Monday, January 31, 2011

Dark Star Orchestra: 1.26.11

Words & Photos By Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

The Majestic Theater - Detroit, MI

What is Dark Star Orchestra? At face value, the band performs The Grateful Dead songs along with a few original tunes. Some call Dark Star Orchestra a cover band; others see the group as a ‘tribute’ band. Definitions aside, one cannot rely on labels to gauge the true power behind Dark Star Orchestra’s mission. On January 26, 2011, I made a trek to Detroit in order to do my own measuring of worthiness...I needed to see firsthand if Dark Star Orchestra was merely a group of performers playing cover songs or if the band represented something beyond a collection of notes and lyrics written by others.

I arrived to The Majestic Theater in Detroit with a few friends around 8:30 P.M. After some general hobnobbing in the parking lot, I met with my crew and entered the building. The Majestic Theater is a decently-sized single-level venue that is attached to a smaller venue and a bowling alley. The shows I’d seen their previously had been rather enjoyable, and I was looking forward to having plenty of dancin’ space to work my boogie! At first glance, their were plenty of folks young and old ready to experience some vintage Dead music. Their spirits raised my own, and the excitement continued to build until the Dark Star Orchestra took the stage a few minutes after 9:00 P.M.

The band kicked off their first set with an always welcomed version of “Bertha”. Unfortunately, the song was somewhat lacking as the band didn’t perform with the amount of energy I had expected it to bring. The first set had a tremendous song list, but the music wasn’t up to standards during several moments throughout. There were a few gems buried within the dragging first set including a passionate “Tennessee Jed” and the set closer “Deal” that was hopefully to be an indication of more fire and grit from the group in the following set.

I had only seen Dark Star Orchestra once prior to this performance, but I knew the band was capable of more than what it had showed during its first set. From the opening notes of the “Samson and Delilah” that opened the second set, it was noticeable that the show was about to pick up. The second set was indeed much better than the first, containing several moments of unbridled exuberance coupled with some tasty improvisational freak-outs. As the set carried itself towards its finish, each song, like in true Grateful Dead fashion, built upon the former and took the crowd on a unique journey towards something distant yet entirely familiar.

“Fire on the Mountain” was worth the price of admission in itself. Well over ten minutes in length, Dark Star Orchestra’s improvisational prowess crushed “FOTM” into fantastic oblivion and rebuild the work into satisfying completion. I wondered at this point where this energy had been the whole first set! The remaining part of the second set, “Truckin > Drums > The Other One > Wharf Rat > Around and Around”, featured dynamic changes throughout and had my skin crawling with joyous amazement. Dark Star Orchestra encored with a short but rockin’ version of “US Blues” that had everyone singing along. Thankfully, the ‘chicken shack’ lyric reminded me that I hadn’t eaten all day, and after “US Blues”, my friends and decided it was time to call it a night and slipped away into the cold Detroit evening.

So again, What is Dark Star Orchestra? Like the wonderfully penned lyrics of Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, it is entirely up to personal interpretation. Don’t expect an exact representation of Grateful Dead music from Dark Star Orchestra. Although the band mimics the sounds of the Dead, a Dark Star Orchestra show takes on a life of its own for better and sometimes for worse. However, the essence of what the band truly does should not be lost as it provides an opportunity for individuals like myself to enjoy some of the greatest songs ever written for the live setting. Having the chance to see Dead tunes performed by capable musicians is certainly a strong enough draw for Dark Star Orchestra’s many fans, and I can’t blame them...if one attends a Dark Star Show with the proper amount of expectations, he or she will have those expectations met and possibly many more.

SHOW PLAYED - 2.5.78 - UniDome - University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls IA - Sunday

Set One: Bertha > Good Lovin' ; Brown Eyed Women ; El Paso; Tennessee Jed ; Sunrise ; New Minglewood Blues ; Friend Of The Devil ; Passenger ; Deal

Set Two: Samson And Delilah ; Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain ; Truckin' > Drums > The Other One > Wharf Rat > Around And Around

Encore: U.S. Blues

Filler: Cats Under The Stars ; I Second That Emotion

Greg's Photo Gallery From The Show

Jamband Spotlight: Ultraviolet Hippopotamus

Words by Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

For those who may not know, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, aka UV Hippo, is Michigan’s premier improvisational rock band. Hailing from Grand Rapids, the quintet has become a touring juggernaut over the past few years, and while the band commands respect unlike any Midwest touring act with mindblowing technical ability coupled with heartfelt original tunes, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus is still in its maturation period. The band utilizes a number of styles, and in doing so, performs the shit out of any genre of it feels like owning on any particular night. The adventurous attitude held by its members combines into a beast of a collective force as the group’s efforts result in some of the freshest tension and release moments of the 21st century. This is serious music...

Check out the two shows from Ultraviolet Hippopotamus found below. The first show, from Bell’s Brewery in Grand Rapids, contains a unique take on Pink Floyd’s Animals performed in its entirety, along with some killer renditions of UV Hippo originals.

Ultraviolet Hippopotamus Live at Bells Brewery on November 1, 2008. <--- Direct Archive Link

The second show is a one-set show from Spring Fest 2010 in Muncie, Indiana, and is an excellent display of the band’s ability to shine in a festival setting. For most improvisational bands, festival sets are noticeably different than two-set shows due to time constraints and require a band to put its best foot forward in the limited amount of performance time given. During this particular show, Ultraviolet wastes very little time, hitting the crowd early and often with its signature progressive trance-rock.

Ultraviolet Hippopotamus Live at Springfest on April 17, 2010. <--- Direct Archive Link

See you next Monday! Enjoy!

Ultraviolet Hippopotamus is:Brian Samuels - bass, guitar, mandolin, vocalsRussel James - guitar, vocalsDave Sanders - keyboards, vocalsCasey Jones - percussionJoe Phillion - drums

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Praang (Kimock, Janover, Travis, Hann) 1.22.11

Words By J-man

I love assembled projects, where musicians step outside of their normal comfort range to come together with musicians of different backgrounds to bring us something new all together. Though I am not a huge fan of electronic music, I was looking forward to the possibilities of Praang. We arrived at Quixote's in Downtown Denver just prior to soundcheck to meet with Jason Hann of Praang, EOTO & The String Cheese Incident.

We met with Jason backstage. As we set up our gear, another gentleman (wook) wandered into the room and began running cable. He informed us that he would be operating the lasers for the evening. When questioned about who he was with, the man said, "No one. They told me not to come out." We all laughed and smiled at the absurdity of the situation. The man continued with his set up and we proceeded with the interview...

I was really pleased with Jason's responses and openness. Furthermore, it was nice to feel such warmth and kindness from him. Following the interview, Carly and I wandered out into the main room of Quixote's to find the man, the myth, the legend; Murray. We purchased some beers, sat back and watched the happening... happen.

Young folks poured through the door of the venue like liquid into a cup. Soon the cup was half full, then almost overflowing. Quixote's was the perfect venue for such an evening. It's comfortable, colorful and full of energy. Dead music blared over the in house sound system as the band took the stage. With that, the experience had begun. Time would stand still, our minds would be stimulated and good times would be had.

Praang is made up of Steve Kimock, Jamie Janover, Michael Travis and Jason Hann. That being said, I knew the project would be spacey, but I had no clue that it would go to the extent that it did in regards to the space factor. From the very beginning of the set, Kimock explored spacey tones as Travis laid down simple yet fitting lines. Jason layered his tracks to create some interesting poly rhythmic arrangements, while Janover noodled subtly in the background. I became lost in thought, as the lasers began to create waves throughout the venue.

We sought refuge from the packed dance floor. It appeared as if we were in the rare majority of those who didn't have "X's" on our hands. As the music crawled on I realized that it may not develop much beyond the simplistic space tones that we had been hearing for some time. I began to focus on the environment/scene around me. It was extremely euphoric. There were girls hoola hooping, people spinning glowsticks, people conversing and laughing in the back of the venue. I felt at home in the back corner under a black and white picture of Bobby (Bob Weir).

The music itself was a lot less whompy than I thought it would be based on the direct involvement of EOTO. Ironically, I found myself most drawn in and intrigued when they provided whomp or something of substance. The noodling took over and our environment became the main source of the evening's entertainment.

As the two o'clock hour rolled around we drifted out of the front and door back on to the downtown Denver streets. All around, I enjoyed myself. I wasn't overly drawn to the music, but the scene that it helped to create was interesting and positive. Sometimes that's enough to make me happy.

J-man's Photo Gallery From The Show

*Please Note: The show below was recorded the night prior to the night of this review...

Praang Live at Quixote's True Blue on January 21, 2011. <--- Direct Archive Link

Sunday Bluegrass: Henhouse Prowlers

Words By J-man

The ever so incredible Henhouse Prowlers are on the brink of releasing their third and most anticipated album yet. This group of extremely talented musicians showcases some great tracks from their new album on this show. Enjoy this set from a couple of weeks ago from their home state of Illinois...


Henhouse Prowlers Live at Rock Island Brewing Company on January 14, 2011. <--- Direct Archive Link

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cornmeal w/ WhiteWater Ramble 1.21.11

Words By J-man

It's rare that one sees two bands of such a high caliber on the same bill. In regards to talent it could have gone either way; Cornmeal could have opened or WhiteWater Ramble could have filled the slot. WhiteWater Ramble took the opening slot due to Cornmeal's increased popularity and fanbase. It was going to be a killer night regardless, due to the fact that I was surrounded by a handful on my closest friends. We entered Cervantes, acquired our drinks and settled into our respective location on the main floor.

Whitewater hit the stage playing a few moderate tempo songs with great organization and overall production. Turning to my friends, I could see their pre-show conversations die off as they took in WWR. Cervantes had a better crowd than I had seen in attendance that early, ever. A few songs deep, the energy really picked up and the place began to move like crazy. I was so excited to see such a great response to such a great band.

Patrick Sites came charging through with his excellent mandolin playing. Adam Gulblum was right there to step in and was a melodic force to be reckoned with on the fiddle. Between Adam and Allie Kral (Cornmeal), I knew that I would have my fiddle fix fulfilled. The combination of Howard Montgomery on bass and Luke Emig on drums had folks dancing their asses off. Patrick Latella was the musical icing on the cake displaying a wide range of talent on the acoustic as well as the electric guitar.

The highlight of their set came with a lengthy version of the Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street". The place went as crazy as I've seen it get at Cervantes. The energy was so high as they ripped through and completely annihilated the song. I glanced around to see a good majority of folks singing alone. It was an incredible feeleing. At one point they were joined by Wavy Dave from Cornmeal on the banjo.

"Mark my words, WhiteWater Ramble is next in line..." -J-man

After a short setbreak Cornmeal took the stage. By that time The Masterpiece Ballroom was packed and energetic as hell. Cornmeal aims to please and they did so from the first song. Their energy is at the top of the scene in regards to consistency and continuous rage. First and foremost, as we all know:

"Allie Kral is insane. Her playing is so prominent and forward both rhythmically and melodically that there are very few single musicians who elevate a band as much as Allie elevates Cornmeal." -J-man

Kris Nowak has been killing it as of late on the guitar. His tasteful intertwining of effects into the acoustic-based music adds a very unique layer to Cornmeal. Wavy Dave (Banjo), Chris Ganji (Bass) and J.P. Nowak (Drums) really help to round out the project and create a truly unique band on the scene. Cornmeal's proven ability to improve and entertain has me really excited about the direction of string music and the band itself.

Cornmeal pleased the Denver crowd with some extremely developed/extensive jams, that helped to take me to space. I lost track of the songs and transitions and got lost in the music itself. I found myself and everyone I was with dancing with rage and youthful exuberance. My girlfriend's jaw was hanging open following most of Allie Kral's solos. At one point she turned to me and said in a disoriented fashion "I think I'm in love... with a girl." One of my friends, Spuckes had his hands in the air for almost the entirety of the show. At times his eyes would be closed as he swayed and tilted his face towards the venue ceiling.

Cornmeal had done what they set out to do, tear down Cervantes. The turnout was amazing, the energy was the highest that I have felt in some time, and folks were buzzing with joy. With Cornmeal and WhiteWater Ramble touring together and sharing a stage, rage was inevitable. I knew what I was signing up for and I was more than pleased. Don't miss either band...

J-man's Photo Gallery From The Show

Saturday Dead: 4.2.73

Words By Andy Zimmer

For those of us who live in America’s Midwest snow-belt, the past month or so has been pretty bleak. Dishwater-grey skies, bone-penetrating winds, and a dull and lifeless feeling that hangs in the air; this is what we live with for months on end during the dead of winter. It is during these times when I find myself yearning for the bucolic days of spring. Just to see the sun peek over the horizon and to feel its warmth upon my frost-chilled cheeks... ahhh, that’s the stuff!

I thought that with my pick this week I would try and coax the sun out of hiding, if just for a brief moment. My plan is to offer up this excellent show from the Spring of ’73 for you listening pleasure. Aside from it being a very high quality show through and through, including solid versions of “Playing In The Band” and ”Eyes of The World”, it features the most ridiculously smoking version of “Here Comes Sunshine” that I think I’ve heard. It is definitely worth your while to check out this twenty minute-plus version... especially if you like the Dead’s jazzy-psychedelic improvisations a la “Dark Star”. And, who knows, maybe if enough of you are blasting “Here Comes Sunshine” through your speakers this weekend we may even convince the big, yellow orb to make a brief appearance.

Grateful Dead Live at Boston Garden on April 2, 1973. <--- Direct Archive Link

Promised Land, Deal, Mexicali Blues, Brown Eyed Women, Beat It On Down The Line, Row Jimmy, Looks Like Rain, Wave That Flag, Box Of Rain, Big River, China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, You Ain't Woman Enough, Jack Straw, Don't Ease Me In, Playin' In The Band Ramble On Rose, Me & My Uncle, Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodeloo, Greatest Story Ever Told, Loose Lucy, El Paso, Stella Blue, Around And Around, Here Comes Sunshine-> Jam-> Space-> Me And Bobby McGee, Weather Report Suite Prelude-> Eyes Of The World-> China Doll, Sugar Magnolia, Casey Jones, Johnny B. Goode, E: We Bid You Good Night

Friday, January 28, 2011

Charles Bradley: No Time For Dreaming

Words By Andy DeVilbiss

The reason true, old school soul's worked for over 50 years? It knows and accepts its simple recipe of hot, naked truth. Make it in the back raw and real, but serve it up front hot, heartfelt and honest. It doesn't front, and it's direct. The band kicks open the door and says, “Gonna do it tight and sweet and we're gonna crush it. Remember, it's all about the singer.” Then, when he's damn good and ready, the singer strolls in, picks up the mic and you hear everything you need to hear with just that first note. “I ain't hiding. All I got is my sweat, my story, my voice. And if you're lucky, a cape.”

That sense of honesty is mostly what I want out of a soul singer. The Dap-Kings backed Amy Winehouse on “Rehab, which, despite it's beloved status amongst “WOOOOO!!!!” girls, is a vapid rant about treatment facilities. I feel for you, Amy. You like to party and do not like to stop. Chin up, kid. That is... Chin up, only if you haven't already sold your chin for whatever the British equivalent of crack is.

But when The Dap-Kings throw down with their regular singer, Miss Sharon Jones? It's an entirely more exciting, richer and emotional result because as you stand in awe of her amazing voice, you BELIEVE Sharon Jones. No matter what she's singing, the truth comes through. Luckily for anyone who's heard her, Daptone Records “discovered” Sharon and had the good sense to recognize her honest talent.

Daptone seems to have a knack for finding that sort of honest talent. Talent like Charles Bradley, a 62 year old singer who just released his debut album “No Time For Dreaming” on the label in late January. And when you hear his first vocal riff in the socially-conscious and pointed opener, “The World Is Going Up In Flames,” and every note after, as you should, you hear everything you need to hear.

There's definitely some sweat from from James Brown at the Apollo in 1962, where, thanks to his sister, Charles Bradley sat in the audience, inspired by the Godfather's energy and showmanship to get off the streets of Brooklyn and become a musician. The entire album is firmly stocked with that early James Brown vibe, all the way from the danceable title track to the plaintive “How Long.” It's a comfortable vibe, familiar but with enough of a unique tone to not sound overly derivative.

You get a story of a man who's lived and loved through some hard times all while hunching over a grill as a chef from Maine to Alaska to California, hungering to pursue music whenever possible and pondering the simple question, asked one more time on the album with “Why Is It So Hard.” A man, who, when he finally seemed to be getting some traction with his music career, had to deal with a family tragedy when his nephew killed his brother, a event referenced in the album's closer, “Heartaches and Pain.” That's about as honest as it gets.

The voice? Wonderful. Rich. And silky with just the right amount of roughness around the edges. Chalres Bradley's pipes are equally adept at issuing a political, moral and soulful call to action (“Golden Rule”) as they are laying out what some in the industry refer to as straight-up baby-makin' joints (“I Believe In Your Love”).

His monstrous voice is backed by The Menahan Street Band, who provide, tight chops and solid arrangements. Yes, it's mostly standard soul fare, but there's enough going on in the various layers to keep you interested. They do get a chance to shine on “Since Our Last Goodbye,” the album's only instrumental cut and a good reason to check out the band's own 2008 debut “Make The Road By Walking.”. It's a slick partnership, and the band does exactly what it's supposed to do: let the singer lead the way and form an honest connection with the listener.

So the only thing missing from the Charles Bradley super soul singer package is a cape, then? Rest easy. Daptone's Gabriel Roth met Bradley when he was performing James Brown routines under the name “Black Velvet,” which means I'm pretty sure that, if needed, Charles has got the capes covered, too.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bernie Worrell: Jazz Standards 1.20.11

Words By Karen Dugan (
Photos By Eric Reichbaum ( & Karen Dugan

The Bitter End- New York, NY

For music heads like us, it is nights like these that we live for, nights like these that we crave! The nights where one of your favorite musicians step outside of his genre to show you a softer side. The nights where one of your favorite musicians surprisingly join a stage he wasn't slated to be on. It's the moments when the music takes a drastic turn in the most unexpected ways and the musicians you love show you that they have more to give in a way you could imagine. On this night Bernie Worell, a founding member of Parliament Funkadelic and well known for his work with The Talking Heads, would carry us into his musical world and show us just how he interprets Jazz Standards.

As I entered The Bitter End, a venue I had never frequented prior to this night, I recall feeling a musical presence immediately. I can't put this sentiment into words really but in hindsight, without really knowing who I was seeing at first and eventually figuring out just who all I was going to see that night, you might possibly understand how I felt the power of all that talent in that room. There were some heavy hitters joining Bernie Worell on stage this night.

The Bitter End is a famous place! Apparently, it is Manhattan's longest running Rock  Club even though tonight we would be delivered jazz mixed with a bit of the FUNK! The venue itself is small with a typical bar atmosphere towards the front. Continuing past the bar, the stage is situated on the right side of the venue surrounded by few tables and booths. The place was not large by any means, perhaps able to hold a few hundred people, less than one hundred seats to be sure.

Upon settling into our table, I took a moment and introduced myself to Bernie's wife, Judie Worell. Such a vibrant creature, she was wearing fuzzy raver boots and purple tights. I liked her immediately. We discussed the set and made a plan to talk after the show. For now, I wanted to focus.

Bernie Worell and Friends @ The Bitter End

Evan Taylor - Drums
Andrew Kimball - Guitar
Will Bernard - Guitar
Tim Luntzel - Bass
JT Lewis - Drums
Glen Fittin - Percussion
Chops Horns: Dave Watson and Daryl Dixon

Bernie's rig was situated on the left side of the stage, a peninsula of keys consisting of a Mini Moog, Hohner Clavinet, ARP Pro Soloist, Kawai PH 50 (keyboard on top of the other keyboard), a Baby Grand and a Melodica (handheld).

He slipped into the seat alone on stage and proceeded to start the show with the gorgeous solo piano piece "Take the A Train", a signature song of The Duke Ellington Orchestra and written by Billy "Sweet Pea" Strayhorn. I was speechless. Completely taken aback. I wasn't sure what I was expecting but watching Bernie Worell, the king of funky keys sitting there playing this beautiful jazz arrangement only a few feet from us was very special. It was an elegant moment for an otherwise dive-y bar/location.

Worrell studied both jazz and classical music at New England Conservatory of Music which makes me love him even more. After the lovely solo piano intro, the rest of the stage filled up with the remaining musicians that would provide a superb complimentary background to Bernie's performance. A wonderful surprise was revealed as Will Bernard took the stage with his guitar. This is one of my favorite jazz guitarists on the NY scene and a complete surprise as, I believe, Smokey Hormell was slated to play. This cemented the night in my mind.

Bernie Worell is a man full of flavor. He was wearing leather pants, purple and gold Nike kicks, a styling hat, and this trippy fish jacket. Oh man, I wish I could describe his jacket. But alas... the picture must suffice. Bernie introduced all the men on stage graciously. Apparently, the baby faced mutton chop wearin' drummer Evan Taylor, was to thank for this night of music. It was his idea to put this project together and Bernie was ecstatic over this fact. So was the audience!

"It's so great to be able to play with these youngsters!" - Bernie Worell

The second song, wonderfully caught on video (thank you labellemusic) was Benny Golson's "Killer Joe". The Chop Horns, consisting of Dave Watson and Daryl Dixon stood in front with another gentleman on horns between them. I was unaware of who many of these artists were until tonight. I knew Bernie Worell, of course, and Will Bernard. But the other musicians on stage would proceed to slay me with their talent.

"Well, here we go!" screams Bernie as they head into "Aqua De Beber". Andrew Kimball on bass took the first solo on this a bossa-nova jazz standard. I was shocked at how well the horns blended into the room. I was thinking that with horns like this in such a small space that we were going to be blasted. But either the sound guy works magic or this trio was just on point with each other because they melded seamlessly and never once overpowered any other part of the stage. It was here that the Parliament/Funkadelic side of Bernie Worell came alive, producing his signature sound, bending the notes and giving us a trippy, spacey vibe behind the jazz. Will Bernard took his first solo and everything seemed to come together.

The Chop Horns exit and we got a salsa vibe radiating from the stage. The hearty jazz standard "Take Five" had Bernie standing and playing the synthesizer. Bernie went a little wild on his machine as he played the meat of the song on his keys the only way Bernie could and the crowd went wild. Shooting back to the Baby Grand, he manipulated the notes with one of his many contraptions. The rest of band just floating in the background, all eyes were on Bernie. I thought the song had changed but Will and Co. had just laid out their instruments. It got really heady in there. This jazz standard had been touched by a funkadelic angel. It's flavor was 110% Bernie's.

"You're My Thrill" was next. A favorite song of mine for the ladies to sing even though we would get no singing here. It has been covered by Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and just the complete cream of the female voice crop. Bernie was back on his synthesizer for this song and only he played the opening of the song as JT Lewis provided the beat. At some point during this song there seemed to be a bit of mis-communication that led to Bernie going rouge on part of the song. They were trying to figure out when to head into the bridge of the song.  As Bernie flew through a solo on the mini Moog, Will Bernard tipped his hat to the keys genius, as if to say: "This is your time, do your thing music god!" Then Bernie looks up and realizes that all eyes are on him and they head into the bridge.

Will Bernard soloed into the second bridge and he really took his liberties with his guitar, overpowering any other guitar that was on stage. I've got to be honest, I can't ever recall hearing another guitar let alone focusing on another guitar. Honestly though, Andrew Kimball was probably stoked to be playing alongside Will Bernard. He is the man after all.

Then came a drum solo that had me silently flipping out. Being a closet drummer lover, I LOVE drum solos/drum battles. JT Lewis was this drummer's name and I left The Bitter End so wrapped up in his sound, I can't describe it. I couldn't wait to go research him. I recall leaning over to Maurice and asking, "Who is this guy!?!"  Maurice preceded to hand me his Iphone showing a never-ending, big named list of the projects that Mr. Lewis had been a part of. The man has performed/recorded with over two hundred artists from all genres. The list Maurice showed me was endless. I hope you check him out. Wish I could link a site to his name but the man doesn't have a website? He is so acclaimed yet no website? If you are seeing this Mr. Lewis, please have your staff create a sanctuary for us to go and listen to your beats or find where you will be performing next. You are amazing.

The Chop Horns were back on stage now for "All the Things You Are". This song was originally released through a Broadway play, Very Warm For May. So fun! I love Broadway! As the sultry song began Dave Watson took to the microphone announcing that Darryl Dixon was the horn player for Parliament Funkadelic's "Flashlight". Thunderous applause came from that tiny venue. You have to love when artist talk to us and give us back-stories. As emotions become involved you are part of the music, the culture, if only for a minute in time. You've played some part in making that musician who he is while the musicians enhance our moment in time through entertainment. Such a symbiotic relationship between artist and fan.

Bernie teases "Flashlight" and they plug his CD. "It's all about all of us," says Bernie. Bernie feels the symbiotic thing I was talking about, doesn't he haha? A funky flavorful jam with horns and Bernie bending his sounds with his many contraptions. I noticed the night got progressively funkier and obscure as it progressed.

Bernie directs a compliment towards Daryl Dixon. "I knew what he had when he first joined P-Funk." There were smiles. It was a touching moment and you could see the thanks in Daryl's eyes as he smiled back at Bernie. Bernie then intro'd the solo to "Bye Bye Blackbird", another one of my personal favorites! A little confused, I leaned over to Maurice Brown, a supurb trumpet player from Chicago who joined our musical krewe that night, and asked him if his trumpet "had that wide base like that as well." He proceeded to tell me it was the instrument I was looking at was a flugelhorn, not a trumpet. You learn something new every day! Dave Watson had changed to a flute to close the song and once his lips finally pulled away from his instrument, he said: "That song was like a pretty woman. You don't ever want to let her go."

Bernie brought the Melodica to his lips for "Moon River", but not before throwing out an intro on the keyboard. Oh, how I love this song! The one thing I took away from this song was the fact that Bernie is passionate. His eyes close as he slowly and severely played the Melodica. I am not the biggest fan of this instrument as it sometimes sounds childish but Bernie took this song and ran with it. Quietly, softly, romantically. I found myself very moved in the moment. Bernie requested a glockenspiel solo from Glen Fittin and the xylophone raged in a soothing manner.

The show had started off as jazzy and cool as it could have been and gradually, over the course of the show it got funkier, more obscure. And then Bernie brought it. He brought the jazzy funk goodness into "Watermelon Man". Everyone was back on stage, Bernie was on his synthesizer and the horns were in full blast. I loved watching Daryl Dixon move as he played, with confidence and grace in his jiving moves.

At this moment, and many other moments throughout the night, I realized how desperately I wish there had been a taper present. I was sad for everyone outside of this little hole-in-the-wall venue. They were missing this great show. Bernie turns to the Rhodes, called out to The Chop Horns and Will Bernard charged through on his guitar. This was a spectacular funky ending to an otherwise wonderful jazz performance touched by a funk god!

When the show was over, everyone was on their feet. This was both completely unexpected and expected at the same time. I was blown away over the quality of sound, the quality of music but at the same time, I knew this was going to be special and that is why I was here.


1)  Take A Train
2)  Killer Joe
3)  Aqua De Beber
4)  Take Five
5)  You're My Thrill
6)  All The Things You Are
7)  Bye Bye Blackbird
8)  Moon River
9)  Watermelon Man

Thursday Jazz: McCoy Tyner

Words By Zach Zeidner


McCoy Tyner can easily be hailed as one of the most influential Jazz pianists of all time, his contributions to the hard-bop and post-bop world are innumerable. His intricate work on the piano with his left hand creating dominant countermelodies that rightfully compliment the right hand work proves to be quite astonishing. McCoy Tyner began playing piano at the age of thirteen where he cited bebop pianist Bud Powell as his main influence. In his early career he played with a Benny Golson and Art Farmer in Jazztet. Eventually he left to become a consistent player for John Coltrane’s quartet that included Elvin Jones on drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass. Tyner played and toured extensively with Coltrane until 1965 when he left to pursue his solo career. Tyner explained how Coltrane’s work had become too atonal and free due to his hardcore involvement in the avant-garde movement for him to contribute anything worthwhile to the music; as a result Tyner felt the need to create his own projects. Tyner went on to record a number of post-bop albums that established him as a forefront of innovation in the post-bop world.

In 1974 McCoy Tyner played two shows, one on August 31st and one on September 1st, at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco, CA. These shows proved to be astounding demonstrations of Tyner’s incredible improvisational abilities on originals as well as standards. The album begins with an 18 minute long piece that begins with bells and gongs as if to evoke a meditational ambiance. Tyner comes in with a beautiful solo as the percussion builds and builds. The dream-like atmosphere created in the opening piece allows for reminiscence to the work of John Coltrane. Immediately the saxophone work of Azar Lawrence conjures up images of Coltrane’s post 1965 works that included free improvisation and intense spacial exploration. As soon as it gets too spacey, Guilherme Franco drops the percussion and almost in immediate succession, Wilbey Fletcher drops a driving bop drum line that pushes the tune. Jonny Booth responds with intense walking bass lines on the upright and creates a perpetual motion in the piece that seems to increase with time. Tyner seems to lullaby the whole tune as he acts as the dominating force of the rhythm section as he lines up tightly with Fletcher on drums. This tune explores the lavish improvisational abilities of each musician as they demonstrate their virtuosity and undeniable talent and prove they have the chops to keep up with a dominant pianist like Tyner. The standards on the album “In A Sentimental Mood” and “My One And Only Love” allow for the band to slow down a bit and demonstrate their incredible precision abilities on their instruments as they explore the range of the their talent in a ballad atmosphere. Each song creates a Coltrane-like ambiance that demonstrates the immense amount of influence John Coltrane had on McCoy Tyner while they played together. These live recordings are nothing but astonishing and will leave you bewildered and give you a intense sudden urge to obtain McCoy Tyner’s entire discography. Enjoy!

Purchase McCoy Tyner's Atlantis on

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Zach Deputy 1.22.11

Words By Chris Cundari

Bringin' the soul to the 706!
The Bad Manor in Athens, GA

The night was young and a cool breeze flew freely throughout the streets of downtown Athens. There was an elevated sense of solace in the air as Zach Deputy approached the stage @ The Bad Manor. I spoke with him briefly before the show, about different gear questions and his upcoming dates on the road. Zach was very kind and appreciative of the coverage of the show, and couldn't wait to get down!

His set started around 10:45, with his unique and eccentric set up gracing the stage. The crowd was very strange to say the least. About 30 people crowded the stage as Zach's set began. As the night progressed, about 150-200 people ended up getting down to the sweet sounds of Zach's overdubs. Always a high energy show, Zach layed down funky 70's-esque bass lines, beautiful guitar melodies, and his calypso-island infused drum beats to soothe the ears of the listeners. From start to finish, the show was immaculate.

Zach displayed great musicianship throughout the whole show, with that good hearted southern drawl he carries. The setlist was very danceable throughout, and he threw in some pretty crazy teases absorbed into his set. Being a looper myself, its always a pleasure learning from someone so accomplished and great with what they do on stage, so I was very appreciative and supportive of his set.

Zach Deputy Live at The Bad Manor on January 22, 2011. <--- Direct Archive Link


Put It In The Boogie
Sweet Rene
Out Of Change
Be Yourself
Butter You Up
Crosstown Lover
Don't Treat Me This Way
Into The Morning
First Tubesteak


Twisty Twisty

Highlights of the show for me were Sweet Rene, Sanctuary, Butter You Up, and Twisty Twisty.

Phenomenal show to say the least, and I can't wait to catch Zach again soon!

Chris' Photo Gallery From The Show

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Keller & The Keels 1.15.11

Words & Photos By J-man

Aggie Theatre; Ft. Collins, CO

Looper and solo artist Keller Williams joined forces with picking duo The Keels for a night of music at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins, Colorado. I have seen Keller countless times over the course of the past eight years of my life. In the beginning I was a big Keller fan. I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness of what Keller did as a musician. His odd chord formations along side his quirky lyrical arrangements sucked me in. Year after year I would see Keller playing the same songs, with the same chords and same antics. His loops seemed to remain unchanged as the years progressed. I slowly lost interest in Keller's projects, until I saw Keller & The Keels.

Guitar slinger and flat picking guru Larry Keel has been pleasing die hard bluegrass/string fans for years. Along side his wife Jenny on bass, they create a really full and developed sound and draw an almost cult like following. I have enjoyed just about everything that I have heard from the Keels. Initially when I heard Keller would be joined by the Keels, I grew excited by the thought of Keller having to rise to the occasion. The first time I saw him with the Keels, my theory was proven to be correct and together they achieved something special.

That cold night we arrived at The Aggie Theatre to a line down the block. We stood in line and I thought back to seeing Keller in the early part of the decade. His crowd seems to stay young as the years pass. It seemed to me that most folks were there to see Keller. A higher than usual ticket price reminded us that it was a Keller show.

We stepped into the packed theatre just as the show began. As the lights went down I became excited for what was to come. It began with Larry and Jenny getting to it on their respected instruments. Keller entered on the electronic drum pad/machine. The first jam had a lot of energy and the Fort Collins crowd was fired up. As the set list unfolded, it seemed to be one goofy song after another. I like to have fun, but for me the focus is on musicianship. Their songs began to reveal an almost universal formula. It would go intro, verse, chorus, Larry solo, verse, chorus, jam, end.

Within the first few songs I became bored, only to be rescued from boredom by Larry's guitar solo. At one point Keller sang a song about pigeons pooping on the Kings of Leon. I wondered what I was doing at the Aggie theatre. Then the moment I was hoping for, Larry played my favorite of his songs "Mountain Song". I was completely captivated. With the end of "Mountain Song" came the return of goofy folk based speedy tunes.

I turned to my party to see my reaction reflected on all of their faces. Just over an hour into the show, we exited the Aggie Theatre and wandered into the brisk Colorado night...

Check out J-man's Photo Gallery From The Show

Alibi Thursdays at the Elbow Room (Ypsilanti, MI)

Words By Stevie Tee

If you think that it costs $25 or more to see professional class, internationally touring DJs you have been misled by the current generation of rock star DJs. Far from the fabled lost city of rave that is Detroit and just outside of the cultural vibrancies of Ann Arbor, every Thursday at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti, MI the Alibi Crew puts on a show that is free before 11 PM or only 2 or 3 bucks any time after. Don’t let the price tag fool you; some of the finest Drum ‘n’ Bass and Jungle mixing in the entire country is going down. That’s right. Ypsilanti, Michigan’s most notorious local band dive bar puts on free music that packs clubs and festival crowds in Europe, Canada and other electronic music centric regions. Let’s talk about some of the artists involved who make up the Alibi Crew.

Some of the resident artists in the Alibi Crew include MC Teddy and DJs Sinistarr and The Vanisher. The Vanisher is a drum ‘n’ bass and jungle DJ and producer who often warms up the audience. The Vanisher has been on many other line ups all over Ann Arbor and Detroit at drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep and other bass-oriented electronic music shows. MC Teddy is the man with the microphone running around the bar all night. Teddy will find his way into Vanisher’s and Sinistarr’s sets very organically, sometimes delivering verses from in the audience. His MC skills really bring an authentic Jungle sound to the whole evening’s performances and he’s also very likely to introduce himself to you if you run into him throughout the course of the evening. This brings us to one remaining name, DJ Sinistarr. This Michigan-native has had Hospital Records and Metalheadz among his label affiliates, has been interviewed for BBC radio, played Detroit Electronic Music Festival this year and has put out original tracks on a laundry list of different labels. He’s been mixing anywhere from clubs to friend’s house parties for the last ten years or maybe more and it definitely shows when you go watch this man mix vinyl. He also focuses on Drum ‘n’ Bass and Jungle, but his sets will often encompass more 2-step, garage and hip-hop rhythms or tracks. Deep, heavy, polyrhythmic and syncopated beyond all normal recognition are words that describe Sinistarr’s sound and how his sound is different from most Drum ‘n’ Bass DJs these days. We’ll be interviewing Sinistarr soon and hopefully getting an exclusive mix. This Thursday will host special guest local DJ Tailor Hawkins.

Sinistarr’s Mix for DrumnbassTV Podcast

Sinistarr’s Soundcloud Page

Vanisher Facebook Page

New mix from Tailor Hawkins

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jamband Spotlight: Phil Lesh & Friends

Words by Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

Phil Lesh and Friends is an ensemble featuring Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh alongside a ever-rotating cast of tremendously skilled musicians. Since its inception on September 24th, 1994, Lesh’s projects have consistently put out the best performances from the post-Grateful Dead era. Today, we highlight two separate Phil Lesh and Friend’s series of concerts from The Warfield Theater in San Francisco. When listening to the performances, one can notice the amount of freedom each member has been given by Lesh with regards to interpreting Grateful Dead music. By allowing his bandmates to explore the music using their own styles of playing, Lesh expands on the work of the Grateful Dead while holding true to the ideals of improvisational American music culture. Even to this day at age 70, Phil continues to give everything he can during his performances, and we all should be grateful for the time, energy, and love he has committed to making our own musical journeys a little bit brighter each day. We hope you enjoy!

Warfield Run #1 - April 15-17, 1999

Phil Lesh and Friends Live at Warfield Theater on April 15, 1999.

Phil Lesh and Friends Live at Warfield Theater on April 16, 1999.

Phil Lesh and Friends Live at Warfield Theater on April 17, 1999.

Phil Lesh (bass, vocals)
Trey Anastasio (guitar, vocals)Page McConnell (keyboards, vocals)John Molo (drums)Steve Kimock (guitar)Donna Jean Godchaux (vocals)

Warfield Run #2 - December 17-19, 2004

Phil Lesh and Friends Live at Warfield Theater on December 17, 2004.

Phil Lesh and Friends Live at Warfield Theater on December 18, 2004.

Phil Lesh and Friends Live at Warfield Theater on December 19, 2004.

Phil Lesh (bass, vocals)John Molo (drums)Jimmy Herring (electric guitar, acoustic guitar)Chris Robinson (vocals, acoustic guitar)Barry Sless (guitar, pedal steel)Steve Molitz (keyboards)