MICHAEL FRANTI RECORDING NEW ALBUM IN KINGSTON
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
BLACKWELL, SLY AND ROBBIE AND BEASTIE BOYS COLLABORATOR/JACK JOHNSON
PRODUCER MARIO CALDATO JR.
Guided by inspiration from his journey to Iraq, Palestine and Israel this
past summer, musician/poet/activist Michael Franti heads to Kingston,
Jamaica to team up with legendary godfathers of riddim Sly Dunbar and Robbie
Shakespeare, Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records and long-time
Beastie Boys collaborator, Jack Johnson producer, Mario Caldato, Jr.
This dream team of riddim, beats and progressive innovators can only take
the soul-inflicted and politically conscious music of Michael Franti to the
Sly and Robbie have produced and performed on countless records over the
past 30 years from Peter Tosh to Grace Jones, Simply Red, Mick Jagger to No
Doubt. For Franti, the duo will perform and produce live drum and bass
parts lending their distinct sound to the record. Kingston based percussion
players, Uzziah "Sticky" Thompson, drummer "Bongo" Herman, keyboardist
Robert Lynn and Spearhead band members, Carl Young and Dave Shul are
featured as well.
Moved by Franti's music, message and live performances over the past several
years, Chris Blackwell steps into the studio with Sly & Robbie for the first
time in over 20 years, since his work on the Grace Jones albums, taking on a
creative role as executive producer.
Chris Blackwell signed performers ranging from U2, Bob Marley, Black Uhuru,
Cat Stevens, Tom Waits to Franti's own Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy on
Island which emerged as one of the most progressive labels in the industry.
In addition, Blackwell produced many albums for Bob Marley and the Wailers,
Jimmy Cliff, Grace Jones, Joe Cocker and Steve Winwood. Perhaps more
importantly, Blackwell's long affiliation with Bob Marley proved him to be a
primary force in introducing reggae into the global pop mainstream.
Continuing his innovative instinct, Blackwell launched his Palm Pictures
audio-visual label that broke ground by focusing on the DVD format--once
again being ahead of the game.
Filling out the team is Brazilian-born producer Mario Caldato, Jr, producer
and mixer for such artists as Bebel Gilberto, Beck, Tone Loc, but best known
for his work on the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill
Communication and Hello Nasty. Mario C brings his history of hip hop and
love of Jamaican music into the project, but most recently and what
interested Franti was his nurturing, organic production of Jack Johnson's On
and On and the newly released In Between Dreams.
At the engineering helm is Robert Carranza whose wide array of projects
includes Bjork, Jack Johnson, Los Lobos, Eels, Supergrass and Luscious
Franti and Blackwell chose to record the album in Jamaica to tap into
Kingston's raw heartbeat. Many of the songs for the still-untitled record
were written shortly after Franti's journey into the war zones of Iraq,
Palestine and Israel this past summer. This trip not only inspired a new
album, but Franti's directorial debut and first feature-length film titled,
I Know I'm Not Alone, which closed the independent film festival, Slamdance,
to a sold out audience and rave reviews and is due for a release along side
the new album. The album is scheduled for a fall 2005 release via Palm.