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Enter The Folgers® Jingle Contest For A Chance To Win $25,000!

Since its debut, the Folgers Jingle has been transformed into country, gospel, jazz, R & B, folk, Celtic, and a cappella versions. Over the years, many artists have put their own spin on the classic tune.

Now it’s your turn. Remix your very own version of the classic Jingle and enter this year’s Folgers Jingle Contest before March 6th, 2013 for a chance to win $25,000! Ten finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges and featured on Folgers.com for public voting between May 15th and June 19th, 2013. Only one will become the Grand Prize Winner “ do you have what it takes?

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Review: Jim James' 'Regions of Light and Sound of God'

In 1964, during a single session in New Jersey, John Coltrane and his quartet recorded the entirety of A Love Supreme. The almost supernatural, single-minded focus required to produce such a complex piece of art in such a compact amount of time was a true manifestation of the spirit of the album. A statement of unity, concord, and appreciation for the mysterious workings of the higher power to which Coltrane credited his music, A Love Supreme was the sound of an artist cracking the door on the connection to his muse, and letting his listeners peer in at the light, if only for a second.

Regions of Light and Sound of God, the first solo album from My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, bears that same mark of divine connection. This is not to bluntly compare James to Coltrane, or even to suggest that it’s possible to compare them as artists. It is, nonetheless, recognizing the possibility that, as an unabashedly spiritual album, Regions of Light can be understood in much the same way as Coltrane’s masterpiece.

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Holiday Album Review: CeeLo Green – "CeeLo's Magic Moment"

It’s that magical time of year when we get to hear all of our favorite Christmas and holiday classics. In honor of this festive occasion, we decided to review one of the most popular and highly anticipated holiday albums that came out this season, CeeLo’s Magic Moment by R&B singer CeeLo Green.

By now you are probably sick of hearing all the same old carols over and over, but if there’s anyone to breathe new life into these standards it’s CeeLo. As you can imagine, he brings a certain element of class and glamour to each track, while also introducing some fitting originals. However, the first half of the 14-track record is about all you need to get into the Christmas spirit. After that, it gets a bit boring.

Though needless to say, CeeLo has captured this “magic moment” the one way he knows best, with nostalgic soulful 70’s style flair mixed with contemporary pop sensibility. His duet with fellow The Voice judge Christina Aguilera on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is surprisingly reserved and charming, whereas one might have expected the two powerhouse singers to overdo it. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of rifs and runs between the two, but they manage to balance them dynamically with the smokey jazz club vibe.

To continue this feeling, CeeLo follows up with a cover of Donny Hathaway‘s “This Christmas.” With smooth basslines, orchestral brass accents, and subtle strokes of clean guitar , the 70’s homage sounds like it was recored in the same era in which it was written. Of course, this must lead into a smooth downtempo version of “The Christmas Song,” which sounds like it easily could have been the work of R. Kelly. Yet, there’s something uniquely comforting about Green’s voice that makes this track an instant standard for holiday radioplay. In fact, many of these renditions are so respectfully executed that I am sure they will be welcomed into the ever-growing repertoire of iconic holiday classics. With the slick production quality and “sexy” R&B/jazz vibe, I can picture this album being the soundtrack to some high-class New York penthouse Christmas party.

There are plenty of fun tracks for the whole family, though. “All I Need Is Love” is an upbeat original featuring none other than the jolly old Muppets themselves. While the song is a bit awkward, upon listening, you can tell it was clearly made for the video, which is fun and hilarious. Believe it or not, however; the track that follows is probably the most interesting and unusual piece on the record. Green teams up with the all-male a capella group Straight No Chaser for a comically theatrical rendition of “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch,” interspersed with excerpts from the original Dr. Seuss text.

This is about where the album reaches its peak. Some of the songs that follow are more obscure, like “River” and the heavily religious “Mary, Did You Know?,” both of which are beautifully performed, but just a little too solemn. Almost too typically, Green tackles Mariah Carrey‘s “All I Want For Christmas,” without straying too much from the original, making for a pretty blasé listen. Of course, not to be short on cameos, Green throws in one last duet with renowned adult contemporary singer Rod Stewart and the famous Trombone Shorty. Still, the impact is not nearly as lasting as the first half of the album. However, he elegantly closes with possibly the best cover on the record. Green’s version of “Silent Night” is soothing and poignant at first, building in dynamics with a marching rhythm, multiple modulations, and an uplifting orchestral and choral arrangement to finish.

Although there are plenty of Christmas albums that come out every year, CeeLo’s Magic Moment strikes just the right balance of fresh and traditional, without being too cheesy. Whether you like it or not, these songs are here to stay and will likely become a regular addition to annual Christmas shopping playlists.

If you like CeeLo Green, then you might also like Ourstage’s own Jasper Sawyer.

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Featured Artist: Ivory Drive

Ivory Drive may be a top hat wearing quintet from Boulder, CO and they may mix jazz with folk, and classical with blues, while boasting a unique mixture of keyboards, drums, bass, saxophone, trumpet and vocals, but they’re begging you-don’t call them alternative.

But they do make a good point, and as they say themselves, labeling them alternative leaves a lot unsaid. Get to know Ivory Drive here, and listen to their current chart-topper in the indie pop channel, Intertwined right here.

 

Let us know your thoughts on this week’s featured artist in the comments!

The Dillinger Escape Plan Start Recording New Album

Visceral math-core metal masters The Dillinger Escape Plan are overdue for a new album. Luckily, according to vocalist Greg Puciato‘s Twitter, a follow up to 2010’s Option Paralysis is in the works:

“Oh, and The Dillinger Escape Plan officially began recording our new album today. It is indeed a good day.”

You can say that again. What to expect from this next release? Probably a lot of mind-bending riffs and rhythms mixed with some sort of jazz fusion, or perhaps they’ll throw us a curveball like a cameo from Australian pop star Kimbra. Who knows! But you can bet yourself that whatever it is, it will not be for the faint of heart.

If you like The Dillinger Escape Plan, then you might also like OurStage’s own The Summoned.

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Dillinger Escape Plan Guitarist Quits Band
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Metal Monday: The Summoned

 

New Bob Dylan Video – "Duquesne Whistle"

The all-American folk-rock “Jokerman” himself is back… apparently followed by a posse of young cholos, scantily clad women, and a guy dressed like Gene Simmons. Yes, Bob Dylan‘s new video for his single “Duquesne Whistle” is quite a bizarre one. It starts as some cute and innocent boy-meets-girl scenario, fitting the light jaunty mood of the song, but quickly goes awry in a twisted and hilarious way. Head over to Rolling Stone to see it for yourself. The new song is off Dylan’s upcoming album Tempest, which is due out September 11th.

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OurStage on 8tracks: Jive and Swing

Jive and Swing from OurStage on 8tracks.

Today, we’re donning our flapper dresses and three piece suits in tribute to one of the most influential eras of music: jazz. This playlist by intern Frankie showcases the genre in all of its many reincarnations, whether its a toe-tapping jive, swanky slow jazz, or the electro-swing beats of today’s generation. Listen to OurStage artists Justin Thompson, Knox Summerour and Yuma Jazz Company tap out a beat alongside Renee Olstead, Louis Prima and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. So what do you say? Are you hep to the jive?

Metal Monday: Metal Fusion

Metal, as a genre, is pretty distinct and not very easily digestible by most people (but you probably already knew that). From time to time, there are some acts that crossover to other genres or slip into the mainstream and start to gain some traction. Alongside the crossover acts are bands that decide they like to play metal as well as another genre“so much so that they decide to play both simultaneously. Over the years this has led to some very interesting results; some awesome, some not. Metal fusion: apparently a thing.

What are the most prominent and successful styles of music fused with metal, you ask? No fusions so far really seemed to have caught on to become a movement, but the one that could is jazz metal. Both jazz and metal seem to have a perception of and focus on extremely proficient musicians, soloing and grand showings of musicianship. Mostly populated by solo instrumentalists (like shred guitarist Steve Vai, for example), many of these artists are also very closely related to their “classical metal” counterparts like Yngwie Malmsteen. Jazz metal isn’t solely filled with solo acts, however, as bands like Exivious and Fredrik Thordendal’s Special Defects prove. As an aside, some musicians just choose to jump ship on metal to join a jazz fusion band, such as Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth) joining the jazz fusion band Ohm:.

Behind jazz and classical fusions with metal, metal fused with electronic dance music has taken a very strong hold in the last handful of years. Born from the industrial metal movement that started mostly in the ’90s with bands like Nine Inch Nails, the current trend takes the sound a bit farther. Bands like Enter Shikari feature heavy amounts of dance rhythms and synthesized keyboards alongside their hardcore-tinged sound one their debut album Take To The Skies back in 2007. More recently, Earache Records band The Browning dropped their debut album Burn This World which features and even heavier amount of metal and electronic music smashed together. The Browning’s song “Bloodlust” is a fantastic illustration of this juxtaposition, switching quickly and often between trance/house and deathcore.

Some fusions, however, are not taken so kindly. I’m sure we all remember rap metal, right? The year was 1987, and the boys in Anthrax and the fellows in Public Enemy decided it would be awesome to do a song together: and it was. Theresulting remake of “Bring The Noise” was great. A couple years later, Rage Against The Machine dropped their debut, and that, too, was awesome. Unfortunately many of the bands inspired by these acts turned out to not be so great,  (See: Limp Bizkit or Crazytown, who were both very famous for a couple years).

That’s not all, either, some other metal fusion genres include funk metal and folk metal.  Bands like Machinae Supremacy and Skindred even come up with their own metal fusion subgenres (Machinae Supremacy call themselves “SID Metal” and Skindred “ragga metal” by the way).

OurStage even has a handful of solid acts that pair metal and other genres together to create very unique music, including Brothers Fighting, Mara, MAG Project, The Living, The Last Barbarians and LaughingSkull. Check out some of their tunes in the player below!

Superlatones: Most Likely to Be Found at Your Local Jazz Lounge

Picture the scene: red velvet curtains, dim lighting, the smell of whiskey and cigar smoke static in the air. A spotlight comes on. On the stage, a band begins to assemble, hands and instruments at the ready. Music begins to play. A slow dance begins. With their strong jazz influences and sultry voices, this is the perfect setting for a duet between Renee Olstead and Justin Thompson, this week’s dynamic duo.

The Dynamic Duo:
Renee Olstead and Justin Thompson
 
 

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OurStage Jazz Musicians Eligible To Perform at Jazzfest Wellington 2012

OurStage Jazz Musicians Eligible To Perform at Jazzfest Wellington 2012

Participants must be sixteen (16) years of age or older at time of entry and must reside within the 48 Contiguous United States. Only Submission Materials that are determined, at the sole discretion of the Sponsors, to be classified as Jazz music as defined on the OurStage FAQ will be deemed valid entries.