• For Immediate Release:

    The Inimitable Jane McNealy,
    Jazz/Funk/Soul and Musical Comedy Composer/Lyricist

    Launches New Label, Lo-Flo Records

    1st Single, “Turn Away From Darkness,”
    Premieres with Video on August 28, 2020
    Debut Album, Running Around, out October 2, 2020
    Lo-Flo Set to Release the Best of McNealy’s Extensive 40+ Year Catalog
    As Well As Contemporary Compositions

    LOS ANGELES, CA – August, 24, 2020 – Lo-Flo Records was a germ of an idea in the 1970s, and ultimately conceived in 2015 by the inimitable songwriter, composer, arranger, librettist, Jane McNealy. The label officially launches with its very first release, “Turn Away from Darkness,” a gospel tribute to triumph over adversity, which will premiere on August 28, 2020, along with a timely music video. The single precedes the label’s debut album, Running Around, which is scheduled for release on October 2, 2020. It will be available on digital platforms as well as in limited quantities of vinyl and CD. For more information, please visit https://linktr.ee/loflorecords.


    A song for the ages about hope in the face of despair, “Turn Away from Darkness” (TAFD) is sung by the incomparable Joyce Dunn (who had a brief stint with Santana). Piano accompaniment comes from the legendary Mac Rebennack (Dr. John). The track was produced by New Orleans’ Harold Battiste, Jr., with words and music by Jane McNealy.

    The black-and-white video is comprised of McNealy’s own photos shot in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as well as recent photos taken during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests by a dozen different photographers from around the country. It is dedicated to the memory of esteemed composer, arranger, performer, educator, and activist Harold Battiste, Jr., a longtime mentor and friend of McNealy’s. Please see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYXI3myN5WQ.

    In McNealy’s own words:

    “I have written a song about the spirit of hope and the challenge that comes with change. ‘Turn Away From Darkness,’ was released on Mercury Records in 1969. To bring relevance to the present, I have merged this song with a video reflecting society’s eternal struggle to survive conflict and pain. As we face tomorrow, we face ourselves, but the foundation of hope is a flame that burns eternally, guiding us through darkness to peace.”

    The composer & lyricist, Jane McNealy, releases TAFD as the debut release from her new label, Lo-Flo Records.
    Vocals by Joyce Dunn.

    Lo-Flo Records

    The name Lo-Flo was inspired by a New Orleans-influenced laid-back, “go with the flow” creole vibe that surely rubbed off on McNealy from longtime musical mentor and comrade Harold Battiste, Jr. Back in 2015, the label was conceived as an archiving project—a dusting-off and revisiting scores of old sheet music, records and reel-to-reel tape—in order to document McNealy’s rich musical history with respect to both songs written and relationships forged.

    But fate intervened and McNealy’s journey to re-discover her musical roots was shattered in 2017 when she was diagnosed with cancer (stage 4 ovarian Carcinosarcoma MMMT). Suddenly, McNealy’s relaxed countenance became a rude awakening. So to newly define and bring some order to her rich and storied life in music, she pulled together the various threads of her career under a more purposeful “roof”—not only for her own sense of completeness, but so she could make a bigger contribution in the world.

    While the last three years of battling illness and pulling together all the material that will comprise Lo-Flo’s initial releases has not been easy, it has most certainly been rewarding.

    McNealy’s archive is a treasure trove of wonderfully eclectic songs, played and sung by talented artists of the ‘60s/’70s. McNealy’s record label not only celebrates her wide-ranging musical accomplishments, but a free and exploratory sound that had evolved on the West Coast at the time, along with the tighter and more structured orchestrations of McNealy’s musicals.

    Lo-Flo isn’t just a blast from the past, though. McNealy is still driven, perhaps more than ever, to write and share new music. She’s working on future albums, Epiphany and Denouement, which depart from the more carefree nature of McNealy’s earlier work reflecting more existential, complex melodies. This more modern work sees her confronting mortality and contemplating her multifaceted and prolific life and career. Life conspires to light a fire beneath us and create moments of action. The launch of Lo-Flo is this “moment” for Jane McNealy, and however it came about, we can all be thankful for it.

    To really understand the eclectic collection of music that is Lo-Flo Records is to know the musical mastermind behind it. So….

    @areginalmedia – Reginald Smith’s photograph appears in the “Turn Away From Darkness” music video. It captures BLM protesters at General Robert E. Lee Monument, Richmond, VA, on June 5, 2020

    Jane McNealy

    A new generation of listeners is about to discover one of the most famous unfamous musical talents to ever NOT take the stage, along with an equally eclectic cast of musical cohorts that helped to shape McNealy’s life and career.

    A product of the 1960s and a musical prodigy, McNealy’s list of credits and credentials reads like a jazz/pop/musical drama with legendary musicians such as Harold Battiste, Jr. (the first black musical director on an American TV series—The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour [1971-1974]), as well as esteemed New Orleans singer Lydia Marcelle, and soul singer Tami Lynn (another New Orleanian).

    McNealy was clearly musically talented at an early age. She studied classical piano with famed blind teacher Lev Shore in San Francisco at the age of three. She was a musical sponge and had an incredible ear, which was also a detriment. Being highly creative and impatient, she didn’t have the temperament to be a professional musician. However, she came from a musical family and was constantly exposed to different styles, from classical to Broadway to varied forms of jazz and pop–and she loved to write.

    The varied influences of McNealy’s early life, combined with her natural talent, turned her into a kind of a musical chameleon, able to absorb all the styles and nuances she was exposed to and create her own style of music from the fusion of it all. And it might also be safe to say that what became McNealy’s style and the catalog of music she’s written—everything from jazz-pop hits to eclectic musicals to a piano concerto—has in large part been shaped by the musical kinships she made as she navigated the waters of Los Angeles in the 1960s/1970s.

    The most influential of these kinships was with Harold Battiste, Jr., facilitated by Lydia Marcelle. “Jane’s songs were coming out of a theatrical bag, à la Broadway musical. I was most impressed with her melodic and harmonic sensibilities—these tunes could morph into jazz or standards—and they were being signed to (my) MMCI catalog,” Battiste wrote in his book, Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man.

    With Battiste’s mentorship, McNealy was able to start a successful career as a songwriter, publishing and recording over 300 songs in the span of five years under his wing. Many of these tracks were recorded at the famous and funky Hollywood Central and GoldStar recording studios, and featured some of the most esteemed musicians of the time, such as Little Richard, Phil Spector, Tami Lynn and Melvin Lastie. McNealy continued to work with Battiste, a complicated man, for many years, even after he became disenchanted with LA and returned to New Orleans.

    Many singers have recorded or performed McNealy’s songs, including Sarah Vaughan, Petula Clark, Mel Carter, Joyce Dunn, Tami Lynn, Lydia Marcelle, and many more.

    But McNealy’s musical adventure didn’t stop there. While her career as a jazz-pop songstress was hitting its stride, she met Vassar-groomed theatre scholar, playwright, and librettist Alice Kuhns. The two women developed a rich catalog of musicals over the span of a collaboration that is still going strong as of this writing.

    She also worked in film and television, scoring such films as 1978’s The Sitter, which became a cult horror classic and the basis for When a Stranger Calls. In the 1980s and early ‘90s, McNealy scored a number of movies produced by her friend Diane Baker. Perhaps the most famous of these was Never Never Land, for which McNealy wrote the theme song, “Fly Away,” sung by Petula Clark.

    Fun bonus fact: McNealy also served as a sound editor on Paul Reubens’s cult hit kids’ show Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

    “All my musicals, songs, recordings, and screenplays have been worked on over the years and taken many forms and rewrites,” McNealy shared. “Nothing worth doing well happens in a day. It takes a lifetime of hard work and perseverance. And even then, the most that is certain is artistic fulfillment.”

    Vintage Jane McNealy circa the 1960s
    Alice Kuhns & McNealy collaborating on a musical composition.

    Running Around (debut album)

    Lo-Flo’s inaugural release, Running Around, reflects, and is indicative of, the free style, melody- driven songs McNealy wrote while working with Harold Battiste, Jr. The jazz/funk/soul influence becomes more sophisticated and prevalent in the late ‘70s with jazz greats performing her work. From soulful vocal performances to instrumentals from the pre-autotune era, McNealy’s legacy endures.

    See Jane McNealy’s Running Around annotations for each track below.

    1. “This Can’t Be the End”

    “A soul torn apart only to be reinvented.” The haunting refrain echoes from Harold Battiste, Jr. (sax), and Melvin Lastie (trumpet). Instrumental version of Jane McNealy’s musical tome. Genre: jazz, funk/soul (soul-jazz is a kind of jazz that takes its roots in hard bop, with rhythm and blues and gospel influences.)

    2. “Never Let The Music End”

    “Love is life, life is living love. Long before your song is sung….” comes from the destiny of dreams as interpreted by soul-jazz singer Tami Lynn as she reflects upon the beginning and the end of love. With Harold Battiste, Jr., on keyboard and sax. Words and music by Jane McNealy.

    3. “Running Around”

    Snazzy jazz-infused song about love on the run. Powerful vocals by Judy Karp, Henry Butler (virtuoso pianist), Andy Simpkins (Sarah Vaughan’s bassist), Roy McCurdy (Nancy Wilson’s drummer), Harold Battiste, Jr. (sax), and Jane McNealy (synthesizer). Towards the end of her life, Sarah Vaughan performed this as well as other McNealy songs in concert during the last year of her life (1989-1990).

    4. “What is Today Without You?”

    From the musical, To Be Fred, Jane McNealy and Alice Kuhn’s,“What is Today Without You?,” is a classic love song. A fantasy, created from isolation, longing and re-creation of self. Performed by virtuoso jazz singer, Tami Lynn, with Harold Battiste, Jr., on keyboard and saxophone.

    5. “Turn Away From Darkness”

    A gospel tribute to triumph over adversity. A song for the ages about hope in the face of despair. Sung by the incomparable Joyce Dunn, piano accompaniment by the legendary Mac Rebennack (Dr. John), produced by Harold Battiste, Jr., words and music by Jane McNealy. See music video on Lo-Flo YouTube channel, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYXI3myN5WQ.

    6. “Make it Happen”

    “Tomorrow… Will you still want me, were your words really true… Are you falling in love …” The spark of magic, the electricity between two people… Judy Karp’s vocal brings a new intensity to first love’s passion and complexity. Backed by jazz greats, Henry Butler, Andy Simpkins, Roy McCurdy, and Harold Battiste, Jr., with words and music by Jane McNealy.

    7. “A Good Thing”

    The 1970s were rich with creativity and innovation, with Hollywood Central Recorders the apex of a new generation of jazz/funk-soul musicians. With “A Good Thing,” Lydia Marcelle, a New Orleans “ex-pat” teen-age recording star, joined the list of up-and-coming artists. With her complex interpretations, Marcelle performed some of Jane McNealy‘s most diverse songs at the underground recording studio.


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    For more information, photos, to request a sound file, or to schedule an interview, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com.

    Posted on August 24th, 2020 lynn-hasty No comments

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