THE LIBERATION SESSIONS is a funky, soulful, groovy journey into sound. Set as a fictional radio show, "The Liberation Sessions" on the equally fictional WBAR-FM, Mwalim and an A-List cast of artists: Amaris, Phillip Aaron, Tah Phrum Duh Bush, Tantra, The Bass Mint Bros, Kalayana Champlain, Robert Taylor, Jr., and Tem-Blessed take us on a musical journey through soul, jazz, hip-hop, house, dance-hall Reggae and Funk. This album truly demonstrates Mwalim's versatility as not only an artist but producer and arranger as well.
THE LIBERATION SESSIONS won the Best Male and Female Jazz Vocalists Awards for Mwalim and soul-funk singer, Amaris. The CD has also received nominations from the Native American Music Awards (NAMMY) for Best Pop and Best World Music Recordings.
"The Liberation Sessions" Sweeps Nominations in the 2010 New England Urban Music Awards
"The Liberation Sessions" has definitely made an impression on the music scene in New England as a perusal of the New England Urban Music Awards nomination page will reveal. Mwalim received nominations for Best R&B CD, Best Spoken-word Artist, Best Producer, Best Caribbean Male Vocalist, Best R&B Single, and Best Caribbean Single for DEM BIG GIRLS.
In addition, artists appearing on the critically acclaimed CD also received nominations for their appearances on "The Liberation Sessions:" Soul singer, Phillip Aaron received a nomination for best R&B Male Vocals; Amaris nominations for best R&B Female Vocalist, Jazz Female Vocalist, and best Jazz Single for her appearance on The Bass Mint Bros "Awakened by a Noon Day Sun."
Tah Phrum Duh Bush earned a best Rap Single nomination for the remix of "Life & Death;" The Bass Mint Bros were nominated for Best Jazz Group; Tantra Zawadi got a nomination for best Female Spoken-word for her performance of "Tension;" and Robert Taylor, Jr. received a nomination for Best Latin Single for "YOU". Liberation Music - MGM was also nominated for best production group.
The New England Urban Music Awards will take place on April 24, 2010 in Boston. Information including tickets and a complete list of nominees for the New England Urban Music Awards can be seen on-line at http://ne.urbanmusicawards.org/nominees/
"The Liberation Sessions: Soul of the City" CD is available on cdbaby.com/cd/mwalim, also as a download on iTunes.com, amazon.com, emusic.com and raphsody.com.
REVIEW on Soulchoonz.com by Barry Towler (UK):
If you are restless, bored or indifferent to today's music scene and you're thinking of something slightly different then here's a suggestion for you. "The Liberation Sessions" by Mwalim is one such suggestion. I have sat and listened to this CD a number of times and on each play I have gotten deeper into what the gentleman is about, his psyche and what he is trying to do. What he is trying to do, actually, is something very important indeed for our beloved music in the soul-starved US of A, and big applause for the gent for doing what he is doing. To be honest, it took a while for the set to grab me. Then the penny dropped! What this is is a very clever, astute and important concept album. If I dare call it that. It works from various levels, angles and emotions and should have some impact on the listenership he is aiming at. Set on a fictional Black Urban radio station WBAR FM - Black Ass Radio, Mwalib is our Disc Jockey, our narrator if you will on a hustle and bustle aural journey through contemporary US black American Urban music. There are bass-drenched numbers, soulful sounds, Hip Hop, raggamuffin freestyle and even a weak shot of blues thrown in the mix. The concept is hip; a step to the left and very much outside the box.
It's fun, yet serious at the same time. Our tongue-in-cheek narrator literally acts as a DJ and even offers tickets to a soul night. The confused chap who phones in requesting food adds some real humour into the mix, and Mwalib, undeterred carries onto his 21st caller! This is all fine, you're thinking but what about the music?! OK. It's a celebration or Urban style, and I have to pinpoint female vocalist Amaris as someone who is very competant, strong and, I am sure, able to deliver a very strong Urban soul album in her own right. There are many new artists on here - all unknown to me but all able to stand their ground and make a mark in their own fields I am sure. I am not a huge rap fan - only that from the 80's and very early '90s and a few tracks by Marley Marl and Craig G a few years ago! However, track 15 "Miraculous Apertures (Camera)" by Tem Blessed is a great example of message-driven commentary and I particularly like the sentiments about not all white folks are devils! I certainly hope I'm not at any rate! The serious, and shocking point made on this CD though is when Mwalib make a statement about the loss of black music stations throughout the US, especially in the North East of the country. Some only exist as shows on college radio! These stations, he states, are disappearing at an alarming rate and without warning. No surprises, then, that quality soul and jazz seems to be non-existent in the US. This CD, fun and oddball as it is, is doing a grand job in making a stand and drawing a line in the musical sand. Much respect to mwalim and all the artists and rappers involved in raising the profile of soul music in the Us and the fact that radio - free radio - is dying. More power to 'em I say.
REVIEW in SOUL TRACKS by Howard Dukes:
One thing is clear from listening to Mwalim's work as the keyboard player for the Bass Mint Bros and his work on the collaborative effort The Liberation Sessions: Mwalim (pronounced M-waaleem) really likes to make concept albums. The Bass Mint Bros' Sketches of a Neighborhood was basically a musical description of the ecology of an urban neighborhood. On The Liberation Sessions, Mwalim creates the fictional radio station WBAR (Black Ass Radio) in which the DJ's play records from a playlist that the DJ created. The criteria the DJs used to created this playlist appears to be whether the tunes were quality and interesting tracks that represented the breadth and depth of forms that influenced black music (imagine that). This might explain why Mwalim ends up being just one of several guests on his own record. He shares the disc with the Bass Mint Bros but also Robert Taylor Jr. Tah Phrum Duh Bush, Amaris and Tantra, to name just a few.
The one constant is Bob B., the fictional DJ, who has a clear and silky smooth delivery that takes me back to the days before the Clear Channels of the world recruited a bunch of on-air radio personalities to crack a bunch of (often funny) jokes during drive time in hopes of making listeners forget that (a) the station plays the same songs over and over and (b) that those radio personalities are syndicated jocks who don't live anywhere near the communities where the show is being heard.
On Mwalim's dream radio station, a funky/jazzy hip-hop joint such as "Micro PH 101" would follow up "Dem Big Girls," a dance hall ode to our Reubenesque sisters. "Life & Death," a philosophical overview of life's biggest questions fits comfortably on a playlist with "Lay That Pipe," where they serve as melodic confirmation that the best works address the extremes of sex and death. Then again, "Lay That Pipe" has another contrast in "You," a Latin tinged ode to monogamy. Listening to all these talented and eclectic artists who appear on The Liberation Sessions makes me want to tune into WBAR and tear off the knob.