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Mr. Bojangles To Be Inducted Into Grammy Hall of Fame

The Recording Academy recently announced that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1970’s recording of “Mr. Bojangles” (by Jerry Jeff Walker) will be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for 2010.  The Hall Of Fame serves as a celebration and reminder of the triumphs and achievements of the recording arts. Selections are drawn from all categories of music, acknowledging the diversity of musical expression for which The Recording Academy has become renowned.


Jeff Hanna (of the NGDB) states, “We’re really proud to be so closely associated with a song that has now become an American standard.  God bless Jerry Jeff for writing such a beautiful tune.”  He goes on to say that “the band feels deeply honored to have this recording included in the historically significant catalog of material that makes up the Grammy Hall of Fame.”

The band recently returned from a Northeast run with stops at Levon Helm’s legendary “Ramble” as well as a performance on the Early Show’s Saturday Edition’s “2nd Cup Café” where they performed a track off of their new album Speed of Life and the storied “Mr. Bojangles”.

INFECTED MUSHROOM BREAK INTO BILLBOARD TOP 200

For an Israeli-born band plying their own aggressive rock subgenre, known as psy-trance, Infected Mushroom look an awful lot like mainstream artists these days. In fact, they’ve infiltrated the retail, new media and culinary worlds simultaneously.

For one thing, their latest album, Legend of the Black Shawarma (Perfecto Records), has broken into the Billboard Top 200 at #172.  But even more indicative of the raucous, mesmerizing disc’s appeal are its perches at #8 on Billboard’s New Artist chart, #9 on the Current Electronic Albums chart, #32 on Top Indie Albums, #37 on Top Digital Albums and #6 on the iTunes Electronic Albums chart.  The collection’s lead single, “Smashing the Opponent,” features guest vocals by Jonathan Davis of Korn.

All this chart action–-along with the participation of high-profile Shawarma guests like Davis and alternative-rock luminary Perry Farrell, a Pollstar cover story, an appropriately demented iPhone game and an explosive performance at the Burning Man Festival in September (captured in a glorious DUI-style video by director Petro)–-would seem to indicate that the hard-charging Los Angeles-based outfit’s days as an “underground” act are long over.

“If the foundation of a long music career is the ability to evolve,” wrote Pollstar’s Jim Otey in his current cover story, “Infected Mushroom is a band that’s built to last.”

That evolution has included a mystical leap into the gaming world, as “Smashing the Opponent” has been transformed into an iPhone app–featuring the group’s music and artwork based on Jeff McMillan’s Shawarma album art.  As players proceed through the game’s Black Forest setting, they must use an array of weapons to smash various onrushing beasties and uncover the treasure they protect.  The group’s foray into gaming continues with a free featured download of their single in the upcoming game Tap Tap Revenge 3.

Frontman Amit “Duvdev” Duvdevani (who founded the band with keyboardist Erez “I.Zen” Eisen) has remarked that Mushroom originally planned its most recent disc as “a concept album about food,” so it’s only fitting that the Mellow Mushroom pizza chain has unveiled a "Legend of the Black Shawarma" Pizza, served up at participating locations with a free MP3 download. Two of the franchise’s Florida outlets have reportedly had to re-order shawarma spices, suggesting a new kind of Mushroom might be taking hold of the pizza scene.

Infected Mushroom has built a rabid international following since its founders met in 1996, and they now regularly pack clubs and festivals worldwide.  Their explosive live shows, which mesh shredding guitar, pounding live drums and blistering electronic textures and grooves–-with Duvdev’s manic presence and passionate vocals bouncing atop the mixture–-reliably whip audiences into a mad froth.  From the Ultra Music Festival in Miami to the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, from Mexico’s OMIX to California's Coachella, from Brazil’s Ipanema Beach to Melbourne’s Metro Club, the band has averaged about 120 live performances per year.  This year has marked their first recorded performance at Burning Man, where their tribal mayhem looks very much at home–-as witnessed by Petro’s (Incubus, TV on the Radio) video clip.

Judging by the band’s recent moves, the evolution is about to accelerate and the infection is bound to spread.

Live Dead & Dead Guise Jam Into the Night At Ashkenaz

On Friday June 12, at around 9:25 I walked into Ashkenaz on San Pablo Ave, in Berkeley, to the sounds of the Dead Guise playing their opening set of acoustic Grateful Dead covers, in a style similar to the Grateful Dead’s early 80’s acoustic albums Reckoning and Dead Set.

A JAZZ NATIVITY SWINGS INTO BIRDLAND FOR 3rd YEAR

THE JAZZ NATIVITY- for the Grateful Web

BENDING TOWARDS THE LIGHT… A JAZZ NATIVITY, the joyful musical holiday show that warms the hearts of families of all faiths, swings into Birdland (315 West 44th Street, New York City) with seven performances this season, Sunday, Dec 21st through 25th  There will be two performances on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

A colorful presentation that delights children as well as jazz fans, the JAZZ NATIVITY boasts an all-star band featuring Latin percussionist Candido and tenor saxophonist Bob Kindred; vocalist Hilary Kole in the role of Mary; Brenda Feliciano as the archangel; and features many jazz greats. Among this years performers as Kings are saxophonist, Frank Wess, trombonist, Benny Powell, , trumpeters Lou Soloffand Ingrid Jensen, and tappers Maurice Chestnut, Andrew Nemr and Roxane Butterfly. Taking part as special guests, pianists, Hank Jones and Arturo O'FarrellDaniel Marconi, from Broadway's  Mary Poppins and Misael Sanchez from the Newark Boys Chorus School will alternately play the role of the shepherd boy.

" Written and arranged by singer-songwriter Anne Phillips at the suggestion of the late John Garcia Gensel of St. Peter's Church, JAZZ NATIVITY first premiered in 1985.  Since then, it has been a popular Christmas offering across the country.  

The show combines well-known Christmas carols with original music by Ms. Phillips, Bob Kindred andDave and Iola Brubeck. The original soundtrack recording features as narrator the late CBS Newsjournalist Charles Kuralt, with Lionel Hampton, Dave Brubeck, Tito Puente, Benny Powell, Toots Thielemans and many other jazz greats in the band.  For information: www.jazznativity.com orwww.cdbaby.com.

Tickets at $40 are now on sale at Birdland box office (212-581-3080)

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.

Great American Taxi Rolls into Boulder

Hometown heroes Great American Taxi played to an exuberant crowd of pre-weekend revelers last Friday night at Colorado's historic Boulder Theater.  The band, which is the brainchild of Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon fame, cranked out their fusion of country, rock, folk and electric bluegrass until the wee hours of Saturday morning, much to the disappointment of the audie

Morrison Hotel Moves Into Former CBGB Gallery

Steve Joester''s

On March 27, The Morrison Hotel Gallery, the world's leading purveyor of fine art music photography, will open an exhibition space at 313 Bowery, former home to the famed CBGB's Gallery. At nearly 3000 square feet, 313 Bowery will be the Morrison's largest space, over twice the size of their existing galleries in NYC's Soho neighborhood, Los Angeles, and La Jolla.

The size of the space at 313 Bowery will allow the Morrison to mount their most ambitious exhibitions to date.  "This new space will enhance our line of fine art music photography and puts us in a historical space where people can experience some very different shows than at our other locations," says Peter Blachley, co-owner of the Morrison.  While the interior of the 313 Bowery space will change with each show, the Morrison plans to maintain many original elements of the CBGB's Gallery, including the bathroom graffiti, an original wall logo stencil and a panel of show posters and hand-bills from CBGB's 10th anniversary that were buried in an inner wall.

The 313 Bowery space will open with an exhibit by acclaimed British photographer and mixed media artist Steve Joester.  Known for translating his images into inspired pop art collages, Joester chronicled British punk's first wave, as well as the London riots of 1976.  His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Creem, and Interview, and he has created album sleeves and posters for The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Blondie, The Who, AC/DC, Queen, and Andy Warhol among others.

On April 24, The Morrison will present 'Rockers' an installation by legendary New York photographer Bob Gruen, at the 313 Bowery space.  The exhibit, which drew over 50,000 visitors when it was presented in 2007 at the FAAP University Museum in Sao Paulo, Brazil, features some 270 Gruen images - from John Lennon to The Clash, Max's Kansas City to CBGB's.  The Morrison has commissioned acclaimed architect Tito Ficarelli, who designed the 'Rockers' exhibit in Brazil, to transform the 313 Bowery space as well.  The show's centerpiece will be a recreation of a punk-obsessed teenager's bedroom from the 1970s.

In June, "The Art of Motorcycles" will come roaring into 313 Bowery. This exhibit will feature the works of photographers Timothy White and Barry Feinstein, focusing on their stunning images of iconic motorcycle artists Indian Larry and Von Dutch.

The Morrison Hotel Gallery will present these shows in association with The Max's Kansas City Project, an organization dedicated to providing emergency funding and resources to financially distressed individuals in the creative and performing arts.

Founded in 2001 by former record company executive and producer Peter Blachley, former independent record store owner Rich Horowitz, and music photographer Henry Diltz, The Morrison Hotel Gallery has grown to become the major brand in fine art music photography.

A Well Oiled Machine Rolls into Atlanta

On April 14, Georgia Tech played house to "Barbecue and Bluegrass", a two part event featuring an early evening meal of rib sticking barbeque followed by some good ol pickin from 3 very talented Bluegrass Bands: Peachtree Station; Hot Buttered Rum; and Cherryholmes.