Monday, September 29, 2008

Melissa Kate ~ Blind Faith (New York)

The next up-and-coming jazz and blues artist with a little bit of soul can be heard on "Blind Faith" by Melissa Kate. TM International produced this 8 track solo debut. Recorded at Pharoah studios through Van Taylor Production, this compilation showcases various renowned artists.

Melissa studied Barbershop, Classical, Opera and Musical Theatre. She was trained classically by Mr. Robert Wells and studied with Mr. Amuso who provided her with the basics of Jazz. Melissa became engulfed in the NYC Jazz scene and has performed at the World Trade Center, Swing 46, Pops Is Tops, the American Lindy Hop Championships, and at Louie Armstrong's house.

Melissa Kate is an international vocalist and began her artistic development with the award winning Taylor Made Jazz through Van Taylor Production. She is a powerhouse in Jazz, Blues, R&B and pop. Melissa now performs with The George Scott Big Band, travels internationally with Taylor Made Jazz, and has now come into her own with The Melissa Kate Project. Melissa has performed for the Armed Forces Entertainment, The Langston Hughes Institute, the M&T Plaza Concert series and the Buffalo Music Awards and continues to enlighten crowds internationally.

Melissa gives thanks to the musicians who have helped her artistically and support her such as:

Van Taylor, Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Inductee: keys/lyricist/production/manager, Walter Kemp III: keys, Jerry Livingston, 2008 Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Inductee, Jerry Sampson and Richie Valentino on bass, Jeff Nixon, Ron Walker, David Comtois and Nelson Thomas on guitar, Will Holton on Sax, Mike Crimes and Tim Webb on percussion and Flick Williams on vocals and keys.

A jazzy blues backbeat is apparent on the title track, "Blind Faith." Sultry vocals rise with percussion and bass keeping time behind her with the addition of horns. "Midnight Blue" is pbeat with traces of 80's discotheque to get you up and dancing. Her lyrics are in depth, her presence shining and her vocal range is to be envied. Accompanied by The Melissa Kate Project, this CD is a must for all music aficionados.

Melissa Kate can be found at: Melissa Kate . Grab her solo debut at: CD Baby. I had the pleasure of experiencing Melissa with Taylor Made Jazz and the Melissa Kate Project as she belted out vocals with a stage presence that invites you in like a warm embrace. Melissa is a positive light in this world and continues to support charitable causes. You can catch Melissa performing every Monday evening at The Historic Colored Musicians Club with The George Scott Big Band. The Melissa Kate Project on November 7, in NYC to benefit Artfully Aware. Please access her website above for more information.

I suggest you do not miss her. She is a star, following shadows . . . trying to see her way to the light.

Buffalo Select Chorus 2008 CD Release Righteous Babe Foundation (New York)

The Buffalo Select Chorus performed their 3rd Annual Concert June 4 at 7PM in Asbury Hall at Babeville. The recital and reception was free and open to all wishing to participate in the upcoming 2008-2009 Buffalo Select Chorus. This concert was recorded by the Righteous Babe Foundation and is now available on CD.

Sponsored by the Righteous Babe Foundation, it is the only chorus made up of Buffalo high school students, with nine different schools represented. The Buffalo Select Chorus is a talented, dynamic group that has persevered despite challenges for funding in the arts in the Buffalo schools.

In the spring of 2005, Linda Appleby (creative director and vocal instructor), along with Susan Mann Dolce (executive director) and other interested community members and parents set out to create a citywide Buffalo Public High School Chorus to begin that fall. The group would have weekly practices, play in a variety of venues over the year, have a final concert and reception, and produce a professional recording for use in the college application process. What resulted from their efforts was a selection of eight talented individuals from three Buffalo Public High Schools who gathered to rehearse once a week for six months.

The Righteous Babe Foundation took notice of these amazing singers and the need for more support to grow this fledgling group. The use of the restored Asbury Hall at The Church (now Babeville) was made available for weekly rehearsal and as primary performance space. Asbury Hall has become a Monday night "home" for Buffalo Select Chorus!

The Chorus has grown exponentially to thirty students, and in partnership with the Righteous Babe Foundation, will continue its mission: to provide a venue for Buffalo High School students to expand their vocal skills while offering actual performance experience under the tutelage of certified music teachers and professional musicians. This program of excellence will also be saying goodbye to many graduating seniors.

Please visit: to get a hold of this outstanding performance composed of Buffalo High School students and musicians. Buffalo Select Chorus was showcased on Think Twice Radio: Click the link to hear them rehearse, view pictures and connect to the mentors, musicians and students who make Buffalo Select Chorus a much desired investment.

Amanda Nagurney - Gettin' Out Of This Town (New York)

Raised in Western New York, Amanda Nagurney began vocal lessons at the age of seven. Her previous band, Copperhead Road, released a six track CD, entitled, "Gettin Out Of This Town" in 2008. Copperhead Road consisted of: Amanda Nagurney: main vocals and lead/rhythm guitar, Sarah Baumgarden: vocals, Tim Webb: percussion, Shpike McLean: bass and vocals, Joe Childs: lead guitar and vocals, Kevin Hatton: steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dobro, acoustic and vocals, and Buffalo Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Ehinger, on keyboards.

The first track lays down some country and western roots. "Gettin Out Of This Town," blends folk with electric guitar and percussion creating a rock-pop sound. The lyrics speak of Amanda's travels to Nashville and this tune will get you out of your seat and onto the floor when you hear: "Nothin's gonna stop me in my cowgirl boots."

"Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever" is a ballad that has a background country flavor in the slide that mimics the soaring vocals. "Rock That Country" is a track that jolts you alive. Guitar riffs and percussion can be picked up alongside undertones of R&B. "Don't Ask Me To Love You" takes the listener back to 80's pop which then gets blended with a jazzy back beat. The vocals are perfection as Amanda sings: "I'll dance with ya baby, but don't ask me to love you." In "Never Break My Heart," there is a lovely slide intro with soft-spoken vocals.

Amanda has toured the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and recorded at the infamous Ryman Auditorium. She has opened for The John Corbett Band, The Locash Boys, Sammy Kershaw, Joe Nichols, Phil Vassar, and Miranda Lambert.

She is a rising star waiting to get out of this town.

McCarthyizm ~ Victor's EP (New York)

Before the terms "underground" and "alternative" became mainstream, McCarthyizm was pounding out a blend of 60's garage and 80's rock with undertones of Celtic folk. Buffalo's own has shared the stage with the The Goo Goo Dolls, 10,000 Maniacs, Eddie Money, John Waite, They Might Be Giants, The Smithereens, The Proclaimers, Spirit of the West, The Crash Test Dummies, and Lowest of the Low.

This 6 piece rock/pop mix has traveled the Northeast enlightening Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York City, Boston, Toronto and LA. They have earned numerous Music Awards and have taken Best Original Rock Band for 2006 and 2007 for the Buffalo Music Awards.

McCarthyizm consists of: Joe McCarthy: lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Paul Ceppaglia: guitar, mandolin, vocals, Dave Mucha: bass and vocals, Joe Suplicki: percussion, Helen Butler: fiddle and Nate Schneekloth on keyboards.

"Mt. St. Michel" begins with a sweet guitar riff that portray Joe's vocals pristine. Percussion, bass and keys follow melding a lyrical orchestration of language and history with Helen on fiddle spiraling you directly into a city of lights. "Victor's Morning" is an anthem. War like and tribal, lead in percussion causes one to raise that fist in the air. All members are represented and electric. Bass, fiddle, guitar, and keys scream simultaneous to a backdrop of cheers and shouts. This is rock, pop, and folk all in one tune.

These are only two tracks from the Victors EP.

Contact McCarthyizm at: and also on my space at:

McCarthyizm defies any genre. Every tune is different than the last, and to fully appreciate their talent to the fullest, grab this CD and listen to the lyrics. Each one of them stand alone musically with the ability to craft words into sound creating something that needs to be witnessed LIVE.

Scribe for the Tribe ~ Musick

Scribe for the Tribe is a local acoustic/electric power trio based in Buffalo. "Musick," was released in December of 2007. Scribe for the Tribe consists of: Charlie Forness on lead vocals, guitar/lyricist, Joe Garrigan on bass and Steve Wellenc on percussion/graphic design.

When I first saw them as a trio I became awestruck. If you have ever followed the progression of a single band, you build an inner sense of pride. Scribe for the Tribe has done just that for me. They are making it, have made it, and they are performing. It's phenomenal.

"Mess In My Wake" is where you get a taste of percussion. The reverb on drums with chord changes is ethereal. Lyrically, this tune takes you deep within yourself. "I sit around . . . I sit around now while my soul stagnates . . . I been around I been around while the world deflates . . . and I see the light . . . "

"Heaven" stands out from the rest on this compilation. This is a tribute to the one who shares Charlie's life. His wife, Nichole. Upbeat and jazzy, the listener is left with the notion that the act of of coming home is Heaven. The harmonizing here is lovely. This is pristine.

Scribe for the Tribe is essentially, an acoustic poet, a rock bassist and a metal percussionist combined into the force of one band. Each of them are prodigious musicians. Together, they create something quite singular. Poetry and jazz incensed with blues accelerated through metal.

Get a hold of the guys at: "Musick" is a masterpiece scattered with bongos, drums, bass, harmonies, acoustics, poetry and soul. To see them live is the only way to experience all of this combined.

Standing on the sidelines, I chronicle Scribe for the Tribe as unconventional, monumental and absolute.

Phantasm ~ Clever Cunning Actor

Platonic idealism is the theory that the reality around us is a reflection of a higher truth. The truth, Plato argued, is the abstraction. That abstraction, IS Phantasm. Get ready to enter a new realm. One that is powerful, intricate, and beautiful with clever colors dancing together in a pale moonlight.

Phantasm consists of: Steven Ross, lyricist, vocals, lead guitar; Jay Yachetta, percussion, graphic design; and Aaron White on bass. This trio has performed from Buffalo to Ohio and I was lucky enough to see them LIVE in Buffalo performing Clever Cunning Actor. Recorded at Disaster Studios in Erie, PA, this 12 track CD is phenomenal.

The fifth song on the album, "Two Left Feet," sets you on a roller coaster ride with a funky, jazzy back beat. This tune is ripe with continuous movement interspersed with hard rock, metal and turntables. Ross' vocal range is to be envied. In a second, he is able to switch from high-pitched screeching to low tone speaking. This trio is a powerhouse apparent in the chorus: "We've come to blow your minds, with our napalm flavor and rips of doom."

The 8th track, "Hey Star," is the path of all artists and corporate America. Yachetta starts us out with a laid back high hat with Ross on vocals and White growling in with his bass. As the tune progresses, drums, vocals and bass elevate in precision. When you listen closely, you can see how in tune the three of them are with one another. They are the same while performing. 100% in control.

"Divide. Conquer. Repeat." showcases all three of these talented individuals. This is my favorite tune. Ross leads alongside tones and turntables with White's steady bass. Yachetta jumps right along with the rise and fall of the vocals. All three of them are tight. Percussion is bold and tribal. This is an anthem.

The last track, "Polyethylene Death Dream," is a masterpiece. Rarely do you see musicians perform with an intense range of talent timing at 15:43. It is difficult to describe everything heard in this tune, let alone the entire CD. There are soundscapes throughout, especially in the end.

In order to experience the utter beautiful madness that is Phantasm, visit them at:

I suggest you do not miss them.

MC Vendetta ~ My 2 Cents In

MC Vendetta aka Janna Willoughby in collaboration with DJ Khemikil, the alter ego of Jessica Neilsen, joined forces as females extraordinaire to produce, "My 2 Cents In." This 12 track CD features Godfrey "G-Man" T, and "D.C." recorded in Buffalo NY and Swannanoa, NC, at North Carolina Warren College. Vendetta and Khemikil set you up for the ride of your life as you step out of your world into theirs. I present to you, MC Vendetta and DJ Khemikil.

This is "Velvet Krème".

"My 2 Cents In", is a poetic socio-political stance on the world viewed through genres such as rap, hip-hop, spoken word, vocals, and performance. With Khemikil on music and back up vocals, and Vendetta on the mic, they manage to meld boundaries many artists would not dare to venture. This is apparent in liner notes by Vendetta: " . . . we call it B-Low, where it takes so long for the grass to grow, and everyone you meet knows two people that you know and the winter takes so long it's all slow, with the snow, I grew up in the cold in this old, kinda rundown town."

If you have witnessed one of their performances, you are familiar with the 2nd track, "Memorize My Name." This is the trademark of MC Vendetta. On the 8th track, "Global Flow", Vendetta speaks of the state of the nation: "Organization stops globalization, and civilization needs interrelation, by my observation, across this fair nation, I see that we're run by some big corporation. We're supposed to be equal; we're supposed to be free, but America's chained to this box called TV . . ."

The 6th track, 'AntiTrust" is an anthem: " Believe what you want, believe what you must, Believe what you want and believe what you must, just look underneath when the stories get rust, for they must decompose and turn back into dust, for that's where we all came from, and that's all that I trust."

You must see a live performance. Vendetta is in a class of her own, as a woman onstage making waves with her poetry and voice. You can catch her at: Her personal website showcases her artwork, poetry, bio, handmade journals and photo albums at:

MC Vendetta can also be found at area venues and the Buffalo "infringement" Festival @: She is raw, she is real, she is Buffalo. Most of all, she is a poet and an artist who cares deeply about the state of our nation. Grab the CD, check out her artwork and get to the Infringement Festival.

Open your eyes to reality. This is MC Vendetta. This is DJ Khemikil.

Welcome to their world.

The world of "Velvet Krème "

Haale ~ No Ceiling

Haale is defined as: "Halo Around The Moon.' Of Iranian descent yet Bronx born, Haale (as in halle-lujah), released "No Ceiling" a melding of Persian mysticism with American 1960's dream wave psychedelia.

This 10-track disc features artists such as: Haale Gafori: vocals, electric guitar, lyrics, setar, Dougie Bowne: lyrics, Shahzad Ismaily: acoustic/electric guitars, electric sitar, bass, Mike Gamble: electric guitar, Steve Cohen: bass, Matt Kilmer: percussion, bass, acoustic/electric guitars, Doug Weisleman: electric guitar, bass clarinet, wooden flute, Christopher Hoffman: cello and Johnny Gandelsman on violin.

Haale has performed from France to Carnegie Hall sharing stages with Sean Lennon, Hugh Masakela and Odetta. This debut full length CD was co-written with Dougie Bowne, produced by Matt Kilmer and mastered by Fred Kevorkian. The art direction, photography and design are credited to Haale, Kevork Mourad, Matt Kilmer and Matthieu Mangaretto from Marseilles, France.

Fascinating aspects on this compilation lie in the lyrics. Haale sings in both Persian and English, inspired by Persian poetry. This is apparent in the 4th track, "Chenan Mastam", "Masti" meaning a state of ecstasy, intoxication and serenity and "Chenan Mastam" meaning "I'm so mast" as in "smashed on the great big everything" according to Vonnegut. Haale's deep-throated vocals combined with percussion bring you right into her realm. She flawlessly switches from English to Persian, equally erotic and enlightening.

The title track, "No Ceiling" begins with a rock n roll guitar riff. Haale calls out: "I go on my way, the feeling grows, no ceiling" with an orchestral unification of bass, drums and clarinet beside her. "Ay Dar Shekasteh" is entirely sung in Persian using lyrical poetry from Rumi. The bass, guitar, vocals and percussion place you in a different time while Haale soars: "Ay dar shekastah jaamah ma Ay bardareedeh daameh ma" Her music is meditative, spiritual, poetic, traditional and everything that is not today.

Connect to Haale at: to get her limited edition 10 track CD entitled, "No Ceiling." Connect to her my space, press, bio, store and tour schedule. The artwork on the CD jacket alone is stunning.

Ellen West ~ Preparing To Be Forgotten

While listening to Ellen West's CD, "Preparing to be Forgotten", I knew immediately that this artist would not live up to title of her 6 track debut CD. Preparing to be Forgotten was recorded at The Boathouse in the winter of 2006 in Buffalo. Ellen West IS Michele Buono or maybe Michele Buono is Ellen West. Either way, Ellen West is the alias Michele Buono takes on when playing solo acoustic shows.

The group Ellen West is composed of: Michele Buono as lyricist/lead guitar/graphic design with Jen Sojka on cello and Justin on piano. This is her solo debut, combined with session instrumentalists. Ellen is also a member of the band The Missing Planes.

Poetic influence is apparent in the manner that she titles her songs. It is reminiscent of the beats of the 50's. It is no surprise that the name Ellen West is derived from a tune by Throwing Muses. This CD is akin to taking Joni Mitchell, Meg White, and Neil Young, mixing them with indie dreamwave folk then tossing in a bit of punk pop. Ellen's guitar chords are precise and her vocals are yearning and mournful in nature. Instrumentation such as piano and cello, and an echo chamber effect on Track 2 brings this CD full circle in getting her spirit across.

Track 3, "Great Escape," begins with cascading acoustics and cello, painting a musical landscape. Ellen's vocals compliment this piece beautifully. The cello cries along with Ellen's strumming. Mid song, the strings gain momentum followed by vocals: ". . . as if I've got some-thing . . . to prove."

Ellen's playing is mind blowing.

A slow, melodic pace can be heard in the 4th track, "Winning Isn't Everything." The piano adds a sing-songy dreamlike rhythm. Ellen bursts forth in the middle with: " . . . you've bro-ken a trust, now I'm at a loss." This tune is so peaceful musically, it's reminiscent of a lullaby, though lyrically it is quite solemn. Ellen plays with her heart and writes of her truth. This is, by far, my favorite on the entire CD. An instant hit.

Haunting yet sultry, "An Empty Room" is a ballad. The instrumentation brings a harpsichord quality to this song. One gets the feeling that notes are being played off key when indeed everything is composed in complete perfection.

Connect to Ellen West by visiting: She is a rare breed and far surpasses mainstream acoustics. Ellen manages to meld classical into punk, erotica to pain, jealousy to love, and hope into hunger in a mere 6 songs. Grab her CD and check out her band:

Prepare to be enlightened.

Grüvology ~ 1st Set

Grüvology grooves, they are jazz, funk and blues. Grüvology is an expression of modern jazz and world beat including a mixture of standard tunes and original compositions. The groove is apparent with or without a drummer. This is fusion.

Grüvology consists of: Walter Kemp III on keys, Bernard Kunz on electric guitar, oud and loops and Efferin Fuse on bass with the accompaniment of Tim Webb and Dave Phillips on percussion. Created May 2006 as the result of a duo performance by Walter and Bernard at Café Allegro in Buffalo, NY, Efferin was invited to a rehearsal and Grüvology was born.

Walter Kemp III took piano lessons from the age of 6 to 13 to later become a percussionist. At Virginia Union University, he completed studies in mathematics, returned to Buffalo at 23 and began playing keys. A strong desire to play gospel and jazz, Walter returned to piano at Music City. His first performance with a band was in "The 80s Reflex Band" Walter's influences include gospel and classics with an intent and passion to present music with technique and integrity.

Efferin Fuse began bass in 1997 with inspirations from local bass players Calvin Palmer, Christopher Bowman and Jerry Livingston. In 1998 he studied music at Villa Maria College and met Tim Webb who provided much encouragement to progress as a bass player. In 1999, Efferin was hired as a bassist at Calvary Baptist Church. From that point, he evolved as an artist and musician in order to inspire others.

Bernard Kunz started piano lessons in 4th grade yet switched to guitar in 7th. Kunz's interests lie in Jazz, groups such as Chick Corea and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Bernard's major influences are the mid sixties: Miles Davis, David Murray, and John Coltrane. Kunz teaches guitar with Love Supreme School of Music and privately, as well. Bernard wishes to incorporate all influences in his compositions and improvisations.

Grüvology advocates the exploration of improvisational jazz along with a rhythmic pulse. They seek to perform for audiences that enjoy live, spontaneous interaction with musicians based on a solid "grüv".

Their latest CD entitled, "1st Set" is precisely what they were aiming for. This 8 track disc places you in front of jazz, funk, groove, classical, classic rock and mood. Produced by Grüvology, recorded and mastered at BFT Tapehouse in Buffalo, NY, "1st set" is a mixture of all base music with a nod to the present day beat. "New Beginnings" is laid back and jazzy with a fresh back beat of guitar, percussion and keys. A constant switch from composition to mood midstream, this tune feels like a Sunday afternoon.

"Slippery Slope" is Bernard on lead with Grüvology adding their own expertise to this experiment of sorts. This track has an ethereal feel to it, like a constant dream state. It is meditative in nature. "Include Rockin' Dennis" is upbeat with percussion apparent. This tune will get you in the groove. "3x+1" is a masterpiece. The title alone is an algebraic equation combining Walter, Bernard, Efferin and Tim. In order to fully experience where Grüvology is at on "3x+1" you need to grab the CD.

The artwork on "1st Set", designed by Dana Kemp, is a chemistry experiment mixed with mathematics simultaneously showing the calm nature of the band. Grüvology manages to take all art forms and produce music which can only be felt, seen and heard by seeing them live or grabbing this CD.

Check out: to connect with the guys, grab the CD and also their blog at:

I had the pleasure of having Walt, Bernard and Efferin in studio and they are the real deal. They believe in their art, have passion for music and this CD is a must have. You can catch them on Think Twice by scrolling down: and often at the Historic Colored Musicians Club and Café Allegro.

They are ever changing, always growing, constantly experimenting. Grüvology is art. In every genre. They are fusion.