Archived Magazine May 2014


A sneaky peek of just some of what is in the May 2014 issue!

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This, for me, is a first. Having slightly overdone her regular morning exercise, Avery*Sunshine has taken mother’s advice, sprinkled a little Epsom salts into her bath and is now addressing me over Skype from beneath restorative waters. It is not, I hasten to add, a video call.

“What better way to relax in the tub than by doing an interview with Echoes,” she quips with trademark playfulness. I can hear the waters splashing from 4,000 miles away.

Some four years have flown by since the Atlanta-based singer and songwriter impressed us with her debut album – followed by a successful tour, an opening spot for BB King at the Albert Hall and an appearance on Later With Jools Holland. Her children are now 14 and 12 years old and in the intervening period have become, reports Avery, more relaxed about their mother’s determination to forge a career for herself at the same time as being their parent.

“The kids, at first, were, ‘Look, you’re not here – we don’t like it. We don’t care what it is you do’,” she recalls. “Then they saw a few articles and a video or two of my performances, and then the TV shows, and they changed to, ‘OK, we understand you have to go and do that: we’re OK now’… ”

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Lee Fields

The video to Magnolia, directed by Truth & Soul Records joint boss Leon Michels, finds Lee Fields strolling across the Williamsburg Bridge to Manhattan and around Plainfield, New Jersey on what, the artist reports, was one of the coldest days he’s ever experienced. At least now the man can afford a very dapper, not to say expensive looking, tailored overcoat to warm his progress. For, in the spring of 2014, we find the determined soul survivor that is Lee Fields in the form of his life, reaping some just rewards.

We itemized most of the man’s adventures a couple of years back – in case you need it, we just put that old feature up on the site for reference – tracing his few ups and many more downs over more than four decades in and out of the music business, culminating in the current run of success [thanks to his associations with labels like Desco, Daptone, Soulfire and now Truth & Soul] that has made him about the most popular of all the authentic soul revivalists. Well, if you enjoyed Faithful Man, you’ll love the new set, Emma Jean.

Due out on June 3, the album finds Fields in his most reflective mood yet, this time mostly forsaking his former JB-like screams for a more considered, storytelling style reminiscent, on occasion, of the quieter moments of, say, a Bobby Womack or a Tommy Tate…

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50 Cent

Are the days of rap careers fizzling out over? With rappers recording for longer than anyone once imagined, and less need now for anyone to sign with a major label, it seems easier than ever to stay visible – whether anyone is paying attention or not.

So it is with 50 Cent. It’s not that nobody is looking his way. It’s hard to forget the star-wattage of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. But while 50 has never fallen off per se, he’s never recovered that early level of excitement either. His reputation as a rapper has simply flattened, his last album being 2009’s Before I Self Destruct. In the five-year gap, he’s split from Eminem, cut ties with Interscope, no longer seems concerned about G-Unit and, tellingly, has set up shop independently for his latest project. It’s a new day for 50 then, but you have to wonder if there’s any real need for him to return to music. He seems to have been doing just fine without it.

“I don’t need to, no,” he agrees, on the phone from New York. “But I like how it feels. Music feels like magic, because the ideas come out fast… ”

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Ivo Perelman

Sao Paulo is one of Brazil’s, if not the world’s, great musical cities. The metropolis with a population of 11 million has produced the likes of Os Mutantes, Patife and XRS, trailblazers who set fire to samba pyschedelia, drum & bass and rock.

It is also the birthplace of Ivo Perelman, a modern day saxophone colossus whose output over a quarter of a century has been staggering. He has released some 46 albums and, in the past year, has issued several works on Leo Records, highlights of which include The Art Of The Duet, The Other Edge, A Violent Dose Of Anything and Book Of Sound, as well as One, a set on Rare Noise. All of the above are engrossing adventures in spontaneous creation that blur the line between improvisation and composition.

New York-based Perelman has a small circle of collaborators that crop up time and again on his albums – pianist Matthew Shipp, double bassists William Parker and Joe Morris, drummers Gerald Cleaver and Whit Dickey – in a variety of configurations. In each case, Perelman’s tenor, capable of ethereal tenderness as well as potent muscularity, is to the fore, but he does not see himself as a domineering figure. It is the collective endeavour that always remains uppermost in his mind.

“I don’t have the privilege to write music. I write as I play,” the 53-year-old told me last year, the day after a brilliant duo gig with Shipp at London’s Vortex club. “The human beings that are with me, they are my wealth… ”

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