In September of 2006, Cuneiform Records released two double CD sets of The Microscopic Septet, entitled “Seven Men in Neckties” (The History of the Micros Vol. 1), and “Surrealistic Swing” (The History of the Micros Vol. 2). To commemorate this hysterical event, we are reuniting the Microscopic Septet for a one-time-only tour in November and December of 2006, consisting of a few dates in the Northeastern US and more in Europe. On Wednesday, November 29th, the group will begin the tour in Northampton at the Iron Horse. Phillip Johnston, at the time he started the Microscopic Septet, was an NYU dropout who’d worked in a succession of jazz, rhythm & blues and polka groups in New York and San Francisco. A largely self-taught soprano saxophonist and composer, Johnston’s work in both areas reveals the powerful and positive influence of Steve Lacy. “I was interested in more arranged, compositionally-oriented music …. from within the swing big band jazz tradition,” Johnston recalls, “as opposed to (the conventional jazz) head-solos-head format.” Organizing a group of fellow musicians, he started with a sax section and planned to add brass later. However, he liked the sound of four saxes and three rhythm so much he decided to stick with that. When he originally named the group, “Claude Funston and the Psychic Detectives” it proved too “unwieldy,” he changed it to the “Microscopic Septet,” who played their first “regular gig” at New York’s Ear Inn in 1981.
Listen here for my conversation with Mr. Johnston.
Through the conscious and heartfelt songs composing Solace, the U.S. debut of Australian surf/roots artist Xavier Rudd, thereâ€™s stories of the mistreatment of the indigenous people of his homeland and songs about humanity, spirituality and the environment, compassionate songs encouraging understanding and looking to celebrate life. And running through those songs are all sorts of instruments: guitars, shakers, didgeridoos, Weissenborn slide guitars, Tongue drums, stomp boxes, djembes, harmonica, ankle bells, and slide banjoâ€”and theyâ€™re all played by Rudd. Even more impressive, though, he recreates these songs liveâ€”playing the guitar, didgeridoo and various percussion parts simultaneouslyâ€”using a unique stage set-up that finds him literally surrounded by his various instruments and singing from behind a stand holding three didgeridoos (of different keys). Itâ€™s a sight to behold for sure, one thatâ€™s drawn him a â€œone-man bandâ€ label from impressed critics, a tag that makes him grin: â€œI never really planned all the stuff I have around me. I never sat down one day and said, â€˜Iâ€™m going to have all these things around me and Iâ€™m gonna try to use it all at once.â€™ It just sort of grew. I would just add things here or there. Sometimes I look at my setup now and I laugh.â€
Listen to our brief conversation here.
HAZMAT MODINE draws from the rich soil of American music of the 20’s and 30’s through to the 50’s and early 60’s, blending elements of early Blues, Hokum Jugband, Swing, Klezmer, New Orleans R & B, and Jamaican Rocksteady. The band is fronted by two harmonicas which use call and response, harmony, melody, and syncopated interweaving rhythms. The band includes tuba, guitar, and percussion, claviola and Hawaiian steel guitar. The band’s sound reflects musical influences ranging from Avant-garde Jazz to Rockabilly and Western Swing to Middle-Eastern, African, and Hawaiian musical styles. Wade Schuman plays Diatonic Harmonica, Guitar, Banjitar and is lead vocals. If you are not aware of Hazmat Modine or the Album BAHAMUT, I encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to Wade and I talking about the mighty manifestation known as HAZMAT MODINE.
Listen here to our conversation.
I was fortunate enough to get the chance to talk with Mr. Grisman as he was busy at work in his studio. We had a conversation revolving around music and the idea of individual style and form. The names Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis are thrown around with Stephane Grappelli and one mention of Jerome Garcia. David Grisman started his musical career in 1963 as a member of The Even Dozen Jug Band. His nickname, “Dawg” was affectionately assigned by his close friend Jerry Garcia (the two met at a Van Hoy Campground (NC) back when they used to host the old time fiddlers convention). “Dawg Music” is what he calls his mixture of bluegrass and Django Reinhardt–StÃ©phane Grappelli-influenced jazz, as highlighted on his 1977 album “Hot Dawg“. Stephane Grappelli played on a couple of tracks on the Hot Dawg album and then the 1981 recording “Stephane Grappelli and David Grisman Live“. It was his early fusions with Reinhardt-era Jazz that led to the formation of the genre known as newgrass. Grisman, along with New Grass Revival are generally considered the modern day Bill Monroes to this new bluegrass-influenced sound. Bonnie Raitt‘s album, Sweet Forgiveness features Grisman on mandocello throughout the album.
Check out our conversation here.
The Easy Star All-Stars are a collective family of some of the finest reggae musicians in the New York area. The band features a rotating cast drawn from a talented pool of players, meaning that every show has its own nuances and its own life. The masterminds behind the All-Stars are Easy Star musical director Michael Goldwasser (a.k.a. Michael G), his production partner Victor Axelrod (a.k.a. Ticklah), and his two Easy Star label partners Eric Smith and Lem Oppenheimer. These four were the team behind the album Dub Side of the Moon (2003), which was a complete reggae re-vision of Pink Floydâ€™s Dark Side of the Moon. That record has been locked on the Billboard charts for over 3 years.
Three years laterâ€”while the album continues to register on the Billboard Reggae Catalog Chartâ€”Easy Star is released their concert DVD, Dub Side of the Moon Live, on June 27, 2006. While over thirty musicians contributed to the Dub Side CD, the DVD finds a tight and crystallized live touring band. Following this release came Radiodread on August 22, 2006. The long awaited reggae version of Radiohead’s OK Computer.
Take a listen to Michael G and MisterG talking about music here.
Coming to the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts October 24th, Matisyahu brings his uniquie sound of Jewish reggae music to Storrs. Matisyahu is currently getting some success in the mainstream with the live version of the song ‘King Without a Crown‘, which has broken into the Modern Rock Top 10; an accompanying video and new album – ‘Youth‘ – produced by Bill Laswell were released on March 7, 2006. On March 16th Youth was Billboard magazine’s #1 “Digital Album” and as of April 4th stands at 16th on iTunes’ top album. Also, his most recent accomplished output of exposure was his live showing in front of over 80,000 people at the Bonnaroo Music Festival 2006. In November 2005 Matisyahu was among the top 5 members in the American Jewish community in The Forward . Matisyahu was given an Esky for Most Lovable Oddball in Esquire’s 2006 Esky Music Awards. The magazine called him “the most intriguing reggae artist in the world.” In an interview with Chabad.org, a popular Jewish website, Matisyahu states that “All of my songs are influenced and inspired by the teachings that inspire me. I want my music to have meaning, to be able to touch people and make them think. Chasidism teaches that music is ‘the quill of the soul.’ Music taps into a very deep place and speaks to us in a way that regular words can’t.”
Listen to our quick chat here.
Some of you might know Mike Mattison as the voice of the Derek Trucks Band. Well, he also has a project with music partner Paul Olsen called Scrapomatic. With a brand new release set for Oct 10th called Alligator Love Cry, Scrapomatic will be on the stage of the infamous Toad’s Place Thursday, October 5th. Oh, you can hear some of the artsist that have been inspirations along the way, this is a fresh sound that reminds you why you like music in the first place. A raw blend of blues, soul, and sometimes silly that I am sure will be even better live and in person. Listen to greenarrowradio for tunes off the new album and a review of the show if you cannot make it. Thanks to Blake and Nancy for helping set this up and thanks to Mike for being flexible in his schedule.
Listen to our conversation here.
Paul and I went back and forth for weeks, perhaps months setting up a chance to chat. I get so many calls on the show whenever I play Morcheeba. Those on the other side are asking “Who is this?” so I thought I would bring to you, one of the Godfrey brothers, who create the foundation of chill; the center of cool and when they want to, the entire jar of jam. In case the name Morcheeba is an unknwon for you allow me a moment. This band is so groove oriented it feels good to hurt. They work with sweet/soulful and seductive female singers to bring you many different looks. You can listen to Morcheeba in the dead of the night or the wake of the morn, in the still of sadness or the wide-opened eyed happiness you only feel as a child. If you are reading this, this music is for you.
Listen to Paul and I talk about Morcheeba here.
Local student Tyler K. decided to spend 10 months of his junior year of high school abroad. So, he ended up in Spain. He was part of an intercultural exchange program set up by the American Field Service (AFS). This program hope to assist in forming a better world of understanding. Now that is what I am talking about.
Take a moment to get Tyler’s perspective on this cool experience.
Kenny Laguna is a long time member of the music community, as performer, songwriter, and producer. His body of work spans many genres, demonstrating his versatility and ability to create artist appropriate music. Through his multifaceted talent, his style is always apparent. Kenny started his career as a performer, having hits with music greats such as The Ohio Express and The Lemon Peppers. At sixteen, he was producing Bill Medley and churning out Bubblegum hits. During his sessions with Bill Medley, he met and began working with Darlene Love, Phil Spectors legendary lead voice (â€œLeader of the Packâ€ and the Lethal Weapon movie series). He went on to produce the soundtrack to an Andy Warhol movie called Lonesome Cowboys. He was a member of Tommy James and the Shondels as the keyboard player and background singer. Kenny produced Jay and the Americans, Tony Orlando, and Edwin Star, as well as for The Who’s record label in London. n the late seventies, he wrote and produced new wave punk hits for the legendary Beserkley Record Label with artists such as Jonathan Richmond and Greg Kihn. Kenny was asked to produce Bow Wow Wow. The outcome of these sessions was a hit called “I Want Candy.” Around the same time, he began working with Joan Jett. This collaboration marked the beginning of a long-standing partnership between Kenny and Joan. He has been with Joan from the start of her solo career as a producer, co-collaborator, and musician. He has worked with Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill (the riot-girl band) as well as a project called Evil Stig. For this project Joan Jett took the role of Lead singer for the band The Gits, who lost their own lead singer to rape and murder. The murder was unsolved, thus Evil Stig was born, a CD from which proceeds would go to the investigation to find Zapata‘s murderer. Mia Zapata‘s words live on through Evil Stig. Listen to Kenny tell it how he sees it, as we discuss the new Joan Jett & the Blackhearts album SINNER, the current administration and to be or not to be a producer.
It is a pleasure to speak with Kenny Laguna at any time. Hear it Here.
I had the distinct pleasure to have a quick piece of Jake Shimabukuro’stime. For those of you that are unaware of Jake, listen up. I will be playing a good quantity of his music on this weeks show. Known for lightning-fast fingers and revolutionary playing techniques, Jake Shimabukuro is a master of the â€˜ukulele. The 29-year-old virtuoso shatters musical boundaries, playing jazz, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, folk, flamenco, and rock. While Jake has great respect and love for traditional Hawaiian ukulele music, his mission is to show everyone that the ukulele is capable of so much more.
Jake will be playing in Mansfield Mass. at the Tweeter Center with Jimmy Buffett on August 10th. Make sure you check out this unbelieveable performance.
Listen to our conversation here.
photo credit: Jayson Tanega
Please take a moment, if you have never heard of Mr. Denny Dent before, this is for you. Brian Olsen is an Edward Scissorhands of artistry. He weaves and bobs, blends and mixes, cranks tunes and of course, has the auidence enthralled. This spirited showman can be found at BRIANOLSEN.com Please do yourself a favor and check it out. His work is complex and crazed at times, sometimes he ends up looking the part if the easel. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, jaw dropped catching flies and astonished how the end results gets to where it is via the route Brian takes.
Listen to our conversation here.
Check this out. I had a quick chat with the godfather of funk himself, Mr. George Clinton. Kids, take a listen and look into the World of funk, and never forget this man who is a historic figure in the music world. It is brief because he just left a Motown event and I just wanted the guy to catch his breath, but it is still as cool as cool can be.
listen to our conversation here.
finally, after a technical mess…I have relocated the interview with Dan Hicks and am able to bring the entertaing chat to you.Throughout his decades-long career, Dan Hicks stood as one of contemporary music’s true eccentrics. While steeped in folk, his acoustic sound knew few musical boundaries, drawing on country, call-and-response vocals, jazz phrasing, and no small amount of humor to create a distinctive, albeit sporadic, body of work which earned him a devoted cult following.
Check out Dan’s website.
Listen to chat here.
Cheb i Sabbah was born in Algeria and moved to France in the ’60s. He is one of the earliest practitioners of the art of deejaying and began spinning in Paris in 1964 where he first saw and met The Living Theatre, whose influence resonates in the drama and epic abandon of Shri Durga. It is hard to separate the myth from reality about Cheb i Sabbah’s life in the ’70s. He maintains a stoic silence about it. He makes no comments about his engagement by John and Yoko in the U.K. and the macrobiotic connection therein. Freaky performance art in body bags? Chebiji makes no elaboration. Although, we do know that he joined The Living Theatre in 1971 and later on, with Suzanne Thomas, started a theater troupe in San Francisco named Tribal Warning Theatre. In the late ’80s and through the ’90s dj Cheb i Sabbah was an icon of the DJ circuit in San Francisco and was involved in a breathtaking variety of musical collaborations and performances including Qawwali maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and jazz trumpeter Don Cherry. He produced an album called The Majoon Traveller, using DJ-cut-up techniques and making fast connections with Brion Gysin, Ira Cohen, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman and Moroccan Jilala and Gnawa trance music for the Sub Rosa label. Since then, he has remixed Psychic TV, Paul Horn and Don Cherry. His diverse influences and spiritual curiosity resulted in Shri Durga, his debut album and a mind-bending, panaromic Hindu-goth piÃ¨Â£Â¥ de rÃ©Â³Â©stance.
“Music is the only thing I know. It has the power to liberate one from whatever one wants to be liberated from.” – dj Cheb i Sabbah
Toots Hibbert is one of the great voices of Jamaica; a legend whose career spans every development in Jamaican music, from ska through rock-steady to reggae. Toots and the Maytals have helped to chart the course of Jamaican music with unrivaled delivery and dynamism, setting new standards of excellence, and becoming the most enduring of all Jamaica’s groups. On September 29, 1980, Toots and The Maytals made history when the band played at London’s Hammersmith Palais. Less than 24 hours later, a live album from that show was on sale in record stores throughout Britain. It was the fastest live album in recording history and, according to some critics, TOOTS LIVE ranks alongside Bob Marley Live At The Lyceum, James Brown At The Apollo and Otis Redding in Europe as one of the finest live records ever made. The latest album, TRUE LOVE, finds Toots and the Maytals revisiting some of the band’s most classic works with a host of musical friends onboard – Keith Richards, Shaggy and Rahzel, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Beck, Ben Harper, No Doubt, Marcia Griffiths, Ken Boothe, Ryan Adams, Bootsy Collins and the Roots, Eric Clapton, Terry Hall and the Skatalites and Trey Anastasio – for delightful fresh-ear journey through Toots‘ musical history. Add in the surprise tracks- Willie Nelson and Toots groovin’ on Willie’s STILL IS STILL MOVIN TO ME, Rachel Yamagata pleading on the newer BLAME ON ME and Bunny Wailer’s vocal comradery on the never-before released TAKE A TRIP for an unparalleled reggae joy ride.
Listen to our talk here.
For over fifty years the Juilliard String Quartet has been an international presence and an American institution. They perform with emotional intensity, technical precision, and intellectual rigor in concerts given across the globe, while in the United States its members have been educators, mentors, and champions of new music. I had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Krosnick, who teaches and plays the cello, before the Quartet plays at von der Mehden Recital Hall at the Uconn Storrs campus. I was overwhelmed with the rigors of his life as a faculty member and Quartet member. You can hear the love for what he does with every word he speaks. We touched briefly on the issue of preserving the history of classical music by educating and funding programs for the youth and various ways he envisions all interested parties to assist. A Connecticut native, we had to talk for a moment about UCONN sports, find out Mr. Krosnick‘s observations on the women’s basketball program and how it relates to the preservation ideas of classical muisc.
Listen to Mr. Joel Krosnick here.
The sound of the barratone sax is one that is unforgetable, especially when being produced by Dana Colley. You know him from Morphine, Orchestra Morphine and now Twinemen. Check out the conversation we had and stay tuned as we find out if I was successful in getting Mars Williams and Dana together or better yet, Twinemen and Liquid Soul. Two great tastes that do taste great together.
listen to our conversation here
listen to the conversation here
if I ever become involved in musicians management, this might be the time when I first took that direction. After this chat with the oft-busy Mars Williams, you must listen to the conversation with Dana Colley to see where the idea of Liquid Soul and Twinemen gettng together.
Mars Williams & Liquid Soul
Listen here for the world according to Roy “futureman” Wooten from his own futuristic world as well as an occasional tour with Bela Fleck as one of the flecktones. I think you’ll agree that he is out of this world and still as cool as Fonzie…aaaaaaa
Listen to the FUTUREMAN podcast here
The three time Grammy award winner from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones is back at it again! Taking downtempo, house, breakbeat, jazz, tribal, and funk, Futureman is mixing it all together and serving it up through turntables, laptops, drum machines, live kits, and visual projections.