A Long Awaited Combo Release
[from the CD cover]
For those of us in Canada who have attended
the recent concerts in Toronto by these talented musicians, this
album is an invaluable addition to our collection of excellent
music from around the world. This musical treat not only takes us
back to the last two performances of Nicolas (bass), Eddie
(keyboards), Wilson (drums) and Arturo (saxophone and flute), but
makes us remember the jazzy sounds that often have enveloped us as
we've travelled many miles by car, train and plane.
The funky, spicy and cool grooves that emanate from the
adroitly played instruments remind me of trips I've taken recently
to Grenada, Curacao, Barbados, Cooks' Bay in Ontario, and to
bustling New York, Montreal and London, England. [Alex Waithe]
"...as smooth and as potent as a Caribbean cream liquor..." ( New
York Daily News)
"I think Arturo is destined to be regarded as a true musical
giant..." (Monty Alexander)
"..NEWA unquestionably the stars of the Grenada Jazz Festival"
(DOWN BEAT Magazine)
NEWA is heady but not overpowering, urbane with a hint of urban,
NEWA the musicians are West Indians playing jazzy interpretation
of their own compositions and others. Twenty-Four Seven has a medium
pace breezy bounce and Seduction Island's flute solo has me
imagining Phyllis Hyman lending her inimitable voice in vocal
accompaniment. That would make it extra sweet. They give Brubeck's
Take Five a freshness and Krosfyah's Pump Me Up an even more mellow
two instrument performance. Barbadians Brancker - guitar, and Tappin
- flute, sensuously present this Bajan soca anthem on the last track
and that serves as the subtle command to play the CD again. [ eCaroh/Ron]
Nicholas Brancker, began his musical career at the age of three
when he was given a toy piano by his parents. He began playing songs
from the radio and record player. Nicholas' natural ability was then
honed with formal training. He went on to graduate from the
University of the West Indies where he majored in philosophy.
While at University he continued his passion for music and landed
a gig touring with Raf Robertson where he met Eddy Grant. This led
to touring most of Europe and the Middle East. Upon returning to
Barbados Nicholas opened his own recording studio, where he produced
local acts like Square One and Krosfyah, while catapulting into the
international spotlight by receiving a Grammy nomination for a jazz
piece on flutist Sherry Winston's album "Love Is". Nicholas went on
to work with many notable artists such as Roberta Flack, Cyndi
Lauper, Simply Red, and Shabba Ranks. Nicholas' debut album," In
Contempt" is definitely a showcase of his musicianship, songwriting
skill, and production wizardry.
Eddie Bullen, started performing at the age seven. It was
considered a serious undertaking in his household. Eddie practiced
the organ while his brother Johnny honed his skills on drums. The
then twelve year-old Eddie and brother commenced a busy tour of the
hotel circuit in Grenada, where the Bullens were born and brought
Eddie frequently found himself playing in jam sessions, at his
father's music store, with musicians like, the legendary Les Paul,
Raf Robertson, Kingsley Etienne, pianist Clive Zander and
international vacationing musicians that were looking for somewhere
to jam. Those sessions gave me international experience without
leaving the island, Eddie says.
Since his move to Toronto in 1980, Eddie has received a Juno
award for producing Liberty Silver's hit, "Lost Somewhere Inside
Your Love", a Juno Award nomination for Sway's, "Hands Up" theme
music for Club Med's highly successful TV commercial as well as
arranged the theme song for the 1996 Canadian Gala for the Atlanta
Summer Olympics. Eddie has also worked alongside artists like
Canadian Jazz singer Salome Bey, Dan Hill and Miske, a songwriter on
Michael Jackson's Invincible album, along with a host of others.
Eddie also has a studio where he spends most of his time,
composing, arranging, producing, and working with artists like
Deborah Cox, Byron Lee, 11:30, Oleta Adams, Demo Cates, Bill Sharpe,
Michelle Wright, Maestro, David Tyson, Andrea Lewis, Eric Mercury,
Anslem Douglas writer of the hit song, "Who let the Dogs Out", Alex
Walker and Glenn Lewis. While producing albums Eddie managed to
produce two albums of his own, "Nocturnal Affair" in 1996, a Smooth
Jazz recording, featuring Glenn Lewis, Demo Cates, Colleen Allen,
Luis Mario Ochoa, Neville Peters, Ben Heywood, and "Make It Real",
which features Maurice Gordon, Rich Brown, Phil Dwyer, Hilario Duran
and Tony Zorzi.
Wilson Laurencin was born in England to West Indian parents and
moved to Canada with his family when he was eleven years old.
Growing up, Wilson was influenced by many artists like Chick Corea
and Weather Report and Clive Zander. Not limiting himself to any
specific genre of music made Wilson's appreciation diverse spanning
to include Jazz, R & B, Calypso, Rock and Pop Music.
Wilson studied drumming, at the Drummers collective in New York
City, where he was exposed to some of the best talent in the world.
Wilson was aware of talent around him and took full advantage of the
opportunity. Wilson has worked with many great talents like Ben E.
King, The Philosopher Kings, John Pasticcio, The Dream Warriors,
Deborah Cox, The Mighty Sparrow, Rich Little, Dave KHz, Burton
Cummings, Richard Marx, and Len.
Currently, you'll see Wilson nightly on Canada's number one late
night talk show, "Open Mike" with Mike Bullard, as the drummer for
"Open Mike" House Band.
Arturo Tappin, the saxophonist in the group, began his musical
career, with formal training at Berklee College of Music. Described
as a cross between the Teddy Pendergrass and Kenny G, Arturo is
definitely the smoothest, sexiest horn man the Caribbean has to
offer. Influenced by the roots culture, Arturo made headway with his
roots-reggae Jazz-fusion album, for his debut recording and
increased the hype with a repeat performance on his second album
entitled, "Java", both licensed by Pioneer Record in Japan.
His dynamic live performances and his reputation for putting on
explosive shows led him to perform at the Edinburgh Festival, Coho
Jazz Festival, Miami AT&T Caribbean Jazz Festival, St. Lucia,
Antigua, Curacao, St.Vincent, Grenada and Barbados Jazz Festivals,
Arturo continued his live performance schedule at Bob Marley's
Birthday Bash, James Bond Film Festival in Jamaica, and Trinidad's
Independence Day celebration in Miami. Besides touring Jazz
festivals the world over, Arturo has performed at social engagements
as well including a performance for past United States President,
Mr. Bill Clinton.
Arturo has played and recorded with many artists including Red
Rodney, Milt Hilton, Monty Alexander, Ernest Ranglin, Jacky Terrason,
Roberta Flack, Courtney Pine, Al Hare-wood, Roy Haynes, Ellis
Marsalis, Oliver Jones, Doc Cheatham, Pete King, Matuaburuka, The
Wailers Band, Third World, Mikey Benner, Dennis Bovell, Sandra
Cross, Luther Francois, Bongo Herman and Dean Frasier. Arturo
attributes much of his success to a former tutor at Berklee College
of Music, Bill Pierce, uncle Elombe Mottley, and his parents for
their constant love and support.
It's no wonder NEWA is so pungent artistically. The collaboration
of these acclaimed Caribbean musicians add dimension to the world of
smooth Jazz. The self entitled album, features the smooth jazz, with
all the complexity needed to spark interest and delight. From the
mid tempo to fast, from in your face to the more relaxed
compositions, there is something there for everyone. There are nine
originals to satisfy your every mood, incorporating elements from
R&B , Latin, Calypso, Funk, Soul and even Rock. NEWA the album also
includes a groove based version of Dave Burbank's "Take Five". The
album in its entirety embodies the charisma and fortitude necessary
to propel this group to great heights.
When asked about the direction of the group and what impact they
would hope to make on their audience. The response was surprising,
"We hope to bring jazz out of the closet and into the light,". A
reference made to Jazz industry . "Many people are Jazz curious but
don't have a vehicle." Eddie says. We hope to entice the traditional
enthusiast as well as incorporate the new jazz fan. It is that
interest that will close the gap between Jazz and the mainstream.
Keeping that in mind this group is determined to make smooth Jazz
that much NEWA - Patrice Benn.
About Eddie Bullen
Performer, songwriter, arranger and producer Eddie Bullen is, in
every way, a standout amongst the latest generation of that
seemingly endless string. Bullen's career, which started in 1971,
has already yielded an abundance of rewards for the multi-talented
musician. Since his move to Toronto in 1980 from Grenada, Eddie
Bullen has worked with major Canadian and other international