Beautiful smooth west coast music…
With a voice that caresses like melted caramel and lyrics that touch the deepest recesses of your emotions, singer/songwriter Brenda Russell proves that a glowing talent only deepens with time. Her current Hidden Beach Recordings CD, Paris Rain, represents a welcome artistic brilliance that has dawned once again on a musical horizon clouded with sound-alike artists and retread grooves. And those fans of her earliest recordings–as well as recent converts who have heard the beauty of the current project—are celebrating Brenda’s return to the marketplace with her first studio album in seven years.
Paris Rain has garnered stellar reviews and new attention for one of pop music’s most lyrical and creative artists. To celebrate the ongoing success of the album and its creator, Hidden Beach is releasing an enhanced-CD version of Paris Rain, featuring interview segments, artwork, and other exclusive material about the fabulous Brenda Russell. This exquisitely crafted album is an elegant journey of mood, melody, memory, and, of course, some of the most evocative, intelligent lyrics ever set to music. Author of such gems as “Piano In The Dark,” “If Only For One Night,” and the much-loved anthem “Get Here,” Brenda Russell continues to exercise her miraculous powers of inspirational songcraft as well as her richly nuanced voice on the new “Paris Rain,” a glorious listening experience that will satisfy the expectations of longtime Russell fans and enchant new listeners.
In the year since the album has been released, Brenda has continued to exercise her considerable gifts in a variety of projects. Her co-composition with Brazilian artist Ivan Lins, titled “She Walks This Earth,” was recorded by international superstar Sting for the all-star tribute album Love Affair: The Music Of Ivan Lins. Sting’s inspired performance of the uniquely beautiful song earned him a 2000 Grammy Award for best pop male vocal performance. Says Brenda, “My two favorite artists are Sting and Ivan Lins, so it worked out well. A lot of people love that song, and it makes me happy. I had two days to write the lyric! The producer called me and said Sting didn’t have time to do it, and I did it and it was very exciting. I knew it was like a do-or-die situation, either you kick butt right now or just go home, you know?”
She made her annual appearance on the Dave Koz & Friends holiday tour with the smooth jazz sax star, and has recorded with Koz for the forthcoming holiday album of the same name, due December 2001; she also toured during the summer of 2001, including making an appearance at this year’s Essence Music Festival in July. “It was fantastic,” Brenda enthused about that New Orleans performance. “It was a great crowd, and the whole audience–the first time it ever happened to me– the whole audience sang ‘Get Here’ with me from top to bottom, full tilt. It was amazing.”
Brenda’s music is appreciated by fellow artists, who call on her formidable talent for penning lyrics again and again. She collaborated with Stevie Wonder on a tune called “Justice Of The Heart,” which Stevie sings in the upcoming Denzel Washington movie John Q. And she performs a duet with contemporary bluesman Keb’ Mo’ on his current children’s album, titled “Big Wide Grin.” Their song, “I Am Your Mother Too,” bears a very special message for adopted children. And singer Will Downing will benefit from Brenda’s songcraft with one of her co-compositions, “Don’t You Talk To Me Like That” (co-written with Vinx and Mark Cawley), on his forthcoming album. And just to keep things fun, Brenda has written incidental music for the animated series “Fat Girl” on the Oxygen Network, as well as an animated internet short series titled “Driving While Black” for urbanentertainment.com. And when former MTV veejay Ananda Lewis bows her syndicated talk show this fall, it will be Brenda’s music opening every show. All of this activity is enhanced by the June 2001 release of yet another CD compilation of her best-known tunes.
Which puts the focus squarely back on Paris Rain, a multi-layered work by a mature artist. As one of few artists who have successfully been able to incorporate a wide range of musical influences–rock, pop, R&B, jazz, classical, Latin–into a distinct style that defies categorization while attracting fans around the world, Brenda Russell’s music endures through time and trends. Crafted in conjunction with her longtime production collaborator Stephan Oberhoff, “Paris Rain” is another treasure in this unique trove. With guest appearances by saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Dave Koz, Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip and pianist Russell Ferranted, keyboardists Greg Phillinganes and Brenda’s musical director Bill Sharpe, the glorious set finds Brenda traversing the globe, lyrically and stylistically, offering a series of melodic photographs, moments snapped in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, New York, on a rainswept street, at a jazz cafe, inside a human soul.
The title track, “Love And Paris Rain” is an aching, passionate midnight piano sonata with melody and lyrics so intensely beautiful that it may well take your breath away, while a trip to New York with her daughter (a singer/songwriter in her own right) inspired the Latin-grooved “Walking In New York,” with drums by Sheila E., which captures the Saturday-morning wonder of strolling the variety of Big Apple streets at leisure. Friend and collaborator Ivan Lins lends an atmospheric hand on the festival-themed samba, “Please, Felipe,” where Brenda takes us to the heart of Rio for a playful, wistful love song. “It’s an honor to write lyrics for him because he’s such a brilliant artist,” says Brenda of Lins, “and I went to Brazil in my mind to write this.” Another album collaboration found Brenda writing with another venerable singer/songwriter, Carole King, on the love song “Move The Moon.”
And, as she has on numerous albums, Brenda Russell offers us her inspirational worldview through songs of hope and universal love, like the album’s open invitation for citizens of the globe to “find a better way,” called “Ideal World.” The set’s engaging leadoff single carries the theme of universal love further on “Catch On,” a tune whose exquisite marriage of piano chords with ringing guitars and sprightly percussion deftly delivers the message that “Love will lead the way” in classic Russell style.
The songwriter also stresses spiritual optimism in the form of the thoughtful melody “Expect A Miracle,” a tune that she wrote through overcoming a disappointment. “I never write songs that are hopeless,” the accomplished artist explains. “People have to be inspired to another level. Like: My heart can go on! I may feel like I’m going to die, but I’m not going to die! Something else could be around the corner, so I take responsibility on myself to inspire people and even make you cry, Yes, I’ll make you cry but I won’t leave you hopeless.”
Born to musical parents in Brooklyn, New York, Brenda Russell grew up there and in the Canadian town of Hamilton, Ontario. Singing as a teen brought her to performing in the Canadian company of the rock musical “Hair” in Toronto, where she encountered her first piano in the lobby of the theater. Without a formal musical education, Brenda says she worried that she would never be able to write a new song. “Then I had this revelation that: ‘You’re not doing this, you are just a channel for this, something opened up and it came through you.’ Once I realized that I was sort of fearless about songwriting after that. Because if that’s the way it is, I can do anything, and that’s the premise I’ve based my whole writing career on.”
In the late 1970s, now living in Los Angeles, Brenda and her manager began circulating a demo of her songs. She was signed to Tommy LiPuma’s Horizon Records, and her first single, “So Good, So Right” was released in 1979. Brenda transferred to A&M Records, where she formed a bond with label founder Herb Alpert and released “Brenda Russell” and “Love Life.” Her contract was picked up by Warner Bros. for the 1983 album “Two Eyes” before moving to Sweden for a while, where she wrote tunes for her A&M return, “Get Here.” That 1988 album contained the Grammy-winning “Piano In The Dark” and the gorgeous “Le Restaurant.” After a 1992 “Greatest Hits” package and her 1993 set “Soul Talkin’,” Brenda took time off to regroup and travel. Continuing to write, produce, and collaborate with other artists, Brenda honed her craft and contributed tunes to other projects, including albums by Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, the score to “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” as well as writing and performing two songs in director Barry Levinson’s film “Liberty Heights.” A chance re-meeting in 1999 with Steve McKeever, head of Hidden Beach Recordings, proved providential, resulting in her first album in seven years.
“This album is a totally inspired work, I believe in it so much,” says Brenda of Paris Rain, adding that her unique artistry is divinely inspired. And her belief is shared by her legions of fans, who have given Brenda back the love she invested in Paris Rain. “They respond to all of them, every song,” says Brenda of her audiences when she sings her new material. “I do ‘Catch On,’ ‘Please Felipe,’ I do ‘She’s In Love,’ ‘Expect A Miracle’–they love ‘em all. It’s such a blessing.”
Read more about Brenda Russell at the official website.
Between The Sun And The Moon
Dome Records 2004
Tracks: Make You Smile, Too Cool For The Room, The Message, Between The Sun And The Moon, I Know You By Heart, When You Comin´Back To me, Let Somebody Know, The Tracks Of My Tears, Different Eyes, Aint´No Smoke, You Know Our Day Will Come & It´s A Jazz Day.
Musicians on the Between The Sun And The Moon album: Brenda Russell and others.
So Good, So Right - The Best Of Brenda Russell
Dome Records 2003
Tracks: In The Thick Of It, So Good So Right, If Only One Night, Piano In The Dark, Get Her, It's A Jazzy Day, Stay Close, Jarreau, I'll See You Again, Matters Of The Heart, No Time For Here, Le Restaurant, Catch On, Love and Paris Run & Baby Eyes.
Musicians on the Ultimate Collection album: Brenda Russell and others.
Hip-O Records 2001
Tracks: Way Back When, Please Pardon Me (You Remind Me Of A Friend), Who Loves You, So Good So Right, If Only For One Night, In The Thick Of It, Something I Like To Do, Rainbow, If You Love (The One You Lose), I Want Love To Find Me, Dinner With Gershwin, Jarreau, When I Give My Love To You, Piano In The Dark, Get Here, Waiting For You, Kiss Me With The Wind & No Time For Time.
Musicians on the Ultimate Collection album: Brenda Russell and others.
Hidden Beach Recordings 2000
Tracks: Ideal World, She's In Love, Catch On, Walkin' In New York, Love And Paris Rain, Expect A Miracle, Please Felipe, You Can't Hide Your Heart From Me, Move The Moon, Something About Your Love, Baby Eyes, Wayward Soul (Japanese Bonus Track) & Different Eyes (Japanese Bonus Track).
Musicians on the Paris Rain album: Brenda Russell, Stephen Oberhoff, Greg Phillinganes, Russell Ferrante, Rique Pantoja, William D. Smith, Vinnie Colaiuta, Shiela E., Alvino Bennett, Jimmy Haslip, Bill Sharp, Neil Stubenhaus, James Harrah, Stephen Oberhoff, Sandro Albert, Don Griffin, Paulinho Da Costa, Lenny Castro, Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz, Everette Harp, Pedro Eustache, Niki Haris, Darryl Phinnessee, Frank Aravya, Maxyn Lewis, Ester Nicholson, Arnold McCuller, Siedah Garrett, David Lasley, Carol Perry, Sharon Perry, Lori Perry, Bunny Hull, Lindsay Russell, Valerie Pinkston, Ken Staey, Paulette Brown, Dianne Brooks & Petsye Powell.
EMI Records 1995
Tracks: Matters Of The Heart, Soul Talkin´, In Over My Heart, No Time For Time, You´ll Fall In Love Again, 10.000 Words, Life Is Waiting, Got To Love, The Universe Is Calling You & Who Are You?.
Musicians on the Soul Talkin´ album: Brenda Russell, Ivan Lins, Rita Coolidge, Bobby Caldwell, Ricardo Silveira, Louis Price, Michael Thompson, David Swanson, Mary Wilson, Michael Ruff, Alvino Bennett, Dianne Brooks, Paulette Brown, Bill Cantos, Lenny Castro, Brad Cole, Luis Conte, Cassio Duarte, Russell Ferrante, Everette Harp, James Harrah, Amanda Hayley, Marlo Henderson, Gary Herbig, Jerry Hey, Dan Higgins, Jeff Hull, Kim Hutchcroft, Abraham Laboriel, Maxayn Lewis, Scott Mayo, Lori Perry, Tollak Ollestad, Carolyn Perry, Darlene Perry, Sharon Perry, Greg Phillinganes, Petsye Powell. Bill Sharpe, Craig Siegel, Bob Tricarico, Joe Turano, Carlos Vega, Larry Williams, Pauline Wilson, Aaron Zigman, William D. "Smitty" Smith, Arnold McCuller, Michael "Patches" Stewart, Don Griffin, Mike Shapiro, Jeff Lefwich & Reginald Young.
A&M Records 1993
Tracks: Piano in the Dark, So Good So Right, Kiss Me With the Wind, Get Here, Dinner With Gershwin, Stop Running Away, If Only for One Night, Way Back When, Justice in Truth & Restaurant.
Musicians on the Greatest Hits album: Brenda Russell and others.
Kiss Me With The Wind
A&M Records 1990
Tracks: Stupid Love, All American, Stop Running Away, Waiting For You, Justice In Truth, Dinner With Gershwin, Good For Love, Night Train To Leningrad, Drive My Car (´Til Sunset) & On Your Side.
Musicians on the Kiss Me With The Wind album: Brenda Russell, Narada Michael Walden, Louis Biancaniello, Ren Klyce, Ray Obiedo, Kurt Farquhar, Winston Johnson, Don Griffin, Don Boyett, Andre Fisher, Sharon Robinson, Dean Parks, Phil Perry, Philip Bailey, James Ingram, Stephanie Spruill, Sam Ward, Walter Afanasieff, Paul Rekow, Kitty Beethoven, Annie Stocking, Tina Thompson, Earl Klugh, Lenny Castro, Larry Williams, Petsye Powell, Maxayne, Matthew Wilder, Greg Phillingaines, Jeff Procaro, William D. Smith, Ronald B. Cooper, Paul Chiten, Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, The Sandra Crouch Singers & Bill Reichenbach.
A&M Records 1988
Tracks: Gravity, Just A Beliver, Piano In The Dark, This Time I Need You, Make My Day, Le Restaurant, Midnight Eyes & Get Here.
Musicians on the Get Here album: Brenda Russell, Dave Koz, Joe Sample, Howard Smith, Janne, Gardner Cole, Kevin Toney, Jimmy Haslip, Michael Ruff, Sam Bengtsson, Eddie "Bongo" Brown, Vinnie Colaiuta, Charlotte Crossley, Nathan East, Joe Esposito, Russell Ferrante, Donny Gerrard, Donald Griffin, James Harrah, Jerry Hey, Dann Huff, Jeff Hull, Paul Jackson Jr., Henrik Janson, Maxayn Lewis, Per Lindvall, Wayne Linsey, Peter Ljung, Sharon Robinson, Ake Sundqvist, Joe Turano, Larry Williams, Ed Brown, Peter O. Ekberg, Anders Neglin & Don Griffin.
Warner Bros 1983
Tracks: I Want Love To Find Me, It´s Something, Hello People, Two Eyes, Stay Close, Jarreau, New York Bars, I´ll See You Again & Look Down Youn Soldier.
Musicians on the Two Eyes album: Brenda Russell, L. Leon Pendarvis, Larry Williams, James Newton Howard, Bill LaBounty, Nathan East, John Robinson, David Williams, Robbie Buchanan, Jerry Hey, Gary Grant, Kim Hutchcroft, Bill Reichenbach, David Foster, Michael McDonald, Jeff Porcaro, Paulinho DaCosta, Don Grusin, Dean Parks, Stevie Wonder, Pattie Brooks, Rita Coolidge, Randy Crawford, Christopher Cross, Joe Esposito, Donny Gerrard, James Ingram, Julie Inouye, Al Jarreau, David Lasley, Maureen McDonald, Petsey Powell, Caleb Quaye, Patrice Rushen, Cinnamon Sharpe, Kathy Walker, Leon Ware and others.
A&M Records 1981
Tracks: Love Life, Rainbow, Something I Like To Do, Lucky, Sensitive Man, Deep Dark and Mysterious, If You Love & Thank You.
Musicians on the Love Life album: Brenda Russell, Dean Parks, Steve Lukather, Robert "Pops" Popwell, Neil Larsen, Steve Porcaro, Don Grusin, Jeff Porcaro, Lenny Castro, Ernie Watts, Pete Christlieb, Chuck Findley, Bill Champlin, Jay Gruska, Buzz Feiten, Donny Gerrard, David Lasley, Arnold McCuller & Cinnamon Sharpe.
A&M Records 1978
Tracks: So Good So Right, In The Thick Of It, If Only For One Night, Way Back When, Little Bit Of Love, You're Free, Think It Over & God Bless You.
Musicians on the Brenda Russell album: Brenda Russell, Ron Stockert, Ed Brown, Andre Fisher, George Sopuch, Fredd Tackett, David Wolfert, Harry Bluestone, Steve Madaio, Tom Saviano, Judd Miller, Victor Feldman, Master Henry, Ian Underwood, Doug Richardson, Clare Fisher, Gerald Vinci, Assa Drori, Jerry Peters, Bill Reichenbach, Hector Andrade, Gary Herbig, Larry Williams, Chuck Findley, Jerry Hey, Michele Aller, Susaye Greene, Elaine Hill, Doublerock Baptist Junior Choir, Joe Esposito, John Finley, Arnold McCuller, Petsey Powell, Bruce Sudano, Carmen Twillie, Kathy Collier & Vennette Gloud.
The Pocket Record Company 1977
Tracks: Life Could Be So Grand, That´s All Right To, You Show Me Your Love, Don´t Let Love Go, A Love And Loser, Supersonic Lover, Beautiful Lie, Who Loves You, Think About You, Stranger´s Houses & Love Is Better Kept.
Musicians on the Supersonic Lover album: Brian Russell, Brenda Russell, Bill Cuemo, Ernie Watts, Jim Keltner, Danny Kortchmar, Dennis Belfield, Eric Mercury, Andre Fisher, Tower Of Power, Steve Forman and others.
World Called Love
The Pocket Record Company 1976
Tracks: Please Pardon Me, Word Called Love, Labour Of Love, You´ll Never Rock Alone, Livin´ With You, Tell Me When The Whistle Blowa, Highly Prized Possession, Gonna Do My Best To Love You, Backstreet Lovin, Stranger´s Houses & A Player In The Band.
Musicians on the World Called Love album: Brian Russell, Brenda Russell, Jeff Baxter, Michael Baird, Ben Benay, Bias Boshell, Cathy Collier, Steve Cropper, Chuck Findley, David Foster, Donny Gerrard, pentti Glan, Netty Gloud, Milt Holland, Jim Horn, James Newton Howard, Elton John, Prakash John, Davey Johnstone, Jackie Kelso, Nigel Olsson, Billy Payne, Lee Sklar, Paul Stallworth, Carmen Twillie & Richie Zito.