Featured Artist | Blaque Dynamite

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"Mike Mitchell is truly one of the great young gifted ones of our time. I have watched him grow from the age of 17 to now being 22. I believe that every young musician should aspire to be like him musically. He is not just all raw talent but something much greater." -- Stanley Clarke

"His music makes you open the Heavens and sets pillows for your emotions." -- Erykah Badu

"One of the most daring and forward sounding debuts I've heard come out of the culture. A riveting and original album that showcases a deeply hip and original production style, beats and vocals. IT ALL FEELS FRESH!! A fearless debut and absolute must have for anyone looking for what's next!" -- Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

We agree. The new album from Blaque Dynamite - Killing Bugs - is out worldwide today. Drop in HERE and take a listen. 

New Music | Louis Cato

Louis Cato is that true multi-instrumentalist, holding down the drum chair with Marcus Miller, guitar and drums with Bobby Mcferrin, and guitar and bass on the late show with Steven Colbert. In between his time producing with Q-Tip, or recording on the new Jack White record, Louis Cato is a singer and songwriter – and his debut is ready for release on November 17. A collection of uplifting songs that can be defined as funky pop, Starting Now reveals Cato’s view of the world – the message that he wants to fully convey. Lyrically, he reminds us of John Lennon and Bob Marley in that he is totally open and accessible – his story is our story.

“I set out to make an honest record, a documentation of who I am and what I do…I feel like I’ve done that.”

New Music | B Slade

Started in 2015 with the premiere release from Ghost-Note, RSVP has been carefully aligning the right performers to build the label. And now the time has come to show what the label can do : First up, the artist formerly known as Tonex, B Slade.

B. Slade is already a legend: hundreds of songs, at least two names, songwriter and producer for Chaka Khan, Faith Evans and more. B Slade is that personality that knows the fans, that continues to amaze and intrigue the audience. In short, B Slade is an enigma. His new self titled album is a story, from Saturday night at the club until Sunday morning. Forget discussion of genre and classification – just get your ears in the game and see where he leads.

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featured artist | Bajah

If you're not hip to Prince Polo Records, now is a good time to check in. Headed up by producer / engineer / musician Billy Polo, the label has that old school authentic Reggae sound in the pocket. The lead album from Quizflo is still in heavy rotation here at Ropeadope. And now Prince Polo returns with a banger from BAJAH, the Sierra Leone native who has turned the ears of many and inspired ?uestlove to call him 'the Michael Jackson of West Africa'. Bajah's songs are about love, and the mission is to bring inspiration and hope to all of us with powerful rhythm. Polo produced Universal Soldier, intending to make a record that represented Brooklyn. The sound is big, combining Reggae, Hip-Hop, dub, and of course African style. Start off right here with open ears. 

New Music | Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

‘I’m not interested in harming anyone. I have a responsibility as an artist to create a space where people feel welcome. When I walk outside this hotel room, that is not the reality. There is a difference when music is made with love. When people come into my space they are going to feel that. We are trying to figure out a way to treat each other better. We are all responsible for healing each other.‘ (Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah).

Thus begins the final chapter of The Centennial Trilogy : three full length albums that reflect deeply on the history of Jazz. The third album - The Emancipation Procrastination - deals directly with the social and political issues of the day. Rather than descend into identity politics, Adjuah sees in New Orleans many disparate cultures in one space being underserved and exploited. 

You can pre-order The Emancipation Procrastination today on Itunes or Bandcamp

Featured artist | Chantae Cann

The divine Chantae Cann has graced us with her presence and positive energy yet again! Her second album, Sol Empowered, is a love letter to her fans with an uplifting and positive message for all of us. No stranger to challenges, Chantae has chosen to take conscious daily action towards a positive response to the world, and to fulfill her destiny by sharing that energy and inspiring others to do the same. Recording with a tight group of friends in Atlanta GA, Sol Empowered delivers the message with a soulful groove.  Enjoy the love and light.

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"Look at this parking lot - this is perfect!"

In the fall of 2016, by serendipitous means, Col. Bruce Hampton shared his enthusiasm as he entered The Vista Room in Decatur GA. He was met by Mike Rizzi, whose intent was to create a space that was truly a musician’s room. With memories of The Brandy House, where The Fiji Mariners would hold court many times, Bruce adopted the room as his own right away. Popping in for a conversation with ‘The Great Rizz’, Bruce began what would be a weekly residency with The Madrid Express. The first show was December 22, 2016 - and as the vibe was felt the community began to grow. For six months Bruce would settle in with a team of the best musicians, refining his craft to it’s most focused and subtle. The Bruce Hampton version of Jackie Wilson at The Latin Casino: comfortable, without the show lights and the spectacle - just Bruce and the cats hanging out and preparing to deliver. And deliver they did as Bruce returned to the roots, with a rhythm section that would lay in that old Rhythm and Blues style a la Bobby Blue Bland, and wait for the unexpected left turn. 

After all, three lefts do make a right.

The Vista Room was conceived with ears first and eyes second - a room built from the back to the front by a seasoned player. If the room was right for musicians, they will bring their friends, and so on. As is often the case, Bruce Hampton's arrival affirmed the beauty of the mission and a common void was filled for both parties - a spot where the outside world stayed outside, with no TV and an intimate setup. Mike Rizzi soon dubbed Bruce ‘The Pope Of The Vista’ as he and many others witnessed community through music each week. In Rizzi’s words ‘There wasn’t a brighter light in the Vista than Col. Bruce Hampton’. 

Bruce was also taken with the Vista's sound quality. On March 16, 2017 he had the engineer record that night's sold out Madrid Express show with the intent of releasing it on vinyl. For several weeks the project was being finished by Bruce, and is now in the hands of his band with the blessing of Bruce's estate.

Col. Bruce Hampton and The Madrid Express – Live At The Vista Room captures the night: Bruce as bandleader starting low and understated, telepathically communicating the use of dynamics to the band and building to the aforementioned left turn. And so, we present Col Bruce Hampton and The Madrid Express Live At The Vista Room. The universal chaos of creativity, weathered by experience and honesty to the craft, steeped over time with all of the mystery intact. 

Release Date October 20, 2017

Featured Artist | Richard X Bennett

"His spirited style still has its bite, but there is also a warmly communicative manner in his musicianship and that is something to be treasured. Somehow it does not seem too long when Richard X Bennett is more widely known, both as a pianist and as a musical iconoclast" (Raul Da Gama | World Music Report}

We are still unraveling the mystery of Richard X Bennett by digging into both of his new releases. The quintet project, Experiments With Truth, brings North Indian classical compositions into a Jazz context, and it is delightful to explore. What Is Now is a trio album that swings New York style, showing the range of Bennett's style and experience. These are records to put in your collection and visit when your urge for discovery is strong. 

new music | Uncle Nephew

Cue up that search engine and look into the deep history of Mr. Shannon Powell; drummer par excellence who understands that music is a feeling. Powell is known as the 'King Of The Treme', and has performed with great Jazz artists but also bluesmen like Earl King and Snooks Eaglin. Miami born, New Orleans transplant Darren Hoffman met Powell while studying drums at the University Of New Orleans, and soon the duo were hanging out at Donna's Bar and Grill and talking music all the time. This year they made their way to the studio to record some classics - blues songs that bring 21st century technology back to the 20th century root. the result is a four song EP, and band is called Uncle Nephew to mirror the relationship between these two dedicated musicians. The record hits on October 27th, check out the first track and preorder here

Featured Artist | The Kandinsky Effect

Based in Paris, The Kandinsky Effect is drummer Caleb Dolister, bassist Gael Petrina, and saxophonist Warren Walker. For ten years the band has been touring the world, refining their approach to composition and performance. Dolister's open admiration of both Meshuggah and Jaga Jazzist, along with Walker and Petrina's appreciation for electronic music have interwoven as the band brings a variety of effects into what began as a traditional Jazz structure. The result is a lush, complex sound that does not strain, but flows with intent. TKE's fourth studio album, PAX 6, finds the band fully realizing a solid musical vision rather than grasping for one. Pax 6 is set for release on September 29, preorders are available on Apple Music and Bandcamp

New Music | Richard X Bennett

Richard X Bennett is a world traveler, with 30 years of experience on the music scene. We've already mentioned his powerful new Raga powered Quintet album due out on October 6 (see post below), but he's also got a trio album - What Is Now - which displays a very different facet of his musical expression. Here Bennett is featured as a bold, percussive instrumentalist and composer, with Adam Armstrong on bass and Alex Wyatt on drums. With a range of mood, energy, and tone - from Afropop to doo-wop to cinematic pieces - What Is Now is consistently compelling. Take a listen for yourself right here

New Music | Richard X Bennett

When Richard X Bennett appeared at the Ropeadope HQ we knew this cat was one of us. Hip, dynamically fashionable, and intent on digging deeply into music history and interpreting it for himself. Richard's remarkable path includes three decades playing a diverse array of music on the NY scene and a series of highly acclaimed albums in India, where he studied Raga. And now, Richard brings us not one but two new records for release on October 6th.  Experiments with Truth, features the rhythm section of bassist Adam Armstrong and drummer Alex Wyatt, with Richard on piano, Lisa Parrott on Bari Sax, and Matt Parker on tenor and alto. 

Bennett says the quintet’s repertoire is 'kind of like Mingus meets raga in the 21st century. This is the first time I’ve brought this music back into jazz instrumentation. I don’t claim to be a raga musician, because first off, the piano isn’t a raga instrument. I’d say it’s raga-based.'

Bennett credits the combustible chemistry between saxophonists Lisa Parrott and Matt Parker with energizing the raga project. Rather than writing out the ragas, he presents it as a regular tune, albeit one with unusual notes for a Western ear. Parrott’s affinity for Ornette Coleman’s music provides a trenchant point of entry.

“Harmolodics have a certain commonality with raga in the way they deal with melody. She’s a melodic improviser, and Matt is our wild man. His notes slide and glide, like Bismillah Khan. I love ’em both. They have such power.”

Featured Artist | Chet Doxas

Raised in Montreal and transplanted to New York, Saxophonist Chet Doxas is quickly becoming one of the most well respected and sought after saxophonists and composers of his generation. His band, Rich In Symbols, is an ensemble whose repertoire is informed by Chet's love of the visual arts. His new album with the same name is inspired by the NYC art movement of the late seventies and early eighties, and asks the question 'what do paintings sound like'? The band is Matthew Stevens (guitar), Zack Lober (bass), Eric Doob (drums) - with special guests John Escreet on piano, multi-award winning trumpeter Dave Douglas and guitarist Dave Nugent. Release date is September 8 worldwide. 

Friends Of Ropeadope

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We've finally decided to set up that Facebook group for the extended Ropeadope family to commune. Stop in, share your Ropeadope stories, pictures, and videos, and stay up to date with the label and your fellow music lovers. We'll be dropping some gems from the archives, with special offers and unreleased tracks and videos. The Ropeadope staff and most of our artists are in the room, so it's a good spot to stay in touch. We look forward to connecting with you! 

Stretch Music | Sarah Elizabeth Charles

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah continues to present his musical vision to the world, and we are pleased to announce his new label - Stretch Music - within the Ropeadope network of labels. Starting things off will be the new album from Sarah Elizabeth Charles and her band, SCOPE. The third studio album from Sarah is entitled Free Of Form, and includes veteran band members Jesse Elder (keys), Burniss Earl Travis II (bass), John Davis (drums), with Christian Scott as special guest and co-producer. Free Of Form is set for release on October 6, and is available for pre-order right here.

New Music | Takashi Tsuzuki

We've always had a thing for the uniquely Japanese music that Takashi Tsuzuki creates. It started in 2010 with Monophonic Multiphonic, and continued with two releases in 2014 - From Tokyo and From Japan. Takashi builds electronic soundscapes, yet over time we have seen cross cultural influences inform his sense of melody. In 2016 we had the good fortune to be able to connect him with Tomoko Nagashima - known as NIA - and we now have the result of that collaboration. It's Not Fair is Takashi's latest, set for September 1 release and it features this intriguing track with NIA on vocals. Connection across space, time, and genre is what we live for. Dig in

New Music = Poetry

Yusef Komunyakaa is a recipient of the 1994 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, for Neon Vernacular and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Born in Bogalusa Louisiana, he found his art form in the church: “the sound of the Old Testament informed the cadences of their speech,” Komunyakaa has stated. “It was my first introduction to poetry.” Komunyakaa served in the US Army in Vietnam as a correspondent, which informs much of his writing. His powerful voice demands attention, and his poetry presents very personal narratives with the rhythm of a slow Jazz solo. So it is no surprise that Komunyakaa connected with New York musicians Mike Brown and David Cieri. David was working with Trent Reznor and Yo-Yo Ma on the film score for Ken Burns' new Vietnam documentary, and kept Komunyakaa's book Dien Cai Dau  as a source of insight and inspiration. The opportunity arose for the three to perform together at The Gavagai Music and Reading series and a deep relationship was revealed. 

White Dust by Yusef Komunyakaa, David Cieri, and Mike Brown is the full recording of three Jazz players exploring the art: each using their instrument to reflect, express, to set a mood and dig inside the human condition. The vocalist is the poet, sometimes carrying the rhythm, sometimes the solo, always speaking to us. Stay Tuned. 

 

 

Featured Artist | Jim Stephens

Jim Stephens is the kind of guy you can’t size up. Upbeat with a classic Irish smile, with a little bit of mischief and at least as much heartbreak in his eyes. Salt of the earth with a good amount of spice, Jim Stephens is anachronistic, hearkening back to a time of real men and real grit. Or maybe he’s one of the real seeds that we look to when our transparent copies of life are wearing thin.  Or maybe it’s all still real – the heartbreak, the saloons, the gritty life on the street, the dust bowl of humanity that we all miss while we’re busy daydreaming inside the matrix.

And so, it is Jim Stephens that purposefully takes us back to the core with his upcoming release, Boxcar Blues. Deliberately acoustic, deliberately lo-fi, Jimmy wanted to capture the raw feel of the old days with the simple purpose of pointing out that they still exist under the polish and sheen. When asked about the recording, Jimmy says is best:

'It is the foundation, the content, the art form, the desperation, the darkness, the honesty, the root of that all American music has stemmed from. So am I saying that I made a 1940's chitlin’ circuit record in 2017 …? Well, maybe I am. And maybe that is needed today. In style, content, education, and the literal for folks looking in the mirror of the human condition addressing suicide, abuse, addiction, and fear of themselves, and others leaving this world alone and dumped into a state-run Paupers grave.'

            There is a certain jarring feeling when you first listen to Boxcar Blues, as if the mind and body are trying to avoid an uncomfortable truth. Like all great music, a few more listens reveal the beauty within. One can reference Son House, Skip James, Blind Willie McTell, Townes Van Zandt,  or even early Beck. We encourage you to take it for a spin and let the honesty of this record breathe in your ears and in your mind.

Rewerc

The always divine and positive Ms. Chantae Cann first graced us with her delightful performance of Free Your Dreams on Snarky Puppy's Family Dinner Vol 1. The followup was equally inspiring as she released Journey To Golden on Atlanta Records. Here we are in 2017 and Chantae has been busy in the studio preparing for a fall release of her next studio album. In the meantime, get ready for Journey To Golden - The Re-Werc: A full album remix project headed up by the WERC crew in Atlanta.  Anthem (Miami), DJIN (of In Good Company, NY), The Westwindz (Georgia) and Trap House Jazz artist Masego fused Chantae’s contemporary Jazz vocals alongside a progressive electronic backdrop. Journey To Golden RE-WERC hits everywhere on August 11.