New Music | Sidewalk Chalk

Soul, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and social discussion about the duality of our lives and our world - these are the things that Sidewalk Chalk bring to their new release, An Orchid Is Born. Out today, the album was recorded at Make Believe Studios in Omaha and produced by Robert 'Sput' Searight. The band is in peak form, and without trepidation has ventured into new territory that redefines their sound and their vision. It's the kind of record that requires repeated listening sessions to gain a full understanding, and we're right in the middle of that process of discovery. Sidewalk Chalk is: Rico Sisney (MC), Maggie Vagle (Vocals), Charlie Coffeen (Keys), Garrett McGinn (Bass), Tyler Berg (Drums), Jumaane Taylor (Taps), Sam Trump (Trumpet), and David Ben-Porat (Trombone). Drop in and support An Orchid Is Born.

Terrace Martin Presents The Pollyseeds

In classic style, Terrace Martin dropped some casual news on Thursday about a new band called The Pollyseeds, and their upcoming release Sounds Of Crenshaw Vol 1. And then about 800,000 people jumped on board. Who and what are the Pollyseeds? An all star cast of producers and players who get together for the sake of the song; Rose Gold, Robert Glasper, Wyann Vaughn, Trevor Lawrence Jr, Brandon Eugene Owens, Taber Gable, Kamasi Washington, Marlon Williams, Jonathan Barber - to name just a few. Paying heed and respect to The Funk Brothers, The Sounds Of Philadelphia (TSOP), and The Wrecking Crew, The Pollyseeds know the roots of the music and keep pushing it forward. The record hits on July 14th, preorder is right here

Modern Icon Recordings

Drummer Adrian Harpham first landed at Ropeadope with the release of ATLAS by Light Blue Movers, and now he's gearing up to bring us MODERN ICON RECORDINGS. Adrian works in the studio with the likes of Stephanie McKay, Monty Alexander, and many more, and he's bringing his vision for substantial, timeless, and iconic sound to the world. The journey begins with a beautiful album from Jack Snyder - AKA Leyeux - ready for your ears on June 9th. In Adrian's words:

'The future of music? It’s fair game and we have to really bring it, not just because of the state of transition in the music industry but because art is now reacting to the times: it has no choice. I think now is one of the most exciting times I've witnessed in my musical life. Just watch, incredible sounds are emerging from this frenetic air we now find ourselves in.’ 

Drop in right here to learn more about Modern Icon Recordings, and stay tuned for a taste of Leyeux. 

In a random encounter, unlikely collaborators Tim Emmerick and Andrew Neesley met in New York and soon began writing music together, locking in a unique partnership that seems to complete each writer. With the traditional song ‘Jesus On The Mainline’ popping up repeatedly in the mystical computer algorithm on Andrew’s feed, the band name was chosen and now permanently represents purposeful connection with the source, regardless of differences in background. Jesus On The Mainline begins with this duo, but expands to a fifteen piece group of New York’s finest young musicians. '"The Morning Bell is Jesus On The Mainline’s debut full-length record and is our first opportunity to truly fly our flag as songwriters and record makers. As a band, we have been fortunate to receive great support for our live shows, and the stage has been our home. But we also love albums that stand on their own merit, and that is what we strove for with The Morning Bell. The pool of musical influences on this album is massive and includes everything from gospel traditionals to John Coltrane to the Alabama Shakes to Abbey Road. '

Dig into the beautiful collection of songs known as The Morning Bell. 

Featured Artist | Adam Ben Ezra

Adam Ben Ezra plays the double bass. And much more. Hailing from Israel, Ben Ezra is a fascinating man who is constantly exploring and adding color to his musical palette. Drawing inspiration from Bach, Sting, Bobby McFerrin, and Chick Corea (among others), Adam performs as one man - starting with the bass and looping the sound, adding piano, flute, clarinet, oud, and cajon. Last year he performed and recorded a series of shows at Little Big Beat Studios in Liechtenstein, stunning the attentive audience. The wonderful result is PIN DROP, a full length album set for release on May 19, and available for preorder right here. Stop in and see what Adam does on the youtube, it is quite remarkable. 

Tokyo #9

After three studio albums, we are stoked to announce a trilogy of LIVE recordings from Frank Catalano and Jimmy Chamberlin. A chronicle of recent tours in Japan, Chicago, and New York, the trilogy leads off with Tokyo Number 9, with selections from eight concerts in Tokyo. The raw energy of the shows and interaction between the audience is hard to describe but easy to feel. Tokyo Number 9 is not only a document of these players in top form, but of the energizing power of live performance in our lives. The lineup is Frank Catalano on saxophone, Jimmy Chamberlin on drums, Vic Juris on guitar, Theo Hill on piano, and Stacy McMichael on bass. The art is a fascinating piece from Chicago's Tony Fitzpatrick, in and of itself worth the ticket price. Drop in here to to listen and preorder. . 

Featured Artist | Akashic Record

Holding it down in Boston for over ten years, Akashic Record returns with their second Ropeadope release - Big Bang - set to hit Friday May 5th. Big Bang continues the organ driven funk and soul sound that the band delivers with perfection. Brian Thomas on the trombone, Jared Sims on Baritone Sax, Steve Fell on Guitar, Peter MaClean on Drums, Darby Wolf on Piano, and of course Sam Gilman on the Organ. This is classic groove, tight and funky, just polished a little with plenty of grit. Dig it

Col Bruce Hampton

Late last night Col, Bruce Hampton, Ret played his last gig on planet Earth. A full house was assembled to honor him, with so many of those that he has influenced and mentored on stage. We will all look back on this and realize this was a truly beautiful moment in a long string of beautiful moments that were randomly orchestrated to enlighten us all. This is not just the death of a celebrity whose music touched us, this is the departure of a GIFT that we as humans had the choice to recognize and learn from. Col. Bruce Hampton was a child at every age, he was the man who tested whether you were paying attention to the truth. He loved baseball because it was the only sport where the defense had the ball! He confounded those who might be asleep, and he inspired passion and dedication in those who sensed the way. His riddles made us wonder if he was a prophet, yet he never allowed us to define him as such. He made it through this impossible paradigm without buying in, without getting lost in reality. 

'Col. Bruce Hampton has forever influenced Ropeadope: his approval of my intent has emboldened me and set the company on a course that will always be committed to music first, and to the people who make it. He has connected me to myself, and revealed answers within. It is not possible to express the depth of this connection. ' (Louis)

Then like in poetry, I have dot dot dot and then drop down to the next line. Kinda off center and leaving his soul! Parting the waters under the medulla oblongata! uh oh....mankind.

Bruce said there was no one as pure as Cachao, so we'll close (for now) with this...

Shaun Martin On Tour

We saw Shaun Martin light the whole place on fire Saturday night in Durham NC - the man can make you laugh, make you cry, and make you DANCE. There are many players who sit down and delight the audience with their expertise, and there are those who can set the groove. We respect both styles, but Shaun Martin can do both of those things like it's child's play and then grab the mic and make YOU sing. We're serious folks, Shaun knows how to throw a prty and you are invited. Check the tour dates and get on it - you can come back and tell us how much fun you had later.

Featured artist | Adam Turchin

We met Adam Turchin on a side street in LA, as we were heading home from a night of Jazz at The Blue Whale. He and Terrace Martin were celebrating as a record they were working on was just turned in. We talked about Jazz in Hip-Hop, argued about the best cheesesteaks, and generally agreed that musicians are underpaid. Here we are some 16 months later and Adam has brought us his labor of love - Manifest Destiny - a conceptual art project with 48 minutes of music ,11 paintings, and online motion graphics. The album features guests Robert 'Sput' Searight, Rose Gold, Terrace Martin, and more with sculpture by John Souter and paintings by Jackie Stanton. Drop in here to listen and learn, and here to follow Adam. 

Ropeadope : LIVE

The last cold days of early spring are here and the heat will be upon us in a minute, as we head out on the road to see some live music. Charles Owens Quartet hits in Richmond on Thursday night and then it's down to the Art Of Cool Festival in Durham NC - here's the lineup:

  • Friday 4/28 - Matthew Stevens - 5 PM
  • Friday 4/28 - Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah 7:30 PM
  • Saturday 4/29 - Terrace Martin & The Pollyseeds - 6:30 PM
  • Saturday 4/29 - RC & The Gritz - 11 PM
  • Saturday 4/29 - Shaun Martin 11:55 PM
  • Saturday 4/29 (Sunday 4/30) - Sputnik - 1 AM

We are looking forward to ALL of it, and we hope to see you there. No promises on our condition after that Saturday night Dallas invasion. 

New Music | Escaper

Guitar man Will Hanza is back with a banger - ESCAPER is Will, Jay Giacomazzo, Andrew Nesbitt, Johnny Butler, and Adam Ahuja - a Ropeadope Allstar band with serious intent. Start with a solid funk foundation, drop in some breathy and swinging Sax, and then let the guitar soar above - that's the recipe that takes these cats on a journey outside the walls of confinement. Their new album, Skeleton Key, is cued up for release on May 12th, with some gems jumping out along the way. Check the first single - CASTLES - right here, and preorder Skeleton Key right here. If Apple Music is your thing you can check both tracks right here

Charles Owens Quartet

Tenor Saxophonist Charles Owens is back in the mix, this time with a new twist. He dropped into Montrose Studios with his RVA compadres Devonne Harris, Andrew Randazzo, and Kelli Strawbridge to record AS ONE on 2 inch tape. Electric bass and piano mark a new turn, with six recognizable covers and two original tracks. This is the feel of finely tuned friends creating music together for the sake of beauty. Charles knows his horn, and the powerful groove of Randazzo and Strawbridge give him the time to play, with Devonne Harris dropping signature accents on the Wurlitzer. We get the feel of a (very) chill 70's Jazz lounge, with the jukebox glowing on a Saturday night.