Sameer Gupta is known as one of the few percussionists simultaneously representing the traditions of American jazz on drumset, and Indian classical music on tabla. Though his first few years were spent under the guidance of Ustad Zakir Hussain, his own interests and love of tabla brought him to the great tabla maestro Pt Anindo Chatterjee. Sameer has continued to build his career by combining traditional and modern improvisational styles drawing from his dual Indian and American heritage, and has already established himself as an original musical voice in jazz, world, and fusion music. From his early percussion studies in Tokyo, Japan in the mid 80s, he has consistently placed himself in many challenging musical environments. From bebop to avant-garde jazz, and European classical percussion to North Indian classical tabla, he continues to compose and perform music from a true multi-cultural perspective that now bridges several continents. As 2018 rolls in, Sameer is set to release a brand new album, “A Circle Has No Beginning”. This project brings together some of today’s finest accompanists and soloists in various styles to create a truly remarkable musical journey. With a firm Indian Classical Raga influence, the album draws on strong modern jazz improvisational roots to heighten the creative energy and spectrum of possibilities.
I had the pleasure of talking with Sameer about the project, and how he was able to follow the album from the directions it was taking him and his colleagues. We break down a couple of the artists and their important contributions and shared visions. We dissect a couple of the tracks that hit me hard in my heart’s ears as well as compare and contrast a little between the new album and his last release, Namaskar. We walk a little through the scene of the Brooklyn Raga Massive which has been hailed as “Leaders of the Raga Renaissance” by the New Yorker. I have to say that I always get a thrill out of talking about an album, a song a scene I digg, but this album took me on a new turn and I was equally opened up by chatting with Sameer about the flow, the process and the way music….in the moment….makes it happen. I hope you’ll find the same feeling about both, the album itself and the people who are behind the moments.
Musicians of the Project
Sameer Gupta – Drumset, Tabla; Marc Cary – Wurlitzer, Moog, Synth; Morley Shanti-Kamen – Vox (on Little Wheel Spin and Spin); Marika Hughes – Cello, Vox; Brandee Younger – Harp; Arun Ramamurthy – Carnatic Violin; Jay Gandhi – Bansuri Flute; Trina Basu – Violin; Rashaan Carter – Bass; Neel Murgai – Sitar; Pawan Benjamin – Tenor Saxophone; Sharik Hasan – Piano, Keys; Michael Gam – Bass
DOPE SAGITTARIUS is the epic tale of an inter-dimensional, time-traveling band hell-bent on saving the multiverse from mediocre music. Inspired by the likes of Funkadelic, OutKast, The Qemists & The Gorillaz, DOPE SAGITTARIUS embodies an undeniably creative blend of music, animation, technology, wit, humor & history. The man behind the band is Luqman Brown and I had a chance to catch back up with him about the new release, “Sacred Places” on Buddhabug Records. We get into how the album worked its way into a final piece, dissect a few of the tracks and make sure to give props and shout outs to the many (listed below) who helped piece it all toGether.
The Band is as follow:
Luqman Aka Whistler: Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Ramsy Jones: Drums/Vocals
Ernest D’Amso: Bass/Vocals
Asim Barns: Lead Guitar
Micah Gaugh: Keys/Sax/Vocals
Roy Radics chanting on “Scared Place”
Entrifed the God of Sound plays keys and sings On “Brunchin With Bitches”
Cory Glover Sings on “Define Love” along with Marc Cary on keys and Ronny Drayton on lead guitar.
Mazz Muse on “Black Empress” along with Mike Ladd MCing
Shelly Nicole sings on “Hate Us” Along with Julie Brown.
Horns section is V Jeff on “Hate Us”
Produced By Luqman Brown and Brian Gosher
After three years of captivating audiences with their unique blend of soul, jazz, and undertones of hip-hop, Minneapolis-based Nooky Jones have finally released their debut self-titled album back on July 28, 2017 via Young And Foolish Records. A truly cohesive collection of love stories and music that takes listeners to beautiful places alongside deeply provocative characters, the album is a much needed artistic expression of self for vocalist/frontman Cameron Kinghorn. Produced over the course of fifteen months at RiverRock Studios and The Hideaway in Northeast Minneapolis, the band’s debut album relies on each musician’s unique style as a critical part of the overall sound. Atop airtight yet comfortably loose drum and bass grooves often reminiscent of 90s R&B and Hip-Hop, layers of harmonically complex piano, organ, and Fender Rhodes create a lushness associated with jazz that rarely integrates into neo-soul-pop music so tastefully.
I had the opportunity to chat with Cameron about what a Madison crowd can look forward to expecting from the upcoming show on Friday, January 26th at the High Noon Saloon. We dove into the flow of the debut release and how it moves like the night of a shared first meeting moment and how the evolution of the album came to surface and reward listeners and music sharers alike. Take a listen to the above conversation to find out which two bands Nooky Jones will be playing with shortly after leaving the Madison area, (Oh Purple comes to mind) as well as what would Cam and the band choose to spin for you, if they had control of the board of greenarrowradio if I stepped out for a bit and left them in charge.
Todd Clouser is a man who makes the journey happen his way, from moment to moment. He takes it as it goes and makes one step after the other count. Todd is one of these cats who has the ability to not only tell the story with his songs, but use his songs to communicate on another level to those who listen. I have been able to watch his sound and style grow over the course of time and that one thing…time…seems to bring the paths of similarly minded communicator to the steps of Todd’s musical door. I have watched the paints mix to create the newest of colors with some brightness and some darkness none other have duplicated. We all search and seek and dream and believe what we believe…somehow Todd has been a voice I can believe in musically, but it’s the person, the being of Todd Clouser that I am most fond of. I had the chance aGain to ask him a few questions about what’s been going on and how he is. The newness just about to come off his plate is the release of a new record for starters. Thus story-line begins on at a sold out gig on a cold Minnesota night. It features Todd talking to the room with his voice and guitar, Mr. JT Bates on drums and percussion and friend of the proGram, Mr. John Medeski on Hammond B3 Organ and Fender Rhodes, and is named: You The Brave: Live at Icehouse.
This new live recording on Ropeadope Sur is the truth, in real time of making the sounds that linked up the trios paths to that very moment, where creating meets pulse. I am proud to be someone who has been walking the paths with Todd for a few more than a few years now and to see the others who cross path to be with and create with him puts a huge smile in my heart. Todd takes a little time out of his day in Mexico to chat about the new album, working with the coolness over at Ropeadope Sur and a little about our ongoing almost project with Medeski Myself and Todd, where I am featured on power tools… We talk about vulnerability, travel and home. EarGrab some here:
What can I say about my friend Brother Larry McDonald? He is one of the roots of Jamaican percussion that was instrumental in creating the innovative sounds that have been flowing from the island for so many years. As an originator and sound innovator, he has played with and been involved in some of the most well recognized music of all time. Whether it is friend of the proGram, Toots Hibberts and the Maytals or the legend himself, Mr. Bob Marley, you can find the creations of Brother Larry keeping the rhythms pulsing and the feelings positive. For over 50 year now, Brother Larry’s credits are too numerous to list, but for me his involvement with other originals like Gil Scott Heron and Taj Mahal stand out to me as momentous works. In 2009, Larry put out his first solo effort, Drumquestra, (which was the # 1 album for this radio host for that year) which featured many former collaborators, including Sly Dunbar, Uziah Thompson of Bob Marley and the Wailers and the former Count Ossie drummers known as the “Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari in an orchestra of drummers. Drumquestra also featured former frontmen from bands Larry performed and recorded with, including Toots, Bob Andy, Mutabaruka, Stranger Cole and Dollarman. The album was recorded at a live session at Harry J Studios in Kingston Jamaica by Steel Pulse producer Sidney Mills for Malik Al Nasir’s MCPR label.
I had the pleasure of catching up with my friend Larry as he prepares to set back out to perform with Lee SCRATCH Perry and Subatomic Sound System on the Super Ape returns to Conquer tour. We talked about how working on this album and tour was as a man who has nothing more musically to prove to anyone. He was on many of the original tunes off off Scratch’s “Super Ape” release, so he was able to truthfully talk about similarities and differences in this new album. This work was a redo not a remix! We talked about how Brother Larry feels like he is just finally understanding all he has learned form the years of experience and how he uses his PhD is drum-ology to read a live crowd in order to help keep the groove fresh. We also shared a moment of toGetherness in remembrance of a mutual friend, Richard Segan, who was an influential man in the scene of the world’s music who Larry and I got to know from the heart outward. This is an insightful, fun lovin’ and real cool conversation with a true legend. There might even be talk of a possible itch to create a new album.
For many years, G Love and Special Sauce have been bringing their unique blend of blues infused with hip Hop splattered with Rock-n-Roll and leveled off with some deep grooves into open minds and thirsty ear-holes, as a matter of fact it’s now been 25 years. Their self-titled debut, featuring the hit “Cold Beverage,” wound up going gold and since then the band became known for their well crafted live shows and have made it all happen around the world. Over many of those years, G and I have gotten toGether to promote his shows, talk about new music and heroes of ours. You can flip on back through this website to find a couple of those chats of yesteryear. This year, G is back with Special Sauce to open up their 25th Anniversary tour at the Majestic Theater.
We take some time to talk about the upcoming event in Madison and the special occasion of this particular tour, and G gives a newbie a nice perspective of what kinds of sound melding can be expected if it’s your first time getting some Special Sauce over yourself. We talk about how even when time flies on by, the essence of who you are as a person does not necessarily change and the music one creates, while there becomes more of a catalog, the feeling of it is still fresh. Speaking of fresh, we discuss what prompted the first G Love Christmas album and his yearly gig(s) in Hawaii….and you heard it at the end, he invites me to roadie for that leg of the tour. get inside the essence of G Love by checking out the catch up session above.
Rebirth Brass Band is known for combining traditional New Orleans brass band music, including the New Orleans tradition of second line, with funk, jazz, soul and hip hop. Rebirth’s longstanding regular Tuesday night gig at the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans is one of the pillars of the New Orleans music scene, and has served as a reliable introduction to the city’s nightlife for many new arrivals to the city. During his speech commemorating the 10th year since Hurricane Katrina, President Barack Obama jokingly mentioned that maybe he’ll “finally hear Rebirth at Maple Leaf on Tuesday night” after he is out of office. The band regularly tours North America and Europe. In 2011, Basin Street Records released the album Rebirth of New Orleans, which reached No. 1 on the CMJ Jazz charts and earned the group a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album. Rebirth also has received an award for “Best Brass Band” from OffBeat Magazine.
I had the honor of speaking with Co-Founder and bass drummer, Mr. Keith Frazier ahead of the January 7th show in Madison at The Stage Door. Mr. Frazier and I painted a little picture of what to look out for at the upcoming gig as well as finding out the difference between featuring on another artist’s album versus getting down to it themselves. I ask about the possibility of a new release as well as the importance of community and family in their scene. We find out whether or not, President Obama has had the chance to catch them at their reGualr spot, the Maple leaf and what would happen if Donald Trump asked to come check them out. Great stuff, great band, gonna be a usual great party atmosphere.
Note: This show has been moved to the Ruby Lounge at Liquid.
Rebirth Brass Band
Loki the cat loves adventure and playing with friends. When his family moves into a new home on the other side of town, he needs a little help finding his way across town back to his pals. This is the story-line to the new children’s book, “Loki Out & About” by Molly Bandt and Tina Murua. Join Loki and his family in this tale of determination, friendship and weave your way through the journey within a beautiful city scene that is very reminiscent of a familiar Wisconsin area.
I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Molly Bandt about the story behind the story and how Loki’s adventures were not so far off from reality. We took time to discuss the process behind getting a story to form from a shared thought and the work that went into getting this project off the ground as a brand new author. Molly’s adventure is just as interesting (almost) as Loki’s. Not only did Molly turn a story into a book, but she was able to use her painting skills to create the colorful and eye-catching illustration that grace the pages within the covers. The book is published by Orange Hat Publishing in Waukesha, Wisconsin. For more information on where to find this book, whether it’s for a read aloud with family and friends or a cool gift idea for the kid in all of us, Click here.
Illustration by Molly Bandt
On Wednesday, December 6th, the world officially got a taste of the new tune “Ho Ho Ho (Santa’s Gotta Go)” with powerhouse soulstress Meah Pace, released on Body to Body Records. This new Christmas song is definitely not restricted to the holiday season with the smokin’ hot, Tina Turner-esque vocals Meah smacks us in the soul with. The track is like one of those special holiday songs that can be timeless in nature, with a reason to be played loudly any time of the year. Last week we spoke with the man behind the track creation, Smoota and he exclaimed how Meah was the one and only voice he could think of to nail this track down. And ohhh was he spot on.
Not only did Meah and I talk about how she took the idea and vision behind this track and make it her own, but we got into what a holiday season is like for her at this point in her life. We took some time to run down a recap of how the year 2017 was for her not only as an artist but more importantly as a creative person. I am so thrilled ot be chatting with a member of the Resistance Revival Chorus, and Meah and I talk about the mission and the meaning behind this group as well as her work with !!!(Chk Chk Chk). Take a moment and listen to the heat behind the hot photo by Amy Touchette.
Photo by Amy Touchette
Ed Palermo may have gained an international following with his ingenious orchestral arrangements of Frank Zappa tunes, but he’s hardly a one-trick pony. Earlier in the year, the saxophonist released an uproarious double album “The Great Un-American Songbook Volumes 1 & 2”, a project celebrating an expansive roster of songs by successive waves of British invaders, from the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Jeff Beck to King Crimson, Traffic, and Jethro Tull. With his new big band project, released on Cuneiform Records on October 6, 2017, Mr. Palermo is back on his home turf, but the landscape feels strange and uncanny. He is reclaiming the Zappa songbook, filtering Frank through the emotionally charged lens of the polymathic musical wizard Todd Rundgren in a wild and wooly transmogrification, “The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren”. Working once aGain with the same stellar cast of players, Mr. Palermo somehow captures the essence of these iconoclastic masters, making Zappa Zappier and Todd more Rundgrenian.
I had the pleasure of getting toGether with Ed to talk about the new release, how the two great tastes of Frank Zappa and Todd Rundgren were explored and puzzle-pieced with one another. We spoke in detail about Ed’s process for selection sounds to meld and how the feeling and flow of two songs, can make for a fantastic avenue when worked over just right. It was such a short time between the Ed Palermo Big Band’s last two releases and in our chat, we find out how these two albums (I barely finished sharing one before the next was in my ear room) were able to be let loose on the universe in such a quick way. This labor of love that Ed creates has always been such a special listen and feeling provider for me, but we learn how much hobby versus job this is for Ed…including a little love for the Cuneiform Records family. It isn’t easy for people with the same name (Zappa) to use this name while creating their own family namesake’s art, and it was not easy for Ed either. Find out a little more about his dealing with Gail Zappa on the usage of the family name with his creation. This conversation, is a journey I hope you’ll spend time digesting…… It, like Ed’s music…..is delicious.
Had a chance to catch up with friend of the proGram, SMOOTA as he presents a new track into the world, “Ho Ho Ho (Santa’s Gotta Go) with soulstress, Meah Pace, released on Body to Body Records. This new Christmas song is definitely not restricted to the holiday season with the smokin’ hot, Tina Turner-esque vocals Meah smacks us in the soul with. SMOOTA and I discuss how the song came to be and how there was only, in his mind’s ear, one voice to knock it outta the chimney. We get into what he’s been up to recently, ranging from a new solo album, work/recording with TV On The Radio, and his time this year in the new Gong Show band.
Next week, on December 6th, the day the track actually drops, I will speak with Meah about the tune. I’ll be giving you the virgin radio airplay tomorrow on the show and oh, by the way…check out the gift of a photo chosen as the track cover provided by Amy Touchette.
Photo by: Amy Touchette
In the middle of one of their most prolific periods to date, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood are riding a creative wave with a slew of studio and live records coming out amidst a rigorous tour schedule that only seems to fuel their fire even further. Their jaw-dropping new album, ‘Barefoot In The Head,’ marks the CRB’s third studio release in just two years, and it finds them pushing boundaries and breaking new ground with more joy and wonder than ever before. Overspilling with stunning musicianship and infectious energy, the album showcases the continued growth of Robinson’s songwriting partnership with his bandmates: guitarist Neal Casal, drummer Tony Leone, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, and bassist Jeff Hill. It revels in the kind of adventurousness that can only come from five artists tuned into the same sonic wavelength.
I’ve had the pleasure in the past to speak with Neal about upcoming shows in Madison as well as the last 3 new releases. This time around I got a chance to pick the brain of Drummer, Tony Leone. We discuss what the show on Sunday, November 19th at The Barrymore Theater will be like for those who miGht be new to the Brotherhood scene as well as why he has the best seat in the house possibly. We dive a little into the making of the new release and how returning to a familiar spot to create, went from black sheet to final product in a couple to few short weeks. We discuss one of the special guest collaborators on the track “Glow” off the new record, Alam Khan, and how his sound and being melding into their sonic and personal scene. It was interesting to hear what Tony said in comparison to Neal when in discussion about the band’s relationship and how, after being together for MANY tour dates and MANY albums in such a short period of time, these brothers keep making a tighter sound for us, and for each other.
Every year or so I have the chance to catch up with my man Cee Knowledge, AKA DoodleBUG of Digable Planets. For me, its a chance to get into the mind of one of the principals in opening my mind to all the sounds. This time around we got to talk about some of the stops on the insects recent travels and tours. What it was like getting it on out in the eye again toGether as the Digable crew.
Cee Know and I discuss the reunion tour during spring and summer 2016 and how it was followed up with a live record “Digable Planets Live” on Ropeadope Records that dropped late June 2017. We lead you down the path of the question, will there be some new joints complied and released to the world with new rhymes, beast and jazzed-up-grooves? It is always nice to hear an influential artist, someone who is a part of a Grammy award winning group that created something new talk about who were some of the maestros behind getting their artist voice to come out, and both Cee and I release a little of that on you. We also take you back to a classic-ish moment in time and talk about the original meeting of our mutual funky-friend, DeeJay Alex J. It was for similar situations that brought all three of our world colliding. As always, the conversation strays into the land of NBA hoops and we make sure to get our Celtics and Sixers (hats worn just a little titled to the side) talk on the table, both always respecting the others squad. I am also pleased to report, that once any new project is ready to get a listen, I’ll get that listen and then be able to be the bridge to get that freshy fresh over to you.
Family. That’s how I feel about the many people I have met over the years while being in the arts scene. I recently had the opportunity to reach out to Melody Trucks to discuss her new project, The Melody Trucks Band. We got into how the project that started out as an unknown dream, turned into the beginning of a new family scene. Melody shares a few tales of how/when her father, Mr. Butch Trucks, first got a chance to hear her sing at a venue and how the surprise took place and how getting an opportunity to go on close to home tours with her dad will always be moments reflected on as irreplaceable. Being a new group, The Melody Trucks Band as of today have had three shows and we discussed each one slightly and how the band vibes with one another and even how at the end of the Family Jam, local musicians were invited to sit in and jam along. One of the big events on the band’s horizon will probably keep a long standing tradition alive of playing at The Funky Biscuit right around Christmas time. This year’s Brothers & Sisters Annual Holiday Jam is on December 23rd and will be celebrating The Allman Brothers Band and The Lives of Gregg Allman & Butch Trucks will be Featuring Scott Sharrard (Gregg Allman Band), Marc Quiñones (The Allman Brothers Band), Berry Duane Oakley & Other Special Guests including The Melody Trucks Band….What an amazing thing. While thus-far, the core group members have only played amazing cover tunes live, they have begun the creative journey of creating new stories together and I for one am looking forward to hearing what come out of it. One of the folks who adds to the band whenever humanly possible is Issac Corbitt and I would feel remiss if I forgot to call him out for his flexibility.
I have had the pleasure of being within the world of The Allman Brothers family through many great people, whether it was interviews with Derek and Warren or hanging with Chank at Gregg’s show in Connecticut, the warmth that surrounds these people is easily one of the coolest things I have been a part of. You will get that exact same feeling listening to Melody and I talk about the new beginning of this story she was never sure she would ever be telling.
The Melody Trucks Band
While known as Robert’s cousin, and a founding member and the drummer of The Family Band, there is way more to the man Mr. Marcus Randolph than the man on the kit in the back. “Transplant”, the debut release from Marcus Randolph My Peeples Peeple from American Showplace Music was released on October 20th and I have been sharing portion’s with the listeners slightly before. I had a chance to catch up with Marcus about the new album to discuss the piecing toGether of the album, from recuperating and recovering from his very own transplant, to how/why we can all relate to the track, “Mad At The World”, to how momma got in on a track and how working with and being a brother to Mr. John Ginty has assisted in getting the project to the finish line. The sounds that fly off this album are in a changing space throughout. From Rock and blues to some soulful grooves, the funk oozes off into your ear and trickles down to your feet. I am sure some stompin’ with take place once it reaches your roots. As listeners and people of music, Marcus and I call on you to check out the style and see how it fits into your zones. Check out out chat here:
“Eyes of the World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965 – 1995” is a fine art, hardcover coffee table photography book that brings together, for the first time, a comprehensive collection of photographs from a wide range of photographers whose work has captured the Grateful Dead at different times throughout their career. Co-Edited by former Relix editor-in-chief Josh Baron and famed rock photographer Jay Blakesberg, “Eyes of the World” was released on October 23, 2017 via Rock Out Books. Photographers featured in Eyes of the World include such legendary names as Annie Leibovitz, Jim Marshall, David Gahr, Mark Seliger, Herb Greene, William Coupon, Michael O’Neill, Adrian Boot, Michael Putland, Peter Simon, Baron Wolman and, of course, Jay Blakesberg. Included in the collection are iconic images, lesser known photos, and never-seen before seen images – each of them a singular perspective of a poignant moment that together help tell the Grateful Dead’s epic tale through large, bold imagery.
Jay and I played a little catch up since last time we spoke. We got into how this book came to be, the process of picking and choosing moments that represent each time time period/era of the band as well as a few interesting morsels of coolness discovered while researching and pieces the whole project toGether. Take a listen to find out the why and what the image chosen for the cover represents to Jay and Josh and which image even Phil Lesh said” “I’d Never Seen That Before”.
On Saturday, November 4th, The Majestic Theater will be the spot to “FUNK OUT CANCER” with Phat Phunktion and Mama Digdown’s Brass Band. This concert and silent auction is being held in memory of Kate Gates Falaschi, to help raise awareness and assistance to end the battle for all with this monster. Each year the event happens, I get toGether with Kate’s husband and local Madison musician Al Falaschi (saxophones & vocals in Phat Phunktion) to help spread the word. This year we got another chance to remind folks of the importance of the research that’s ongoing, including a real wild story about one of Kate’s doctors….this is one of these stories you just couldn’t make up. Al also opened up a little about what, after 8 years, is something he really misses about Kate. We discussed the wild times the music will provide and the uniqueness of the shared moments for those in attendance. He rolled off a few names of special guests, including Mr. Jimmy Voegeli of The Jimmys hammering the funk out of it on the B3, as well as special tributes that will be complete one offs specifically for this event.
Al also shared with us some musical endeavors and happening that have been going on in his wide world of playing out. From the Phat Phunktion’s horns section knocking out the National Anthem at the sold out UW Women’s Volleyball match versus Nebraska, to the what’s ups of Steely Dane, it is always good to catch up with local family. Check out the above conversation and the website to see how you can become involved in this event and while this disease touches us all, that just might mean there’s more of us to help end the battles.
Inti-Illimani is the modern face of the Chilean Nueva Canción movement, a modern world music genre that celebrates a renewal of Latin American folk music in response to the dominance of American and European influence in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s. After over forty albums, the group is celebrating fifty years of exploring human rights, imperialism, democracy and the Latin American identity through traditional Chilean folk music with an edgy twist. Inti-Illimani was formed by students at Universidad Técnica del Estado at Santiago, Chile in 1967 and became popular in Chile for their song “Venceremos (We shall win!)” which became the anthem of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende . In 1973 as they were on tour abroad, General Augusto Pinochet launched a coup d’etat and took power. Having heard of the numerous extra-judicial killings of many fellow artists by Chile’s army, they took up residence in Italy, resulting in “the longest tour in history” as they remained in exile while continuing their efforts supporting Chilean democracy. In September 1988, days after they were no longer banned from Chile, they returned and started touring in the country again. They helped organize the voting down of the referendum that would have re-elected Pinochet.
I had the honor to talk with Mr. Jorge Coulon again recently to promote the Sunday, October 22nd event here in Madison at the Wisconsin Union Theater’s Shannon Hall. We talked about what someone new to the group could expect as well as spending time discussing the latest release, “El Cantos de Todos”, a celebration of the musical traditions and songs of Violeta Parra. Mr. Coulon and I talk about the process of taking these historically important songs and giving them a slightly more modern touch/feel. We talked a little about how it feels to land in the USA of today and I would have been remiss not to bring up a least one of the humanitarian efforts this dynamic group has made a difference in the world by getting involved with. Find out what Mr. Coulon has to say about these things by clicking play above.
Hilario Duran makes a triumphant musical homecoming on his new album, “Contumbao” (released on ALMA Records on September 23, 2017). Internationally recognized as a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader of the highest order, the Cuban-Canadian Duran has been based in Toronto for the past two decades, but his musical heart and soul have remained closely connected to the land of his birth. With “Contumbao”, Mr. Duran has created another compelling entry in a rich and rewarding discography. His earlier albums have earned him three Juno Awards (Canadian music’s most prestigious award) and a Grammy nomination (for 2006’s From the Heart, by Hilario Duran’s Latin Big Band, featuring Paquito D’Rivera and Horacio Hernandez). His playing has also been featured on many other award-winning albums.
I spoke with Mr. Duran about how he was able to take the idea of going back to Cuba to create not only a record, but a family album or sorts. How he walked down the same streets in the now of his life and how that inspired the stories and memories of his Life. We talked about working with the master, Mr. Chucho Valdés on portions of this new record and how as a young man, Mr. Duran used to copy many of Mr. Valdés’ solos with an unmatched respect and a source of inspiration. We discussed the track entitled “Parque 527”, the address from which Mr. Duran spent many years growing up, and the significance of the time spent there on him as a player, but also as a man. We both agreed that the goal of this album was to try and reach out to a wider base of listener-ship, this album has many layers that leave the sophistication of jazz music at home sometimes and goes off into a more dance-able groove, so not only can this record captivate the mind, but also the dancing feet of its listeners. Towards the end of the chat, I found it very interesting to hear Mr. Duran’s response to my question about having a “special place” to go and either create, seek inspiration or just be with yourself.
On Friday October 13th at 8pm, we in Madison will once again be treated to the sounds of Gov’t Mule as they head to The Orpheum Theater in support of their latest release “Revolution Come…Revolution Go”. For me it is hard to imagine people not knowing of this powerhouse of a group, they have been a staple in my ears and on my shows for years, and I am proud to be a part of the family circle. But just in case, for those who may not be aware, I got together with Warren Haynes to discuss what to expect from the show.
Not only did we take a brief walk through the history of the band, but we painted a quick picture of what new blood to the scene can expect to be a part of. We dove into the new release and discussed the process behind their 10th studio album after 20 years as an evolving entity. We dissected a couple of tracks, the title tune “Revolution Come…Revolution Go” and how it grew and transformed into its final state and how it was almost divided into separate tunes. We got into “Stone Cold Rage” and how if this song does its job, people will understand d the message of the lyrics and the pace and intentness of the music as it fits into the climate of a country poised to become divided. Both Derek Trucks and Yonrico Scott talked to me of the influences of specific “Sages” in their lives, such as Col. Bruce Hampton, and Warren and I got into the importance of remembering where the music originated from with those who played before, and how surrounding one’s self with the right people can inspire the inspiration.
Now, I have been listening to this band since the very first show, which I still have the stub from and Warren and I actually shared in a unique remembrance of the venue and it’s potential wrong way doors. Take a listen, have a laugh and if it fits your space, check them out when they are in town near you.