Jonas takes us “4ward Fast To Future” with Live Concert Premiere

Dane singer, songwriter and producer Jonas Rendbo or Jonas as he’s commonly known, is yet another strong example of how major the influence of Black American music, in this case soul, has been and continues to be in other parts of the world. In his formative years, Jonas was hooked like legions of us by the music of the incomparable Stevie Wonder and needless to say, that soul sound became a thirst and vital component of his own. 

Although the name might not ring significant bells to some in the U.S., over his decades long career Jonas has garnered a pretty healthy fan base of soul music cognoscenti across the world. Successfully releasing and touring his own music while also producing and crossing paths with notable soul and R&B artists like Omar, Bilal, John Legend, Joss Stone, and Lynden David Hall, has keenly secured Jonas the designation, Godfather of Scandanavian Soul.

His latest EP release 4ward Fast To Future is a collaboration with The Scratch Professer, who happens to be the brother of UK soul music icon Omar, and a talented producer in his own right. These were songs the two crafted while putting together Jonas’ second album, W.A.I.T.T. but were not used for that project. Like treasures buried in time, these tracks were pulled to the surface and shined to an impressive polish. The EP was recorded, produced, mixed and mastered under the confines of the pandemic lockdown in Jonas’ apartment in Copenhagen and released in May amassing enthusiastic reviews and critical acclaim. The project is indeed, soulfully infused, hip and filled with super cool, infectious grooves, and first-rate arrangements with a delivery from Jonas which is silky smooth, but undeniably skilled and impassioned.       

With the limitations of being able to tour live in promotion of the release, Jonas hooked up with the collective, 2 PLAY to record an engagingly cool live-session of the songs from the EP at the STC Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. The performance proves an apt and enjoyable interpretation of 4ward Fast To Future, bringing to living color the energy as well as the impressive vocal and music arrangements of the recording while setting the perfect backdrop for Jonas’ to do his thing. In light of the limitations of the moment, this is a winning window and perhaps introduction to this talented artist.

Check it out below:

4ward Fast To Future is available on all major music platforms including Spotify And also check out 4ward Fast To Future (REMIXES) also available on all major music platforms

Nick Rolfe has found another way to lift people up

We’ve made it to 2021 or perhaps better said, out of 2020. Although there are some significant changes in place and progress has been made on the virus front, we’re still in the midst of some very challenging times and issues that need to be addressed. 

Few have gone unscathed by the enormity of the situation we’ve been in. Included in that count of the greatly impacted are artists and performers of all kinds. When the virus reared its ugly head and eliminated a slew of performances for them around the world the blow was swift, mind-blowing and for the vast majority, life – altering. What to do was the universal question and the answer for most of them after the initial “dear in the headlights” pause, was somewhat the same. Survival economically and mentally was, needless to say, paramount as well as to immediately ponder how long this would last.

Many have seized the time to reflect, refocus, practice and create to varying degrees. Some, like the greatly accomplished keyboardist, singer and songwriter Nick Rolfe have done that and more, like rescue people and save lives. Yes, you read the last part right. Rolfe, who has over his career released impressive projects as a leader and performed with the likes of Sting, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Idina Menzel, Busta Rhymes, India Arie, Ledisi, and the incomparable Aretha Franklin, has been part of a search and rescue team tasked with braving the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and removing folks from life – threatening situations. That included, this past summer, the added need and danger brought on by some of the worst wildfires the west coast has seen in years. But this is not something new for Rolfe. He actually became part of the volunteer rescue team before the pandemic. However, what he knew before but became even more evident with his ability to devote more time was how much he loved doing it. It’s understandable. Imagine losing something as rewarding as bringing smiles to faces ( including his own) through live musical performance and getting to replace it with bringing smiles to the faces of family members ( and yes, his own) with the return of loved ones rescued from wild fires or life – threatening injury in mountainous terrain.  What’s not to love? 

With the uncertainty of just what the new normal will be for artists and performers, Rolfe knows first hand from speaking with fellow musicians that for many of them options beyond music will have to be a consideration when the “smoke” clears.  But for some, because of discoveries made during this dormant time of performing, they now may have choices not explored before.

In the video interview below Nick Rolfe speaks about doing and missing two things he loves a lot and allowing himself to make a choice about what the future holds. 

Bert Caldwell

feature photo: Nick Drukker

For more about Nick Rolfe visit nickrolfe.com

Bradd Marquis shows where one chapter ends, a new one begins.

We often wonder why things happen in life the way they do and when they do. Why when you least expect it things – life altering things happen. Needless to say, all of us during most of 2020 in particular, have been racking our brains to figure it all out. Loss of some kind and the distress it causes has unfortunately been a hallmark of these times for sure. So much so you can’t help but wonder if it’s masking lessons, signs of hope or a divine plan – The irony that out of the most unlikely places and times inspiration and opportunity often comes. 

Singer/Songwriter Bradd Marquis has gone through this process of wondering, navigating loss and both discovery as well as rediscovery over the last several years. It was a big part of the reason for his three year absence from the music scene before releasing earlier this year his very relevant single, “No War.” During this time he lost his grandparents.  Grandparents who raised him. His grandfather or “Pop” as Marquis calls him was first after a bout with cancer and later, “Mom”, his grandmother followed.  Being very close to them both, a substantial focus was on providing the care they needed. “Both of them at separate intervals needed twenty-four hour care,” Marquis shares. 

But the talented vocalist who’s music and mellifluous tone have garnered him Billboard – charting success and acclaim with projects like Finding My WayAuthentic, and Thank You was frankly also during this time going over the viability of his music career. That pondering especially significant because of the responsibility of also raising a young son. “I felt I had reached a peak and I was looking for some more doors to open and looking for some more opportunities to continue to grow and to advance,” Marquis confesses.  Those opportunities “just never showed up” and he had to “take a step back and say okay, ‘What am I doing here?’’ So in the midst of this very challenging time he had to make choices that included taking on other work outside of music for some stability. That’s a choice many accomplished artists have long been faced with and now especially. But the love was never lost and timing would prove to be everything.

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BIGYUKI is summoning angels with 2099

Keyboardist and artist BIGYUKI has been described as “NYC’S musical secret weapon.”  For many prominent artists and musicians, as the saying goes, ‘that cat is out of the bag’ and to further expand it, is running rampant all over the place to parts way beyond the city’s borders. The talented musician, who hails from Japan but dwells in NYC, has over the years become a much sought after player being called upon to add his virtuosic skills to the mix on recordings and live performances for a long list of premiere artists – Q-Tip, Bilal, Talib Kweli, Jose James, Busta Rhythms, Ben Williams, Kamasi Washington, Lauryn Hill, Matisyahu, J.Cole, Marcus Strickland, Meshell Ndegeocello, and many, more.  You can hear his work on the historic last release from A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service and on the recently released Petestrumentals 3 from hip hop producer, icon Pete Rock and The Soul Brothers stellar crew.  

BIGYUKI is still a bit of a secret to music fans by name, but that too is hanging by a thread. In combination with his work with others he’s also been wowing burgeoning audiences with his splendid, high- spirited performances as a leader and has released a few of his own projects that have garnered deserved high acclaim.  Needless to say, the busy keyboardist doesn’t get much time to do the latter. Even during this time of closed venues and cancelled performances his calendar has still hummed quite steadily with recordings and virtual gigs. 

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