Allison Au with the Migration Ensemble · Migrations

Migrations is a musical exploration of why people leave their homes to pursue life in a new land, and the reverberating impact it has on future generations. It is an acoustic tribute to the complex but universal human act of migration, weaving lush, mosaic-like dreamscapes with poignant, heartrending lyrics. A suite of music conceptualized by the JUNO award winning saxophonist and composer Allison Au (pronounced “ow”), Migrations draws emotion and depth from Au’s family history of immigration to Canada: from Southern China and Malaysia on her father’s side and war-torn Poland and Israel on her mother’s side. A biracial descendant of migrants, Au’s compositional process is also informed by her personal experience of reconciling displacement, cultural identity, family legacy and the notion of home.“Migrations is one of the most important pieces of music I have created because it is so personal. It speaks to my identity as a Canadian born to immigrant parents and delves into subject matter that I previously attempted to articulate, but never found the project through which to do so.” Commissioned by the Royal Conservatory of Music, Migrations premiered at the 21C Music Festival at Toronto’s Koerner Hall in January 2020. Her fourth studio recording and most ambitious compositional work to date, Migrations features the musicians of Au’s longstanding quartet as the core of an expanded ensemble that includes vibraphone, string quartet, and voice. As a testament to the sentiments of traumas and upheaval shared by migrants of different backgrounds and circumstances, the lyrics of Migrations feature the words of poets including Emma LaRocque, Ruth Padel, Rae Marie Taylor, Duncan Mercredi, Chief Dan George, Langston Hughes and Wanda Coleman.

David Margam · Serenity (Feat. Roberto Vazquez)

Welcome to a journey of musical serenity! We are thrilled to present our new single, «Serenity» a delicate piece that seamlessly blends David Margam's masterful guitar skills with the emotive piano performance by Roberto Vazquez. Immerse yourself in the gentle notes that will transport you to a state of calm and tranquility. The collaboration between these talented artists has given birth to a melody designed to caress your senses and provide a moment of peace amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Mark your calendars for March 1st, as this enchanting composition will be released on all digital platforms, offering you a unique opportunity to experience the serenity of this musical journey. Don't miss the chance to be captivated by the harmonious collaboration of David Margam and Roberto Vazquez. Let yourself be embraced by the soothing melodies on this special release date!

James Brown · We Got The Change

“Can you imagine James Brown saying, ‘We got to change’?' Well, he did,” says William “Bootsy” Collins. “And who's playing bass? Little ol’ funky me. Let's go!”

A never-before-released James Brown song, “We Got To Change,” stream HERE, makes its debut today on Republic/UMe.

“James Brown always leaned into the social tip,” Bootsy continues. “He always was trying to keep the youngsters informed and the people informed on what’s going on. The new breed was coming in and certain things were going out. He loved to inform people on what was coming and what was going to be because he felt like he was part of it, and he was.”

Recorded at Miami’s Criteria Studios on August 16, 1970, “We Got To Change” was laid down during a pivotal period in the world of James Brown - a few months earlier, longtime members of his famed James Brown Orchestra had walked out.

Brown quickly assembled a new group anchored by guitarist Phelps “Catfish” Collins and bassist William “Bootsy” Collins, two young brothers from Cincinnati. They brought a harder edge and a fresh identity to Brown’s music on such singles as “Get Up (I Feel Like Being) a Sex Machine,” “Super Bad,” and “Soul Power.” Brown called them The J.B.’s.

Their Criteria session featured a reunion with one of Brown’s 1960s sidemen: the great Clyde Stubblefield. “The Funky Drummer,” as he was known, would grace several of Brown’s subsequent hits and become one of the most sampled drummers of the hip-hop era. Also on the track is James Brown’s longtime No. 2, Bobby Byrd, who is heard alongside Brown on the chorus.

“We Got To Change” is another example of James Brown’s social outreach seen in singles like “Don’t Be a Dropout,” “Say It Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud,” “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved” and “King Heroin.”

It is also a testament to Brown’s diverse musical language, quoting from Little Jimmy Dickens’ 1949 hit “Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait)” and the African-American anti-war spiritual, “Down by the Riverside.”

“The James Brown Revue invented the Funk,” says Funk author Rickey Vincent, “and the J.B.’s perfected it.” Newly unearthed and hitherto unheard, “We Got to Change” adds a critical page to the history of that perfection’s evolution.

Laila Biali · Your Requests

Highly acclaimed musician Laila Biali is a force on the jazz scene in Canada and beyond. The JUNO Award-winner’s distinctive voice is typically on dazzling display in her original music. Now, after ten years recording her own material, Biali turns her attention to the Great American Songbook with Your Requests,
her ninth album as bandleader. While showcasing her own impressive skill set, Biali gathers longtime collaborators for the outing: drummers Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy) and Ben Wittman along with bassist George Koller and tenor saxophonist Kelly Jefferson.

The shift back to more classic jazz material was inspired by Biali’s delight in fulfilling the song requests of her fans. When she asked her social media followers what tunes they’d like to hear 
her cover, more than 150 songs were submitted. Your Requests debuts the first collection of Biali’s dynamic and personal arrangements in response to her listeners, a “musical love letter.”

Right from the first track, a smart and energetic take on Dixon & Henderson’s Bye Bye Blackbird, Biali’s arranging ethos and piano chops are in full force while Jefferson and Lewis trade blistering solos over Koller’s anchoring bass ostinato. Biali also teams up with several vocalists for enthralling duets. JUNO Award-winner Emilie-Claire Barlow features on an exhilarating take on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s My Favourite Things. Scat sensation and recent JUNO winner Caity Gyorgy charms on a lilting delivery of Pennies from Heaven, while Kurt Elling lends his bold and brilliant voice to My Funny Valentine.

Biali also reinterprets the oft-played But Not For Me as a samba that showcases clarinet virtuoso Anat Cohe, Brazilian percussionist Maninho Costa, and Wittman on drums. The final guest appearance belongs to harmonica master Grégoire Maret, featured on a lush delivery of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars). For the final track, Biali takes a surprising turn with a fierce instrumental rendition of Jerome Kern’s All the Things You Are. The searing, cleverly reharmonized arrangement closes out the record, reminding listeners that if one wades into familiar waters, they best have something new to say.

Kay-Ta · Distance

Osaka, Japan born guitarist Kay-Ta has supported/performed with artists ranging from pop/R&B artists like Grammy Winner Lalah Hathaway, Jenifer Hudson, Jody Watley, Amerie & Chante Moore; Contemporary Jazz artists including Jackiem Joyner, Keiko Matsui, & Michael Lington; to Jazz Fusion artists like Japanese drum prodigy, Senri Kawaguchi.

Along with US artists, he worked/toured with top Japanese artists like Chikuzen Satoh, Junko Yagami, Marlene. His classical crossover group Quattrosound was nominated for a 2013 Latin Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category. His solo debut album "ARRIVAL" won the 2016 15th annual Independent Music Award in The Best Jazz Instrumental Album category, and it's single “Synch With Me” ranked up to No.22 on Billboard Top Jazz Songs Chart. 2018 his song “Spring in Lviv” won USA Songwriting Competition in Instrumental Music category. His current project “Kay-Ta Crypto String Society” has performed many shows in US, Austria and Japan and getting great reviews.

Von Stupart · Love Your Smile

"After many years of performing and honing my musical craft, the year 2020 was the jump start of my recording career. In collaboration with guitarist/producer Adam Hawley, I was able to create wonderful tunes to share with the world. I’ve released ten songs so far with more to come!

My newest release is "Love Your Smile". It is a song that is dear to my heart. We need more joy and laughter in this world. A smile is contagious and leaves us all in a feel-good place! Try it! I hope this song brings warmth and joy to your heart!

I’m forever grateful for all the wonderful support I’m receiving throughout this awesome journey." - Von Stupart

Greg Manning · Brother To Brother

A two-time GRAMMY award nominee with over a dozen Billboard #1 hits to his credit as a primary artist or producer, Greg Manning has had a remarkable career since moving to the USA from Switzerland in 2002.

An in-demand producer/composer and a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Greg is a three-time certified platinum Producer for Universal Music Switzerland with several Swiss chart toppers. He is the former keyboardist and Music Director for legendary GRAMMY award nominated artist Jonathan Butler and served as keyboardist for genre nobles Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, Will Downing, Richard Elliot, Brian McKnight and Chante Moore.

His own music is a joyful union of jazz, soul, and funk and has been describe as "Soul-Jazz at it's best".

"Brother To Brother is my first single for 2024 and I wanted to ring in the new year with an upbeat, energetic tune. I love the combination of piano and saxophone so I called tenor player Jimmy Reid to support the melody. Morris O'Connor who plays with Earth, Wind & Fire is the rhythm guitar player on the song. I hope your listeners enjoy listening to it as much as we did creating it." -Greg Manning

Allan Thomas · Mojo

I’m a singer, songwriter, guitar-slinger, recording artist and performer living and working on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. It’s been over 50 years since I released my first album, and I released my 7th studio album, The Journey in 2021. It was recorded in a year and a half at the start of the pandemic at Black Bamboo Recordings studio—allowing me to escape to the ocean to surf and windsurf between session dates.

I’m super excited to announce the release of the first single from my upcoming 8th album Mojo co-written with my longtime friend and guitarist Bryan Kessler.

With ‘Mojo’ I was trying to tackle and explore that ineffable something that fulfills one whatever it may be and whatever you may call it. It makes you feel whole, like you’re on the right track, like you stumbled upon the answer or a holy grail. It could take the shape of many things, but you know it when you experience it. Many people spend their lives in search of it sometimes briefly touching upon it, other times never finding it at all. May we all find our mojo.

Allan Thomas - vocal
Bryan Kessler - guitars
Michael Ruff - keyboards
Jimmy Johnson - bass
Keith Carlock - drums
Amanda Frazier - backing vocals