Debut CD from the accomplished trio & star-studded cast will be released October 23rd,
“Dominique” featuring Philip Bailey is the first track serviced to radio
Three shades of jazz, soulful R&B grooves, Latin and African rhythms, and diverse World Music instrumentation and vocalization unite to form an audacious, captivating and lavish musical tapestry without borders on the debut album from the accomplished trio known as Audio Caviar. For the first time in the United States, their complete sumptuous 17-track Transoceanic collection will be released October 23rd on Well-Oiled Records, a division of entertainment conglomerate The Machine Productions. Group members Ralph Johnson and Morris Pleasure produced the disc with Marcel East (Fourplay, David Benoit, Bob James). Serving as a preamble to the album release, “Dominique,” featuring a sensitive piano melody caressed by a mid-tempo R&B groove and a celestial hook sung by Philip Bailey, was just serviced to smooth jazz radio.
Drummer-vocalist Johnson, an original member of Earth, Wind & Fire, and keyboardist-bassist-flugelhorn player Pleasure comprise Audio Caviar along with Danish guitarist Steen Kyed. Initially conceived as a traditional jazz trio in a Copenhagen, Denmark recording studio, the project changed focus, expanded and added dimensions that resulted in an intrepid, inspired and comprehensive body of music that challenges, soothes, dances, and swoons. The level of musicianship on display is at the master’s level. Johnson’s astute rhythms perfectly accentuate Pleasure’s multi-instrumental melodies and Kyed’s nimble acoustic and electric guitar riffs. Impressive is how they seamlessly fuse traditional jazz, contemporary jazz and jazz fusion with an urban undercurrent and deftly deploy World Music nuances that add richness, color and depth to the intricately crafted tracks. Amongst the luminous contributors that joined Audio Caviar in recording studios in Denmark and Los Angeles, California were musicians and vocalists from all over the world including George Duke, Jonathan Butler, Howard Hewett, Dori Caymmi, Paulinho De Costa, EWF’s Verdine White, Al McKay (original EWF guitarist) and the EWF horn section. Band members had a hand in penning twelve of the album’s compositions. Completing the disc are Miles Davis and Ivan Lins covers (“All Blues” and “The Island” respectively), the gorgeous “Jodie” that was written by Butler, and a fresh-sounding soul-jazz jam (“Hookline”) from a trio of Danish songwriters.
While Johnson is certainly kept busy with Earth, Wind & Fire duties, he’s equally committed to Audio Caviar. “Obviously I’m proud of the legacy I’ve been a part of creating, but for me, Audio Caviar is about establishing a musical identity outside of ‘The Fire,’” he explained. “We wanted to make a very diverse record that has something for everybody, but on a World Music level to reach the masses. We’re excited that for the first time here at home, the full album as we envisioned it will be released. This is just the beginning. We’ve already begun writing (songs for) the second album.”
Los Angeles native Johnson has been with EWF for over 35 years and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the legendary funk-pop band. A classically trained pianist who returns home to Connecticut annually to perform with the New Haven orchestra, Pleasure is a former EWF musical director who has toured with Janet Jackson, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Roberta Flack, and Rachelle Ferrell amongst others. Kyed is an expressive player who is a member of the Danish band TAO. Additional information is available at www.myspace.com/audiocaviar and www.themachineproductions.com.
Audio Caviar’s Transoceanic contains the following songs:
“Now That I’ve Found You”
“Serengeti Sunset” (Interlude)
“Legends of Ratava” (featuring Jonathan Butler)
“Sophie’s Theme” (Interlude)
“The Island” (featuring George Duke)
“Dominique” (featuring Philip Bailey)
“Love Comes in Time” (featuring Howard Hewett)
“Hookline” (vocal version)
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