“Reverend Zen The Videos” marks the return of New York’s award winning rock, blues, jazz group. The collection features ten newly created song videos by the band. It also provides a first listen of their upcoming single “Magdalena - New Wings”.
“Magdalena - New Wings” is the story of a loner and a woman personified as an angel. Through Magdalena’s words of honesty the man’s defenses for living in solitude fall away. In the end they become lovers. With concise verses and a majestic chorus the song is both uplifting and memorable, while reflecting the band’s genre stretching sound.
Reverend Zen’s video collection covers the band’s recordings from 2006-2015. It was inspired by the box constructions and collages of New York visual artist Joseph Cornell, 1903-1972. Bandleader Jack Evans recalls, “Years ago a friend took me to a Cornell retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was incredible. His box constructions and collages were a world distantly magical, beautifully quirky and nostalgically “home”.”
“Magdalena” was originally on the band’s 2006 cd but recorded a few years prior on 24 track analog tape. Relates Evans. “It was among the first songs we ever recorded”. Working on the band’s video collection gave Evans the opportunity to rearrange, re-record and remix “Magdalena”. He continues, “I always thought it was a strong song but the arrangement and recording mix could be improved. So my recording engineer, who’s like a wonder boy, cleaned things up sonically. Then we took away some old tracks and recorded some new tracks.” When they finished, an old friend had a new set of clothes. They named the rebooted song “Magdalena - New Wings.”
Evans states, “For the past nine or ten years people would ask about Reverend Zen videos but we’d never gotten around to doing any. With music video sites having such prominence now, I tried to think of a creative way of doing an entire series of song videos.” He envisioned the concept of treating each video storyboard like a Cornell construction. Photos, objects and scenes create collages out of each video's frame, depicting the songs’ stories.
Joseph Cornell may have served Evans as an artistic inspiration but personal events inspired him as well. “I did the ten videos in my spare time over a nine month period. My mother was ill and dying part of that time. Any hours I spent on the videos felt almost therapeutic. She was very loving and brave right to the end. Witnessing her strength and spirit served as personal and artistic inspiration.”
Reverend Zen first appeared on the music scene with their cd Angels, Blues and the Crying Moon. Alison Hammond of top twenty triple a station WMVY 88.7FM Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Newport, RI remarked, “These songs are full of great, varied, serious messages, in colorful, creative lyrics. A wonderful album full of fabulous tracks.” The independent release had longevity. From 2006-2012 the band received seventy music industry awards and airplay around the globe in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and Japan.
“The Boston Shakedown” received five Finalist Awards, 2007/08 Song of the Year from ABC Radio Networks Fame Games Effigy Awards in Spain. Those were followed by seven Finalist Awards, 2008/2009 Effigy Awards Best Artist Nomination. At the 2009/10 Effigy Awards the band received nine Finalist Awards, Best Artist Nomination, Best Song Nomination for “Boy Genius”. Fame Games Effigy Awards producer and host Paul Sedowski stated, “They are a killer band. Tight, full of energy and swing, highly accomplished and credible. One of our all time favorites.”
In Hollywood Reverend Zen received four Best Song Nominations, “Bad Attitude”, “The Boston Shakedown”, ”Dangerous Times”, “Don’t Try To Tell Me”, from the 2007 Los Angeles Music Awards. “Bad Attitude” then won Best Song, as the band won 2007 Best Artist. The following year “Her Love” was a Best Song Nominee at the 2008 LA Music Awards, while “Bad Attitude” was a Best Song Nominee at the 2008 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards. In Denver the group was named the Golden Wave Music Awards 2008 Artist of the Year.
Carmen Allgood, Golden Wave Music Awards founder and host of worldwide syndicated radio shows The Colorado Wave, Indie Music Wave remarked, “Reverend Zen’s Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon ranks as one of the best indie albums of the decade”. Back in Los Angeles at Indie 104-iRadio LA, a New Music Weekly Station of the Year, the band was one of its most requested artists in 2007, 2008.
There were more European accolades. In 2008 “Bad Attitude”, “The Boston Shakedown” were Semi Finalists, “Dangerous Times” a Finalist in France’s 100% Song Contest in Paris. In London, from 2008-2010, the band picked up six Semi Finalist Awards from the BBC sponsored UK Song Contest for “”Bad Attitude”, “The Boston Shakedown”, “Dangerous Times”, “Don’t Try To Tell Me”, “Her Love”, “The One In Love”. Around the world in Sydney they were Semi Finalists in 2008, 2009 Australia Song Contests for “Bad Attitude” and “Her Love”.
Back in the United States “Bad Attitude”, “Magdalena”, “Boy Genius”, “My Sigmund Freud” received Finalist Awards from 2007/08, 2008/09 Unisong International Song Contests in LA. There were multiple awards from the 2006 Billboard World Song Contest, 2006 Mid Atlantic Song Contest in Washington, DC, 2007 Singer-Songwriter Awards in London. Add to those WCH Radio’s 2007 Artist of the Year Award in St. Louis and RGW Radio’s 2006 Bronze Artist Award in Norfolk, England.
At New York’s WAER 88.3FM in Syracuse, Music Director Eric Cohen commented, “Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon” from Reverend Zen blows me away. This is an amazing album with some incredible musicians to boot.” Farther south in Virginia, WRRW 100.7FM remarked, “We believe in what Reverend Zen’s music is all about, with their unique sound and songwriting.”
From 2008-2012 Reverend Zen bandleader, composer Jack Evans was the recipient of five ASCAP Plus Awards in New York. Preceding those honors the group took home five Runner Up Awards, “Bad Attitude”, “Billy & the Secret Brotherhood”, “The Boston Shakedown”, “Fingerprints”, “Magdalena”, from VH1’s 2006 Song of the Year Contest. “Dangerous Times” won 2006 VH1 Finalist accolades.
The VH1 panel remarked, “Listening to these songs you’re drawn in by their unique, vivid mirrors of human nature and emotion. Their lyrics and arrangements have the power to make you remember both the songs and their performances. The music has standout guitar that’s perfectly executed and first rate production. Above all this music is straight from the heart.”
The songs of Reverend Zen feature a stellar group of musicians who have performed and recorded with Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, John Scofield, Ray Charles, Sheryl Crow, Donald Harrison, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Paul Schaeffer, Annie Lennox, B.B. King, Joni Mitchell, Donald Fagen, Shawn Colvin, Albert Collins, David Sanborn, Bonnie Raitt, Pearl Jam, Joe Cocker, Boz Scaggs, Madonna, Lenny Kravitz, Celine Dion, Aerosmith, Michael McDonald, the Manhattan Transfer, the Average White Band, Dr. John, Milton Nascimento, Bernard Wright, Dennis Chambers, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Omar Hakim,
Foreigner, Bette Midler, Lenny White, Lyle Lovett, Marcus Miller, David Bowie, Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross, Mongo Santamaria, Spyro Gyra, kd Lang, Eliane Elias, Phoebe Snow, Joss Stone, Bettye Lavette, Jonathan Butler, Kirk Whalum, Patti La Belle, Jewel and Elvis Costello.
Reverend Zen “The Videos” contains ten newly created videos of their songs from 2006-2015. It includes award winners “Bad Attitude”, “The Boston Shakedown”, “Dangerous Times” and features the just recorded “Magdalena - New Wings”.
REVEREND ZEN - The Songs of Angels, Blues & the
"Magdalena" (Unisong Finalist - Lyrics,
VH1 Runner Up - AC/AAA & Lyrics, Billboard Award)and
it's classic rock sound opens Angels, Blues &
the Crying Moon with sweeping keyboards and a majestic
chorus. It's the story of a loner's encounter with
an angel. "The song was written as a folk tale
of sorts about truth, trust and dreams." remarks
singer/lyricist Jack Evans. James Gerard adds organ
and synths. Chris Carter and Gil Parris are on guitar.
"I was sleeping on a cloud/ When an angel awakened
me/ With the warm gentle voice/ Of a heavenly breeze/
She said, I'm Magdalena/ I've come to speak with you/
And whatever words are spoken/ We shall always speak
Attitude" (Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards
Best Song Nominee - International AC, ABC Radio's
Fame Games Effigy Awards Finalist, Australia Song
Contest Finalist Nominee - LA Music Awards Song of
the Year - Blues, Unisong Finalist - Blues, UK Song
Contest Semi Finalist, Billboard, VH1, UK's Singer-Songwriter
Awards, France's 100% Song Contest Award) is funky
R&B, rock. It's a he said, she said take on a
cynic's bad luck and his lover's claim that all he
suffers from is a bad attitude. Black cats, aerodynamics
and a twelve ton truck all get involved. "It's
some classic "downer" sentiment with a few
twists.", relates Evans. The hot wired guitar
solo is by Chris Carter who's been called one of the
premier R&B guitarists in NYC by renowned studio
great Hugh McCracken. "Throw me a line my boat
sprung a leak/ I clutch my flask for a final drink/
A smiling shark is circling the bow/ With a little
luck I'll probably drown".
"Don't Try To Tell Me" (ABC Radio's Fame
Games Effigy Awards Finalist - 2007 LA Music Awards
Best Song Nominee - AC/AAA, VH1 Runner Up - AC/AAA,
Billboard Award - UK Song Contest Semi Finalist) is a solemn ballad dramatizing the
final encounter between two lovers. Denial, regret
and loss are all reflected. The lyrical, blues inflected
guitar solo is by Gil Parris (the Gil Parris Band,
Dr. John, Bob James, David Sanborn). The piano and
keyboard orchestration is by Evans' co writer on the
ten songs of Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon,
James Gerard. "Don't try to tell me it was all
a mistake/ Don't try to tell me that/ Don't try to
tell me sometimes love can fade/ Like we've just become
two passing strangers without names".
"The Boston Shakedown" (France's 100% Song
Contest Award - Song of the Year Effigy Awards Spain
- Blues/Rock, LA Music Awards Best Song Nominee -
AC/AAA, VH1 Runner Up - AC/AAA & Lyrics, Billboard,
Mid-Atlantic/SAW, Unisong Contest, France's 100% Song
Contest, UK Song Contest Awards) is a slamming, roguish
tale of higher education with a party girl who loves
underclassmen but always leaves them. There's props
to Marvin Gaye, the Red Sox and Stolichnaya. "Just
a bit of reminiscing about college days and Boston.",
smiles Evans. The bad ass guitar solo is by Nick Moroch
(David Sanborn, Chaka Khan, Donald Fagen). Rob Aries
(John Scofield, Freddy Jackson, Donald Harrison) is
on keyboards. The bass duties are handled by Kip Sophos
(Nile Rodgers, Chuck Loeb, David Mann) with Evans
on vocals and drums. "She's havin' another party
upstairs/ They're squealin' and laughin' in the August
heat/ With her trunk full of toys and contraband/
That young fool don't stand a chance".
"Only A Fool" (VH1 Award) is a bittersweet
ballad. "A friend was caught up in a relationship
that was very yin, yang. They were being held hostage
by their own emotions.", explains Evans. The
song highlights Rob Aries on piano and Gil Parris
on electric and acoustic guitar. Evans provides the
impressionistic keyboard orchestration. The background
vocals are by Margaret Dorn (Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald,
Bette Midler) and Vaneese Thomas (Eric Clapton, Sting,
Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Luther Vandross, Chaka
Khan, Pearl Jam, John Scofield, John Mayer). "Didn't
my love try to chase the demons from your heart/ Still
the wounds of your past are tearing us apart".
"My Sigmund Freud" (ABC Radio's Fame Games
Effigy Awards Finalist - Unisong Finalist: Novelty) rocks and rises up with no
holds barred rhythms and a unique look at our modern
society. It's the over the top adventures of an amusing
psychotic and the doctor he considers his savior.
A UFO, the Bronx Zoo and Joseph Cornell materialize
along the way. If Dr. Phil, Woody Allen and Frank
Zappa had started a rock band it might sound like
this. "The first three lines of the chorus are
lifted from an ad in the New York Post,", reveals
Evans. "The rest of the lyrics probably read
like the National Enquirer." Chris Carter returns
on guitar, James Gerard covers the keyboard tracks.
"Palpitations, shortness of breath/ A racing
heart, a fear of death/ Delusions of grandeur, loss
of control/ Last week I dreamed I was Axl Rose/ But
my doctor cures my ills/ With understanding and his
happy pills/ He's fillin' up my emotional void / He's
my savior, he's my Sigmund Freud".
"Her Love" (ABC Radio's Fame Games Effigy
Awards Finalist - LA Music Awards Best Song Nominee
- AAA, Billboard, VH1, UK's Singer-Songwriter Awards,
UK Song Contest Award - UK Song Contest, Australia Song Contest Semi Finalist Awards) tells us of a woman unable
to confront her demons, who sadly uses her beauty
and charm as power and control in this revealing character
study. "This one came together very quickly,"
says Evans. James had sketched out a lot of the music,
then I went home and wrote the lyrics the next day."
Gil Parris, called the brightest star of jazz/blues
guitar since Larry Carlton by Guitar One Magazine,
delivers a soaring, emotional solo against the back
drop of James Gerard's keyboards. "She listens
to his words and lets him feel she understands/ Her
replies are chosen so she can gain the upper hand/
She coolly plays the temptress as he gives himself
away/ She chooses her men cautiously, only the ones
she finds easy to leave".
"Dangerous Times" (ABC Radio's Effigy Awards
Finalist - France's 100% Song Contest Finalist - 2007
LA Music Awards Best Song Nominee - AC/AAA, France's
100% Song Contest Finalist - Performance, VH1 Finalist
- AC/AAA, UK's Singer-Songwriter Awards, Billboard,
Unisong, UK Song Contest Awards) with it's upbeat
sound is actually RZ's thought provoking, dark analogy
of the old Wild West to current events in America
and the world. Is this 1870's Deadwood or New York
in the year 2000? "It seems incomprehensible
to me how much misguided machismo and violence still
exist in what's called modern civilization.",
states Evans. James Gerard is again on keyboards while
Chris Carter returns on guitar. The background vocals
here are by Sheryl Marshall (John Medeski, Buster
Poindexter, Ru Paul, NYC's Uptown Horns) and Soozie
Tyrell (Bruce Springsteen, Sheryll Crow, Shawn Colvin,
Elvis Costello). "There's a line of mourners
and a mother's tears/ Nothin's changed around here
for a hundred years".
"Boy Genius" (ABC Radio's Effigy Awards Finalist & Best Song Nominee: Blues/Rock - ABC Radio's Fame Games Effigy
Awards Finalist - Unisong Finalist: Blues) gives us the incredulous tales of
a child prodigy. Balzac, Shakespeare and Camus are
all on his required reading list. Evans explains,
"The words and drum part came first. The lyrics
were partly inspired by an old Jodie Foster movie
called "Little Man Tate". Ideas for the
groove came from a Miles Davis song called Splatch
on his Tutu album." The song slams and rocks
with a hip hop bounce and a scorching guitar solo
by Chris Carter (the Chris Carter Band, Art Neville,
Taj Mahal, Solomon Burke, NYC's Uptown Horns, Joan
Osborne). The keyboards are by Rob Aries and Evans.
"By the age of five he'd quote Socrates/ And
play in his room with a laser beam/ Baptized the kid
with a metaphysical mind/ He's next in line for the
"The One In Love" (ABC Radio's Fame Games
Effigy Awards Finalist - Billboard, VH1 Awards - UK Song Contest) is
a beautifully dark, mid tempo ballad that closes Angels,
Blues & the Crying Moon. It's an account of abandonment,
unresolved longing and efforts to transcend it all
at a jazz club called the Crying Moon. James Gerard
delivers the richly textured keyboard orchestration.
Philly session bassist Kjell Benner (Patti La Belle,
Arlen Roth) and drummer Rudy Feinauer (the Syndicate
of Soul, George Russell, Jimmy Guiffre) round out
the rhythm section. "From the stage I face a
crowded room/ In a club they call the Crying Moon/
As love struck couples dance the floor/ The lonely
read matchbooks looking bored".
Reverend Zen Music:
34 Yale Street
South Hadley, MA 01075-2637
Blakjak Music Records & Anamosa Songs Publishing
ASCAP: use above address
Reverend Zen epk at: sonicbids.com
MySpace - myspace.com/reverendzenmusic
Available at: cdbaby.com;