Amel Larrieux is a cult songstress who was often presented as an R&B soul vocalist. At the age of 18, she was introduced to the public along with Bryce Wilson as the duet Groove Theory (Epic Records). As lead vocalist and cowriter for the group, she enjoyed success with “Tell Me,” which broke the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top five on the R&B charts before being certified gold in October 1995.
Today, some may categorize her as an R&B soul singer, but the truth is, she has more to offer than just R&B or neo-soul–as if that isn’t enough. Forget musical labels, the truth is this vocalist from the West Village understands the concept of swinging, and she can break down a ballad and touch the heartstrings in a whisper.
It’s her eclectic sound with jazz shadows that keeps her fan base rising and earned her appearances at the Blue Note (131 W. 3rd St.) on Nov. 26-28, with shows at 8 and 10:30 p.m.
Larrieux’s solo debut in 2000, “Infinite Possibilities” (Epic Records), gave her an opportunity to stretch out and demonstrate to the listening public she had much more to offer. She offers a hip blend of music to our rhythmic base. Its single, “Get Up,” is an ode to working people that became a modern anthem and magnet for the growing legion of fans. A Larrieux performance some time ago at the Schomburg Center brought out her jazz sentiments during her rendition of a Billie Holiday tune.
Released in April 2006, “Morning” (Blisslife Records) was her third solo album. She used it as an opportunity to explore the endless range of promise and potential–as well as disappointments in being human. “Ice Cream Everyday” (Blisslife Records) is Larrieux’s upcoming fourth solo album, slated for release later this year.
The vocalist-lyricist has contributed to film soundtracks, writing and singing in such films as “Barbershop,” “Love Jones,” “Down to Earth,” “Sunset Park,” “Takers” and “Why Did I Get Married?”
Good music always swings, and whether it’s on the shores of jazz or the juke joints of R&B, Larrieux is well worth checking out. For show information, call 212-475-8592.
On the heels of celebrating Veterans Day, live performances of “Sleep Song,” created as a “second chapter” to “Holding It Down: The Veterans Dreams Project,” will take place at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for active military and veterans. General admission is $30.
This musical work tells the intense stories of civilians directly affected by war in Iraq and Afghanistan. A WaterWorks U.S. premiere, “Sleep Song” was conceived and directed by poet Mike Ladd, in collaboration with poet and Iraq war veteran Maurice Decaul, Iraqi poet-performer Ahmed Abdul Hussein, noted jazz pianist Vijay Iyer, oudist Ahmed Mukhtar and French guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gay.
The world premiere of “Sleep Song” was produced by the Foundation Royaumont in Asnieres-sur-Oise in France.
Mickey Bass is a great bassist and bandleader, a hard bop veteran who keeps pushing the envelope to the perimeters of jazz. On Dec. 1, Bass will play at Sista’s Place (456 Nostrand Ave.), with two shows at 9 and 10:30 p.m.
His band, the Manhattan Burn Unit, features tenor saxophonist Charles Davis Jr., percussionist Mark Johnson and special guest vibraphonist Bryan Carrott, who played with David “Fathead” Newman and in the pit of the long-running Broadway show “The Lion King.”
Bass recorded, composed and arranged for Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. He also held chairs with such legends as Billy Eckstine, Hank Mobley, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins and Gloria Lynne, for whom he served as musical director. He has recorded with such names as Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan for Blue Note Records, Bobby Timmons on Prestige and Curtis Fuller on Mainstream.
Bass continues to keep the jazz tradition alive through his performing as an educator and his company Brownstone Entertainment Complex.
For more information, call 718-398-1766 or visit sistasplace.org.