The High Hawks Land In Madison on 11/10

No one knows where the train will take them. It’s one you jump on out of the curiosity and excitement of the unknown. The very wonder of what the stars and the spirits will conjure on any given jubilee. And what the hell is a High Hawk? The High Hawks, is a new all-star project comprised of friend of the proGram Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon), Adam Greuel (Horseshoes & Hand Grenades), Chad Staehly (Hard Working Americans), Brian Adams (DeadPhish Orchestra), and Will Trask (Great American Taxi), will bring their blend of Americana, jam, and bluegrass music on the road.

The High Hawks will come together with friends including Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) and Chicago Farmer for their inaugural run of live shows. The band’s fall run began with a performance at Boulder, CO’s Fox Theatre on October 18th, followed by stops at Denver, CO’s Cervantes’ Other Side (10/19); Fort Collins, CO’s Aggie Theatre (10/20). After a short break to soak it all in, they head to Milwaukee, WI’s The Back Room @ Colectivo (11/7); Peoria, IL’s Spirit of Peoria (11/8); La Crosse, WI’s La Crosse Distilling Co. (11/9); and Madison, WI’s High Noon Saloon on November 10th.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Chad Staehly ahead of the November 10th show in Madison at the High Noon Saloon. We talk about how the dip your toe in the water of the first couple of Colorado shows went and what type of momentum they are building on with each note played. We talk about the mission of the band and answer the question, “Just what is a High Hawk?” LoHi Records is a place where Chad (and Tim) are putting a lot of their energy – so learning a bit more on what they are up to and who they are working with really puts a pin in the music map and we find out what tunes/artists Chad would choose if he was to build a setlist for the listeners. Chad and I run in some of the same circles, so the setlist building conversation led us to talking about how artists can find support they need with any if their struggles. Platforms such as Backline and and Music Cares are some of the resources we discuss.

Walking In Gratitude With Melody Trucks

After touring with her father, Butch Trucks and the Freight Train, Melody Trucks immersed herself in the increasingly rich and diverse music scene in Jacksonville, Florida. The Melody Trucks Band came together in early 2017 as she encountered each member within this extended musical family. Their individual styles and influences run the entire span of every music genre: rock, blues, jazz, funk, classical, country, thrash metal, and even world music. This has culminated in fresh and unique interpretations of iconic songs from the genre of Melody’s extended family. After Butch passed, Melody found herself letting this musical path guide her and open a door to what was already inside her. As the live events added up, The Melody Trucks Band had all its proper pieces in place and the path led into the studio for their first studio effort. “Walking In Gratitude” drops on September 28th. The proper pieces that could only build this music are:

Melody Trucks – Vocals/Percussion
West Brook – Lap Steel/Guitar/Vocals
Brady Clampitt – Guitar/Keys/Vocals
Isaac Corbitt – Harmonica/Vocals
Willis Gore – Guitar/Vocals
Shane Platten – Bass/Vocals
Shaun Taunton – Drums
Dave Murphy – Tallahassee Recording – Engineer and Co-Producer

I had a chance to reconnect with Melody to follow up on our initial conversation about getting out and playing music again. Back when we first spoke in the end of 2017, an album was merely a distant thought. And here we are.
Proudly, we get into the process of getting the pieces in the right places, the organic flow to the creation of these nine new original tracks and just how they met up with and worked with one of her father’s (The Allman Brother’s Butch Trucks) engineers & producer Finding out what one major hurdle was for this group reminded me that it’s all about the timing and the place will be like home. Now, the magic of these moments will be available soon for all of us to be a part of this musical scene and family style groove that will certainly bridge all our souls toGether. Wherever you are, you’ll be able to take a little Melody Trucks Band home with you and if luck will have it, maybe they will be heading to an area near you to get a chance to feel the songs and the band stretch out.

Photo By Michael Price

Charlie Wooton Project’s Blue Basso

Charlie Wooton and I go back a ways now. I have covered many of his projects over the years and when you get that kind of longevity, the feeling of pride gets shared when something really truly special happens. With the latest release, “Blue Basso”, I believe that moment is here. When I first met up with Charlie, he was based out of Atlanta and formed the progressive dance band Zydefunk while maintaining his ‘The Charlie Wooton Project’ for his more experimental cross-generic work combining jazz,rock, blues and world music. During this period he played with a diverse group of musicians including Count M’Butu, Oliver Wood, Donny McCormick, Sean Costello, Grant Green Jr., Jeff Sipe, Rev. Jeff Moser and Willie Green. Home called and Charlie headed back to Louisiana where he has become a sought after sideman with some of the best ear-opening talent from the area, including Bonerama, Sonny Landreth, Zigaboo Modeliste, Johnny Vidacovich, Cyril Neville, Chief Monk Boudreaux, New Orleans Suspects, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and so many more. As the bassist for Royal Southern Brotherhood over a four year period Charlie recorded four CDs and wrote several of their tunes. I covered Charlie’s ZabaDuo project with percussionist Rafael Pereira, which explored the world of Brazilian music, and led to the Charlie Wooton Project’s Zabadodat. Around 2015 Charlie joined the New Orleans Suspects, replacing founding member and friend of the proGram, Mr. Reggie Scanlan. All along, Charlie’s desire to honor one of the gods of bass, Mr. Jaco Pastorious. I think with Blue Basso, he has started to stretch his fingers and abilities to write and create into the same language that Jaco was speaking.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Charlie about the creation of Blue Basso from the ideas to the sound stories I get to share with the listeners. Charlie gives major props to the many people who helped make this vision into a musical reality. From, Doug Wimbish to Eric McFadden….Arsene DeLay to Daniel Groover, the list of contributors is as relevant as the music. It’s my belief that these songs could not have been made so brilliantly without the right pieces. Charlie and I discuss what role friend of the proGram, Samantha Fish had in the process as this new release is put out on her Wild Heart Records label.

Power Trio Cycles Ride Into Madison

Cycles brings the power-trio format at you with a ripping guitar, fat bass grooves played out through furious slapping, and dynamic drum beats flowing over intricate tempo changes. Each member wields a unique take on their instrument that when played together, forms a truly fresh and cohesive sound. Patrick Harvey commands the guitar with speed and precision while using his loop pedal virtually as its own instrument. Michael Wood has subtly forged a drum style that showcases his ability to mashup funky hip-hop beats with frenzied rock riffs and displays his flashy technique when necessary while implementing the creative use of various sound-modulating drum triggers. At the heart of the band lies Tucker McClung’s dominant slap-bass chops that captivates audiences & pumps the musical blood through the band. Drawing influence from artists such as Rage Against the Machine, Primus and Weather Report, Cycles fuse an eclectic blend of genres to produce a fresh and original sound. Just in the infancy state still, this band has over 250 shows under their belt with tours extending across the entire U.S.A.

They will make a stop in Madison on March 7th at the High Noon Saloon and I was able to chat with drummer, Michael Wood for a bit about the show, the band and the new live album. We get into what new ears to this band could expect from the upcoming event. We talk about how this band is a live band currently and why it was natural to put out a live album, brand new release “Selections, Vol. 1” dropped mid-February. Michael talks a little about his love of great studio albums and perhaps how that influences the next steps in growth for the band.

Lamplight Turned On By Paris Monster

Beat-driven. Employing heavy elements of funk and soul, Paris Monster closes the gaps between synth-pop & garage; between modern detail and old-school grit. Solid earth. Soaring soundscapes. A mass of noise. Volatility. Vocal singularity. In fall of 2017 they began recording their first full length LP, set to be released in 2018. The album will solidify their dirty, glitchy, lyric-centered, groove-based sound, and will be a milepost in their search for a focused and flexible musical approach. The elements of funk and soul join with lyrical themes of bygone eras in rural settings, characters lost, and mortality confronted. Love achieved, and denied. Americana. Themes in stark contrast to the pounding grooves and electronic mayhem, creating depths and dimensions that could have been otherwise achieved only by dropping a modular synth in the corn fields of central New York or the woods of Connecticut. And maybe that’s exactly what happened. And then the album dropped.

I had the chance to chat with this diverse duo, Josh Dion and Geoff Kraly of Paris Monster about their brand new release, “Lamplight”. We got into how the album got it’s wings to soar, and how this duo got it’s beginnings. We speak about their upcoming gigs with a Madison funky favorite, Turkuaz and what these cats might potentially share with my listeners if they were given the opportunity to take over the proGrmaming of greenarrowradio. I have a feeling if you check out their live show, I will receive tons of thank you cards in the mail. Go ahead. Test that.

Photo By Samuel Fava

Means To The Ends With Bright Dog Red

Bright Dog Red (BDR), an improvising collective from Albany, New York, fuses free improvisation, electronica, jazz, hip hop, psychedelia, and noise music into a proliferation of beats, bars, and blasts of sonic energy. In early 2018, BDR signed on to release an album with Ropeadope Records, the Philadelphia based record label. The band’s first full-length album, “Means to the Ends,” dropped October 5, 2018. Since debuting in September of 2015, BDR has played a number of high profile bookings, including opening for friend of the proGram, Mr. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the historic Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, opening for Hip Hop sensation Decora, sharing bills with Italian Surf Academy and with pianist Zack Clarke. In addition, the band has become a fixture on the New York jazz and improvisation scene, playing regularly at venues such as ShapeShifter Lab, Nublu, and Spectrum. Beyond New York, the band has performed at the Berklee College of Music, twice headlined Albany’s Madison Theatre, played BSP Lounge in Kingston NY, Lilypad at Inman in Cambridge, MA, Olive’s in Nyack, NY, and the O+ Festival three years in a row.

I had the opportunity to catch up with the founding member and percussionist of Bright Dog Red, Joe Pignato. We got deep into the creation of this wild new release, “Means To The Ends”, discussing the process that the group followed and follows in making their music. Including leaving in the clams! We learn how the teachers and influences in Joe’s life, the great Yusef Lateef and Max Roach had such a profound imprint on the way Joe goes about his path in life, musically and/or otherwise. How important it must be to find a record label that gets it, even without knowing what IT is, that’s the Ropeadope Records way and is how this partnership came into effect. What a treat it would be to do a three hour radio set build with Joe, as we learn some of what he would try to weave toGether if I gave him a portion of the program to help build that bridge for you. This is a very interesting listen, which makes sense when you put on the new record.

Grand Funk Railroad’s Don Brewer

Grand Funk Railroad laid the groundwork for such bands as Foreigner, Journey and Van Halen with its signature hard driving sound, soulful vocals, muscular instrumentation and forceful pop-rock melodies. The fact that Grand Funk’s legacy still reigns over the Classic Rock landscape forty years after its 1969 birth in Flint, Michigan is a testament to the group’s influence and staying power. Internationally acclaimed Grand Funk Railroad has toured the world, selling out in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan and South America. A 1971 performance at New York’s Shea Stadium even sold out faster than the Beatles. The group’s widespread appeal is also evident in its prestigious recording achievements. Over their career, Grand Funk has had 19 charted singles, 8 Top 40 hits and two Number One singles (We’re An American Band and Locomotion, both selling more than one million each). The group has now accumulated 13 gold and 10 platinum records with record sales in excess of 25 million copies sold worldwide. The most recent gold CD award was presented to the band for their greatest hits package Grand Funk Railroad The Collectors Series. This top selling and legendary American rock group of the ‘70s is “COMIN’ TO YOUR TOWN TO HELP YOU PARTY IT DOWN.” Grand Funk Railroad is extremely excited to be touring in 2018 marking a 49 year milestone. After playing to millions of fans on the band’s tours from 1996 to 2017, Grand Funk’s 2018 Tour will continue to reach both new and long-time fans.

I had the honor of talking with founding member and legendary drummer, Mr. Don Brewer about the multi-talented band that will be coming to The Dodge County Fair in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin on August 18th. Mr. Brewer shares with me what to expect at a 2018 show from the classics everyone is familiar with all the way to tunes no one has head before. We discuss some of the differences between the then and now of the business and what advise he would give to emerging artists. The story behind one of the most played songs out there, “We’re An American Band” is walked through from idea to necessity all the way to how it is at the tips of most of our musical minds. Check out out chat to find out what Mr. Brewer and his wife enjoying doing with some of their extra time and what two bands Don would play to the listeners if he had control over greenarrowradio for a bit.

Photo By: Jim McGuire

Red Baraat Back In Madison for The Globetrotter Sessions

Sunny Jain is an American dhol player, drummer, and composer. He is recognized as a main voice in the burgeoning movement of South Asian-American jazz musicians. His seven albums have all received international acclaim for their “groundbreaking synthesis” (Coda Magazine), as he brings together the ancient sounds of his cultural heritage, America’s greatest original art form and a myriad of other sounds. In 2008, Sunny founded the Brooklyn Bhangra band Red Baraat. In 2011 Red Baraat performed over 100 club shows and festivals across the world, including Bonnaroo Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, and a performance at the White House and the Paralympics closing ceremony in London. The title track from their debut album, Chaal Baby, was used as the background music for commercials during the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. After the group’s performance at the 2011 globalFEST, they were featured on PRI’s “The World”, NPR’s “All Songs Considered”, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Mother Jones magazine. With a new album freshly out and more gigs lined up, Red Baraat is building a brand new musical bridge that is sure to bring people from everywhere closer together.

I had the chance once again to chat with my man Sunny fr all the right reasons. He is bringing Red Baraat back to Madison on August 16th to close of the Central Park Sessions – The Globetrotter Sessions. We get to find out about how the sounds of the band and personel have changed over time and where it stands as they prepare to make musical moments happen with us in Madison. We learn a little about the variety of places the band has gone and how open people are to a potentially very unfamiliar groove. Sunny shares the artists he would share to the listeners if given the opportunity to take over greenarrowradio, and man, you all will really like him as your host. Not only will we get to hang in person, but there’s a brand new album from the group, “Sound The People”. We dive into the how these songs were born as well as the many special guests/friends perfectly chosen to represent the bridge building that I believe is a sonic guide to a more tolerant world. Sound the PEOPLE, indeed

Photo By: Mark Jaworski

Johnny Iguana of The Claudettes

The Claudettes fuse Chicago piano blues with the full-throttle energy of rockabilly and punk and the infectious spirit of 1960’s soul to write a thrilling new chapter in American roots music. Johnny Iguana, who pounds the sound out of his piano has toured for years with his cult-favorite rock band Oh My God, is also a member of the Grammy-nominated groups Chicago Blues–A Living History and the Muddy Waters 100 Band. He has toured and recorded with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and more. The band recorded their brand new album, “Dance Scandal At The Gymnasium” with Grammy-winning producer Mark Neill (Black Keys, Paladins, Old 97’s, J.D. McPherson). It was released March 23, 2018 on Yellow Dog Records out of Memphis and on April 13 in Europe/UK on Continental Records Services.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Johnny recently to talk about what newcomers to this band and this sound can expect on May the 5th at The North Street Cabaret for a CD release party and aGain on May 28th at the World’s Largest Bratfest in Madison. We definitely dive into the creation of the new release and how it went from seed to flower, and not only does Johnny fills with pride when talking about his bandmates and he does the same when talking about many of his influences. The music the Claudettes create on stage is something to witness, as it is not easily wrapped into a box or tucked neatly into a genre…it is a sonic experience for open minds and ears that want to notice.

The Claudettes

The California Honeydrops Drop in on Madison

The California Honeydrops celebrate their tenth year together with the release of their 7th studio album and first ever double album, “Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2”. Even with this fresh release, they continue to tour worldwide. This band draws from diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to all their shows. They’ve taken this party all over the world, playing festivals and touring widely across North America, Europe and Australia. In 2016 & 2017 the Honeydrops were honored to support Bonnie Raitt on her North America release tour. Whether in those high-profile performances or in more intimate venues where the band itself can leave the stage and get down on the dance floor with everyone, the California Honeydrops’ shared vision and purpose remain: to make the audience dance and sing.

I had the chance to chat with Ben Malament, drummer and co-founder of the group, about the band’s upcoming show on May 9th at the High Noon Saloon. We get into what an unexpected audience member miGht expect from their first time at a Honeydrops’ show. We dive into the brand new release, “Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2”, and how they laid down the double album I am so pleased to be able to share with listeners. I was thrilled to hear abut the touring, and sharing times had with Bonnie Raitt, it’s a nice peek into the window of her coolness. Ben takes a few moments to lead us to some rare grooves that he would share with the audience of greenarrowradio if he were given the chance. This band is hot, and the burnin’ feels so good.

Kevin Ford of Chicago Afrobeat Project

After roughly 15 years, hundreds of tour dates, and four studio releases, Chicago Afrobeat Project has found ways of interpreting afrobeat through American urban sounds. Through it all, CAbP has been at the center of the emergence of the North American afrobeat scene and they are constantly focused on keeping the foundation of the music and creative pallet the same but they are always an ever-evolving force. As we sit in 2018, the changes and interpretations of old into new should open ears and minds of a wider audience base, so when you get the chance, take it.

I had the chance to chat with Kevin Ford, keyboardist/producer, about the upcoming show on April 7th at The Sett at the University of Wisconsin (Madison). We shape the image of what someone who has no clue what a Chicago Afrobeat Project will present to them at the show. While the goal of the show is to get down and have a great time, the event is definitely a conscious party. We get into the making of the new release “What Goes Up” Ft. the legend, Mr. Tony Allen and how getting to work and perform with Mr. Allen kept the band on it’s musical toes. We also learn what Kevin is listening to these days and how that could easiler turn into a wild DJ set duo with the two of us.

Chicago Afrobeat Project Full Band

Alan Evans Of Soulive Talks Cinematics Vol. 1

Soulive has been one of those bands I have been fond since the early days of listening and sharing music with others. They have played with many who have been on the proGram before and the sound they have been most known for over the years, deep funky rockin’ jams, always make for a great time whether over the radio or home stereo. There’s no telling what you’ll see when you press “Play” on the long-awaited new EP (been about six years since their last official release) from this genre-smashing groove dominating group, but these five dynamic new tunes are guaranteed to turn the backs of your eyelids into a vibrant, action-packed movie screen. With “Cinematics Vol. 1”, the band transforms their infectious blend of soul-jazz, hip-hop, R&B, funk and rock into a series of soundtracks for the movies of your mind.

I had the chance to talk to the man behind the kit for Soulive, Alan Evans about what the fellas (Eric Krasno, Neal Evans and Al) have been up to since their last album. We talk a little about Alan’s Iron Wax Studio and where he might retreat to if ever in need of that time away from things. We spend some time discussing how this new release was born and how it grew up from that idea in infancy to this final product I get to share out with the listeners. We also touch base on a new band he is making music with, Matador! Soul Sounds and what he would play if given the opportunity to take over greenarrowradio for a bit.

Soulive-by-Arthur-Shim

Max ZT of House Of Waters

House of Waters forms a rare and dynamic soundscape. They incorporate elements of West-African, jazz, psychedelic, indie rock, classical and world music into their astonishingly unique sound. House of Waters’ music is both complex and easy to enjoy, a musical exploration that invites listeners to open themselves to new sounds. One of those sounds is that of Max ZT‘s instrument, the hammered dulcimer, a percussion/stringed instrument that takes years of study and spans dozens of cultures around the globe. Most often associated with traditional American and Irish folk music, Max has taken the instrument in entirely new directions. But to truly experience House of Waters, see them live. The reward of this band’s versatility is that they easily fit in so many different spaces within a diverse listener group. We are fortunate to have them coming to the Stoughton Opera House on February 17th to do some ear and mind opening.

Please enjoy my conversation with Max as House of Waters makes their maiden voyage to play Wisconsin. We find out why Max decided to follow in the footsteps of so many others and form a Hammered Dulcimer Power Trio and follow it on a journey which makes him incredibly happy, and that feeling is bound to be shared in a live setting. Max gives a little background on his band-mates and how they are able to meld this completely unique experience into something that, at times, has as many layers as one can dream of. We go deep and learn the true meaning behind the band’s name and we walk down the process path that has gone into creates a new album’s flow. Speaking of….there’s a new album coming out very soon. We even take a couple of moments to pay respect to the inspiration a couple of artists House of Waters shared the stage with and the impact the way those artists did what they did, had on Max.

House of Waters

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Live In Madison

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead is a cover band of sorts that takes some of the tunes of The Grateful Dead and allows them to flow out of their collective beings into a sound pool for some of the most involved fan-base there ever has been. When these five cats get toGether in this form, the momentary surprises are many and way far out. The five are: Joe Russo, Dave Dreiwitz, (friend of the program) Marco Benevento, Scott Metzger & Tom Hamilton. Each bring an incredible individual force to this JRAD scene. While Joe has been a big part of Further and played with members of the Dead, this band brings as much of themselves to the “cover” of the Dead (and a few other bands) to reform a sound and a feeling that is recognizable and exciting. JRAD has been touring and securing itself on the festival scene while constantly bringing more ears along for the ride and us in Madison are lucky to welcome them here on February 18th at The Orpheum.

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to talk to Joe before they land here in Madison. We spend time getting to understand what dialect and language each individual brings to this group and the fun and energy that causes in a live setting. We talk about how they add the skins to the spine that is the vast songbook of The Grateful Dead, and how much of the show is based off improvised segments within that skeletal system of sound. Joe attests that this project might have started off with the idea of a one off and you can hear a little of the amazement in his voice when talking about how long the pulse has been thumping. Hearing Joe speak about the times they have had to call in a sub or two off the bench (including Oteil Burbridge) is really truly a sincere appreciation of brothers. To my brothers and sisters, please enjoy this chat.

PHOTO BY Timothy Dwenger

Sameer Gupta with A Circle Has No Beginning

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

Brother Larry and MisterG

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.

Madison Gets a Rebirth

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

Tony Leone talks Brotherhood

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.

Transplant by Marcus Randolph

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:

Contumbao by Hilario Duran

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.