george

RUE 57 RESTAURANT LAUNCHES JAZZ SERIES

Rue 57, New York’s only brasserie-sushi bar will begin offering live music on Thursday evenings in their downstairs Salon beginning June 17 from 8pm - 11:30pm. For reservations and info, call (212) 307-5656.

The weekly series will feature some of New York’s finest musicians many of international renown. Kicking off the series will be saxophonist Grant Stewart, a hard-swinging tenor saxophonist steeped in the jazz tradition, on June 17. Also featured in the series will be veteran players Frank Wess and George Garzone.

“Excellent food, drink and entertainment from great artists, at great value at one of New York City’s finest eateries - who could ask for more?" asked Charles Carlini, entertainment coordinator for the weekly music series.

Diners will find jazz a sweet addition to this bustling bistro serving superb versions of French classics as well as Sushi.

Music Calendar

June 17 - Grant Stewart Quartet
June 24 - George Garzone Quartet featuring Joe Cohn
July 1 - George Garzone Quartet featuring Joe Cohn
July 8 - Harry Allen/Joe Cohn Quartet
July 15 - Vanessa Trouble Quartet
July 22 - Sarah Hayes Quartet featuring Joe Colianni
July 29 - Jerry Weldon Quartet featuring Joe Cohn

Maceo Parker at Cervante's Ballroom - March 12th

Maceo Parker: his name is synonymous with Funky Music, his pedigree impeccable; his band: the tightest little funk orchestra on earth.

Everyone knows by now that he’s played with each and every leader of funk, his start with James Brown, which Maceo describes as "like being at University"; jumping aboard the Mothership with George Clinton; stretching out with Bootsy’s Rubber Band. He’s the living, breathing pulse which connects the history of Funk in one golden thread. The cipher which unravels dance music down to its core.

“Everything’s coming up Maceo,” concluded DownBeat Magazine in a 1991 article at the beginning of Maceo Parker’s solo career. At the time Maceo was a remembered by aficionados of funk music as sideman; appreciated mainly by those in the know. More than a decade and a half later Maceo Parker has been enjoying a blistering solo career. For the past sixteen years Maceo has been building a new funk empire, fresh and stylistically diverse. He navigates deftly between James Brown’s 1960’s soul and George Clinton’s 1970’s freaky funk while exploring mellower jazz and the grooves of hip-hop.

His collaborations over the years performing or recording or both have included Ray Charles, Ani Difranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. His timeless sound has garnered him a fresh young fan base. It is almost impossible to separate which came first, Maceo or the funk. The amazing P-funk Parker has been at it with his legendary alto horn for some time dating back to the 1960’s. That’s when Maceo and his drummer brother Melvin climbed on board the James Brown funky soul funk train. It wasn’t long before James coined the solo summoning signature, “ Maceo, I want you to Blow!” . To most musicologists it’s the muscially fertile group of men from this period of James Brown’s band who are recognized as the early pioneers of the modern funk and hip-hop we still jump to today.

Tickets are $20.00 Advance / $25.00 Day of show
Doors are at 8pm, show begins at approx. 9PM
Tickets are available at the Cervantes’ box office or online at Cervante's Ticketing

Vandaveer @ George's

Vandaveer is the alt-folk song-singing/record making/globetrotting project penned and put forth by DC-by-way-of-Kentucky tunesmith Mark Charles Heidinger.

Vandaveer’s debut album, Grace & Speed, a mostly live, stripped down affair, swiftly entered this great big dusty world in the spring of 2007. The press responded heartily, with The Washington Post saying Vandaveer “revives the earnestness of the pre-psychedelic 60’s,” and XM Cafe calling him “this generation’s Nick Drake.”

Vandaveer’s debut album, Grace & Speed, a mostly live, stripped down affair, swiftly entered this great big dusty world in the spring of 2007 garnering rave reviews and comparisons to Donovan, Dylan, Waits, Drake, Simon, and the like. Touring continually on both sides of the Atlantic ever since, Vandaveer has played 250+ shows, sharing stages with a host of humbling artists including Bon Iver, Alejandro Escovedo, Vashti Bunyan, Vetiver, Evan Dando, Scout Niblett, The Ditty Bops, Smog, Fleet Foxes, Alela Diane and his dear friends in DC’s ramshackle collective, The Federal Reserve. In addition to said Vandaveering, Heidinger has been known to fraternize and conspire with other music-making hooligans, primarily as a bassist with fellow DCers These United States.

Listen: http://www.sad-music.net/vandaveer_turpentine.mp3

Radio 1190 presents
VANDAVEER
Saturday, November 21
show 9:30pm

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George's Food & Drink
2028 14th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
303.998.9350
www.bouldertheater.com/georges.php

Swing Into The Holiday Season With George Gee's Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra

George Gee- for the Grateful Web

This Holiday season, The Edison Ballroom and producer Mickey Marchello, former guitarist from the legendary New York Rock Band Good Rats, will welcome the swing era sounds of George Gee and his Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra as they entertain guests with a new show that evokes a golden era:  "Sleigh Bells Swing."  George Gee and his 22-piece Big Band offer the perfect Holiday treat for not only swing and jazz music fans, but also for tourists and tri-state area residents looking for an incredible Holiday entertainment experience.  The Edison Ballroom poses as the perfect backdrop for George Gee's musical extravaganza with its plush leather walls and sophisticated art deco accents in tones of whites, blacks, shades of grey, and platinum juxtaposed against illuminated glass tiles.  Combined with the décor of The Edison Ballroom and a presentation of classic Holiday songs, guests will feel as if they are re-entering a fantasy world of 1930s/1940s retro era of glitz and glamour that no longer exists – until now.
 
A world-renowned professional swing band leader, George Gee is also the only Chinese-American one. He has compiled a hip and cosmopolitan big band show fully equipped with 22 tuxedoed musicians, captivating singers, rhythmic tap dancers and gravity-defying lindy hoppers, punctuated by a custom-tailored bandstand to complete the look of this elegant evening.  "Sleigh Bells Swing" will begin with an interactive and multi-media floor show with the full swing orchestra and complete cast during dinner, MC'ed by the seasonal anecdotes of Mickey Marchello.  After the show and four course meal, the complete 1,700 square feet dance floor will open for dancing to the swingin' big band sounds of George Gee and his orchestra.

Edison Ballroom's "Sleigh Bells Swing" will run straight from December 20th, 2008 through January 3rd, 2009 (with no performance on December 24th, 2008).  Tickets for the floor show and dinner are $190.00 per person including all drinks and dancing; tickets are $75 per person for general dancing, include open bar and hors d'oeuvres  (post-dinner and floor show).

ABOUT THE EDISON BALLROOM

The Edison Ballroom, first opened in the 1930's, reopened June 2008 following a $5 million renovation targeted to make it the premiere venue for a wide variety of private events and celebrations. Located at 240 West 47th Street in the heart of Times Square (between Broadway and 8th Avenue), the Edison Ballroom boasts a long and illustrious history that is still visible in the details of its restoration.  The new renovation is meant to highlight the room's art deco flair of the 1930's.  Owner, Allan Wartski (Christo's Steakhouse and Hakata Grill) hired Glen Coben of the award winning New York-based architecture and design firm Glen & Company to design the interior.  A neutral palette was used to play up the architectural details, spotlighting their beauty. The main floor houses a 700 square foot stage framed by elegant and traditional silk curtains. Upstairs is a balcony that has its own bar.

ABOUT GEORGE GEE

Nearly three decades ago, in an era when punk, new wave and heavy metal ruled, a Chinese-American musician named George Gee launched his imaginative big band vision.  A native New Yorker, George Gee has always loved the syncopated jump styles of the Big Band Era and his career was propelled by the support of  swing giant Count Basie.  He grew up with rock 'n' roll, R&B and disco – but also developed a powerful passion for swing. At renowned Stuyvesant High School, George Gee wowed the crowds with his flashy showmanship on bass in the school's jazz band.  After an extended stint on the road, George returned to his hometown of NYC in 1989 to make his big band dream a reality.  He  summoned top notch musicians – (young and old), including veterans of legendary bands such as those led by Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and also Latin and pop music giants – all to continue living his big band dream.
 
With each performance, George Gee's powerful and entertaining swing orchestra continues to set new standards and reach for loftier heights.  George Gee and the band were recently invited to the Middle East to perform for an audience including The Prince of Jordan and musical impresario Quincy Jones. Gee also served as a primary expert for the nationally broadcast and DVD distribution of the documentary "The Joint is Jumpin'" and was also a featured appearance on PBS's "Live at Lincoln Center" for 11 million viewers.  George Gee continues to tour the world spreading the Gospel of Swing and is ecstatic about his collaboration with The Edison Ballroom.

George Winston @ Boulder Theater

George Winston- for the Grateful Web

George Winston, best known for his melodic rural folk piano style, has made no secret of the debt his playing owes to the musicians of New Orleans. Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions–A Hurricane Relief Benefit was inspired by Winston's desire to support the Gulf Coast after the recent hurricane related devastation. This beautiful and vast region has a mystique all its own and he has been to it many times, from Corpus Christi, to Galveston, to Lake Charles, to New Orleans, to Gulfport/Biloxi/Bay St. Louis, to Mobile, to Pensacola, to Panama City, to the Tampa Bay, to Ft. Myers, to Naples.

Winston cites the pianists of New Orleans as the biggest influences on his own piano playing. He will donate all of his artist royalties from the album to organizations involved in helping those on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans to rebuild and return – organizations such as Common Ground, ACORN, and others. He has also donated all the proceeds of his September and October 2005 concerts to the same causes. In unity with the artist, RCA Records will be donating the bulk of its net profits to benefit musicians in the New Orleans area.

Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions features six Winston compositions inspired by the Gulf Coast as well as pieces written by or influenced by six of the greatest New Orleans pianists: Henry Butler, James Booker, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, and Jon Cleary. "Much of my work on the piano is studying the musical languages of the great New Orleans R&B pianists," Winston says. "Especially Professor Longhair, the founder of the New Orleans R&B piano scene in the late 1940s who inspired so many; James Booker, whose language most influences the way I think of playing; and Henry Butler, who is the pianist I have studied the most since 1985. I'm also indebted to New Orleans pianists Dr. John, Jon Cleary, and the eminent composer/pianist Allen Toussaint.

GEORGE WINSTON PERFORMS SATURDAY, APRIL 11 @ the Boulder Theater

Boulder Theater
2032 14th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
303.786.7030
www.bouldertheater.com

Jimmy Herring vs. George McConnell

Jimmy Herring - photo by A. Bell- for the Grateful Web

Now twenty years after their inception, Widespread Panic remains one of the biggest touring acts in all of rock.  Recently they completed another successful run at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheater, officially setting the venue record for the most sold-out shows performed.  Their unique blend of southern rock and dreamy jams has garnered a hard-core fan base, one who has stuck with the band through the good times and the bad.

The worst of course being the death of founding member and guitarist Michael Houser in 2002, who passed away after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.  With such a prominent figure of the band gone, fans were unsure if the ride could continue.  However, one of Houser's final wishes was for the group to press on and continue with the dream they started so many years ago.

Sensing the inevitable, the search for a new guitarist began shortly before Houser passed and the decision was eventually made to introduce guitar virtuoso George McConnell as the new member of the group.  The southern rocker from Mississippi had formerly played with acts Beanland and the Kudzu Kings, projects familiar to the members of Panic (keyboardist Hermann and McConnell played together in Beanland), so I suppose you could say it was a natural choice for the band to ask a longtime friend to help them carry the torch.

Fans were ecstatic that the band would continue performing, however were unsure what to think of their sound without Houser.  His signature guitar notes and unique style (Houser always performed sitting in a chair on stage with his flowing hair usually covering his face) was what helped give the band its familiarity.

McConnell's boyish good looks and "machine gun" solos wowed many new fans, but failed to fully win over many old ones.  He continued to play with the band through the mid-2000s and recorded "Ball" and "Earth to America" with Widespread Panic.  Near the end of their summer 2006 tour the announcement was made that McConnell would be leaving the band to pursue other musical endeavors.

Keeping their promise to Mikey, the members continued touring for a short time thereafter with longtime engineers John Keane and Sam Holt filling in.  Rumors began to swirl about whom the band would ask to permanently fill the lead guitar position.  Enter Jimmy Herring.

Jammed Online was one of the first outlets to publish the rumors surrounding the possibility of longtime jam-scene troubadour Jimmy Herring joining the band.  It was learned a week later in the fall of 2006 that Widespread Panic would introduce him as their new guitarist.

Herring is best known for his work with Aquarium Rescue Unit, a jazz/rock band formed with Col. Bruce Hampton in the late 80s and early 90s.  More recently he had been touring with The Dead as well as Phil & Friends, lending his chops to fresh takes on the Grateful Dead catalog.

This brings us to now, the current lineup of Widespread Panic anchored by Herring on guitar.  Since he joined the band last year, discussions amongst fans and musicians have centered around who has better filled the enormous shoes left by Houser's departure.  The fans I have spoke with regarding this situation seem to all agree that Panic is playing with a new sense of vigor and a recharged sound, all thanks to Jimmy Herring's presence.

To be fair, George McConnell may have not really ever had the chance he deserved to win over long-time fans of the band.  Those folks had barely any time to grieve the passing of Houser before McConnell was introduced as his successor.  It is possible that fans were just not ready to follow the band without Houser in the mix.

At first glance, McConnell's guitar playing was much edgier and fresher that Houser's.  He seemed to give Panic a "dirtier" sound and helped them explore grittier tunes.  It was refreshing to hear this at first, because trying to replicate Mikey's guitar may have been disastrous to the group.

But alas, he never seemed to click with the band.  His improvisations, albeit spectacular, didn't fit the path some of their songs were heading during their live performances.  All this was the real reason George McConnell and Widespread Panic parted ways last summer.

Herring, on the other hand, has been welcomed by Panic fans with open arms.  They seem to feel that his technique and experience better fit the overall vision and compliment the band's sound perfectly.  His improvisational skills are amazing, while his clean performances supply the shot-in-the-arm every aging band needs at point or another.

It was last month's run at Red Rocks that officially sold me on what most die-hard fans had been telling me for months:  Jimmy Herring is a much better fit for Panic, and they are now playing as well as they did in the old days.  Hearing Jimmy and the band tear through scorching renditions of staples like "Wondering", "Space Wrangler", and one of my personal favorites "Surprise Valley" was truly joyous.  I did feel like I was witnessing a whole new band.  The fire was there, and the guitar playing was exceptional.

For any fans who gave up on this band after Houser passed, I encourage you to come back.  It will not be the same, but the change has been good.  Widespread Panic are still the kings of southern jam, and it has been a long time since they have sounded this good.

George Harrison - by Mike Macchi

- for the Grateful Web

I was born in 1965, the same year The Grateful Dead was born and the year that the songs that would land on the Beatles' landmark album "Rubber Soul" were probably starting to gel in the minds of the newly turned-on Fab Four.  I grew up about as big of a Beatle fan as anyone ever could meet, especially when one considers that I was not even five years old when the band reached the end of their long and winding road.

When George Harrison passed away a couple of weeks ago I felt almost the since of loss I felt when Jerry and John Lennon died in that I felt that I lost a personal friend that played a huge role in my life, literally helping to shape my way of looking at the world.  I have a couple of thoughts on George that my fellow Dead Heads might like to chew on......

First of all, keep in mind that on their last two tours, the Grateful Dead pulled out two relatively obscure Beatle tunes to cover:   'I Want To Tell You' off of 1966's REVOLVER and 'It's All too Much' originally recorded in 1967 for the soundtrack of YELLOW SUBMARINE.....for those of you who were not aware, despite the intimidating catalogue by John and Paul,  our heroes chose two songs by the so-called 'quiet' Beatle to play:  both of the songs mentioned are Harrison compositions.

Any Dead Head who has never had the pleasure of listening to Harrison's solo masterpiece "All Things Must Pass" should do themselves a favor and invest in it (hard to find, perhaps available on Amazon). "Isn't It A Pity", "My Sweet Lord" (which I had played at my wedding ceremony last year) and "Beware of Darkeness" are just three nuggets on that album. I always wonder how the Dead were perceived by many in the music world.   It saddens me to think of how- just maybe- his shared love of Elvis, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly might have led to John Lennon attending a MSG Dead show after 1980 as he started to come out of his self-imposed retirement....maybe even joining them on stage?   Sigh.....in another universe, perhaps.

I like to think of the links that Harrison had to the Dead world:  his friendship with both Bob Dylan and Tom Petty must have exposed Harrison to some stories of our band's exploits/musicality since both toured with the boys.   Also,  it was Owsley's recipes that first turned on the Beatles in England in 1965.......talk about a connection.  Kesey and his band of Pranksters were at the Beatle's Cow Palace show when Bobby first "got on the bus".   Lots of syncronicity and examples  of the boundaries of the Dead's world going across the universe of the Beatles.  I just wonder if Gearge ever listened to "American Beauty" or "Workingman's Dead" since he was such a huge fan of The Band's first two albums that came out of the Woodstock scene and captured American roots music so well like Beauty and Workingman's did.  I hope that someone was able to play for George some of the Dead's live music, but with his ambivalence to music in general after the early seventies maybe not.

If I am not misteaken (does anyone remember?) the Dead may have even played The Traveling Wilburies album on set breaks or at show's end in the early 1990's...faint recollections of this, but my memory is a little foggy when trying to recall (I wonder why?).

Anyway,  Harrison's impact was great.  I love all of his Beatle songs, but especially ones like "Love you Too", Within you Without You", "Long Long Long", "The Inner Light" and others that showed his love for Indian music.  He profoundly changed Western culture in ripples that can never be measured.  He was a reluctant celebrity and gave so much to us all.  Rest in Peace, George, and thank you. Mike Macchi,  Guilderland, NY  - recyclemichael65@yahoo.com