groove

Elvin Bishop's 'Raisin' Hell Revue' coming on Delta Groove on May 17

Elvin Bishop’s musical biography is no secret to anyone who has followed blues or rock over the past 40 years. Taken under wing by legendary bluesman Little Smokey Smothers in the ’60s, Bishop found a wide audience as guitarist in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and in the ’70s scored a Top-10 radio hit with “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.” Along the way, he’s carved out a niche all his own, playing an appealing mix of rootsy rock ’n’ roll, R&B and barroom boogie, steeped in the heavy blues he learned from Little Smokey all those years ago.

So when a bunch of close friends who also happen to be consummate musicians are sequestered together, as they were at sea on the 2010 Legendary Blues Cruise, what else were they to do but unite forces to create some truly exemplary music? Thankfully the tapes were rolling, and the musical experience was saved for posterity. Delta Groove Music will release the resultant Raisin’ Hell Revue live album on May 17, 2011. And with the good vibes of a ship full of fellow music lovers to buoy the band, you can really hear that everyone was having a great time.

Over the course of their featured performance, Bishop shares the vocal mike with four hard-hitting pros: blues veteran Finis Tasby (Lowell Fulson, Freddie King, Clarence Carter, Z.Z. Hill), fast-rising harmonica man John Németh (Anson Funderburgh, Junior Watson), Norwegian blues guitar star Chris (Kid) Anderson (Charlie Musselwhite’s band), and Bishop’s long-time band-mate and Bay Area legend, saxophonist Terry Hanck. They work their way through a strutting, soulful set of blues and R&B with the powerful grace of a veteran working outfit, perfectly highlighting the strengths of everyone involved. And it really is a “revue” in the classic sense of the term — various band members representing a wide array of styles move in and out of the spotlight, all presided over by the good-humored and congenial master of ceremonies Elvin Bishop. We’re treated to swinging up-tempo R&B, lowdown blues, rootsy rock ’n’ roll, and a touch of gospel; even a fantastic reworking of Bishop’s smash hit “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” is included featuring the wonderfully gifted and dynamic vocalist John Németh.

Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Elvin Bishop didn’t have much exposure to live music as a youngster. But his family had a radio, and in between the pop schmaltz and the C&W that ruled the airwaves in the 1950s, that radio could sometimes catch the legendary R&B programming beamed throughout the southern part of the U.S. at night by Nashville radio station WLAC. That station introduced Bishop to the classic records of Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, and once his ears had been hooked, there was no turning back for young Elvin. He soon got his first guitar and on his own began scratching out the basic outlines of the blues, R&B and rock ’n’ roll that had captured his imagination.

By the time he was preparing to go to college in the late ’50s, Bishop had earned a National Merit Scholarship, allowing him to go to almost any school he chose — and there was only one choice on Elvin’s mind, the prestigious University of Chicago, which just happened to be located on Chicago’s South Side, ground zero for much of the urban blues Elvin had been studying only from a distance. He arrived in Chicago in 1959, and before long crossed paths with a kindred spirit in Paul Butterfield.  Together, they explored the ghetto blues clubs in the black neighborhoods surrounding the university campus at a time when blues giants like Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Howlin’ Wolf could be found playing in neighborhood joints on a weeknight. Elvin soaked it all up, gaining impromptu lessons and invaluable stage time in front of discerning audiences, and forging a fluid yet powerful guitar style of his own.

By 1963, Bishop and Butterfield were ready to graduate — not necessarily from the university, but certainly from their apprenticeship under Chicago’s blues elders.  Recruiting Howlin’ Wolf’s former rhythm section of Sam Lay on drums and Jerome Arnold on bass, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was born. In 1965, after adding Mike Bloomfield and Mark Naftalin to the lineup, their revolutionary debut LP was released, kicking open the door for virtually all the young white blues bands that followed.

Bishop remained in the fold for three albums with the Butterfield band, including their innovative East-West release (on which Bishop and Bloomfield’s intertwining guitars helped set the stage for the Allman Brothers Band among many others who followed), before venturing out on his own. Elvin released four well-received albums on Epic Records in the early ’70s before joining Capricorn Records for a couple of LPs and experiencing his biggest pop success, the national hit “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” from his 1976 album Struttin’ My Stuff.

As popular musical trends evolved, the recording projects tapered off, but road work kept Elvin busy through the ’80s, and by the time he hooked up with Alligator Records in 1988, he was returning to his bluesy roots. And that fertile territory has been his focus ever since.

Delta Groove Productions president Randy Chortkoff has been a fan and follower of Elvin’s music through all the many phases of his career, beginning with Butterfield in the mid ’60s, so when the opportunity arose to bring Elvin into the Delta Groove fold, Chortkoff jumped at the opportunity. The result was Elvin’s Grammy-nominated 2008 CD The Blues Rolls On, a project supported by an all-star cast of blues royalty, among them B.B. King, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, George Thorogood, James Cotton, Kim Wilson, Tommy Castro, John Németh and Angela Strehli.

The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that “ . . .he’s as lively and sharp-witted as ever. No purist, he bends a variety of styles to his irrepressible personality.”

And now, with the new Delta Groove release Raisin’ Hell Revue, Bishop and crew invoke deep blues while at sail on the deep blue sea.

JANE IRA BLOOM at Cornelia Street Café

Whether adventuring into interior or outer space in her music, award winning soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom continues to navigate her unique musical path with creative abandon. Wingwalker, her 14th album as leader and fourth album on the Outline label reunites Bloom with long-time bandmates Dawn Clement on piano, bassist Mark Helias, and drummer Bobby Previte.  After two years since Bloom’s last release “Mental Weather,” she brought the band together in June 2010 to record new compositions written during time made possible by a Guggenheim Fellowship. Wingwalker was recorded in Avatar Studio B in New York City with renowned audio engineer Jim Anderson. The album features eleven Bloom originals and a solo sax rendition of Lerner & Lowe’s classic “I Could Have Danced All Night.”  From the groove inspired “Life on Cloud 8” to the spare simplicity of “Adjusting to Midnight,” Jane has journeyed further into jazz dimensions without a safety net. The CD also features an extra mp3 downloadable version of the music condensed into a 5 minute 49 second event.

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Jane Ira Bloom at Cornelia Street Cafe | 1/23/2011

CORNELIA STREET CAFE
29 Cornelia St.   Greenwich Village, NY
tel # 212 989-9319 | Admission: $10 cover

Melissa Nadel @ The Blue Note | 12/25

An angelic voice and impressive talent, singer/songwriter Melissa Nadel, will be returning to the Blue Note stage to perform on Saturday night, December 25th at midnight.  Bring your family and friends after your holiday festivities to top off the night.  She will be debuting some new material of hers, and there will be a few Christmas surprises for you as well.. it's a show not to miss!

Melissa is a young, exciting artist who infuses Jazz and Pop to create a genuinely refreshing and original sound.  Her style is versatile and tasteful.  Whether she's behind the piano accompanying herself or center stage fronting her band, her live performances are engaging and filled with emotion.  Her debut CD, WHAT MATTERS, co-produced by Charles Fambrough and herself, is available on iTunes, CDBaby, and Amazon, etc.  It is also being distributed in Japan through Vivid Sound Corporation and receiving great reviews.  Melissa is currently preparing to get back into the studio to begin working on her highly-anticipated second album.

TURDAY NIGHT, DECEMBER 25 @ MIDNIGHT
LATE NIGHT GROOVE SERIES
BLUE NOTE JAZZ CLUB
131 W. 3rd Street
New York, NY 10012
Reservations Recommended
212.475.8592
$12

Melissa Nadel - vocals/piano
Patrick Firth - piano
Brian Killeen - bass
Adam Stoler - guitar
Jordan Perlson - drums

Kuan announce March tour dates

If you watch the audience at a Kuan gig, something unusual happens to the socially diverse crowd that tends to make up their fan base. The punk rockers, prog rockers, hipsters, b-boys and metalheads all react in about the sameway: they start by nodding their heads. Then they sway a little. Then, they do whatever the word 'dance' means to each of them. They smile.

When one thinks of post-rock, post-punk, or avant-garde jazz, a word that does not often come to mind is joy. But that is Kuan's music. It's their joy, but it never fails to infect the audience. Brett Nagafuchi loses himself in his exultant, wicked drumming. Chip Heck collapses to the stage floor, shit-eating grin on his face as he alternates between shredding and coaxing strange ambient squeals from his pedals. Bryan Wright's bass undergirds and warms the thunder, stepping with a lightness his bobbing, peaceful frame belies. Paul Larkowski's lead guitar guides the ensemble with the gentleness and power of the best soloists in rock or jazz, tying what threatens at any one moment to explode into a beautiful mess together into a tight groove, the very thing you wanted to hear, but didn't know until you heard it.

Kuan is a Buddhist term. It translates as "wordless contemplation." But it is clear that lyricless as they are, Kuan's songs speak to their audiences. There is an urban legend that says when John Coltrane would perform one of his trademark hour-long solos while with the Miles Davis Quintet, someone once asked Miles "Why'd you let him play so long?" Miles's reply: "He wasn't finished saying what he had to say."

All veterans of Dayton's post-rock, punk and jazz scenes, Kuan formed originally as a three-piece, adding Wright in 2008. The quartet's post-rock, punk and jazz-influenced heavy groove has been compared by critics to Tortoise, June of 44, Do Make Say Think, and Fugazi. The Dayton-based band claims all of these, as well as Miles Davis, John and Alice Coltrane and Aphex Twin as influences. They attract fans from across the genres. Now gearing up for a second tour, they're preparing a vegetable-oil-powered van to reduce the high carbon footprint of touring.

Kuan Tour Dates
Mar 5 - Southgate House-Parlour - Newport, KY
Mar 6 - Rock Room - Pittsburgh, PA
Mar 8 - Chanti Loft - Ithaca, NY
Mar 9 - Trash Bar - Brooklyn, NY
Mar 10 - O'Brien's - Boston, MA
Mar 11 - The Khyber - Philadelphia, PA
Mar 12 - The Velvet Lounge - Washington, DC
Mar 19 - Baba Budans - Cincinnati, OH
Mar 26 - Chip's Basement - Dayton, OH
Apr 10 - Blind Bob's - Dayton, OHApr 23 - Reggie's - Chicago, IL

Family Groove Company: Models & Metrics

Models & Metrics- for the Grateful Web

Having never heard the music of Family Groove Company before, I was intrigued to hear what the buzz is about.  After listening to the Chicago quartet's new album Models & Metrics, I am left still wondering what the buzz is all about.  There is very good musicianship displayed throughout this release, however as with most bands that rely on the experience of playing live their music does not seem to translate well in the studio.

This Midwestern group consisting of Jordan Wilkow on keys/vocals, Mattias Blanck on drums, Adam Lewis on guitar, and Janis Wallin on bass credit Models & Metrics as their fourth full-length album since the bands inception in 2002, and their second this year (Live in Chicago).  It may take a few more tries before this collective gets it right in the studio, but since they are relatively young there is still time for that to happen.

There is no doubt that this band knows how to get down.  Their sound weaves between the 70s soft-rock of Steely Dan, the 90s jam-rock of Phish or even God Street Wine, and the modern jazz of Medeski Martin and Wood.  It definitely has a sweet groove to it, and I can see their music showing more boldness in a live performance.

Where they seem to fall revolves mostly around the songwriting and vocals.  The lyrical sections on this release leave a bit to be desired, and Wilkow's voice sounds too much like a struggling Al Stewart or a less-than-smoky Trevor Garrard.  It does not bode well for the songs that are fairly rich in groove and flow, making me wonder if they would function much better as an instrumental group, evident in such numbers as "Tutear" and "The World is Watching (Part Two)".

Nevertheless, there is some energetic jamming throughout many of these songs which lead me to believe that Family Groove Company would be a worthy band to check out live.  They have, after all, been serious road warriors this year with appearances at the larger festivals such as Wakarusa and Summercamp.  The studio magic may not be present yet, but I am guessing the stage magic is downright funky.

Northwest Groove Band Announces Annual Winter Warmup

Flowmotion- for the Grateful Web

Last summer, genre defying Northwest band, Flowmotion, again celebrated the beauty and excitement of Summer with their 7th Annual Summer Meltdown.  Thousands of festival-goers convened against the backdrop of the Northwest's most beautiful alpine scene in Darrington, WA for three blissful days with multiple stages and renowned bands.

On Saturday, February 23, 2008, Flowmotion will celebrate their Summer Meltdown CD release by recreating the festival atmosphere indoors at The Showbox at the Market in Seattle, WA.   Flowmotion, TheVicci Martinez Band, and Handful of Luvin' will play for an all-ages audience

For more information about Flowmotion's Winter Tour or to buy tickets, visit www.flowmotion.net!

Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove | Bamboo Room

Not a person sitting down! Ok let me back up….

Shanti Groove (September 2003)

- for the Grateful Web

Coast to coast, Shanti Groovin' Shanti's groove moves along acoustical and electrical lines, combining the voice of jazz and rock with back porch bluegrass and funktified percussion. Bringing their unique sound to venues nationwide, the band provides a musical celebration of the 'groove' kind. Stepping out with a strong selection of original compositions, Shanti Groove is an amplified acoustic band focusing on live improvisation; traditional Appalachian instrumentation framed by innovative drumming.

The band has shared the stage with an all-star cast of musicians including: Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Col. Bruce Hampton, Oteil Burbage, Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom, The Big Wu, Acoustic Syndicate, Steve Kimock, and the David Grisman Quintet. Recently recognized by the Denver Post as "a band clearly on the rise," and by Jam Base as one of the twelve bands to watch in 2004, Shanti Groove has spent the past year touring hard, performing nearly 200 successful shows. Inciting high energy dancing, Shanti Groove is renowed for their candid live show which includes interplay between electric improvisation and un-plugged jams with the audience itself. Shanti Groove continues to grow as a band as it enters it's fourth year, maintaining a tour schedule that will take them all over the country, and hopefully to you.