Eddie Kramer, South African producer and engineer, is celebrating his 77th birthday today. Regarded as a true rock icon, Kramer is known for working with some of music history’s biggest names including The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Bad Company, The Beatles to name but a few. He is also celebrated for his long-term associations with Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Kiss. The South African moved to London where he began his recording career at legendary studios including Pye Studios, Regent Sound and Olympic Studios. Kramer engineered Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Lady Land” LP in 1968 at the Record Plant in NYC where he also worked with Joe Cocker, NRBQ and The Vanilla Fudge. Kramer and his crew are also famous for recording the whole 1969 Woodstock festival. The studio became known as one of the world’s most popular recording studios. In 1969 he went independent where he produced Johnny Winter’s first LP and engineered “Led Zeppelin II”. In the same year, Hendrix hired Eddie to build an exquisite art studio, Electric Lady Studios, where he served as Director of Engineering from 1970 -1974. He has also worked on live recordings by Kiss, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Curtis Mayfield, David Bowie and Peter Frampton. Kramer has won several Grammys for his audio production of the video Jimi Hendrix live album The Band of Gypsies, “The Game of Love”, with Carlos Santana and vocals by Michelle Branch, Martin Scorcese presents- Jimi Hendrix –“The Blues” which Eddie produced and engineered, Jimi Hendrix –“Live at Berkley,” Led Zeppelin- “How the West was Won”. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, The Cure, Buddy Guy and the Pixies also owe their thanks to Kramer for producing and engineering some of their best-selling albums. He is currently working on Acoustic Experience- a contemporary acoustic remake of Hendrix’s songs with artists Jason Mraz/Crosby and Nash, Mike Mc Cready and Brandi Carlisle, Grace Potter, Rafael Saadiq, Heart, Shinedown, etc. As a skilled photographer, his work is regarded as a highly valued collector’s items that have been exhibited in some of the world’s most prestigious galleries and museums.
Texas guitarist, Gary Clark Jr., released his third studio album, ‘This Land’, last week. The artist has spent the last few years translating his mojo into studio statements and seemingly failed to capture the thrilling dynamics of his live shows in his previous albums — 2012’s ‘Blak and Blu’ and 2015’s ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim’. Clark Jr. finally conquered the pitfalls that held him back all these years. His latest album serves as evidence of the singer-guitarist embracing the possibilities of studio production rather than resisting the expressive challenges. His studio experimentation consists of eighties R&B, funk, rockabilly, punk, reggae-inspired bass synths, keyboards and samples to replace his extensive guitar solo’s that he is known for in his live shows. The 35-year-old has never had more to say thanks to his updated studio experimentation methods that led him to a flux of songwriting. “Exploitation wants me to be the same,” as he puts it. “I don’t want to.” In the album, Clark narrates stories of success, marriage and fatherhood and, for the first time, his longing for social justice. The artist stated that he was concerned about coming across as the stereotypical angry black man at first, but he realised that it was more important for him to be honest and authentic. Listeners will be confronted with traces of Clark’s earlier music influence such as Sly & the Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder. He is currently on tour for the album and was quoted saying, “I’m singing like I never sang in my life before. I’m going to be exhausted after this but it’s time to put it all out there on the table.”
Lenny Kravitz released his 11th studio album, ‘Raise Vibration’, earlier this month. Global worries have led Kravitz to a deeply creative period and the news of this new album arrived with the first single, ‘It’s Enough’. The artist was quoted saying: “People are standing up. I’ve had enough of racism. I‘ve had enough of war. I’ve had enough of the destruction of the environment and the greed and dishonesty of world leaders. We’ve got to get back on track towards moving forward through higher understanding.” The premiere of the song was uploaded on Facebook and came with the warning that it was “graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.” Musically, Kravitz channels his inner Curtis Mayfield and approaches listeners with wild instrumental breaks, extended sax solos and Native American drums and chants. Kravitz is kicking off his European tour at the end of this month that will last through July 30. As of now, he has only one U.S. date on his calendar, the Bourbon & Beyond festival in Louisville on Sept. 22.
Lenny Kravitz, ‘Raise Vibration’ Track Listing
1. “We Can Get It All Together”
3. “Who Really Are the Monsters?”
4. “Raise Vibration”
5. “Johnny Cash”
6. “Here to Love”
7. “It’s Enough”
8. “5 More Days ‘Til Summer”
9. “The Majesty of Love”
10. “Gold Dust”
12. “I’ll Always Be Inside Your Soul”