influences

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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Jake Shimabukuro Believes Music is Good Medicine

"If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place." -Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro is recognized as one of the world's most exciting and innovative ukulele players and composers, having "given the ukulele a new respect altogether" (All Music Guide), as he demonstrates on his forthcoming album ‘Peace Love Ukulele,' out January 4, 2011 on Hitchhike Records.

But as his career continues to blossom, Shimabukuro, a Hawaiian, is also busy giving back to his island community, using the ukulele as his tool. He’s currently the head spokesperson for Music is Good Medicine (MIGM), a living-healthy community program that tours schools, hospitals and senior centers around Hawaii and on the US mainland, as well as in Guam, Saipan and Japan.



Shimabukuro’s belief that music is good medicine goes all the way back to his childhood. "Ever since my mother first put a ukulele in my hands at the age of four," he says, "this magical instrument has been a positive force in my life – helping to steer me away from drugs, violence and other negative influences. It fueled my passion for music, which has helped me to develop in mind, body and spirit."

He points to the therapeutic, stress-reducing benefits of playing music and says the ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn, as well as one of the most affordable. "This tiny, four-string instrument is a universe of joy and healing, with a childlike quality about it that returns us to our youth and energizes us."

Michael Weiss Trio Performs at the Kitano

Pianist and composer Michael Weiss leads a trio in tribute to the late, great Detroit pianists Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan at the Kitano New York.  Joining Weiss are bassist George Mraz, who was a member of trios led by both Jones and Flanagan, and drummer Dennis Mackrel, a former member of Jones' trio.

The suave and sophisticated styles of Flanagan and Jones have left an important imprint on Weiss, who considers both pianists to have been mentors. Weiss enjoys a similar relationship with another hero of Detroit, Barry Harris, who, like Flanagan and Jones, shares an affinity for Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and mining a rich trove of neglected standards. Flanagan thought highly enough of Weiss that that he often attended his younger colleague's performances, including his 1992 Merkin Hall concert entitled "Rediscovered Rarities: Monk, Bud and Bird." When Flanagan was hospitalized briefly at one point, he even sent his wife to Bradley’s, the premiere piano room of the day in New York, to take note of Weiss’ repertoire. Last year Weiss and Jones shared the stage on the European festival circuit.

While Weiss still loves to draw from his unusually deep knowledge of jazz tunes and standards, his repertoire since the mid ‘90s has leaned toward his original compositions, which favor a meticulous attention to detail, rich harmonic schemes, formal ingenuity and imaginative melodic and rhythmic development. Still, while his writing has become fleshed out with a broader range of ideas and influences, his improvisations have never shed his bop-oriented roots. For this engagement, Weiss will perform a mix of originals, standards and selections by Thad Jones, Hank's  brother and a favorite composer of both Flanagan and Jones.

The Kitano is located at 66 Park Avenue. Set times are 8 and 10 p.m.There is a $25 cover charge and a $15 minimum.  For reservations and more information: (212) 885-7119.  For more information about Weiss, please click here.

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A native of Dallas, Texas, pianist and composer Michael Weiss’s extensive resume includes work with Johnny Griffin, Art Farmer, Frank Wess, Slide Hampton, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, the Jazztet, Lou Donaldson, Charles McPherson, Von Freeman, George Coleman, Joe Wilder, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra,  Junior Cook and Bill Hardman. Weiss made his Village Vanguard debut as a leader in 2006 with his quintet. Reviewing the ensemble's performance, New York Times critic Nate Chinen praised Weiss' composing, playing and bandleading skills, noting that "he demonstrated a strong sense of leadership and organization." Chinen also wrote that Weiss was "a confident and sometimes sparkling presence on piano" and that his playing exhibited "sensitivity and logic, along with crisp control."

Groups led by Weiss have performed at the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Stanford Jazz Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, NPR’s "Jazzset," and in New York at the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Jazz Gallery, Smoke, WNYC and WQXR. In 2000, Weiss was awarded the BMI/Monk Institute Composers Competition grand prize, presented to him by Wayne Shorter for his piece, “El Camino,” which appears on Weiss' latest CD, “Soul Journey.” With influences as varied as Scriabin, Szymanowski and Shorter, Weiss' compositions focus on extended forms, thematic development and attention to detail. In 2003 Weiss was a recipient of the Doris Duke/Chamber Music America New Works grant, for which he wrote the suite “Three Doors.”

Weiss has recorded four albums as a leader, including “Soul Journey” (Sintra), “Milestones” (Steeplechase), “Power Station” (DIW) and “Presenting Michael Weiss” (Criss Cross). He has also recorded widely as a sideman, including four CDs with Johnny Griffin and dates with Charles McPherson, Frank Wess, Ronnie Cuber and others.

Energetic & Inspiring, Spiritual Rez is delivering the goods

This 6-piece roots-reggae, rock outfit is packing out clubs on a nightly basis and breaking out brand new material off of their newest release, The NexusSpiritual Rez is quickly becoming the talk of 2010.

Winners of the 2007 Boston Music Award for Best World Music Act and Alumni of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, the band provides a fresh blend of Reggae, Funk, Afrobeat and Rock to give one of the most energetic live shows around.

The band’s newest release, The Nexus, is a winning combination of the group’s positive songwriting, energy-filled live performances and their heavily inspired roots-reggae sound. “Alone Again”, showcases the group’s ability to create infectious grooves mixed with bright horn lines and searing guitar, all while giving a nod to the influences of an earlier, gentler, Wailers sound.  The powerful, “Rollin’ Dutches”, captures the band’s Ska-punk roots with tight changes and quick-lipped lyrics. The albums closing cut,  “More Than I Am”, brings everything all together.  The bands positive grasp on life shines through in Toft Willingham and Van Gordon Martin’s lyrics as the rest of the group holds it down.  The dueling patterns of guitar and horns are very tasteful and the ending crescendo reels in the listener, leaving them wanting more.

What really shines about The Nexus, is how the band’s lively stage performance and organic musicianship is captured in the studio.  The Sweat-inducing, body-shaking grooves that are created every night on tour, are recreated and mixed with expertise.  This allowed the band to formulate, The Nexus, into an emotion filled experience that really punctuates the being of Spiritual Rez.

There’s no stopping Spiritual Rez!  After years of touring the country, performing at prestigious events (Bear Creek Music Festival, Camp Bisco and The Lake Eden Arts Festival) and promoting an uplifting mix of music and attitude, the band has been fortunate to share the stage with many of their influences.  These include George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Toots and The Maytals, Steel Pulse and Bernie Worrell (Funkadelic original member, Talking Heads), who has often been a featured member. These experiences have given Spiritual Rez the ability to hone their sound and songwriting, but also share their take on reggae and funk with some of the biggest innovators of those genres.

The Boston-based band has been described by Skipper’s Smokehouse (Tampa, FL) as having “the ferocious live energy and bombast of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and PFunk, to their own blending of chill island grooves with raucous urban tribal vibes.

Their live experience continues to leave a trail of worn-out dancers as Spiritual Rez is now recognized as a band with "a higher consciousness of respect and energy through music" and will continue to grow in the hearts of music fans across the globe.

Check out Spiritual Rez with special guest Bernie Worrell on Friday, September 17th, 2010 at The Paradise Rock Club & Lounge