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Sketchy Black Dog at Birdland | NYC | 8/26/11

Experience the daring, explosive mix of classic rock and originals; sonic temptations that are both seductive and unpredictable. This piano trio with string quartet plays unique spins of Bowie, Zeppelin, Hendrix, and more. Sketchy Black Dog takes timeless rock songs and originals to places both irreverent and fragile. Sketchy Black Dog is the brainchild of pianist Misha Piatigorsky and drummer Chris Wabich – both internationally recognized musicians.

The virtuosic and super-creative Jazz pianist, Misha Piatigorsky, is no stranger to Jazz audiences, but you’ve never seen – or heard – him quite like this! The Russian born Piatigorsky fled from behind the Cold War-era Iron Curtain and moved with his family to New York. It didn’t take long for this Classical pianist to morph into one of the most innovative Jazz artists on the international scene, taking first place in the Thelonious Monk Composers Competition, and playing everything from Brazilian music to straight-up Jazz with Mark Murphy, Joe Lovano and Jon Faddis. Sketchy Black Dog is his current obsession - cranking out his original arrangements of Classic Rock tunes alongside his own award-winning compositions. Piatigorsky’s fiery performances leave audiences screaming for more.

Chris Wabich has collaborated with the leading authorities in Jazz, World, and Rock music, including the Zappa family, Leonard Cohen, Sting, Nenette Evans (pianist Bill Evans' widow) and Omar Faruk Tekbilek. This three-time Grammy nominated artist is known for his dynamic extremities, clarity, melodicism and power. Wabich’s understanding and cross-pollination of genres is evident in his original voice, sought after by the likes of Ludacris to Stanley Jordan. Aside from being the rudder for Sketchy, Chris frequents as music director/producer for LA based artists and full-scale theater productions. His soundtrack credits include "Malcolm in the Middle", "American Idol", and work with film legend Lalo Shifrin.

Together Piatigorsky and Wabich have toured in Japan, Russia and throughout the USA, taking Sketchy Black Dog to Jazz and Rock clubs, Philharmonic halls, Opera houses, and even won over the crowd in one mistakenly booked lumberjack bar.

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BIRDLAND Jazz Club
315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Ave)
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 581-3080

The Dang-It Bobbys Release New Album 'Big Trouble'

The Dang-it Bobbys, whose sound The New York Times described as “lovely riffs on bluegrass, country and folk music,” will release on September 20 its sophomore album, BIG TROUBLE, the follow-up to its 2009 debut, SOMETHING IN THE AIR. While many of the band’s riffs are lovely, there is much more: ingenious combinations of musical styles as well as smart, funny lyrics and a special energy that is downright contagious.

The Dang-It Bobbys will play the CD Release Show at 10 p.m. Saturday, September 24, at Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St. in New York City. Complimentary Cover; information: 212.477.4155.

The Dang-it Bobbys, led by multi-instrumentalist Kris Bauman, explore what the word “Americana” truly means on the upcoming release, which features musicians from the New York City bluegrass, jazz, rock and country music scene, The band is a real melting pot of American music, showcasing the talents of blues/funk guitarist Luca Benedetti (ulu), jazz/classical violinist Alan Grubner (Henry Threadgill, Howard Levy), jazz bassist Chris Higgins (Pat Metheny), bluegrass mandolinist Dan Marcus (Norah Jones), and the 2001 RockyGrass Dobro champion, Todd Livingston (Earl Scruggs).
The Dang-it Bobbys’ unorthodox background is clearly evident on the autobiographical title track “Big Trouble,” a cautionary tale for would-be travelers to Mexico, juxtaposing a bluegrass style 4/4 and English lyrics with a traditional Mexican 3/4 feel and “gringo-ized” Spanish. On “Hey Guess What,” the cyclical form, heart-wrenching harmonica and mantric snare drum provide the backdrop to a mother’s attempt to come clean to her daughter. “Heading Out,” an unconventional ballad, showcases the band’s range of both intensity and tenderness.
The Dang-it Bobbys garner influence from all facets of American music, from bluegrass and country to jazz and blues. It is this flavorful stew of styles, coupled with the artistry of the adroit musicians featured on BIG TROUBLE, that give The Dang-it Bobbys an unquestionably American sound.
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Upcoming Performances:
September 24, Rockwood Music Hall, New York
October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn

The Rapture Announces U.S. Tour Dates

The Rapture recently shared “How Deep Is Your Love?,” the first album track from In The Grace Of Your Love, along with Emperor Machine’s remix of the track via Adult Swim (downloads for both below!). Now, we’re excited to share the news of The Rapture’s first full U.S. tour in support of the album, which will see them on the road from late September through October!

The band has set the bar high with the first track, but this is just the beginning.  Produced by Philippe Zdar (Phoenix, Beastie Boys, Chromeo), the writing and recording process for In The Grace Of Your Love connected the band back to why they started playing music in the first place. Drummer Vito Roccoforte explains that they “focused on the process more than the results. We approached the album in a fearless manner, with nothing to lose.” By recapturing the fun and love for the process, the results were definitely a win.

Download “How Deep Is Your Love?” HERE or The Emperor Machine Remix via Adult Swim HERE

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Upcoming U.S. Tour Dates:

8/20 - New York, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg

9/22 – Boston, MA – Royale

9/23 – New York, NY – Webster Hall

9/24 – Baltimore, MD – Sonar

9/25 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall

9/27 – Columbus, OH - TBD

9/28 – Chicago, IL – Metro

9/29 – Minneapolis, MN – The Varsity

10/1 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater

10/3 – Scottsdale, AZ – Martini Ranch

10/4 – San Diego, CA – Belly Up

10/6 – Los Angeles, CA – The Music Box

10/7 – Pomona, CA – Glasshouse

10/8 – San Francisco, CA – The Sound Factory

10/10 – El Paso, TX – Club 101

10/11 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater

10/12 – Austin, TX – La Zona Rosa

10/13 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live

10/17 – Miami, FL – Grand Central

10/18 – Orlando, FL – The Beacham Theatre

10/19 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade

10/21 – Philadelphia, PA – Making Time @ Voyeur

Elephant Revival To Tour the Northeast Starting in September

Indie acoustic quintet Elephant Revival will tour the Northeast and beyond behind its sophomore release, BREAK IN THE CLOUDS (June 2011, Ruff Shod/Nettwerk Records), with praise for its songwriting, instrumentation, multi-genre style and spirit ringing in its ears.

The tour starts in mid-September, with dates in venues from New York City, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to Kentucky, Boston-area (return show) and Indiana.

Chicago Sun Times says, “The melodic, finely tuned songs are a tribute to the collaborative songwriting talents of each band member,” who are Bonnie Paine (vocals, washboard, djembe and musical saw), Sage Cook (electric banjo/guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, viola and vocals), Dango Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo and vocals), Daniel Rodriguez (acoustic guitar, electric banjo/guitar and vocals) and Bridget Law (fiddle and vocals).

The band plays a variety of folk instruments, from washboard to fiddle, electric banjo, djembe to musical saw, but the band goes further with originals that snap and sparkle with traditional balladry, Scottish/Celtic fiddle, psychedelic old-time, indie rock, rustic Americana, world beat, traditional jazz and an occasionally hip-hop beat.

“Elephant Revival is not five musicians supporting one songwriter, but friends in full collaboration for the betterment of music,” says The Huffington Post, “both their own and what folk means to modern America, which is inevitably embedded in the lyrical content.” BREAK IN THE CLOUDS was recorded in Lyons, Colo., and was produced by David Tiller (Taarka) in his studio, The Distillery.

“We have elements from many different styles of music. The cohesive quality comes from the honor and respect we hold for each other and our fans.” Rose told Relix magazine, which wrote, “The band’s multi-layered musical style comes from the various musical breeding grounds of its players” a particular quality that puts Elephant Revival far ahead of the rest of the crowd. “We create in service to the music,” Rose said. “We do not control what it is or what it will become.”
The band will play a special end of the summer concert at the State Bridge in Bond, Colo., with DeVotchKa and Gregory Alan Isakov on September 10.
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Upcoming Elephant Revival Fall Tour includes:
September 10, State Bridge, Bond, Colo. (with Devotchka and Gregory Alan Isakov)
September 16, Old Rock House, St. Louis, Mo.
September 17, Bluebird, Bloomington, Ind.
September 18, Uncle Slayton’s, Louisville, Ky.
September 20, Thunderbird Café, Pittsburgh
September 21, Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
September 22, Grape Room, Philadelphia
September 23, Piano’s, New York City
September 24, The Saint, Asbury Park, N.J.
September 25, Histroic Blairstown, Blairstown, N.J.
September 27, Iron Horse, Northampton, Mass.
September 28, Blueberry Hill Jam III, Warren, Ver.
September 29, Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass.
September 30, Red Square, Albany, New York
October 1, The Axe Festival, Collinsville, Conn.
October 5, The Box, Charlottesville, Va.
October 6, Sun Music Hall, Floyd, Va.
October 7, One Stop, Asheville, N.C.
October 8, Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta
October 12, Loveless Barn, Music City Roots, Nashville, Tenn.
October 14-16, Harvest Festival, Ozark, Ark.
October 21, Aggie Theater, Fort Collins, Colo.
November 18, Bluebird Theatre, Denver
November 19, Boulder Theater, Boulder, Colo.

ANR Release Free MP3 for Brand New Track, "New Armor"

This morning, Miami’s psychedelic synth-pop duo ANR released the brand new track “New Armor.”  The song is the latest example of the group’s constant evolution as well as their prolific songwriting.  It begins with a lone acoustic guitar before falsetto vocals and lush, sparkling keyboards join the mix.  ANR’s reverb-laden vocals are anthemic and continue in the introspective, earnest direction of the previously released tracks from Stay Kids Deluxe Edition, their forthcoming album out September 13th on 10k Islands.

ANR consists of merely two members – Brian Robertson (Keys, Vocals) and Michael-John Hanock (Vocals, Drums) – but they create a powerful sound filled with layered melodies and bountiful hooks.  It has already earned the duo praise from RCRD LBL, The Fader, MTV.com, and Nylon, among others, and have landed them shows with bands like Animal Collective, Neon Indian, No Age, and Fucked Up.  The band kicks off their North American tour later this month.

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North American Tour Dates:

08/25:  Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
08/29:  Philadelphia, PA  @ Kung-Fu Necktie
08/30: New York, NY  @ Milk Studios
08/31:  New York, NY  @ Mercury Lounge
09/01:  Boston, MA  @ Brighton Music Hall
09/02:  Montreal, QC  @ Casa Del Popolo
09/03:  Toronto, ONT  @ The Drake
09/05: Detroit, MI  @ Lager House
09/06: Grand Rapids, MI  @ Pyramid Scheme
09/07: Chicago, IL  @ Empty Bottle
09/09: Urbana, IL  @ Canopy Club
09/10: Minneapolis, MN  @ 7th Street Entry
09/12:  Seattle, WA  @ Crocodile Lounge
09/13:  Portland, OR  @ Doug Fir
09/15: San Francisco, CA  @ Bottom Of The Hill
09/16: Fresno, CA  @ Audie's Olympic
09/17: Los Angeles, CA  @ The Satellite
09/20: San Diego, CA  @ Soda Bar

Introducing NYC Blues Rockers - Memphis Crawl

New York City based blues rockers, Memphis Crawl, recently released their debut album, “Falling Down Against The Sun” in the winter of 2011. The band will be hitting the road this summer, playing select dates in support of the new record. For more information, please visit: www.memphiscrawl.com

Formed in the summer of 2004 by songwriter and front man, Matty O’Brien, Memphis Crawl has been regarded as one of the best and most exciting live acts around. O’Brien himself has been described as “one of the most charismatic rock n roll frontmen of all time, with the voice and looks to back it up”. He amplified and perfected the sound with the addition of lead guitarist Bryan Stevens, bassist Mad Freik, drummer Mike Vincenti, and rhythm guitarist Nick Vincenti.

Memphis Crawl dropped their debut EP, “Falling Down Against The Sun”, in January 2011. The bands first studio effort received an enormously positive response from both music critics and fans alike, catapulting them to new career heights.

Having performed from New York to Los Angeles, sharing the stage with notable acts such as Leon Russell and Silvertide, the band built a solid following with their fusion of psychedelic rock-blues and hypnotic live performances. Their fans have become as infamous as the band with their wild behavior, and are often referred to as the Memphis Mafia or Crawl Dogs.

Memphis Crawl proves that rock n roll is alive and well and can hold its own on any stage in the land!

Tour Dates:

9.2.11 - The Velvet Lounge                    East Setauket, NY

9.15.11 - Trash Bar                                Williamsburg, NY

9.17.11 - The Brickhouse Brewery           Patchogue, NY

For more on Memphis Crawl, please visit: www.memphiscrawl.com

Haley Bonar "CD of the Week" on WFUV

Indie-country songstress Haley Bonar (rhymes with Daily Honor) will receive another blast of attention from New York City when WFUV-FM plays her latest self-released album Golder in its entirety this Thursday at 8pm. And starting today, fans can now purchase Golder through digital outlets.

Haley Bonar, who was recently featured on WNYC's Studio 360, continues to build momentum for her independently released album when WFUV features Golder as its "CD of the Week". New York City's 90.7 WFUV will spin Golder uninterrupted on July 28th at 8 pm. Golder will not be available through the station's online stream, however, fans are welcome to stream the full album as well as Haley's recent Studio 360 interview through her website at www.haleybonar.com.

And for the first time, Golder which was funded entirely by fans on Kickstarter, can now be purchased digitally through national online retailers including iTunes. The album is also available through Haley's website and concerts.

For more information on Haley Bonar and to stream Golder in it's entirety, please visit www.haleybonar.com

Wade Barnes & The Bottom Line Ensemble at the Moldy Fig Jazz Club

Called, “The Future of Bebop (House of Blues, Review May 5, 2000), Wade Barnes is certainly considered by many to be one of the great drummers, and composers.  The Albany Times Union stated about his appearance at the 1997 Saratoga Jazz Festival, “Mr. Barnes has developed into a premier drummer, composer, and educator.”

Receiving a Master of Arts, in Music, Vermont College, Norwich University and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music, Empire State College, S.U.N.Y., and in History, Queens College, after years of study and performing in New York City, as a teenager, has facilitated a holistic conception which incorporates the entire history of American music.

Drummers, who were born in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such as: Cornelius Tillman; Buddy Gilmore; Paul Barbarin; Baby Dodds; and Chick Webb have been extremely influential. Notwithstanding, Wade Barnes is commonly recognized as extending the tradition of the drums, pioneered by drummers Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, ‘Philly’ Joe Jones, and Roy Haynes. It has been stated, by many, that Mr. Barnes has the “swing of Philly Joe Jones and the technique of Buddy Rich.” Although all the musicians stated above have been profound influences, Wade Barnes has incorporated the ideas of these and others, to fashion his very distinct personal sound.

Mr. Barnes is the director of The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble (a 17 member ensemble) noted for its unique sound. In addition, he leads smaller ensembles. Two of his other regular working bands are: Wade Barnes and The Bottom Line (a ten member ensemble); and Wade Barnes and Unit Structures. Mr. Barnes, also, performed with: “Doc” Cheatham; Earle Warren; Dicky Wells; Howard McGhee; Cecil Payne; Leonard Gaskin; Joe Knight; Franklin Skeets; Candido; Albert Dailey; Billy Mitchell; Benny Powell; Jimmy Garrison; Bob Crenshaw; Archie Shepp; George Coleman; James Spaulding; Sonny Fortune; Jon Faddis among others.

Mr. Barnes has performed in venues such as: The Smithsonian Institute; The JVC Festival (in New York City and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.); Sweet Basil, Slug’s Saloon, The Village Vanguard, Small’s; Fat Cat; and The Iridium, New York City; Larry’s Hideaway, Toronto; The Rising Sun, Montreal; Snug Harbor, Satchmo Summer Fest and Club Strut, Tiptina’s, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, New Orleans.

His discography includes: Pragmatic Optimism, The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble (360 Records); Passport To Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble (Progressive Records); The Brooklyn Four Plus One, Self-titled, (Progressive Records); The Sounds…They Show Us, The Wade Barnes Septet (360 Records); Bridgin’The Gap, The Brooklyn Conservatory Faculty Jazz Ensemble (360 Records); Deane’s Basics, Deane and The Jazz Masters (Progressive Records); In Your Eyes, Linda Presgrave (Metropolitan Records); Wild As The Wind, Pucci Amanda Jhones (CIMP Records); Fantasy For Orchestra, The Universal Jazz Symphonette (Independent).

The Brooklyn Four Plus One Inc. has been awarded grants to conduct education programs from: The Charles Evans Foundation; The New York City Council and The Department of Cultural Affairs; The Music Performance Fund; The Vermont Arts Council; Vermont College; New England Life; and The Jazz Foundation Of America. The grants were awarded to The Brooklyn Four Plus One Inc. in order to administer music education programs created by Mr. Barnes.

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WADE BARNES AND THE BOTTOM LINE ENSEMBLE
Appearing Monday nights at the Moldy Fig Jazz Club
Beginning Monday, July 11, 2011
Time: 8pm - 12am  | Cover - $5.00
The Moldy Fig Jazz Club is located at 178 Stanton Street between Clinton and Attorney.    Lower East Side, NY
Open from 5:00pm to 2:00am Sun. - Thur. and 5:00pm to 4:00am Fri. and Sat.

British Singer-Songwriter Lee MacDougall Set for 2nd U.S. Tour This Year

Capitalizing on the success of his debut tour of the U.S. earlier this year, which included a performance at the SxSW Festival in Austin in March, British singer-songwriter-guitarist Lee MacDougall, returns for his second tour of the U.S. beginning in August. Dubbed the All The Right Places tour, the schedule kicks off in New York City on August 4 and will cover multiple cities over a two-month period.

Since his initial appearances in the U.S., MacDougall has successfully toured in Germany, Austria and Italy as well as playing in his hometown of London, where, in addition to an intimate club date, he opened for headliner Bon Jovi at the massive Hard Rock Calling Festival in London's Hyde Park on June 25th. He will also be supporting Atlantic Records recording artist Rumer on her UK tour in November.

MacDougall has become known for mesmerizing audiences with emotionally-driven melodies and resonating vocals. Louisville's Backseat Sandbar says of MacDougall:  "He has the type of voice that can fill every crevice of a room and every fiber in your body.  Its clear perfection can play your heart strings as easily as his fingers strum his guitar."

Earlier this year, MacDougall released an self-produced 11-song CD called IF WALLS COULD TALK that is available from his website (www.leemacdougallmusic.com) and at his live shows. The CD includes the standout tracks "The Star Hotel," "She" and "Joanna," among others. Additionally, noted producer Jim Lowe (who has worked with the Stereophonics, Taylor Swift and the Charlatans) produced several tracks with him, including the version of "She" that is part of a three-song EP he released via iTunes last year. An acoustic rendition of the song produced by Lee appears on IF WALLS COULD TALK.

With the expansion of his live repertoire, MacDougall is releasing a new self-produced CD (recorded in his bedroom) called FOR A FEW TALES MORE to coincide with the upcoming U.S. dates. This 10-song release includes a number of new songs, among them the affecting "Smile" and "Hindsight," which have become highlights of his live performances.

Originally from the fishing town of Grimsby in the north of England, MacDougall emerged from the open mic night circuit in London that has spawned new acoustic English artists in the last two years. His ability to couple a strong lyrical narrative with a memorable melody has enabled him to establish an international fan base that expanded when his music was embraced by the community of fans of the Twilight films.

But it is the strength of his songwriting that has earned him recognition on both sides of the Atlantic and support slots with artists such as Train, Starsailor, Paolo Nutini, The Feeling, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. The Independent Music Scene wrote:  "This is an artist that allows his voice to be heard clearly without masking the pure talent of the song. The music is great for having a lonely listen, to a couple's dance, to a drive through the country side with nothing to care about. The songwriting is straight forward without being simplistic."

Following his U.S. tour dates, he will make a return visit to Germany, Austria, Italy and England.  The U.K. leg will include shows supporting Rumer on her multi-city tour.

Dates on Lee MacDougall's All the Right Places summer tour are as follows:

August 4-The Bitter End, New York City

5-World Café Live, Philadelphia
7-VFW, Jacksonville, FL

9-Athens, GA

11-5 Spot, Atlanta (benefit for Alabama tornado victims)

12-The Nick, Birmingham, AL

13-3rd & Lindsley, Nashville

15-Buccaneer Lounge, Memphis

18-Southgate House, Cincinnati

19-Uncle Slayton's, Louisville

20-Cicero's, St. Louis

24-Continental Club, Houston

26-Cedar Creek Courtyard, Austin

27-Poor David's Pub, Dallas

29-The Blue Door, Oklahoma City

31-Joe Momma's, Tulsa

September 7-Humphrey's, San Diego

8-Hotel Café, Los Angeles

12-Elbo Room, San Francisco

14-El Corazon, Seattle

16-Poppy Café, Vancouver

18-Denver

20-Record Bar, Kansas City

22-Mario's Keller Bar, Minneapolis

23-House Café, DeKalb, IL

24-Double Door, Chicago

27-Radio Bean, Burlington, VT

29-Market, Boston

30-Listening Room, Boston (industry event)

October 1-The Bitter End, New York Cit


Classic blues singer Alberta Hunter reissued on RockBeat Records

It’s difficult to decide which was the most remarkable facet of pioneering blues chanteuse Alberta Hunter’s incredible career. Was it her role in the vanguard of the “classic blues” movement of the early 1920s, when she recorded prolifically for Paramount and other labels during the industry’s first foray into the idiom? Her entertainment of grateful U.S. troops during not one war, but two? Or her heartwarming late 1970s/early 1980s comeback on the New York cabaret circuit after more than two decades away from singing professionally, when she was well into her 80s? One fact is inescapable: when she died on October 17, 1984 in New York at age 89, Hunter was a genuine star once more.

In 1974, the singer had largely retired from music due to health concerns. But musical pursuits called once again when club owner Barney Josephson invited her to star for six weeks at the Cookery, his hip Greenwich Village cabaret, in October 1977. The live recording of a subsequent 1981 Cookery performance resulted in Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery, which will be released on both CD and 180-gram vinyl August 30, 2011 on RockBeat Records, a new label focused on quality reissues and new recordings by heritage artists, distributed by eOne Distribution. Musicologist Bill Dahl contributed liner notes. (The title was previously available on CD, but has been re-mastered and will now be available on CD and 180-gram vinyl for the first time.)

Born on April 1, 1895 in Memphis, Hunter was weaned on W.C. Handy’s pioneering blues. By 16 she was in Chicago in the midst of a celebrated five-year residence at the city’s Dreamland club, singing in front of King Oliver & His Creole Jazz Band with Louis Armstrong. Hunter made her recording debut in 1921 for Black Swan Records, one of the first black-owned labels, with “How Long, Sweet Daddy, How Long” b/w “Bring Back the Joys.” From there she went to Paramount Records, cutting half a dozen sides including the original “Down Hearted Blues,” which she wrote with piano accompanist Lovie Austin and forcefully revisited on the 1981 live album.  (Bessie Smith, the immortal Empress of the Blues, ended up scoring a bigger hit with the song in 1923.) Hunter continued to record prolifically for Paramount, backed by Fletcher Henderson and, on 1923’s “Stingaree Blues,” Fats Waller.

Having conquered Chicago, Hunter moved to New York in 1923. She recorded for Gennett, OKeh, RCA Victor and Columbia. During this time she ventured to jazz-obsessed France in 1927, where she co-starred with Paul Robeson in a production of Showboat and recorded into the ’30s for HMV. When she returned to the U.S., she recorded for ARC, Decca and Bluebird.  She hosted a radio program in the ’30s and Broadway welcomed her back in 1939, when she shared the stage with Ethel Waters in Mamba’s Daughters. When World War II broke out, Hunter boldly served her country in the USO, entertaining troops across the globe. She continued into the Korean conflict.

There were scattered post-war sessions. But when her beloved mother died in 1954 and after starring in a Broadway flop, Hunter bowed out of performing to train as a nurse. Upon graduation in 1957 at age 62 — an age at which many folks contemplate retirement — she began a new career at a New York hospital. Other than recording a couple of Chris Albertson-produced LPs cut two weeks apart in 1961 (Songs We Taught Your Mother, a set for Prestige Bluesville also featuring Victoria Spivey and Lucille Hegamin) and Chicago: The Living Legends for Riverside, she kept a determinedly low profile for more than two decades — afraid the hospital would learn how far past mandatory retirement age she was and let her go.

In 1974, Hunter was forced out of her job by hospital regulations. It was October 1977 when Cookery’s Josephson invited her to headline his room. Next, legendary A&R man John Hammond cut an album’s worth of her classics (with a few new ones) for the Columbia soundtrack of director Alan Rudolph’s 1978 film Remember My Name. Dick Cavett and Mike Douglas invited her to brighten their TV talkfests, 60 Minutes profiled her, and Columbia recorded three more albums.

The live recordings that form Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery are from one of her many triumphant evenings at the club. Her sense of swing and theatricality remained impeccable, with longtime pianist and arranger Gerald Cook and sturdy upright bassist Jimmy Lewis providing sterling accompaniment. Hunter glided through saucy double-entendre-loaded numbers (“Handy Man,” “Two-Fisted Workin’ Man”), time-honored standards (a rip-roaring “I Got Rhythm,” the tender “Georgia On My Mind”), and the touching ballads “The Love I Have From You” (from Remember My Name) and “You’re Welcome To Come Back Home.”