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Produced & Arranged by: Dr. Cynthia J. Felton
Mixed by: Al Schmitt, Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA 
 
Music
 
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Afro Blue is a wonderful first outing by Cynthia Felton, a singer who I believe will ultimately become a household name. For her debut recording she chose to pay tribute to
  1. Motherless Child
  2. Afro Blue
  3. Mr. Kicks
  4. Work Song
  5. All Blues
  6. Brother, Where Are You?
  7. But I Was Cool
  8. When Malindy Sings
  9.  Dat Dere
  10. Brown Baby
  11. Harry’s Hips [originally Hazel’s Hips] 
  12. Strong Man
  13. Long As You’re Living
  14. Motherless Child [reprise]
Oscar Brown, Jr., whose work she greatly admires.†The CD opens and closes with her deeply moving rendition of the spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," framing twelve songs either written by Oscar or for which he wrote lyrics.

Cynthia produced and arranged all of the music on this CD, and created settings which not only provide a showcase for her own prodigious talents but also those of the outstanding musicians with which she chose to surround herself. All of the instrumentalists on this recording shine as superlative and sensitive accompanists, and many also contribute wonderfully effective and imaginative solos. 

-David Baker
Distinguished Professor of Music and Chair,
Jazz Department, Indiana University
 
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cd_coverCynthia Felton is her name with a bright smile, cool blue dress riding up right there, and gloves that looks like she's going to go mountain biking, while standing on the shore. What would pull it off? Having a good voice. Verdict? Miss Felton has a great voice.

Afro Blue: The Music of Oscar Brown Jr. (Felton Entertainment) is an album by someone who could literally be in any musical genre, because upon listening to these songs, it's obvious she not only listens to a lot of music, but knows about different genres. In terms of jazz, she has a swing that can't be denied but she is very soulful so that she doesn't completely find herself locked in a box, making it possible for her to do anything and everything with her music.

I'm not sure if she plans on doing more than jazz, and yet hearing her reminds me too of Natalie Cole, when all you need to know is the name and you could bank on something of quality. I'm sure for some the selling point for this album could be the musicianship of Patrice Rushen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jeff "Tain" Watts, and Cyrus Chestnut, but I like the fact that Felton is a vocalist that has the potential to be a vocalist in her own right without the need to hype up great musicians. Sure, let that be the reason you want to hear, but listen and discover someone who could become one of the best vocalists of this generation, regardless of genre.

- The Run Off Groove

 
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Oscar BrownOscar Brown Jr. was a Chicago born composer, singer, actor, playwright, and director who earned a reputation for being a “major artist,” both as a writer and a performer.  Oscar Brown Jr. was an all around entertainer.  With his unique and theatrical presentation of music, lyrics, and poetry, Oscar Brown Jr. worked with legends like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderley, to name a few.  He was considered by many to be the father of rap/spoken word.

Oscar Brown Jr. first gained national attention in 1960 with the release of Sin and Soul, his critically acclaimed debut album for Columbia Records.  Soon to follow, were albums like Between Heaven & Hell, In a New Mood, and Telling It Like It Is.  Some of Mr. Brown’s original plays include Kicks & Company, Joy 66, and Opportunity Please Knock.   In the sixties, Mr. Brown was also the host of a television series called Jazz Scene USA.  He appeared on many television shows such as Def Poetry Jam, Roc, The Women of Brewster’s Place, and Zora Is My Name written by Ruby Dee.

Oscar Brown Jr. passed away in 2005 at the age of seventy-nine years old.