New York, NY (May 25, 2006)–On an afternoon in February, Manhattan Center Studios opened its doors to producers Rodney Kendrick and Jason Shaplen to record a tribute album to journalist and jazz musician Tom Masland, who was killed in an auto accident in NYC last October. Masland had been senior editor at Newsweek and had covered the war in Iraq. He left behind a wife and three sons and now, artists and industry execs alike have come together to help them, with the goal of raising money to help put his sons through college.
Pianist James Kendrick was joined by Don Walden on tenor Sax, Leroy Williams on drums, three time Grammy-winning Verve artist Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Andrew McLeod III on bass, Kiane Zawadi on Euphonium, Patience Higgins on bass clarinet, Warren Smith on Kalimbas, Emmy-Award winning actress/singer Rhonda Ross on vocals and Justin Robinson on alto sax and flute. Kendrick, Zawadi and Walden, respected jazz elders, have played with such jazz & blues icons as Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Illinois Jacquet, and Lionel Hampton. Even the platinum selling “Sons of Man” of The Wu Tang Clan participated.
They let it flow and gems came out like “Motherless Child/The Music Is The Magic,” “It’s All About The Groove,” written by Rodney specifically for Tom Masland and “Nature Boy,” famously originally sung by Nat “King” Cole and then George Benson. “Talking On The Hudson” was also written by Kendrick for Tom.
“One thing champions have in common in this world is their search for the truth,” commented co-executive producer/musician Rodney Kendrick. “We wanted to honor that strength and character in Tom.”
“When Jason Shaplen called and asked us about recording this very special project at Manhattan Center Studios, we were honored,” commented OBie O’Brien, Manhattan Center Studio’s studio manager. “That some of the greatest musicians in the world were going to be playing at MCS was amazing. However, more important, Tom Masland put his life at risk to tell Americans what was going on in the world. He was our witness and our conscience. That he found peace and solace in his music shows just how magical and therapeutic music is. There’s no better way to celebrate his life than through something that brought him great joy and we are honored to be a part of this inspirational project.”
Manhattan Center Studios