Monday, September 30, 2013

Caro Emerald...jazz, swing, tango and pop with a vintage sound

Caro Emerald is a Dutch singer whose music crosses between jazz, swing, tango, pop and hip-hop with nostalgic influences. She debuted on 6 July 2009 with her single "Back It Up" and her 2009 single "A Night Like This" was a No.1 single in her native Netherlands.

Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw was born on 26 April 1981 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She started singing lessons at age 12 with James Gilloffo in Amsterdam and joined a girl vocal group, Les Elles, under his guidance. Following high school she trained as a jazz vocalist at the Amsterdam Conservatory, graduating in 2005.

In early 2007 Dutch producer Jan van Wieringen invited van der Leeuw to sing the vocal on a demo track he was co-producing with songwriter and producer David Schreurs. The song, "Back It Up", had been written by Schreurs together with Canadian songwriter Vince Degiorgio and was based on a hip-hop beat created by Jan and Robin Veldman. Caro's jazzy vocal style was considered a "perfect match" for the new song.

The song demo was pitched to various publishers and labels but although the reaction was positive they struggled to imagine it suiting any particular artist and didn't believe it had a strong enough chart potential. In the meantime, however, the song was posted on YouTube reaching public notice around the world. Radio stations picked it up and the song gained popularity.

When Degiorgio, Schreurs and van Wieringen discovered van der Leeuw's sound had such potential, they set about working on a full album presenting Emerald as the star in the summer of 2008 and used "Back It Up"'s mix of 40s–50s jazz, easy listening, orchestral Latin, combined with infectious beats as a model. Adopting a sample based approach but with live instrumentation, the writing sessions drew from a wide range of influences including jazz organist Jackie Davis, exotica composer Martin Denny, mambo king Perez Prado, 20s/30s jazz and van der Leeuw's own vocal inspirations of The Andrews Sisters, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. The usual method would be for Schreurs to produce the backing tracks at home and then get together with top line writer and lyricist Degiorgio to write the song. Van der Leeuw would occasionally pitch in her own melody and lyrical ideas, and Van Wieringen co-created the tracks for "The Other Woman" and "Dr Wanna Do".

Her debut album "Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor" set a new all-time Dutch chart record on 20 August 2010, spending its 30th week at number one on the country's albums chart, beating the previous record set by Michael Jackson's "Thriller" by one week. The album became the biggest selling album of 2010 in the Netherlands and has sold over 300,000 copies so far. In total more than a million copies have been sold. On 3 October 2010, Emerald was awarded the Dutch music prize "Edison Award" for Best Female Artist.


 In April 2013, her second studio album "The Shocking Miss Emerald" went to No. 1 in the UK album chart, becoming her first UK No. 1 album.

Soundcloud link

Caro Emerald offcial website

download FREE Acoustic Sessions EP here



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vintage Charleston..Original Recordings 1924 - 1928

The Charleston is a dance named for the harbor city of Charleston, South Carolina. The rhythm was popularized in mainstream dance music in the United States by a 1923 tune called "The Charleston" by composer/pianist James P. Johnson which originated in the Broadway show Runnin' Wild and became one of the most popular hits of the decade. Runnin' Wild ran from 29 October 1923 through 28 June 1924. The peak year for the Charleston as a dance by the public was mid-1926 to 1927.

While the Charleston as a dance probably came from the "star" or challenge dances that were all part of the African-American dance called Juba, the particular sequence of steps which appeared in Runnin' Wild were probably newly devised for popular appeal. "At first, the step started off with a simple twisting of the feet, to rhythm in a lazy sort of way (this could well be the Jay-Bird). When the dance hit Harlem, a new version was added. It became a fast kicking step, kicking the feet, both forward and backward and later done with a tap." Further changes were undoubtedly made before the dance was put on stage.

The Charleston was one of the dances from which Lindy Hop and Jazz Roots developed in the 1930s. A slightly different form of Charleston became popular in the 1930s and '40s, and is associated with Lindy Hop. In this later Charleston form, the hot jazz timing of the 1920s Charleston was adapted to suit the swing jazz music of the '30s and '40s. This style of Charleston has many common names, though the most common are Lindy Charleston, Savoy Charleston, '30s or '40s Charleston and Swing(ing) Charleston. In both '20s Charleston and Swinging Charleston, the basic step takes eight counts and is danced either alone or with a partner.

This compilation captures the sounds of the 20's craze about as well as anything. Great titles, especially by Paul Whiteman, "I'd Rather Charleston" by Fred and Adele Astaire with George Gershwin accompanying, "South Wind", by Roger Wolfe Kahn's Orchestra, a great arrangement and spirited playing, plus tracks from Jelly Roll Morton and George Olsen among others. A well remastered collection of hard-to-find recordings.