is kind of interesting that the title is “Smile,” but there is really nothing to smile about it. He’s totally sad. It is one of those melodies that every time I hear it, it gives me goosebumps. It was one tune that I always thought was beautiful and I always wanted to do it. Here again I didn’t wanted to use the Classical chords, the original chords and I just heard the little darkness, because the title is “Smile,” but the words and the lyrics are so sad. I wanted to add a little extra on the chords. I wanted a little darker chord progression.”

As for the Led Zeppelin tune, “People never expect “Stairway To Heaven.” “Usually, when I play live I say the title (for other songs), but when I (introduce) “Stairyway To Heaven,” I say, we will play a tune that you have probably heard a few times before and let’s see if you can recognize it.  As soon as Randy (Brecker) and I do our intro, you can see big smiles on almost everybody’s faces, like I got it. (We joke that now she is a Rock star and she adds) too bad I don’t make that money (she laughs).”

“With “Stairway To Heaven,” usually everybody is on the same page. I guess deep down they know I am like an English rocker. I have this passion for Rock and Fusion Funk. At the same time, an older crowd usually appreciates “Smile.” I usually do a cadenza and I decided to keep the cadenza and I played an intro over myself. I do it as a saxophone solo. I think on the CD I make everybody happy. I don’t try to please everybody, but there is a (common) thread that keeps each tune attached to the other, but sometimes they are very different from each other,” says Rovatti.

Ada Rovatti says sometimes when she Read More

Lisa Hilton Talks About Horizons

Lisa Hilton front page 2015Malibu, California Jazz pianist and composer Lisa Hilton’s current album Horizons is another masterpice by an artist who continues to compose breathtakingly beautiful songs. The recording consists of nine Hilton original compositions, plus Duke Ellington’s “Sunset and the Mockingbird,” the Black Keys’ “Gold On the Ceiling,” and Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini’s “Moon River.”

The album opens with the spritely “Vapors and Shadows,” showcasing Lisa Hilton’s exquisite playing with Rudy Royston backing her on drums, while he adds some percussion panache. The album then segues into the head nodding, toe tapping “Nocturnal,” and it’s time to showcase Sean Jones on trumpet and J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, while Hilton sets a brisk tempo on the piano. Let’s not forget Gregg August laying down some smooth licks on bass.

While taking a sip of her ice water, Hilton says, “On the horns, I try and mix things up. New York Sessions (the album) had a horn and two saxophones and Twilight Blues (another one of her albums) had a horn and a saxophone.  I guess I just thought I would try it again. I had told myself at one time that I was never, ever going to do a quintet again, (she whispers as if she is confiding a secret), because it is a lot more work.  I wanted to mix it up and to do something different.  I know a lot of people prefer horns and you know you are always trying to find the magic secret to create the sound that everybody loves.

On a few pieces (on the album Horizons) I know that Sean used a flugel horn, instead of the trumpet and that is an even rounder and prettier sound, then of course the tenor sax is a deeper and mellower instrument, so I thought that worked well. The trumpet has more of that high register that stands out and I think it goes well against the texture of my piano. J.D. is the perfect foil for me. I tend to be a little pretty and he tends to be a little deep. I think it is a very nice balance there.”

Lisa Hilton takes time to talks about the song “Vapors and Shadows,” thematically, “We have all had loss in our lives and it is not just the loss of a pet or a person, but a lot of times we knew that something was coming.  We just knew we were going to get that or we were going to do that and then somehow it doesn’t happen.  It doesn’t come. It disappears and it passes. Then there is that sense of what happened?  If we look at that in nature we see that fog, clouds, shadows, Read More

Ralph Lauren and Vogue Summer Wimbledon Event

Ralph Lauren and Vogue Wimbledon

Photo: Actress Alice Eve and Alex Cowper-Smith
copyright © 2015 Getty Images, All Rights Reserved, phot by Chris Allerton

Melanie Stace - The Key To Me

Melanie Stace the key to me cd cover front pageMelanie Stace in collaboration with Wayne Brown has created a breathtaking album of beautiful and original songs with the album The Key To Me. The songs range from the tender love letter “Change of Season,” to the up-tempo “Waiting Game,” a song about waiting for a lost love to call again and the song “The Night Has Just Begun,” about a lady of the night.

“Change Of Season,” expresses all of those feelings that come to the surface when you finally realize this is the one! This is the person with whom you are in love and how your step has a little more bounce, how you take great delight in the smallest of things that perhaps you didn’t notice before. Ms. Stace’s phrasing is impeccable and in the lines “You opened up my eyes / To ever sunny skies / Exactly! What I have been missing,” she sings exactly with conviction.  It is easy to imagine “Change Of Season,” as the first dance between and groom at a wedding reception. It is just as easy to imagine two lovers driving down the road in a convertible, with the radio turned up and singing this song together, sharing smiles and knowing looks.

“I wrote this song when I had returned from a long but great seven months working in Seattle with Teatro Zinzanni. It had been raining almost non-stop during the time I was there, and I arrived back at Heathrow (airport in London) to unexpected sunshine. I reflected on what an amazing time I had in Seattle (performing) in the show and what a personal journey I had been on. Having never thought the weather affected me much previously, I thought a lot about how it can have a big influence on practically everything. It’s fairly obvious that this song is about being happy to be in love, but it’s also about love being the reason for many things including the reason to step out and change things up a little in order to experience  Read More

Kimmie Rhodes & Cowgirl Boudoir

Kimmie Rhodes 2015 front page photoCowgirl Boudoir an album released in March of this year by Kimmie Rhodes on Sunbird Records is a family affair, as her daughter Jolie Goodnight appears on background vocals and one of her two sons Gabriel Rhodes produced the album. There were songwriting collaborations with friends Johnny Goudie, Colin Linden and Gary Nicholson, while others were written either solely by Kimmie Rhodes or in collaboration with Gabriel Rhodes.  The songs once again demonstrate Rhodes’ prowess as a songwriter and why over the years iconic artists such as Emmylou Harris, Peter Frampton, Mark Knopfler, Willie Nelson, Wyonna Judd, Waylon Jennings and several others have recorded the songs that she has written.  

Cowgirl Boudoir is a musical experiment we decided that we would have.  I have been working as an associate producer on a documentary that is going to be presented by the Country Music Hall of Fame and (I am working) with a producer named Eric Geadelmann. It covers the period of time from the late sixties until the mid-eighties. This is when all the different influences started to come in and a lot of people came back to Country music, with The Byrds and Dylan and all of that. When I did my show Radio Dreams I listened to a lot of different music. I was revisiting a lot of music. For (many) years I was writing a lot and focusing on that and I wasn’t really listening that much to what other music was out there.  Then I did the Covers record and I also started working on this documentary. I really revisited a lot of the music from that era and I became more and more aware of the influences that are in my music.

Johnny Goudie is a guest on my record and I sing with him on his song “I’m Falling.” He is a young writer and to me his voice sounds like a young John Lennon. I love his voice and I love Read More

Joanne Tatham Out Of My Dreams

joanne tatham front page thumbnail"You Taught My Heart To Sing,” the McCoy Tyner and Sammy Cahn song opens Joanne Tatham’s new album “Out Of My Dreams,” and Tatham’s vocals are out of this world. Add to her lush vocals the scintillating piano solo by Tamir Hendelman, the wonderful John Clayton on bass, Peter Erskine on drums and an accompaniment by saxophonist Bob Sheppard and you have an all-star cast. Platinum award winning singer and lyricist Mark Winkler is the producer and the result is a gorgeous collection of songs and an experience that definitely should not be missed by any true lover of Jazz music.

Jamieson Trotter beautifully arranged Harry Nilsson’s “Without Him (Without Her),” and Trotter also accompanies Joanne Tatham on piano. As for Ms. Tatham her phrasing is masterful. She makes this song dance and likewise the scenes dance in the listener’s imagination.

Mark and I knew each other from being on the same circuit and we would go to see each other’s shows. Then one day a couple of years ago he said I would like to produce an album for you.  I am no fool, so I said sure, when do we start? We sat down and we started talking about the kind of music that we like and we wanted to do what we like. We really hit it off. We were a good team. There were a number of tunes that I had been doing around town in clubs that I had not yet recorded and I enjoyed and I thought were really a good fit for me.”

As for the title of the album it is drawn from the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II song “Out Of My Dreams,” the closing   Read More

Cherie Currie Interview / Review

Cherie Currie Reverie Artwork for front pageIf you only have enough money to buy one album this year then buy Cherie Currie's brand new album Reverie. Cherie's vocals have never been better and the song "Inner You," is an absolute musical gift. The album is produced by Jake Hays, Cherie Currie's son and he contributes vocals to many of the songs and takes the lead on "Shades Of Me," another treasure. Reverie is the best Rock album that Riveting Riffs Magazine has heard in many years.

In the 1970s Cherie Currie was the lead singer of The Runaways, an all-girl teenage group managed by the late Kim Fowley. Although, there is no doubt that Reverie sends a loud and strong message that Cherie Currie is an exceptional solo artist, she collaborated on the songwriting portion of this album with Fowley and Hays and Lita Ford another former member of The Runaways lends her vocals to Currie’s new album.

Cherie Currie sat down with Riveting Riffs Magazine to discuss her new album, three days after it was officially released through iTunes.

She says, “It took over a year (for the album to come together) and it happened when Kim Fowley reached out to Blackheart Records to see if there was any paper (legal contract) between myself and them, which I did not have one. He had heard that I had said that I would work with him again, so he reached out to me, knowing that I was a free agent. Working with Kim again was something that I wanted to do. It was a way to bury the past and to start over and that’s what we did.” Read More

Asha Puthli In The Studio Again

Asha Puthli Photo Front PagePop / Jazz singer Asha Puthli. with some assistance from her friends Ron and Mara New, has been recording songs for a new and yet to be named album. When Ms. Puthli left her homeland India in the 1970’s and traveled to America on a dance scholarship, armed with a background in Classical and Opera music, her goal was to bridge the Indian and American cultures and to record and perform the type of music she had listened to on the radio shows Voice of America, hosted by Willis Conover and Radio Ceylon.

“I listened to what was called Radio Ceylon in those days and now it (the country) is called Sri Lanka. I was fascinated by Jazz, because of the similarity of Indian music and Jazz in so many ways, in the sense of the freedom and the improvisation quality and a lot of it used chords (similar to) raga music, which I was studying. It was Jazz, which I was so passionate about, but it only came on for an hour. The other one was the Voice of America.  Radio Ceylon taught me Rock and Roll. It had Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and Cliff Richard. Little did I realize that one day I would meet Pat Boone and one day I would do a television show with Cliff Richard. A year and one-half after I left for America Willis Conover, was playing Ornette Coleman’s album that I had sung on, so it was like a cycle coming complete.

In Willis Conover’s autobiography called Broadcasting To The World he mentions John Coltrane and me as being the first people to bring Indian music to Jazz and mixing   Read More

Tomorrowland - Film Review

Tomorrowland front page thumbnailDirector Brad Bird in his comments about his new feature film Tomorrowland says, “It is about the journey not the destination,” and that is a very apt way to perceive this film that boasts a tremendous screenplay and storyline crafted by Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Damon Lindelof and Jeff Jensen. The movie starts off with a dialogue between George Clooney’s character Frank Walker (as an adult) and Casey Newton portrayed by American actress Britt Robertson. It is a conversation that takes place in the here and now or is it in the future? It is a film that compels us to take a look at decisions and choices made in the past that guide our present lives and that dictate future outcomes.

This movie has a little of everything in it. There is action, drama, humor, some great special effects and there is a hint of romance, but not in a way that you would expect. Most of all there are outstanding acting performances of course by Clooney, certainly by Robertson, but also from thirteen year old British actress Raffey Cassidy as Athena the common thread between Frank Walker and Casey Newton. Child actor Pierce Gagnon also puts in a solid performance, as Casey’s brother Nate Newton. Hugh Laurie appears as David Nix, but his acting is somewhat limited by the narrow emotional scope of his character and we will leave it at that, so we do not spoil the plot. Amazingly enough Raffey Cassidy is rumored to have performed a number of her own stunts (as revealed in a studio interview with Robertson) and during her own interview Cassidy talks about taking martial arts lessons and gymnastic lessons to prepare for her part in this film. Audiences are going to fall in love with the charming Raffey Cassidy and who the young actress is when she is not in front of the cameras seems equally as charming. Tim McGraw   Read More

Julie Budd Interview

Julie Budd front pageShe was born Edith Claire Erdman, in Shore Haven, New York, the daughter of Saul and Joan and when she was three months old her parents bought what she describes as “a big old house” on the corner of 54 th Street and Avenue K in Brooklyn. You have known her for most of her life as Julie Budd, a prolific singer and a well-respected vocal coach. She was one of three daughters and her immediate and extended family was instrumental in cultivating a love for music early in Julie Budd’s life.

She recalls, “My mother was an outstanding singer, not a good singer, she was an outstanding singer. My grandfather, my mother’s father, used to write music and so did his brother. There were a lot of people, my cousin Emily Remler was a world class, Grammy Award winning international star. She was a very famous guitarist.”

Then the memories start to flow and you can hear the warm glow in Julie Budd’s voice as she says, “My sister Jill took me into Manhattan to see Fiddler On The Roof.  I was about ten or eleven years old and I had never seen a Broadway show before and it was a matinee, a Sunday matinee or something and Jill took me on the train from Brookyn. In those days, it is not like today (her voice deepens), people go to the theater and they don’t look all dressed up and that annoys me.  It really annoys me, you see a ten million dollar production and somebody is wearing shorts. I still get dressed up and I got very dressed up that day and so did Jill. We went into Manhattan and we saw Herschel Bernardi in Fiddler On The Roof and it was glorious (you can still hear the excitement in her voice).  I will never forget the opening scene, it was the bottle dance. Remember the bottle dance?  I couldn’t even breathe it was so exciting.  Read More

Angela Parrish - New EP Soon

Angela Parrish Photo front pageThe first thing you notice about Los Angeles based, Kansas born and raised, singer-songwriter-musician Angela Parrish is her vocals. Her vocals to the casual listener sound effortless as she masters Jazz, Americana and lighter Pop songs, but to the trained ear, one realizes right away that this is an artist who has invested a lot of time in honing her craft. The second thing that jumps out at you as you listen to songs such as, “Higher,” “The Couple Down The Hall,” “Hand Me Down,” and “Noon In Denver,” is Angela Parrish is a skilled songwriter.  In the autumn of 2015 Parrish will be releasing a new EP and she collaborated with producer Jamie Candiloro who has worked with artists such as Courtney Love and R.E.M. and who regularly composes and produces for television and film.

Life began for Angela Parrish in the small town of Newton, Kansas and she has one sibbling, a younger sister Abbey.

She says, “Newton is a small town and it has a small town feel and I like everything about that.

I come from a family of music appreciators. They participated in choirs or lessons growing up, but I am the only professional musician in my family.  I am the only one in my family, who went into it, but everyone in my family is supportive and they have a strong appreciation for music.

My parents had me late in life. They were in their mid-forties when I was born and the music of their generation was always playing. Read More

Tuvanam Golden Bazaar Haute Couture

Tuvanam Golden Bazaar Photo Front Page
copyright © 2015 Getty Images, All Rights Reserved

Tamara Champlin - Rockin'

Tamara Champlin Photo for front pageTamara Champlin’s vocal and songwriting repetoire is as diverse as the cities in which she has lived. Born in St. Louis, she lived her early childhood years in Arkansas, had a brief stop in Chicago and graduated from high school in Houston, Texas and today she  makes her home in southern California. Champlin has the ability to belt out a Rock song with razor sharp and gritty vocals as she does with her original “Stone Cold,” also recorded by Paul Rodgers (Bad Company, The Firm, Free, The Law), for his album Laying Down The Law and the Rock / Funk “You Won’t Get To Heaven Alive,” another original creation by Champlin bears witness to vocals that are reminiscent of Janis Joplin. Tamara Champlin draws the listener in with her emotive phrasing on the mid-tempo, love letter “Chasin’ The Moon.”  Her “Backstreets of Paradise,” immediately gets you moving to the music and as good as the music is, throughout these songs, it is definitely Tamara Champlin’s powerful and quality vocals that drive these tunes.

Tamara Champlin has three gold records to her credit as a songwriter and her own album, “You Won’t Get To Heaven Alive,” charted in the top twenty in Spain, while her song “Tragic Black,” went all the way to # 1 in Germany.

She has collaborated with artists and songwriters as stellar and diverse, as her husband Bill Champlin (Chicago, Sons of Champlin), Michael Caruso (her longtime songwriting collaborater),  Swedish songwriter, producer and musician Douglas Carr who has worked with some of Europe's and America's biggest artists including Swedish superstars Meja and Björn Skifs, Ace of Base, Jessica Folcker, Nick Carter and NSYNC.

Chris LeDoux’s hit song “Runaway Love,” was written by Champlin and Caruso. Her songs have also been recorded by Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, Denmark’s Maria Montell and Dutch singer Zita.

Champlin talks about the early years of her life, “My dad was an engineer with Standard Oil  Read More

Meja Is Tying Yellow Ribbons

Meja front page photoSwedish singer, songwriter and human rights activist Meja will be releasing her 11th album (two of which were with Legacy of Sound) Stroboscope Sky in April and it will feature original songs such as, “Blame It On The Shadows,” and “Sleepless.”  Since making a big splash on the music scene in Sweden and America in the early to mid nineties with Legacy of Sound and co-writing the Dance hit “Happy,” with Anders Bagge, a song that charted on the Billboard top ten in America, Meja has become a music icon at home in Sweden, a superstar in Japan and is highly respected in the American music community, as well as many other countries. In addition to her songs “Happy,” and “All ‘Bout The Money,” American music fans may remember Meja for the duet and music video “Private Emotion,” that she recorded with Ricky Martin. Music however, is not the only thing that Meja is passionate about, as she is an accomplished painter and sculptor and she is a human rights activist.  She is currently collaborating with Amnesty International to draw attention to and to seek the release of an American, Albert Woodfox from Angola prison in Louisiana where he has spent the past forty-two years in solitary confinement for a murder conviction that has been overturned three times by the American courts, but the state of Louisiana has refused to honor those appeal decisions and Woodfox has remained in jail.

Meja wrote the song “Yellow Ribbon,” (not to be confused with a song of a similar name made popular by Tony Orlando and Dawn) and on January 15th of this year released the companion music video to draw attention to the Albert Woodfox situation. We asked her how the music video was received by those in attendance in Stockholm.

“It was fantastic. It was really, really Read More

Violette From Paris, France

Violette Photo Front PageAs we talk to French singer, songwriter and musician Violette we will unabashedly admit that Riveting Riffs Magazine is a big fan of her music and of the person as well. In the late fall of 2014 Violette released her album Falling Strong, which takes its name from the song of the same name and that appears as the second track on the record.  While we have watched the Berklee College of Music graduate evolve as an artist Falling Strong represents Violette’s most diversified and accomplished album to date. She recorded songs in French and English, in addition to her first duet, one with Louis Cato (Mariah Carey, John Legend and Marcus Miller).

About “Falling Strong,” the song, Violette says, “I called Louis and I said I wanted to write, so we went into the studio together and he said what do you feel like writing? I was listening to Motown all of the time and it is very much going through my veins right now. I said let’s take this thought there and see what happens. We laid down drums, bass and the guitars and I was singing all over, so we could see what we started to like.  I went home with that track and I figure it has that Marvin Gaye vibe also. Nobody knows it yet, but Louis has an incredible voice, besides all of the other skills, so I thought he would be the one for the duet.”

Violette elaborates about Cato’s musical abilities, also noting that he co-wrote another one of the album’s songs with her, “Annabelle.”

“He is a wonderful musician. He is one of these aliens who can play an instrument (drums, bass, guitars) at a level that nobody would expect.  He is an outrageously talented fellow.”

“Falling Strong,” which has an Read More

Lindsay Ferguson In Concert

Lindsay Ferguson

Photo of Lindsay Ferguson by Steve Gerecke
protected by copyright ©, All Rights Reserved

S'Candy from Norway and Denmark

S'Candy Front Page Photo“We have met a lot of people over the years and we made our way to where we are now. It’s not the beginning, but it’s the beginning of S’Candy,” says Rosa Sparks Skotte (Denmark), one of the four young women, all of whom are in their twenties and who comprise the Norwegian / Danish Pop group S’Candy. The other three members of the group are Lisa Tverrå Johnsen (Norway), Christina Elnaes (Norway) and Marie Røri Lillesaeter (Norway).

The group which is being jointly managed, artistically developed and produced by Swedish singer, songwriter and musician Douglas Carr (Ace Of Base, Björn Skifs, Nick Carter, Meja, Jessica Folker) and Laila Samuels a very accompished singer-songwriter musician, who was the former lead singer for the Norwegian group The Tuesdays, recently released their debut single, an up-tempo song called “Damage Control."

The first things that you notice about the members of S’Candy are, they have great poise and they are not naïve newbies to the music scene, as Rosa mentioned when she drew attention the fact that each of them was already very accomplished music professionals prior to the group being formed. You also notice their amazing harmonies.

“I believe since we all have been singing solo and also in choirs and stuff, that we are used to harmonizing or singing second voices. It is easy to work in that way, because we all have experienced it before.

I also believe that Douglas and Laila have good ears when it comes to music and voices and when they heard us perform they saw the potential in us being together,” says Lisa.

Christina says, “(Our Music) is maybe Pop and a little bit of R&B. It has harmonies and it is melodic. It is Scandinavian Pop music.” Read More


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