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"Triple Ripple," An Experimental Play With The Bleak Contrasts Between Jazz And Rock

Progressive Jazz Fusion artist Anders Helmerson has released the title track, "Triple Ripple" from his third and groundbreaking new CD, available for purchase at iTunes.

"Triple Ripple" is no ordinary song according to Helmerson. As well as being the main track from the album, "Triple Ripple" is a combination of three songs all merged into one. "This particular track has more of a rock flavor to it than any other on the CD. It's a form of experimental play with the bleak contrasts between jazz and rock. The key was striking a balance between the two. The first part is an overture that builds up to a dramatic crescendo, while the second part transitions into the part three, which is the main theme of the song. Part three starts with a Rush inspired hard rock type of melody that gives the song a solid spine as more jazzy parts begin to evolve, and it continues to toggle between Jazz and rock."

He continued, "Triple Ripple" is a demonstration of the world's most spectacular drummer Marco Minneman and his ability to make it all sounds easy and fluent. But the fact is, what he is doing here, nobody else could do. Marco was recently touted to be the natural replacement for Mike Portnoy in Dream Theatre, but I am keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that he'll choose to stay with me."

The Anders Electric Jazz Rock sound delivers an eleven minute expansion piece with Triple Ripple, which has majestic classic synth sounds. The mix is bright and the bell tones have a serious tone. The first section features two ideas that show the flexibility of the band with harmony and time figures. The breakdown features all keys playing in triple meter with synth choral textures and flickering arpeggiated lines. The composition sets up for an extensive analog synth solo. The bass and the drums are all exceptional and keep up with an exhaustive range of breakdowns and accented hits throughout. This is serious electronic jazz rock!

"Helmerson lets his creativity take him to new heights which ultimately resulted in him creating his own genre of music which he dubs Progressive Fusion; a combination of long songs with virtuosos performed in complicated time signatures, elaborate melodies and harmonies that are built on pentatonic scales that are neither major nor minor. This musical mastermind fuses jazz and rock to create a sound that amazes listeners with the power of superior technique and great composing." MusicDish

Born in Sweden in February 1959, Anders Helmerson has had a life-long love affair with music. In the 1970's, Helmerson played in various short-lived bands and studied classical music in Denmark and Sweden, all the while becoming more and more interested in synthesizers and progressive rock. Helmerson completed his debut album, "The End of Illusion," in 1981. The album's lack of success caused him to turn his back on music for the next several years. He worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen, a GP in Norway and a ship's doctor on a cruise-ship, eventually discovering Rio de Janeiro, the catalyst for his return to music. In early 2002, Helmerson release his second album, "Fields Of Inertia" on the Brazilian label, Som Interior Productions.

Scattered Trees Premiere Live “A Conversation” Video

Today, Chicago’s Scattered Trees premiered their live video for “A Conversation About Death on New Years Eve” on My Old Kentucky Blog. Click here to watch the video on MOKB or check out the video on YouTube. The track is also available as a free Mp3 download HERE (feel free to post and share). The video for “A Conversation” is a glimpse of Scattered Trees’ live performances that the band honed playing around Chicago. The group has also announced a series of new dates, including a new SXSW showcase on March 18th at The Ghost Room as a part of The NAIL/The MuseBox SXSW Day Party.

The band’s upcoming performances lead up to the release of Scattered Trees’ latest record Sympathy, which will be released on April 5th via Roll Call Records/EMI. The album is a focused, deeply personal collection of songs that finds Scattered Trees experimenting with lush multi-part harmonies, constructing dynamic builds, and exploring the intricacies of love and loss. Opening with “Bury the Floors,” lead singer Nate Eiesland sings “It’s the house that I built you to fall / We started to walk then we stood up to crawl / So bury the floors and burn down the walls / to find ourselves by morning.” Driving rock epics like “Four Days Straight” rub shoulders with melancholic elegies like “Where You Came From.” The album’s title track starts with a stripped-down plaintive mandolin, ultimately fading into a slow-burning orchestral groove. Melting into “Five Minutes,” Scattered Trees continues the build until the track bursts forth. The band rounds out the record with the mournful acoustic closer “On Your Side,” a fitting tribute for a deeply heartfelt and therapeutic album.

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Scattered Trees Upcoming Tour Dates:
1/21 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas
2/26 - New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
3/3 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas
3/5 - Minneaoplis, MN @ Cause
3/18 - Austin, TX @ The Ghost Room (NAIL/The MuseBox SXSW Day Party)

B.B. King with Hazel Miller Trio @ Boulder Theater

His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 76, he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don't look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can't get enough of him.

For more than half a century, Riley B. King - better known as B.B. King - has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. Over the years, B.B. has developed one of the world's most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarist's vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck. B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound. In B.B.'s words, "When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille."

B.B. continues to tour extensively, averaging over 250 concerts per year around the world. Classics such as "Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss," "The Thrill Is Gone," How Blue Can You Get," "Everyday I Have The Blues," and "Why I Sing The Blues" are concert (and fan) staples. Over the years, the Grammy Award-winner has had two #1 R&B hits, 1951's "Three O'Clock Blues," and 1952's "You Don't Know Me," and four #2 R&B hits, 1953's "Please Love Me," 1954's "You Upset Me Baby," 1960's "Sweet Sixteen, Part I," and 1966's "Don't Answer The Door, Part I." B.B.'s most popular crossover hit, 1970's "The Thrill Is Gone," went to #15 pop.

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Stanton Moore Trio Coming to the Boulder Theater

In the early 90s, Moore helped found the New Orleans-based essential funk band Galactic. Their first album, 1996's widely acclaimed Coolin Off, led to an intense tour schedule of nearly 200 gigs a year for the next ten years. Building on their fan base by adding an esteemed list of all-star collaborations to the six albums that followed, Galactic continues to amass a worldwide audience via recording and touring globally.

Moore launched his solo career in 1998 aided by eight-string guitar virtuoso Charlie Hunter and saxophonist Skerik (Les Claypool, John Scofield, Roger Waters). The group recorded All Kooked Out! featuring a handful of local New Orleans musicians as well.

In April 2010, Moore releases Groove Alchemy. The 12-track set is the culmination of Moore's multimedia project that also includes an instructional book and DVD of the same name. All three facets of the project are designed to explore the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, and Zigaboo Modeliste - each of whom made their mark at different times throughout the 1960s as the engines driving James Brown's and the Meters' legendary rhythm sections - and in turn tracing their influences back to the rhythms coming out of New Orleans in the earlier part of the 20th century. Recorded at Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, NY, this project is the follow up to the widely acclaimed Take it to the Street DVD and book that focused specifically on New Orleans drumming styles.

Moore stays active as a spokesperson for the Gulf Restoration Network and is a regular proponent of and player with the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. Additionally he serves on the board of directors for the Roots of Music, a free music education and academic mentoring program founded by Derrick Tabb, drummer for Rebirth Brass Band and recent nominee for CNN's Heroes awards.

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'GYPSY JAZZ FAMILY TRIBUTE' at The Django Reinhardt NY Festival

"Gypsy Jazz" is a family tradition passed on from one generation to another and so it was with the SCHMITT family coming from the Strasbourg area of  France, near Germany.  George, father of legendary gypsy guitarist Dorado Schmitt, while virtually unknown for his talent as guitarist and violinist outside the area he lived, taught his son Dorado who taught his sons Samson and now young Amati only 14 years old...keeping the tradition of hot gypsy jazz alive.  To all of them, Django Reinhardt was a God of music in whose footsteps all gypsy musicians walked.

To see Dorado, Samson and Amati (who will debuted in the US at the Festival ) is to see how it all works, side by side.   It is in the family blood, a part of the customs and culture, a sharing and passing down from one member to another....very much a part of gypsy life.  George Schmitt passed away this year and so the Django Reinhardt NY Festival celebrates his influence on his family thru music. Birdland will host the Schmitt Family Tribute, performing in memory of of the elder George Schmitt. The Festival is Produced by Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta and going into its 11th year and has taken the US by storm thru tours connected to the Festival each year which has taken stars of the Festival to the Kennedy Center, Disney Hall in LA, The San Franciso Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Chicago Symphony Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and much more.  It has caused a resurgence of 'gypsy jazz' in America with other festivals and concerts springing up all over, greatly due to the enormous talent of lead gypsy guitarist, legendary Dorado Schmitt who has been a part of the presentations for over 9 years and will be here again this November.

The Schmitts will be joined by bassist Xavier Nikq and violinist Pierre Blanchard from France and master jazz pianist Peter Beets from Holland.  As always there will be a Special Guest each night starting with renowned Russian cellist Borislav Strulev opening night Nov. 2 who will perform "Nuages", Django's most important composition, with an arrangement by top musician Roger Kellaway.  On Nov. 3rd will be swinging saxist Anat Cohen, Nov. 4th beautiful young talent Miguel Zenon also on sax , Nov. 5th Colombian jazz harpist Edmar Castaneda returning by special demand, Nov. 6th David Langlois on washboard percussion, and the fabulous Joel Frahm on sax Nov. 7th.  The beautiful and wonderful vocalist Hilary Kole will step in as well as a surprise on some nights.

George Schmitt may not be a 'star', but his family will shine on him brightly this year at the Django Reinhardt NY Festival at Birdland.  HOT GYPSY JAZZ dating back to the 20's and 30's in Europe when great gypsy guitarist DJANGO REINHARDT met and performed with virtuoso violinist STEPHANE GRAPPELLI changed music forever and created the one of the most memorable musical partnerships in musical history.  This will all be re-created at Birdland Nov. 2-7 and remains music that is ever exciting, creative, original in style and very cutting edge while it still incorporates beautiful melody and romance through the brilliant virtuosity of the players.

On sale at the Festival will be the new CD, Dorado Schmitt and The Django Reinhardt NY Festival Allstars "Live at the Kennedy Center". 

Birdland:  315 West 44th Street (bet 8th and 9th Avenues)
Reservations:  212 581 - 3080
Shows 8:30 and 11:00 pm (tues. thru sunday)

The Wheel - A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia

Save Saturday, December 4th to join the Rex Foundation at The Fillmore in San Francisco for a special night of music and connection: The Wheel - A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia.  Watch for the full announcement within the week, including ticket details.

There are also some great Rex Musical Caravan events taking place over the next few weeks in different cities that we hope you'll enjoy:

  • Saturday, October 23rd, The Kind Buds perform at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. Click here for event details and more information about Bud & Budd, the talented artists.
  • Saturday, October 23rd, the Reflections Band performs at Mexi Cali Live in Teaneck, NJ, once again supporting the Rex Foundation while also treating fans to their great music. Check out the details.
  • Friday and Saturday, October 29th and 30th, The String Cheese Incident will play a two-day Hulaween celebration at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA, with proceeds supporting the Rex Foundation as well as Rex grantees HeadCount and the Conscious Alliance. Here are the details.

We thank all the talented musicians for their generosity of spirit by including Rex as a charitable part of their live performances.  We welcome musicians, venue operators and others in the musical community to get on board the Rex Musical Caravan to demonstrate how music and community spirit can make a positive difference.

Speaking of music and community spirit, Jam Cruise 9 is including the Rex Foundation as part of their January 4-9, 2011 excursion.  If you have considered taking this cruise, check out what's on deck and how you can help support Rex while also enjoying a music-centered vacation.

This message reflects the ever-growing network of supportive people like you who want to be part of our philanthropic community.  Together, we are furthering what the Grateful Dead started with our major areas of work including grassroots grants, Rex Awards, The World As It Could Be Project, and other creative endeavors including our newsletters that help engender positive social change and community engagement. You make the difference in advancing this work. Check out all the different ways you can help support Rex, even getting something in return besides the satisfaction of seeing all the good that results.

Wax Fang Release New Single on Yim Yames' label

Louisville, KY’s Wax Fang share much more of a connection with My Morning Jacket than a common hometown and a penchant for playing ambitious and electrifying music.  Today the trio are releasing “The Astronaut (Part 1),a sprawling seventeen minute digital-only single, on MMJ frontman Yim Yames’ label, Removador Recordings & Solutions.  Click HERE to listen to the track, which is available for purchase now at iTunes.

Upon returning from their maiden UK tour, highlighted by an invitation from Pavement to play their All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival, Wax Fang shacked up in a makeshift analog studio in a vacant gymnasium to work on their first new material since 2007’s La La Land.  Epic in both length and in spirit, “The Astronaut (Part 1)” is the band’s most grandiose work yet.

Taking inspiration from the outer space themes of 70’s progressive rock and psychedelia, the song’s lyrics vividly guide the listener alongside a gripping journey with an astronaut lost in the cosmos.  Musically, the band is also influenced by the traditions of noisy art-rock of the 80’s and 90’s, as well as the early electronic experimentations pioneered by artists like Brian Eno.

“The Astronaut (Part 1)” is the first half of the band’s forthcoming EP, The Astronaut.  The second-half and the full EP will be released on Removador in 2011.  In the meantime you can catch Wax Fang opening for My Morning Jacket on October 29th in Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center.

Local Natives at the Fox, Tues Sept 28

Local Natives make soaring, sky-scraping harmonies, dreamy orchestral melodies, and throbbing tribal beats that bash their way into your soul. Theirs are songs you can dance to almost as well as you can swoon to them. Drawing a line from the vocal stylings of Crosby Stills Nash & Young and the Zombies through the more esoteric edges of post-punk and Afro-beat, this California five piece have communally crafted a brand of indie rock all their own. The band’s sound has been described as “afropop-influenced guitars with hyperactive drumming and hooky three-part harmonies”.

For Local Natives everything is a collaboration, from song writing duties to the band’s self produced artwork. The three part harmonies come courtesy of keyboardist Kelcey Ayer, guitarists Ryan Hahn and Taylor Rice. Then there’s Matt Frazier on drums and Andy Hamm on bass, who look after the band’s equally impressive graphics and artwork. One of SXSW 2009’s biggest success stories, the band drove for two days to get from Los Angeles to Austin in order to play nine spectacular shows that saw them sprinting, instruments in hand, from one gig to the next. Their hectic schedule paid off as Local Natives left Austin with the attention of the UK music Industry.

Based in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, three of the five-piece originally hail from Orange County. Kelcey, Ryan and Taylor attended neighbouring high schools and hooked up with bassist Andy a year after they graduated, later meeting drummer Matt. They’ve been playing – and evolving - together for three years. Last year, however, the band realized that the new songs they were writing were the sounds of a new project entirely. Their debut album as Local Natives, “Gorilla Manor”, was released in the UK on Nov 2nd, 2009, and saw a US release date of Feb. 16th, 2010.I nitial reviews of Local Natives have drawn favourable comparisons to Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend.

All Ages / GA  / $14.00 adv / $16.00 DOS

Internet 24-7 at www.foxtheater.com

Phone: During box office hours: 303.443.3399

a-ha's Farewell Tour: First US Shows in Over 20 Years!

Multi-million selling Norwegian trio a-ha will return to North America next week for 7 shows, before heading back to Europe for the final leg of their year-long world-wide Farewell Tour. The band will perform together for the very last time in Oslo on 4 December 2010.

Following a fantastic international career spanning 25 years and over 35 million albums sold, a-ha’s Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy will perform their final shows together exactly 25 years after the release of the band’s multi-platinum debut album Hunting High & Low and debut single “Take On Me”, which reached number 1 in 27 countries including the USA. Since that time, “Take On Me” has been played 3 million times on American radio… the equivalent of 375 times a day for 22 years! For a blast from the past, check out the video for “Take On Me” here.

In the mid 80’s the Norwegian trio created teenage hysteria and general pandemonium wherever they went. All told, the band has released 9 studio albums in 25 years, and toured the world many times (more than 500 concerts in 33 countries to be exact), including the legendary show at Maracana Stadium, Rio De Janeiro in 1991 which earned a Guinness World Record for the largest-ever audience attendance at a paid concert – 196,000 people (George Michael, Prince and Guns N' Roses managed to gather only sixty thousand each).

In 2006 the band received the ‘Q Inspiration Award’ in honor of their lasting musical influence. The band returned to the UK Top 5 in 2009 with the album Foot Of The Mountain. The video for the title track can be seen here. In recent years the focus has shifted to the musical legacy they will leave behind, inspiring a whole generation of artists such as Coldplay and Keane to Kanye West, Oasis, The Strokes, Robbie Williams and U2.

The band would like to thank their fans and everyone who has contributed to their amazing journey and say, “We’ve literally lived the ultimate boy’s adventure tale, through a longer, more rewarding career than anyone could hope for. Doing this now will give us a chance to get more involved in other meaningful aspects of life, be it humanitarian work, politics, or whatever else – and of course through new constellations in the field of art and music. We are retiring as a band, not as individuals. Change is always difficult and it is easy to get set in one’s ways. Now it is time to move on.” In keeping with their interest in humanitarian and global causes, a-ha still own a sizeable part of the Amazon rainforest as part of a 1980's reforestation/preservation scheme.More Info Available at www.a-ha.com

DON’T MISS A-HA’S LAST PERFORMANCES IN NORTH AMERICA!

05/06:  New York, NY @ Nokia Theater

05/07:  New York, NY @ Nokia Theater

05/08:  New York, NY @ Nokia Theater

05/10:  Toronto, ONT @ Massey Hall

05/13:  Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theater

05/15:  Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia Live

05/16:  Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia Live

Steve Cropper & Felix Cavaliere reunite for new album, 'Midnight Flyer'

Steve Cropper, guitarist for Booker T. and the MGs and one of the primary architects of the unmistakable Stax sound of the 1960s, and vocalist/keyboardist Felix Cavaliere, the voice of the Rascals and the pivotal figure in the blue-eyed soul movement of that same era, have reconvened for their second collaborative recording. Sparks fly at the crossroads of Memphis soul and East Coast R&B when Stax Records releases Midnight Flyer on June 15, 2010.

Midnight Flyer, recorded in Nashville and mixed by the legendary David Z, is the followup to Nudge It Up a Notch, the 2008 maiden voyage by Cropper and Cavaliere that scored critical acclaim from the music and mainstream press. The San Francisco Chronicle called Nudge It Up a Notch “an unexpected delight,” while Blues Wax heralded the project as “one of the great surprises of 2008, and further evidence of Concord’s genuine commitment to the revamped Stax imprint.”

The Stax legacy — and Concord’s commitment to it — are very much alive in Midnight Flyer, an album that once again showcases the songwriting prowess of two towering figures from one of the most seminal periods in the history of American pop music. Assisting with the songwriting throughout most of the album’s 12 tracks is drummer/percussionist/vocalist Tom Hambridge, who also lent a hand with the crafting of the previous album.

“Felix and I come from pretty much the same musical school — but from different geographical locations,” says Cropper. “He’s a Jersey boy at heart, and I grew up in Memphis, but when soul meets soul, what can you say? There are no borders. There are no boundaries.”

But geography does play a role in the making of great songs, says Cavaliere. “Steve has that Southern vernacular, which is something I really like,” he says. “It’s almost like another language to those of us from the East Coast. It has a certain folky quality to it. Some of those idioms are part of the hit songs that Steve has written and recorded over the years, and they’re part of this record as well.”

The impact of both of these musicians and songwriters on pop music is nearly impossible to quantify. As part of Booker T. & the MGs — the house band for the Stax label in its original incarnation during the 1960s — Cropper co-wrote and produced classics by artists like Eddie Floyd (“Knock On Wood”), Wilson Pickett (“In the Midnight Hour”) and Otis Redding (“Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”). In subsequent decades, he lent his instrumental and production skills to a range of artists including Jeff Beck, the Blues Brothers, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and many others.

Cavaliere came to prominence in the mid-’60s as vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter for the Rascals (initially known as the Young Rascals). Cavaliere wrote and/or sang several of the band’s biggest hits, including “Good Lovin’” (1966), “Groovin’” (1967), “It’s a Beautiful Morning” (1968) and “People Got To Be Free” (1968). The phrase “blue-eyed soul” was coined during the Rascals’ heyday, due in large part to the group’s highly successful forays into R&B and soul — styles that had been developed and previously dominated by African-American artists.

Co-produced by Cropper, Cavaliere and Hambridge, Midnight Flyer captures the synergy and brilliance that can only emerge when two powerful forces of nature come together. The result is a range of styles and shades, from heartfelt ballads like “When You’re With Me” to the soul-charged “I Can’t Stand It,” a churning vocal duet featuring Cavaliere and his daughter Aria. “Sexy Lady” harkens back to the soul stylings of the ’70s, while the funky instrumental “Do It Like This” digs into a tight groove and makes plenty of room for Cropper’s tasty riff work to close out the set.

“The main thing we both take away from this record is how much fun we had making it,” says Cavaliere. “We may have used a lot of new technology that didn’t even exist when Steve and I were recording back in the day, but the songs themselves are still the most important part of the process, and we just had a blast writing and recording them. I think that spirit comes through on the record.”

Cropper notes a timelessness about Cavaliere that serves as a metaphor for the music itself. “Felix is ageless,” he says. “Sure, you can look at him and see that he’s gotten older since those early days, just like we all have. But if you close your eyes, he sounds as young and energetic as he did when he was making records back in the ’60s . . . Working together on records like this reminds us of the kinds of things that go into the making of a good song. We’re still doing that, and we’re still having fun doing it.”