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Raymond Jones | Hillside Stories

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Gil Scott-Heron Nina Simone

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United States - Georgia

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Folk: Folk-Jazz
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Hillside Stories

by Raymond Jones

Harkens back to political and social awareness in black music. A mix of adult contemporary, jazz and pop.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. 2040
2:33 $0.99
2. Eastern Bay
4:30 $0.99
3. Dossier
4:33 $0.99
4. One Man Dead
2:29 $0.99
5. Blood
6:18 $0.99
6. 2 24 04
4:14 $0.99
7. Get Out Of It What You Can
2:02 $0.99
8. Promenade
4:08 $0.99
9. Wait Until He Died
4:23 $0.99
10. Wisdom
6:04 $0.99
11. Misled
4:22 $0.99
12. Have A Laugh
4:12 $0.99
13. The Irony
2:56 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Multi-platinum selling composer-pianist-vocalist Raymond Jones releases his fifth solo album Hillside Stories with a strident call for awareness of the political issues of the day.
It features compositions dealing with hot-button topics such as death-row inmates in Texas (“Blood”), a black nationalist coming to terms with his past (“Dossier”) to Third World children being abused and rendered (“Promenade”). The lone instrumental, “2 24 04”, features Jones and Steve Scales on percussion easing back offering a brief respite then its back to speaking truth to power.
A work conceived in the rebellious spirits of influential greats like Nina Simone and Gil Scott-Heron. Jones said, "They both took the stand that black music of America came from a legacy of expression, resistance and struggle, and music was the best way to communicate ideas to people in an artistic manner."
Hillside Stories has 13 tracks with Jones providing piano, keyboards and vocals for this newest collection by the former keyboardist of the ground-breaking disco-pop band Chic and musical director for pop-R&B balladeer Jeffrey Osbourne.
His partners in musical advocacy are many of the outstanding studio and concert allies from over the years including: guitarists Randy Hall (Miles Davis, Ray Parker Jr.), Ronny Drayton (Nona Hendryx, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Angelique Kidjo), and Tariqh Akoni (Christina Aguilera, Josh Groban, Lynne Fiddmont); percussionist Steve Scales (Talking Heads, Tina Turner, Nona Hendryx); trumpeter Nolan Shaeed (Marvin Gaye, Count Basie, Natalie Cole); and saxophonist Keith Fiddmont (Gary Taylor, Lynne Fiddmont).
With politics in the fore and news of tragedies being broadcast 24-7, Jones explained, "These pieces were written over time and time has proven that there is still work to be done regarding these issues as they are ongoing."
This project is unique in the current music marketplace, he explains, and the lack of relevant music on radio and Ipod is a problem for old school and hip-hop artists alike.
"I don't need to point any fingers but even our legacy artists have gotten away from in-your-face confrontation with the issues,” said Jones, “Love is important but we need to speak on the need for freedom and justice for all and a legitimate means for people to earn a living.”
And according to the 30-year music veteran, “Hip-hop artists in the mainstream have been bought and sold and talk of very little of substance other than so-called bling, getting paid-and-laid, and selling merchandise with few exceptions”. He continued, “My main issue with many mainstream hip hop/rap artists is it’s apparent that they neither read nor express an opinion about the world at large, and no mainstream hip-hop artist has sung or rapped about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
Jones makes the point as he sings in his song One Man Dead:
I’m not saying things are simple
(no no no no) I’m sayin’ I see the game
Like everybody’s scared to wanna try and speak the truth
On their way to find their fortune and fame.
He declared, “It’s their generation that will come back in coffins or maimed and their voices should be speaking out about it, just as every other generation has done for the wars of their own times.”“If hip-hop is to be the CNN of the streets, it must start reporting the news and not just the hype”, he exclaimed. “I know there is a hip-hop underground at work and I encourage their dedication to their craft. “
In songs like “Promenade”, Jones etches his signature vocal style into the controversial trend of Westerners adopting Third-World babies with lyrics such as:
Daufon is a refugee
Child of child exiled by war
Victimized by propaganda
Taken in by Christian causes

They take her from her family and
She is adopted in the west
They anglicize her name to what
They think is best.

Now she finds she’s become a tool
To help the people that now rule
A missionary student’s day
In the real world’s promenade.
Jones concluded, “It's my hope to inspire others to help make a difference. There's a reason the Constitution of the United States starts with 'We the People.' "



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