Starfire beautifully captures a night of musical tribute to the passing of Greg Anton’s closest friend from childhood, Marty Levine, who in the 1990s created the Blue Star Cafe, a music venue in Hartford, Connecticut, which presented Anton (and Steve Kimock’s) band Zero as well as acts like Taj Mahal and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. When Zero came to town in 1993, Marty hired Toni Fishman to record the shows, and the duo became a trio of friends.
By 2001, Toni’s interest in vintage microphones and recording live music led him to found TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik, producing some of the world’s best microphones. The company’s manufacturing facility in South Windsor, CT, also features a recording studio and a 242-person capacity Soundstage for live concert events, complete with 30’ ceilings and superb sound quality.
Marty passed in 2019, and Toni invited Greg to come back to Connecticut to celebrate Marty’s life with music. Toni assembled a truly stellar lineup of some of the region’s best players, featuring electric guitar maestro Tim Palmieri (Lotus), tenor saxophonist Rob Somerville (Kung Fu), keyboardist Beau Sasser (Kung Fu), bass/vocalist Dave Livolsi (John Scofield) and Greg on drums.
They exchanged song ideas by email, rehearsed for one day, and that night entered the Soundstage and blew their audience’s collective mind with gorgeous psychedelic versions of classics like “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Little Wing,” Anton’s own “Gregg’s Eggs,” and tunes by Freddie Hubbard, Grant Green, and the Bar-Kays, among others.. There’s a reason it’s called improvisational music.
“Working with Greg to produce this show was a joy and an honor,” said Fishman. “We’re all about good vibes at TELEFUNKEN, and we’re thrilled that others can now experience the live show with the launch of this album.”
As Greg recalled, “For me, it was an alchemy of liquid musicianship and pristine sound quality that flowed together like magic. Tim Palmieri (Lotus) is one of the best electric guitar improvisors in the country; Rob Somerville (Kung Fu) gets a soulful tenor sax sound made in heaven, Beau Sasser (Kung Fu) created a king-size organ bed for us all to bounce on, and me and bassist Dave Livolsi (John Scofield) locked in the rhythm section like we’d played together our whole lives. Live improvisational music can at times be sublime...once in a while the recording/mixing/mastering engage like a Rubik’s Cube...and on that rare occasion when everything clicks synchronistically...voila!....STARFIRE.”
Greg has played thousands of concerts worldwide, including over 1,300 shows with Zero, the band he co-founded with guitarist Steve Kimock. Greg has played on 40+ albums and performed or recorded with artists such as John Cipollina, John Lee Hooker, Otis Taylor, members of the Grateful Dead, Nicky Hopkins, Perry Farrel, Stanley Jordan, and many others. He’s produced music for film, TV and theater and co-written 27 songs with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Greg is also the author of the critically acclaimed Rock ‘n Roll novel Face the Music.
One of Marty’s favorite things was a 1956 Oldsmobile Starfire, which gave the album its name. Stanley “Mouse” Miller, who got his start as an artist in Detroit’s car culture, contributed a cover as beautiful as the music, digitized a large mural for the inside gatefold, and was responsible for the overall design. The stellar musicianship and sonic depth of this recording (they played in headphones inside the studio-quality room) is a perfect example of TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik’s world leadership in capturing great music with uncompromising quality.
The music of Starfire will be available for digital download but physically available only on vinyl (and in your choice of five colors - red, black, clear, white, and blue). The records will come with a complimentary digital download that will include four bonus songs. It’s a limited release set for June 24 (pre-orders are now being taken). It will undoubtedly be a collector’s item; get it at >> https://gregantonandfriends.bandcamp.com/album/starfire