Billie Holiday "Autumn In New York" (1952)
Billie Holiday "Autumn In New York" (1952)
Hot on the heels of his collaborative album with Stik Figa (The City Under The City) talented prolific producer L'Orange now returns just six months later with more of his refreshingly unique sound: the highly recommended The Orchid Days that was released last month and that, like City, comes via the high caliber indie label Mello Music Group. "Two and a half years ago I got out a piece of paper and wrote down every single thing I wanted to do in the next year and at the very bottom of it I wrote Mello Music Group," the artist told me of finding his ideal label home after self-releasing some free albums digitally. "This is where I have seen myself for a long time and it is definitely an honor to be counted among the roster." His brand new Mello Music release The Orchid Days features carefully selected guest vocalists, (including Blu, Homeboy Sandman, and Billy Woods) on just 7 of its 19 tracks allowing the Nashville based producer to fully stretch and flex his trademark, hypnotically dreamy production style - while interweaving just the right amount of vocal guests to perfectly compliment his (and their) styles - all the while subtly moving the album's storyline along. The Orchid Days storyline is the story of love - finding love, falling in love, and then losing it and missing it - a story told via random soundbites expertly assembled - to the backdrop of an old world mood crafted by building layer upon layer of dreamy jazzy grooves from digging deep into really old jazz records with flutters of dramatically engaging soundbites/samples (handpicked over time by L'Orange) from old black and white movies, along with, often static sounding, classic old radio broadcasts. These samples along with the mood created by the musical backdrop tell a story that strongly hint that there was some specific romantic figure in L'Orange's life that inspired The Orchid Days. So I asked the artist was there a specific girl in mind as he recorded the album? "Of course there's a girl. I'm a poet," he replied adding. "Since that's not a satisfying answer I'll tell you something I haven't told anyone yet- she's on the album cover." [above left]
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
Born this day: April 7, 1915 - Iconic jazz vocalist/songwriter Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Harris in Philadelphia, PA). Happy Birthday to "Lady Day" on what would have been her 99th Birthday.
On this day in music history: April 7, 1967 - FM Underground radio is launched at KMPX 106.9 in San Francisco. Having grown tired of the grind of AM Top 40 radio, broadcasting legend DJ Tom Donahue, who will pioneer the free-form album rock radio format that puts the focus on rock album cuts rather than the tight and often restrictive Top 40 pop formatting that plays strictly hit singles. KMPX will broadcast from a studio at 50 Green Street in San Francisco's North Beach district. The station will both change the face of commercial radio and be instrumental in breaking new artists like Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix. However, Donahue's time at the station will last less than a year. Splitting his time between the San Francisco station and sister station KPPC in Pasadena, the strain of working both stations will cause the veteran DJ/Program Director's relationship with owner Leon Crosby to breakdown, leading to Donahue's ouster from the station. In a show of solidarity, the staff of KMPX will strike after Crosby replaces Donahue with Bob Prescott as PD. The strike will last for eight weeks, in which time Crosby will fire all of the original staff and replace them with DJ's mined from other stations around the country. Upset by what has transpired, a number of prominent rock musicians including The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones will ask KMPX to refrain from playing their music as a show of support for the deposed station workers. By May of 1968, Tom Donahue and several former KMPX staffers will be working at rival station KSAN (owned by Metromedia Broadcasting).
We have added Billie Holiday to Amoeba Music's ever expanding, much-lauded Vinyl Vaults. This Amoeba-exclusive, historic vault of American music icons, which specializes in preserving valued vinyl releases by carefully transferring them to digital files, already includes such icons as Louis Armstrong.
Our curated collection of digitized vinyl and 78s will also unveil Kenny Rogers this month, but more on his inclusion into the Vinyl Vaults in a later Amoeblog.
For now let's take a look at the jazz/blues legend that was Billie Holiday and whose Vinyl Vaults additions will include approximately 30 different tracks (most emastered and now available from Amoeba) "Lady Day's" short 44 years on this earth (1915 - 1959) was filled with the blues and her musical legacy is a part of American music history. Amoeba deserves major props for helping preserve. One of the folks responsible for the tedious task of digital transformation of Amoeba's Vinyl Vaults is Gregory Griffith. I talked with him over the past couple of days to find out more about these Billie Holiday additions to the Vinyl Vaults that are now available in three digital files: mp3, M4A (lossless), or WAV.