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The video for our song "Set You Free" debuted on BET J today. It was filmed at Coney Island back in August. There are some great shots on the boardwalk, the beach, and the rides. Classic Brooklyn. I uploaded the video onto my Myspace page. You can see it at . It's under my photo on the top left, just click on the word "videos".

This week's issue of Billboard magazine mentions Maya in a piece on the SoulTracks Awards show taking place on November 15th. It also has a nice photo of her (you can see it in the photos section). Maya is nominated for Best Song of the Year for our song "Junkyard Jewel". She was also nominated for Best Female Artist. Maya's song "Make It Happen" made it all the way to #4 on the Billboard dance chart last April. She also did a duet with Stephen Marley on his new CD - which debuted at #35 on the Billboard Album chart in March.
Just found out that "Down Down", the first song on 'Junkyard Jewel', has been licensed to be on the HBO program 'The Wire'. I'll let you know when it will air. Season 5 starts in a few months. And if you don't know the show, it's one of the most critically acclaimed programs on television. Definitely worth looking into.
The Kendra Ross cd 'New Voice' has officially been picked up by P-Vine records in Japan. It will be released on December 19th. We're psyched because Japan was one of our main target markets for this album. More Japan news coming soon...
The September issue of Recording Magazine features a piece on the making of 'Junkyard Jewel'. It turns out that Lorenz Rychner, the editor of the magazine, happened to be in New York on the day of our CD release show and he was in the audience. It's a really great article. I also did a one-page interview for the piece. And they did a special thing on Ivan's "drumcussion" setup. Be sure to look for it on the newsstands.
We did a special theater-style show titled "Culture Bandit Soul" at Joe's Pub last month. It's Maya's acoustic trio in conjunction with Vanessa Hidary. Vanessa is one of the top spoken word artists in the country, having performed on HBO's Def Poetry Jam. She also has a one-woman show called "Culture Bandit" which has been a critical and commercial success. Vanessa is a good friend from our days at The Lobby, so Maya and her got together and decided to do a new type of show combining Maya's music with Vanessa's play. They really spent their time and got it right. The show was a huge success and I'm hoping to more of this. We're currently considering doing a run at an off-Broadway theater during the winter. I'll keep you posted as soon as I have more info.
The Kendra Ross cd "New Voice" comes out today. It's a stellar debut from one of the most popular artists on the NYC music scene. It features all original songs (I co-wrote half of them with Kendra). We're really proud of it. Our goal was to make an album featuring live musicians that would be able to stand up with music that you hear on the radio. Kendra has worked with artists like Kanye West, Talib Kweli, and many others. In fact, Talib is featured on our song "Can I Keep It". And Eric Roberson does a duet with Kendra on the song "Why Can't I See". But its really not about the guests. It's all about that voice and those tunes. And doing something new, yet soulful. We get to stretch some things both musically and sonically. No need for people to hear the same stuff that's already been done. Besides, we're trying to separate ourselves from the pack. I have to give so much credit to everyone who performed on it: Chris Rob (keys), Lonnie Plaxico (bass), Skoota Warner (drums), Talib Kweli (MC), Tiye Phoenix (MC), Maurice Brown (trumpet), Teodross Avery (sax), Monet (flute), Daniel Sadownick (percussion), Eric Roberson (vocals), Nicole Hamilton (vocals), Key (vocals), Frances Elizee (vocals), Khadijah Carter (vocals), Linnell Farmer (vocals), Tarrah Reynolds (violin), and Carolyn Jeselsohn (cello). They all poured in a ton of talent and a lot of love into this project.
The new all-acoustic CD from Maya Azucena titled "Junkyard Jewel" comes out today. Just vocals, acoustic guitar and percussion (plus some violin, cello, and upright bass on a couple songs). Don't worry, it's not your grandma's acoustic album. We still rock when we're supposed to. And we also lay back and make it beautiful and tender when the song calls for it. We've done a lot of shows with this configuration and the response has been positivey phenomenal. There really isn't anything out there like it. Feel free to listen to samples in the music section if you want to hear it before you buy it.
You may not know him by name, but you've heard his music. He produced Marvin Gaye's classic album "I Want You". He also wrote or co-wrote almost all of the songs on that album. In addition to that, he's written hit songs for Maxwell, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Minnie Ripperton, and many others. He's also about the coolest person I've ever met in my life. A true musician, too. I had the pleasure of performing with Leon in February. It was great. But the REAL deal was hanging out with him. He and his wife Carol invited the group over to their place for a night of dinner and music. It was transcendent. The food was mind-blowing. But it was when people starting singing, playing the piano, and banging on percussion that the magic happened. We just kept going. It was one of those life-changing musical experiences. If you don't know Leon, check him out. You'll thank me for it. I posted some photos with Leon in the Photo Gallery. They're in the "West Coast '07" section.
I'm proud to say that I am now endorsed by D'Addario strings. This is really cool since I already use their products. Check out the "links" section for more info.
NPR's program "Open Mic" recently chose The ROOFTOP as one of its featured artists. They included the song "Hallelujah" in their podcast along with a short interview that they asked me to record. You can check it all out right here: (Special thanks to Paul DeRevere at NPR. I almost didn't open his email about this opportunity because the subject line just said "Congratulations!" and I thought for sure it was spam about money from Tunisia, money from Bill Gates, prescription drugs without precriptions, or some sort of fat-reducing/breast-enhancing/penis-enlarging creme.)
There are new CD's by Maya Azucena and Kendra Ross coming out this spring and summer. However, in order to satisfy your insatiable hunger we added a classic take on Run-DMC's "King Of Rock" recorded live at CBGB'S on our music page. We're also proud to announce that The ROOFTOP has been getting some good airplay on J-WAVE radio in Tokyo. We uploaded a radio spot that they asked us to do. Pretty crazy, check it out.
CVH here - I've had the pleasure to book music at The Blue Note jazz club in NYC for a few years. During that time I've met many of my heroes and made friends with some of the all-time jazz greats. Naturally, many of these musicians hail from the New Orleans area. After Katrina hit I spoke with many of them and I couldn't believe how many of them lost EVERYTHING! It's unimaginable. It's devastating. And yes, we should still do something about it. A couple of the songs on "A Live Shot" were specifically about Katrina victims. And it only seemed fitting that we should donate 100% of the proceeds to a worthy cause. We didn't want to go with a generic non-profit, we wanted something that is aimed at the musicians. Music is such a HUGE part of the wonderful New Orleans culture (and the food!). And its one thing that people can always turn to when times get tough. Music Rising is part of the Grammy Awards' Musicares program. It is aimed at helping musicians affected by Katrina. You can learn more at their website: . Buy the disc, save a life.
Check it out. It's one of the bonus videos from the CD. Maya KILLS this tune. Here 'tis....
Our CD "A Live Shot" was recorded live in front of a packed house at The Blue Note in New York City on December 16th, 2005. The musicians on the CD are: CVH (Christian Ver Halen) - guitar Selan - keyboards, vocals Lonnie Plaxico - bass Gintus Janusonis - drums Kahlil Kwame Bell - percussion ...with special guests... Maya Azucena - vocals Abby Dobson - vocals Kendra Ross - vocals Monet - flute, vocals Key - bkg vocals Rashida Bryant - bkg vocals Lenora Jaye - bkg vocals Nora Friedman - violin Lenae Harris - cello Tony McClendon - bass and vocals on "Deep In The Water" Gary Fritz - add'l percussion on "Junkyard Jewel" Postmidnight - announcement Mixed by CVH and Danny Garcia Produced by CVH and Germ Recordings
The benefit CD "A Live Shot" has been chosen as CD of the month for August on In a recent cover story, Billboard magazine says: Online compatriot is a soul music encyclopedia/electronic magazine that focuses on new soul releases. Founder Chris Rizik launched the portal in 2003, with the belief that soul fans "didn't want to be stuck just listening to oldies stations." The site's growth is proof that this underserved generation of consumers is still an active segment. The site averages 100,000 unique visitors per month and was ranked last year by Web traffic tracker site as the No. 1 soul music site on the web."

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