Bromberg Plays Hendrix: Remastered

A half century after his tragic death, Jimi Hendrix remains cemented in place near the top of anyone’s list of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. So why would anyone decided to pay tribute to the iconic axe-man on a full album without a single guitar? The virtuosic bassist and world-renowned producer Brian Bromberg tackled that audacious challenge on his 2012 album “Bromberg Plays Hendrix”, a blistering homage on which Bromberg’s fretless and piccolo basses stand in for the original’s fleet fretwork. Joined only by the in-demand drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Bromberg summoned a whirlwind of sound from his four- and five-string arsenal to craft a smoldering set of classics in keeping with Hendrix’s exploratory spirit. A decade after its recording, the album remains dizzying in the virtuosity and visceral power of its musicianship and passion. Brian was happy with the original version of the CD, but after a big studio upgrade and new equipment he wanted to jump back into the project and do a remix/remaster to make the project sound as good as he felt it deserved to sound. On September 18, 2020 a newly remixed and remastered edition will be released digitally by Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group.

I had the complete honor of discussing the newly remixed and remastered edition of this epic album with Mr. Bromberg. We got into how the original ideas took shape to make this sort of thing a reality. The absolutely attempt to not try and sound like Jimi Hendirx…because…well…how could anyone, nevermind a bass player. We dive into the heart and soul of how these songs work from the perspective of a listeners, the players behind them as well as someone like me, who likes to get it into people’s ears for the first time. When you or I listen to these songs, there will be that sense of familiar with a head twist to the different, I think it only adds to the already greatness of the music we know and allows something that has been there for us through so many days, into us in a newly imagined way. And With that, Mr. Bromberg and I talk a bit about the changes that were made in his new state of the art studio to make an album you already want to crank up, worthy of going to 11 or 12 on the volume knob. Wee…turn it up man. And what is this about a holiday album…just listen all the way through our chat to find out.

Rez Abbasi’s Django-Shift

Guitarist and composer Rez Abbasi is among a rare breed of artists that continue to push boundaries while preserving the traditions he has embraced. Consistently placing on DownBeat’s International Critics Poll alongside luminaries (friend of this proGram) Mr. Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny since 2014, he continues to forge new ground with his many multi-dimensional projects. He has established an enviable reputation over the course of fifteen albums as leader and years of touring internationally: not simply as one of the finest guitarists of his generation, but also as a musical alchemist with the ability to parlay his continent-crossing range of influences into consistently fresh and innovative compositions and reframings of the tradition. His deep musicality has been applied with equal conviction to contemporary New York acoustic jazz, the Qawwali and Indian Classical traditions of South Asia and the heady fusion sounds of the 1970s, each time applying the filter of his own musical personality to deliver inimitable results. Commissioned in 2019 to present a project on Django Reinhardt by the Freight & Salvage’s Django Festival in California, Rez boldly redefined his engagement by turning the focus away from Django, the codifier of the Sinti guitar vocabulary, and onto Django, the composer.

I had the pleasure of discussion the wonderful new release, “Django-Shift” which was released on August 28th via Whirlwind Recordings with Rez. First off, I always love when the artists I speak with is as energized by the conversation as I am. I could feel that energy when Rez picked up the call. We dive into how the album went from a moment of “Sure, I can play that gig”, to that eureka moment when he realized this should become a project. We talk how it he arranged the pieces for a contemporary trio featuring Neil Alexander on organ and electronics and Michael Sarin on drums. The results offer a fascinating and unique insight into an often overlooked aspect of Django’s genius, his skill as a composer. I think you’ll find that this conversation will lead you to want to give this album a bunch of listens, but it also may assist in opening your ear into the different avenues of many artists you think you love already…that desire to know more about the sound, the style the person or people is something I think Rez’s music, whether this album or one from the past does, it leaves that welcome mat out in from of the house…just knock.

Listening To The Music with Zephaniah OHora

Zephaniah OHora is a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and a pillar of the burgeoning New York City Country-Western music community. Beginning in 2013, he served as frontman and vocalist for Honeyfingers. It was here, through two years and hundreds of performances featuring the music of Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Marty Robbins and others, that Zephaniah’s own musical vision began to come into focus. It was also during this time that he befriended fellow Honeyfingers collaborator Jim Campilongo. A series of conversations between the two revealed a mutual love for the Truck Drivin’ Country of Red Simpson, Del Reeves, and Dave Dudley. A few impromptu rehearsals later and The 18 Wheelers were born. Initially serving as a great excuse to play their favorite trucker anthems and country classics, The 18 Wheelers soon evolved into a showcase for Zephaniah’s original material. Assimilating a world-class band of musicians and a dozen songs that harken back to the golden age of country music, his debut album, ‘This Highway’ is an album that gives a reverent nod to the past before blazing a brand new interstate through the gridlock of contemporary country. By combining the brash edge of Bakersfield and the slick sonority of the Nashville Sound, Zephaniah Ohora with the help of The 18 Wheelers have forged a new brand all their own. ‘This Highway’ is a modern classic and a tribute to American Music. Fast forward to 2020 and we have a new album to dive into.

I had the chance to catch up with Zephaniah to talk about his new release ‘Listening To The Music’. We get into how the album went from songs he had written well before they were set into an album form, choosing a producer (friend of this proGram Neal Casal) that would take him out of his comfort zone and bring out some new things from within himself and we even let Zephaniah choose one of the new tracks and give us a clue as to some music that would go well with it in a setlist. When talking about our brother Neal, we get into a great story about the title track and how it went from not quite where it should be, into a real cool place that served the song perfectly.

The Reservoir by Kenny Roby

Kenny Roby knew from the start there would be a lot to say for his first solo album in seven years, the emotionally and musically expansive “The Reservoir”. So much had changed in his world and the world at large since his stately 2013 LP, “Memories & Birds”, an exquisite reflection on the experiences and apprehensions of crossing over 40. Kenny was now 48. He had been sober for half his adult life. Both his kids, somehow suddenly in their 20s, had left home. After more than two decades together, he and his wife had decided, rather amicably, to separate and try something else. Kenny’s band 6 String Drag—an iconic alt-country unit who were signed to Steve Earle’s record label and helped shape that very term as young North Carolina men in the ’90s—had reunited for runs of spirited shows and a barreling, but wise rock ’n’ roll record, 2018’s Top of the World. And then, of course, there was the wider social upheaval of the last decade, the feeling that all the progress Kenny had seen in his lifetime was in sudden peril. That was plenty to process for a dozen songs, right? Neal Casal thought so. The band met for a week in Woodstock in mid-October for sessions that were swift and natural. Kenny had culled 25 songs into 16, and the band captured many of them in only a few takes in the same room, with Kenny singing live as they played. They sound like a veteran ensemble on “The Reservoir”, with each of these numbers settling into deep and natural grooves. These tunes collectively summon the wealth of his experience, as a human being and as a musician.

I had the chance to catch up with Kenny t talk about the ins and out of the new album to be released August 7th on Royal Potato Family. We got into how the album took it’s shape from the beGinning moments of sharing out demos to trusted ears. We discuss in depth how our pal, Mr. Neal Casal (Rest peacefully) made it clear he wanted to be a part of these stories in one way or another…and how in any and every situation, it’s about being in the service of the songs. By the end of out talk, Kenny chose one track off the new album he would build a set around and his accompany tunes he’s pair off it made me want to try that set out on my home stereo. The album has a reason and I can feel why Neal was sure of it.

Photo by Gary Waldman.

Bettye LaVette: Blackbirds

2020 Blues Hall Of Fame inductee Bettye LaVette is a native of Detroit. Her first recording in 1962, at the age of sixteen, was on Atlantic Records. She later charted with such singles as “He Made A Woman Out Of Me” and “Do Your Duty,” Since then she has recorded ten albums. Her most recent album Things Have Changed, also produced by Steve Jordan (John Mayer, Keith Richards), was released on Verve in 2018 and received two GRAMMY nominations, which brings her total Grammy nominations to five. Her latest release, “Blackbirds,” features songs primarily popularized by some of her peers, other iconic black women in music, who she personally respected and admired. Set for release August 28, the album finds Bettye in top form delivering powerful renditions of songs that touched her personally. It also re-unites her with legendary producer Steve Jordan and Verve Records. From Dinah Washington’s “Drinking Again,” Nina Simone’s “I Hold No Grudge,” Nancy Wilson’s “Save Your Love For Me” and more, all delivered in Bettye’s rich and raspy tone with a touch of the blues.

After having a chance to chat with Bettye a couple of years ago and hanging out with her backstage, we were like two peas in a soul sharing pod. Which made this time around even better. We talk about how this album came together, working with a producer that has the same ear and the tunes that make up this walk down music history lane. We spend a good amount of time talking about the timeliness of the song, “Strange Fruit” as social upheaval takes over the news cycles once again in the United States and beyond. This track says as much about the history of American racism and the state of the country today. The song was originally recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 and written by Jewish teacher Abel Meeropol who wrote the song based on a photo of two black men who were lynched as a crowd of white people looked in the camera pointing and smiling. This album is one that can help bring a little focus on the way things were and still are in many ways, but I believe it also holds some of the keys to unlocking the new realities many want to see within the space of equality and justice…while honoring the people who helped build the bridge that led Bettye as a whole person to where she is today. The music joins the times of then to the times of now, and if you never knew…..just grab an earful.

Swallow Tales With Steve Swallow

Friend of the proGram, John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, aply titled “Swallow Tales” – made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019. John was a 20-year-old student at Berklee when he first met and played with bassist Swallow, and they have continued ever since, in many different contexts. “I love these songs”, says Scofield of the selection of Swallow compositions explored here – a broad range including tunes that have become standards, as well as some lesser-known works. The rapport between Scofield and Swallow is evident in every moment. John: “Sometimes when we play it’s like one big guitar, the bass part and my part together.” Behind the drum kit, Bill Stewart is alert to all the implications of the interaction. “What Bill does is more than ‘playing the drums,'” Scofield says. “He’s a melodic voice in the music, playing counterpoint, and comping, while also swinging really hard.” The guitarist himself plays with fire and invention throughout: “These two giants bring out the best in me.” Swallow’s compositions, John notes, “make perfect vehicles for improvisation. The changes are always interesting – but not too interesting! They’re grounded in reality with cadences that make sense. They’re never just intellectual exercises, and they’re so melodic. They’re all songs, rather than ‘pieces’. They could all be sung.”

I had the honor of chatting with Mr. Steve Swallow about the way this album (out now on ECM Records), came together, from start to finish. We get into the way the three “generations” got to the working part of this piece of art. Talking with Mr. Swallow was a learning reminder of how things are born into change. Hearing him talk about how he had to wear a bassist hat rather than the person who brought these tunes into the world originally was just thrilling. Hearing a little of that mentor pride is his voice as he speaks about the way Mr. Scofield goes after it when making music, especially this music was equally ear-opening for me. As someone who loves to share these sounds with others and weave them into little neighborhoods over the airwaves, it is moments like this, getting a little mind-time with the artist(s) that reminds me why pushing those buttons and twisting those knobs is an important part of getting the entire story out there on behalf of these creators. Take a moment, and be in the room with Mr. Swallow and I.

Talking Change With Wadada Leo Smith

Trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist and composer Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most boldly original and influential artists of his time. Transcending the bounds of genre or idiom, he distinctly defines his music, tirelessly inventive in both sound and approach, as “Creative Music.” For the last five decades, Smith has been a member of the legendary AACM collective, pivotal in its wide-open perspectives on music and art in general. He has carried those all-embracing concepts into his own work, expanding upon them in myriad ways. Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized for his groundbreaking body of work. A finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, he received the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and earned an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was also celebrated as Faculty Emeritus. In addition, he received the Hammer Museum’s 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement “honoring brilliance and resilience.” In 2018 he received the Religion and The Arts Award from the American Academy of Religion. Smith has released more than 50 albums as a leader on labels including ECM, Moers, Black Saint, Tzadik, Pi Recordings, TUM, Leo and Cuneiform. His diverse discography reveals a recorded history centered around important issues that have impacted his world, exploring the social, natural and political environment of his times with passion and fierce intelligence. His recent recording is 2019’s Rosa Parks: Pure Love, an Oratorio of Seven Songs. His 2016 recording, America’s National Parks earned a place on numerous best of the year lists including the New York Times, NPR Music and many others. Smith’s landmark 2012 civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was called “A staggering achievement [that] merits comparison to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme in sobriety and reach.” Writing about Smith’s 2017 album Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk in the New York Review of Books, Adam Shatz notes: “For all the minimalism of his sound, Smith has turned out to be a maximalist in his ambitions, evolving into one of our most powerful storytellers, an heir to American chroniclers like Charles Ives and Ornette Coleman.”

This Legendary composer and trumpeter is now featured on Deerhoof’s new live album To Be Surrounded By Beautiful, Curious, Breathing, Laughing Flesh Is Enough, available as a Bandcamp exclusive from July 3rd, 2020 via Joyful Noise Recordings. Deerhoof is in peak form on the album, which culminates in a thrilling five-song collaborative set with Mr. Smith as part of New York City’s Winter Jazzfest at Le Poisson Rouge. All album proceeds will benefit Black Lives Matter. We get into the making of the music and how the feelings of it translate from then to now, but also how the live set transforms moments in time and brings the listener to that ten, right now. We get deep into the movement and making real change. REAL CHANGE. Whether it’s the man, the music, that band or the movement, this all works so well for that change and I hope this conversation helps lead you to a new space in time, toGether.

Check out the album here.

Como De Allstars with Robert Walter

“Como De Allstars” is the title track from a surprise Greyboy Allstars studio album which dropped July 3. Self-described boogaloo revivalists, the band’s first new music in seven years captures a relentless Caribbean funk groove buoyed by an inspired message of unity: “Surviving in a bitter world…divided, confused by the states…united, come on friends we’re gonna make it brighter.” The quintet initially formed in 1994 to provide a live band alternative to the rare groove DJs who were spinning records from the dusty catalogs of labels like Blue Note and Prestige, as well as, the lighter funk of English acid jazzers playing to loops and samples. Comprised by saxophonist Karl Denson, guitarist Elgin Park, organist Robert Walter, bassist Chris Stillwell and drummer Aaron Redfield, Greyboy Allstars debuted with the revelatory and electrifying LP, ‘West Coast Boogaloo,’ featuring James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley as a special guest. Coinciding with the band’s forthcoming new album, reissue label Light In The Attic Records will deliver a fresh pressing of the long out of print ‘West Coast Boogaloo’ on August 7. Greyboy Allstars have slowed their recording and touring schedule down considerably over the years as demand has grown for individual members in other capacities: Mike Andrews (aka Elgin Park) is renowned for his film scores, including most recently ‘The King of Staten Island,’ Karl Denson tours as the saxophonist in The Rolling Stones, as well as his own Tiny Universe, Robert Walter plays keys for Phish bassist Mike Gordon and fronts his own ensemble 20th Congress, while rhythm section Chris Stillwell and Aaron Redfield are in demand sessions players whose resumes stretch from Elton John to Charli XCX. The magic between the five musicians returns instantly, however, when reunited—as ‘Como De Allstars’ so convincingly displays.

I had a chance to catch up with Robert Walter to talk about the new album and the re-issue of one of my favorite Greyboy albums. We do some comparing and contrasting, diggin’ into a few tracks and the growth of the players and the band, and just how it is they are able to get all the cylinders firing as if they never skipped a beat. We learn a little about what Robert has been doing with his “lockdown” time, kids…don’t be surprised it has everything to do with fundamentals and we build a set-list toGether which will lead the listeners to want him there more than they want me. I have to admit, Robert is one of those players for me that when I hear him, I know it is him and my joy level instantly rises. Just like when I tune into this new release.

Blues Comin’ On with Joe Louis Walker

Joe Louis Walker is one of the greatest bluesmen of his generation. He is a four-time Blues Music Award winner and 2013 Blues Hall of Fame inductee who has appeared on multiple Grammy-winning albums. He is known worldwide as one of the genre’s top musical trailblazers—a mesmerizing guitarist and soul-testifying vocalist. The New York Times raves, “Walker is a singer with a Cadillac of a voice. He delivers no-nonsense, gutsy blues. His guitar solos are fast, wiry and incisive, moaning with bluesy despair.” Rolling Stone simply calls him “ferocious.” Billboard writes: “His playing blows all over the map…gutbucket blues, joyous gospel, Rolling Stones-style rock crunch, and aching R&B. Walker’s guitar playing is fine and fierce.”. Joe won the 2016 Blues Foundation Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year award at the Blues Foundation Awards ceremony in Memphis. The Blues Music Awards are universally recognized as the highest accolade afforded blues music performers. The annual Blues Music Awards ceremony is the premier event for blues professionals, musicians, and fans from all over the world.

I had the chance to catch up with this living leGend to talk abut his brand new album, “Blues Comin’ On” out on Cleopatra Records. We got into the how the album went from an idea, a few lines of a poem to the moments of now when I prepare to give the listeners a deep dive in. It is always nice to be able to see backwards with an artists on how they became the person they are, the shapes and molds that they took on along the way, and Joe and I discuss how he became such an open-eared and open-minded artists. Real cool stuff. Just like the new album, there’s more to it then the blues, but he is truly one of the fine-tuners of that blues language.

Blues For A King With Shirley King

It’s not always easy being the child of a legend. Being the blues-singing daughter of the great Mr. B.B. King has earned Shirley King, B.B.’s eldest daughter, the title “Daughter of the Blues.” She takes the notoriety in stride because she is an outstanding singer and performer in her own right and capable of singing any kind of music that comes her way. Shirley’s newest and best album yet, Shirley King: Blues for a King, was released on Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records on Friday, June 19. From traditional blues to gospel to funky R&B to smooth soul, Shirley defies genre and her singing and stage antics never fails to excite her growing number of fans worldwide.

I had the pleasure, and I mean it was a hoot to catch up with Shirley recently to talk about the creation of the new album. She sings the praises of Cleopatra Records who knew she could…and she did. We talk about some of the song selections and how some of them were even a big surprise to her. She reflected back on some of the advice her leGend of a father gave her, and we even find time to hear a few life lessons learned through experience and being the daughter of Mr. B.B. King. Shirley remembers heading to Madison and playing one of our main Blues festivals some years ago and how she’d love to get back and do it again as a headliner. After people check out this new album, I am sure once the path is cleared, many of the doors like that will open right up. I have to say, it is always great to catch up with the cool people, but you’ll want to listen to this whole chat to understand the fun that Shirley brings to all she does.

Big Smoke With Five Alarm Funk

Five Alarm Funk is a horn-powered, percussion-fueled sonic and visual assault. Over seventeen years of hard funking the band has burned up stages on four continents, released six studio albums and received two Juno Award nominations. And this ride isn’t about to slow down, they just released their 7th studio album, Big Smoke today. The eleven tracks get right to the roots of what Five Alarm Funk is all about: epic, intense arrangements, heavy groove and a ton of fun. For all the honing of their studio craft, the the groups epic live shows is still what defines the band. The sweat-drenched concerts are infused with an intense spirit of fun that breaks down barriers between band and audience and moves both into a manic dance party. Wild costumes, props, and choreography complement the seriously tight arrangements and genre-mashing grooves. That live show has taken Five Alarm Funk on dozens of North American coast to coast tours, performing at over 100 festivals in the last three years alone. The band has also begun to break ground abroad, with performances in Taiwan, Mexico, and a performance for international peacekeeping forces in Mali.

I had a chance to catch up with drummer, vocalist, and band leader Tayo Branston to talk about this latest release, Big Smoke out now on Ropeadope Sur. We get into the seed to flower of the new collection of tunes, how it came to have both the leGend, Bootsy Collins and Leo P of Too Many Zooz appear on the record and what’s the what as we await a clearer path through this current pandemic. To me, as we find ourselves in a new world, this is just the type of sound and groove to help us all meet on the virtual funk bridge and “shake that thang” a bit.

Rolling Stone: Life And Death Of Brian Jones

Dudeski/Chip Baker Films is proud to announce the official release date of their latest project “Rolling Stone Life and Death of Brian Jones”, a Danny Garcia film. It is the first documentary about the founder and original leader of The Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone Life and Death of Brian Jones is the 5th acclaimed music documentary for Spanish filmmaker Danny Garcia. His other releases include “The Rise and Fall of The Clash”; “Looking for Johnny”, about New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders; “Sad Vacation”, a film chronicling the final months in New York City of the Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious & his girlfriend Nancy Spungen and Danny’s most recent release “Stiv: No Compromise, No Regrets” about Stiv Bators, legendary frontman of the iconic Ohio band the Dead Boys and The Lords of the New Church.

Film Background:

In the mid 1960s, Brian Jones emerged as “the face” and poster boy of the Bohemian Swingin’ London scene, topping the charts with The Rolling Stones and dating model/actress Anita Pallenberg. However, his excessive lifestyle and his reputation as “the original bad boy of Rock & Roll” was to cost him dearly. As the scene descended into the acid ridden year of 1967 so did Brian. Targeted by the authorities and media, he spiraled out of control, losing both Anita and the respect of the Stones. Two years later, Brian was found at the bottom of his swimming pool, the verdict: death by misadventure. During the last 50 years many theories have emerged, claiming that Brian was murdered and that it was covered up at high level, as this film discovers – the evidence for this is extremely compelling.

I had the chance to catch up with filmmaker, Danny Garcia about the project to get a sense of what prompted him to want to revisit the mysteries and confusion behind the death of Brian Jones. There is so much more to this film than that, but after watching the film, my eyes and ears have been opened up in a much different way. If you’re into the Stones, music culture, mystery and questioning authority….might I suggest you find a way to check it out. The film was released June 12th, 2020 on DVD by MVD Entertainment Group and will be available thru the following streaming services: Amazon/Dish Network/Films Media Group/Google Play/Night Flight/Sling/Xbox/Vimeo

Here is a link to the film’s trailer

Fred Hersch Live At The Village Vanguard

A select member of jazz’s piano pantheon, Fred Hersch is an influential creative force who has shaped the music’s course over more than three decades. A fifteen-time Grammy nominee, Hersch has long set the standard for expressive interpretation and inventive creativity. A revered improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator and recording artist, Hersch has been proclaimed “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade” by Vanity Fair, “an elegant force of musical invention” by The L.A. Times, and “a living legend” by The New Yorker. For decades Hersch has been firmly entrenched as one of the most acclaimed and captivating pianists in modern jazz, whether through his exquisite solo performances, as the leader of one of jazz’s era-defining trios, or in eloquent dialogue with his deeply attuned duo partners. His brilliant 2017 memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly, was named one of 2017’s Five Best Memoirs by the Washington Post and The New York Times.

Mr Hersch’s latest project:

Esperanza Spalding & Fred Hersch: Live at the Village Vanguard – Rough Mix EP, the five-song EP from visionary vocalist, bassist and songwriter Esperanza Spalding and iconic pianist/ composer Fred Hersch. They released the EP on Friday, May 29 exclusively for download through Bandcamp, with all proceeds benefiting the Jazz Foundation of America’s efforts to assist members of the jazz community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A live rough mix with no edits, the EP will be available for purchase only through the end of June 2020. It’s available for a minimum of $17, with additional donations encouraged on a pay-what-you-wish basis. Purchase the album here: https://esperanzaspaldingfredhersch.bandcamp.com.

I had the honor of chatting with Mr. Hersch shortly after the new EP dropped on basecamp about how the original live shows went down. He was quick to point out how different this recording will be for those who are used to hearing Esperanza Spalding playing the bass and doing her thang that-a-way. For these shows and this recording, we are treating to her vocal-stylin’s as the feature. We dive into each track with some story telling and flow, the kinds of things that take a song deeper into us. We talk about the struggles, the real and true struggles for the arts, the artists and the people who enjoy these things in their lives and how going out and getting this new EP treasure is a small step in helping support. Mr. Hersch is kind enough to let us know some of the things he has been doing to stay going in these times…adaptations, technology etc on the new/next moments ahead. Thank you for showing your support for the music you/me/we love.

Wings Of A Jetliner With Nate Lee

Nate Lee is an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning instrumentalist and renowned teacher of private lessons and music camps. The overlapping landscapes of folk, bluegrass, old-time, and new acoustic music offer a wide field to hoe and singer/mandolinist Nate ably covers every bit of that ground. Tuneful lopes, the muscular bounce of ‘grass, the sparkling charm of Grisman-Rice inspired “Dawg” music, and more are all in his comfort zone and he moves between them with uncommon ease. Nate is known as the kind of musician who is able to put his own stamp on whatever he plays and his forthcoming album, “Wings of a Jetliner”, brings that home and is set for independent release June 12 on his own Adverb Records.

I had the chance to take a little time to chat with Nate about “Wings Of A Jetliner”. We got into the parts to the whole when it comes to the band-mates chosen to work with AND the output they came up with. We dissect a couple of tunes and even take a moment to find out which track off the album Nate would choose to build a set around and then what he would add to it from other artists or albums. I could tell right there that he and I would have a blast trying to create set-lists in the moment. “Wings Of A jetliner” is one of those alums that immediately caught my ear (like what a David Grisman sound would do to bend my ear) and not only do I look forward to getting deeper into it, but now I have another artist to bookmark to pay attention to down the line. Check it all out for yourself. Start with out chat.

Sister Dynamite with Alice Bag

Alice Bag is a singer/songwriter, musician, author, artist, educator and feminist. Alice was the lead singer and co-founder of the Bags, one of the first bands to form during the initial wave of punk in Los Angeles. The Alice Bag Band was featured in the seminal documentary on punk rock, The Decline of Western Civilization. Alice went on to perform in other groundbreaking bands, including Castration Squad, Cholita, and Las Tres. She is the author of the critically acclaimed books ‘Violence Girl’ and ‘Pipe Bomb For the Soul.’ Her self-titled 2016 debut album received critical acclaim and was named one of the best albums of 2016 by AllMusic. Her second album, Blueprint, was named one of the Best Albums of 2018 by NPR and the Los Angeles Times. Her 3rd album, Sister Dynamite, was released in April 2020.

I had the honor of checking in with Alice about this brand new album, Sister Dynamite on In The Red Recordings. We get into the creation of, the inspirations behind the sound (including how working with friends of the program, Fea helped direct some of the way she hoped her band could produces/create/be the sounds. That part of the conversation with someone that certainly helped open my musical mind was/is a real treat to get to be apart of. We touch on the who she is right now, and how the others can “eat it” if they don’t like it. As I was letting he know how I think this was a perfect time to release these songs (I meant these songs have great meaning to a listener in THESE moment of THIS now), she put me in my place reminding me that she cannot go out and tour them and get the scene of the music into people’s faces. Madison would love to have her back as soon as possible, I am sure of it. Listen in to find out what song off the new album she’d choose to build a setlist off of and what other bands she’d likely add to that set. I even sneak in a mention of Madison’s own The Hussy and Woodstock NYs The Bobby Lees. Did I mention, LEGEND?

Sister Dynamite, cover art by Gronk. 2020 In The Red Records

Flyin’ Right With Zev Feldman of Resonance Records

Resonance Records is a non-profit jazz record label with a mission. Devoted to preserving jazz & discovering the rising stars of tomorrow. Resonance is a division of the Rising Jazz Stars Foundation, a California 501(c)3 non-profit Corporation created to discover the next jazz stars – passionate, brilliant musicians from around the world. We assist and support them through recording, performance opportunities, and distribution of their art. Every Resonance CD or Video DVD is produced without compromise, to create and preserve our artists’ jazz legacy. Resonance Records was founded in 2007 by George Klabin. Klabin, with over two decades of experience as a producer and audio engineer, has recorded a full spectrum of jazz heavyweights for a wide variety of major labels. These include Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, James Moody, Illinois Jacquet, Keith Jarrett, Albert Ayler, Charles Lloyd, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band and many more. As owner of the legendary New York recording studio Sound Ideas, Klabin was the overseer of sessions for top stars like James Brown and Quincy Jones as well as pure jazz giants such as Sonny Stitt, Tommy Flanagan and Archie Shepp. Today, they are releasing a teaser from the 2019 Nat King Cole boxed set, “Straighten Up and Fly Right – The Best of Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943)”. This Best-of-the-Box digital compilation includes 21 tracks including one a previously-unissued transcription version of “This Side Up” not on the boxed set. 15 of these 21 songs have never been available digitally before in any version.

I had the chance to reconnect with my pal Zev Feldman of Resonance Records about this latest treasure from Resonance. We get into the original 7 CD/10 LP boxed set and some of the efforts of the team that went into its creation and how that helped pump of this latest “Best Of” compilation that comes out today. We discuss the mission of Resonance as a company and the work that he is charged with taking care of (it sounds like my dream job BTW). I am always happy to hear as much as I can (whether in the music or in the story-telling) about Wes Montgomery, so we talk a bit about a couple of projects surrounding him and a few other artists associated with the great work on Resonance. And not only that, but Zev was kind enough to clue us in to some new projects and strategies, sure to please all music lovers out there.

Sam Quartin of The Bobby Lees

The Bobby Lees are a bone-shaking garage rock-n-punk band out of Woodstock NY. Their new record Skin Suit was produced by underground punk rock legend and friend of greenarrowradio, Mr. Jon Spencer of the Blues Explosion (and so many other great bands) and will be released on Alive Naturalsound Records on a new date of June 17th.

In the past year, they’ve opened up for The Chats, The Black Lips, Boss Hog, Shannon & The Clams, The Nude Party, and Murphy’s Law.They will be on tour in the US and Europe throughout 2020. Their sound mixes classic garage-punk hits with raw and emotive storytelling so pay attention, get a head start and find them when you can get out and see for yourself.

Lineup:

Sam Quartin – Vocals/Guitar
Kendall Wind – Bass
Macky Bowman – Drums
Nick Casa – Guitar

I had the chance to catch up with vocalist/guitarist of The Bobby Lees, Sam Quartin about the brand new album. We get into a few of the tracks especially their gritty-ass take on another friend of the proGram, Mister Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man”. We find out how Jon Spencer got involved in this project, and what a story it is and since we cant go see them out live right now, (and they were due in Madison in the Spring) we find out what Sam likes best about the live shows and how they are different form the album and just what it was like opening up for the mighty Murphy’s Law. I have to say, I listen to a lot of music, all styles do it for me and “Skin Suit” is high on top of my listening list, with an “I can’t wait until they make it to Madison still in the very front of my going out mind…or is that going out of my mind?

Jazz Is Dead 001 With Adrian Younge

Adrian Younge is the next generation of soul music. A self-taught musician and recording engineer who has dedicated his life to the study of classic soul music, he finds himself at the center of a new soul renaissance with a vision for pushing the boundaries of the music itself. Beginning in 1998, he taught himself how to play various instruments to fully realize his vision; a soundtrack to a fictional film titled “Venice Dawn.” Recording the album over the course of the next year, he developed a sound that is equal parts Morricone, Air, and Portishead. Self-released in 2000, the moody, synth-drenched album was entirely composed, arranged, played, and recorded by Younge himself. Eight years later, he would find himself at the center of the Black Dynamite phenomenon. Instrumental in the film’s development, he not only edited the film, but also composed the original score, which was hailed as a modern blaxploitation masterpiece, solidifying himself as a force to be reckoned with, composing music for the accompanying cartoon series for Adult Swim. In 2009, he envisioned a new sound that would revisit his earlier, more baroque instrumental work, and mesh it together with the deep, gritty soul of Black Dynamite, releasing material under the moniker Venice Dawn. Something About April (2009) was a heavy, dark mix of psychedelic soul, and cinematic instrumentals, with hip-hop aesthetics. In spring of 2013, he released “Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics” (Wax Poetics Records), cowritten with William Hart, as well as Twelve Reasons to Die, a concept album with Ghostface Killah on RZA’s imprint, Soul Temple. Since then, he has launched his own record label (Linear Labs), and completed work with Souls of Mischief’s, a sequel to Twelve Reasons To Die, and produced albums for Bilal, and A Tribe Called Quest alumn, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, with whom he is in a real dynamic duo “The Midnight Hour” with…as well as a brand new project, Jazz Is Dead.

I had the honor of checking in with Adrian about the latest project Jazz Is Dead (the first album out is a teaser of what’s to come titled simply 001). We dive into the project, the new label associated with it and how the path to working with many jazz legends, whether from the day or in the now has been getting paved. To me, Adrian is an open-minded individual who wants to keep making the best of music that can be had from where it was at a time to how the conversation can be enhanced in the now for the future generations to take with them as they keep building on. It was an honor just to get to listen to this music, so getting a chance to connect with Adrian, a person I see as a visionary and pioneer, to find out more about how it all went down, is going down and what’s to come, was yet another reason why music is the bridge I try to help build.

Across The Universe with Al Di Meola

Al Di Meola‘s ongoing fascination with complex rhythmic syncopation combined with provocative lyrical melodies and sophisticated harmony has been at the heart of his music throughout a celebrated career that has spanned four decades and earned him critical accolades, three gold albums and more than six million in record sales worldwide. A bona fide guitar hero, perennial poll-winner, and prolific composer, he has amassed over 20 albums as a leader while collaborating on a dozen or so others with the likes of the fusion supergroup Return to Forever (with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White), the celebrated acoustic Guitar Trio featuring fellow virtuosos John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, and the Rite of Strings trio with bassist Clarke and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. And while his dazzling technique on both acoustic and electric guitars has afforded him regal status among the hordes of fretboard fanatics who regularly flock to his concerts, the depth of Di Meola’s writing along with the soulfulness and the inherent lyricism of his guitaristic expression have won him legions of fans worldwide beyond the guitar aficionado set. A retrospective of Al Di Meola’s nearly 50 year acclaimed career is expressed through his latest Ear Music release of March 2020 “ACROSS THE UNIVERSE” with his virtuosic arrangements and creative interpretations of 14 Beatles songs with lightning speed electric guitar orchestrations balanced with lavish acoustic arrangements.

I had the honor of scratching off one of those bucket list items while catching up with Mr. Al Di Meola about the new album, “Across The Universe”. We talk about how he turned songs we all know deeply into brand new things, while keeping certain aspects and “Di Meola-fying” other parts. We find out who was harder to work with, Randy Breaker or his daughter and we walk through how “Dear Prudence” went from the one we know into the one that shows up on the new release. I hope you all get to cross off some things you have always hoped to do during these new kind of times, and while you do so, check out this chat and the new album.

The Notorious Burrito Brothers

The Burrito Brothers celebrate an illustrious past while serving up fresh contributions for a bright future. They continue to climb the branches of the “many tall pines” first planted in 1968. Trace the winding paths of Country and Rock & Roll back, you’ll find them there. Anyone who had a heart and ears can tell these guys are world-class musicians and songwriters with one listen. Here they are in the years, carrying on the tradition of classic late-1960s and early ’70s “Hippie Country-Rock” music, expanding its boundaries, always exploring new horizons. Country Rock’s big bang came in Los Angeles in the late ‘60s. In 1968, Ian Dunlop and Barry Tashian started The Flying Burrito Brothers. Then in 1969, with Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman at the helm, the group released their classic first LP, “The Gilded Palace of Sin”. Since then the band has carried on, always evolving. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that classic LP. Gram Parsons’ original vision for the band is still going strong. “I just ran 20 red lights in his honor,” says Chris P James. At the beginning of the 1980s the band moved their base of operations from LA to Nashville. At that point the name was shortened to The Burrito Brothers. The band has remained in Nashville ever since. Now, The Burrito Brothers are right on track with a brand new release that is ready cherish the legacy it was build upon.

I had the chance to catch up with lead singer/keyboardist/harmoicaplayer/songwriter for the band, Chris P. James to discuss the brand new album “The Notorious Burrito Brothers”, released last month on The Store For Music/MVD Entertainment. We dissect the few tracks I intend on sharing with the listeners – which leads into a fascinating story behind one of the tunes (“Sometimes You Just Can’t Win”)that comes with the finding of a Gram Parsons handwritten piece. Chris reminds us of the story of the band’s travels and name/lineup changes through all the years, and that easily ties back into the sound of this new album being a reminder of its epic beGinnings in the late 60’s/early 70’s. This album has that feeling of going back there and either reliving some moments or being able to desire them in the first place.