If you were to conduct an impromptu and unscientific poll of music lovers who wished they had the opportunity to see soul legend Lou Rawls perform prior to his 2006 death, the response would be unanimous.
In the case of singer Victor Fields, he has the rare honour of being able to say that Rawls himself watched him perform, and brief encounter was one that would forever change his life.
As Fields recalls, it was one evening in Oakland when Rawls referred to him as "the man with the golden voice". While the moment and exchange were fleeting, Fields says his very presence that night and those words were inspiring enough to change his life, and fullfil a dream.
The dream has since become reality in a 10 song package and tribute to the silky voiced legend titled The Lou Rawls Project. This is the part of the review to make it incontrovertibly clear that Fields at no point attempts to replicate or duplicate the late soul legend's legacy. On his own right, Fields is blessed with a naturally gifted golden voice, with a powerfully dynamic range. And it's that tool he utilizes to channel the energy of Rawls with the same passion and conviction.
The Lou Rawls Project's emergence onto the soul and jazz scene begins with Field's interpretation of Rawls' 1979 R&B charting classic Let Me Be Good To You, backed by rich instrumentation which includes the signature retro 70's flute melodies and stylish guitar work of Chris Camozzi, who also doubles as producer of the album and is an integral reason why this tribute album is both enjoyable, and other believable.
From the initial release, the decades of Rawls' legacy seem to dissipate and allow fans to savour a collection of classics in a whole new realm. I can't imagine the pressure anyone would face recording the iconic You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, but Fields re-imagines this 1976 chart topper in a way that I could not have imagined. He methodically zaps the pain and pining of the original, and effectively puts a fun, funk spin on it, accentuated by tasty sax work by Vince Lars and ambient background vocals. Lady Love (also featuring Camozzi) is softer soulful version of the original, yet as equally passionate in every aspect of the recording.
While the blues classic (I'd Rather Drink) Muddy Water is associated with numerous legends, including B.B. King, Lou Rawls actually recorded the iconic tune on his 1962 debut album Stormy Monday, and it doesn't go unnoticed on Fields' tribute album. His interpretation of the hand clapping, finger snapping, sing along anthem takes its place nicely beside any of the versions you've ever heard. Love Is A Hurtin' Thing demonstrates the paradox in Fields' vocal style, as it is both stunningly breathy and poignantly powerful and offers one of several laid back alternative interpretations of another Rawls' signature tune. And just as Rawls took the torch from the great Stan Getz for a version of The Girl From Ipanema, Fields also takes it and runs with it for a pop laced rhythmic re-birth, accompanied by Regina V. Fields' delightful vocal accompaniment.
It's important to point out that throughout his award winning and enduring career, Rawls only scored five top 10 songs on the Billboard pop and/or R&B charts, so for many people, The Lou Rawls Project contains what one might argue are lost classics that have been begging to re-emerge and continue the tradition of the late legends. The album is not meant to replace any of your Rawls collections, anthologies, or other musical works of arts, but instead be a fitting and heartfelt augmentation to his time honoured and indelible mark on music.
Nouveau Rawls...neo Rawls..new millenium Rawls? Who needs a label when a singer like Fields utilizes his brilliant and magnetic voice to pay tribute to a man who was loved by millions.
Take a bow Victor, because even Lou Rawls is applauding from above.
I have always admired the voice of singer Victor Fields who was born in New York and currently lives in Oakland. His warm and soulful timbre is gracing five records up until now and his latest is dedicated to the great Lou Rawls, himself a one-of-a-kind singer with a distinctive baritone who had an extremely successful career from the 60s right up to his untimely death in 2006.
Victor enlisted guitarist Chris Camozzi as his producer – also a recording artist in his own right. The album starts off with “Let Me Be Good To You” from Lou’s golden years at Philadelphia International Records and originally written and produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Victor captures the smoothness and sophistication of the original with his own masterful touch and with a pretty tight, contemporary production and arrangement by Scott Fuller who uses synth strings and flute keys to full effect. A great start! Victor’s interpretation is both cool and very heartfelt at the same time.
The sexy mood continues with two tracks from Lou’s 1976 LP “All Things In Time”: the ultra sensitive “Let’s Fall In Love All Over Again”, which includes great sax playing by Marcin Nowakowski, and the hit song “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine”, another Gamble & Huff classic, getting a brilliantly airy and breezy treatment here. The (may I say) legendary Skyler Jett is responsible for producing the spectacular background vocals and both tracks were arranged by Nelson Braxton (of the Braxton Brothers) complete with catchy synth handclaps (not of the superficial type), moving percussion by Marquinho Brasil and superb sax work again, this time by Vince Lars.
For the next track, Victor goes all the way back to Lou’s debut album from 1962. His bluesy “(I’d Rather Drink) Muddy Water” is another cool showcase for Victor’s rich vocal and also includes some funky organ by Sundra Manning. “See You When I Git There” is from Lou’s 1977 album “Unmistakably Lou” and was the only charted single off that LP. Another Gamble & Huff composition, Victor treats this as the majestic soul piece it still is: with a lot of passion, class, and style. A bit too short for my taste….
“When You Hear Lou, You’ve Heard It All” is the 1977 LP which boasted “Lady Love”, done here in a steady and solid version. One of my favorite Lou Rawls songs, “A Natural Man”, written in 1971 by Sandy Baron and Bobby “Sunny” Hebb and earning a Grammy, is a joyful and bumping version here and a good reminder of the golden early 70s era in Soul music. Thanks for including that! “Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing” comes from the 1966 “Soulin'” album and was Lou’s first Top 40 hit. A nice change of pace here and another chance for Victor to show his well-oiled and versatile voice. Early in Lou’s career, he released a live album (1966) which included a version of the Jobim classic “The Girl From Ipanema” which he often did in his live performances. It’s the only song on offer that didn’t grab me except for the lovely vocal of Victor’s daughter Regina in the bridge and another fine sax by Vince Lars.
The album concludes with a hip “Groovy People”, another Gamble & Huff composition, which Victor masterfully transcends into the present. I last saw Lou Rawls performing live at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2000 and this is a passionate, respectful, and original dedication and a great reminder of the man’s great artistry. And Victor delivers another gem!
It’s been nearly a decade since the soul community lost one of the all-time great vocalists in Lou Rawls. Arguably one of the most overlooked artists on the Philadelphia International roster, Rawls possessed one of the most unique voices in soul music. Originally Rawls was primarily a jazz singer, but in 1967 he scored a R&B hit with the heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballad, ‘Love is a Hurtin’ Thing’. From then Rawls turned towards soul, and was signed by Philadelphia International in 1976 where he scored his best known hits, combining his jazz chops with the classic Philly soul sound to create some of the best soul songs ever recorded. Yet, at least currently, Rawls seems to be somewhat forgotton; sure, ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine’ still gets airplay, but that’s about it.
Now, however, Oakland based singer Victor Fields has embarked on The Lou Rawls Project to re-interpret some of Rawls’ best loved hits, reengaging the soul community with the fabulous career of Lou Rawls. Fields is an R&B/soul/smooth jazz artist who possess a beautiful, seductive tenor; Rawls’ himself called Fields “the man with the golden voice”. Fields has, in part, made a name for himself in covering other artist’s songs, such as Bill Withers’ ‘Lovely Day’, and on this new album, he gives a master class in how to reinterpret and cover classic records.
The first song on the album, and the lead single, is a cover of Rawls’ 1979 classic ‘Let Me Be Good To You’, and the results of Field’s reinterpretation are quite frankly stunning. Enlisting the help of guitarist Chris Camozzi to add some tasty smooth guitar licks, Fields delivers an impassioned vocal over a R&B influenced beat, reimagining the Philly-soul/disco sound for the present day. For us here at TF&SR, hearing this track was the first time we had heard Fields voice, and we were taken from the first line he delivered: this man does indeed possess a golden voice.
The smooth-jazz vibe continues throughout the album; the cover of ‘Let’s Fall In Love All Over Again’ is magical, and the inclusion of Marcin Nowakowski’s saxophone is a delight, updating the saxophone solo of the original to provide a contemporary smooth-jazz feel. Fields voice is at its most seductive and passionate here – almost as seductive as Rawls’ was on his jazz-infused version from his All Things in Time album. The track raises the tempo from the original to give it a funkier and groovier edge, and it works well.
Fields boldly attempts to cover Rawls’ biggest hits with ‘You’ll Never Find’, ‘See You When I Get There’ and ‘Groovy People’: the former is undoubtedly enjoyable, particularly with the added background vocals, but it somehow misses the mark compared to the original by Rawls – but perhaps this is to be expected, the original version is simply fantastic. Field’s version of ‘See You When I Get There’ is far better – Field’s mimic’s Rawl’s opening monologue about calling his ‘woman’ who is ‘at home’, which actually works very well, as does the combined neo-soul, smooth-jazz vibe of the track. ‘Groovy People’, again, is one of Rawls’ biggest, and to his credit Fields tries hard to re-work the song from the original, giving it a dance beat which only partially works. Indeed, on first listen it is a bit abrasive, but give it time: Fields vocals are, once again, brilliant and hearing the song a second time reveals subtleties to the dance feel.
A standout from the album is Fields’ take on the song that thrust Rawls’ towards success: ‘Love Is a Hurtin’ Thing’. His vocals possess a velvety goodness here, cloaking the listener with such a smooth, sexy sound. The horn arrangement is equally delightful here, combining with Fields’ vocal performance to create a beautiful rendition of arguably Rawls’ most important hit.
The Lou Rawls Project lays down the gauntlet for other artists of all genres who are considering to make their next album a covers album. In an era when record executives prefer to churn out cover after cover of the same songs in a safe bet to make a return on their artistic investment, Fields reminds us that covers albums can be very good indeed. Fields has created a beautiful tribute to one of the finest voices in soul music, and shows off his own beautiful voice in the process.
I discovered silky soul jazz singer Victor Fields from the San Francisco Bay Area some 10 years ago, with his albums ‘This Could be Paradise’ and ‘Thinking of You’, both very nice albums. The legendary Lou Rawls himself saw him once perform live and called him: “the man with the golden voice”. After many years of silence, he’s now ready to release his 5th album, and it’s dedicated to the master Lou Rawls. The CD contains 10 tracks, Victor’s versions of classic Lou Rawls’ tracks. He opens with the single ‘Let Me Be Good To You’, with Chris Camozzi on guitar, who equally produced this album. This Philly classic is sultry redone, and soulful as well. Saxophonist Marcin Nowakowski can be heard on the romantic ballad ‘Let’s Fall In Love All Over Again’, while Lou’s trademark ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine’ follows with Vince Lars on sax. Victor sings it relaxed, and has a soulful atmosphere. The bluesy ‘(I’d Rather Drink) Muddy Water’ is up next, followed by the well known Phillysound classic ‘See You When I Get There’. The gently saying ‘Lady Love’ features again Chris Camozzi on guitar. The soul classic ‘Natural Man’ is also included, while the ballad ‘Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing’ continues. The cover of Jobim’s Brazilian bossa nova song ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ introduces Regina V. Fields, and the upbeat ‘Groovy People’ closes the album. Lou Rawls would have been proud of this tribute, and I’m sure he would have given his blessing to Victor. “It was a long wait Victor, but it was worthwhile! I’ll treasure this album.”
Patrick Van de Wiele
Back in the day, when critically acclaimed, chart-topping, San Francisco Bay Area Jazz vocalist, Victor Fields was starting his music career, working a day job and performing music on the side, the legendary Lou Rawls and entourage caught Victor's live performance in a small club in Oakland. Rawls called Fields “the man with the golden voice,” and inspired Victor to launch a full-fledged recording career. Rawls once said the immortal words, “Soul is Truth,” and Victor Fields fulfills that reality brilliantly on highly anticipated release, THE LOU RAWLS PROJECT - A sultry, bluesy and easy swinging set featuring lush, sophisticated re-imaginings of ten Rawls classics. In addition to the first single, the smooth and romantic “Let Me Be Good To You,” the singer lends his graceful caress to the balmy, gently swaying “Lady Love” (featuring producer Chris Camozzi on guitar), the smoky “Let’s Fall In Love All Over Again” and Rawls’ Philly SOUL trademark classic, “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.” It’s not braggin’ on himself, baby, to call Fields’ THE LOU RAWLS PROJECT a true masterpiece.
In a display of tremendous ingenuity soulful vocalist Victor Fields is circumventing the normal channels of record promotion and distribution by taking his music directly to the fans. In collaboration with N5 Marketing and the N5 Street Team he is using his new sunset orange, shrink-wrapped van, eye-catchingly named the Jazz Express, to get the word out on his excellent discography. Simply by calling 888-899-9100, all those who see the van, or receive a flyer from one of the Street Team, will get the chance to purchase all four of his CD's for the price of three. Fields has named the promotion his toll-free special. He intends to return each call personally and, for $29.99, autograph all four CD's and add an autographed photo. This quartet of great albums comprises his 1998 debut release Promise plus 52nd Street, Victor and his latest offering, the wonderful Thinking Of You which, when I reviewed it last year, blew me away. Indeed it is testimony to Fields talent and professionalism that some of the biggest stars in smooth jazz hurried in to perform on Thinking Of You with him. It's a collection bursting with standouts and the excellent Blackbyrds hit Walking In Rhythm finds Fields gentle tones gelling faultlessly with the soulful sax of Richard Elliot. Equally compelling is the Stevie Wonder composition Creepin where Elliot's ARTizen stable-mate Rick Braun maintains the contemporary jazz mood with his atmospheric flugelhorn. Fields restrained handling of the Bill Withers classic Lovely Day benefits from the cool Fender Rhodes of Jeff Lorber and its Lorber who also contributes two original songs to this smoothly soulful collection. The mid tempo Its In Your Vibe is in the pocket from the get go and generates, as the title would suggest, a hugely hypnotic groove. It is a clear contender for best track on the album but just shading it is the stunning title track for which Lorber also provides a writing input. With Vince Lars massive on sax and a haunting chorus that gets in your head and won't go away this sensuous chunk of chilled out mood music is a modern day quiet storm classic in the making. Victor Fields 'VF Express' has already been seen on the streets of Los Angeles and the entire discography is also available at www.cdbaby.com. For more information and to get in on the Victor Fields phenomenon go to www.victorfields.com
Orange Soul Sheet
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS!! Regina Records artist Victor Fields played to a sold out crowd at Ashford and Simpson's famed Sugar Bar in New York without the benefit of major New York media coverage via newspaper articles, television appearances, or commercial radio. Fields' audience was developed by old fashioned get on the telephone promotion combined with email blasts. A significant core of the audience was a group that took a four hour round trip ride from New Haven, Connecticut to see Fields exhibit his warm romantic vocals. The audience was made of well dressed folks who looked good, seemed to be having a good time and felt it was worth their dollar and time to come to a classy venue for a eually classy evening out. The point is this show had a vibrant crowd that was generated by using creative methods of audience development. The audience, club management, artists and the folks selling CD's all had fun. Think about this the next time someone tries to tell you that folks over 30 don't buy music anymore.
INDEPENDENT & PROUD OF IT !!! Independent and Proud of It! Victor Fields' Thinking of You is like David slaying Goliath. All hail the independent artist! Victor Fields is on his own independent label and he's making his own independent music without the money machine behind him. Isn't this what it's really all about? Thinking of You is a song you should support; from a good brother who's doing his thing the right way! Thinking of You is #32* on R&R's UAC Chart.
Amid a grueling radio tour, jazz vocalist Victor Fields emerged from the elevator and into the lobby of his hotel, laptop in tow. Fields took a seat for his interview, remarking on how refreshing it was to finally find a hotel with such a comfortable mattress and how he immediately began replying to his fan mail shortly after checking in. Fields' tireless work ethic and unassuming, soulful vocals have kept him in demand since the release of his critically acclaimed debut, Promise, nearly eight years ago. I'm traveling and visiting every radio station that plays my record, says the silky smooth vocalist in detailing his promotional tour. If they can fit me in with something, thats fine. I want to shake some hands, give out some CDs, kiss a few babies and move on. I'm an independent artist. I am the label. You are looking at Regina Records.With his latest release, Thinking of You, Fields delivers a solid collection of soulful reinterpretations like Michael Jackson's Butterflies,Bill Withers' Lovely Day and Babyface's For the Cool in You.People used to always say, Your first CD, Promise, will always be my favorite.I went back and listened to it, and think it had a lot of energy to it, which had a lot to do with me not knowing what I was supposed to be doing,Fields explains. So when I decided to do this CD, I knew I wanted to go back to where I started, which is more of a soulful, R&B [and] jazz feel. This CD is just me thinking of my fans.
Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole's Secret Garden, the page that offers a British perspective on all that's good, and not so good, in the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Thinking Of You is the brand new CD from soulful vocalist Victor Fields and it is testimony to his talent and professionalism that some of the biggest stars in smooth jazz have hurried in to perform on it with him. This is Fields fourth solo release and represents a further step on the journey to discovering his true musical identity. It has been an adventure that began in 1998 with his debut album Promise and which passed a significant milestone in 2002 when he forged a partnership with producer Chris Camozzi. This collaboration led to the release of 52nd Street, a recording which found a place on the Billboard's jazz album chart and featured guest performances from Chris Botti, Jeff Lorber and Gerald Albright. Three years later Fields and Camozzi returned with an expansive collection of love songs. Simply titled Victor it ran the gamut of traditional and contemporary jazz, through R&B to theatrical Broadway like themes. Now, with smooth vocals shimmering over funky tracks, Thinking Of You takes Fields through a further evolution and moves him from being a jazz vocalist with overt urban tendencies to the real smooth jazz deal. For the most part Fields uses Thinking Of You as a vehicle to re-imagine some the coolest R & B cuts of the last thirty years. However, the depth to which he delves for some really rare and diverse examples means that this is far from simply being a collection of covers. The mellow Butterflies that was made famous by Michael Jackson is a case in point and very much in the same mold is Fields exceptional take on For The Cool In You. Originally from the acclaimed Babyface album of the same name it's a wonderful example of what might be termed urban smooth jazz. In fact a smooth jazz vibe is never too far away and the featured guitar of Chris Camozzi for the Marvin Gaye classic What's Going On really gets the job done. The excellent Blackbyrds hit Walking In Rhythm, with Fields gentle tones gelling faultlessly with soulful sax from Richard Elliot, is equally compelling and Elliot's ARTizen stable-mate Rick Braun maintains the contemporary jazz mood with his atmospheric flugelhorn on the Stevie Wonder composition Creepin. Fields makes this former Luther Vandross hit feel as smooth as smooth can be but ratchets up the soul factor for his version of the Gap Band's Yearning For Your Love. With wonderful sax from Vince Lars and picture perfect backing vocals from Nicolas Bearde and Sandi Griffith this is one of the albums standout songs while just as good is When Somebody Loves You Back. Taken from Life Is A Song Worth Singing, the 1978 breakthrough album by Teddy Pendergrass that moved him to true solo stardom, this new rendition glistens with a sumptuous and understated horn arrangement plus more great backing from Bearde and Griffith. Fields restrained handling of the Bill Withers classic Lovely Day benefits from the cool Fender Rhodes of Jeff Lorber and it's Lorber who also contributes two original songs to this smoothly soulful collection. The mid tempo Its In Your Vibe is in the pocket from the get go and generates, as the title would suggest, a hugely hypnotic vibe. It's a contender for best track on the album but just shading it is the title track for which Lorber also provides a writing input. With Lars again massive on sax and a haunting chorus that gets in your head and won't go away this sensuous chunk of chilled out mood music is a modern day quiet storm classic in the making. As smooth jazz continues to evolve and adapt there is every chance that the vocal component will play an ever more significant part. That being the case Victor Fields is well placed to take the genre to a new and exciting level.
*There are reasons why it's called smooth jazz. One is the smooth sound of sultry vocalist Victor Fields. With his fourth album in stores, the artist, called a "soulful singer with a jazzy feel," has got the genre covered - literally. The new disc, titled "Thinking of You," is a collection of covers and features a dynamic list of musicians and producers, including Chris Comozzi, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, saxophonist Richard Elliot and flugelhorn player Rich Braun. This album is more than a remake of classic soul hits, though. It's an enlightening piece of work that led the veteran singer to find his own identity. After creating his first through third albums with certain goals in mind, Fields said that this was the first time he just walked in the studio and laid down a record with no agenda. "The very first record I started out with, Kashif was the producer. It was a very Urban AC (Adult Contemporary) CD," he described. "The second project, I moved back to the Bay Area. It was something that I didn't plan, but something that felt natural. I wanted to be more grounded, so I went into more of a jazz thing. But I think there is still a lot of soul still left in me and I didn't really understand that until we were talking about the next album." What Fields referred to was the development, or lack of development to some degree, of this project. He sat down with his producer who simply suggested that he "have some fun" in doing the new project. "Having fun equated to some classic R&B tunes, like 'Lovely Day'; songs that I just thought were great songs," Fields explained. "I think that you can take a writer like Bill Withers and can put him on the same level as Paul McCartney and Leonard Bernstein. He's one of the most underrated contemporary songwriters." Fields continued that the disc made him feel like he was coming into his own because of the energy in creating the disc. "You can feel it in the new CD; you can feel the energy," he said. "The way people stretched and contributed on this record ... it's like everyday was fun. The first day we went in and did 'Lovely Day' and it had so much beautiful energy. This is the kind of music I like." Since he's now coming into his own, EUR's Lee Bailey asked the singer how he would describe his sound: "I'm just a student of voice," he said modestly. "I got into this thing; I took some voice lessons and got very serious about singing all types of music; from Negro spirituals to jazz to R&B to pop. The word eclectic has been used and I understand that because of the diversity of my repertoire and all the types of music that I've done. I've done all that. I'm very much into melody. I'm kind of a classic. I just really paid attention and respect a lot of the real classic singers and try to incorporate that into my [music]." No matter what he considers his genre, the Brooklyn-born singer, who considers himself both an R&B and smooth jazz artist, said he realizes his sound is shaped by listeners and his fans. "In the bio, I'm trying to describe where I'm going, but my audience is telling me where I need to be. That's what I mean when I say that I'm evolving and I'm fitting into a spot, I'm in a natural place. I mean that I didn't do anything for radio; I didn't do anything for marketing. I'm just doing fun." Fields promised that his next project would probably be more original material, but said that the style would stay the same - a hybrid of R&B and jazz. But he is definitely content with his current project's stylings. "It just felt freer, lighter. At the end of the day I liked every song. I didn't analyze, I didn't think, I just sang. And I said, 'This feels good and this is where I need to be.'," he said.
Victor Fields Regina Records Your mother was a singer, was she your original inspiration? When I was no more that two or three years old, my mother would gather my sister and I around the piano and teach us songs and harmony parts. She had an excellent voice and studied piano at Juilliard. She played all kinds of music from Basie to Beethoven. I believe that's why my song selection is so eclectic. To me there's only two kinds of music: good music and bad music. Can you name a place you would love to perform in, but haven't yet had the chance? One day I would like to say that I sang at Carnegie Hall. I think that would be the ultimate. I saw Nancy Wilson and the Count Basie Orchestra there a few of years ago. I had a backstage pass and, after the concert, I walked all around absorbing as much I could. I was gone so long my hosts thought I'd gotten lost! As a musician who developed a unique sound after establishing a successful business career, what would you tell new artists who ask you for the best way to succeed in the music world? Define your success. Say to yourself, "I'll be successful if I accomplish XYZ" and then establish your game plan for getting that done. When I decided to become a recording artist, my goal was to record songs that I loved and that would challenge me and move me forward as an artist and as a human being. When I retire, I'll look back on my body of work and measure my success against that standard. Your music has recently taken new steps down the Smooth Jazz path - in what direction would you like to see Smooth Jazz head? I'd like to see Smooth Jazz Radio do more to embrace it's own vocalists. I've always been a smooth jazz singer and, I have to be honest, it's disheartening to see the top spots on the Chart occupied by crossover vocalists. I would like to see that change. If you could spend a day with any person, past or present, whose company would truly inspire you? My mother passed away leaving too many of her dreams behind. She planted the seed of music in me as a young child and her passing inspired me to pursue music full-time. I'd love to spend a day with her and play all my CD's, particularly Thelonius Monk's "'Round Midnight" on 52nd Street, which I dedicated to her. I think she'd be proud of her son. And now, for a change of pace, what's your favorite non-music past time? Family is number one. We are very close and spend a lot of time together. My wife is a law partner. She no longer practices due to injuries she sustained in an accident. But she is a strong, intelligent and courageous human being. We have a teenage daughter who is really a blessing and makes us very proud. A good student and a good person. She has a beautiful alto like her grandmother and just started taking voice lessons. I'll tell anybody who will listen that she is the star of the family. I'm just keeping her seat warm. I also love sports (soccer, tennis, basketball and football) and like to read. I fire through two or three books a month.
For the utmost in smooth jazz, you can't top Victor Fields' latest album, his fourth. The sultry vocalist's tunes go down mighty easy on "Thinking of You," a collection of mostly R&B covers featuring stellar guest musicians from the smooth jazz world. The lineup includes producer Chris Comozzi, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, saxophonist Richard Elliot and flugelhorn player Rick Braun. Fields starts out with a silky version of Bill Withers' "Lovely Day," setting the tone for the rest of the album. While none of the renditions attempt to reinvent the wheel, at the same time, Fields' sweet interpretations never sound like retreads. Smooth jazz and soul lovers will enjoy Fields' takes on "Yearning for Your Love," originally recorded by the Gap Band, "Creepin'" (Stevie Wonder), "When Somebody Loves You Back" (Teddy Pendergrass), "Butterflies" (Michael Jackson), "For the Cool in You" (Babyface) and "What's Going On" (Marvin Gaye). "Walking in Rhythm" by the Blackbyrds has a slower, more soulful vibe than the pumping original.
Of all the great singers I admire, Joe Williams, is my favorite. Although famous for singing the blues, Joe began his career as a balladeer. It wasn't until he joined the Basie Band that he became a blues singer. I listened carefully to his music and, through him, I began to appreciate his mastery of diction and phrasing and other essential elements of vocalizing such as lyric interpretation and stylization. In 1963, well into his forties, Joe returned to his first love, the ballad. I love ballads too and I could definitely relate to his decision to risk everything in pursuit of a passion. I walked away from a corporate career to live my dream. There were no guarantees of success. On the contrary, as an independent artist I was given absolutely very little chance at all. But I never listened to the naysayers. Just like Joe, I listened to my heart. In 2003, Jillean Williams honored me with an invitation to perform "Five-Two Blues", a song I had written as a tribute to her husband, at the 15th Annual Joe Williams Music Scholarship Fundraiser ln Las Vegas. I never met Joe Williams but two of his closest friends, John Levy and Johnny Pate, shared memories and friendship that I will treasure for a lifetime. It was through the people who loved him that I discovered what a wonderful, kind and generous human being Joe Williams was. Racism is not a comfortable issue to discuss but, it's a topic that can't and shouldn't be avoided when discussing Joe Williams' career and the state of jazz, past and present, for the Black male jazz singer. Joe continuously struggled against the indignities of racism that challenged and limited his career. His lesson to me and, to all of us, is to never accept limitations. Nor should we place limitations on others. Always challenge life with courage and dignity and, remember that it's always about the music.
If you are looking for that soulful R&B crooner with a jazzy feel, Victor Fields is your man. His voice can be described as satin, velvet, suede, ...or just call it smooth and rising above the rest. Fields has successfully carved out his place in music and trust me, he is here to stay. "Thinking of You" is Fields' latest release and it's a powerhouse of soulful classics featuring hits like "Lovely Day", "Yearning For Your Love" and "Thinking of You". This album is all hits and no misses. With guest appearances by Richard Elliot on "Walking in Rhythm" and Rick Braun on "Creepin'", you can't go wrong. Just think about it. How many guys do you know that would attempt to tackle any song done by Luther? And of those few, Fields has my vote. How about you?
Vocalist Victor Fields' eagerly anticipated new release, THINKING OF YOU (his fourth album to date) is now a reality, and it can be aptly described as "Smooth Jazz meets funky grooves," considering the chops of all the players he had with him in the studio on this project. Along with guitarist-producer Chris Camozzi, Mr. Fields' vocals were aided and abetted by Nelson Braxton, Jeff Lorber, Richard Elliot, and Rick Braun. How's that for an all-star group of accomplices? Sandy Shore described Victor Fields in her review of his previous CD, VICTOR, as sharing "the same high-quality and conviction of... the likes of George Benson, James Ingram and Luther Vandross." I'll add Will Downing and Al Jarreau to that list, and also mention that Victor Fields still maintains that distinctive and oh-so-silky Smooth Jazz sound that makes his music perfect for the format. On THINKING OF YOU, Victor has chosen eight covers and two outstanding originals (penned in part by Jeff Lorber). The first single release is a delightful interpretation of Bill Withers' immortal "Lovely Day," featuring Lorber's keys, and there's more where that came from, including Stevie Wonder's Creepin,' with Braun's flugelhorn adding ambience and mystique, and a laid-back treatment of the Blackbyrds' "Walking in Rhythm," featuring Elliot's sultry sax. I also especially dig Michael Jackson's "Butterflies" and Babyface's "For the Cool in You." Victor Fields' THINKING OF YOU is top shelf vocal Smooth Jazz, and, just like his previous releases, absolutely deserves a place in your music library!
Less than a year after the release of Victor, Victor Fields has teamed again with producer Chris Camozzi and an all-star band consisting of keyboardist Jeff Lorber, saxman Richard Elliot, flugelhornist Rick Braun and multi-instrumentalist Nelson Braxton for Thinking of You, a collection of remakes of soul songs from the 70s-00s. We're all pretty burned out on covers albums these days, but the tasteful take given by Fields and the fine musicianship of the band make Thinking of You a surprisingly enjoyable effort. And while some of the cuts (such as "Creepin'") have been remade a few too many times to be fresh here, Fields gives new life to a number of tracks, most notably the Bill Withers chestnut "Lovely Day," Michael Jackson's "Butterflies" and Babyface's "For the Cool In You." His unassuming, smooth lead plus strong, jazzy arrangements throughout make this a solid effort and fine late-night listening. Recommended. CR
I try to make each song I record a musical event. Every song counts. There are no throwaways. I like to pick challenging yet interesting songs then I bring my personality and some new energy to each one,said soul-jazz vocalist Victor Fields. Thinking of You, his fourth album, was just given a new release date: October 17th. On each successive album, Fields has explored a variety of dimensions of his musical muse. As he's evolved, he's become more focused while balancing art and life. Fields naturally gravitates towards love songs and Thinking Of You is indeed a collection of love songs. It's also the first album he made that will specifically appeal to smooth jazz listeners. He's evolved from being a jazz vocalist with overt urban tendencies into a smooth jazz vocalist, which feels like home to the Bay Area resident. The album, produced by Chris Camozzi, contains eight covers and two originals, both of which were co-penned by Jeff Lorber. Other noted guests on the album are Richard Elliot, Rick Braun and Nelson Braxton. Fields gives new life to Lovely Day, the sunny Bill Withers classic that was the first single serviced to smooth jazz radio stations. Some people pursue careers in music in search of riches and fame. Not Fields. He had achieved wealth through business and is now pursuing his true love. He has invested his own money into producing his albums and releasing them independently on the Regina Records label. Top recording artists and musicians work with him because they believe in his talent. His previous albums have been critically acclaimed and Thinking Of You promises to take him to the next level. Fields is quick to remind that he's got a long career path in mind. This is only my fourth album and I'm still growing," says Fields. "I'm not there yet, but I am fully committed to leaving a musical legacy that I can be proud of.In this era of disposable popular music and flavor of the month idols, there remain a few song stylists who truly study their craft, sing songs with meaning and substance, and strive to create a significant body of work that will stand the test of time. Victor Fields is one such artist. He's a romantic dreamer, an optimistic believer who committed to and invested in himself. He's in it for the love: love of singing, love of song, and love of performing.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *************** Soul-jazz crooner Victor Fields will be "Thinking of You" on September 26th Guests include Lorber, Elliot and Braun, & Chris Camozzi Lovely Day will be the first single serviced to radio. When vocalist Victor Fields entered the recording studio earlier this summer to record his fourth album for Regina Records, he set out with the intention of making a smooth jazz album. In the studio with his producer Chris Camozzi, multi-instrumentalist Nelson Braxton, jazz keyboard pioneer Jeff Lorber, saxophone sensation Richard Elliot and flugelhorn master Rick Braun, the grooves couldn't help but turn out funky. Fields' Thinking of You album is slated for release on September 26th. While the special guest artists are smooth jazz stars, Fields' velvety vocals are soulful and his phrasing is elegantly jazzy. Fields gives new life to Lovely Day,the sunny Bill Withers classic that will be the first single serviced to smooth jazz radio at the end of this month. Fields is not out to make you forget the original. His gift is in taking a great song and making it his own. His version is familiar, danceable, sophisticated and smile-inducing. The album contains seven other covers and two originals, both of which were co-penned by Lorber. Walking In Rhythm is slowed to an alluring mid-tempo groove before Elliot blows the track up with a fiery sax solo. Braun's flugelhorn adds ambience and mystique to the haunting and sultry Creepin. As for the original compositions, In Your Vibe is an urbane R&B track and Thinking of You is a seductive romancer. This is definitely an album for the grown and sexy. Stylistically, Fields is somewhat like an endangered species, a gifted crooner recording classy adult music in the mold of such iconic singers as Luther Vandross, Nat King Cole, Al Jarreau and Will Downing. Whether I'm singing traditional or contemporary jazz, R&B, pop or what even might be considered as show tunes, I've tried to constantly broaden my repertoire and stretch in new directions,explained Fields. I honestly don't really know what smooth jazz is. We - including Chris (Camozzi), a fantastic bunch of musicians, and myself - tried to be true to the music and true to the songs we selected. The test is always whether or not I can bring something fresh or different vocally to the mix. With each album that I've recorded, I think I've demonstrated growth and have taken a positive step forward towards coming into my own as a song stylist.This is the third go-round for Fields and Camozzi. Camozzi also produced Victor (2005) and 52nd Street (2002), the latter of which featured appearances by Lorber, Chris Botti and Gerald Albright. Fields' debut disc, Promise (1999), was produced by Grammy-nominee Kashif. The Bay Area resident has received praise from respected media outlets including USA Today, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. For additional information on Fields, please visit www.victorfields.com.
San Francisco crooner Fields has just the right collection for lovers this Valentine's Day and beyond with his self-titled third CD. Produced by Chris Camozzi, this 10-song set features the soulful cupid pulling heartstrings with love songs spanning eras and styles, all rendered in lushly contemporary contexts. Perhaps most arresting is his slowed-down version of the Whitney Houston dance hit "Love Will Save the Day." Fields' more thoughtful take sheds a more mature light on the lyric. Also nice are his version for Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" (radio edit available), the Cole Porter standard "Night and Day" and a truly beautiful surprise, "Something Tells Me."