Ebony Jo-Ann, a “Blackgold” acclaimed Blues vocalist, multiple award winning Broadway, film and television actress, and social activist, is in residence during the month of April at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar, 254 W. 72nd St. in New York, for the first time since 2011, to reprise Nuttin’ But the Blues, Sugar Bar’s weekly Blues series, which she co-created with the late Nick Ashford.
On Tuesday, April 5th, she sang tunes from her critically-acclaimed Blues CD, “Please Save Your Love for Me,” named on Asbury Park Press‘ list of The Best Blues and Roots-Rock Albums of 2015, which was released on her independent label, Blackgold Productions.
Ebony Jo-Ann shared, “I am delighted to be back at the Sugar Bar to celebrate my new CD, which was inspired by the late Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who is in the house along with George Faison, and to keep the legacy alive.”
Her set list featured tunes from “Please Save Your Love for Me,” including the original songs “Just Rain,” written by Ashford & Simpson (a radio favorite); “Glad I Waited for Love,” written by Aziza Miller; and the cover classics “Send Me Someone to Love,” written by Percy Mayfield as a duet with Danny Kean; the title track, “Please Save Your Love for Me,” written by Buddy Johnson (her tribute to her idol, Bobby Blue Bland); “Muddy Water,” written by Eddie Miller; “Sittin’ On Top of the World, written by Walter Jacobs Vinson; and “Is It Because I’m Black,” written by Syl Johnson, Jimmy Jones, and Glenn Watts, which has been trending.
With themes of love and passion, the politically charged album represents Blues music to its present day. Sheryl and Don Crow of The Nashville Blues Society writes,
“Ebony Jo-Ann melds vintage blues and jazz sounds with today’s contemporary canon with style and sophistication. With a voice that’s in a class all by itself, “Please Save Your Love For Me” is a very entertaining listen!”
Other songs featured on “Please Save Your Love for Me,” include “Burnin’ World,” written by Danny Kean; “Yo Love,” written by Irene Datcher and co- produced by Preston Vismala; “Nosybody,” written and co-produced by Miles Jaye.”Please Save Your Love for Me,” produced by Danny Kean, is available on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.com.
Ebony Jo-Ann will also appear at the Sugar Bar on April 12, April 19 and April 26, backed by a six-piece band led by her producer and musical director Danny Kean (Keyboard) and featuring Mark Bowers (Guitar), Chulo Gatewood (Bass), Howard Robbins (Keyboard), Phonzie Wesby (Drums), Dennis Moriarity (Harmonica); with Aziza Miller and Valerie Ghent singing background vocals. Showtime: 8:30 PM. There is a $10 cover charge and an additional two drink minimum. Call 212-579-0222 for reservations. Click here for more information.
Recording has been a lifelong dream for Ebony Jo-Ann. No stranger to the concert stage, Ebony Jo-Ann has performed on historic stages and venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music; as well as performing arts houses, music festivals and jazz clubs all over the world. She has shared the stage with GRAMMY award-winning and legendary recording artists across multiple genres including the late Big Joe Turner, Horace Silver, Nat Adderley, Sr., as well as Bill Sims, Kenny Neal, Danny Mixon, Onaje Allan Gumbs, and Miles Jaye, just to name a few.
Celebrating over 40 years in music and entertainment, Ebony Jo-Ann is best known for her work in theater, film and television. She has worked in seven Broadway productions including August Wilson‘s Gem of the Ocean, Ma Rainey‘s Black Bottom, Drowning Crow, the revival of The Sunshine Boys with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, Mule Bone, and Sheila’s Day (which she co-authored) and has appeared in numerous Off-Broadway, national and regional theatre projects. Her work in film include Adam Sandler‘s blockbuster franchise Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2, Noise with Tim Robbins, Kate & Leopold, Marci X, The Orphan King, Pootie Tang with Chris Rock, Eddie with Whoopi Goldberg; as well as other key and independent film releases. Television credits include “The Jury,” “Law & Order SVU,” “100 Centre Street,” “The PBS American Authors Series,” “New York Undercover,” “Law & Order,” “Outreach” (pilot), “New York News” and “One Life to Live”. In 2013, Ms. Jo Ann reprised her role as Ma Rainey for The Greene Space’s AMERICAN CENTURY CYCLE Recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Last summer, Ebony Jo-Ann starred in George Faison‘s 40th Anniversary celebration of “The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance and Music,” presented by CityParks Foundation’s SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield, reprising her role as Addaperle (which she performed on The Wiz‘s national tour). Upcoming: Ebony Jo-Ann can be seen in “Difficult People,” Hulu’s hit comedy series executive produced by Amy Poehler, which was recently renewed for a second season. Ebony Jo-Ann is the recipient of the 2015 Reel Sisters Hattie McDaniel Award, six Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Awards, and a 2014 National Action Network’s WOMAN OF EXCELLENCE award for her continuing and outstanding dedication through her artistic talents as well as her contributions to civil and human rights.
What the critics are saying about “Please Save Your Love for Me”:
“. With rich flavor and instrumentation that’s filling – not filler – New York’s Ebony Jo-Ann provides listeners a ten-course gourmet meal on her newest album. Please Save Your Love for Me is a feast for the ears, brimming with Ebony’s perfectly-seasoned vocals.”
Rainey Wetnight – Blues Blast Magazine
“As I listen to the debut album, Please Save Your Love For Me, from Ebony Jo-Ann, I wonder why this phenomenal singer is just now coming into my awareness. Whatever the reason, I’m so glad this album journeyed my way. Produced by Danny Kean, who Ebony Jo-Ann first crossed paths with at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar in New York City, the album delicately delivers some of the most soulful blues I’ve heard.”
Phillip Smith – Phillycheeze’s Rock and Blues Reviews
““Please Save Your Love For Me” (self-released) — New York City-based singer Ebony Jo-Ann comes to us from the world of professional theater. Her debut, five covers and five original songs, is magnificently produced with veteran New York studio and club musicians. She offers stellar takes on three classic blues covers, Syl Johnson’s “Is It Because I’m Black?” Little Walter’s “Sittin’ On Top of the World,” and Percy Mayfield’s prayer for peace, “Please Send Me Someone to Love.””
RICHARD SKELLY – Asbury Park Press
“A first class soul/blues vocal date throughout, Jo-Ann finds to south in New York crafting her own sonic hybrid that puts her toe to toe with the greats. Simply killer stuff.”
“This is not the gritty, howling blues you hear from today’s vocalists. There are touches of it, but Ebony will remind you more of classic voices like Nancy Wilson or Helen Humes. The bar was set really high for Ebony Jo-Ann, and she exceeded it.”
Jim Hynes – Elmore Magazine
Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene, Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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