THE JAZZ WORLD SHOULD EMBRACE THIS SONGSTRESS WITH THE PRESENCE OF STYLE AND GRACE...
THE JAZZ WORLD SHOULD EMBRACE THIS SONGSTRESS WITH THE PRESENCE OF STYLE AND GRACE...
On Saturday, March 4th, 2018, as the kick off to Women's Heritage Month, I had the pleasure of attending Rome Neal's Banana Puddin' Jazz Jam, which is held the first Saturday of every month at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe on the L.E.S. of NYC, and was in AWE of the evening's featured vocalist, Ms. VIVIAN SESSOMS... WOW! "Where has she been hiding" I asked myself. She opened up her set with BYE BYE BLACKBIRD, then followed with AUTUMN LEAVES... Sorry to admit, that while she was singing, I logged-in to Amazon just to see if I could buy up any, and ever CD she has recorded, then I remembered her 2007 collaboration CD, with the group ALBRIGHT (featuring Vivian Sessoms): Sunny One Day, and - right on the spot, downloaded her renditions of TENDERLY and COME SUNDAY.
Ms. Sessoms voice was clearly pitch perfect; her phrasing is/was so refreshing, not to mention her stage presence, friendly spirit and willingness to engage her audience... Ms. Sessoms, in my opinion, should be included among those who today are considered to be standing upon the shoulders of Ella, Carmen, Sarah, Dinah, and Nancy. Although, on the Sunny One Day CD, one only hears a tenth of her vocal ability, which again, in my opinion is more of an uptempo contemporary sound; it is her stage presence and phrasing on various jazz standards that I prefer. On this particular evening, Ms. Sessoms was joined by Adam Birnbaum on piano, Corcoran Holt on bass, and Brandon Sanders on drums, and what was a surprise to the entire audience that night was that although Ms. Sessoms had worked with the drummer in the past, it was her first time in performance with the pianist and the bassist. with whom she had just met on the day of performance. That is talent, and is a prime example of an artists committment to one’s craft; something one rarely sees or hears in today’s commercial music.
Rome Neal has once again brought a gem of artistry to the Lower Eastside, and we hope to see/hear more of Ms. Vivian Sessoms.
When Vivian Sessoms sings, she takes you deep inside the music. Whether singing the American Songbook, or her own compositions, her storytelling resonates. She sings of American life with all its contradictions; joy and pain both laid bare. Her rendering of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Butterfly‘ tender: the rendering of her own composition, ‘I Can’t Breathe‘, a song referencing the ‘black lives matter’ struggle – raw. As she sang ‘I Can’t Breathe‘, people brushed tears away; feeling the loss, the injustice; sharing in the incomprehension. She sang it for the families of the young lives so senselessly snuffed out; dying at the hands of those sent to protect them – she sang it for us, a people located an ocean away. We listened and understood the message. Art is at its best when it is fearless and truth-telling – Sessoms gets this.
Sessoms is Harlem born and bred; an activist, the niece of Nancy Wilson, the daughter of musicians and a gifted performer with a long string of credits to her name. She was raised in the Jazz world but found early acclaim as a soul singer. Now she is returning to her Jazz roots with her ‘Life‘ album. The tour reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and no wonder; At age 9 she opened for Marvin Gaye, later working with Michael Jackson, Cher and Stevie Wonder. As a performer she is simply riveting; her voice a miracle – to have her here in an intimate Jazz club setting, a rare treat.
What we were hearing was counter-intuitive. A voice of incredible power, but a voice filled with subtlety: A voice that dominated a room, but never at the expense of nuance. Although powerful, her instrument never strained, a voice which flowed as naturally as breathing. These are rare qualities when considered together in one package. Her material was also well thought out; The standards timeless but each one interestingly reinterpreted: ‘Tenderly’, ‘Love for Sale’, ‘Round Midnight’, ‘Never Let Me Go’, ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ and others.
Sessoms New Zealand pick-up band was assembled at short notice and credit must go to Caro Manins for organising this. She chose well, but with Jonathan Crayford on keyboards, it was always going to work out fine. Just days after winning the New Zealand Jazz Tui album of the year, he stepped in as an accompanist, giving us a truly magical performance. His solos often stunning us with their brilliance, especially so the extended solo on Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good‘. The others in the rhythm section were Mostyn Cole (electric and upright bass) and Adam Tobeck (drums). They were every bit the professionals an artist like this deserves. Sessoms looked about her at one point and asked the audience; “Just what do you put in the water here – your musicians are amazing”?
Sessoms is a generous entertainer, happy to mingle with the audience, comfortable enough to tease them a little; posing for endless selfies and promising faithfully to return. She even shared the microphone with several first-year students. That is the common touch – a thing Kiwis love; she read our love of informality well. For details about her ‘Life‘ album go to the website link below. If we support the album, it might just hasten her return.
She departed New Zealand the next morning on an early flight; arriving in the USA to be greeted by the news, that yet another jury had acquitted a police officer of killing an unarmed black youth. In these troubled times, more power to her.
Vivian Sessoms (vocals, composition), Jonathan Crayford (keyboards), Mostyn Cole (electric & acoustic bass), Adam Tobeck (drums). CJC Creative Jazz Club, Thirsty Dog, Auckland, June 14th, 2017 – viviansessoms.com
You could try following the thread of Vivian Sessoms‘ career, from her first break, opening for Marvin Gaye at the age of 9 to her transformative collaboration with mentor, Ryuichi Sakamoto, to becoming one of the most sought-after session vocalists in the trade, having recorded hundreds of songs, jingles, voice overs and commercials, and sang in hundreds of stages, performing live all over the world.
You could also lose yourself in the list of names she’s worked with, from Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Cher to Towa Tei and Lalah Hathaway, but also Chris Botti, Christina Aguilera, Diddy, P!nk, Chaka Khan, Ke$ha, Rob Thomas, Patti Labelle, Patti Austin, and Sinead OConnor.
You could even trace her musical inclination back to her Harlem upbringing – or her family history: the daughter of a former jingle and session singer and a flautist and percussionist who worked with James Brown, among others, she is also Nancy Wilsons niece, so yes, it’s fair to say that music is in her blood.
“Growing up, there was always music to express the way I was feeling. I was so immersed in it, that I kind of viewed music as a kind of backdrop to my life”, she has said in an interview, describing how she developed her musical identity, in nightclubs, churches and regular jam sessions at home.
Or you could do none of the above and just immerse yourself to her music and surrender to the power of her voice and find yourself dancing to her electrifying jazz-funk renditions, mesmerized by her delivery. A high-energy performer, she never holds back, milking each song down to its last drop. When she’s entering funk territory, she ‘s bound to make you sweat without even moving (although it is impossible to remain still when she sings) and when she’s mellow, you can feel her every breath wrapping you up and soothing you.
You can thank Ryuichi Sakamoto for (at least some of) that. The brilliant composer gave Vivian her big break when he made her a member of his band, comprised by acclaimed musicians such as drummer Manu Katche (Peter Gabriel, Sting), Victor Bailey (Weather Report, Madonna) and Darryl Jones (Miles Davis, Rolling Stones). Sakamoto himself became a mentor, teaching her about song-craft, performance and musicianship and inspiring her to push herself towards perfection to match his artistry. Growing as a performer, she distilled her experiences into songs, culminating to the release of her album ‘Sunny One Day’, a seamless blend of soul, funk, jazz, r’n’b and rock elements that remains her trademark sound to this day.
A thoughtful, insightful and empathetic songwriter, she could not have been unaffected by the current climate in the US, adding her dominant voice to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, with her song ‘I Can’t Breathe’.
This is not the first time that vivacious, vibrant, vigorous Vivian is coming to Australia; she has made friends and established a concrete fan base, waiting to see her in Perth, Hobart, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. Supported by some of the best musicians on the scene – not least among them pianist Brenton Foster and drummer Daniel Susnjar, she’s touring the country to present her latest album, LIFE, her ‘jazziest’ yet.
It is an album echoing her approach to jazz, blending it with funk and r’n’b, built around danceable beats and lush orchestrations, effectively crossing the barrier between jazz and soul to the point where you finally get the idea: that for Vivian Sessoms, there is no barrier. - Nik Fotakis
BROADWAY WORLD - VIVIAN SESSOMS SWINGS OUT IN ADELAIDE
One never knows who one will meet in Adelaide, or where they might have come from. This happens at any time of the year but, during the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, the chances of meeting fascinating people from anywhere in the world is greatly increased. The Adelaide Festival Centre's Piano Bar at the end of the evening is the place to relax for a while before heading home, the venue this year featuring the sensational entertainer, Trevor Jones. It is also the place to catch up with friends, and make new ones.
One of the people that I met this year, and who was later invited to join Jones on stage for a couple of numbers, was professional singer, Vivian Sessoms, from Jersey City, New Jersey. As luck would have it, she was performing at a local music venue, The Wheatsheaf Hotel, with three of Adelaide's best young jazz musicians before heading to the eastern states to perform.
The performance was under the banner of Creative Original Music Adelaide (COMA) which runs a regular series of concerts there.
She was backed by Mark Ferguson on keyboard, Lyndon Gray on bass and bass guitar, and Ben Todd on drums, and they did a superb job with the complex charts. The superb arrangements, some of which were written by Sessoms, could not have been more suited to her singing.
Australian composer, Brenton Foster, took over the keyboards for one of the numbers, which Sessoms interpreted with a clear understanding of what was needed to really sell it, and Adelaide singer, and cabaret favourite, Kate Fuller, was called up to join Sessoms. Their two different styles proved a good contrast while their voices blended so well.
The central focus, of course, was Vivian Sessoms, and what an amazing voice she possesses. She has a very wide range and remarkable control, from breathy whispers to a powerful roar. Every number is transformed into something new and very personal, particularly an unbelievable version of Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit. From Duke Ellington's composer/arranger, Billy Strayhorn, to pop music, she injects new life, emotional value, and excitement. The concert was showcasing tunes that will be on her next CD, so keep an eye open for it, and watch for Vivian Sessoms's return next year.
She will be performing shortly in Brisbane and Canberra. COMA James Capatch Mark Simeon Ferguson Lyndon Gray Ben Todd Brenton Foster Kate Fuller Wheatsheaf Hotel. - Barry Lenny
This was as close as I'd ever been, or was ever likely to get, to the authentic voice of Motown and its ilk. Vivian Sessoms performed at Smiths with our local band, PJ Junior and The Soul Pimps. I hadn't known of Vivian, but she came with an excellent CV, having collaborated "on stage and in the recording studio alongside immortal artists the likes of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Sinead O’ Connor and Ryuichi Sakamoto, to mention just a few". Wow, serious.
A woman born and bred of a musical family in Harlem with a history of church singing. And interestingly, an activist to boot. She'd visited Australia before and this time came to Canberra and Smiths. And her band? PJ Jnr... has impeccable membership but I'd only managed to catch the band once before. Together, this was a stunner. Jazz and popular song distilled with fewer chords and deep, funky grooves and that authoritative voice over. Vivian led with dynamics that would turn on a coin, powered then pp. We could feel the cultural differences, too: our tame responses drawn out; the demands from Vivian and her commitment in return; not common Australian territory. Sometimes you feel delirious with the strength of the emotions; not once I felt goosebumps. Totally apt with demanding masterpieces like Billy Strayhorn and political paens like Nina Simone and Billy Holliday's racial lament for all time.
There were serious undertones, with Amy Winehouse or Leonard Cohen and marks of respect to common heroes, Prince and Stevie Wonder and also a few Cole Porter evergreens and even some light-hearted responses to the pop charts, Icona Pop and Amerie. What we heard were mostly takes from her new album, soon to be released, although with our local band. Nothing lost here: they were great: James with force of nature grooves and the tightest tones; Aron considered and clear but also echoing and explosive; Damien varied in keyboard tones and rich with arpeggiated colour; Kay firm and solid and understated. And determining and guiding it all,
Vivian's voice that would soar or bend or jump or luxuriate in accent or inflection. The voice of '60s R&B and beyond: cultured and resolute, too often knowing and forlorn, and the essence of internationalised American popular music. Wow: here on stage, amongst those at Smiths, available for a chat after. Worthy of the big stage; available in intimacy. This is what we chase, these precious moments available if you keep your eyes open to passing opportunities. A little bit of Motown and authentic Harlem and the like here at Smiths for the night. Fabulous.
Vivian Sessoms (voice) was backed by PJ Jnr and the Soul Pimps at Smiths. PJ Jnr. - are Aron Lyon (guitar), Damien Slingsby (keyboards), James Luke (bass) and Kay Chinnery (drums). - Eric Pozza
TEANECK SUBURBANITE/OCT 2013
FILM FESTIVAL IN TEANECK TO HOLD RED CARPET GALA, NOV. 16 - TEANECK -
The eighth annual Teaneck International Film Festival's big party will be a Red Carpet Gala, Cinema and Song II, Saturday, Nov. 16, 8:30 p.m., at Teaneck's Temple Emeth (1666 Windsor Road), which will be transformed into a venue. Returning to the stage are Vivian Sessoms and Clinton Daniel, performers extraordinaire, producing a program of songs from the movies sung after a series of clips from films that we have known and loved are shown on a big screen.
(photo courtesy of TIFF)
Clinton Daniel and Vivian Sessoms, who wowed TIFF fans last year, will return to the stage for Cinema and Song II, Saturday, Nov. 16, 8:30 p.m., at Temple Emeth in Teaneck. Tickets are $18 at the door, or two invitations with a donation of $25 or more in advance. "Selections will include music from some of the best known classic films of all time," said Sessoms, who promises that there will be something for everyone this year.
Dessert and coffee will be served after the concert and folks who want to stay will be invited to take to the dance floor. Donors of $25 or more in advance (checks made out to TIFF and mailed to TIFF c/o The Puffin, 20 Puffin Way, Teaneck NJ 07666, by Nov. 10) will receive an invitation for two. The price at the door will be $18 per person. Sessoms has sung with many of the world's most famous musicians - Stevie Wonder, Chris Botti, Cher, Natalie Cole, Sinead O'Connor - to name a few.
Since last year's production of Cinema and Song, she has been traveling the world in support of her solo career. She has appeared with Christina Aguilera at Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People gala and toured with Joe Cocker. She will debut her new CD LIFE, in the spring.
Vocalist, writer, producer Daniel has been performing since the age of six, when he sang and played piano at his family's local Baptist Church. He worked for KissFM New York wake- up band as the lead vocalist; was the opening act for Boyz II Men and Cece Peniston; and has performed with a long list of seasoned professionals. Information about Cinema and Song II, films, venues, tickets, and sponsors may be found at www.teaneckfilmfestival.org.
See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/community/events
The Record There are only a handful of people in the world who can do what she does. Combined, they have helped support and enhance virtually every big-name singer of the past decade. Vivian Sessoms is one of the best background vocalists working today. Besides traveling the world on Pink's Funhouse tour, she was summoned to Las Vegas for a command performance with Cher, graced daytime TV with Chaka Khan and Patti LaBelle on The View and Good Morning America, respectively, toured with Rob Thomas, spent a summer with Joe Cocker, lit up Saturday Night Live with Ke$ha, and the list goes on. Despite her success, Sessoms is not one to sit idly by and wait for life to happen. In 2007, she and her husband, bassist Chris Parks, released an album as the duo Albright. While Sunny One Day was a modest hit by mainstream standards, it garnered noteworthy critical acclaim and racked up significant sales for an independent release. Today, Vivian Sessoms, solo artist, is ready to step into the spotlight as she prepares to release not one, but two new projects in 2013. One will be a jazz-blues collection called Heart, and the other, an electronic-soul collection, Radiant. It looks like it's about time for Sessoms to call on her own background vocalists. Joseph Rileyland - CARLOS
HACKENSACK RECORD/NOV 2012
If you want to send a message, use Western Union. So quipped Hollywood mogul Jack Warner allegedly to filmmakers like the ones at this weekend's seventh annual Teaneck International Film Festival, who dreamed of using films to change the world. But the fact that some films do change the world is reason enough for the 30 or so directors, screening their work at five venues over three days, to persevere in their brand of gadfly filmmaking.
We want to engage people, spark dialogue, bring people together, said Jeremy Lentz, executive director of the activist festival, a project of Teaneck's Puffin Foundation, which each year attracts as many as 3,000 viewers to its various screenings.
The festival, which began Friday, continues through Sunday; many of the screenings include panel discussions with filmmakers and performers. I think that film is such an important art form because it allows people to be engaged and to learn from each other, said Lentz, a Teaneck resident. Some films screened Saturday, like Mariachi High (about a South Texas Mariachi ensemble), Cloudburst (about an elderly couple) or Crackers (a comedy-drama short co-starring Boardwalk Empire star and Teaneck resident Anthony Laciura), aim mostly to stir hearts and open minds. Others, like Crime After Crime, about the abuse of women (screening 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Temple Emeth) have helped spur legislation.
The fact that some activist films, historically, have led to actual legal results, like the Paradise Lost series (1996-2011), which got three likely innocent murder suspects freed, or The Thin Blue Line (1988), which won a pardon for an innocent death row inmate, is inspiration for some of the filmmakers at this festival. Others just want to enlighten, engage, spark discussion.
What I hoped to do was change the consciousness of viewers in general, and to make modern art accessible, said Nelson E. Breen, director of Bearden Plays Bearden, a documentary about the influential African-American collage artist Romare Bearden that screened Saturday (a Bearden exhibit, featuring 28 prints and cartoons, coincidentally is running at the Puffin Center through January). The fact that Bearden (1911-1988) was a black artist, facing challenges beyond the usual ones of low funds and critical neglect, gives the film added social significance. But the way Breen really wants to change the world with his film, is to make modern art welcoming to the non-expert. I wanted the film to be accessible, just like Bearden's work is accessible, Breen said.
Jim Beckerman - The Record
The old adage "the show must go on" rang true this past weekend as the Teaneck International Film Festival (TIFF) went on as planned despite the recent storm and persistent power outages that threatened to undo a year of planning. Last Thursday, the festival, a project of the Puffin Foundation, celebrated its seventh year, with a opening night gala at the Glenpointe Marriot. The celebration included a red carpet, complete with interviews by Sandi Klein, former WINS anchor, and Anthony Johnson, of ABC News.
Afterwards, a concert, "Cinema and Song" was performed by renowned singers Vivian Sessoms and Clinton Daniel. "It was always looming over us that the whole thing would be cancelled," said Judy Distler, a TIFF co-founder. While power was restored at each of the venues ahead of show time, Distler said that contingency plans had been developed "just in case." Paul and Joan Sher, Teaneck residents for 30 years before moving to Portland, Ore. in 1992, come back to the township each year for the festival. Self-described film buffs and members of the TIFF advisory board, they see about 300 movies a year, many at other festivals, and recommend the ones they believe would be a good fit for Teaneck. "We know Teaneck very well, and when we see a film that has that Teaneck sensibility, we suggest it," Joan Sher said on opening night.
Speaking from the red carpet, Gladys Rosenstein, executive director of the Puffin Foundation, said she is proud of the way the festival has grown since its inception. "We are thrilled to be here and happy to be a part of this wonderful event that has grown so beautifully over the years," she said. Jeremy Lentz, TIFF's executive director, credited the festival's dedicated volunteers with ensuring the show would go on as planned. "What's so remarkable is that every single person involved with the festival is a volunteer; they don't take a penny. This is a full time job for our volunteers and it is a huge commitment," he said. "After the storm, we just decided the show must go on. The people need a festival, something to get their minds off of the storm. We needed a place to get together with friends and neighbors, and the response has been overwhelming." The challenges posed by the storm were immense. "It was an unbelievable undertaking," said Lentz. "We really didn't know if the festival was going to take place. We had planned for an entire year and when Sandy hit almost all of Teaneck lost power." Many of the people involved were flying in from elsewhere, including Composer Markus Horn, who was travelling from Germany to accompany "Metropolis," a silent film, on piano. "We were concerned about the flights, and we didn't know where our guests were going to stay," said Lentz. Crowne Plaza in Englewood, where many guests had booked rooms just got power back days before the festival opened.
On opening night, the festival collected food to donate to Teaneck's Helping Hands Food Pantry and the Center for Food Action in Englewood. While the collection had been planned long before the storm hit, it took on a larger meaning in the days that followed. "We really stepped up the efforts for the food drive," said Lentz. "We all said ‘well this is what Teaneck's all about. Let's raise the bar, and help people.' People are aware of the need and that the need is greater than ever."
The theme of the festival, "Activism: Making Change" was represented in many of the movies shown throughout the weekend. "Raid of the Rainbow Lounge," a documentary about a controversial 2009 police raid of a Fort Worth, Texas gay bar documents the story of eyewitnesses, activists and politicians who helped affect change for the LGBT community in Fort Worth. "Sing your Song: Harry Belafonte," was the festival's centerpiece film, and explored the life and times of singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte and his experiences during the American civil rights movement. His daughter, Gina Belafonte, participated in a panel discussion after the screening. Finally, the festival's closing film, "Crime after Crime," a moving documentary about the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, a woman imprisoned for more than a quarter century due to her connection to the murder of the man who abused her, inspired Sen. Loretta Weinberg to propose new state legislation on behalf of victims of domestic violence and wrongful incarceration.
Megan Burrow - Teaneck Suburbanite
The Teaneck International Film Festival held another successful year, starting with a kick-off gala at the Glenpointe. "This weekend was so impactful towards making change and we want to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors, donors, film festival attendees and most importantly all the volunteers who give their time year after year to make sure this festival is a big success for our community!" said a message on the festival's website. The message thanked all involved for making the event a "huge success." Former WINS anchor Sandi Klein and ABC News reporter Anthony Johnson headlined the opening gala. In addition to celebrating the festival, the gala collected food for local pantries. Christopher Costa - Teaneck Patch
The Teaneck Film Festival kicked off yesterday with their Gala at the Marriott at Glenpointe in Teaneck. The evening included red carpet interviews by Sandi Klein, former WINS anchor, and Anthony Johnson of ABC-News. There was also a concert entitled Cinema & Song, performed by world renowned singing stars Vivian Sessoms and Clinton Daniel. The event also collected food for Center for Food Action in Englewood and Helping Hands Food Pantry in Teaneck to help out local residents who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Teaneck Suburbanite sponsored the event. Bergen.com
The Teaneck International Film Festival held another successful year, starting with a kick-off gala at the Glenpointe. "This weekend was so impactful towards making change and we want to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors, donors, film festival attendees and most importantly all the volunteers who give their time year after year to make sure this festival is a big success for our community!" said a message on the festival's website. The message thanked all involved for making the event a "huge success." Former WINS anchor Sandi Klein and ABC News reporter Anthony Johnson headlined the opening gala. In addition to celebrating the festival, the gala collected food for local pantries.
Christopher Costa - Teaneck Patch
PARAMUS POST/AUG 2012
LOOK WHAT'S UP WITH TIFF!
Films are being confirmed, and, according to the very busy screening committee that is somewhat bleary-eyed after hours of watching movies and choosing the best of the best, the selection is fabulous. Some will make you laugh; some will make you cry; all will make you think and re-think. The list and descriptions are on the website, but I'm including capsules and photos to whet your appetite. Check it all out at www.teaneckfilmfestival.org for updates.
Also of note: The Red Carpet and Kick-off Party will be held Thursday, November 8th (7 or 7:30 p.m.; time to be confirmed) at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe. There will be opportunities for Red Carpet Specials at the new restaurant, Pancetta, before the festivities begin, and a gala evening in the ballroom featuring light refreshments, cash bar, and fabulous entertainment - Music from the Movies - with renowned vocalists (NYC and internationally known) Vivian Sessoms and Clinton Daniel. For two invitations, send a donation to TIFF for $25 or more to TIFF, c/o The Puffin, 20 Puffin Way, Teaneck NJ 07666. This event is by invitation only! Those who attend are asked to bring a non-perishable packaged or canned food item for the Center for Food Action or Teaneck Helping Hands Food Pantry.
Tickets for the festival will go on sale in October, on line and in several Teaneck stores. A weekend pass- $35 - will include opening and centerpiece films ($10 per ticket if purchased separately) and ALL other films ($5 per ticket). Again, check the website for details - www.teaneckfilmfestival.org IT'S ALL MADE POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF GENEROUS DONATIONS FROM OUR MAJOR SPONSORS, MAIN STREET BUSINESSES, GRANTS, AND FOLKS LIKE YOU! Check the list of who is with us this year, and let folks know you appreciate their support of the arts! Thank you - thank you. Mark your calendar - join us at the movies!! Judy Distler (forgive any errors - this is going out minus the careful attention of my usual editor/checker!) TIFF 2012 -
THE FILMS SO FAR:
Brother Outsider - The Life of Bayard Rustin - This powerful documentary chronicles the life of openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who, among many contributions to the cause, is best known for organizing the 1963 March on Washington, D.C. Eighteen and under will be admitted free.
Cloudburst - a feature starring a surprisingly foul-mouthed but always amazing Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker playing an aging gay couple who escape from a nursing home and embark on a Thelma & Louise-style road trip from Maine to Nova Scotia to be legally married.
The Contradictions of Fair Hope - Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, the documentary traces the history of The Fair Hope Benevolent Society in Uniontown, Alabama, from its beginnings in 1888 to the present, when 21st century "pleasures" have turned it into something completely different. Director/co-producer S. Epatha Merkerson (Law and Order, Broadway) will participate in a talk-back.
Crackers - an outrageous dark comedy starring, among others, Teaneck's own Anthony Laciura (Boardwalk Empire), who will participate in a talk-back with other cast members.
Crime After Crime - State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg will lead a discussion following the dramatic story of a legal battle to free a woman imprisoned for more than two decades because of her connection to the murder of a man who abused her.
Dressing America - Tales from the Garment Center Co-produced/directed by Teaneck resident Steven Fischler, who will discuss this documentary about the schmatte (rags) business in NY. You don't have to be in the industry to fall in love with the story and the real Damon Runyan type characters.
400 Miles to Freedom - follows the exodus of observant Ethiopian Jews from a 2,500 year old community, and issues of immigration and racial diversity in Israel.
Local Tourists - Come for 14 minutes of laughter and a talk with the director of the film named Best Short at the 2012 Lighthouse International Film Festival.
Metropolis - the fully restored version of this 1927 German masterpiece will be shown to live musical accompaniment thanks to sponsorship by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, NY. This is a rarely seen, don't-miss event.
Moments of Happiness (Khushiyann) - a Bollywood musical feature for the whole family, with scenes that could have you dancing in the aisles The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers.
Princess - NJ premiere of a feature from Finland based on the true and moving story of a cabaret dancer claiming to be a "Princess," who spent 50 years of her life as a patient at Kellokoski Psychiatric Hospital, where she healed and brought joy to those around her through her lovable personality.
- mel fabrikant
TEANECK INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL WILL OPEN WITH A STAR STUDDED GALA. TEANECK
Thanks to major sponsorship by the Marriott at Glenpointe and its recently opened Pancetta restaurant, TIFF 2012 will officially begin Thursday, Nov. 8, with a party featuring Music from the Movies by renowned singing stars Vivian Sessoms and Clinton Daniel. The kick-off at the Marriott will begin at 7 p.m. with the Red Carpet hosted by TIFF favorites Sandi Klein and Jay Dow; continue with light refreshments, a cash bar, and the chance to mingle with friends and film folks; and culminate with entertainment by these two world-class performers and a back-up band. The price of admission for this classy Teaneck cabaret/nightclub is a donation of $25 or more to TIFF - in advance - for two tickets, or $18 per person at the door.
Born in Harlem into a musical family, Sessoms' mother is a former jingle and session singer, her father is a well-known flautist and percussionist and her aunt is jazz legend Nancy Wilson. She began classical voice training and piano instruction at the age of nine. She has sung with notable musicians Stevie Wonder, Chris Botti, Cher, Natalie Cole, Sinead O'Connor to name just a few. A musical collaboration with Chris Parks led to the formation of Albright and the writing and producing of songs for many performers, as well as commercials, interactive gaming projects, and music for cable networks. In 2007, the pair released their debut CD, Sunny One Day, to critical acclaim. Sessoms has appeared at The Blue Note and The Jazz Standard Nightclub in NY, and in the past two years has played to sold-out crowds at Feinstein's and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Vocalist, writer, producer Daniel was born in West Virginia and has been performing since the age of six, when he sang and played piano at his family's local Baptist Church. He worked for KissFM New York wake- up band as the lead vocalist; was the opening act for BoyzIIMen and Cece Peniston; and has worked with seasoned professionals such as Sandra St. Victor (The Family Stand), Chaka Khan, The Cover Girls, the late Phyllis Hyman, and Brenda K. Star.
To ensure an invitation to the kick-off party, send a contribution of $25 (or more) to TIFF, c/o The Puffin, 20 Puffin Way, Teaneck NJ 07666. Invitations will be sent to sponsors and donors in October. Information about the TIFF 2012 roster of films, sponsors, tickets, and events will be on www.teaneckfilmfestival.org.
Questions may be directed to Executive Director Jeremy Lentz at TIFF@teaneckfilmfestival.org, or by leaving a message at 201-203-1723.
Vivian Sessoms, the critically-acclaimed songstress known for her rich, melodic and captivatingly soulful vocals, returns to Feinstein's at Loews Regency, 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street, for another highly-anticipated performance entitled "Heart" on April 22, 2012 at 8:30pm (dining begins at 6pm) [$25 cover, $25 minimum food & beverage]. "Heart" will showcase various song renditions that Vivian considers some of the most beautiful love songs ever written, old and new. It will include covers by Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, The Weepies, Badly Drawn Boy, Barry Manilow, Grace Jones, and Tammi Terrell, as well as a few original songs and Vivian's personal arrangement of Rob Thomas. Unwell with Matchbox 20. Sessoms will again be accompanied by an all-star band for "Heart". In the band: Chris Parks - acoustic & electric bass, acoustic guitar (Amel Larrieux, Roberta Flack, Sheila E.); Michael Mancini - piano & keyboards (Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen, Phoebe Snow); Eric Brown - drums & percussion (Rachelle Ferrell, Lalah Hathaway, Deborah Cox); and Noam Dworman - acoustic & electric guitar, mandolin (owner of The Village Underground, former owner of The Cafe Wha/Cafe Feenjon, NYC).
Born and raised in Harlem, Vivian learned the wonder of music at an early age. Her mother was a session/jingle-singer, her father a flautist/percussionist (who's played with the likes of James Brown), and she is the niece of jazz legend Nancy Wilson. Surrounded by nightclubs, churches and regular jam sessions at her family's home, she was already singing by the time she could talk. Growing up, there was always music to express the way I was feeling. I was so immersed in it, that I kind of viewed music as a backdrop to my life, she recalls. As a teen, she was approached by Melba Moore, Teddy Riley and Stevie Wonder to perform alongside them. She then went on to work with Joe Cocker, Rob Thomas, P!nk, Patti Austin, Patti LaBelle, Sinead O'Connor and most recently Cher to name a few. She has been a featured vocalist for jazz artist Chris Botti, composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (Yellow Magic Orchestra, High Heels, Little Buddha)and Towa Tei (international DJ and former member of music group Dee-Lite).
Not content to stop there however, Vivian soon began to write and produce for Lalah Hathaway, Amel Larrieux, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jeff Kashiwa, David Morales, Towa Tei and Junior Vazquez among others and had a feature song in the film Moonlight Serenade starring Amy Adams & Alec Newman. In 2007, Vivian along with writing partner Chris Parks released a debut CD, Sunny One Day, (under the moniker of Albright for Vivian's maternal grandmother) to very impressive reviews. Vivian is now putting the finishing touches on the follow up CD, Heart, a jazz record that will feature some folk and soul, and a third CD, Radiant that will feature pop and soul music. Both records are scheduled for release summer of 2012.
Read more: http://cabaret.broadwayworld.com/article/Vivian-Sessoms-Returns-With-HEART-to-Feinsteins-at-Loews-Regency-422-20120420#ixzz1shq9WvfJ
- BBW News Desk
GET ON THE SOFA
Day Three: WEEK OF VIVIAN SESSOMS April 19, 2012
tags: Bahamadia, Feinstein's, Happy, Heart, Loews Regency, Radiant, Sound Museum, Towa Tei, Vivian Sessoms, Week of Vivian Sessoms
And we're back!
Day Three of the Week of Vivian Sessoms. Did you know that besides being a celebrated background vocalist, Ms. Sessoms is also a renowned producer? From commercial jingles to popular mainstream albums, Vivian has been in the production booth, making things happen. And while we're on the topic of making things happen, be on the lookout for not one, but two projects from her this year. Heart, will be a jazz/acoustic album full of instrumentation (acoustic guitar, piano, mandolin, banjo, lap steel, horns and strings). It definitely sounds like an interesting mix. And Radiant, a dance pop/ r&b affair, with some fun stuff on there, a few power ballads, and some heavier-hitting r&b tracks. And, it's rumored that a rock album will be on the way eventually. She's a hard worker, that Vivian Sessoms. And lest we forget, she has a show on Sunday night. Feinstein's at Loews Regency. Details are below. A night out with Vivian Sessoms, old-school hotel venue, great love songs. it'll be like in the movies. Get dressed up and go enjoy yourself. Today's video is Happy from Towa Tei'˜s Sound Museum album, featuring Vivian Sessoms and Bahamadia. Written by Tei, Sessoms and Bahamadia.
- Joseph Rileyland
BLACK 2 BROADWAY PRODUCTIONS B2Hotlist: #63
The weather is warming up and so are some great shows this season. I'm happy to let you know of some of those shows below. As I always say please make your reservations in advance, this helps more than you know. Finally feel free to pass this information on to your individual lists and social media's and I'll see you all behind the lights. As Always, Kevin-Anthony http://about.me/kevinanthony Come check out the gifted vocalist, Vivian Sessoms this coming Sunday, April 22nd 8:30pm at Feintein's. Vivian is such an electrifying performer and I am thrilled to be sharing the stage with her as a special guest. So come on out to a beautiful room, hear some gorgeous music and let's have a great time. -Kevin Anthony
NIGHTLIFE CULTURE INC: TASTEMAKER SPOTLIGHT/APRIL 2012
NIGHTLIFE CULTURE INC.
NCI is proud to announce a new program that spotlights the people who bring creative energy to New York Nightlife
Vivian is a New York gem who has performed with a wide range of A-List talent including Diddy, Michael Jackson, Cher, Joe Cocker, Chris Botti and Pink. Her previous albums as part of the group Albright have gained critical acclaim in independent music circles and her voice has been heard live around the world. She's bringing her sound back to New York in 2012 with live performances and a new album, so she definitely needs to be on your music discovery radar.
Genre: Jazz/ Soul
Hometown: Harlem, New York
Inspirations: Roberta Flack, Barbara Streisand, Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle, Alison Krauss, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole
Previous Performances: BAM, Village Underground, Rockwood Music Hall, Jazz Standard, Blue Note and Radio City Music Hall.
Latest Project: Heart (scheduled for release Summer 2012)
Next Local Performance: Sunday April 22, 2012 at Feinstein's at Loews Regency
- Gamal Hennessy
GROWN FOLKS MUSIC/APRIL 2012
Vivian Sessoms Returns to Feinstein's to Give You Her Heart (New York, NY, April 3, 2012)
Vivian Sessoms, the critically-acclaimed songstress known for her rich, melodic and captivatingly soulful vocals, returns to Feinstein's at Loews Regency, 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street, for another highly-anticipated performance entitled Heart on April 22, 2012 at 8:30pm (dining begins at 6pm) [$25 cover, $25 minimum food & beverage] Heart will showcase various song renditions that Vivian considers some of the most beautiful love songs ever written, old and new. It will include covers by Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, The Weepies, Badly Drawn Boy, Barry Manilow, Grace Jones, and Tammi Terrell, as well as a few original songs and Vivian's personal arrangement of Rob Thomas's Unwell (with Matchbox 20 ), (see video clip below). Sessoms 2011 debut performance at Feinstein's received rave reviews: It is always such a fantastic surprise when a new artist comes to Feinstein's and just blows the roof off with their talent. Vivian was one of those artists and we were thrilled to have her here - Feinstein's Management. When Vivian Sessoms erupts onto the stage with a robust, funky arrangement of Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? (Louis Jordan), my pen abandons words for exclamation points! This is a formidably talented performer with a fierce band - Cabaret Scenes. Sessoms will again be accompanied by an all-star band for Heart. In the band: Chris Parks - acoustic & electric bass, acoustic guitar (Amel Larrieux, Roberta Flack, Sheila E.); Michael Mancini - piano & keyboards (Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen, Phoebe Snow); Eric Brown - drums & percussion (Rachelle Ferrell, Lalah Hathaway, Deborah Cox); and Noam Dworman - acoustic & electric guitar, mandolin (owner of The Village Underground, former owner of The Cafe Wha/Cafe Feenjon, NYC).
ABOUT VIVIAN SESSOMS - Born and raised in Harlem, Vivian learned the wonder of music at an early age. Her mother was a session/jingle-singer, her father a flautist/percussionist (who's played with the likes of James Brown), and she is the niece of jazz legend Nancy Wilson. Surrounded by nightclubs, churches and regular jam sessions at her family's home, she was already singing by the time she could talk. Growing up, there was always music to express the way I was feeling. I was so immersed in it, that I kind of viewed music as a backdrop to my life, she recalls. As a teen, she was approached by Melba Moore, Teddy Riley and Stevie Wonder to perform alongside them. She then went on to work with Joe Cocker, Rob Thomas, P!nk, Patti Austin, Patti Labelle, Sinead O'Connor and most recently Cher to name a few. She has been a featured vocalist for jazz artist Chris Botti, composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (Yellow Magic Orchestra, High Heels, Little Buddha) and Towa Tei (international DJ and former member of music group Dee-Lite). Not content to stop there however, Vivian soon began to write and produce for Lalah Hathaway, Amel Larrieux, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jeff Kashiwa, David Morales, Towa Tei and Junior Vazquez among others and had a feature song in the film Moonlight Serenade starring Amy Adams & Alec Newman. In 2007, Vivian along with writing partner Chris Parks released a debut CD Sunny One Day (under the moniker of Albright for Vivian's maternal grandmother) to very impressive reviews. Vivian is now putting the finishing touches on the follow up CD LIFE, a jazz record that will feature some folk and soul, and a third CD Radiant that will feature pop and soul music.
Both records are scheduled for release in 2014. For ticket information visit Feinstein's ticket purchase info: http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=4356575
For press inquiries, please contact: Katrina Boswell Katrina@katwalkmedia.com.
- GFM Events
Feinstein's 2011 - Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby
Rob Thomas homage to Vivian's rendition of Unwell
Feinstein's 2011 = Cherchez La Femme
PETER MARTIN AT THE SHELDON CONCERT HALL
FEATURING VIVIAN SESSOMS.
Pianist Peter Martin will resume his eponymous series at the Sheldon Concert Hall with a performance featuring guest vocalist Vivian Sessoms (pictured) at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, March 10. Bassist Bob Hurst and drummer Ulysses Owens will join Martin and Sessoms for the show. Sessoms is a native New Yorker who's been performing professionally since she was a child, but got her first widespread exposure as a grown-up through working with film composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Since then, she's developed a solo career as a cabaret performer, and has recorded and/or toured as a background singer with the likes of P. Diddy, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Sinead O'Connor, Stevie Wonder and Lalah Hathaway. Sessoms also has sung on many national commericals as a session vocalist, and most recently has partnered in the neo-soul group Albright with multi-instrumentalist/producer Chris Parks. Tickets are $50 for VIP seating, $30 orchestra, $25 balcony and $15 students, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. this Monday, January 23 via MetroTix. Dean Minderman - St. Louis Jazz Notes
UPTOWN MAGAZINE/AUG 2011
The soulful and sultry singer, Vivian Sesssoms will be live in concert on Sunday, August 7, 2011 at Feinsteins at the Loews Regency in New York. Vivian Sessoms has been called a young Tina Turner, and has sung alongside of music's most talented icons like Chaka Khan, Cher, Dionne Warwick, Pink and Stevie Wonder. This event is $25.00 in advance and $35.00 at the door. This is a concert you do not want to miss!
- Uptown Magazine
"When Vivian Sessoms erupts onto the stage with a robust, funky arrangement of Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? (Louis Jordan), my pen abandons words for exclamation points. In Back to Black (Amy Winehouse/Mark Ronson), her gutsy, hard-charging voice, colluding with one of the best horn sections I've heard, sends shivers up the spine: You went back to what you knew/So far removed from all that we went through/And I tread a troubled track/My odds are stacked/I'll go back to black. Sessoms dismantles the poor sod in the song.
Tenderly (Walter Gross/Jack Lawrence) and Willow Weep for Me (Ann Ronell) are well placed to shift set energy. Eyes closed, nose crinkled, the performer offers a jazzy rendition of the first, which sashays around its melody. Soulful piano and sax solos enhance the sway. Tim Ries (sax), who also did the arrangement, moves as if puppeted by the heady music like Keith Jarrett at his piano. During Willow, Mark McGowan (trumpet) unleashes a terrific inner Gabriel, barely visibly filling his cheeks (with air). (It's a wonder.) Sessoms can taffy-pull a consonant like Tina Turner or purposefully omit one like Dinah Washington. She has skill, range and, later, gives us a taste of excellent, fluid scat.
A rousing hot-damn-cry-out-clap-&-stomp-let-em-rip Cherchez la Femme (A. Darnell/ S.Browder, Jr. for Dr.Buzzard's Original Savannah Band) provokes people at the back to wave arms or napkins; others infectiously sing yes, as they pipe up from the room. It pays to have friends who sing. Texturally dynamic, there's that fabulous brass again, its primitive, processional rhythm sees Sessoms bump, shimmy and parade joyfully among the tables. A zesty version of Love Has Fallen on Me (Andrew Lloyd Webber/Charles Stepney) successfully utilizes more of her professional friends on back-up. This is a formidably talented performer with a fierce band.
Alix Cohen - Cabaret Scenes
TRAVELING WITHOUT MOVING..
Nothing transports you faster than music. From New York's underground dance scene to Central America's Afro-Cuban enclave, here's who's hot now. Albright, Featuring Vivian Sessoms Sunny One Day (Baby Buddha) Background singers with enough star power to release solo efforts never seem to stay long in the spotlight. This shouldn't be the case for New Yorker Vivian Sessoms, one powerful half of the duo Albright, who's been working behind the scenes with some of music's most respected names: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Patti Austin, and Lalah Hathaway. With a touch of smooth jazz production, Albright's debut album, Sunny One Day, gives this singer-songwriter's heralded vocals free range over her partner Chris Parks's blend of soul. Feel the chemistry on 'Tainted (Love)', an intoxicating track drunk with hypnotic drum beats and Sessoms' gentle mix of R&B and gospel; 'In Between Worlds', a touching song about acceptance that's as topical as it is sweet; and 'Luv U', a lover's letter of all the things we can never hear enough of. Willie C. Alaman - Uptown
One of the beautiful things about music is the collaboration between its artists. Collaborative efforts have the ability to take performers from different backgrounds and music experiences and transform them into a singular, unified artistic music concept. With the merging of Uber session and background vocalist Vivian Sessoms and musician and producer Chris Parks, the soul music world has expanded with the creation of Albright.
The duo, with Sessoms holding down the bulk of the writing and strutting her stuff on vocals, and Parks manning the music instruments and production, bring a warm, inviting, organic groove and vibe with their debut CD, Sunny One Day. With Sunny One Day, Albright (the band is named as a tribute to Sessoms maternal grandmother) branches out to show you a broader range of the talents of two respected artists that are better known for working in the background, either in the studio or live, with other artist on their respected projects. But as Albright, both Parks and Sessoms stretch out, with Vivian's vocals ranging from cool to sassy to soulful, while Parks shows his versatility as a skilled musician, writer, and producer. With Sunny One Day, Sessoms and Parks have arrived as a tight unit as Albright.
"We had been producing and writing for a number of artists, and there was a good amount of songs we had that weren't being used for anything", Parks says. "So we figured we should put out our own CD, maybe to use as a calling card to showcase our writing and production skills". Mission accomplished. All of the songs on the album have an organic vibe, one that puts you in the frame of mind of waking up to a beautiful overcast day and playing the project, yet there's nothing but blue skies by the time the last track ends. But there's never a convoluted feeling with the songs, each track has a distinct vibe, with flowing melodies, smooth guitar arrangements, and tight groove production by Parks. Sessoms' writing is right on with lyrics that never fail in reminding us that people do matter in the world. "In my mind, I wanted [the record] to be beautiful but I also wanted to talk about things that matter to me and my generation", Sessoms says. "I wanted it to feel old school, but be modern at the same time".
The album features some of the hottest musicians and vocalists on the soul scene putting it down on the project. Artist like Casey Benjamin (of Heavy), Wondress Hutchinson, Eric Brown (of Black-I), and Shedrick Mitchell among others all lend their talents to the album. While most of the songs are live instrumentation, there are a couple of songs that feature interesting samples from other artists, such as Tainted which the band remade into their own vibe, while paying homage to J-Dilla's production of the Slum Village track. Other standout tracks include the title track, Oh Baby, Love Can Turn You Around, In Between Worlds, and Faith.
Rating: 8/10 Soul Interviews - Gabriel Rich
It's a beautiful day at Bert Ferguson Park in Cordova...nice breeze...not many people here. My friend Janci, her son Javi, and I decided to just chill out today. I am sitting here on the swings thinking there couldn't be a better way to do a music review.
Today's lucky artists are Albright featuring Vivian Sessoms, and the CD in question has been named "Sunny One Day". This duo is made up of Chris Parks and Vivian Sessoms. Vivian is a native of Harlem, NY. She has been in the music business for years doing everything from commercial jingles to singing background for the likes of Michael Jackson, Cher, and Pink just to name a few. The two have written and produced for Lalah Hathaway and Chris Parks has also played bass for Amel Larrieux, Rashaan Patterson, George Duke and Patti Austin. When the two met at a recording session where Vivian was to be a guest on the upcoming CD, who would have known that the two would later form the "BLACK CHERRI" production company. Black Cherri has produced and written for a number of artists in addition to commercial jingles for such clients as Canon, Cover Girl, Volvo, Dark and Lovely and X-Box. "Sunny One Day" is a beautiful 14 track CD.
The first single that was released entitled "Dunno What" has a nice "hip dip" melody. This track is simply about a person that is in love, but seems a bit surprised at their feelings. Somehow they come to terms and appreciate this emotion before the track ends. Another song I was really diggin' was track two: "Tainted". Whew, I don't know how many times I have used this word but Albright is giving it a different meaning than I normally do. The beat to this song is so funky and it may easily be recognized as the same beat of Slum Village's "Tainted". This song is actually a remake of an early 80's classic by "Soft Cell". As I am trying to keep my balance on this swing, while trying not to drop my laptop I'm taking mental notes of my "White Zen" cut "Love Can Turn You Around." Vivian's voice on this track made me feel the emotion behind each word she belted out. Just listening to the blend of the keyboard, guitar and the seductive suggestions the two make is beyond an eargasmic combination. The lyrics "love can turn you around, love can make you sit down and think about tomorrow" made me wonder if she is singing from experience. Love is a wonderful thing...
Now, back to the review. Other tracks like "It's Alright", "Heroin", "Ghettoland", "Searchin'" and "Luv U" are all ear worthy creations that bring up the social issues that we need to address and do something about. Janci is feeling "He Who Knows". She says that it's a nice jazzy track with a deep soulful feel along with a bit of seduction. Don't just take my ears for it. Go out and buy the CD - visit myspace.com/albrightmusic to get more info on the duo and purchase their music.
Neo Soulville - Marvina
LIFE & SOUL PROMOTIONS
This is a bit of a side issue before I get on to the review but last year I went To Joe's Pub principally to see my friend Stephanie McKay at a thing that Roberta Flack was hosting. Top of the bill was Sherrod and Jerry Barnes and their musicianship was exceptional, so on opening this package and seeing that Sherrod featured prominantly I knew the production, feel and musicianship would be good. The album also features Heavy's Casey Benjamin who guested that night as well, along with friend of the site Eric Brown of Black-I. Looking at Albright's website there is a picture of Vivian with Roberta Flack, so my guess is that she was there that night and we were very close, as I have a similar picture that I took of Roberta with Steve Wallace.
Anyway, enough about all that but suffice to say this album Albright, Chris Parks, instrumentalist and Vivian Sessoms, principally vocals is very strong indeed. Faultless production with fine musicians, well structured compositions and excellent vocals. The first track that really fired me was Love Can Turn You Around is a stunning ballad which allows the vocals to ooze soulfully above a fairly sparse backing, building into a wonderful ending. It's Alright is just a tad more upbeat on what is essentially a mellow downbeat album, vocals come across huskier and earthier. Oh Baby starts off very harmonically then includes some heavyish guitar work & becomes fairly rock orientated. Sunny One Day, I wouldn't particularly say that being the title track, it is the strongest track, but that said it is very nice indeed, with quite a bit going on and a hook that runs around in your head, and an optimistic lyric. He Who Knows, is nice, very much structured around the vocals and the story - one of those tracks that you could get lost in when performed live, accompanied by some excellent guitar, and Nicky of Heavy crops up to. Ghettoland is altogether funkier, bass heavy, and harsher vocals and certainly a feature track. Heroin' is another of the 'harder' tracks, strong vocals over a strong stripped down beat, but the song really builds. Faith is a catchy thing which I really quite like. The version of Tainted Love (called Tainted) is mellowed right down, and has a certain knowingness, personally not too keen but maybe it's because the song has been ruined for me (in UK Soul Circles especially) by over exposure (and that's Gloria Jones, and not the excrutiating pop version). The best I can see is that Albright stamps their own mark on it and gave it some kind of originality. The closing track Fading Out is also a highlight This is a long album, lots of different styles both musically and lyrically. There is therefore lots to take in, and the excellence of the production means that you will keep revisiting it to take in all the different nuances, and go back to tracks that you might on first hearing have discarded. Recommended.
Life & Soul Reviews - Mike Ashley
Albright featuring Vivian Sessoms/ Sunny One Day (Baby Buddha Records) WE have to support our independent artists, and one of the best is featured on this album. Vivian Sessoms' voice captivates her audience. She and her voice have backed many musical greats such as Michael Jackson, Rob Thomas and Cher to name a few. She has finally come into her own with Sonny One Day. The words are well written and the melodies well arranged. A favorite is track #3, "Love Can Turn You Around", with it's insightful lyrics: "Love can make you sit down and think about tomorrow". Insight foreshadows that with her soulful vocal prowess, Sessoms will thrive on the music scene for many tomorrows to come.
Valerie D. Young - Hype Hair
Warmly wonderful soul from Albright
A group that features the vocals of Vivian Sessoms, a singer who's worked with a wide variety of bigger stars, but who really shines here on her own! Vivian's got a voice that's instantly appealing - a sound that grabs you right from the very first, and holds tightly through the set's seductive blend of jazzy instrumentation and deeper soul inflections - and the other half of the group is Chris Parks, a performer/producer with an equally great resume, and a perfect fit for Vivian on the set. Backings are often a warm blend of guitar, keyboards, and beats - spare and simple, but never clunky or cliched - and although many titles are originals, the set also features a few nice snippets from older tunes too. Titles include "Searchin", "Ghettoland", "He Who Knows", "Tainted", "Love Can Turn You Around".
ECHOES UK/NOV 2007
Albright featuring Vivian Sessoms debut, 'Sunny One Day' is also from Soul Brother Records and is way more like it. Albright is actually a New York duo - of Vivian Sessoms and multi-instrumentalist/engineer and Berklee graduate Chris Parks - a pairing that you may have noticed amongst the credits of Lalah Hathaway's 'Outrun The Sky', where they contributed 3 tunes. This album came together on and off over the past three years, a perfectionist's timetable that accounts for the high quality of the songwriting throughout as well as the standard of performance, as they slide about between neo, jazzy tinged soul and some decidedly poppier furrows. A bit Simpson without the Ashford in places, perhaps. He Who Knows, which swirls around a strolling bass line and guitar solo is my fave but there's plenty more to choose from. Chris Wells - Echoes UK
Check it out.. We've been featured this month on Billboard Undergrounds artist to watch.
Thanks to our friends over at Billboard, Alex, Kristina & the rest of the gang.
New York duo Vivian Sessoms and Chris Parks fall loosely into the organic soul sound. 'Dunno What' and 'Tainted' are good head nodding dancers. The standout 'He Who Knows' has a mid tempo vibe similar to Jill Scott and the bass propelled dancer 'Ghettoland' has nice keyboard touches. 'Love Can Turn You Around' is a nice ballad and the mid tempo grooves 'Its Alright', 'In Between Worlds' and Fadin Out'.. Nice album.
LOVE THOSE LADIES...
Vivian Sessoms (Baby Buddha Records) You've probably heard her more than seen her, but Vivian Sessoms is a veteran of commercial jingles for some of the worlds favorite products: Campbell's Soup, Hershey's Chocolate, Coke, Adidas, Dark & Lovely, and Walt Disney, among others. The talented singer, who is also a critically-acclaimed writer, producer and arranger, is set to release a debut CD, Sunny One Day with her group Albright.
Albright featuring Vivian Sessoms - Sunny One Day
When Chris Parks met Vivian Sessoms over 10 years ago, the pair sharpened each other's writing and production talents and made their mark on the music industry, successfully orchestrating songs for Lalah Hathaway and composing jingles for companies like Hanes and Dark & Lovely. On their debut release, Sunny One Day, the duo delivers 14 tracks of soulful, pop-influenced hits. Up-tempo beats, solid ballads and exceptional lyrics make this album an instant classic and a satisfying gift for fans who've been anxiously awaiting its release.
Adam Jones - Rolling Out
Sunny One Day advance review.. The first track from Albright's Sunny One Day release is entitled "Dunno' What." Well I dunno about you dear reader, but this is organic soul stripped down to it's bare essentials and it sounds superb! Lead singer Vivian Sessoms has a voice that is beautiful, loved, and blessed. And the band? More on them in just a second. Soft Cell's early 1980's classic "Tainted Love" gets smacked, flipped, and rubbed down into a funky 21st century number called "Tainted", while the following track, "Love Can Turn You Around", is a beautiful ode to love in it's purest form. Now about that band. Can you say bad? In the words of the immortal Run-DMC: "not bad meaning bad/ but bad meaning good!" With brilliant production from Sessoms and guitarist Chris Parks, Albright has a sweet, melodic sound that doesn't get caught in one place too long. They come out of left field with the rock-influenced "Oh Baby" and then bring it down just a touch on "In Between Worlds," with an emphasis on the bass. Vivian then takes you on a lyrical tour of "Ghettoland" and follows with the soothing "Love You". The band brings it on home with the stunning closer, "Fadin' Out". Quite simply, add Albright's Sunny One Day to your collection. It is a great combination of quality production and out-of-this-world vocals, and is a great new find for soul music lovers. Christopher Whaley - Soul Tracks
SUNNY ONE DAY Review
Albright is the duo of Harlem-born singer Vivian Sessoms and Bronx-bred multi-instrumentalist/engineer Chris Parks (the name Albright is a nod to Sessoms' grandmother's maiden name). For the past decade, they have made attention-grabbing music in everything from commercials and video games to three standout songs from Lalah Hathaway's Outrun the Sky. Finally bowing as artists in their own right, the team took their sweet time to craft a profoundly impressive debut, crafting a project so polished yet effortless sounding it's as if it bonds to your DNA and defies you to stop playing it. As addictive as Pinkberry, Sunny One Day is a fortified confection of spell-casting tracks and layered vocals laced through universally relatable musings and snapshots of love and life. Sessoms' voice is a malleable wonder that rhapsodically floats from ageless soul shouts to intuitive jazz phrasing to spontaneous pop pep. And though they've served up a generous and usually prohibitive 14 songs, you can't believe that each succeeding one is as good, or better, than the one before. Truly an album project in all-around quality, cohesion, confession and conscience, Sunny One Day renders picking singles pointless, though I'm partial to "It's Alright," "He Who Knows," "Ghettoland," "Luv U" and "Heroin." What a mind-blowing surprise, Albright's Sunny One Day is the most unexpected out-of-left-field slice of lyrical, musical and aural perfection since Ayo's Strange Flower and a qualifier for Best of 2007."
A. Scott Galloway - Urban Network
Albright feat. Vivian Sessoms 'Supercharged'
Born and raised in Harlem, Vivian Sessoms is a woman who eats, sleeps and breathes music. Working with legends such as Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Sean "P.Diddy" Combs and Sinead O'Connor, Vivian has been able to capture and apply what she's learned to create her own style. After meeting up with multitalented producer Chris Parks, they present their debut album: "Sunny One Day"; a 14 track album showcasing Vivian's strong vocal talents. As one listens to this album, you will easily appreciate Vivian's voice and her passion for music. Tracks such as "Ghettoland", "Heroin" and "Oh Baby" capture Vivian's soulful voice. "Tainted" which the two sampled from Slum Village and Dwele's "Tainted" provides her interesting definition of a 'tainted love' from a female's perspective. Other tracks such as "Searchin", "Dunno' What" and "Sunny One Day" all help enhance Vivian's voice and the overall quality of the album. There is a noticeable maturity in this album through the lyrics which one could only expect from such an artist. Furthermore, the maturity and sophistication of their songs help convey and drive this album and tracks such as "Love Can Turn You Around" and "Love You" help to exemplify this. What is great about this album is that none of their songs are depressing or heart aching, which seems to be one of the unfortunate rules that R&B artists tend to use today when producing songs. All their songs talk about love, life, and happiness and not about why did I fall for this person or why I hate them so much. Negativity seems to drag people down where Albright clearly shows the opposite. The album on a whole is great soulful ensemble with great lyrics, excellent production and of course superb vocals. The passion and drive Vivian & Chris have in each song clearly illustrate to the listener how much devotion they have for music. This might explain why a number of listeners may not have heard of Vivian because the music industry lately has been saturated with artists who sing repetitive formulaic lyrics on depressing topics instead of positive uplifting material.
Dwight Barrett - Just Soul
THE NEW YORK BEACON/MAY 2007 - Audrey J. Bernard
CHRIS BOTTI WITH FEATURED VOCALIST VIVIAN SESSOMS.
Comments on Michael Lisi's review of Chris Botti's performance in Albany's Washington Park: "I appreciate Mr. Lisi's comments about Chris Botti's performance at the Tulip Festival, and agree that more Botti would have been fine, but he isn't a stage-hog when it comes to his very capable sidemen. Clearly, he's the main attraction, but he has commented in several interviews that he takes a cue from both the late Miles Davis and his friend and mentor, Sting, by stepping to the side periodically to let his colleagues shine. (He also has admitted that it conveniently allows him a periodic breather, as the trumpet is a demanding instrument, even on the physically most fit of players, which he clearly is.) "Still, minus one or two tunes from his typically 90-minute concerts, this performance was the best bargain a jazz fan will find anywhere in the Capital Region this year. Keep in mind, Botti has sold out the Troy Music Hall easily for two years in a row now -- and as recently as October. "... Also, Mr. Lisi failed to mention by name the band's impressive new vocalist, Vivian Sessoms -- a terrific find whom Botti told me later was courtesy of his guitarist, Mark Whitfield. Whitfield is a most reliable source as his cousin, the very capable Sy Smith, is a frequent Botti band vocalist. Sessoms stepped in while Smith is occupied as one of the fine back-up vocalists on 'American Idol.' "The three vocals delivered by Sessoms -- 'The Look of Love,' 'What'll I Do' and 'Good Morning Heartache' -- were a testament to her talent. She had just joined the band the evening before and stepped in without rehearsal. She delivered them with a power and self-assurance that clearly overcame the brevity of her tenure. "Few jazz artists have the combination of artistry and charisma that Botti puts forth on stage every time. Here's hoping he'll make his way back to the area sometime again in the next year."
Valley Girl aka Les
TRUMPETER BOTTI ENTRANCES AUDIENCE
'While Botti got most of the face time during the show, he also had plenty of chances to step back and let his talented band take center stage. Guitarist Mark Whitfield, drummer Billy Kilson, pianist Peter Martin and bass player James Genus (a 13-year veteran of the Saturday Night Live house band) each gave amazing performances, and their gentle and amusing interaction was very natural. Botti began one tune, but had to stop for his own laughter when Whitfield began a series of mini-calisthenics. Vocalist Vivian Sessoms kept up the standard of quality with The Look of Love and What'll I Do, as well as the Grammy-nominated Good Morning Heartache. The blend of pop standards and jazz greats, nonchalance and formality and written and spontaneous performances made it a winning night.' -David Burke
CARRIBEAN LIFE/OCT 2006
The Great Women in Music Festival - VIVIAN SESSOMS - The Jazz Standard - AS A TESTAMENT TO HER UNFETTERED AMBITION.. The solo performance of Vivian Sessoms at The Jazz Standard on October 2nd was a perfect testament to her unfettered ambition. While we all still salivate over the ever-postponed release of her (still!) forthcoming 'Sunny One Day', Vivian is already promoting that album's follow-up: 'Sundown'. And if the two sets at the Jazz Standard accurately predicted the timbre of 'Sundown', it'll be a more acoustic, more contemplative companion to the funky groove of 'Sunny One Day.
- Marshall Shepardson
DAVID MORALES - WORLDS COLLIDE REVIEWS
BBC.CO.UK/JAN 2005 BILLBOARD.BIZ/JAN 2005
"But it's Vivian Sessoms who has the last word with the beautifully crafted "Take My Luv". This is a number that woos and wins with a stellar groove and a taut, instantly memorable melody that perfectly highlights Morales' uncanny ability to create timeless productions and uncover bright and exciting new talent". Reviewer: Lewis Dene"
"Produced by David Morales, "The Vocal Mix" is almost eight minutes of dance floor melodrama featuring Vivian Sessoms with her silky smooth and almost operatic off-the-cuff voice, and with a punchy and complex 4/4 tribal rhythm. "Siren of Love" has sub bass and an awesome big room siren with impact-making acid squelches and R2D2 electronics, "Baby you know you need some loving and I want to give it to you" sings Vivian. The instrumental has become a huge anthem with its genre defying reprise and is peak time material". Watts #169869
Ultimately, though, Morales has never been one to follow the latest trend. Instead, he has remained true to quality house beats of a musical kind. And on tracks like 'Take My Love', featuring Vivian Sessoms, the lyrics and music soar." MP
"Featuring beautiful vocals by Vivian Sessoms, "Siren of Love" features sinister hold synths and sweeping, spacey sound fx for a truly cosmic disco experience. File under future house." - Definity
ROB THOMAS "SOMETHING TO BE" TOUR
USA TODAY/APR 2005
"A critic gets an earful" "Sessoms and Douglas-McRae both have lovely, clear voices and great pitch” a prerequisite for backup singers, if not for the studio-sweetened divas that many of them work for". - Elysa Gardner
PATTI AUSTIN ON VIVIAN SESSOMS
"I remember one moment that remains with me today when I think of Vivian Sessoms. Vivian was performing as one of my background singers. Sometimes I ask the singers to take a solo as a means of introducing themselves to the audience. As Vivian sang the first few lyrics of the classic song "At Last", I thought the heavens had opened up and rained down some of the best singing and performance style I had ever heard. With only a moment to make an impression, Vivian captured the entire audience."
LALAH HATHAWAY/OUTRUN THE SKY 2004
"Worth the wait for Lalah Hathaway's "Outrun the Sky" Veteran jazz/r&b producers Chris Parks & Vivian Sessoms place her in a comfortable, mid-tempo, contemporary r&b setting on 'Back Then' and 'In the End'."
"Some of the songs were inspired by a sense of romantic loss that she shared with some of her friends. Among those songs, the gritty anthem "Admit It" is the clear standout as Hathaway laments the "silly shit men do". - Mark Anthony Neal
EBONY MAGAZINE/OCT 2004
"Hathaway brings to mind her late father, music legend Donny Hathaway on the poignant guitar and organ-driven 'Admit It', written & produced by Vivian Sessoms & Chris Parks"
INTERVIEW MAGAZINE/NOV 2000
Khani most recently finshed and released her third album, 'Lifetime' (Expansion Records ~ Sony/3MV). Produced by New York based writers-producers, Chris Parks & Vivian Sessoms. Khani states: 'This album features some of the greatest musicians in New York and there's not a throw-away song on the album... I finally feel like I've recorded something that sounds like me.' 'Lifetime's' first two singles, 'Sunshine' & 'All About U', are quickly ascending the European radio charts and picking up where her first disc 'Places' left off.
JAZZ NATION/OCT 2000
"A brilliant new set of smooth soul numbers from singer Khani Cole -- a deeply voiced diva whose style reminds us a bit of Carleen Anderson. The set's got some fierce jazz-tinged backings arranged and produced by Chris Parks and Vivian Sessoms-- and the overall quality of the set is very high, like some of the best NuSoul work from the U.S., or like the best of Expansion's other albums of this sort. Titles include 'Sunshine', 'What Is Real', 'Sunday Morning', 'Lifetime', 'Trickin', and 'Real Thing' ".
RYUICHI SAKAMOTO/SWEET REVENGE
"and "Sentimental" breezes by with a slightly bossa nova-ish, '60s French movie feel and features an exquisite vocal by Vivian Sessoms." R.S. 1994