Tom Jackson  Facebook photo
Tom Jackson Facebook photo

Music News Digest, April 3, 2020

The Coronavirus crisis has forced the postponement of Justin Bieber’s 2020 Changes tour The 45-date stadium and arena trek was due to kick off on May 14 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle and follow Bieber’s first album in nearly five years, released on Feb. 14, and his first tour in nearly three. A statement reads in part: “Justin is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get back out on the road and perform in a space that is safe for everyone. He asks that fans hold on to their tickets, as they will be honoured as soon as the dates are rescheduled. Information on rescheduled dates will be forthcoming soon. Billboard reports that the star's "Beliebers" are deeply saddened at the news. 

– Veteran roots singer/songwriter and actor Tom Jackson has long been known for his tireless support of humanitarian causes. He is now turning that focus to the COVID-19 pandemic, launching a new series in aid of the music community being ravaged by the outbreak. Almighty Voices will benefit the Unison Benevolent Fund, and it kicks off Sunday, April 5. The talent-heavy lineup features Susan Aglukark, Chantal Kreviazuk, Cynthia Dale, Beverley Mahood, Sarah Slean, Measha Brueggergosman, Myles Goodwyn, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, and more. The hour-long video series will air 12 weekly episodes via YouTube and AlmightyVoices.ca. Viewers can donate $10 to Unison Benevolent Fund by texting VOICES to 45678.

– The iHeart Living Room Concert, the Elton John-led starry benefit concert that featured Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys on Sunday has raised nearly US$8M to battle the coronavirus. Musicians performed from their homes for the hourlong event that aired on Fox and iHeartMedia radio stations. The money will go to Feeding America and First Responders Children's Foundation. Other performers included Tim McGraw, H.E.R. and Sam Smith, Dave Grohl, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.  Procter & Gamble donated $500K, which Fox Corporation matched. YouTube is streaming the concert on iHeartRadio's YouTube Channel. Source: AP

– Yesterday (April 2),  Drake released a new song, Tootsie Slide. This is his first official release of 2020 on streaming services. The OZ-produced anthem is already becoming a TikTok sensation with its own dance. Popular social media influencer Toosie played the track as part of his quarantine choreography in a video on Twitter on March 29. Drake is no stranger to viral patterns, seeing that he is the curator behind many – most recently, the #FlipTheSwitch challenge on TikTok, which was propelled by his hit, Nonstop, from his 2018 album, Scorpion. Here's a snippet of the new cut. Source: Urbanisland

– Dan Mangan's Side Door platform was designed as a platform to helps people get connected w. artists all around the world through live music and to host concerts in non-traditional venues (houses, art galleries, etc.). In the face of a global pandemic, Side Door has now introduced an option for artists to do shows online. And while many are offering shows to audiences online for free, these Side Door shows are private, ticketed shows - just like a concert. A press release states that "this move is about creating a longer-term situation for artists and fans alike. It allows artists to do events more often and get paid from ticket sales instead of a flat fee but also encourages more direct community building because people are opting in with their dollars." Mangan has already hosted two shows, and 600+ paid for his last one.

– A reminder: The Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMAs) will present all 20 Awards virtually this Sat., Apr 4. The Awards were originally scheduled for the weekend of Apr 3-4 in Charlottetown. The CFMAs will present the awards show at 7 pm EDT on their Facebook page and Website. Bilingual hosts will review all the CFMA categories, nominees, and announce recipients, including the Unsung Hero Award Presentation. Read more here

– Montreal based Ad Litteram has acquired the noted ATMA Classique label in a deal finalised on April 1, 2020. Guillaume Lombart, founder and president of Ad Litteram, made the announcement with Johanne Goyette, founder and president of ATMA Classique. The deal stipulates that all current contracts and projects be maintained. The company’s artistic mandate, along with its back catalogue and the entire roster of artists, will also make the move to the new umbrella company intact. Lombart has been a music publisher in Montreal for over 25 years and is co-founder of APEM (Association of Professionals in Music Publishing) in Canada. Goyette founded the Montreal based label in 1994. The company’s catalogue includes more than 550 releases, many of which have won Juno and Felix Awards. The artist roster includes luminaries such as conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, l’Orchestre Métropolitain, Les Violons du Roy, soprano Karina Gauvin, and l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec. Source: Ludwig-Van

– Michael Bublé has postponed another 10 dates on his planned An Evening With Michael Bublé tour. The shows were slated to start May 2 with a show in Anaheim, and the pushback comes three weeks after the singer postponed the first 15 arena shows on the outing.  “The safety of my fans and my touring family is more important than anything and of course takes priority," said Bublé in a statement. "I pray that everyone remains safe and I look forward to seeing you back on the road for a great night out once we are advised that our shows can continue. Stay well everyone." Rescheduled dates for the entire tour are TBA.

– The Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council launched their TOArtist Covid-19 Response Fund last week, and since then over 1,600 artists have reached out looking for support. The $572,175 in funds raised to date from generous donors and partners will help up to 600 artists. As requests for help continue to stream in, there’s a strong need for more money. Click here to donate and support.

– On April 8 (noon), Laura Williams hosts a CIMA webinar designed to help music industry employers understand the COVID-19 pandemic. Available for CIMA members only. Register here 

– Canadian artist management company Tiny Kingdom (Skye Wallace, FRANKIIE), has announced the launch of an independent record label, Tiny Kingdom. Founded by Meagan Davidson and Savannah Wellman, the new venture sees Tiny Kingdom added to a very short list of female-owned labels in Canada. Vancouver-based artist Haley Blais is the first signing, and her debut LP Below The Salt, the label’s inaugural release, is scheduled for release on Aug. 25.

– Music Nova Scotia ED Kenney Fitzpatrick has vacated his role and long time employee and financial manager Lisa Stitt is in as Interim ED. Gerald Walsh Associates has been recruited to seek a new full-time replacement.

BreakOut West Festival and the Western Canadian Music Awards have extended their application and submission deadlines, to April 8. Award Guidelines here  Festival Guidelines here

– Much-hyped Toronto masked gothic country artist Orville Peck has released a video for his new single, Summertime. Quite the critic's darling, Peck is a Juno nominee this year, in the Alternative Album category.

– Acclaimed US pop-folk songstress Kate Schutt has a strong Canadian connection, having lived in Guelph from Ontario, Canada from 2004 until 2010 and worked with some notable musicians here. Today (April 3), she hosts a concert on her YouTube channel (4 pm ET), and on April 5 (8 pm) she conducts a letter-writing live session on both Facebook and Zoom. 

Obits

Adam (Lyons) Schlesinger,  an award-winning American singer-songwriter, record producer, and bassist, died on April 1, age 52, of complications from COVID-19.

 He won three Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award, and the ASCAP Pop Music Award, and was nominated for Academy, Tony, and Golden Globe Awards.

He was a founding member of the bands' Fountains of Wayne, Ivy, and Tinted Windows, and was a key songwriting contributor and producer for Brooklyn-based synth-pop duo Fever High.  Power-pop combo Fountains of Wayne had the most success with the hit Stacy’s Mom.

Schlesinger composed extensively for film and TV, including That Thing You Do! and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Sources: The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Billboard

Gary Salzman, veteran talent manager and co-founder of NYC-based Big Management, passed away on March 31, due to complications of COVID-19.

Salzman, along with his business partner Joe Koppie, founded Big Management in 1991. Since its launch, the company promoted or managed an EDM-heavy roster that included artists such as David Guetta, Jason Nevins, Everything But The Girl, and Todd Terry.

More recently, the company expanded its scope to include music promotion, music marketing, A&R consulting, publishing, and collaborations with major labels. Source: Celebrity Access

Bucky (John Paul) Pizzarelli, master of the jazz guitar, died on April 1, age 94. The guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, his son and frequent musical associate said the cause was the Coronavirus.

After years as a relatively anonymous session musician, Pizzarelli became a mainstay of the New York jazz scene. The New York Times termed him “a  master of the subtle art of rhythm guitar as well as a gifted soloist.”

Pizzarelli was sought after for recording sessions in the 1950s and ’60s and can be heard on hundreds of records in various genres, although he was often uncredited. He also toured with Benny Goodman and was a longtime member of the “Tonight Show” orchestra. But he was little known to all but the most knowledgeable jazz fans until he was in his 40s.

In the ‘70s, he began performing more frequently in New York nightclubs. He performed and recorded in a variety of high-profile settings: unaccompanied, as the leader of small groups, as a sideman with leading jazz musicians like the saxophonists' Zoot Sims and Bud Freeman and the violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Joe Venuti.

In 1980 he began performing with a new duo partner: his son John, 20 years old at the time, who went on to become a jazz star in his own right.

The two Pizzarellis would perform and record together many times over the years, often joined by Bucky Pizzarelli’s other son, Martin, a bassist, and the vocalist Jessica Molaskey, John’s wife. John Pizzarelli once described them as “the von Trapp family on martinis.” As John’s star ascended, he frequently employed his father as a sideman. Source: NYT

Ramsey Kearney, US country songwriter and independent recording artist, died on March 14 at the age of 86.

The songwriter began his career in the late 1940s and early 1950s with his own radio show in Jackson, Tenn. Kearney took a break from music to serve in the U.S. Army for two years from 1953-1955. He would go on to work as a staff writer for Cedarwood Publishing in Nashville.

Throughout the course of his songwriting career, Kearney wrote songs that were recorded by many of Nashville's most established acts including Sue Thompson, Eddy Arnold and Moe Bandy. Kearney also worked with Mel Tillis on the song Emotions, a song they co-wrote for Brenda Lee that became the title track for her album in 1961.

Kearney appeared on the charts twice in the 1980s as an independent recording artist with King of Oak Street, a song that had previously been cut by Kenny Rogers in 1978, and One Time Thing. Source: Taste of Country

Ellis Marsalis Jr., the jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of one of New Orleans’ great musical families, died on April 1, age 85.

He had been hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19. He had been tested for coronavirus and results were pending.

LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of his home town New Orleans, described Marsalis as: “a legend, the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz”.

Marsalis was an acclaimed pianist who helped bring the bebop style south to New Orleans, where swing and big-band jazz had dominated. He played alongside Al Hirt, Ed Blackwell, and Ornette Coleman featured on a recording alongside hard bop stars Nat and Cannonball Adderley and recorded 20 solo albums. In 1987, he composed music for a recorded version of the King Midas tale, narrated by Michael Caine and featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

He became an educator at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana. There, Marsalis taught and tutored several future stars, including Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr., Irvin Mayfield, Jesse Davis, Charlie Dennard, Victor Goines, Donald Harrison, Marlon Jordan and Paul Longstreth, as well as his renowned musical sons, Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. Marsalis retired from UNO in 2001.

In 2008 he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

New Orleans named the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music after him. He, along with his sons are recipients of the NEA Jazz Masters Award.

Read Wynton Marsalis' FB tribute here.  Sources: The Guardian, NOLA.com

Leave a comment