chris

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 Yardbirds Tour The States in September

The Yardbirds will be touring the States this September, from Massachusetts to Hawaii, September 1 through the 23.  This is rock and roll that influenced musicians from the 1960s to current day.

The Yardbirds is original members: rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty, and a new generation of musicians: singer/acoustic guitarist/harpist Andy Mitchell (since 2009), bassist David Smale (since 2009), and lead guitarist Ben King (since 2005).  Merchandise will include Chris' original photographic art, which includes the halo portrait for Jimmy Page from LED ZEPPELIN 1.  That photo has been autographed by both Jimmy and Chris, who will sell that work in private.

The Yardbirds innovated 1960s guitar, with fuzz tone, feedback, distortion, backwards echo, improved amplification….and using a bow to play guitar.  The group paved the way for the careers of Eric Clapton (1963-'65)  Jeff Beck ('65-'66), and Jimmy Page (66-'68, first as bassist, then guitarist when Beck left).  The group drew some repertoire from the blues acts of the day, including Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf, and Bo Diddley, and The Yardbirds hits were some of the best songs of the British Invasion: “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul,” "Shapes of Things," “I'm A Man,” and “Over Under Sideways Down,” “Train Kept A- Rolling,”  “Dazed and Confused.” “I'm A Man,”  and “Over Under Sideways Down,” and “Better Man Than I.”

The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.  Soon after the induction, Jim and Chris reformed the Yardbirds, first playing at London's Marquee club, on a bill with the newly reformed Animals.

In 2003, Steve Vai's Favored Nations label released their album BIRDLAND, an album of new songs that featured guest appearances from Vai, Joe Satriani, Slash, Brian May, Steve Lukather, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, and John Rzeznik.  In 2005 guitarist Ben King joined the group, who recorded LIVE AT B.B. KING BLUES CLUB on July 19, 2006.  That came out in 2007, included a version of “I'm a Man” that played on The Simpsons that year.

The Yardbirds has continued to tour.  An institution in popular music, blues, rock and roll, the group made an indelible mark on the music and culture of both the 1960s and future generations.

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CONFIRMED DATES:

Sept. 1: Summer Music Series, Springfield, MA
Sept. 2: Infinity Hall, Norfolk, CT
Sept. 3: Tupelo Music Hall, White River Junction, VT
Sept. 4: Tupelo Music Hall, Londonerry, NH
Sept. 5 Wolf Den, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT
Sept. 7 BB Kings, New York, NY
Sept. 8: Penn's Peak, Jim Thorpe, PA
Sept. 9: Music Theatre, Westbury, NY
Sept. 10: Parilla Center, Rockville, MD
Sept. 11: Rams Head, Annapolis, MD
Sept. 15: New Showroom, Hawaiian Brians, Honolulu, HI
Sept. 16: Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Maui, HI
Sept. 17: Horoka Peoples Theatre, Big Island, HI
Sept. 21 Key Club, Hollywood, CA
Sept. 22: Coachhouse, Santa Ana, CA
Sept. 23:  Canyon Club, Agoura Hills, CA
Sept. 24:  Ramona Mainstage, Ramona ( San Diego ) CA

100 Years of Robert Johnson streets Tuesday, March 1

May 8th, 2011 marks the 100-year anniversary of blues legend Robert Johnson’s birthday. In celebration of the most influential bluesman that ever lived, the Big Head Blues Club – an ad-hoc collaboration featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm – has been touring coast to coast playing the material of Johnson. The tour, which has been garnering rave reviews, wraps up on March 8, just after the studio album, titled 100 Years of Robert Johnson, hits the streets (March 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records).

100 Years of Robert Johnson is a stirring collection featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century. In addition to the above-mentioned artists, 100 Years of Robert Johnson includes performances by blues greats B.B. King and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keeper of the blues flame Ruthie Foster. The album was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama), 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011.

For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Rob Squires (bass) and Brian Nevin (drums) nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat, etc.—with some of their most popular material.


100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson’s best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson’s music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant. “In so many of the takes on Robert’s stuff, you don’t get the depth of emotion that’s in the lyrics and in Robert’s voice. That’s one thing that Chris and the band and my voice were able to bring to it. Chris had great ideas about how to represent the stuff, and all the musicians were just so good at what they did, the unique arrangements just came naturally.”

Robert Johnson’s story is the stuff of myth and legend alike, and his music has fascinated blues fans and musicians for more than seven decades. Born in Mississippi in 1911, Johnson recorded only 29 songs, all during the years 1936 and ’37. His unique guitar style and haunting vocal phrasing, and the evocative, often mysterious nature of his lyrics, made him a popular artist during his short time in the spotlight and has continued to intrigue since. A persistent tale that as a young man Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a more proficient musician has been attached to his biography since his untimely death at age 27—the alleged victim of a poisoning incident at the hands of the jealous husband of a woman with whom Johnson had been flirting.

A hundred years after the birth of its greatest artist, it looks like the blues itself is about to be reborn.

BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS: THE ROBERT JOHNSON CENTENNIAL CONCERTS tour featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm is as follows:

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Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center
Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology
Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB
Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre
Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M
Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall
Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU
Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill
Feb. 17 New Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore
Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music
Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse
Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre
Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College
Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater
March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino

March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center

March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall

March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre

Celebrating "100 Years of Robert Johnson" -Streets 3/1/11

How do you throw a 100th birthday bash for the most influential bluesman that ever lived? If you’re Big Head Todd and The Monsters, you gather some of the greatest living blues musicians and record 100 Years of Robert Johnson (March 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records), a stirring new tribute album featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century.

Big Head Blues Club, as the ad hoc ensemble is calling itself, features, in addition to the Colorado-based quartet—guitarist and vocalist Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, drummer Brian Nevin and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton—special guests, blues legends B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keepers of the blues flame Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm.

Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama), 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011, and supported by a national tour (“Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts”) featuring many of the participants in the sessions. A complete list of the tour dates is included below.

For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Squires and Nevin nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat, etc.—with some of their most popular material.

100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson’s best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson’s music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant. “In so many of the takes on Robert’s stuff, you don’t get the depth of emotion that’s in the lyrics and in Robert’s voice. That’s one thing that Chris and the band and my voice were able to bring to it. Chris had great ideas about how to represent the stuff, and all the musicians were just so good at what they did, the unique arrangements just came naturally.”

Robert Johnson’s story is the stuff of myth and legend alike, and his music has fascinated blues fans and musicians for more than seven decades. Born in Mississippi in 1911, Johnson recorded only 29 songs, all during the years 1936 and ’37. His unique guitar style and haunting vocal phrasing, and the evocative, often mysterious nature of his lyrics, made him a popular artist during his short time in the spotlight and has continued to intrigue since. A persistent tale that, as a young man, Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a more proficient musician has been attached to his biography since his untimely death at age 27—the alleged victim of a poisoning incident at the hands of the jealous husband of a woman with whom Johnson had been flirting.

A hundred years after the birth of its greatest artist, it looks like the blues itself is about to be reborn.

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The complete list of “Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts” tour stops is as follows:

Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom

Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center

Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology

Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB

Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre

Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre

Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M

Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall

Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre

Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU

Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill

Feb. 17 North Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore

Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music

Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse

Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre

Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College

Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater

March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino

March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center

March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall

March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre

Chris Crocco's Fluidic Duo @ ArtsEcho Galleria

The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio + is the second outing by the terrific threesome fronted by the Virginia born-New York based guitarist Christopher Crocco, an imposing sequel to his impressive debut disc The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio.  As on his first album, a bassless trio outing, Crocco is joined by his longtime friend and mentor, saxophonist George Garzone and Cuban expatriate, current McCoy Tyner drummer Francisco Mela, along with the addition of the very capable bassist and frequent collaborator Peter Slavov.  In the years since the release of their first cd the music created by Crocco, Garzone and Mela has since developed into, in the words of Crocco, “this amazing sound and power,” noting that “we all seem to speak the same improvisational language.” Slavov has joined each of them on many occasions in the past, thereby making him the perfect plus to augment the Fluid Trio.

Crocco confesses that the album was recorded without a concept - just the desire to record the best performances of the new music he had composed since the band’s last effort.  “It was time,” he says, “but when I finished it was easy to see the titles, music, and overall vibe was a result of my own personal catharsis.” Much the result of his studies with Garzone, Crocco has come to realize that his musical objective is to find “the truth” within his art and hence he has abandoned many of the stock improvisatory tricks that often lead many artists (guitarists in particular) away from their own true identities. The resulting record is a more honest expression of the real Chris Crocco – a personal statement of his original music that reveals the true artist behind the music.

The opening track “Avenge” finds the full trio + quartet jumping right off to the races, playing an intricate uptempo line with a vengeance, guitar and tenor doubling the rhythmically charged melody in a manner reminiscent of the work of iconoclast pianist Lennie Tristano, while exchanging phrases with Mela’s drums. Each of the group’s member’s virtuosic capabilities are demonstrated with taste and rest.

“Heaven,” featuring the guitar-bass-drum trio of Crocco, Slavov and Mela, is a three tonic modified minor groove piece in the Coltrane tradition. More devilish than heavenly in mood, the tune’s loping tempo is exquisitely executed by Mela, whose assimilation of Elvin Jones’ asymmetrical drum patterns into his own personal polyrhythmic style makes him one of today’s truly original stick men.  Deceptively simple and restrained, the piece which spotlights the solo work of the leader and Slavov evinces a quiet intensity that is one of the hallmarks of the date.

Crocco’s “Silvia” – the sequel to his first album’s “To Silvia (Don’t Say Goodbye)” – is described by the composer as “the end of the novel.”  A feature for the full quartet, the brooding melancholy melody, at times reminiscent of Horace Silver’s “Peace,” showcases the beautiful tone of Garzone’s tenor.

“When It Is When” again features Crocco’s guitar in trio format with Slavov and Mela. A progressive groove that borrows from the standards of the leader’s generation opens with Crocco strumming a repeated lower register melodic line that iterates a matadorial strength and splendor, buoyed by Mela’s splashing cymbal work.  Chris’s solo finds him venturing into an eastern tinged abstract impressionism that hearkens to the relatively unheralded work of guitarists Gabor Szabo and Atilla Zoller.

The moody swinging “Trial of Time” marks the return of the quartet with Garzone and showcases the remarkable middle register work of tenor and guitar, with Chris shining brightly with a full rich tone and a relaxed bluesy feel. Calling the piece “a composition that relies on a pocket swing with a floater melody on the end,” he astutely notes that “time is relative and can be bent.”

“What It Is” is a straight ahead blues by Crocco played with Slavov and Mela on bass and drums. Played at a blistering tempo it demonstrates the leader’s uniquely personal voice, avoiding the clichéd improvisational devices that lead most guitarists’ solos to predictable places. The interaction between Chris and Francisco reveals the intuitively perceptive relationship built upon years of experience that allows for a disciplined freedom that leads the music to new and interesting places.

The minor melody “Spice Mine” is another Coltrane inspired Crocco composition. The dramatic Spanish tinged line opens up into inspired solo statements by the composer and Slavov, with Mela’s AfroCuban styled drumming constantly interacting to shift the contexts within which they are heard.

“Metal” is an entirely free improvised guitar-drums duo completed in just one take. Constructed from Crocco’s opening guitar vamp it features the sound of Mela’s cymbal on top of his snare, which is emphasized in the title. Chris notes that the feeling is “like when we first met.... two people playing as solid as one.”

Crocco’s “My Own Personal Wake” is an introspective piece that begins on a reflective note that recalls “Monk’s Mood.” The painterly composition unfolds over the featherlike canvas of Mela’s brushes, with Slavov’s bassline lending an Americana flavor that can be found in much of guitarist Bill Frissell’s finest work.

The closing “My Peace” is a duo between Crocco and Slavov, a configuration the two have played in frequently around New York.  Hymn like in mood it is an indication of the harmony with life that Chris found in his music.

The Fluid Trio + is an important new statement from Chris Crocco.  With the able assistance of George Garzone, Francisco Mela and Peter Slavov he demonstrates major advances in the development of his own musical voice. One that is personal, flowing and seeking nothing more than the truth.

Conspirator to tour with exciting full-band, all-star lineup

Conspirator, the duo of Disco Biscuits’ staples Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner which often feature guest musicians in the live setting, has announced a series of “full band” performances featuring Chris Michetti and a rotating cast of first-class drummers, a concept that is both new and refreshing for the band and fans, alike.

While Brownstein and Magner have occasionally invited other musicians to their live shows, the “new Conspirator” promises to be a never-before-experienced, “full band” sound that will emerge not only from the group’s mentality, but by featuring a solidified, returning, 4-piece lineup.

Live music fans have come to embrace Conspirator for their signature high energy, electronic-based sets and their legendary album, The Key, which has been a staple of the band’s live repertoire for years. Now, with a firmly set 4-piece band, fans can expect performances featuring increased live improv and a refreshing musical flow, peppered with some surprises. Inspired by new collaborations and the combined musical histories of the performers, Conspirator is set to get the scene talking in 2011.

“Our different combinations have been practicing for these shows, and we have already performed a couple with Michetti. Getting a taste of the ‘new Conspirator’ was refreshing and exciting,” said Brownstein. “Being in the midst of the band’s vibe has really got me ready to hit the road with these guys. I’m just as pumped up as anyone else in the room when I’m on stage. There are really exciting places a full band, this full band, can take the classic Conspirator sound. It’s a whole new show each night.”

Known throughout the live music world for high energy, creative guitar shredding with his band RAQ, Chris Michetti became much more familiar to Disco Biscuits fans throughout 2009 when he periodically accompanied the band on stage at places like Red Rocks, Camp Bisco, and on a number of Spring Tour performances. Michetti has recently lent his signature handiwork to Conspirator during performances earlier this December, and anyone who caught the early phases of the “new Conspirator” will undeniably be psyched for round two and beyond.

Termed the “pre-destined, great modern drummer” by DRUMMERWORLD, Berklee-trained Adam Deitch has recently made waves with his project Break Science. Deitch is perhaps best known for his eclectic collaborations, New York City residencies, and sit-ins that have seen him partner with the likes of John Scofield, Soulive, Jurassic 5, Mos Def, and Erika Badu. Deitch is currently confirmed to join Conspirator through mid-December.

Lane Shaw exploded onto the live music scene as one-third of the Pnuma Trio. Shaw has recently, and notably, collaborated with the likes of N*E*R*D, Diplo, and DJ Benzi with his latest musical project, Mansions on the Moon. Shaw was once asked to take a crack at an autobiography, and simply listed “drums, boats, and Steely Dan.” He will perform with Conspirator throughout the Northeast in early January.

Check out Grateful Web's interview with Marc Brownstein. | Check out up-to-date RAQ news and tour dates here.

The current list of confirmed Conspirator dates is as follows:

12/16/10 – Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC – w/ Chris Michetti + Adam Deitch

12/17/10 – New Earth Music Hall, Athens, GA – w/ Chris Michetti + Adam Deitch

12/18/10 – Hat Factory, Richmond, VA – w/ Chris Michetti + Adam Deitch

1/5/11 – Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY – w/ Chris Michetti + Lane Shaw

1/6/11 – Royale, Boston, MA – w/ Chris Michetti + Lane Shaw

1/7/11 – Daniel Street, Milford, CT – w/ Chris Michetti + Lane Shaw

1/8/11 – Chameleon Club, Lancaster, PA – w/ Chris Michetti + Lane Shaw

FEBRUARY: COMING SOON

Medeski, Martin & Wood @ the Boulder Theater

97.3 KBCO & Boulder Weekly are proud to present Medeski, Martin & Wood at the Boulder Theater on Friday, March 4th, 2011.

Somewhere, someplace, someone is debating the future of live and recorded music, speaking in somber tones of changes that have made it difficult to reach consumers, of technologies that have changed society, and of the lack of creativity found in the arts. But in a small but impressive microcosm of the universe known as Medeski Martin & Wood, creativity is alive, flourishing, and filled with outlets for growth and expansion. And somewhere, whatever gods of music there might be are smiling.

Medeski Martin and Wood's story is - like most great stories - one of humble beginnings, friendship, determination, a happy ending and a very bright future.

The trio of keyboard/organ/piano player John Medeski, drummer/percussionist Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood formed not in some vastly creative alternate universe, but rather in the neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, known as D.U.M.B.O. (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in 1991. Medeski and Wood, students at Boston's prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, decided to move to New York City, with intent to explore the late-night underworld of the city's burgeoning jazz scene.


John Medeski, Billy Martin, and Chris Wood were looking to create music that reflected who they were, individually and collectively. The trio began experimenting with contemporary hip-hop beats that could swing as hard as jazz rhythms, yet remained essentially simple and propulsive, giving the musicians ample room to create hypnotic textures and sounds that were brimming with both improvisation and harmony. "In the beginning, as it is now, we went by gut instinct," says Wood. "We have a natural connection between us, as people and as musicians, and we just let things flow in whatever direction they went."

Gigs turned into multiple engagements, dates at small clubs led to performances at legendary New York City downtown hotspots like the Village Gate and the Knitting Factory, and soon the band was packed into Billy's van, traveling up and down the North Eastern United States. The next step was a natural one for any band - capture the music for posterity - and so MMW recorded their debut, "Notes From The Underground," which they released independently on hap-jones records in early 1991.

More gigs followed, and soon it was time for another release. This time, Medeski Martin & Wood inked a deal with Gramavision, a larger but still independent label that afforded them substantial freedom to create music the way they felt it should be played. In the summer of 1993 they released "It's A Jungle In Here," purchased an R/V, and hit the road for nearly half a year.

Communal, on-the-road living has broken up many bands, but true-to-form, MMW thrived in this potentially treacherous situation. Their secret was a unique combination of individual personalities, with each band member taking on additional roles that suited their own aptitudes and interests. As always, nothing was planned out; it just happened.

John, with his love for cooking, was the band's chef, preparing incredible meals that made life on the road more bearable. Billy, who worked well with his hands, could fix anything up to and including the band's RV. And Chris, with his head for business, took care of the group's accounting. As it was with the music, Medeski Martin & Wood balanced each other out perfectly.

"We have a certain chemistry between us, musically," says Martin, "and in addition to that we have a strong friendship that goes beyond the music. Even when we have ups and downs, the music and our friendship carries us through."

1994 saw the release of "Friday Afternoon in the Universe," and by 1995 it seemed like MMW was truly touring the universe, as their concert itinerary spread out and around the entire United States, and into Europe and Japan. In 1996, the band released their final Gramavision disc, "Shack-Man," which they celebrated with an 8-week Monday night residency at New York's Knitting Factory.

With much fanfare, the band then signed with another record label - the legendary jazz imprint Blue Note Records. At the turn of the new millennium, they released their all-acoustic album "Tonic," named for the Lower East Side club (and former kosher winery) where it was recorded. The band's affiliation with Blue Note resulted in three discs (plus a best-of set), and found them again pushing their sonic boundaries, incorporating percussionists, horn sections, and turntables into their already potent sound.

Which brings us to the here-and-now. Medeski Martin & Wood are no longer signed to anyone else's record label; they have come full circle by establishing their own label, Indirecto Records, as an outlet for their music. Which, quite happily, brings them neatly back to the way they did things in their formative years. Releasing their own music, their own way, in its own time.

The trio's first Indirecto release, "Out Louder," is a four-way collaboration with guitarist John Scofield, which true-to-form is heavy on group improvisation, irresistible grooves, rich harmonies, and strong melodies. While nothing definite is planned - as always, the band are taking each day and each opportunity as they come - it is possible that "Out Louder" could be the first in a series of independently-released projects that Medeski Martin & Wood will do in collaboration with other artists.

"By having our own label, we can make music however we want, and make as much as we want," explains Medeski. "In the history of man, recorded music is just a blink of the eye, just a small part of that vast history. The real thing is playing music live, and that is what we do. Beyond that, we'll be putting out recordings as often or as infrequently as we want."

The band also plan another first - a disc of children's music titled "Let's Go Everywhere" - set for release in early 2007 on the Little Monster/V2 label that promises to be as engaging for their established fan base as it is for the kids. "It's got everything, instrumentals, vocal songs, our kids are singing on it" says Wood.

Plus, there are the usual side projects going on, creative outlets which all three band members say serve to strengthen and add to the sound of the trio when they converge. Chris Wood plays frequently with his brother Oliver in The Wood Brothers, a rootsy, folk-and-blues, guitar and bass duo that serves as an outlet for both brothers' songwriting and vocal skills.

Billy Martin runs his own record label, releasing new and vintage recordings with a focus on percussion-based music. Amongst his releases is a three volume set of his own drum beats, and a percussion instruction book, focusing on bell and clave patterns found in Afro-Caribbean music, and featuring musical notation that Martin designed himself.

John Medeski, well, he is involved in a multitude of musical projects, from solo piano recitals to sideman gigs to leading or co-leading large and small bands. John has also lent his production skills to recordings by musical associates and friends, and has become involved in scoring films, including the acclaimed film Day on Fire which he scored and has a cameo appearance in.

A happy ending and a bright future, indeed. Medeski Martin and Wood live in our world, playing music that reflects their surroundings and communities. At the same time, they are a small world unto themselves, where creativity and spontaneity are honored, revered, and encouraged. And the world-at-large is a much better place for it

Read Grateful Web's interview with the Wood Brothers.

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Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Friday December 3rd!

$32 adv / $34 dos / + $2.00 for under 21+ ticket buyers

Big Star's 3rd performed by members of R.E.M., Big Star, etc.

Big Stars third album, Sister Lovers, has long been revered by artists and critics as one of the most influential albums ever produced. Written and recorded when the legendary 70s band was primarily a studio project consisting of Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, the third album has never been performed in public with the original string and wind orchestrations.

That will change December 9 and 10, 2010 when Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC hosts Stroke It, Noel, a special performance of this important piece of music. The all-star band will include Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), Chris Stamey (the dB’s), and Jeff Crawford and Charles Cleaver (the Tomahawks). North Carolina’s own acclaimed chamber pop group Lost in the Trees, as well as members of Birds and Arrows and the NC Symphony, will comprise the orchestra. Guest vocalists will include members of the Love Language, the Old Ceremony, Megafaun and other special guests. In addition to performing Sister Lovers in its entirety, the band will play a few additional Big Star and Chris Bell selections during the show.

“The original written scores for the record were long missing,” Chris Stamey says. “But John Fry at Ardent Records was able to supply us with elements of the original multitrack tapes. Composer Carl Marsh, who wrote the ground-breaking charts for the original record, used these tapes to precisely retranscribe his arrangements. And I’ve orchestrated anew some other elements of the recordings for the players, in order to recreate live some of the aleatoric studio effects. We’ve also been able to hear and match the inner workings of these glorious compositions in much greater detail this way. It’s been a fascinating process, and a real community adventure as well.”

The concerts will be filmed as a major component of “Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story,” a documentary film by Danielle McCarthy and Drew DeNicola slated for 2011 release.

Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 day of show and are available at www.catscradle.com or by calling the Cat’s Cradle box office at (919)967-9053.

Proceeds from the concerts will be donated to two charities focused on improving the lives of musicians--KidZNotes of Durham, NC and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic. KidZNotes is focused on classical and orchestral music training in pre-school years as a means to combat poverty and foster positive decision-making in inner cities. The New Orleans Musicians Clinic provides affordable, comprehensive health care to musicians.

Chris Massey's The Nue Jazz Project Upcoming Appearances

Chris Massey is following his ambition of making a name for himself as a new breed of young talented player in the world of jazz. Growing up in small town Uniontown, Ohio where he picked up his first pair of drumsticks a the age of 9 he took his first steps into his musical career as a Jazz Performance major at Youngstown State University in 2000.

Among performing with such modern legends such as Donald Harrison Jr., Joe Lovano, Dave Holland and members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra Chris is also an accomplished composer and arranger. Gaining inspiration from notable drummer-composers such as Brian Blade and Jeff "Tain" Watts; Chris has began composing his first works in early 2001. Chris also has been teaching lessons of all age varieties from the skill ranges of beginner to advanced college for over a decade.


Chris above all else is a modern drummer taught in the old tradition of swing; his ethos is to "put his sound" underneath a player and let the fire start to spread. He is currently residing in the New York City area and performing with/leading his modern jazz group "The Nue Jazz Project". He has performed in many venues across the city such as Smoke, Cleopatra's Needle, Smalls, Fat Cat, 55bar, The Garage, The Iridium and many others. He currently finished recording his debut album entitled "Vibrainium" due to be released in Fall 2010


Upcoming Shows:

June 5th 6:15-10:15pm The Garage NYC, NY (99 7th ave south at Christopher St.) http://www.garagerest.com/
June 16th 8pm-9pm The Shrine NYC, NY (2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard) http://www.shrinenyc.com/
June 27th 8pm-10pm The 5C Cultural Center (68 Ave. C) (Nue Jazz Trio) http://5cculturalcenter.org/
July 3rd 6:15-10:15 The Garage NYC, NY (99 7th ave south at Christopher St.) http://www.garagerest.com/
July 11th 8pm-9:15pm The Blue Owl NYC, NY (196 2nd Avenue/13th st) http://www.blueowlnyc.com/
July 22nd 9pm-11:30pm Puppets Jazz Bar Brooklyn, NY (481 5th Ave) (Internet Distribution Release Party) http://www.puppetsjazz.com/
Aug 7th 6:15-10:15pm The Garage NYC, NY (99 7th ave south at Christopher St.) http://www.garagerest.com/

Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants: Debut Self-Titled Album Out 7/13/10

Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants is a new project from Shiflett, already known as the lead guitarist for Foo Fighters and the frontman for Jackson United. Steeped in his love for classic country artists (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings), rockabilly (Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran), and deep-rooted rock bands (The Rolling Stones, The Replacements), this new album is packed with soulful pedal steel- and twang guitar-accented songs. The album highlights his talent and versatility not only as a skillful guitarist, but also as a songwriter. These infectious Americana-laced rock songs are some of the best he's penned, from the chiming keys and buoyant, ringing guitars of "Get Along" to the pedal steel- and mandolin-lined heartache of "Bandaged," and from the spry, Old 97s-ian "Baby, Let It Out" to the rueful country swing of "Death March."

Shiflett wrote the songs on Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants over the course of 2008-9, inspiration first striking when a friend asked him to perform at Orange County's punk-rockabilly Hootenanny festival in 2008. After re-immersing himself in his Americana and old country music collection to prepare a short set - and then playing a brief acoustic tour with friend Joey Cape of Lagwagon - he began writing what eventually became the new album. Recorded at the Foo Fighters' Studio 606 in Los Angeles, CA, this past December and January, the core band on Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants is Shiflett (vocals, guitar), 606 house engineer John Lousteau (drums, in addition to engineering), and Derek Silverman (keyboards). The album's additional instrumentation was performed by an array of fine musicians, including Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello and The Imposters, Jenny Lewis, John Hiatt) on bass, Greg Leisz (Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Whiskeytown) on pedal steel, Stevie Blacke (Beck, Weezer, Colbie Caillat) on violin and mandolin, and Audra Mae on backing vocals.

Track listing for Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants:

  1. Helsinki
  2. Get Along
  3. Bandaged
  4. God Damn
  5. Burning Lights (Joe Strummer cover)
  6. An Atheist's Player
  7. Not Going Down Alone
  8. Baby, Let It Out
  9. Death March

Summer touring news for Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants will be announced soon.