PLUNKY & ONENESS

A Week in the Life: RVA,DC, B-more & NYC

 

I am fired up! Last week I had a fantastic spate of gigs and activities.  On Wednesday night we performed at the Hippodrome Theater in Richmond for the premier of a Virginia Commonwealth University documentary film on sickle cell anemia.  Richmond area dignitaries walked the red carpet and entered the theater to the smooth jazz sounds of Plunky & Oneness.  To close out the evening’s program, we made it funky.

 I spent the rest of the week on the road: Thursday – Blues Alley in DC; Friday and Saturday – African American Authors & Empowerment Expo in Baltimore and Sunday – Breathe Concert in NYC

Plunky & Oneness Release New Album: Juju Jazz Funk

 

Plunky & Oneness continue their decades long output of extraordinary music with their latest album, Juju Jazz Funk.  Produced by band master, J. Plunky Branch, with son, Fire, the new album is a distinctive and notable collection of melodies and messages for modern music lovers.  Juju Jazz Funk contains nine original songs, along with two bonus tracks recorded live at a 2016 summer concert when the group performed with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic.

Plunky, the ageless sage (think Quincy Jones, Hugh Masekela and George Clinton), recently published his autobiography, Juju Jazz Funk & Oneness.  Though released separately, the new CD is the book’s companion piece.  Together, the two works document the fusion of Plunky’s musical and philosophical visions.  The range of cross-generational creativity is on full display in the variety of the grooves and the consciousness raising songs on Juju Jazz Funk.

Plunky's Autobiography Due June 20, 2016

 

 

The new book, Plunky: Juju Jazz Funk & Oneness – A Musical Memoir, is an overnight success story, 50 years in the making.  It documents James Plunky Branch’s career in music and arts activism, and delivers his memoir as a straight forward recollection of anecdotes, journals, and photographs.   An early proponent of Afro-jazz and funk, Plunky, with his group Oneness of Juju with their deep rare grooves and progressive political themes, generated international critical acclaim. 

 

Plunky: Juju Jazz Funk & Oneness is all about decades of transitions, completed circles, and momentous meetings.  It is not a standard sex, drugs and rock & roll exposé; rather it is an insider’s look behind the scenes of the independent Black jazz and soul music business and Plunky’s philosophies and methodologies that allowed him to persevere and come out on top.The new book, Plunky: Juju Jazz Funk & Oneness – A Musical Memoir, is an overnight success story, 50 years in the making.  It documents James Plunky Branch’s career in music and arts activism, and delivers his memoir as a straight forward recollection of anecdotes, journals, and photographs.   An early proponent of Afro-jazz and funk, Plunky, with his group Oneness of Juju with their deep rare grooves and progressive political themes, generated international critical acclaim. 

Plunky: Juju Jazz Funk & Oneness is all about decades of transitions, completed circles, and momentous meetings.  It is not a standard sex, drugs and rock & roll exposé; rather it is an insider’s look behind the scenes of the independent Black jazz and soul music business and Plunky’s philosophies and methodologies that allowed him to persevere and come out on top. 

Plunky & Oneness Songs Honored by IMA

 

 

Two songs by Plunky & Oneness, the jazz funk group from Richmond, VA, have been selected as 14th Independent Music Awards (IMA) Vox Pop winners.   Fans voted the group’s “Never Too Late” the winner in the Funk/Fusion/Jam category and the band’s “Space Jungle Love” as the winner in the Spoken Word category. Two songs by Plunky & Oneness, the jazz funk group from Richmond, VA, have been selected as 14th Independent Music Awards (IMA) Vox Pop winners.   Fans voted the group’s “Never Too Late” the winner in the Funk/Fusion/Jam category and the band’s “Space Jungle Love” as the winner in the Spoken Word category. Two songs by Plunky & Oneness, the jazz funk group from Richmond, VA, have been selected as 14th Independent Music Awards (IMA) Vox Pop winners.   Fans voted the group’s “Never Too Late” the winner in the Funk/Fusion/Jam category and the band’s “Space Jungle Love” as the winner in the Spoken Word category. 

Plunky & Oneness Get "In The Mood"

 

Smooth jazz saxophone can set just the right tone for intimacy so the Plunky & Oneness soulful sax version of “In The Mood,” should lead to lots of romance.  This reprise of the Whispers’ hit song is a bit more subtle but just as suggestive as it is crooned by Plunky’s tenor sax and answered by the enticingly sexy vocals of his musical soul mate, Charlayne “Chyp” Green.

 

 

 

 

Never Too Late Documentary Film to Premiere on Virginia PBS Television

 

“Never Too Late” is the title of the latest CD album by saxophonist J. Plunky Branch and his critically acclaimed funk jazz group, Plunky & Oneness.  But it is also the title of the documentary film about Plunky’s 40th anniversary of performing and producing music in Richmond, VA.  The documentary will have its television premiere Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 9:00 PM on WCVE (PBS)-TV, Virginia’s Idea Station and it will air again on WCVW Richmond PBS on Tuesday, September 8 at 10:00 PM.  

Produced in conjunction with the Virginia State University (VSU) Department of Mass Communication, Plunky: Never Too Late – The Documentary is narrated by Plunky himself as he speaks of his history, philosophy and his music while preparing for his anniversary celebration concert.  The viewer travels with Plunky as he prepares for the upcoming big show, rehearsing with his band and doing interviews about his career.  The cameras are backstage and even in the dressing room before the artists take the stage.  Local musicians and celebrities who have worked with Plunky over the years are featured in the concert and in the film and there are interviews with audience members on the red carpet on the night of the gala event. 

The film was directed and edited by VSU grad student Brandon Davis who worked with a team of mass communication students, professional producers and Plunky’s band to create a first rate documentary worthy of being shown in film festivals, libraries and classrooms.  The project was conceived by Plunky as a vehicle to archive his journey and the momentous occasion of his 40th year celebration.  Dr. Ishmail Conway, chairman of the mass communication department, endorsed the project as a vehicle to have his students involved with a community icon and to work on a meaningful production while gaining invaluable experience.  He said, “This is the kind of work that we do in the department, educating our students and at the same time producing real works that can impact the community.”

 

Plunky & Oneness Release "Never Too Late (Go-Go Remixes)" EP Single

 

Plunky & Oneness announce the 8/26/14 release of their new “Never Too Late Go-Go Remixes” maxi-single featuring remixes of the song by DJ Dyn-O-Might.   The EP CD single contains five special go-go beat versions of “Never Too Late” for R&B, hip-hop and jazz radio and club deejays.  Produced by J. Plunky Branch and J. Fire Branch, the remixes of the title song from the Never Too Late album released earlier this year use an infectious Afro-funk groove and a timeless, potent message to inspire music lovers of all ages.

Plunky & Oneness New Album NEVER TOO LATE Release

 

Never Too Late, the new album by Afro-funk, jazz veteran, J. Plunky Branch and his group Plunky & Oneness bridges genres and generations.   The ambitious 16-song collection includes neo-soul, nu-jazz, and hip-hop songs about love, wisdom and purposeful partying.   With Never Too Late Plunky & Oneness prove that eclecticism is no vice and variety can be its own reward. 

Plunky's Involvement with RVA Public Arts

 

Downtown Richmond is developing an arts district along several blocks of Broad Street, the city’s major commercial thoroughfare.   In addition to art galleries, shops, restaurants and other businesses the area is alive with murals, beautification projects, monthly mini-festivals, and other related activities.  This is a kinetic renewal project that will hopefully lead to even more capital improvements, private investments, new residents and visitors to continue to revitalize the city’s commercial core.  Many artists, audiences and other participants may be unaware that this level of activity did not occur spontaneously, without foresight and planning. 

The Future of Music Summit - My Take

 

Last month I attended the Future of Music Summit, a conference held at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  While it is customary to review and report on such gatherings immediately after or even to blog about them during, I am going to share some of my thoughts and impressions gleaned from my notes and memories, now a month later.  The time lag has not diminished the value of the information that I was awarded by my attendance, although some of the details, names and minutia may be forever lost except in the videos and podcast left in the cloud… (www.futureofmusic.org

The Future of Music Coalition does a wonderful job fulfilling its mission to bring together the business political and artistic forces that shape the future of music industry.  The musicians, songwriters, producers and entrepreneurs all benefit from having forward thinkers come together to share best practices, review trends, plot strategies and to be encouraged to continue to advance the cause and value of the art of music. 

Plunky &Oneness; Release New Single: John Legend's TONIGHT

 

Saxophonist J. Plunky Branch’s latest single release is a neo-jazz adaptation of the John Legend hit song, “Tonight (Best You Ever Had).”  Plunky spices the ballad with some smooth sax, sensual female vocals and well-placed funky go-go beats for a danceable adaptation that is reminiscent of the saxophone-led hit of yester-year, “Mr. Magic.”

Throughout his career Plunky has pushed boundaries and redefined musical genres with his signature jazz, world beat, funk, hip-hop, gospel and African amalgamations.  His experience and versatility keeps him at the top of booking agents’ and presenters’ lists for club engagements, balls and galas and concerts.  The funky grooves and mellow tones of Plunky’s new single, places it squarely within the smooth jazz category, just in time for the summer festival season.  N.A.M.E Brand Records has announced that Plunky will release a series of singles over the next few months, showcasing the legendary artist's depth, eclecticism and broad musical interests.  In the coming weeks, “Tonight” will be followed by more go-go, some funk, and Plunky's unique brand of saxy, smooth jazz, all leading up to his next CD album.  But “Tonight” is gonna be the (Best You Ever Had)…

Plunky & Oneness

Tonight (Best You Ever Had) 

(Written by: J. Stephens, A. Arthur, C. Reilly, K. Justice, C. B. Bridges, M. Pimentel)

Publishing BMG Rights Management 

Produced & Arranged by Plunky & Fire 

J. Plunky Branch, sax, percussion; Charlayne Green, vocals, J. Fire Branch, drum track; J.L. Harris, keyboards; Jose Pomier, guitar; P. Muzi Branch, bass 

N.A.M.E. Brand Records, 2218 Rosewood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220; www.plunkyone.com;

Email: plunkyb@aol.com 

Cover Layout & Design – A. Maples; Art direction – Patrick Mamou; Photography – Zeke Robinson; Model – Rikki;

Plunky & Oneness Release "Vote In November" Song

 

Plunky & Oneness Releases New Song “Vote In November”

 

N.A.M.E. Brand Records recording artist J. Plunky Branch and his group Plunky & Oneness have joined with the Virginia State University Department of Mass Communications to record and release “Vote in November,” a song promoting voter registration and participation in the upcoming elections.

Chuck Brown (August 22, 1936 – May 16, 2012) Go-Go and DC Culture

 

I was on the scene when go-go was born.  The passing of Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-go music, makes me pause to consider the man and his music and its impact on Washington, DC and beyond.  I must have shared the stage with Chuck twenty times or more, and in my mind’s eye, as I look back and out over those audiences, I have thoughts about who they were, and the events, the venues, the businesses and the culture that brought us all together.  Go-go has been a driving musical force in the nation’s capital and the surrounding region, but how did it originate and why did it take root in the area?  Who were some of Chuck Brown’s co-creators and what happens to the music going forward?

Plunky & French Rapper, Akhenaton, in Montreal

 

What a week of music and travel!  Sunday I drove 75 miles from Richmond to Hampton, VA to see Brides of Funkenstein featuring Dawn Silva.  While that was a little bit of a distance for me, my colleague, Sheidia, came all the way from Paris, France to catch the show.

Sheidia, my French publicist, had been trying set up a meeting between me and French hip-hop artist, Akhenaton of the IAM Band, in the hopes that we could explore prospects for collaborating on some music projects.   When she found out that Akhenaton was doing a show in Montreal, Sheidia set up a meeting for me and my son, Fire, with Akhenaton and his manager at 1:30 on the afternoon of his Thursday night show....

Plunky Sees Brides of Funkenstein in VA

 

Sheidia, my publicist in France, contacted me to say she was coming to Hampton, Virginia to see Brides of Funkenstein, one of the two female groups that were a part of George Clinton’s  Parliament-Funkadelic mega-entourage in the 1970’s and 80’s.   Sheidia was coming from Paris because she wanted to meet with original Brides member, Dawn Silva, to discuss working with her on promotions and gigs in France.  

Somehow, Sheidia knew about this gig and I didn’t. 

If Sheidia was coming all the way from Paris then certainly I could go the last 75 miles from my home in Richmond to catch the show, especially since Sheidia indicated that there was the possibility for me to do some collaborating or gigging in the near future.

Capital Jazz Super Cruise III Journal/Blog

 
My Capital Jazz Super Cruise III Day 1. 8:00 PM Saturday evening, October 10, 2009 aboard the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas for the Capital Jazz Super Cruise in my state room. I have just returned to my room to rest a bit after seeing Jonathan Butler’s solo guitar performance where he was joined by trumpeter Rick Braun for singular duo concert in the atrium of the grand ocean liner with the sunlight filtering from above and the Chesapeake Bay streaming pass the glass walls. People were hanging over the railings five floors up, lounging about, taking pictures and taking it all in. I felt blessed and happy to be there to witness the scene. I realized I am finally underway and this is what it will be all about: participating in a wonderful relaxing happening, filled with music, scenic views and camaraderie. The audience already...

Plunky & Oneness to Release 5-CD Compilatin Box Set

 
J. Plunky Branch offers music for old fans and new with an impressive 5-disc compilation, Plunky & Oneness 2012 Collectors’ Box Set, a retrospective of the best of his last 20 years’ 12 CD albums. Long known for his versatility, saxophonist-producer Plunky has exceeded the bounds of eclecticism in this extensive library of songs organized into genre-specific CD’s: Urban Groove, Cool Jazz, Love Songs, P Phunk and Afro World, packaged into a box set. This is a collection of songs by one of the most prolific and enduring groups of the last 40 years. The band originated in the early 1970’s as Plunky & Oneness of Juju, an avant Afro-jazz ensemble, and they developed by constantly exploring a wide range additional genres of Black music including R&B, funk, smooth jazz, reggae, hip-hop and neo-soul. Plunky and the group has continued to record and tour extensively and recently had...

Plunky's Tour of France Blog/Journal

 
December 1, 2008 – On the flight from Newark to Paris… I am not sure that I want to keep a journal on this trip. I am not sure I want to spend the time and the energy or share the introspection. My thoughts these past few weeks have been so personal that I am not sure if anyone else should be privy to them. I have been concentrating on promotion of my career, marketing my wares and pursuing personal and spiritual development so much that it seems I am self-absorbed. Maybe only others who are on a similar artistic journey or those in my personal musiclan would be interested in a blog about my experiences on this tour. I have been working on a theory of musiclans – music clans – groups of people responding to and influenced by the same music. Those of us who...

Plunky Releases His Latest CD DRIVE IT - A New Funky Jazz Classic

 
New Urban jazz artist Plunky follows up his nationally acclaimed hit “Drop” with Drive It, a new 14-song CD album of pipin' hot dance music, funk, jazz and Go-Go. The hour-long disc revs it up, puts it in gear and stomps on the gas. Destination...the dance floor of the hottest spots in the city for the real grown and sexy. The CD takes off with the up tempo title song “Drive It,” a hypnotic instrumental groove with classic hit potential amongst urban radio and club audiences alike. Next, Plunky brings back a 80's inspired Euro-retro-dance sound with “Gotta Keep Moving,” followed by the horn driven party starter “Every Way But Loose,” a remake of his 1982 release, which charted in both the US and London. Plunky also pays homage to the Mid-Atlantic Go-Go sound with a medley of DC flavored songs like “Life – You’re Full Of...

Plunky's "DROP" Gets National Airplay on the Michael Baisden Show

 
PLUNKY’S “DROP” REACHES MILLIONS VIA MICHAEL BAISDEN’S SYNDICATED URBAN TALK AND MUSIC RADIO SHOW Veteran saxophonist, J. Plunky Branch, known to thousands of progressive jazz fans simply as “Plunky” is a prolific, versatile, and eternally youthful composer and performer who has been making audiences groove since the early 1970’s from his hometown of Richmond, VA to London and Paris. Plunky is making millions of new fans everyday via the airplay his song “Drop” is receiving on Michael Baisden’s nationally syndicated urban talk and music radio show. “Drop,” the ultra-funky instrumental opening track on Plunky’s Cold Heat CD, is turning up the heat across the country. The song was produced by Danja Mowf, whose credits include Aaliyah and Missy Elliot. Incredibly, “Drop” is based on a sample taken from Plunky’s own “African Rhythms,” a tune that shot him to soul-jazz stardom in Europe over 30 years...

Plunky's Newsletter 4-10-07

 
Plunky Newsletter “Drop” to Receive National Distribution Liaison Distribution, home of R&B, jazz, gospel, and Washington, DC Go-Go groups, including Chuck Brown, recently reached out to us in response to strong demand and continuing airplay of “Drop” in the Washington/Baltimore, Virginia and Atlanta markets. Our discussions have led to a national distribution agreement with Liaison assuring that the growing demand for our Cold Heat CD can be met through all types of retail outlets. Our agreement with Liaison Distribution will also make available our N.A.M.E. Brand Records back catalogue of 20 albums by Plunky & Oneness including early classics by Oneness of Juju. We are pleased to be associated with this renowned music distributor. Liaison Distribution can be contacted at 9435 Washington Blvd., Suite M, Laurel, MD 20723, 1-800-841-6201. * * * Plunky & Oneness will be appearing at the Capital Jazz Festival at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in...

Plunky 1st Quarter Newletter/blog

 
Hello Friends and Associates: In this issue: · Plunky & Oneness On the Airwaves · Oneness Gigs and Appearances · Plunky Lectures and Screenings · Sales and Projects · My View from the Stage Plunky & Oneness On the Airwaves A video clip from our Plunky & Oneness of Juju – Live In Paris DVD is being featured on “Straight Ahead,” the jazz show on US cable television station BET J, based in Washington, DC. At the same time, WHUR-FM and other DC area radio stations have been airing our ultra-funky song “Drop” from our recently released Cold Heat CD. It is always gratifying when our jazz and funk is broadcast to the masses, but it is even more rewarding when our fans and friends call and email, sharing their excitement about hearing and seeing us on radio and TV. Funk you very much! Oneness Gigs and Appearances After many requests from loyal locals (and following in the steps...

Plunky Drops Cold Heat CD

 
Cold Heat, the new CD album by J. Plunky Branch, is a 14-song collection of soul, R&B and jazz percolating over hip-hop beats. On Cold Heat Plunky plays with fire and keeps it cool making it icy hot and phunky. J. Plunky Branch is a world-class saxophonist, songwriter, and producer who for over 35 years has been making some of the most avant-garde Afro-jazz funk on the planet. His recordings are collections of the widest range of progressive Black music, like John Coltrane jamming with George Clinton and P-Funk. On Cold Heat, his 21st album, Plunky is still blowing his horn and he is now also singing his songs about life, love and the pursuit of the groove. With lyrics that teach, soar and inspire, Plunky’s songs on Cold Heat elevate, caress, and inform slamming hip-hop rhythm tracks produced by Setworkrz, the Virginia-based production duo with the Dirty South...

Live In Paris DVD available

 
PLUNKY & ONENESS OF JUJU – LIVE IN PARIS DVD Saxophonist J. Plunky Branch his legendary group Oneness of Juju perform their innovative blend of jazz, R&B, hip-hop, funk and traditional African music in this concert recorded live at Paris’s New Morning jazz club. A bonus documentary reveals Plunky’s lifelong commitment to social justice by chronicling his involvement with the 1960’s civil rights and anti-war movements. Reviews: - Plunky and Oneness of Juju offer an extra funky live set in this release of a concert originally captured live in November of 2004. A twenty-two song set list including "Space Jungle Luv", "Be About the Future", "Got to Move Something", "World Wide Party", and "Every Way but Loose", ensures that the funk keeps coming as the party gets started, and an additional interview with Plunky himself, as well as a documentary on the man, offers a little something extra for the die-hard fan....

JOURNAL OF THE TOUR OF FRANCE

 
Plunky & Oneness of Juju Tour de France March 2006 In November2004 our group, Plunky & Oneness of Juju, played in Paris for the first time. Now, 18 months later a DVD called “Live In Pairs” is being released and we are going on a mini- tour of France to promote it and to push for more touring in the coming months. Sunday, March 19, 2006; on the plane at the Richmond Airport. We are finally on the plane, finally ready for take off, finally on our way to Paris! If we can judge by the dues paying, the number of delays and planning re-adjustments that we have had to endure to get to this point, and if you truly get what you pay for, then this tour should be nothing short of “da bomb!” Just today for example, my luggage was overweight and even after trying to re-pack...

Journey to Produce Music in Cuba Under The Radar

 
Journey to Produce Music in Cuba By J. Plunky Branch I decided to take the opportunity to travel to Cuba to conduct research in my professional field, Africa and African-American Music History. I spent several weeks making contacts, gathering information and developing plans to go the island and document the music there as it exists today and as it relates to the history of Black music in the Americas. I would take my digital recording studio equipment, video camera, other gadgets and my son, Jamiah along with me for an 11-day excursion, research, production and performing junket that would be both memorable and rewarding. Here is my journal kept on my laptop during the trip. I share the information and observations with you in the hopes that you will benefit from my experiences, be piqued by my insights and enjoy the adventure… Tuesday, 4/10/01- 3:10am: On the train...

Journal of the First Gig In Paris 2004

 
Plunky & Oneness – Impressive In Their Paris Debut Paris – Even before the concert began there was electricity in the air. Monday, November 29, 2004 will long be remembered by members of Plunky & Oneness (of Juju) and their French fans as the date of the band’s triumphant debut in Paris. The venue for the band’s first Parisian concert was the New Morning, a place that has a history of presenting great jazz artists from Ella Fitzgerald and Dee Bridgewater to Chick Corea, Maceo Parker, Pharaoh Sanders, Archie Shepp and too many others to name them all. And according to the promoters, the Monday night concert by Plunky & Oneness (of Juju) was up to the club’s high standards. There was a rush to get choice seats and stage-edge positions when the first 100 hundred patrons who had lined up outside were allowed inside the club 90 minutes...

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