Another new “Pulse” features Sarah Vaughan Competition winner, Samara Joy and more

On this episode, The Pulse host and WBGO Afternoon Jazz radio personality, Keanna Faircloth talks with burgeoning jazz vocalist, Samara Joy.

The talented singer has achieved several honors including winning the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (SVVC) in 2019 and will be releasing her anticipated, self-titled debut album on July 9.

The second half of this episode will feature this year’s SVVC finalists – Benny Bennack III, Hailey Brinnel, Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim, and Gabrielle Cavassa. 

Join Keanna, Samara, and this year’s SVVC finalists, Wednesday May 26th @ 8PM LIVE on the WBGO Facebook Page for an always enjoyable and enlightening conversation.

For more about Samara Joy visit her website @ https://samarajoy.com/home

This month on “The Pulse” features violinist, Tomoko Omura

On this episode, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, The Pulse host and WBGO Afternoon Jazz radio personality, Keanna Faircloth talks with accomplished jazz violinist and composer, Tomoko Omura.

Omura is considered a prominent voice amongst today’s jazz violinist confirmed by acclaim coming from several noted platforms including Downbeat magazine who named her a “Rising Star” from 2015-2019 in their renowned Critic’s Poll.

Join Keanna and Tomoko, Wednesday May 19th @ 8PM LIVE on the WBGO Facebook Page for an always enjoyable and enlightening conversation as they talk about her musical journey including including her latest, Branches Vol. 1

If you miss it, catch it here on I SPY SOUL in rebroadcast!

Jonas Winge Leisner delivers a “sweet Sticky” debut

For his work over the last two decades, singer and songwriter, Jonas Winge Leisner has encouraged the designation as one of the most important voices on the danish soul scene. Leisner himself is noticeably humbled by and reserved at adopting that title. “Well, that status is of course not something I would say myself. That’s for others to judge,” says Leisner. But the accolade seems to be well earned with years of building a following through, amongst other accomplishments, extensive touring as a solo artist and as part of revered danish soul/funk orchestra, Ridin’ Thumb as well as the popular live music collective from Copenhagen, THE 5to8’S, known for its marathon concerts of improvised soul, hip hop, funk and r&b.

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Ben Williams declares people still need to know, “I Am A Man”

I AM A MAN

Bassist, composer and vocalist Ben Williams was one of the busiest and sought-after players on the scene prior to the pandemic. The Grammy-winning musician has been a first-call bassist for many elite artists for more than a decade with a sterling resume that includes work with Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington, Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, José James, Marcus Strickland and so many more.  So certainly, like most artists and musicians, the reality of the resulting shut down was mind-boggling, life-altering and incredibly disappointing.

But there was another layer of disappointment for Williams as well. That’s because he found opportunity and was in the midst of touring and performing as a leader in support of his instantly acclaimed third album, the compelling, I AM A MAN released in February 2020. Borrowing its title from the signs held high during the consequential 1968 Memphis sanitation strike where 1,300 black sanitation workers walked off the job, protesting awful working conditions, racism and discrimination, Williams’ project sought to shine a light on the continued racial injustice and inequality experienced by African – Americans in America. 

The pandemic seemed like it would steal the spotlight, momentum and most importantly, message of the project away. In the most twisted of ways that would have almost been preferred when you consider that the alternative would be some of the most alarming examples of what Williams’ I AM A MAN spoke to. There was news and video surfaced about shootings of Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor and alas, the horrific scene shown the world over – the killing of George Floyd, which of course led to mammoth protest, unrest and conversation about racism and change. For us all the pandemic hit with huge, unicorn-like proportion and out of nowhere, but sadly the killings where an almost inevitable occurrence and Williams’ I AM A MAN provided a powerful and prophetic soundtrack. 

In addition to talking about what influences his bass playing; his emergence as a vocalist; the confines of being labeled a jazz artist and more, in this special I SPY SOUL podcast edition interview, Williams shares why pushing this project continues to be so very important to him and toward a continued goal of change.

The following tracks were played during the course of the interview. Click the title links for full track:

“Half Steppin'” from the album Coming of Age

“Promised Land” from I AM A MAN

“If You Hear Me” from I AM A MAN

“Take It From Me” from I AM A MAN

“High Road”(Instrumental) from I AM A MAN (Instrumentals)

For more about Ben Williams go to BenWilliamsmusic.net and to keep up on Instagram follow him @benwmsonbass