Billboard Bits: Wilco, J-Lo, Windham Hill
News on Wilco, Jennifer Lopez, Windham Hill, George WinstonRevered roots-tinged rock act Wilco has parted ways with Reprise Records after the label rejected the group's forthcoming album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," according to sources. The split was reportedly predicated around Reprise's insistence that the new material was not "commercial" enough; "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" was self-produced and mixed by indie-rock producer Jim O'Rourke, known for his work with Sonic Youth, Stereolab, and his own band, Gastr Del Sol.
Calls to the band's manager were not returned at deadline, and the band's publicist had no comment. The future of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," which was intended for a mid-September release, remains unknown.
This is not the first time Wilco has butted heads with Reprise over its musical direction. After the completion of 1999's "Summerteeth" album, the label reportedly insisted on additional recording sessions in hopes they would yield a radio single. The new track that resulted from those sessions, "Can't Stand It," wound up as the first track on the finished album.
As previously reported, the sessions for "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" were filmed for a documentary to be released early next year. The film, directed by L.A. filmmaker/photographer Sam Jones, is titled "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," and chronicles the entire process of recording the album.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y. & Todd Martens, L.A.
Jennifer Lopez said it's "hateful" to suggest that she's a racist because of an epithet she sings in a remix of her new song "I'm Real." This morning (July 13), J-Lo performed the original version of the song in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza on NBC's "Today" show. She's drawn criticism for a remix of the song by rapper Ja Rule, which includes the "n-word."
"For anyone to think or suggest that I'm racist is really absurd and hateful to me. The use of the word in the song -- it was actually written by Ja Rule -- it was not meant to be hurtful to anybody," she said during an interview between songs. "I don't want to give it too much energy. I'm here to perform for the fans and that's what I'm going to do."
The 30-year-old singer and actress said that despite the rumors, she's not pregnant. And when asked whether she's marrying her boyfriend, dancer Cris Judd, she smiled and said, "I guess you'll just have to wait and see."
Seminal new age label Windham Hill is celebrating its 25th birthday with releases from the imprint's most enduring artists. On Aug. 7, the label will re-release pianist George Winston's landmark 1980 album "Autumn," complete with two bonus tracks: a cover of Procol Harum's "Too Much Between Us," and a three-minute edit of the signature 10-minute set opener "Colors/Dance." The album is also enhanced with the sheet music for the track "Longing/Love," marking the first time Winston has issued authorized notation for one of his original compositions in the U.S.
On Sept. 11, Windham Hill will offer a greatest-hits package from late guitarist Michael Hedges, likely to feature such staples as "Rickover's Dream" and "Aerial Boundaries." Two weeks later, Winston's holiday-themed "December" album will be rereleased with two bonus tracks: covers of John Barry's "A Christmas Song" and Alfred Burt's "Sleep Baby Mine." The album will also include sheet music for his arrangement of "Variations on the Kanon" by Johan Pachelbel.
Oct. 9 will see the release of 25th anniversary editions of the compilations "Winter Solstice" and "Celtic Christmas." The final release of the year will be guitarist/label founder Will Ackerman's 12th album for the label, "Hearing Voices."
Meanwhile, Winston is at work on a full solo piano album of Doors covers, tentatively set for a fall 2002 release.
-- Chuck Taylor & Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
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