1. ROCK WITH YOU 5:01
2. MAN IN THE MIRROR 4:18
3. HUMAN NATURE 4:14
4. REMEMBER THE TIME 4:16
5. HE’S OUT OF MY LIFE 3:35
6. I CAN’T HELP IT 4:01
7. I’LL BE THERE 4:35
8. NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE 4:24
9. EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD 3:16
10. HEAL THE WORLD 5:19
Jeff Babko keyboards on # 1, 9
Michael Ruff keyboards, synths, synth & keyboard bass, background vocals on # 2 - 8, 10; clavinet on # 1
Hubert Laws flute on # 6
Chuck Manning tenor sax on # 2, 3
Nils Langren trombone on # 6
Brian Bromberg acoustic bass on # 1, 3, 7, 9
Jimmy Johnson bass on # 2, 10
Abe Laboriel bass on # 4, 6
Harvey Mason drums on all tracks, vibes on # 1, percussion on # 2, 4, 5, 8, background vocals on # 9
Walter Rodriguez percussion on # 6
Jeff Caldwell background vocals on # 3, 6
Charito has never been bound as a performer by the limits of jazz. She has constantly challenged herself to push musical boundaries: during the past few years alone, she collaborated with Brazilian songwriter Lins on her 2004 release “Non-Stop to Brazil”; and she worked with Michel Legrand, the legendary French film composer and pianist, on the 2009 album “Watch What Happens.”
The challenge she has taken here are songs by the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, whose death on June 25, 2009 shocked the entire world. When one thinks of Michael, one thinks of his superb performances, his brilliant dancing and his eccentric personality, but he also composed and recorded many hit songs, and his talent as a singer was unrivaled. The sheer expressive power of his music is beyond compare. On Heal the World, Charito decided to interpret some of his best-known songs.
Her producer is Harvey Mason, the legendary West Coast drummer who participated in sessions with Herbie Hancock, George Benson, the Brecker Brothers, Carole King, and Kenny Loggins. Since the 90s, he has performed as part of the contemporary jazz quartet Fourplay. Each of their albums has reached at least the top five in the U.S. contemporary jazz charts. As producer, he has worked with Lee Ritenour, Dionne Warwick, Esther Phillips, Seawind, Eternal, Casiopea, and Whitney Houston. He worked on the digital edit of Michael Jackson’s album “Invincible” with his son, Harvey Mason, Jr., a top-selling producer who has also worked with Whitney Houston, the Spice Girls, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
Harvey Mason has been able to gather together an impressive line-up with West Coast bassists Brian Bromberg, Abe Laboriel, and Jimmy Johnson; Hubert Laws, perhaps the world’s greatest jazz flutist; Chuck Manning, co-leader of the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet and an excellent saxophonist; Nils Landgren, a trombonist who is currently a member of The Crusaders; and Azar Lawrence, whose spirited saxophone playing has made him very popular. Michael Ruff and Jeff Babko are responsible for keyboards and arrangements. Michael Ruff is well known as musical director for Lionel Ritchie and Chaka Khan. He also performs solo as a keyboardist and singer. Jeff Babko is best known for his work as a sideman with Toto, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton and James Taylor.
Rock With You is from the album “Off the Wall,” produced by Quincy Jones in 1979. It marked Michael Jackson’s breakthrough as a solo artist. The following year, it was released as a single and hit the top of the U.S. charts. The original was an up-tempo, danceable song, but here it’s been transformed into a medium-tempo jazzy number. In this version, Jeff Babko’s arrangement uses Brian Bromberg’s acoustic bass and Harvey’s vibes to great effect, and the unison of the electric piano and vibe on the song’s bridge is also very effective. Finally, Charito’s jazzy yet soulful vocals add emotional depth to the song.
Man In The Mirror was on 1987’s “Bad,” released as a single in 1988, reaching No. 1 on the charts. It was the final number featured in the film “This Is It.” The message is that changing the world for the better begins with the man in the mirror – you. Charito’s expressive vocals add a quiet power to this gospel-like ballad.
Human Nature is from 1982’s monster hit album, “Thriller.” Sales to date have passed the 100 million mark, and it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling album of all time. “Human Nature” was released in 1982 as a single, and reached No. 7 on the charts. Steve Porcaro, originally of Toto, participated in the composition of the song. It was later covered by Miles Davis. Charito joins in on the complex rhythmic accents provided by Michael Ruff’s arrangement, allowing her nimble voice to stretch with the music.
Remember The Time is from 1991’s “Dangerous.” It was released as a single in 1992, and reached No. 3 on the charts. Charito’s laid-back vocals develop against the backdrop of arranger Michael Ruff’s vocal percussion. It’s actually very difficult to sing at such a slow tempo without sounding somewhat dull, but Charito’s superb vocals conquer this challenge as well.
He's Out Of My Life, also from “Off the Wall,” was released as a single in 1980, and reached No. 10 on US charts. This ballad of unrequited love is particularly popular among Michael Jackson’s female fans. Backed up only by Michael Ruff’s keyboards and synthesizers, and Harvey’s drumming, Charito uses her expressive voice to deliver this sad ballad.
I Can't Help It, also from “Off the Wall,” is an original by Stevie Wonder. Stevie’s unique chord progressions are given a salsa-like twist. Charito’s nimble vocals, Abe Laboriel’s and Harvey Mason’s rhythm section, Michael Ruff’s staccato keyboard work and chorus, Hubert Laws’ solo – all of these elements combine to form a gorgeous track that will get you moving.
I'll Be There was a No. 1 hit for the Jackson Five in 1970. It was covered by Mariah Carey in 1992, and again hit No.1. In this version, the smooth, jazzy arrangement is a backdrop for Charito’s dramatic performance of the beautiful melody and lyrics.
Never Can Say Goodbye was another big hit for the Jackson Five, reaching No. 1 in 1971. The arrangement gives it a fresh sound by changing the original’s major key to a minor one. The entwining of Charito’s vocals with Michael Ruff’s vocoder also provides a point of interest. It can surely be said that this song symbolizes the approach taken to the entire album.
Ease On Down The Road: “The Wiz,” a Broadway musical version of the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” was itself made into a movie in 1978. Diana Ross played the lead role of Dorothy, while Michael Jackson played the Scarecrow. “Ease On Down The Road” was one of the feature songs in the movie, sung as a duet between Diana and Michael. It was released as a single, and reached No. 17 on the R&B charts. The original was an up-tempo, happy song, but here it has been arranged as a big band-type number with the use of synthesizers. Charito’s energetic vocals are beautifully showcased here.
Charito and Harvey Mason, producer
Heal The World, from the “Dangerous” album, was released as a single in 1992. It reached No. 27 on the charts. It was a very important song in Jackson’s repertoire, as it contained a condensed version of his message. One of the abiding images from the “Dangerous” Tour is of Michael singing together with a group of children. Michael’s message, and now Charito’s “Heal the World” is an important one for all of us to listen to and accept into our hearts.
This CD "Heal The World - Charito sings Michael Jackson" was already selected as a Gold Disc for the prestigious Japanese jazz magazine Swing Journal, following its release in Japan in July 2010 – the fourth disc by Charito which was honored by this award. Yoshihiro Kumagai
About two years ago, Harvey Mason came over to the club where I was singing in Tokyo. After my set, he gave me a big grin and said" I'd like to produce you!” I excitedly grinned back and happily accepted the offer. Coming from a world renowned, masterful drummer and producer like Harvey, I was beside myself! Funny, how unexpected encounters become perfect timing, paving the way for yet another exciting music journey for me.
There were so many music possibilities for us to explore but we both agreed that it had to be something REALLY special…
On June 25, 2009, while I was in LA for some gigs, I was watching the news about Michael Jackson as he was being whisked away in an ambulance. I stood frozen as I stared, not believing my ears when they officially confirmed his death. It was a very sad day for all of us.
A few days later, Harvey wrote to me asking what I thought about doing Michael’s music. I literally jumped at the idea, which came as a total surprise, but filled me with so much inspiration. Michael was actually my idol in my early teens... I remember standing, dancing and waving at him as I watched from the bleachers during one of their rare concerts a long time ago in Manila!! I grew up embracing even his conflicts because of his music genius. His melodies and lyrics will forever stay in our hearts.
Harvey and I, as musicians, pay respect not only to Michael’s unparalleled contribution to music, but also to his generosity of spirit in his quest to heal the world. We would like to remember his love for humanity -- through his songs and works of charity. We hope to continue to spread his message and let it live forever.
Produced by Harvey Mason for Masong Productions, November / December 2009. All vocals recorded at Locus Post Studios, Santa Monica, CA. Engineers: Michael Perricone, Duane Ramos, John Graves. Instrumental tracks recorded at (1) Mason Sound Studios, North Hollywood, CA. Recording engineers: Don Murray, Dabling Harward, Andrew Hey (Pro Tools). (2) Castle Oaks Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Recording engineer: Jodh Blanchard. (3)Fat Tuesday Studios, Kauai, Hawaii. Ron Pendragon, engineer. Mixed at Masong Studios, Beverly Hills, CA. Executive producer: Taro Sakai for CT Music, Tokyo, Japan. Recording licensed to ZOHO Music L.L.C. from CT Music, Tokyo, Japan. Executive producer of ZOHO CD release: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.