Owl Studios' Mike Clark + Pharez Whitted Nab Best Jazz Album NOM at IMA's!


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Owl Studios' Mike Clark and Pharez Whitted Each Nominated for 'Best Jazz Album' in the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards

Indianapolis-Based Owl Studios Honored with Two of the Five Nominees in Top Jazz Category

Clark's Album Praised as “Among the best new jazz albums to be released this year"; Whitted Delivers a “Combination of intensity and technique, spank and sparkle"

Indianapolis-based OWL STUDIOS is proud to announce they've been honored with two of the five nominations in the top jazz category of the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards, as Mike Clark's acclaimed 'Carnival of Soul' and Pharez Whitted's Freddie Hubbard-inspired 'Transient Journey' vie for 'BEST JAZZ ALBUM.'

Legendary drummer Mike Clark's Owl Studios debut 'Carnival of Soul' has earned notable and consistent rave reviews and feature coverage in recent months. DOWNBEAT Magazine praised Clark as “a constant force" presiding over an “epic jam session." JAZZTIMES Magazine described the album as “emotionally charged...very satisfying," and JAZZIZ buzzed “His masterful drum work should advance Clark's reputation as an all-around rhythm ace." Other key placements for Clark included The New York Times, New Yorker, Time Out New York, ALL MUSIC, iTUNES Editorial, All About Jazz, Jazz Inside Magazine, Don Heckman's International Review of Music, NUVO Weekly, WILDY'SWORLD, MODERN DRUMMER, Indianapolis Star, MELODIC.net, and much more. In June, Clark will be heard on 'Platinum,' the eagerly awaited new CD from the reunited Headhunters, featuring Clark's co-founder and co-band leader Bill Summers. The band's eclectic new CD—their debut on Owl Studios—will feature guest appearances by megastars Snoop Dogg, George Clinton and many others.

'Transient Journey' marks the Owl Studios debut from renowned Chicago-based jazz trumpeter and educator Pharez Whitted. On the recently released album, Whitted displays a remarkable command of the trumpet and his broad scope as a composer, both of which are firmly rooted in the post-bop tradition associated with players like his late friend Freddie Hubbard. CD annotator and Examiner.com critic Neil Tesser noted “Throughout the album—throughout all of Pharez's music, really—the spirit of Freddie Hubbard hovers nearby. . . . [Pharez Whitted] honors the late giant with his combination of intensity and technique, spank and sparkle, and that hot-cider tone." Jay Harvey of The Indianapolis Star wrote, “I've admired Pharez Whitted's sure handed trumpet playing—its fire, its agility, its thoughtfulness—since shortly after I moved to Indianapolis in the late '80s and heard him spark the fusion group Decoy." Other notable placements for 'Transient Journey' include Downbeat feature, Jazziz, CADENCE Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Examiner, All About Jazz, NUVO and Indianapolis Star.

The Independent Music Awards are notable for the fact that the judges are artists and industry workers and writers, resulting in more of a 'peer judging system' than many other award ceremonies. Examples of this year's artist judges range from Aerosmith's Joe Perry to Bettye LaVette to Seal to McCoy Tyner to Arturo Sandoval. Industry judges range from Rolling Stone's Anthony DeCurtis to Mastering Engineer Bob Ludwig to AD/Talent Buyer/Producer Jason Olaine.

The dual nominations in the IMA's top Jazz category is a coup for Owl Studios and its Founder/President Al Hall, especially notable considering the albums represent Owl debuts for both Mike Clark as well as Pharez Whitted. Mr. Hall commented on the news: In this homogenized music world it is sometimes hard for the cream to rise to the top. In this case we feel that it has and the (music) world will be a better place for it. It is fantastic that the hard work and great talent of both Mike and Pharez are being recognized. As this is a team sport it also is a large statement for the sidemen on the albums and especially Gary Mielke who engineered and mastered the projects.

Owl Studios is an award-winning, independent record label, with an artist roster that includes a Grammy-nominated artist, two Independent Music Award winners, an American Pianists Association Jazz Fellowship recipient, and a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Performer Award recipient. Owl Studios artist Derrick Gardner won the 9th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Jazz Album for his Owl release 'Echoes of Ethnicity.' This marks two years in a row that Owl has had IMA nominees for Best Jazz Album. In the short time since its inception, Owl Studios has become a well-respected, artist-friendly record label in the genres of Jazz, R&B, Neo Soul, Jazz Fusion and Jam Band. In addition to the June release of 'Platinum' by The Legendary Headhunters, Owl looks forward to the upcoming Summer release of a new, straight-ahead jazz trio CD by acclaimed guitarist, Fareed Haque, as well as to the first album release of the inaugural Emerging Jazz Artist Project, a yearly award created in conjunction with Indiana University Jacobs School of Music to introduce an up-and-coming jazz artist to the recording industry of the 21st Century. Learn more about Owl Studios, here: http://www.owlstudios.com/

More about Mike Clark

Mike Clark gained worldwide recognition as one of America's foremost jazz and funk drummers while playing with Herbie Hancock's group in the early 1970's. Mike became known as a major innovator through his incisive playing on Hancock's 'Thrust' album, which garnered him an international cult following. Mike has performed with jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock, Chet Baker, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Woody Shaw, Larry Coryell, Jack Wilkins, Wallace Roney, Geri Allen, Billy Childs, James Genus, Bob Hurst, Chris Potter, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Dave Liebman, Nat Adderly, Oscar Brown Jr., Bill Doggett, Mose Allison, Maxine Brown, Gil Evans and his orchestra, and did a stint with Brand X, the acclaimed British fusion band, founded by Phil Collins. He has performed throughout the world at all of the major jazz venues and festivals.

More about Pharez Whitted

Pharez is a performer, composer, producer, and educator. He has performed with such notables as Nancy Wilson, Freddie Hubbard, Slide Hampton, Joe Lovano, Elvin Jones, Ahmad Jamal, Clark Terry, Branford Marsalis, Johnny Griffin, David “Fathead" Newman, Phil Woods, Monty Alexander, The Count Basie Orchestra, Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, George Duke, John Mellencamp, Patti Austin, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Kirk Whalum, Ari Brown and Ramsey Lewis to name a few. Pharez grew up in Indianapolis Indiana where he attended Shortridge High School, receiving his undergraduate degree from Depauw University and his graduate degree from Indiana University. He also was on the MoTown Jazz Label MoJazz where he released two CDs under his name Pharez Whitted and Mysterious Cargo.

More about the IMAs, an influential awards program for independent bands and fans: (culled from IMA press materials)

“Representing the broad spectrum of today's global independent music scene, the more than 300 Nominees in nearly 70 Song, Album, Music Video and Design categories were culled from submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Known for celebrating artists that follow their own muse, The 10th IMA Nominees are an eclectic mix of rising stars...

Winners will be determined by a panel of 62 influential artist and industry judges including Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Suzanne Vega, Aimee Mann, Pete Wentz, Bettye LaVette, Seal, Adam Duritz, Ozzy Osbourne, Arturo Sandoval, Martin Atkins, Andrew W. K., Shelby Lynne, Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour), Bill Bragin (Lincoln Center), Anthony DeCurtis (Rolling Stone), Pat McGuire (Filter Magazine) and Evan Schlansky (American Songwriter) and will be announced in mid-March 2011. Music fans have until July 11 to cast their votes at The IMA Vox Pop Jukebox to determine the fan-selected IMA Winners.

Celebrating the democracy of creativity and meritocracy of talent, The Independent Music Awards honor exceptional independent artists who are, traditionally ignored by mass media and big box retailers. For the past 10 years, artists and labels from around the world have found new fans and prominence through The Independent Music Awards. Produced by Music Resource Group, publisher of the popular industry networking database The Musician's AtlasOnline, and producers of the original webTV series, Grooveable Feast, The IMAs use its unrivaled access to performance, promotion & distribution opportunities to connect Winners and Nominees to new audiences and revenue opportunities. Earning IMA honors goes beyond a badge of distinction. Artists credit The IMAs with increasing recognition among music fans and industry gatekeepers."

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This story appears courtesy of Seth Cohen PR.
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