Stephane Wrembel Back In Madison

Stephane Wrembel is one of the finest guitar players in the world. The breadth & range of his playing & compositions are unmatched. This prolific musician, composer, educator, & musical director has released a steady stream of music since 2002 making his mark as one of the most original guitar voices in contemporary music. He has headlined Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Town Hall in NYC & The Lyon Opera House in France. He has toured and/or shared stages with master violinist Mark O’Connor, Sam Bush, Stochelo Rosenberg, Esperanza Spalding, & Al Di Meola. He has dazzled audiences at Montreal Jazz Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Django Reinhardt Festival in France, Ellnora Guitar Festival, Caramoor Jazz Festival & many others. Born in Paris and raised in Fontainebleau, the home of Impressionism & Django Reinhardt, Stephane 1st studied classical piano, at the age of 4. But in his mid-teens, he discovered that he had an affinity for guitar and then he found out about Django and fell in love w/the very strong impressionist feel in his music. Django, long regarded as one of the most influential musicians/composers of all time, was a Sinti, so Wrembel immersed himself in Sinti culture and started learning the atmosphere of what it really means to play Sinti-style guitar. He learned from the masters such as Angelo Debarre & Serge Krief. After graduating summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2002, he released his debut album, Introducing Stephane Wrembel. He moved to NYC in 2003. Before long, word of this remarkable European transplant began spreading among fellow musicians in the robust New York music scene. Both Gypsy Rumble (2005), which includes mandolin legend David Grisman, and 2006’s Barbes-Brooklyn found favor with critics. Oscar-winning director Woody Allen used one of Gypsy Rumble’s tracks, “Big Brother,” in his 2008 film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Hiss fourth album, Terre Des Hommes, was released the same year. In 2003, Wrembel created his own annual event, Django á Gogo Music Festival & Guitar Camp, bringing together some of the finest musicians in the world to celebrate the Sinti guitar style to perform in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall & The Town Hall. This weeklong event held in his hometown of Maplewood, N.J. & NYC is now being produced in Los Angeles, Canada & beyond. Wrembel’s breakthrough came with his original composition “Bistro Fada,” a Django-influenced swinging waltz on his 5th album Origins that became the theme song for Woody Allen’s 2011 Oscar®-winning film, Midnight In Paris. It was included on the Grammy®-winning soundtrack for the film. Wrembel performed the irresistibly catchy “Bistro Fada” live during the 2012 Academy Awards® ceremony with an all-star ensemble led by Hans Zimmer. In 2016, Wrembel released two masterfully recorded live albums: Live In India and Live In Rochester. From 2017-2021, Stephane released The Django Experiment I -The Django Experiment VI under the nom du plume The Django Experiment. These 6 volumes were recorded with long-time collaborators Thor Jensen on guitar, Ari Folman-Cohen on double bass, Nick Anderson on drums& Nick Driscoll on saxophone and clarinet, live in the studio, evoking new interpretations of Reinhardt’s music as well as songs by other jazz composers. In 2019, Wrembel produced Les Yeux Noirs, the debut CD by Simba Baumgartner, Django’s great-grandson. Baumgartner, who lives in the countryside in France, was one of the special guests at Django á Gogo 2019 & 2023. That same year, he released Django L’Impressionniste putting the spotlight on 17 little-known preludes for solo guitar Reinhardt recorded between 1937 and 1950. Wrembel is the first interpreter who has performed all of these pieces and collected them in one definitive masterwork. It took 4 years to meticulously transcribe the songs. He released a beautifully printed/bound book of sheet music in April of 2021. In November of 2021, he debuted his specialty group Django New Orleans, a 9-piece NYC-based band, with 8 sold-out shows at Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club. The following year his specialty program Shades of Django sold out two nights in The Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Now, in 2024, he is doing another something he has never done, recording a triptych album with a duet of guitar & piano with Jean-Michel Pilc. Following the success of these shows, Wrembel released Django New Orleans in May of 2023 in conjunction with the Django á Gogo festival. And while he is now considered one of the preeminent master guitarists in the world specialized in the Django Reinhardt style, this wonderful human keeps transcending & expanding. His music incorporates jazz, blues, classical, swing, flamenco and rock. All of these influences come together as a genre identifiable only as Stephane Wrembel.

I had the pleasure of catching up with family to the proGram, Stephane Wrembel ahead of his May 21st event at the Bur Oak here in Madison, presented by the Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest. We get into the event here with the quartet and what types of things to expect. We will be in store from something off the new and amazing triptych album with Jean-Michel Pilc. We get deep into that new trilogy with meaning and how the two artist have taken that new energy and become close friends, not only for their musical creation. I would be remiss if we didn’t take a moment or two to let Stephane brag and boast a little it about the 2024 Django-A-Gogo and my my my, there’s a lot to be proud about once again. I am proud to call Stephane a friend as when we talk, and you’ll hear it aGain, there’s a rhythm and ebb & flow to us as well, and you’ll feel that personal connection I bet when you plug into the records and most definitely when you catch him in any of his projects live.

Photo by Jason Goodman

Better Than One

The final part of this week’s proGram knew to have a back up plan somewhere near the exit/entrance:

Yet Differently Not(Mars Hall)- Meshell Ndegeocello Ft. Pink Siifu, Immanuel Wilkins & Hanna Benn
Departure Guide Of The 7 Sisters- Meshell Ndegeocello Ft. Deantoni Parks, Chris Bruce, Jade Hicks
El-soul the Companion, Traveler- Meshell Ndegeocello Ft. Pink Siifu, Marshall Allen & Stuart Bogie
Theme Of The Stargazers- Sun Ra (Live in Chicago)
Greetings From the 21st Century- Sun Ra (Live in Chicago)
Ankhnaton- Sun Ra (Live in Chicago)

Eboness- Yusef Lateef (The Concert in Avignon)

Tabu- Art Tatum (Live at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Chicago, IL August 28, 1953)
Crazy Rhythm- Art Tatum (Live at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Chicago, IL August 16, 1953)
What Does It Take- Art Tatum (Live at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Chicago, IL August 16, 1953)
Evil Blues- Chet Baker/Jack Sheldon

Stop, Look and Listen- Shelly Manne & His Men

The Jolly Black Giant- Brother Jack McDuff (Live in Seattle)
The Scene- Cannonball Adderley (live in Bordeaux, 1969)
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy- Cannonball Adderley (live)

Natural Performances

The middle part of the proGram this week could not help but notice the always on stagers.

God’s Love- The Harlem Gospel Travelers
BBQ in Paris- Bastards Of Soul
Bitterness- Bastards Of Soul Ft. Ghost Funk Orchestra
Soul Power- Nick Alexander

Final Approach- Resolution 88
Ez Up- Turist
Skeet- Turist
86Sentra- NxWorries

Pork Buns- BK Trio
Got That Right- BK Trio
Cold Fried Chicken- Brent Birckhead

That Thang- The Messthetics & James Brandon Lewis
**pre-recorded conversation with The Messthetics & James Brandon Lewis**
Three Sisters- The Messthetics & James Brandon Lewis

Snow Tree

The first part of this week’s proGram was not fooled by what was fallin’!

Lazy Saint- John Hurlbut & Jorma Kaukonen
Pastures Of Plenty- John Hurlbut & Jorma Kaukonen
Operator- John Hurlbut & Jorma Kaukonen

greenarrowradio promo- Blind Lemon Pledge
Go Jump the Willie- Blind Lemon Pledge
Coffee Black- Phillip Lammonds
Bayou Boogie- Katie Henry
Owl’s Nest- Anthony Geraci

Big Momma Shake- Left Lane Cruiser
***pre-recorded conversation with Freddy J IV of Left Lane Cruiser***
Turkey Vulture- Left Lane Cruiser

Baddass (2003 Ruff demo)- Garbage

The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis

The Messthetics is an instrumental trio formed by former Fugazi members bassist Joe Lally & drummer Brendan Canty with progressive jazz rock guitarist Anthony Pirog. Their music has been described as “jazz punk jam. The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis is a collaborative studio album by American jazz fusion group the Messthetics & saxophonist James Brandon Lewis. How do we get to this moment: Joe Lally was onstage, playing at full throttle, when he realized that his band had found a true kindred spirit. It was the fall of 2021 and the Messthetics were at the Bell House in Brooklyn, just getting into their uptempo riff jam, “Serpent Tongue.” Joining them for the piece was a special guest, acclaimed jazz saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, making only his 2nd appearance with the group after a drop-in at another New York show back in 2019. That first meeting had been a success, but this time, Lewis’ presence definitely sparked something new. The feeling that there was more to explore within what began as an ad hoc union among the 4 musicians, lingered after the performance ended. Now, Lewis, Pirog, Lally & Canty are ready to unveil their first full-length album as a quartet. Recorded in just 2 days in December 2022 at Takoma Park, Maryland, studio Tonal Park, with engineer Don Godwin, The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis features 9 tracks that capture the combustive chemistry Lally originally sensed onstage while expanding the collaboration in all directions. Across the album, which dropped on March 15th via the legendary Impulse! label, the quartet can be heard locking into a hard, swaggering funk groove on “That Thang,” cradling a wistful, jazz-like theme on “Asthenia” or rocketing into ecstatic art-punk overdrive on “Emergence.” There is plenty of expected evidence of spontaneity running throughout this record. Once the quartet established a rapport onstage, the Messthetics followed up with an invitation to team up for an album, which Lewis quickly accepted. The Messthetics spent a few months in the fall of 2022 assembling & arranging material as a trio before meeting w/Lewis for just 1 day of rehearsal prior to the recording in December. Even with minimal prep time, the material evolved considerably.

I had an opportunity to get hang out with Joe, Brendan, Anthony and Mr. James Brandon Lewis ahead of The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis May 12th show here in Madison at the High Noon Saloon. On the heels of their new album released on Impulse!, we talk about the event and give people an idea of what’s instore and how the new record is what they will build off of as the conversations in real time begin. Anthony and James give the scoop on how they played together which led to an opportunity for a live a cameo or two, which, in turn led what is on the new record and what we will be involved in as they add to that foundation at the High Noon (or wherever you may be fortunate to catch them). A supportive environment, allow the former rhythm section of Fugazi to control the course of the ship, while Anthony’s guitar and JBL’s sax navigate the corners and exploring a dueling dialogue. For me this sound is something I want to surround myself with, sometimes alone or with a group but it has a quality of heavy and groove that can spin at a moment, just like the feeling in life. The guys shared what tracks they’d =choose to build a setlist with and some other artists and tunes, it was as eclectic as what they do. Go figure.

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Left Lane Cruiser Driving This Way

Specializing in a raw hillbilly punk-blues style that roars like a tweaking modal chain saw, Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Left Lane Cruiser is a band led by slide guitarist Frederick “Joe” Evans IV. and Brenn “Sausage Paw” Beck on drums/washboard/trash kit. Their music has the swampy feel of North Mississippi hill country blues à la Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, with a good dose of snarling garage punk tossed into the mix. While the band would sometimes expand into a trio, they record the bulk of their work as a two-piece, and the tough, funky roar of their music arrives fully formed on their 2006 self-released debut album, “Gettin’ Down on It”, on the group’s own Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, and the following year they signed to Alive Naturalsound Records, which is their current home. The new studio album by Indiana’s favorite blues duo, “Bayport BBQ Blues” blends Freddy’s commanding, gritty vocal rasp and positively nasty hoodoo slide guitar work with Sausage Paw’s rhythmic stomp to make for a heady firestarter for your house party, backyard barbecue or juke joint get-down. The album is dedicated to the memory of the late Chris Jonson, creator of the Deep Blues Festival.

I had the chance to catch up with Freddy J IV of Left Lane Cruiser ahead of their May 15th event in Madison at the High Noon Saloon. We talk about the event and being on tour supporting John Garcia and Telekinetic Yeti specifically citing bands like Kyuss as shaping their musical ear. What an event Madison! We dive ear first into the soon to be released record “Bayport BBQ Blues” (late Spring 2024) and we both share our stories that the new track “Turkey Vulture’ inspired and have in common. For those heading to any of their shows and dig their sound, they also do covers of tunes that work for their sound, so you may also hear something familiar differently. Let me tell you, if I was having a backyard BBQ kinda party, these two would be high on my list of being on the bill – they sure do bring a rockin’ raw fun that I feel inside from memories of times long aGo.

Record Store Day Vintylthon 2024

My favorite time to get dusty and find the past path that helped shape a lower case into a capital G. Here’s the entire 3 hours.

Tubular Bells, Pt. 1- Mike Oldfield
Tubular Bells, Pt. 2- Mike Oldfield
The Sheltering Sky- King Crimson
Absolutely Curtains- Pink Floyd

The Illinois Enema Bandit- Frank Zappa (live in NY)

Little Wing- Jimi Hendrix (live)
Roll It Over- Derek & The Dominos (live)
Blues Power/Have You Ever Loved A Woman- Derek & The Dominos (live)
In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed- Allman Brothers Band

Frankie & Albert- Taj Mahal Ft.The Pointer Sisters (live)
Be a Brother- Big Brother & The Holding Company
I Dig Love- George Harrison

Cygnet Committee- David Bowie
Freak Parade- Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (live)
Candyman- Grateful Dead
Voodoo Chile- Jimi Hendrix (live)

Groovallegiance- Funkadelic
In Time- Sly & The Family Stone

Orange Sky Reflector

The final part of this week’s proGram looked up and saw some thing different.

While It’s Hot- Bastards Of Soul
Try a Little Love- Bastards Of Soul Ft. The Sha La Das

Water Suite (Sanctuary)- Sly5thAve
Water Suite (Thirst)- Sly5thAve
Sly5thAve Water Suite (Drown)- Sly5thAve
Samosas & Kingfishers- Robby Krieger & the Soul Savages
Bosco II- On-Ly

Tipish- New Orleans Klezmer All Stars
Rob Levik’s Niggun- New Orleans Klezmer All Stars
The Detox Hora- New Orleans Klezmer All Stars

Ashé Chief Donald: Tribute Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr. – Congo Square Nation- Chief Adjuah
***pre-recorded conversation with Chief Adjuah***
On To New Orleans (Runnin’ in 7’s Redux)- Chief Adjuah
Xodokan Iko – Hu Na Ney- Chief Adjuah

Peri’s Scope- Brian Bromberg

Mooney Over The Yous

The middle part of the proGram saw the way to walk to the lights.

Four Four Fever- Travis Bowlin
We Done Earned It- Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams

Red River Blues- Jorma Kaukonen (Live At The Bottom Line)
***pre-recorded conversation with Jorma Kaukonon***
Just Because- Jorma Kaukonen (Live At The Bottom Line)
Blue Railroad Train- Jorma Kaukonen (Live At The Bottom Line)

Hey Babe- Trummors
Twenty Dollar Bill- Elliott Sharp’s Terraplane Ft. Eric Mingus
Last Frontier- Ride

Pulse- Kandace Springs
I See You- Alice Russell
In Limbo- Pale Jay

Mooning Over You

The first part of the proGram was looking up and saw the two sides.

The Appalachian Blues- Scott Low
The Hard Way- Jesse Dayton

Flippin’ and Floppin’ / So Mean To Me- Frankie Boy & The Blues Express
Black Drawers On- Frankie Boy & The Blues Express

Boom Boom Out Go The Lights- The Chess Project
Smokestack Lightning- The Chess Project
JIG JIGGITY- Shawn Kellerman
We Are Blues Men- Shawn Kellerman Ft. Bobby Rush

Bogeyman- The Wicked Lo-Down
Love Like Kerosene- Katie Henry
Jump- Katie Henry
greenarrowradio promo- Rick Vito
High and Lonesome- Sean Riley & The Water

Leyla McCalla on Millennium Stage

Live Tonight on Millennium Stage: Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from her past and present, whether it is her Haitian heritage or her adopted home of New Orleans. McCalla—a bilingual multi-instrumentalist, and alumna of Grammy Award®–winning African American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops—has risen to produce a distinctive sound that reflects the union of her roots and experience. McCalla’s music is at once earthy, elegant, soulful, and witty—it vibrates with three centuries of history, yet also feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary. The music sonically blends New Orleans influences and Haitian rhythms, with lyrics sung in English, French, and Haitian Creole. McCalla’s widely acclaimed collaborative project, Songs of Our Native Daughters (Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell), released via Smithsonian Folkways in 2019. The album pulled influence from past sources to create a reinvented slave narrative, confronting sanitized views about America’s history of slavery, racism, and misogyny from a powerful, modern Black female perspective.

Stretch Music and Chief Adjuah

Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott), is a 2-time Edison Award winning & 5-time Grammy Award nominated musician, composer & producer. He is the nephew of jazz innovator & legendary sax man, Donald Harrison, Jr. His musical tutelage began under the direction of his uncle at the age of 13. After graduating from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) in 2001, he received a full tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music where he earned a degree in Professional Music and Film Scoring 30 months later. Since 2002, Chief has released 12 critically acclaimed studio recordings, 3 live albums and one greatest hits collection. An artist known for developing the harmonic convention known as the “forecasting cell” and for his use of an un-voiced tone in his playing, emphasizing breath over vibration at the mouthpiece. The technique is known as his “whisper technique.” Adjuah is also the progenitor of “Stretch Music,” a jazz rooted, genre blind musical form that attempts to “stretch” jazz’s rhythmic, melodic & harmonic conventions to encompass multiple musical forms, languages & cultures. The 2015 release of the recording Stretch Music marked the partnership between Adjuah’s Stretch Music record label and Ropeadope Records. Stretch Music is also the first recording to have an accompanying app, for which Adjuah won the prestigious JazzFM Innovator of the year Award in 2016. The Stretch Music App is an interactive music player that allows musicians the ability to completely control the practicing, listening & learning experience by customizing the player to fit their specific needs and goals. In 2017, Adjuah released 3 albums, collectively titled The Centennial Trilogy, that debuted at number one on iTunes. The albums’ launch commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first Jazz recordings of 1917. The series is, at its core, a sobering re-evaluation of the social political realities of the world through sound. It speaks to a litany of issues that continue to plague the collective human experience, such as slavery in America via the Prison Industrial Complex, food insecurity, xenophobia, immigration, climate change, racial and sexual orientation and gender inequality, fascism and the return of the demagogue. The trilogy includes Ruler Rebel, Diaspora and Emancipation Procrastination. Each recording vividly depicts Adjuah’s new vision and sound via a new production methodology that stretches trap music with West African and New Orleanian Black Indian masking tradition musical styles. Ruler Rebel’s release coincided with the first annual Stretch Music Festival at Harlem Stage in New York. The Stretch Music Festival, created/curated by Chief Adjuah for 3 consecutive years, explores the boundaries of Stretch, Jazz, Trap, & Alternative Rock with some of music’s most poised & fiery rising stars. Since 2006, Chief has worked with a number of notable artists, including Prince, Thom Yorke, McCoy Tyner, Marcus Miller, Eddie Palmieri, rappers Mos Def (Yasin Bey), Talib Kweli, & Vic Mensa, as well as heralded poet & musician Saul Williams. This amazing being is a scion of New Orleans’ 1st family of art & culture, the Harrisons, and the grandson of legendary Big Chief, Donald Harrison Sr., who led four nations in the City’s masking tradition. The HBO series, Treme, borrowed the storyline and the name “Guardians of the Flame” from the group Adjuah began “masking” as a member of with his grandfather in 1989. In 2018, Tulane University’s acclaimed Amistad Research Center announced its archive of the Donald Harrison, Sr. legacy papers to highlight the Harrison/Scott/Nelson family’s contributions to the arts, activism, and African diaspora cultural expressions. The Harrison family’s story has been documented by Oscar winning director, the late Jonathan Demme, in his post-Hurricane Katrina filmic works. Dedicated to a number of causes that positively impact communities, Chief Adjuah gives his time & talents in service to several organizations which garnered him a place in Ebony Magazine’s 30 Young Leaders Under 30. Holding master classes, creating and participating in discussion panels, creating content, and purchasing instruments for youth music programs and individual youth musicians are all part of hiss community-based work. He has worked with Guardians Institute in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, which is dedicated to reading & fiscal literacy, cultural retention and a firm commitment to the participation of community elders & artists in uplifting and supporting youths in underserved areas of New Orleans.

Earlier in the year, I had the honor of getting to keep it real with Chief Adjuah ahead of the May 2nd event in Shannon Hall at the Wisconsin Union Theater. We get into what people in attendance can sorta/kinda plan for, as no one in the moments quite knows. We dive deep into the latest record on Ropeadope, ‘Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning’, his journey into Chiefdom and some of the practices and responsibilities it brings, and of course, we get heavy into Stretch Music and the idea of genre blindness (something I hope greenarrowradio brinGs with it). During this, we get talk frank about the way people do the things they can do or cannot do, and how opportunity needs to be able to be in front of all. With that also comes the the who do you get in your camp to help support your ideas (like Chief Adjuah’s Harp) and allow you those opportunities to grow as an artist and take the music where it takes you – Ropeadope Records has been that place of support and growth so we talk a bit about how that relationship went down and where it can go. We even found some time for him to build a mighty setlist. I try not to play favorites, but Chief Adjuah has been one of those artists that speaks to me – and now he has.


What’s Up With Jorma

In a career that has already spanned a half-century, Jorma Kaukonen has been one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, blues, & rock. A member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy recipient, Jorma was at the forefront of popular rock & roll, one of the founders of the San Francisco sound and a progenitor of Psychedelic Rock. He is a founding member of two legendary bands, Jefferson Airplane & the still-touring Hot Tuna. Jorma Kaukonen is a music legend and one of the finest singer-songwriters in his field. He continues to tour the world bringing his unique styling to old blues tunes while presenting new songs of weight & dimension. His secret is in playing spontaneous & unfiltered music, with an individual expression of personality. In 2016, Jorma, Jack Casady and the other members of Jefferson Airplane were awarded The GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions to American music. In 2019 St. Martin’s Press published Jorma‘s autobiography, Been So Long: My Life and Music, written to express his life both in and out of the music world. He was a devotee of rock & roll in the Buddy Holly era but soon developed a love for the blues & bluegrass that were profuse in the clubs/concerts in the nation’s capital. It inspired him to take up guitar and play that kind of music himself. Soon he met Jack Casady, the younger brother of a friend and a wonderful guitar player in his own right. Though they could not have known it, they were beginning a musical partnership that has continued for more than 50 years. Jorma graduated from high school and headed off for Antioch College in Ohio, where he met Ian Buchanan, who introduced him to the elaborate fingerstyle fretwork of the Rev. Gary Davis. A work-study program in New York introduced Jorma, the increasingly skilled guitarist, to that city’s burgeoning folk-blues bluegrass scene and many of its players. After a break from college and travel overseas, Jorma moved to California, where he returned to classes at Santa Clara University and earned money by teaching guitar. It was at this time, in 1965, that he met Paul Kantner and was invited to join a new not-yet-named rock band Kantner was forming with Marty Balin. As a self-described blues purist, Kaukonen was initially reluctant, but found his imagination excited by the arsenal of effects available to electric guitar, later remarking that he was “sucked in by technology.” With the group still looking for a name, Kaukonen suggested Jefferson Airplane, inspired by an eccentric friend who had given his dog the name “Blind Lemon Jefferson Airplane.” Jorma invited his old musical partner Jack Casady to come out to San Francisco and play electric bass for the new band, and together they created much of Jefferson Airplane’s signature sound. A pioneer of counterculture-era psychedelic rock, the group was the first band from the San Francisco scene to achieve international mainstream success. Their 1967 record ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ is regarded as one of the key recordings of the “Summer of Love.” Jorma & Jack would jam whenever they could and would sometimes perform sets within sets at Airplane concerts. The two would often play clubs following Airplane performances. Making a name for themselves as a duo, they struck a record deal, and Hot Tuna was born. Jorma left Jefferson Airplane after the band’s most productive 5 years, pursuing his full-time job with Hot Tuna. Over the past five decades Hot Tuna has performed thousands of concerts and released more than 2-dozen records. The musicians who have performed with them are many and widely varied, as are their styles, from acoustic to long & loud electric jams, but never straying far from their musical roots. What is remarkable is that they have never coasted. Hot Tuna today sounds better than ever. Jorma’s originals from his poignant instrumentals, “Embryonic Journey” (Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow) & “The Water Song” (Hot Tuna – Burgers), to his insightful lyrics, “Genesis” (Jorma Kaukonen – Quah), have stood the test of time. Having an undeniable feeling of significance, they have been included in films and covered by many artists who have been inspired by his depth and continuity of spirit. In addition to his work with Hot Tuna, Jorma has recorded more than a dozen solo albums on major labels. But performance and recording are only part of the story. As the leading practitioner and teacher of fingerstyle guitar, Jorma and his wife Vanessa Lillian operate one of the world’s most unique centers for the study of guitar and other instruments and a high quality place to play. Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch is located on 125 acres of fields, woods, hills, & streams in the Appalachian foothills of Southeastern Ohio. It has become an important stop on the touring circuit for artists who do not normally play intimate 200-seat venues, bringing such artists as David Bromberg, Roger McGuinn, Arlo Guthrie, Dave Alvin, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Warren Haynes, Lee Roy Parnell, Chris Hillman and more. Students, instructors, and visiting artists alike welcome the peace and tranquility — as well as the great music and great instruction — that Fur Peace Ranch offers. At Fur Peace Ranch the Kaukonens have created the Psylodelic Gallery, a museum in a silo, celebrating the music, art, culture, and literature of the 1960’s, tracing important events and movements of the psychedelic era. They produce concerts at the Fur Peace Station which are streamed internationally on YouTube as well as broadcast on WOUB 91.3FM. The Kaukonens there support their local community through art
festivals and a restaurant on site.

I had the pleasure to play a little catch up with family to the program, Jorma Kaukonon ahead of the May 8th event at the Stoughton Opera House with special guest, John Hurlbut. We get into what the scene will be like for this show as well as the soon to be released new album from John & Jorma (out on Record Store Day) called ‘One More Lifetime’. We also take time to discuss the 2023 release of Live at the Bottom Line, which I (looking right at the correct name – call The Bitter End), and how he thought the guys sounded on a night a long time ag and we even touch a bit on the recent 3 CD box set of live Hot Tuna music – which really is my fav. I check in with him to see if he goes back ever like a coach to see if there’s more/less to be done with a tune – he gives a not so surprising answer with a great Jefferson Airplane example and we of course, had to find out what is going down at the Fur Peace Ranch. Friends.

JFA Gala Night 2024

Since 2001, the Jazz Foundation of America has produced an annual gala called “A Great Night.” This benefit concert is always one of the best nights of the year in New York City. It brings together all-time legends and unknown gems from the worlds of jazz, blues, rock, and soul.

“A Great Night in Harlem” Gala
The Apollo
253 West 125th Street, NYC
Thursday, March 28, 2024

Richard D. Parsons
Musical Director:
Steve Jordan

Chuck D.

Bob Weir

Too Close

The final part of this week’s proGram might have gotten that front row spot.

Heartbreak- Leon Dinero
Cut Both Ways (Heartbreak Dub)- Leon Dinero
West Memphis- Parlor Greens
Tkn- Orquesta Akokán
Con Altura- Orquesta Akokán
Raha- Savana Funk & Gaudi

Keepin’ It Kool- Potatohead People Ft. Kendra Dias
Tubby’s Ghost- Soul Sugar
A Shadow in August (Mad Professor Rmx)- Piper Street Sound Ft. Andy Bassford
Hasty Train- OLUMA

YNQF- Flavia Abadía Ft. Itz Nico P, Miginomics & Medylandia
Douce Globules Rouges- Laurent Bardainne & Tigre d’Eau Ft. Pupajim
Faith (Medlar & Dele Sosimi RMX)- Arnau Obiols & KAYYAK & Arnau Obiols

Beggin For The Burn

Middle part of this week’s proGram brought the gasoline.

West Wind- The Speed Of Sound
Mooks- Supersport 2000
Pop Tarte- Baby Lemonade
No One Needs To Know- Ozma
Live Today- Chicano Batman

Talking Back- Thee Sinseers
Like I Can Give- Thee Sinseers
greenarrowradio/MisterG promo- Sharon Jones
Don’t Give a Friend a Number- Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Don’t Wanna Lose You- Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
All I Do- MT Jones

Exodus- Sly5thAve
***pre-recorded conversation with Sly5thAve***
Water Suite (Renewal)- Sly5thAve Ft. Michael Jelani Brooks
Liberation- Sly5thAve

Burning In Heater

The first part of this week’s program brouGht the big flames.

Desert Island Dreams- Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
The Way Yo Make Me Feel- Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad- Eric Bibb (Live At the Scala Theatre)
Whole World’s Got the Blues- Eric Bibb (Live At the Scala Theatre)

Last Kind Words Blues- Sue Foley
That’s How Strong My Love Is- Tad Robinson Ft. Delmark All-Stars [Live]
I’m Ready- Bart Bryant

I’m Not Hidden- Two Headed Horse
Last Night I Went Somewhere to Dream- Ride
Stay Free- Ride
The Pit of Language- Einstürzende Neubauten
Docket- Blondshell Ft. Bully

Skateboard Mothers- Andrew Gabbard
Big Belly Boogaloo- Andrew Gabbard Ft. Neal Francis

Sly5thAve’s Liberation Feels Right

Sly5thAve‘s musical inspirations span the worlds of jazz & hip hop, with recognizable icons like John Coltrane, Charlie Parker & Cannonball Adderley influencing his artistic journey. He released several acclaimed projects, including “Akuma” and the “Vein Melter” EP, inspired by Herbie Hancock’s ‘Head Hunters’. He signed to Tru Thoughts, releasing his “Composite” EP, which featured orchestral covers of tracks by Rihanna, Drake, & Frank Ocean, performed with the Clubcasa Chamber Orchestra. Following the release of his orchestral tribute t Dr. Dre, ‘The Invisible Man’, (through this recording Sly5thAve felt he had found a way to help/make people connect with orchestral music) Sly5thAve returned in 2020 with ‘What It Is’, showcasing his abilities as a talented producer & collaborative musician, the LP featured the likes of Denitia, Marlon Craft, Melissa McMillan & Grammy-nominated Thalma de Freitas as well as that celebrated Sly5thAve’s multifaceted musical nature. 2022 saw him working with fellow composer/pianist Roberto Verástegui on ‘Agua de Jamaica’ and with New York MC/lyricist JSWISS on ‘Somebody’s Gotta Do It’. He has attained much respect from his work with a host of highly acclaimed and household favorite musicians including Prince (as a member of the New Power Generation Band), Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Taylor Swift, Janelle Monae, Freddie Gibbs & one of my personal favorites, Quantic. Sly has toured and recorded as a member of Ghost Note, Quantic and with his own side project, IGBO, and he recently supported Alfa Mist on his North American tour. Here we are now in the beGinning 0f 2024, and there’s something special that feels just right. ‘Liberation’ is his 3rd solo LP. Layered with orchestral arrangements, jazz improvisation and Hip-Hop production, ‘Liberation’ is an accomplished record of courage, musical conviction & growth. Trusting his inner voice & personal taste, Sly found himself liberated from fear by the ease with which the original orchestrations of ‘Liberation’ manifested themselves: The LP is his 1st full album of original orchestral arrangements and features the musicianship of Sly5thAve’s collaborators and Ghost-Note bandmates, headed by Snarky Puppy’s multi-Grammy–winning percussion duo Robert “Sput” Searight & Nate Werth, alongside previous collaborator Roberto Verástegui. Sly5thAve’s passion for collaboration is expressed on singles from ‘Liberation’, as he revitalizes the beloved Destiny’s Child classic “No, No, No Pt. 2” with help from Jonathan Mones; through the MonoNeon bassline of “Monoxide” featuring MacKenzie on vocals and guitar from Peter Knudsen; and on closing track “Big Brother feat. Daniel Wytanis”, a track that features/pays tribute to both “Sput” & Nate, alongside Ghost-Note member/mixing engineer Ben Burget.

I finally got a moment to catch up with Sly5thAve – this was the right time. As ‘Liberation’ is an album that combines many sounds that I enjoy finding in an ear blend. We get into the seed to flower of the record and dissect the title track a little bit. We also talk about how he landed in the world of Try Thoughts Records and what it is about that relationship that feels like home. Since Sly is known for his ability to work on and with others, we get into who he’d like to see himself work with in the future, but you can tell how much he appreciates those experiences of the past. Ghost-Note has a new album dropping soon, so we talk about his pieces/parts with that scene and he builds out an amazing setlist that he’d share if invited to host the proGram. This here, right now!

Side Waved

The second half of the Sunday fill-in proGram did it this-a-ways:

Since I Became Your Prey- Maliheh Moradi & Eshan Matoori
For The Rain- Maliheh Moradi & Eshan Matoori
Migrant Voices- Itamar Erez & Hamin Honari

Idé Weré Weré – Waterfall Edit- Simon Jano Sessions
La Vie en Rose- Captain Sparks & Royal Company
Thanksgiving Island- Moken

Spectrum, Add And Dyslexia- Jonas Verwijnen
Black Sand- Glass Beams
Nana del Caballo Grande- Kiko Navarro feat. Nuria Millán & Benji Habichuela

Swan Lake- Christos DC
Rain On My Skin- Fixed Error Ft. MoRoots
Ulé- Deela & Los Chicos Altos
Gwakke- Ancient Astronauts Ft. Spyda MC

Journey Began

Did a Sunday morning fill-in proGram to go on a little trip. We tripped the first half like this:

Good Evening- Otava Yo
Ah, The Woods- Otava Yo

Guazalamanco (Guajira)- Carlos Coronado
Saltseseugues (Seguiriya)- Carlos Coronado
Dance Of The Fungi- Sam Wilson
Into The Hollow- Sam Wilson

Bajami- Divanhana Ft. Luis Robisco
Sin Miedo- Orkestar Kriminal
Res Del Cel- ÖLIVIAS

Corrido- cabra
Arriba el limón (Alborada)- cabra
Gerando na Alta- Céu