*Fans of feel-good soul and R&B with a touch of jazz will be ecstatic to learn that South African singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler is launching a unique concert tour for the summer of 2011 that will not be the typical package where acts just come out to plug their latest CDs.
Jonathan Butler’s ” Soul of Summer Tour” is a refreshing coming together of friends paying tribute to some of the most unforgettable soul music of all time with equal parts jubilance and romance. The national concert tour kicks off Friday, May 13th in Memphis, Tennessee – the bedrock of R&B and Sunday, May 15th in Newport Beach, CA .
Joining Jonathan for this very special production will be two Billboard chart-toppers: singer Maysa (whose eighth and latest CD, A Woman in Love on Shanachie Records) and saxophonist/singer Eric Darius (whose fourth and latest CD is On a Mission, also on Shanachie Records).
“I hand-picked Maysa and Eric for this tour because I’d worked with them both and had wonderful experiences,” Butler states. “Maysa sang with me a while back on my Do You Love Me CD and I recently worked with Eric on a jazz cruise. It was important that we all vibed well together because my concept for ‘The Summer of Soul’ is unlike other all-star shows. Instead of just playing our hits, we are going to take the audience on a journey through the very best of soul music of the `60s, `70s, `80s and right on up to the present. We’re going to be digging up some gems that people love but haven’t heard in years!”
Sharing Butler’s enthusiasm, Maysa – a former member of the English Acid Jazz band Incognito adds, “I’m excited to be on tour with them both. Jonathan is so smooth, Eric’s got that young, energetic thing and I’m bringing the sultry girl element! The fact that each of us is so unique will make for a nice mix of styles.” Eric Darius anxiously co-signs, “I’m very excited about this opportunity to bring something harmonious and fresh to the summer concert market which is very much needed in this format. Jonathan and I have talked for years about doing something like this and I’m really looking forward to hitting the road with them both!”
Though everyone is tight-lipped about exactly what they will be doing, fans will note that Butler covered Johnny Nash’s 1972 reggae soul classic “I Can See Clearly Now” on his latest aptly titled CD, So Strong (on Rendezvous Records), Maysa has been recently intimately involved sharing stages with the great Angela Bofill singing her Tropical jazzy-soul classics, and Eric has been bringing an energy back to instrumental music like that of the great Jr. Walker only in a very contemporary dance club context.
“This is my first time producing a show such as this under my own leadership,” Butler admits. I’m returning to my R&B roots in a major way and I can’t wait to share it with my musical friends and fans.”
Guaranteed to be spiritually uplifting during America’s continuing times of social and personal challenges - kissed with sensuality, joy, nostalgia and sizzling effervescence – “The Soul of Summer Tour” starring the multi-faceted music stars Jonathan Butler, Maysa and Eric Darius promises to be a funky good time for lovers of real soul music.
Coming to a town near you to chase away your blues! Memphis, TN- 5/13, Newport Beach, CA,-5/15, Cincinnati, OH-6/17, Hampton, VA-6/25, etc. Go to www. jonathanbutler.com for more tour dates, cities, venues and additional information.
About Soul Of Summer Concert Performers
After a tumultuous year, Butler is celebrating life on So Strong. This new CD runs the full gamut opening with a high-energy, syncopated disco beat on the lead single “So Strong.” The CD then transitions to “You’ve Got To Believe In Something,” finding Butler crooning poetically on this inspirational affirmation.
Before the age ten, Jonathan traveled cross-country performing in various South African villages with a 100-member troupe to help support his family. The audiences would vary from poverty-ravaged black townships to opulent ‘whites only’ halls. During his travels, the young entertainer could neither comprehend the extreme destitute nor the harsh treatment he endured and bared witness to under the devastating reign of Apartheid.
After signing his first record deal as a teenager with Jive Records, Butler’s first single won a Sarie Award, the South African equivalent to a Grammy award. His self-titled debut album put him on the map internationally and garnered two Grammy nominations. Butler’s albums and worldwide concert tours have afforded him a lifestyle far from what he ever could have imagined as a child, but more importantly, it brought him the freedom to follow his true passion – music – on his own terms. For more information go to jonathanbutler.com
Baltimore naive Maysa attended Morgan State University and majored in Classical Voice Performance. While a senior at Morgan State, Maysa was given the opportunity to audition for Stevie Wonder. Stevie was looking for a new vocalist for his group Wonderlove. Maysa passed the audition.
After graduating with a bachelors degree in Classical Voice,,Maysa embarked on a move that would change her life.She moved to North Hollywood California and began her musical career recording backing vocals for Stevie Wonder on the Jungle Fever soundtrack.Maysa also toured with the group to promote the movie.She appeared on Oprah,The Tonight Show,The Arsenio Hall Show,etc.On her off days,Maysa did demos and voice-over work.She sang jingles for The Bill Cosby Show,NBC’s Saturday Morning Cartoons,and Hot Pockets.
In 1991, British music producer Steve Harvey forwarded Maysa’s name to his friend Jean-Paul(Bluey) Maunick,as a potential singer for his British Jazz-Funk band Incognito.After speaking to Bluey on the phone and singing Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing for him, Maysa found herself living a dream come true.She packed up her apartment in LA and moved to London,England.Maysa didn’t know what to expect when she arrived in London,but she knew she had a return ticket(if she needed it)and she didn’t look back…..
Maysa recorded the CD Tribes,Vibes and Scribes which was well received.And gave the group a number top twenty hit with Maysa’s audition song,”Don’t You Worry….”But the turning point for Maysa and Incognito came when they recorded The Positivity CD(released in 1993).The song “Deep Waters” catapulted the group to greater heights.
Maysa’s plans for 2011 and beyond are to complete her first Maysa Live Cd entitled “Maysa Live at the Birchmere.” Go to maysa.com for more information.
Born into a musical family in New Jersey and raised in Tampa, Eric Darius has been exposed to jazz at a young age by his parents. However, it wasn’t until the age of 9 years old, that Eric realized his calling. “I would watch this saxophonist play at our church every week,” he recalls. “Something about that sax just penetrated my soul and moved me. I truly believe that I didn’t pick the instrument, the instrument picked me! My father bought my first saxophone for my 10th birthday, and I’ve never looked back since.”
By age 11-after only playing for one year-Eric was chosen to be in Sonny LaRosa and America’s Youngest Jazz Band, which consisted of young musicians, ages 5-12. The group toured the country and even played at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Throughout Eric’s young, illustrious career, he’s had the tremendous opportunity to travel and perform worldwide with groups, such as the Blake High School Jazz Ensemble, the University of South Florida Jazztet, and with his own band to Japan, Indonesia, France, Italy, and many other countries. In addition, he has also shared the stage with countless notable artists, such as Prince, Brian McKnight, George Benson, Wynton Marsalis, and Dionne Warwick, just to name a few.
Eric came roaring out of the gate at the age of 17 with his first independently produced and distributed CD, Cruisin’ . A few years later, he made his first major label debut, signing with Higher Octave Records, through whom he released Night on the Town (2004) followed by Just Getting Started (2006) on Narada Jazz. He made major inroads into the competitive smooth jazz market with the hits “Slick” and “Night on the Town.” He was also featured on keyboardist Brian Culbertson’s It’s On Tonight and A Soulful Christmas albums, later joining his high energy band for a couple of years, thus solidifying the importance of a great live show.
Darius latest album is “On A Mission”. Beyond his own music, Eric keeps busy collaborating with others. Go to www.ericdarius.com for more information.
A. Jalila Larsuel
JL Media Relations