Dave Love, President of Heads Up International has announced plans to release seven of their upcoming albums in Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD as well as conventional CD Audio format in the year ahead. The planned SACDs will start with the first new recording of Ladysmith Black Mambazo since 1997 early in the year. This will be followed by Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACDs by Heads Up artists including Nestor Torres, Andy Narell, Pieces of a Dream, Marion Meadows, Spyro Gyra and Joe Mc Bride.
Love also informed me that earlier reports that an upcoming Heads Up album by Africa Straight Ahead will appear on Surround Sound SACD are incorrect. That album is planned as a CD Audio only release at this point.
Here’s a brief rundown of the upcoming Heads Up SACD release schedule from the folks at Heads Up. According to Heads Up, the release dates shown are projected dates that are subject to change.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Raise Your Spirit Higher [Wenyukela] (Heads Up HUSA 9083) – January 2004
“Mention African music today and most people think of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Cultural emissaries at home and around the world, their innovative, tightly choreographed style of Zulu choral singing has come to represent the traditional culture of South Africa. Leader Joseph Shabalala organized the Grammy Award winning group in 1960. Their work with Paul Simon on Graceland (1986) attracted millions of new fans who had never heard the captivating subtleties of Zulu harmony. Raise Your Spirit Higher [Wenyukela] is charged with a blend of spirituality and sensuality. Ladysmith’s Heads Up debut deals with issues of death and the fight against apartheid, but brims with life and the rebirth of freedom. A special track features Shabalala’s grandchildren performing a rap in English that laments the death of Shabalala’s wife of 28 years, Nellie, who was shot and killed outside of their church in South Africa in May 2002.”
Nestor Torres – Title To Be Announced (Heads Up HUSA 9081) – March 2004
“On Latin Grammy winner Nestor Torres’ Heads Up debut, the virtuoso flautist hooks up with the heavyweight production elements of James Lloyd (of the famed Pieces of a Dream) and Jimmy Haslip (of Yellowjackets). This instrumental pop album features a re-working of the classic “Contigo Apprendi” and eight original tunes.”
Andy Narell – The Passage (Heads Up HUSA 9086) – March 2004
“World-renowned steel pan player Andy Narell and his compositions take center stage on The Passage. Featuring music for steel pan orchestra, with the large ensemble Calypsociation, and special guests Michael Brecker, Hugh Masekela and Paquito D’Rivera.”
Pieces of a Dream – Title To Be Announced (Heads Up HUSA 9080) – April 2004
“Their new album is the latest aural example of Pieces of a Dream’s unbelievable staying power. As James Lloyd explains it, “We roll with the punches, and we try to stay with the current times. Contemporary jazz has come a long way from back in the day when our first few albums came out. We try to be like Miles…we roll with the times, from bebop to today.””
Marion Meadows – Title To Be Announced (Heads Up HUSA 9082) – April 2004
“Firmly established as one of the most distinctive voices in smooth jazz, soprano saxophonist Marion Meadows shakes things up by incorporating the rich tones of the tenor sax — which he played all through his formative years at high school. Just back from performances at the Tour de France and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the sexy saxman has had great success at radio with two singles from his 2002 release, In Deep.”
Spyro Gyra – Serious Fun (Heads Up HUSA 9085) – May 2004
“Considered to be contemporary instrumental music’s most popular band, Spyro Gyra was founded in 1975 by saxophonist and producer Jay Beckenstein. Serious Fun reunites the band with vibist Dave Samuels. Spyro’s 2001 Heads Up debut, In Modern Times, enjoyed 64 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart, peaking at # 2. Their 2003 follow-up, Original Cinema, rode the top ten position at Billboard and garnished a single that remained at #2 for over six weeks on the national radio charts.”
Joe McBride – Texas Chilled (Heads Up HUSA 9084) – May 2004
“Keyboardist/singer Joe McBride’s seventh recording for Heads Up International, Texas Chilled is a blend of contemporary jazz injected with a funky dose of R&B, and provides the perfect showcase for McBride’s touring band, the Texas Rhythm Club, with saxophonist Wayne DeLano, guitarist Todd Parsnow, bassist Rick Rigsby and drummer Sean McCurley. Longtime producer Martin Walters is once again at the helm. Texas Chilled is yet another significant title in McBride’s impressive discography.”