*Growing up in Houston, Chelsey Green has fond memories of coming home from classical violin lessons and hearing and experimenting with influential jazz, funk and R&B vibes her parents were throwing down on the family stereo – Herbie Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind and Fire, et al. With her brilliant array of talents, the classical scholarships and opportunities that came her way, the multi-talented singer/songwriter, violinist and violist could have found a career playing in orchestras.
Yet, God’s gift of music led her into bolder, more eclectic directions; resulting in a wondrous diversity that now – years later – inspires her and her longtime ensemble, Chelsey Green and The Green Project. Their fresh new EP, ReEnvisioned, is a dynamic and empowering collection that in only four tracks showcases their passions for contemporary and traditional jazz, R&B and funk with a touch of classical violin. The EP lays a foundation for an upcoming full-length album (the band’s first LP since the Billboard-charting The Green Room in 2014) that will include elements of her gospel roots as well.
“ReEnvisioned represents my continued effort to break the niche mentality and not restrict myself to one, single genre,” says Chelsey, whose discography also includes their 2012 EP, Still Green, and their popular 2018 single, Summertime. “My music is influenced by many styles, and over the years, we’ve really cultivated a vibe in the live setting that incorporates all of those elements seamlessly. The same way music has been fed to me throughout my life, that’s how I want to share my voice and personal artistry. A lot of our songwriting comes together when we are rehearsing for performances; that’s where we do a lot of creative diving and arranging. After we recorded these first four tracks, I started thinking about a title that would capture the essence of this new direction.”
“Classical music has been good to me. I love what it has taught me about harmony,” she adds. “At the same time, I am a Black woman that grew up immersed in and studying gospel, blues, jazz and other Black music genres. This is the music of my culture, borne out of the dichotomy of despair and joy. Jazz; music evolved out of work song, connecting us to our ancestors for whom improvisation was a way to survive.”
For jazz and soul fans who haven’t experienced Chelsey Green and The Green Project’s explosive live performances across the U.S. and internationally, the EP is the perfect primer to connect with the unique melodic, harmonic and grooving chemistry between Chelsey, Ignatius Perry Jr. (piano/keyboards), Kevin Powe, Jr. (bass) and Brian “Spyda” Wheatley (drums). All contribute their writing and arranging skills to ReEnvisioned; three originals (“Soundcheck,” “It’s Not What It Seems,” “Time”) and the spirited, jazzy, funky and swinging re-imagining of “Fly Me to the Moon” featuring trumpet great Sean Jones, a friend and educational colleague of Chelsey’s.
Whether singing or choosing to use her stringed instruments as lead voice, Chelsey is a masterful storyteller and calls the tunes on ReEnvisioned “the soundtrack of her current life.” Literally written during a soundcheck before a show in Idaho, the soulful and eminently driving opening track “Soundcheck” finds Chelsey creating magic out of the experience of checking levels, exploring resonances and manipulating timbres to make the performance electrifying. She adds, “the opening tune represents the repetition it sometimes takes in life to get things right.” The moody, thoughtful instrumental ballad “It’s Not What It Seems” stops at one point from its infectious soul-jazz vibe for a random classically-influenced breakdown. In addition to serving as a commentary about false perceptions, the song reflects an inner conversation Chelsey is having with herself to re-align her own life focus.
Spinning “Fly Me to the Moon” so far beyond its traditional orbit that we can almost imagine Sinatra snapping his fingers and soaring along, Chelsey’s inviting and passionate vocals share the reality that she’s not asking for the entire galaxy, just a little love and affection. The final track “Time,” features her viola-based string arrangement around her beautiful yet heartbreaking vocals. On one level, it’s a mournful tune about the impact of lies in a relationship. In a larger sense, it’s about the importance of living one’s life authentically; even if we sometimes feel we must lie to ourselves to keep up appearances.
A native of Houston, Texas, Dr. Chelsey Green was born into a family of jazz and funk musicians and started her performance career as a violinist at age 5. Her father, Craig Green, was an influential teacher at a performing arts middle school who taught many, now notable jazz musicians. Chelsey received a scholarship for classical viola studies at The University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and later earned her Master’s from The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland College Park.
In August 2017, Chelsey was appointed Associate Professor in the String Department at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where she teaches privately, various ensemble classes and also conducts a lab for viola students, teaches introductory and intermediate string improvisation and two ensembles. Dedicated to educational outreach efforts for young people, she and her bandmates provide a wide range of educational music workshops to city and county schools, after school programs, educational groups and more. Chelsey Green and The Green Project work with students from all backgrounds, exposing them to the possibilities of what music can be.
For more on Chelsey Green: https://www.chelseygreen.com/meet-chelsey/
Halloween Fight Night: Leo Santa Cruz Battles Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in Texas
*If you can’t trick or treat on Halloween night, you can catch a treat of a boxing match featuring two highly skilled world champions fighting for both the WBA super featherweight and lightweight championships.
Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 knockouts) is set to headline his first pay-per-view event in his 40th professional bout.
Santa Cruz is a high-energy fighter known for his high volume of punches. His fan-friendly style has helped him land several high-profile televised fights. ‘El Terremoto’ is trying to win a title in his fifth different weight class.
Santa Cruz last fought nearly a year ago, when he defeated Miguel Flores by unanimous decision on Nov. 23. Gervonta Davis, Santa Cruz’s next opponent, is 23-0-0 with 22 knockouts. Expect 4th of July-like fireworks on Halloween night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
During a recent conversation, Santa Cruz opened up about his fight with Davis, how his father’s health struggles motivate him and much more.
Percy Crawford interviewed Leo Santa Cruz for Zenger News.
Zenger: How are you doing, Leo?
Leo Santa Cruz: I feel good. I just got done training, so I feel great. How are you?
Zenger: I’m great. Thanks for asking. I know you have a tight schedule, so I’ll keep it short. When you look at footage of Gervonta Davis, what are your takeaways?
Santa Cruz: He’s a great fighter, great talent, great skills, great puncher, great power. He has everything that a fighter can ask for. The only thing is maybe his stamina, but he’s been training hard for this fight, and it shows. Hopefully, he’s in great condition. I don’t take anything away from him. He’s a great fighter.
Zenger: You seem to live a very comfortable life right now. At 32 years old, what keeps you motivated to continue to fight at such a high level?
Santa Cruz: What keeps me motivated is my family. We grew up really poor. We struggled a lot, and I don’t want to go back to that. I continue to train hard in the gym, make great fights and keep my family straight for them to live and create a good future.
Zenger: We just watched Vasiliy Lomachenko, a 32-year old guy, move up in weight and lose to a 23-year old fighter who was bigger than he was. You are 32, and Gervonta is 25. You’re moving up, as did Lomachenko. How do you prevent having the same fate as the perception of the bigger and younger fighter having the advantage?
Santa Cruz: Yeah (laughing). I think the difference is I have a heart. I have that Aztec Warrior Mexican heart. I’m going to go out there no matter what. I’m not going to be scared to throw punches. No matter if he is the bigger guy, I’m going to go out there and throw punches and be on top of him. We don’t back down from nobody. We are going to be there with him with that Aztec spirit.
Zenger: This fight will take place on Halloween night, which is the last day of October, which marks the last day of essentially ‘Cancer Awareness Month.’ Your father’s health issues and battle with cancer are well-documented. Are you using them as motivation to fuel you for this fight, or do you feel it’s best to leave those emotions out of it because that can be a dangerous approach?
Santa Cruz: I don’t have to fight emotional. My dad is great motivation for me because he has struggled going through everything he’s going through. What I’m going through in the gym, training hard and everything, is nothing compared to what he’s going through and what he’s been through. So, when I feel myself feeling down or a little bit tired, I think about my dad. I do this for him. I know that if I get this win, he is going to be very happy, and it will be extra motivation for him to continue fighting against cancer, and that’s what I want. But like I say, this is boxing, and you never know. Anything can happen out there. I just want for hopefully both of us to come out healthy from the fight. And I want my dad to not worry about me if anything goes wrong. I want to motivate him and make him proud.
Zenger: Most observers are viewing this fight as a volume-versus-power fight: Your volume against Davis’ power. Do you agree with that, or do you see this fight as being more than just that?
Santa Cruz: I think it’s a little bit more. I’m not only just volume. I can box. If I throw my volume, he will catch me. I can get caught with something, and he could catch me with a good power punch. I don’t want to go out there and just throw a lot of punches. I just have to go out there and be smart, pick my punches and fight a smart fight. But once we’re in there, we know we have to fight him; and whatever is working, that’s what we’re going to do.
Zenger: Obviously, Floyd Mayweather can’t fight for Gervonta, but his presence in this camp has been instrumental — or it appears to have been instrumental in how Gervonta has trained. Do you think Gervonta could possibly get caught up in trying to impress Floyd too much and that could lead to opportunities for you?
Santa Cruz: Yeah, hopefully he does make mistakes because of that. When you have someone like Floyd Mayweather around you … if I had Floyd Mayweather in my corner, I would be trying to impress him so much that maybe I would get too carried away and do something wrong. Or get too frustrated trying to do what he’s telling me, and I can’t do it. So, it’s a little bit of both. It can be extra motivation, and it can be a distraction. We’re going to see fight day how it plays out.
Zenger: You’re adding weight and muscle to your frame. Physically, how do you feel?
Santa Cruz: Physically, I feel great. I feel strong. I look strong. People are telling me I look really big, and I’ve been looking strong in the sparring and on the mitts and everything. I like to hear that because I’ve been working hard and doing everything that I have to do in the gym to go out there and give a great fight. We are happy with the results right now.
Zenger: You always give us your best. I appreciate the time. Good luck on fight night, and I hope both you and Gervonta walk away healthy.
Santa Cruz: Thank you, man. I appreciate it and have a great day.
(Edited by Stan Chrapowicki and Allison Elyse Gualtieri)
The post Halloween Fight Night: Leo Santa Cruz Battles Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in Texas appeared first on Zenger News.
Pepa Writes About Being the Reason Left Eye Torched Andre Rison’s Mansion
*Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes from the four-time Grammy-winning singing group “TLC” has been dead 18 years, but memories of her talents linger on.
Yet, if there’s one thing that stands out more than her brilliant singing career, it is the incident on June 9, 1994, when she set fire to NFL star Andre Rison’s mansion in Atlanta, burning it to the ground. At the time, the two were girlfriend and boyfriend.
While Left Eye mentioned the fire numerous times during interviews through the years, another piece of the puzzle was made public when Pepa, of the Grammy-winning hip hop duo, “Salt-N-Pepa,” revealed some interesting things about the fire, Left Eye, and Rison, in her 2008 autobiography, “Let’s Talk About Pep.”
Pepa, whose real name is Sandy Denton, wrote:
“It just seemed that all of my problems revolved around men – even when it wasn’t my fault. Even when I wasn’t directly involved. One example of this was in 1994. I ended up in one of those National Enquirer type of magazines under a headline: “Is Pepa a Home Wrecker?” Remember the night Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes burned down the house of Andre Rison (former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver)? Well, I was sort of in the middle of that.
“Andre and I never messed around. I’m innocent of that crime. I am so innocent. But I did know him and we were really cool. Salt-N-Pepa used to do a lot of NFL spots for Monday Night Football. And we would do some NFL parties. I met Andre at one of those parties and we hit it off. We went bowling and were bugging out and laughing. I would bump into him from time to time at different clubs. And that was it.
“He told me later how everything went down. Apparently, he had been talking about me to her. Telling her how cool I was. Brothers, you can’t do that. Your girl will immediately be suspicious. Now, maybe he did like me like that, but again, we never went there. One night, he and Lisa are watching TV and my video comes on, and he gets all excited and says something like “Pep, that’s my girl!”
View this post on Instagram
Pepa said the night of the fire, “Salt-N-Pepa” was in concert in Atlanta and got Left Eye and Rison backstage passes. Somehow, Left Eye assumed that Pepa and Rison had been together. As result, Left Eye lit up Rison’s mansion, burning it to the ground.
Wow. Who knew.
WE REMEMBER: Gospel Singer/Bishop Rance Allen Dies At 71
As of this posting we don’t have a lot of details, but we can inform you that gospel singing legend Bishop Rance Allen died Saturday morning at the age of 71, according to his family.
As of this posting the cause of Bishop Allen’s death has not been revealed.
Bishop Allen was the pastor of New Bethel Church of God in Toledo, Ohio. Among other things, he previously performed for President Barack Obama and was nominated for five Grammy Awards.
Here is more about Rance Allen via the RanceAllenGroup website:
Bishop Rance Allen was born in 1948 in Monroe, Michigan, one of 12 children. At the age of five he began his preaching ministry and by age nine was preaching throughout Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. He was licensed to preach at age 12 and has since carried the Word of the Lord throughout the United States and abroad. In 1978 he was ordained an Elder by the late Bishop John Seth Bailey and subsequently served 6-1/2 years as Associate Pastor of Holiness Temple Church of God In Christ (COGIC) in Monroe, MI.
In 1985 the late Bishop Gilbert Patterson founded New Bethel Church in Toledo, OH and installed Bishop Allen there as Pastor where he currently serves today. He served many years on the board of the Neighborhood Improvement Foundation of Toledo, Inc., a community organization whose mission was dedicated to improving inner-city environments. In recognition of his dedicated years in ministry the Urban Bible Institute of Detroit bestowed upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 1995. In September, 2011 by God�s amazing grace Bishop Allen was elevated to the office of Jurisdictional Prelate of Michigan Northwestern Harvest in Detroit, succeeding the late Bishop Alfred Knight, Jr. and was consecrated on November 7, 2011 during the 104th Holy Convocation in St. Louis, Missouri. He has also been blessed with the awesome and humbling opportunity to preach the main message to thousands during the 90th, 96th and 105th International COGIC Holy Convocations.
Bishop Allen has been married to Evangelist Ellen Marie Groves since December, 1970. The calling on her life has been an enormous blessing to Bishop Allen as she has helped him take his ministries to a greater level in God. While there are no natural children born to this union they share their love and support to many God-children.
Twitter reaction to the passing of Rance Allen:
R.I.P. to Bishop #Ranceallen . He was 71 years old. Bishop Allen was called The “Father of Contemporary Gospel Music”. He inspired and influenced many of Today’s gospel stars. pic.twitter.com/MmtoQuNInE
— Patty Jackson (@MsPattyJackson) October 31, 2020
I’m joining Pastor Juan Shipp on “Gospel Talk, Back in the Day” on @WYXR_Memphis 12-2 p.m. today to discuss Bishop Rance Allen, hear some of his songs and *maybe* listen to a bit of my recent interview with him.
I’ll have to see if I can find an excerpt that could work.
— Jared ‘Jay B.’ Boyd (@JaredJayBBoyd) October 31, 2020
RIP to Rance Allen, whose Stax-era work contains some of the most gorgeous and joyful records I’ve ever heard https://t.co/ERikOq9Cns
— Jonathan Bernstein (@jonbern) October 31, 2020
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