Wednesday, 20 June 2018

New York Festivals Radio Awards 2018 | Double Gold Winner

New York Festivals Radio Awards 2018 | Double Gold Winner for "Bing Crosby In "The Road To Rock "n" Roll" - From Final Solution To Audio Revolution"

Conceived and co-produced by producer Steve Levine, Bing Crosby in ‘The Road To Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is written and co-produced by Lewis Borg-Cardona and is a Magnum Opus production for BBC Radio 2. This fascinating radio show won Gold in 2 categories at the New York Festivals Radio Awards 2018, including for "Best Writing". Pictured here is co-producer Lewis Borg-Cadona receiving the awards.


Presented by Academy Award nominated actress and singer (Sadie and the Hotheads) Elizabeth McGovern, this programme commemorates the fortieth anniversary of Bing Crosby’s untimely passing whilst simultaneously celebrating a critical moment in the history of radio: the seventieth anniversary of the very first programme recorded on magnetic tape – Bing Crosby’s Philco Radio Time. 

It’s the intriguing story of how entertainment great Bing Crosby was instrumental in adopting tape technology developed in Nazi Germany to change the face of the radio and recording industry. Thirty years after those far reaching changes, Bing spent the last month of his life almost entirely in England – apart from a fateful golfing trip to Spain, during which the crooner carded his last round.

The show takes an in-depth look at this period of time and it includes the recording of Bing’s last Christmas Special and his final commercial album, Seasons; his UK regional tour; a two week London Palladium residency; and his radio swansong – a BBC session at Maida Vale.

As well as playing Crosby’s music (and a rare example of Bing reciting poetry!), self-confessed fan Elizabeth unearths archive material from Philco Radio Time, plus the wartime BBC radio show Variety Bandbox. Vintage interviews include chats with Jack Mullin, Anne Shelton, Bing"s former wife Kathryn Crosby, Rosemary Clooney (aunt of Hollywood actor George Clooney), UK Comedian Ted Rogers and Alan Dell. There are also brand new interviews with the man who engineered Bing’s last commercial recording, Steve Taylor; plus the Music Director of Bing’s very last tour and BBC radio session, Gordon Rose.


Millie Jackson Exposed | Steve Levine

Millie Jackson Exposed - The Multi-Track Sessions Mixed By Steve Levine

"Millie Jackson Exposed" is scheduled for release on 29th June 2018 on the prestigious Ace Records label. This album showcases the fabulous songs of Millie Jackson and her talented musicians, mixed once more by Grammy Award winning British record producer Steve Levine to bring them into sharp focus. Buy "Millie Jackson Exposed" at Ace Records

This 24bit, 96kHz super high-res album mix is the result of a discussion between Roger Armstrong of Ace Records and producer Steve Levine. Roger and Steve both met at PPL where they both feature on the board, and discovered their mutual admiration of the stunning sound of Millie Jackson and her talented musicians. They hatched a plan to go over the Millie Jackson multi-track tapes to see if there was something new that could be created from them. The process was detailed; and thus began the transferral of all available analogue tapes to digital, and also the shipment of a significant drive packed with music over to Steve"s Liverpool studio.

Watch Steve Levine discuss how "Millie Jackson Exposed" was developed

After a process of sorting through the material, a potential track listing began to evolve. The repertoire that was chosen included a fine mix of dancers and grooves, always showcasing Millie"s amazing soul vocals. The bedrock of this album is absolutely fantastic - the recordings are such high quality, made in some of the best recording studios around, with some of the most talented musicians of the 70"s - including the Swampers at Muscle Shoals recording studios with David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Barry Beckett and Jimmy Johnson, and also background vocals from the fantastic Brandye and the Moments.

Many a time the tracks were recorded at the iconic Muscle Shoals Studio, which lent the material a super-solid groove, and the sweeteners were added later in New York, Philadelphia, or Detroit, using great arrangers including the legendary Mike Lewis and also David Van DePitte, who was well known for his work at Motown.

With such rich source material, it required a knowledgeable producer/engineer with a sympathetic ear and passion for the music to turn the tracks into something that sounded new and fresh, whilst utilising  the advantages of modern digital technology, allowing for soundstages and editing that wasn"t possible at the time.

With Steve Levine"s producing background encompassing a plethora of genres including pop, rock and soul, and his work on the BBC2 show "The Record Producers", he was the ideal person to helm the multi-track tapes and see where this could lead. Steve"s new mix is a break away from the contemporary mix often heard in the charts (which uses small elements of the original to create a new track and "floating" the vocal on top).

The music you hear on "Millie Jackson Exposed" was performed on the original tracks - indeed it was thought that there is no sense adding anything when the original standard of musicianship was so stellar. Indeed the title "Exposed" was chosen due to the fact that Steve"s mix opens the sound right out, so you can hear the original instrumentation crystal clear. The tracks on "Exposed" are also extended, so this takes advantage of those classic grooves, looping them and adding a new dynamic.

This technique is best heard on "I Cry" - now featuring a dramatic, ethereal intro reminiscent of perhaps Portishead, which has the effect of adding even more drama to a lesser known but superb social commentary song from Millie Jackson.

Listen to the swirling reverb on ‘If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right)’ - this makes even more dramatic what is one of the most conflicted and disturbing lyrics in soul music.

The keyboards that drive "My Man, A Sweet Man" are revisited in a whole new way, as is the subtle dance groove of the steamy Isaac Hayes duet on "Sweet Music, Soft Lights And You". The intention on this album is to respectfully produce alternate versions of the music that were simply not possible at the time, drawing them closer to a more contemporary audio experience for our digital age (with an analogue heart).


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

DENNIS ROLLINS MBE | The Queen"s Birthday Honours 2018

The Queen"s Birthday Honours 2018 | Dennis Rollins MBE

We are extremely honoured to announce that our client, Jazz Trombonist Dennis Rollins, has received an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen"s Birthday Honours 2018.

Dennis Rollins at Atrium Talent

Dennis Rollins MBE is a multi award winning (including the highly coveted BBC Jazz Award and the British Jazz Award) virtuoso Trombonist and songwriter, known as founding member of Badbone & Co, and also as collaborator with multi-million selling international bands such as Jamiroquai, Blur, Brand New Heavies, Maceo Parker, Courtney Pine, Baba Maal and US3.

He is also one of the best known musicians on both the British and the international jazz scene, and is celebrated for his versatility and unique approach to the trombone.  His fast-paced grooves can be heard to maximum effect in his award-winning band Badbone & Co’s repertoire of groove-based, funky dance music.

Over the years Dennis has established a reputation as an artist of excellence and has lent his unique and stylish talents to not only the UK but the worlds top jazz and pop personalities such as Courtney Pine, Baba Maal, Jamiroquai, US3, Brand New Heavies, Blur and as a guests of American saxophonist Maceo Parker’s band.

Dennis Rollins" own band Badbone & Co has released three critically acclaimed albums: Badbone, Make Your Move, and Big Night Out!

Dennis Rollins: Musicianship and Awards

Badbone & Co won the prestigious BBC Jazz Award for Best Band in 2006, and Dennis collected the Marston’s Pedigree British Jazz Award for Best Trombonist the same year.

Dennis"s Rhythms of Fire music and poetry project also won the 2006 Arts & Kids Award, part of the regional Arts & Business Awards.

Dennis was nominated twice in the 2008 Parliamentary Jazz Awards: and for Jazz Musician of the Year and the Jazz Education Award; he won the latter in a ceremony hosted by Paul Gambaccini at the House of Commons Terrace Pavilion.

In 2007, Dennis received Trombonist of the Year at both the British Jazz Awards, and the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Awards, and received nominations in the Urban Music Awards, and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

In February 2008, in a ceremony at Mansion House, Doncaster, Dennis was awarded Honorary Freedom of the Borough in recognition of his successful musical career, and for his role as an inspiration to Doncaster"s musical youngsters.

His current jazz outfit Velocity Trio have released two acclaimed albums. The group also received the JazzYorkshire Award 2012 for Band of The Year. Dennis was also nominated for the 2017 British Jazz Awards in the Best Trombone category.

As part of Her Majesty The Queen"s Birthday Honours 2018, Dennis was honoured with an MBE for services to music.


Sunday, 10 June 2018

Record Producer Steve Levine appears on BBC Breakfast

Record Producer Steve Levine appears on BBC Breakfast 10-06-2018

Grammy Award winning client Record Producer Steve Levine appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning discussing a range of topics with Naga Munchetty and Roger Johnson, including Soundbars and the need for music producer consultancy in their development, The Beatles Abbey Road album cover suits, Steve Hackett and the Genesis fair royalty split, and how the greatest art should provoke and shock the imagination.

Watch now at 1hr 23s and again at 2hrs 22m 33s:

Book Steve Levine 

Janice Long plays Planet Sweet by ZANTi on BBC Radio Wales

Janice Long played Planet Sweet by ZANTi on BBC Radio Wales Weds 22nd August. The track Planet Sweet is taken from the new ZANTi album &q...