OKeh Records Announces Seven New Signings As Part Of "The Sound Of Next" Campaign

Including Craig Handy, Dhafer Youssef, Nir Felder, Somi, Jeff Ballard, James Brandon Lewis, and Theo Croker

New Recordings Available in Early 2014


NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Following its re-activation in January 2013 with releases that included projects by Bill Frisell, Bob James & David Sanborn, Michel Camilo and John Medeski, SONY Masterworks' OKeh Records is proud to announce their next wave of signings. The artists, who are part of the label's "The Sound of Next" campaign are: saxophonist Craig Handy, Tunisian oudist/vocalist Dhafer Youssef, guitarist Nir Felder, drummer Jeff Ballard, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, African vocalist Somi, and trumpeter Theo Croker.

"Each label, and OKeh is no exception, needs a good balance of established artists and newcomers to reflect what is happening in the world of music today," states Wulf Muller, who oversees A&R for OKeh Records and ideated the re-launch. "The second phase of the re-launch is to focus on great new artists with different backgrounds and different takes on what jazz can be, but they all have one thing in common – they are part of Global Expressions in Jazz."

To showcase the label's new talent in "The Sound of Next" campaign, OKeh will release a 7 track "The Sound Of Next" sampler featuring one song from each of these artists.

"The first wave of OKeh presented well-known masters of the jazz arts: John Medeski, Bob James & David Sanborn, Michel Camilo, and Bill Frisell," explains Chuck Mitchell, Senior Vice President at Sony Masterworks U.S. "Now comes 'The Sound Of Next' - fresh expressions by established voices: Craig Handy's 2nd Line Smith and Jeff Ballard's Trio. And new dimensions opened by new voices: Somi, James Brandon Lewis, Dhafer Youssef, Theo Croker, and Nir Felder. 'The Sound Of Next' is a divining rod, a no-risk device to discover great global expressions in jazz, amidst the daily noise. For OKeh, 'The Sound Of Next' is also 'The Sound Of Now.'"

Upcoming OKeh Album Releases:

January 21, 2014

  • Craig Handy - Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith - Renowned saxophonist continues the brass band tradition with a creative edge and groove derived from the tight 2nd Line funk of the Crescent City
  • Dhafer YoussefBirds Requiem - Oud master of the highest caliber creates music for an imagined movie, blending delicate and melodic tones with modern sensibility
  • Nir FelderGolden Age - Stylistically diverse, Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer and songwriter creates new, unique sounds on the electric guitar

February 4, 2014

  • Jeff Ballard TrioTime's Tales - First-time band leader, this in-demand drummer and composer breaks out with forward thinking, modern jazz
  • James Brandon LewisDivine Travels - Eclectic saxophonist channels the late avant-garde style of Coltrane, creating free jazz with a spiritual theme

March 25, 2014

  • Somi – The Lagos Music Salon - Inspired by her time in Lagos, Nigeria, the East African vocalist and songwriter straddles the worlds of jazz, pop and soul


  • Theo CrokerAfro Physicist - Trumpeter, vocalist and composer's powerful modern jazz that pays respect to the tradition of the music while moving jazz forward

Sony Masterworks comprises the Masterworks, Sony Classical, OKeh, Portrait, Masterworks Broadway and Flying Buddha imprints. For email updates and information please visit www.SonyMasterworks.com.

SOURCE OKeh/Sony Masterworks

For further information: DL Media, 610-667-0501, Amy Miller, amy@dlmediamusic.com, Don Lucoff, don@dlmediamusic.com, Sony Masterworks:Angela Barkan, angela.barkan@sonymusic.com, 212-833-8575, Larissa Slezak, larissa.slezak@sonymusic.com, 212-833-6075