Capital Jazz Fest, Saturday

Capital Jazz Fest, Saturday

Boney James, Roy Ayers, Patti Austin, Earl Klugh, Najee, Harvey Mason, "Catch A Rising Star" Showcase featuring Carol Riddick, George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, Chrisette Michele, Ruben Studdard, Deborah Cox, Rahsaan Patterson

Sat, June 6, 2015

Doors: 10:00 am / Show: 12:00 pm

Merriweather Post Pavilion

Columbia, Maryland

$75.50 - $205.00

This event is all ages

The Capital Jazz Fest is held rain or shine. Talent lineup and schedule are subject to change without notice. All ticket sales are final. No refunds, exchanges, or cancellations are permitted.

 

Capital Jazz Fest, Saturday
Capital Jazz Fest, Saturday
Each year in early June, tens of thousands of music lovers from throughout the country flock to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to attend this weekend of hot fun and cool jazz — The Capital Jazz Fest. This multi-day, multi-stage outdoor music festival, which attracts music lovers from 44 states, is more than just a concert, it's an event! It's a place to people-watch, eat, drink, shop, mingle, relax, soak in the rays, and of course hear some of the coolest music performed by artists whom you won't see anywhere else in the Washington-Baltimore area this summer.


In-between musical sets, enjoy fine art and crafts at the Festival Marketplace, culinary treats at the food court, plus artist workshops and meet & greets. And after the show, check out the late night after-parties.


___


There will be four ADA parking lots available for the Capital Jazz Fest, one near each entrance.

· ADA North (closest to MARKETPLACE/SOUL STAGE/TENT CITY) with marked ADA spaces in the parking garages and surface lots across the street from the North Entrance; 10462 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044. Vehicles should enter this site from Little Patuxent Parkway.

Please note all individuals seeking access to the following accessible parking locations should use the Broken Land Parkway/Hickory Ridge Road access to the site. The vehicles will then be directed to park in the appropriate ADA lot. These lots will be serviced by golf carts.

· ADA West Gate (closest to SOUL STAGE/MARKETPLACE/TENT CITY) for wheel chair accessible needs only located at coordinates 39.210668, -76.865844.

· ADA West Auxiliary (closest to SOUL STAGE/MARKETPLACE/TENT CITY) with spaces available in the lot closest to the West Entrance, off Broken Land Parkway near the intersection of Broken Land Parkway and Hickory Ridge Road

· ADA South (closest to PAVILION STAGE) with spaces available in the main parking lot closest to South Entrance Road and past the entrance to the ADA East wheelchair lot.

Click here for a map - http://g.co/maps/3w5ae
Boney James
Boney James
Boney James dislikes labels and refuses any and all of them. “In fact, I have never thought of myself as a ‘jazz’ artist specifically,” he says.

Of course, this statement may serve as a source of confusion for the musician’s legion of fans that have scooped up over 3 million copies of his twelve albums (with eight of them going to No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart). It also may seem contradictory to the respected opinions of music critics who consider him one of the most influential jazz artists of his generation. In 2010 Billboard Magazine named him “The No. 3 Top Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Decade.”

Even so, Boney James, who has four Gold albums, three Grammy® nominations, a Soul Train Award and an NAACP Award nomination to his credit, says, “I am just a saxophone player whose music has several different influences. Jazz is only one of them.”

His newest CD Contact — completely produced, arranged and co-written by James — is driven by the signature soulful grooves the world has come to expect from him, but with an added intensity. “I felt really inspired putting together the arrangements and producing the record,” he says. “There are a lot of things happening right now in modern music. The title, in one sense, refers to me reaching across genres and creating music that I believe is relevant and fresh.”

This incredibly accomplished artist — who broke into music in the mid-80s touring with acts such as The Isley Brothers, Morris Day (The Time), Randy Crawford and Teena Marie, and emerged as a solo force in 1992 with his breakthrough debut, Trust — has long been influenced by contemporary R&B.

Contact boasts high-profile vocal guest appearances from Grammy® and Tony® Award winner Heather Headley; platinum-selling singer and former member of Destiny’s Child, LeToya Luckett; and R&B superstars Mario and Donnell Jones.

“The title, ‘Contact’, initially reminded me of an electrical contact,“ says James. “But, once I started getting deeper into the record and writing the lyrics for the vocal songs, it seemed to me to also be about love, the connection between people and the frequent regret people experience as a result of missed opportunities. ‘Why did I not do this or that?’ People ask themselves that all the time. The word has so many layers.”

Contact also speaks to his personal life. Last spring, while in traffic on a Los Angeles highway, Boney’s car was totaled when he was rear-ended by a drunk driver. He instantly thought of the future of his career. “One moment, I was on my way home thinking about what I was going to have for dinner and the next moment I was in an ambulance with a fractured jaw and two missing front teeth thinking I may never play my sax again. Looking at the car, I knew I could have been killed. Months later, after healing, I was so grateful to be back on stage and back to work on the CD. The experience has actually had a positive effect on my shows and it was a great influence on the new CD, Contact.”

“When I Had The Chance,” featuring Letoya Luckett, is a beautiful ballad with a theme of regret. She sings along with James’ moody sax and together they deliver one of the most poignant moments on the album. “When I have a vocal song and I am looking for a singer, it’s almost like casting for me. I think, ‘Who can bring this song to life?’ I have been a huge fan of LeToya’s for years. In fact, when I first heard her song ‘Torn’ on the radio, I actually pulled over and called the radio station and asked who it was. She was the first one on my list to reach out to record this song.”

Boney says he has also been a fan of Heather Headley and was honored to work with her on the dancehall-tinged track “I’m Waiting,” despite the less-than-ideal recording conditions. “The night before our session, I was in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in St. Thomas, doing a show and she was in Chicago. So I traveled from an awesome 90 degrees to a 5-degree snow storm!” he laughs. “She is such a talent and I believe her acting experience was really helpful in her expression of the lyrics. It’s a song about a woman finding herself waiting and wishing for her boyfriend to get it together. On the sax, I am playing the role of the bad boyfriend. It’s an interesting duet.”

Also exciting are his collaborations with Mario on the club-influenced track “That Look On Your Face,” and Donell Jones on “Close To You,” a smooth but unexpectedly lively trip-hop-esque track. “I’ve admired Mario since his mega-hit ‘Let Me Love You’ and it was great working with him. I loved Donell’s early records in the late ‘90s and his current successful album, Lyrics. I thought he was the perfect voice for the track and he made the verses on the song really mean what I intended when I wrote them. It’s about a guy missing his opportunity and wanting to make contact with the woman he loves.”

Boney cites legendary producer Quincy Jones as a major inspiration. “I admire him and his ability to make great vocal tunes as well as instrumentals. His genius in combining both inspired me while making this record. I hoped to accomplish a true ‘hybrid’ of sounds.”

And although Boney’s music has in the past been categorized by some as “smooth jazz,” with his masterful new CD Contact he refuses to accept any type of labeling. “I always try to make sure my records possess integrity. I make Boney James music. I’m just trying to break down the barriers and make CONTACT.”
Roy Ayers
Roy Ayers
Vibraphonist/vocalist Roy Ayers is among the best-known, most loved and respected jazz/R&B artist on the music-scene today.

Roy Edward Ayers, Jr. was born in Los Angeles, California on September 10, 1940. Music has always been in his genes. His mother, Ruby, was a schoolteacher and local piano instructor and his father, Roy Sr., was a sometimes-parking attendant and trombonist.

In the 1960's, Roy was an award-winning jazz vibraphonist but soon transferred into a popular R&B band leader in the 1970's and 80's. Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand.

Now in his fourth decade in the music business, Ayers, known as the Godfather of Neo-soul, continues to bridge the gap between generations of music lovers. In the 60's he was an award-winning jazz vibraphonist, and transformed into a popular R&B band leader in the 70's/80's.

Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand and whose music industry heavyweights, including Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac and Ice Cube. Ayers recently recorded with hip hop artist Talib Kweli (produced by Kanye West) and jazz/R&B singer Wil Downing.
Patti Austin
Patti Austin
Patti Austin (born August 10, 1950, in Harlem, New York) is an American Grammy-winning R&B and jazz music singer.

She made her debut at the Apollo Theater at age four and had a contract with RCA Records when she was only five. Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington have proclaimed themselves as her godparents.

By the late 1960s Austin was a prolific session musician and commercial jingle singer. During the 1980s, signed to Jones's Qwest Records, she began her most prolific hitmaking period. She charted twenty R&B songs between 1969 and 1991 and had success on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, where she hit number one in 1981 with "Do You Love Me?" / "The Genie".

The album containing that hit, Every Home Should Have One, also produced her biggest mainstream hit. "Baby, Come To Me," a duet with James Ingram, initially peaked at number 73 on the Hot 100 in early 1982. After being featured as the love theme in a prominent storyline on the soap opera General Hospital, the song re-entered the pop chart in October and went to number one in February 1983. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA. She would later team up again with Ingram for "How Do You Keep The Music Playing".
Earl Klugh
Earl Klugh
Since Earl Klugh released his inaugural album in 1976, the Detroit-born master of the acoustic-classical guitar has become one of the most imitated icons of the instrument, issued dozens of discs, 23 of which have been on Billboard's top-10 list of jazz albums and 5 that made it to the No. 1 slot. During that time, Klugh's recordings also received 12 Grammy nominations (the latest of which was for his 2008 CD The Spice of Life) – and his collaboration with pianist Bob James, One on One, walked away with the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.

In 1989, Klugh released his first solo-guitar album, titled simply Solo Guitar. Sixteen years later, his second solo recording, Naked Guitar, earned Klugh his 11th Grammy nomination. Both of those discs were not only popular, but they received high critical praise as well. HandPicked is on track to follow on exactly that same path. Thirteen of the CD's 16 tracks feature Klugh's signature style of solo guitar mastery. The remaining tracks are duets with three very different players: famed jazz guitarist Bill Frisell; ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro; and Country Music Hall of Fame guitarist and singer Vince Gill.

As a composer and songwriter, Klugh's credit appears on a wide range of recordings from artists such as Aretha Franklin, Jamie Foxx, Roberta Flack, Mary J. Blige, Kenny Loggins, Al Jarreau and many others. And he has been a guest artist with musicians from Buffett, Loggins, Brenda Russell and Stevie Wonder to jazz masters Miles Davis and McCoy Tyner.
Najee
Najee
A native New Yorker, Najee began his iconic career playing clarinet, saxophone and flute in his hometown Jamaica, Queens New York. While in high school his tutelage included not only Jimmy Heath but Frank Foster, and Dr. Billy Taylor at the Jazzmobile in Harlem. Honing his skills as a flutist he additionally studied with Harold Jones at the Manhattan School of Music.

Along with his brother Fareed, he continued his musical scope at the “New England Conservatory of Music” in Boston with a concentrated study in performance and composition. Upon their return to New York, they were invited to tour with the songstress Chaka Khan through his association with Me'lisa Morgan who at the time was a background vocalist.

Najee then met Charles Huggins of HUSH Productions who invited him to record his “Grammy Nominated - Platinum Selling Debut Album” entitled “Najee’s Theme” released by EMI.

Najee embarked on a US tour with Freddie Jackson laying the foundation for what has be become a revolution of Urban Contemporary Jazz.

His sophomore album "Day By Day" also achieved platinum. These albums were followed by "Tokyo Blue", "Just An Illusion” and “Share My World”, all of which attained gold sale status.

His next EMI recording was dedicated to one of his favorite artists Stevie Wonder entitled “Najee Plays Songs from the Key of Life: A Tribute to Stevie Wonder” which revitalized to a new generation Wonders' memorable classics.

Najee with his brother and producer of his last seven albums, released "Morning Tenderness". This was the first project released on their new record label FAN. This critically acclaimed album went to number one on the jazz charts.

Najee is the recipient of many music awards including the Soul Train Music Award for Best Jazz Artist, NAACP Image Award, & Trumpet Awards.

Najee has toured extensively throughout the U.S. including Europe, Asia and Africa. While in South Africa, he performed for Nelson Mandela for the South African leaders birthday celebration. Also was also special guest of President Bill Clinton in a V.I.P. performance at the White House honoring President Jerry Rawlings of the Republic of Ghana.

Throughout his career Najee has had the opportunity to have worked with many great artists such as.... Quincy Jones, Will Downing,Patti La Belle, George Duke, Al Jarreau, Marcus Miller,Joe Sample, Lalah Hathaway, Jeff Lorber, Wayman Tisdale, Dave Koz,Lionel Richie, Gerald Veasley,Jonathan Butler, MAYSA, Ledisi, and was apart of the Prince “Hit and Run Tour”.

As his name is defined, his music can only be attributed as “Close to the Creator”. Listen, as he puts his heart and soul in artistry. We present... Najee!
Chrisette Michele
Chrisette Michele
Everything and everyone grows. Chrisette Michele is no exception. A veteran at the grizzled age of 27, and on the cusp of her third album, Chrisette has found that middle ground. In 2007 she released the critically lauded I Am, which fetched Chrisette her first Grammy for the song “Be OK” written by Chrisette herself and produced by will.i.am. 2009 brought the commercial success of Epiphany, which debuted at #1 on Soundscan and the Billboard charts.

Now, come November 30th, 2010, Chrisette is prepared to Let Freedom Reign. First single “I’m a Star,” written by Ne-Yo and produced by Chuck Harmony, has already landed impactfully at urban mainstream and urban adult contemporary stations nationwide.

“When I got the call that Ne-Yo wrote a song called ‘I’m a Star’ I was like, ‘Nope, I ain’t singing that!’” Chrisette chuckles. “Then I heard it and it was about everything I’ve been through the last couple years. I realized I have willpower beyond what I recognized. That song is about going through a really tough time and coming out on top. And that you can have peace no matter what you’re going through, despite how fragile you’re feeling at the moment.” Indeed, Chrisette turns fragility into frivolity with her uplifting vocals.

Speaking of vocals, Chrisette’s have been blanketing the radio dial alongside Rick Ross and Drake on the massive “Aston Martin Music,” from the Bawse’s current mega-album Teflon Don. Chrisette has been enjoying that ride as well: “When I’m in the studio, the last words you’ll ever hear me say is ‘hit’ or ‘top of the charts.’ I don’t think that way; I just think about what feels really good. I didn’t fathom the success of ‘Aston Martin Music.’ I was just excited to be in the studio with Rick.” Studio time with Rick likewise birthed the track entitled “So In Love,” which Chrisette is proud to claim as part of Let Freedom Reign. Also, look online for her highly-touted mixtape with her new artist Lem Payne (her brother), aptly called Love Thy Brother. Additionally in the past year, Michele joined Maxwell, Musiq Soulchild and Anthony Hamilton on four tours, then headlined a tour with Solange Knowles.

Indeed, Let Freedom Reign is charged throughout, a blissful marriage of fiery spirit and artful musicality. There’s no inert filler. Listeners will find everything from the quirky, funky headsnapper “I’m Your Life” to the high-octave, high-octane sheared metal thunder of “Goodbye Game” and “I Know Nothing,” on which she pleads “Who knows all there is to know?” Producer Chuck Harmony, responsible for the entire album, flashes a repertoire ranging from sugary R&B to dancefloor 4/4 to the raw snarl of Nine Inch Nails. On “Unsaid,” he taps the epic sentiment of Coldplay, Chrisette’s favorite band, on what is fittingly her favorite song. “Unsaid” features a faster, military-cadenced beat with Michele’s giant, ethereal vocals overlaid like a tapestry. Poetic, beautiful, visceral.

Elsewhere, John Legend provides the sweetly satisfying ballad “Don’t Know Why But I Do.” Then there’s the club thumper “So Cool,” with its big, sweeping buildup giving way to 4-on-the-floor mayhem. “So Cool” smacks of the Chemical Brothers’ dancefloor anthem “Star Guitar,” an intoxicating brew of pop and rock and house and all-around spicy goodness. The album ratchets up with the crucial and insightful “If Nobody Sang Along,” what Chrisette deems “the most honest song on the record.” In a melancholy bed of strings and piano, Chrisette plants seeds of discontent, grappling what it is to be a recording artist. Pushing her voice to the verge of breaking, she asks: “What if there were no record labels, no MTV/would I still take the time to write it, would I say what’s on my mind?” and posits “I feel judged, like I’m on trial.”

Chrisette Michele is leaving no stone unturned, artistically or emotionally. Better still, vocally. In fact, she raps on the titular track –the album’s most dynamic– alongside talented lyricists Talib Kweli and Black Thought of the Legendary Roots Crew. Grand, rollicking R&B/hip-hop fusion underpins Chrisette’s call-to-arms: “That record is my heart. It’s about what I feel is this current spirit of murmuring in America, where everyone is complaining about every last thing. Everyone’s upset with politics and the government and health care and education and taxes—anything we can possibly complain about. I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the freedom and liberty that we do have, the option of education, the option to work hard and get what you want out of life, the possibilities.”

Let Freedom Reign is a full plate, an unusually whole sonic spectrum. In an age of disposable tracks and thoughtless compositions, this album is the poignant counterpoint. That applies even to its name. “I spent time with the naming of Let Freedom Reign,” Chrisette states. “Let is a verb meaning to allow, to make room for. Freedom, we know what that is. And Reign means to be supreme. And freedom can’t reign unless you allow it to. This moment I’m in the midst of is about doing whatever it is to bring freedom into your life, to make freedom your reality. Let Freedom Reign is a mandate to the people who are listening, a challenge to the people who are listening to create freedom and truth in their lives.”
Ruben Studdard
Ruben Studdard
Six years ago, Ruben Studdard’s life changed in an instant and it’s been changing ever since. This year has brought about even more changes, with the release of Ruben’s fourth album, Love IS (Hickory Records/19 Recordings). Love IS, is helmed by two of the most successful producers in the business, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Since its release on May 19, Love IS has been celebrated for its collection of love songs. Vibe says “The "velvet teddy bear" can belt billowing love songs” and Entertainment Weekly called the album a "mix of crafty originals and sturdy covers".

The album features Ruben’s versions of Extreme’s classic hit “More Than Words” and Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It.” The first single, “Together,” produced by Stargate, reached Top 15 on the Urban AC chart. "Don’t Make 'Em Like U No More", the follow up to “Together”, is a sleek and soulful R&B ode to everyone's special someone. It also was #1 most added at Urban AC Radio. Another original song on the album is “A Song For Her,” a very personal song co-written by Ruben for his wife, Surata Zuri McCants, whom he met at a Wal Mart signing in 2006.

A new album and a new family are just part of the picture for Ruben in 2009. He starred in a 30th anniversary production of the Fats Waller musical, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” It was Ruben’s first musical theater work since he was in a high school production of “Grease.”

“Fats was a cool cat,” says Ruben. “I loved getting dressed up, sitting at the piano and winking at the girls, just like he did.” Ruben also loved being on the road with Frenchie Davis and Trenyce, who were both contestants with him on the second season of “American Idol.”

Ruben Studdard was born Sept. 12, 1978, in Frankfurt, Germany, where his father was stationed in the United States Army. Ruben was nine months old when his mother brought him home to Birmingham. His musical talent was evident early in life: he was a three-year-old pre-schooler when he started singing at the Rising Star Baptist Church. As a member of the Cherub Choir, he sang a majority of the solo vocals, making his debut with “I’m Yours Lord.”

By the age of seven he was singing at school, in various churches and at banquets and local functions. His mother was a fan of Donny Hathaway, Luther Vandross and the O’Jays and Ruben learned to sing their songs. “I was the number one New Edition fan and in middle school I switched over to Boyz II Men. My father bought a lot of records, and that’s how I heard John Coltrane and Miles Davis. I became a big jazz fan.”

In high school, Ruben joined the football team as an offensive tackle. “I loved to sing and play sports so I went back and forth between the two,” he recalls. “But sports were just recreation for me. I became serious about singing and learning everything I could about music.”

In ninth grade, Ruben was a member of the mixed ensemble choir, the male chorus and the concert choir and sang in a male quartet called Eternal Harmony. “We did a lot of talent shows around Birmingham and achieved some popularity but I don’t think anyone will remember us now.”

Ruben majored in music at Alabama A&M University where his studies included opera. “Can you believe that!” he exclaims. “I loved Pavarotti and I worked very hard at becoming an opera singer. I was going to get an agent but in my sophomore year I joined a gospel group, God’s Gift. I left school after two-and-a-half years to pursue a career in gospel music. We worked at it seven days a week. It seemed like it was about to happen. Then everything came to a standstill.”

Ruben moved on, joining a group called Just a Few Cats. “A girl who was one of our background singers wanted to audition for ‘American Idol’ but she didn’t want to go by herself,” Ruben remembers. “She asked me to go with her and I didn’t want to, but I went just to support her.”

They drove to Nashville and she didn’t make it through to the second round of auditions. But Ruben did. “Once I was actually there trying out, I felt like I could really do something. I just gave it my best shot.”

Everyone knows what happened next. Simon, Paula and Randy sent Ruben to Hollywood, where he advanced from a semi-final round into the top 12 and quickly became America’s favorite, surviving every elimination to win the title of “American Idol” in a dramatic finale on May 21, 2003.

Ruben’s impact on the charts was immediate. His single “Flying Without Wings” debuted at No. 2 on the Hot 100 while his version of “Superstar” peaked at No. 2 on the R&B chart. In December 2003, his first album, “Soulful,” had advance orders of over a million copies, automatically qualifying for platinum certification. The record entered The Billboard 200 at No. 1. A follow-up single, “Sorry 2004,” reached No. 9 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 on the R&B chart.

Ruben’s next album was “I Need An Angel,” released in November 2004. The sophomore set topped Billboard’s gospel chart and was the magazine’s No. 1 gospel album of the year.

Ruben’s third album, “The Return,” found him back in the top 10, peaking at No. 8 on The Billboard 200 and No. 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The first single, “Change Me,” spent an impressive eight weeks at No. 1 on the Adult R&B list.

As well as he has done on the charts, Ruben has also earned his share of awards and nominations. In 2004, he won the NAACP’s Image Award for Best New Artist. That same year, he was nominated for Favorite Male Soul/R&B Artist at the American Music Awards, Best Male R&B Performance at the Grammys, Best New Soul/R&B or Rap Artist at the Soul Train Awards and Best New Artist and Best Male R&B Artist at the BET Awards. The following year Ruben was nominated as Best Gospel Artist at the BET Awards.

It’s been an amazing six years for the man from Birmingham and he feels blessed to have experienced it all. “My grandmother used to tell me that the race is not given to the swift nor to the strong but to the one that endures to the end. I feel like I’m on a course to have a very long career. I just completed my fourth album and a lot of people don’t get to that point. I’m a very happy man.”

Ruben’s mother has long been an advocate for the local chapter of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) and was active in getting their community church involved in raising awareness of the disease. As a result, Ruben has been aware of the hardships of patients, especially African-American patients, suffering from sickle cell disease (SCD), including a serious and under-recognized condition called iron overload.

“I’ve made it my goal to do what I can to help people suffering from the disease by working with and speaking for the Be Sickle Smart program, to inspire and empower them and to take action for their health and be screened for iron overload due to blood transfusions,” says Ruben.

Be Sickle Smart is a community-health program that educates people with SCD about the risk for a serious and under-recognized condition called iron overload. “I’m making several appearances across the country on behalf of the program and I have penned an original song, titled “I Am a Fighter,” that I hope will become the anthem for those participating in Be Sickle Smart,” says Ruben. “My intention with the song is to inspire people with SCD to keep fighting and to take action for their health through education.”
Rahsaan Patterson
Rahsaan Patterson
Times change. We see new loves, new challenges, shifts in values, and shifts in scene. As experienced by singer and songwriter Rahsaan Patterson on his new CD Wines & Spirits, we witness the powerful evolution of an artist who has always reached beyond the norms to challenge ears and minds. Emerging from personal firestorms, Patterson has been tried, tested, and found true, and his journey to artistic rebirth is documented on this, his latest release on Artistry Music.

The title of Wines & Spirits reflects Patterson's view of a life of small pleasures, and recognition of the spiritual in the mundane. "There's something very Biblical about it," Patterson says about the title phrase. "I remember as a kid driving around New York, whenever I would see a liquor store that said 'Wines & Spirits', it just struck me. I grew up Pentecostal and the whole thing with spirits and the gospel and the Holy Ghost, so it was all connected for me.”

Wines & Spirits gives you the full maturation of a soulful artist, whose melodic and lyrical prowess has been an influence on a range of today's artists, from Brandy (for whom he penned "Baby") to Van Hunt. After 23 years in show business (he was a child star on TV's Kids Incorporated), and ten years since his debut Rahsaan Patterson, the singer reflects, "This album may be my most vulnerable, I don't dress anything up... What this album reflects more so than my previous ones, is that my first album I was 23 years old, this one I'm 33 years old.”

The death of Patterson's beloved father a few years ago, a near-loss of faith, and his sense of frustration with the strictures of the music industry almost led the talented songwriter to abandon recording altogether. "I kind of lost it," the artist admits. "My faith had diminished, hope became a joke, and I just needed to go through the dark to get back to the light. To appreciate the light, to know that the light was real."

Musically, the new album ventures further into territory that Patterson has hinted at in the past: Ambient sound, rock, jazz, hip-hop, and gospel. As always, Patterson skillfully weaves multi-layered meanings into his lyrics, a complex simplicity that gives the tunes a haunting quality. It is also an unapologetic expression of Patterson the man, for while Wines & Spirits possesses the same sense of rambunctious musical joy that Rahsaan is known for, it's tempered by the knowledge that joy is often won through tears.

The gritty funk of "Cloud 9" becomes an anthem for dancing away the blues, while the Sunday morning groove of "Feels Good" celebrates simple pleasures. The sensual, otherworldly flow of "Water" finds Patterson emotionally deluged after the loss of love, while his acoustic recording of the Janis Ian tune "Stars" is a sermon on the fleeting nature of fame. Most celebratory of all is the transformative "Higher Love", where earthly and divine love redeems the soul. "I think a lot of the songs, even the titles, have a celestial feeling for me," Patterson notes.

But Wines & Spirits -- three years in the making -- also bears raw emotional edges that reflect both the paranoia of the post-9/11 age and the pragmatic view of a man who has seen the abyss and now celebrates the moment. "No Danger" warns that love cannot exist in an atmosphere of fear; "Deliver Me" is a funky ditty of escape that breaks into an apocalyptic wail for redemption; "Delirium" is a dance floor ode to moments of post-romantic insanity; and the hard hip-hop beats of "Time" offer a challenge to truly keep it real. Darkest is the spare, rock-edged commentary "Pitch Black", where Patterson sings, "Pitch Black / panic attacks / lookin' over my shoulder / wondering what's goin' on / can't see the light at the end of the tunnel / am I ever gonna see the sun?" The words give weight to the feelings few feel free to discuss.

"In my previous albums I've always presented diversity -- don't put me in a box, don't expect me to do this one thing, don't expect me to sing one way, but I knew I had to do it in doses," Patterson says. "This album comes at a time where I think a lot of what we've had to live through as a society has really brought us together, like I'm human, you're human."

Co-producers and co-writers for Wines & Spirits include Keith Crouch, who worked on Patterson’s 1997 debut, and frequent collaborator Jamey Jaz, who in addition to working on the debut with Crouch, also contributed to Love In Stereo and After Hours. With his independent spirit ever intact, Patterson also reached out to new writers to challenge his muse, among them Audius Mtawaira, who co-created the gorgeous ballad single "Stop Breaking My Heart".

Also new is Ian Read, an up and coming DJ whose efforts at creating atmospheric sound led to "Water"; and Timothy "Twizz" Bailey Jr., whose synthesized bass tracks for "Higher Love" were found through MySpace.com (the discovery of which re-ignited the singer's passion for making music). Patterson also includes a track titled "Oh Lord (Take Me Back)" that he recorded as a full-fledged member of the international group SugaRush Beat Company featuring Patterson with a Danish vocalist and an Australian producer.

Throughout Wines & Spirits, Patterson's amazing vocal abilities carry the weight of an entire woodwind section, cooing like a flute, thrilling like a French horn, mining the sexy depths of emotion like a jazz saxophone. In fact, Patterson was named after the legendary jazz sax player Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and was raised in Harlem, New York, where music and the Pentecostal faith made their earliest impressions on him. But unlike other historically tortured soul singers, Rahsaan has made peace between his spiritual and secular sides.

Inspired by Prince, Rufus, Miles Davis, Earth, Wind & Fire, Donny Hathaway, Sarah Vaughn, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, young Rahsaan was performing in his Pentecostal church choir by the age of 6. His talent and precociousness led his family to relocate to California, where he started a TV career. But music was in his soul, and Patterson began honing his craft and reaching out to other musicians in the Los Angeles area.

His unique sense of melody and lyric soon netted him songwriting placements, with hit songs for Tevin Campbell, Chico DeBarge, Christopher Williams, and Jody Watley. Together with producer Keith Crouch, he wrote the triple-platinum selling "Baby", which reached Number One on the national charts in 1994 and helped launch Brandy's multi-faceted career.

MCA came calling soon after, and Patterson released his self-titled debut in 1997, helping to fuel what was then the nascent neo-soul movement. The album included what has become his signature tune, "Where You Are", as well as the funky "Stop By", immediately putting him on the radar with R&B fans. The artist followed that effort with 1999's critically praised album, Love In Stereo.

After Hours, his long-awaited 2004 follow-up, was released on the independent Artistry Music label, and only cemented Patterson's reputation as a deeply thoughtful, adventurous artist with a unique point of view.

Along the way, Patterson shared his artistry on soundtracks "Love & Basketball", "Dr. Doolittle", "Two Can Play That Game", "Hoodlum", "Brown Sugar", as well as the renowned comedian Steve Harvey’s compilation Sign Of Things To Come. He has also consistently worked with a range of instrumental artists, including guitarist Jonathan Butler, saxophonists Boney James and Jimmy Sommers, and keyboardist Brian Culbertson.

Combining Rahsaan's three solo releases -- with songs he has written and performed on soundtracks and songs written and recorded by outside artists, Patterson has contributed music to more than ten million CDs sold to date.

"As I get older and look back at my accomplishments, I'm quite surprised and amused with what I have achieved and things I've done," Patterson laughs. Not one to create music for strictly commercial considerations, the artist has been able to keep the integrity of his artistry intact. "My music is always layered, it's always personal and spiritual and it's always my relationship with my listener," he says. "You listening to my album is my conversation with you."
Venue Information:
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Maryland, 21044
http://www.merriweathermusic.com/