Category Archives: Music

Bruce Sudano Tackles The Future By Wrestling With the Past On Talkin’ Ugly Truth, Tellin’ Pretty Lies, inspired by painting by his late wife Donna Summer, Out March 1, 2024.

Folk Alliance International Official Showcase Announced,Watch/Share Videos for Previously Released Singles: “Better Than This,” “Make The World Go Away,”and “Two Bleeding Hearts” with Valerie Simpson.

Los Angeles, CA – January 10, 2024 – “I’m tackling the future by wrestling with the past, all the while living in the present tense,” says singer/songwriter Bruce Sudano of his highly anticipated ninth album, Talkin’ Ugly Truth, Tellin’ Pretty Lies, out March 1 on Purple Heart Recording Company. 

Watch and/or share the videos for the previously released singles “Better Than This,” “Make The World Go Away,” and Two Bleeding Hearts.” In late February, he will be an official showcase artist at Folk Alliance International, the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry and community. 

From the exhilaration of youth on the album’s opener, “Better Than That,” through the maze of life and where the journey leads on “Under the Gun,” Talkin’ Ugly Truth, Tellin’ Pretty Lies encompasses every stage of life. “Make The World Go Away,” featuring background vocals by Irene Blackman, who appears throughout the album, is a catchy yet urgent account of escaping the chaos of every day; “Two Bleeding Hearts,” featuring vocals by Valerie Simpson, speaks of the lines that lovers shouldn’t cross; and the whispered spoken word of “Navigating the Unforeseen” highlights victory in a place of surrender.

Written over the spring and fall of 2022 in Milan, Italy, Sudano worked remotely with producer Ken Lewis – he in Milan and Lewis in Ohio – providing demos that detailed tempo, atmosphere, and direction. Lewis added or took away elements and then sent his team of East Coast musicians files to individually layer their parts, returning the tracks to Sudano for vocals and guitar parts. The only exception to that process was “Under the Gun,” written and recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Randy Ray Mitchell.

Throughout his acclaimed decades-long career, Sudano has cultivated a musical style that combines pop sensibility based on real-life storytelling built on a foundation of folk and soul music dressed in postmodern production. Every record he’s made has its own landscape; some are starker than others. The result of this latest collaboration is a sonic adventure filled with swagger, soul, and depth. 

Following the album design of past releases of using an art piece on the cover, for Talkin’ Ugly Truth, Tellin’ Pretty Lies, Sudano borrowed a detail from a painting by his late wife, Donna Summer. “I thought it reflected the subtlety, complexities, and nuance that I’ve tried to create for every song on this record,” offers Sudano. 

Growing up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Sudano’s father had a jukebox route and would come home weekly with a box of 45s, which began his musical journey. “The thing that always intrigued me [about those records], even more than the singers and musicians, was the names under the title in parentheses – the songwriters,” says Sudano. 

A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Sudano began his career in 1968 with the band Alive N Kickin’, scoring a Billboard hit with the 1970 single “Tighter, Tighter,” written by Tommy James (“Crimson and Clover”), who became his songwriting mentor and helped hone his craft. In 1977, he co-founded Brooklyn Dreams, performing their hit single, “Music, Harmony and Rhythm,” on American Bandstand. A gifted songwriter, his songs have been recorded by Michael and Jermaine Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Robert Palmer, and Donna Summer.

He released his first album, Fugitive Kind, in 1981, with a sophomore album, Rainy Day Soul, following in 2004. His third album, Life and the Romantic, was released in 2009 and won the New Music Weekly Adult Contemporary Song of the Year award for “It’s Her Wedding Day,” written for his daughter’s wedding. In 2014, following Summer’s death, he released With Angels on a Carousel. In 2015, he released The Burbank Sessions, followed by 2017’s 21st Century WorldSpirals: Vol.1: Not a Straight Line to Be Found (2020); Spirals, Vol. 2: Time & the Space in Between (2020); and Ode to a Nightingale (2021).

Talkin’ Ugly Truth, Tellin’ Pretty Lies Tracklisting:

1. Better Than This

2. Make The World Go Away

3. Two Bleeding Hearts (with Valerie Simpson)

4. How’d You Get Here

5. Cardboard World

6. Talkin’ Ugly Truth, Tellin’ Pretty Lies

7. Navigating the Unforeseen

8. Under The Gun

The album is now available for pre-order.

TWENTY-FIVE TIME GRAMMY® NOMINEE COMPOSER GORDON GOODWIN STRIKES GOLD AGAIN WITH THREE NEW GRAMMY NOMINATIONS.

Hollywood, Calif. – The 66th Grammy® Award Nominations were announced on November 10, 2023. The astonishing surprise was three new Nominations for Multi Grammy® Emmy Winning Composer/Arranger, Jazz Veteran Gordon Goodwin.

Nominations include:

• Best Jazz Vocal Album: Patti Austin Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band – For Ella 2.

• Best Instrumental Composition: Quartet San Francisco Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band – Cutey and The Dragon, Composed by Raymond Scott and Gordon Goodwin.

• Best Arrangement, Instruments, and Vocals: Patti Austin ft. Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band – April in Paris, Arranged by Gordon Goodwin.

Gordon is delighted that his current projects have been considered once again by The Recording Academy. He says, “25, I look at that number and it shocks me every time. I still find it difficult to believe that the members of the Recording Academy have given me 25 Grammy® nominations for my work. I don’t think you ever get used to it and the three most recent nominations seem somehow more precious than ever. I had the good fortune to be involved in two projects that were close to my heart in the past year, and happily, both were acknowledged by the Recording Academy.”

Gordon is grateful for being nominated twice for his collaboration with Jazz phenom Patti Austin. She is jazz royalty; Patti Austin’s keen interest in being a total entertainer likely started when she stepped onto the stage of the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem at the age of four at the urging of music legend Dinah Washington. After a series of much-acclaimed albums for CTI Records,  she signed with her godfather Quincy Jones’ Qwest label and began achieving mainstream success on an international level thanks to the GRAMMY® nominated hit “Baby Come To Me,” her now classic duet with James Ingram and the follow-up duet, the Oscar-nominated “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” as well as her appearance on albums with Jones on his best-selling album Stuff Like That, his GRAMMY®–winning classic The Dude, and later, his From Q With Love Vols. 1& 2. The GRAMMY® nominated For Ella album opened new doors for Patti as a performer and her embrace by the jazz world was further cemented with her Grammy winning classic CD “Avant Gershwin: Now, after more than two decades of touring, her take on the classic American Song Book has expanded Patti’s appeal and garnered standing ovations all over the USA and Europe. Patti continues her philanthropic work with her mentoring organization, “The Over My Shoulder Foundation” and with Covid hopefully winding down she has resumed her touring schedule to the delight of fans all around the world.

Gordon is pleased to receive his composition nomination for “Cutey and The Dragon,” from the album Raymond Scott Reimagined, featuring Quartet San Francisco, Take 6 and the Big Phat Band. Goodwin took the unfinished work by Raymond Scott and completed it in a manner that honors Scott’s sophisticated yet playful style. Raymond neither received nor was nominated for a Grammy during his lifetime; the awards were launched in 1958, by which time Scott had largely stopped issuing commercial recordings. Raymond Scott was a composer, inventor, visionary, pianist, engineer, electronic music pioneer, control freak.

Gordon Goodwin was born in Wichita, Kansas, and Goodwin’s parents moved to Southern California when Goodwin was four. After completing his formal music education at Cal State University-Northridge, Gordon began working as a live performer at Disneyland and after a few years, he was commissioned to work on a musical that featured past and present Mouseketeers (including Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera). That exposure led to studio work with the likes of Quincy Jones, Mel Tormé, Ray Charles and legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis.

In 1999, Gordon founded the Big Phat Band for what he thought would be a single performance at his alma mater Cal State at Northridge. Since then, the Big Phat Band has recorded 10 albums, and in the process received 25 Grammy® nominations. Goodwin won a Grammy® for ‘Best Instrumental Arrangement’ for “Incredits” for the film The Incredibles and has been honored with 3 Emmy awards for his work on the Steven Spielberg-produced shows Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain. His work has been featured/utilized in more than 80 film & TV productions spanning the gamut of pop culture: amplifying the likes of National Treasure, Star Trek: Nemesis, Snakes on a Plane, Get Smart, Remember the Titans, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Majestic (starring Jim Carrey), The Lion King, The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

Gordon has won four Grammy® Awards and three Daytime Emmy Awards and has received twenty-five Grammy® nominations for his compositions and arrangements.

Grammy® Awards include:

Best Instrumental Arrangement:

“The Incredits” (2005)

“Rhapsody in Blue” (2011)

 “On Green Dolphin Street” (2013),

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Life in the Bubble (2014)

Grammy ® Award nominations include:

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album:

XXL (2003)

Act Your Age (2008)

Best Instrumental Composition:

“Sing, Sang, Sung” (2000)

“Hunting Wabbits” (2003)

“Hit the Ground Running” (2008)

“Hunting Wabbits 3 (Get Off My Lawn)” (2011)

 “California Pictures for String Quartet” (2013)

 “Life in the Bubble” (2014)

Best Instrumental Arrangement:

“Bach 2 Part Invention in D Minor” (2000) “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” (2006)

“Yo Tannenbaum” (2007)

“Yesterdays” (2008)

“Salt Peanuts! (Mani Salado)” (2012)

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)

 “Comes Love” (2003)

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella:

“Get Smart” (2014)

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals:

 “Party Rockers” (2014)

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” (2016)

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals:

 “I Loves You Porgy” / “There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” (2017) 

Daytime Emmy Awards:

Music Direction and Composition

Animaniacs (1998, 1999) 

Outstanding Music Direction and Composition

Histeria! (2000).

Gordon’s discography includes Swinging For the Fences, XXL,

The Phat Pack, Act Your Age, That’s How We Roll, Life in the Bubble, Wrap This, A Big Phat Christmas, An Elusive Man, Joyful, The Gordian Knot, The Reset, Raymond Scott Reimagined, For Ella 2, w/Patti Austin, Music for Two Pianos (2024).

Gordon is also the host of the popular long-running radio program, “Phat Tracks with Gordon Goodwin,” airing for 5 years on KJAZZ, America’s jazz and blues station, and finishing its 2nd year broadcasting and streaming from its new home on San Diego’s Jazz 88.3 FM (KSDS). The weekly 2-hour show is a mix of music and stories and commentary.  

Pianist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and conductor – whatever it is Gordon Goodwin touches, it’s all about his love of music. The accolades and awards come, but for Gordon the feeling of gratitude for his life in music is strong, and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Listening to Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, I was immediately taken by Gordon’s contemporary musical viewpoint, the dynamics of his “Big Phat Band,” its bevy of superb soloists, and the exhilaration of its sound.” Quincy Jones.

Upcoming Shows:

Jan 25 – Winter NAMM Show Concert, Anaheim, CA.

Jan 29 – Catalina Jazz Club Patti Austin/BPB Grammy Celebration Concert, Hollywood, CA.

March 2 – Studio Channel Islands Art Center, Camarillo, CA.

March 16 – Bonita Center For the Arts, La Verne, CA.

April 27 – Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center, Thousand Oaks, CA.

May 4 – The Grape, Ventura, CA.

June 1 – International Trumpet Guild Concert, Anaheim, CA.

June 7 – SF Jazz Concert, San Francisco, CA.

July 30 – Redlands Bowl, Redlands, CA.

August – Blue Note Tokyo.

https://www.bigphatband.com/

www.pattiaustin.com

Patti Austin Album Link:

Link for a new music video for Cutey and the Dragon:

A-Zal’s latest single ‘Lonely Town’ draws audiences into his New York-inspired musical journey.

New York N.Y. – Fresh from the incredible success of his debut hit, Movie Script, which reached #51 on the iHeartMedia’s Mediabase Activator Chart, A-Zal, the New York-based pop sensation, released his heartfelt new single titled Lonely Town.

A-Zal’s latest single ‘Lonely Town’ draws the audience to the pop singer’s real story.

This release is not only a musical offering but a profound tribute to New York City and a reflection of A-Zal’s personal journey as an emerging artist. A-Zal’s path has been nothing short of remarkable, from busking for tips in New York’s subway stations to collaborating with industry giants like Marvel Studios and making a mark on US radio charts.

In the lyrics of Lonely Town, the city becomes a symbolic companion, walking alongside A-Zal throughout the highs and lows of his artistic journey. The song beautifully encapsulates the emotional rollercoaster of his pursuit, from moments of homelessness to finding solace in the bustling streets of New York.

A-Zal’s directorial talent also shines through in the music video, where he employs a narrative style to complement the song’s storytelling. His debut single’s music video garnered over 130k views on YouTube in just one month, showcasing his multifaceted creative abilities.

Speaking about the track, A-Zal explains, “Lonely Town is a song born during my early days in New York, when my livelihood depended on tips from subway performances. I moved to the USA in 2018 to chase my musical dreams, and the city’s streets and subways became my new home. Amidst the glamour, I felt a profound sense of loneliness while walking its bustling streets with empty pockets. Ultimately, New York City became my anchor, my inspiration, and my true home. This song is my heartfelt tribute to the city that gave me everything.”

Los Angeles Life and Style‘s Margie Anne Clark caught up with A-Zal about the release of his new single, Lonely Town.

MC: What inspired you to write Lonely Town?

A-Zal: All my songs have something to do directly with me and my life. I want my listeners to know me through my songs. So, its my journey that inspires me to write and create music. When I embarked on creating my album, it was crystal clear that I needed to draw inspiration from my personal experiences and weave them into my songs. I really had to tell my story about how I actually got to this magical city and how I started a new life in New York 5 years ago. It captures my life as a New York subway musician and the grind I had to go through before I bagged my first Hollywood project.

MC:  What is your favorite aspect of working in the music industry?

A-Zal: The best part about working in the music industry is you get to live your dream every single day. I start my day with music and I end it with music too. There is nothing more I could ask. The even better part is every Sunday evening, I’m not sulking about going to work the next day. I literally wait for my week to start. I consciously take time off during the weekend to balance out my personal life and also avoid creative fatigue. But, Monday mornings are the most exciting for me!

MC: How many instruments do you play and what is your favorite?

A-Zal: Over the years, I learnt how to play a ton of instruments – guitar, piano, ukulele, drums, mandolin etc. But, my favorite is the guitar and the piano. I do most of my compositions on these.

MC: Who are some of the artists that inspired you to become a singer/songwriter?

A-Zal: The biggest music influence in my life has to be Ed Sheeran. It is because of his song Perfect that I got inspired to write my own music. What inspires me the most about Ed Sheeran songs is the simplicity and honesty in his songwriting and lyrics. They directly pierce my heart and I feel there is no adulteration or ornamentation in crafting the lyrics to impress the audience. They are insanely raw and true. It inspires me to be a true musician and not fake anything about me in anyway to get new fans or impress my existing fans. Apart from Ed Sheeran, I absolutely love Dua Lipa’s songwriting and production. She is one artist I’d love to collaborate with. 

MC: Do you have any messages that you would like to share with your fans?

A-Zal: I just want to tell them that they may have not heard too many stories like mine. I came to this country to win their hearts. I’d also like to thank them for showering their love on my music. 

Gin Blossoms coming to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center October 27, 2023.

VALENCIA, CA – Gin Blossoms is coming to the Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons on October 27, 2023. Formed in the quintessential college party town of Tempe, Arizona the iconic post- grunge, alternative rock band ruled the 90’s and the early aughts.

In the late 80’s, Gin Blossoms started to grow a huge following as the #1 local music draw in Phoenix and certainly were the hometown heroes of their favorite hang, Tempe, Arizona.

Gin Blossoms indelible jangle-pop sound was evolving during radio’s diverse mix of hair bands and grunge music superstars. They qualified to perform at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin Texas in 1989. That same year College Music Journal dubbed them “The Best Unsigned Band In America” and added an invitation to perform on MTV’s New Music Awards in New York City. Their breakout record New Miserable Experience was where their rise to fame began. This album kept the band on the chart for almost 3 years with singles “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs. Rita,” and “Found Out About You.” The crossover hits on New Miserable Experience played on 4 radio formats and, to date, have sold over 5 million records.

Those hits were followed up by “Til I Hear It From You” which rocketed to #1 and moved the Empire Records smash soundtrack to platinum status. The track also became Canada’s longest-running #1 hit of 1995, its #1 tenure lasting six weeks. This song was co-written with the great Marshall Crenshaw and Billboard described it as “the closest thing to a perfect pop song to hit radio in recent memory.” Their next gem “Follow You Down” spent ten weeks in the top 10, and “As Long As It Matters” earned the band a Grammy nomination for “Best Performance by a Duo or Group” making their Congratulations I’m Sorry record another multi radio format favorite and multi-platinum success.

Having dominated radio and MTV playlists for most of the 90s, Gin Blossoms took a brief turn of the century hiatus, a provisional parting of the ways that singer Robin Wilson chalks up to “personal dissatisfaction and the mistaken impression that we could perform at that same level with another group.” The brief break allowed guitarist Jesse Valenzuela and Wilson to re-energize via solo recordings, new combos, and production credits for an array of local Arizona acts. However, Gin Blossoms’ idiosyncratic magic proved impossible to ignore for long, and on New Years Eve 2001 in their hometown of Tempe, the band reconvened and never looked back.

“There’s a certain civility among us now,” Valenzuela says. “None of us are as brusque as we once were. We’re too old to have shouting matches.”

The revivified band hit the road hard, earning a well-deserved reputation as one of the busiest touring acts in the world, playing close to 150 shows a year. Those chops were readily apparent on 2006’s Major Lodge Victory – Gin Blossoms’ long awaited fourth album and first new recording in almost a decade. Rave reviews followed, as did a top 10 Triple A smash in the album’s lead single, “Learning The Hard Way.” The album’s second single, “Long Time Gone,” quickly became another favorite among both fans and the critics and Major Lodge Victory made Billboards Top 10 Independent Albums. Next, Gin Blossoms recorded “No Chocolate Cake” and released the single “Miss Disarray” which is now one of the most requested songs in the band’s live set and the album reached #1 on Amazon’s sales chart.

These talented tunesmiths promise the inevitable arrival of new material and as they approach their third decade, Gin Blossoms remain a rare breed – rock ‘n’ roll lifers, destined to continue creating, crafting, and performing for audiences ever rapt by their glorious catalog of material. “We’re entertaining and we have chops,” says Wilson, “but it really comes down to the songs. The reason we’re still here is that we have good songs. When young musicians ask me for advice, what’s the best thing to do to further my career, I always say, ‘Write good songs.’ It always comes down to that.”

The band’s fusion of Pop, Melodic Rock, Folk and Country elements took the airwaves by siege, making the band an MTV playlist hostage for almost a decade and the group a natural 90’s mainstay. From their breakout album through today, Robin, Jesse, Bill and Scotty have sold over 10 million records and are one of the most in demand 90’s live artists who began at the end of the grunge era. In 2017 the band went back in the studio recording a new album. Fans will get a taste of the new album as it works its way into their live set.

For more information visit: https://www.ginblossoms.net/tour

and https://pac.canyons.edu/shows/gin-blossoms.php

BILL LEEN

Bill enjoys reading, hiking, world class weightlifting, and putting down a couple of bad boys.

JESSE VALENZUELA

Jesse’s interests include golf, reading, and competitive sumo wrestling.

ROBIN WILSON

Robin enjoys describing himself, is like, really smart, and super-good at music, art, and science.

SCOTT JOHNSON

Scott enjoys the Miller High Life, hiking, and singing old Bob Wills songs. He also enjoys teacup collecting.

SCOTT HESSEL

“Hess” has been playing drums with the Gins since 2012. He is proudly endorsed by Tama Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Aquarian Drumheads, Vic Firth Drumsticks and Ultimate Ears. He takes his coffee with cream and sugar and loves to eat Wasabi-like ice cream.