Circles Around The Sun In Madison

IN THE BEGINNING: The mystery of just who was behind those far-out tunes that kept the crowds groovin’ during Fare Thee Well’s intermissions has been revealed. Circles Around the Sun, a band convened by guitarist Neal Casal, formed specifically to record just for those shows and the results were so right on and the audience reaction so overwhelmingly positive, the group decided to give the music a proper release. The project began when Neal was asked by video director Justin Kreutzmann to compose and record more than 5 hours of original music to be played along with the visuals Kreutzmann was preparing for the Fare Thee Well intermissions. “The idea was to not only show reverence for the past but to in reality, move it forward. Just like the music of the Grateful Dead. Neal was originally joined in the studio by keyboardist Adam MacDougall, a fellow member of Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood and Phil Lesh’s Friends. The balance of the then CATS consists of bassist Dan Horne (Beachwood Sparks, Jonathan Wilson) and drummer Mark Levy (The Congress). Here we are in 2022 and a lot has changed for the group. We lost Neal, but not the music.

I had the chance to catch up with Mark Levy to get into the March 26th event of Circles Around The Sun w/Mikaela Davis at the High Noon Saloon in Madison. While Mark was out on a quick vacation before happily getting back out on the road – we chatted about what to expect if you don’t know this group or its music, a new live record that’s oh so hot and an even brandier newer album with Mikaela Davis. We talk about all the newness – but spend most of our time talking about our mutual pal, Neal. The legacy continues as promised – the memories strong as the real ones remain and we still get to feel ‘it’ as the circle keeps spinning.

Victor DeLorenzo and Night Crickets

Debut release from David J (Bauhaus, Love And Rockets), Victor DeLorenzo (Violent Femmes) and multi-instrumentalist Darwin Meiners. Iconic bands in the history of alternative music certainly include Bauhaus, Love And Rockets, and Violent Femmes. San Francisco born artist Darwin Meiners was a fan of all three. A chance meeting 13 years ago with David J grew into a friendship, and Darwin not only became a bandmate, but David J’s manager. After reaching out to Victor DeLorenzo through e-mail, Darwin met the Violent Femmes drummer after the Femmes’ Coachella set in 2013. Soon after the 3 collaborated on Darwin’s 2014 release Souvenir. As the pandemic took hold, Darwin was looking for a new project to occupy the lock-down time and approached Victor, who was down to proceed and suggested that David join as well. The musical trust established between the 3 was immediate and Night Crickets were born. Within weeks a global process was initiated between them, the recordings eventually forming the album, A Free Society, now out on Omnivore Recordings. (The band’s name came from one of many Zoom meetings between the 3 members. After addressing a few pressing musical issues, the conversation rambled somewhat and turned to the subject of David Lynch, with David J telling an anecdote which was told to him by Lynch’s sound designer, John Neff. Lynch had asked Neff to obtain a field recording of crickets chirping at night for inclusion in Mulholland Drive. When Neff played him the tape, the director immediately recognized the sound that the insects make when it is light which is apparently a little different to their nocturnal chirp. “No! No! No! These are day crickets, John! I want my night crickets!” Victor, Darwin, and David then shared a look of mutual realization and instantly agreed that the project now had a name!)

I had the chance to find time in the field with our pal, Victor DeLorenzo to have a moment of reunite of Frail Pagans, our occasional open-minded share time. We got into the hatching of Night Crickets – and the results that proudly get to be shared into the ears of many. If this group sounds appealing to you – they are….and if they don’t…time to catch up. We also get into the creation of a new Nineteen Thirteen single, album on the way and who the alien being is that added that little something new I am hearing. As I type, we are hopeful to get Nineteen Thirteen back in Madison and maybe wherever you are, they are a welcoming certain THAT, you didn’t know you were needing.

DLO3 With Cold As Weiss

Seattle-based soul-jazz groove-machine Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (DLO3) are set to release their upcoming album “Cold As Weiss: on February 11th via our friends over at Colemine Records. “Cold As Weiss” is the band’s first release featuring new drummer Dan Weiss, also of the powerhouse soul and funk collective The Sextones. DLO3—specializes in the lost art of something we all need always, “feel good music.” The band features organist Delvon Lamarr, a self-taught virtuosic musician, with perfect pitch who taught himself jazz and has effortlessly been able to play a multitude of instruments. On guitar is the dynamo Jimmy James, who eases through Steve Cropper-style chanking guitar, volcanic acid-rock freak-out lead playing, and slinky Grant Green style jazz. From Reno, Nevada is the aforementioned drummer Dan Weiss, whose smoldering pocket-groove drumming locks in the trio’s explosive chemistry. Founded by Delvon’s wife and manager Amy Novo, the trio started from humble beginnings in 2015, but since then has released two Billboard charting albums and toured the world to sold out venues. Now, DLO3 is proud to present “Cold As Weiss”, their third studio album to date that finds them tighter than ever, and continuing to push funky instrumental music to a new generation of fans. I will attest to this, the album is ready to keep the doors wide open for soul fans of the past and those starting with the new and working their way backwards.

I had the pleasure of catching back up with friend of the program, Mr. Delvon Lamarr to allow us the opportunity to get into the new music, how this album really seems to play the band. I do believe we even got a little taste of how the band kinda does the thing they do. If you have never seen them live, well all questions can be answered once you feel this music pump up into you from all around, in the moment. For me, I found it quite interesting how the new drummer’s pocket played in the decision to have him be that “man”. Finding out where on this upcoming World Tour, he is excited to either check out or get back to and what song(s) off the new record would Delvon choose to build a set on greenarrowradio with…. Like Delvon, it is hard to put into words just how this music makes me feel, but interacting with him and Jimmy James and Amy, I can say that these cats are all the real deal, and the music follows that lead.

Metamorphosis Third Coast Percussion

Third Coast Percussion is a GRAMMY® Award-winning Chicago-based percussion quartet and GRAMMY®-nominated composer collective. For over fifteen , the ensemble has created exciting and unexpected performances that constantly redefine the classical music experience. The ensemble has been praised for “commandingly elegant” (New York Times) performances, the “rare power” (Washington Post) of their recordings, and “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). Third Coast Percussion maintains a busy tour schedule, with past performances in 38 of the 50 states and Washington, DC, plus international tour dates across 4 continents. A direct connection with the audience is at the core of all of TCP’s work, whether the musicians are speaking from the stage about a new piece of music, inviting the audience to play along in a concert or educational performance, or inviting their fans around the world to create new music using one of their free mobile apps. The 4 members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers, and make active participation by all students the cornerstone of all their educational offerings. The quartet’s curiosity and eclectic taste have led to a series of unlikely collaborations that have produced exciting new art. That will be on display on January 27th in Madison for an all senses in, spirit bending performance titled ‘Metamorphosis’. I had the chance to get together with Sean Connors from the ensemble to discuss just how cool this upcoming event is going to be. Sean teases us just right with what one can expect if they go in to the show as a blank slate. We discuss the latest album, “Archetypes” (nominated for 3 Grammys) and how that was born and how it grew to into is final form and of course coming to the University means you have to go to class…so we talk briefly about the educational workshop with UW–Madison percussion students the ensemble will take part in on the 28th. A complete package indeed.

Third Coast Percussion joins forces with the groundbreaking choreography of Movement Art Is (co-founded by Lil Buck and Jon Boogz) for an intimate, evening-length program that explores the duality of human nature. At once intensely personal and fiercely virtuosic, two disparate styles of street dance blend seamlessly with new music by Jlin and Tyondai Braxton, as well as Third Coast Percussion’s critically-acclaimed arrangements of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia.

This performance is presented by Wisconsin Union Theater, and will take place in the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall at Hamel Music Center.

Metamorphosis:

PHILIP GLASS (arr. by Third Coast Percussion) Metamorphosis One
JLIN Perspective
TYONDAI BRAXTON Sunny X
PHILIP GLASS (arr. by Third Coast Percussion) Amazon River

Movement by Cameron Murphy and Quentin Robinson
Choreography by Movement Art Is
Lighting design by Joe Burke
Stage direction by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Click here to watch the Metamorphosis trailer, with videography by David Javier, Tim Salaz, and Dakota Sillyman.

She Walks In Beauty with Jim McCarty

Jim McCarty is the original drummer in the legendary Yardbirds, a musical force of nature since the 1960s and still active today with Jim as the sole remaining original member. Acclaimed as one of the most influential rock bands of all time, their music is rooted in the blues, but their amazing forays over the decades into jazz, folk, rock, pop, raga, improv, distortion, guitar feedback and, of course, the blues, is the stuff of legend and incredible influence…so much so that the band was deservedly inducted into the Rock and Hall of Fame in 1992. The Yardbirds dazzling guitar pyrotechnics, which in the band’s earlier days featured the talents of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, are the stuff of rock legend. Jim was and is the steady anchor for this high-flying outfit…his rock-solid drumming keeping the band grounded during the band’s awe-inspiring flights of musical frenzy, both then and now. He’s the only band member to be a member of every lineup since the band was founded in 1963 up through the present day. Of course, you may remember, the last lineup of the early Yardbirds, called The New Yardbirds, which included Jim and Jimmy Page, eventually morphed in to Led Zeppelin. Jim, who is also an accomplished singer and songwriter having released numerous solo albums over the years, has just released the second installment of his memoirs, entitled “She Walks in Beauty”, which is a follow-up to his initial autobiography, “Nobody Told Me”, which was released to great acclaim in 2018. “She Walks in Beauty” continues with Jim’s life journey – inside and outside of music – expanding on his storied musical career while also giving the reader a very personal and intimate look at Jim’s personal lifelong quest to unravel the mysteries of the life that exists beyond the world in which we live. The book tells of his travels to remote areas of the world – including China, India, & the Himalayas – as his search explores the world hidden just out of reach, the shadows that are just out of sight and the certainty that there is an enduring connection between the living and the dead. It’s an intimate, honest, fascinating look inside the life of a rock legend whose boundless curiosity for a life often unseen and/or understood makes for a compelling read.

I had the honor of catching up with Mr. McCarty to discuss “She Walks In Beauty”. We got into the reasons now was the time for these stories to not only be told, but shared. We speak of things that many shake their heads about, but many others have experienced and I believe this book is a great way to think back through the nw and then but also the here and there. I can tell you about our conversation, but ultimately you either have to check it out, or better yet, find a way to get the book and find the common threads you may have neglected to remember or notice. Be open. I am thankful for Mr. McCarty sharing these stories (not a whole lot about music in this chat or in this book), they really open a window into him and beyond.

Street Survivors with Artimus Pyle

44 years ago this past October 2oth, the music world endured one of the greatest tragedies in its history when a Convair CV-240 passenger plane carrying several members of Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, including founding member and vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, crashed into the woods near Gillsburg, Mississippi, killing six including Van Zant. The event has been memorialized in both song as well as in the hearts and minds of music fans the world over. Most recently, this singularly devastating accident was dramatized on film in a full-length feature Street Survivors: The True Story Of The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash. Told from the perspective of Skynyrd drummer, Artimus Pyle, who not only survived the crash but helped rescue other members from the wreckage, the movie is a powerful testament to enduring legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd and all that the band had to overcome in its incredible career. The accompanying soundtrack to the film converts the inspiring true story into musical form, taking selections of the film’s orchestral score and blending it with original music inspired by Skynyrd with guest appearances by Pyle as well as blues rock legend Pat Travers. Artimus was the drummer in the band’s classic lineup at the height of the band’s fame in the 1970, performing in the band from 1974 to 1977 and again from 1987 to 1991. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member in 2006. Artimus is considered a hero in the sense that after the crash, although injured himself, he pulled the remaining survivors out of the wreck and somehow was able to walk to a nearby farmhouse and secure help for his injured bandmates. He currently tours with the Artimus Pyle Band, a rockin’ crew that plays both original music and note-for-note versions of Skynyrd classics in the true spirit of the classic 70s lineup.

I had the complete honor and pleasure to get together with Artimus Pyle for a chat about this tragic event that changed the landscape of rock and roll…heck, let’s not limit it….the landscape of music. We talk about the day of the events, the deep honor of the man (Ronnie Van Zant) and his ability to write hit records with songs that will withstand whatever we humans can throw at it. While talking about the music, we discuss what his band, Artimus Pyle Band does to honor the Skynyrd family while moving the music forward We got into the making of the Street Survivors movie and soundtrack and how Artimus doesn’t get a single penny from either. Cleopatra Records & Films released Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash that depicts Pyle’s memories of the before and aftermath of the crash back in October of 2020. Artimus wrote the outline of the story that was made into the film. Cleopatra Records also released a soundtrack to the film that features performances by two of his sons: Marshall & Chris. I am here to help with the “reboot” of this project as the COVID world has certainly caused many to miss the original release. After spending time with Artimus and hearing about this tale many of us think we know about, getting deeper insights shared by him into him, as a person to be in awe over and well, frankly, there so much in this chat my words cannot touch it. But, listen for the part about Dolly Parton when you get in there – there’s so much cool here for you.

You can purchase the Street Survivors: The True Story Of The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash film here.

Stream or download the film soundtrack here:

The Appice Perdomo Project: Energy Overload

One of the key figures in rock and roll history, Carmine Appice has joined forces with multi-instrumentalist and rising studio star Fernando Perdomo to form The Appice Perdomo Project (aka APP), whose debut album ENERGY OVERLOAD was released September 24, 2021 on Cleopatra Records. The album is an all-instrumental, rock-oriented tour de force with fusion influences also readily apparent. Carmine’s always-amazing drumming and Perdomo’s blazing guitar licks and riffs make Energy Overload a tour de force of sound, texture and non-stop heaviness. Carmine has pounded the skins for such iconic rockers like Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart (Carmine & Rod co-wrote the hits Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and Young Turks) and he is a founding member of legendary 60s rock bands Vanilla Fudge (You Keep Me Hanging On was the band’s classic hit in 1967…it was featured prominently in Quentin Tarantino’s film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and he’s a founding member of Cactus. Both the Fudge and Cactus still tour. His playing has also been a huge influence on drummers including Joey Kramer (Aerosmith), Neal Peart (Rush), Phil Collins (Genesis), Brian Taylor (Queen), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and countless others. He was inducted into the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2014. He remains on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Drummers of All-Time list.

I had the honor to catch up with Carmine and do a little diGGin’ into this blazing new release “Energy Overload”. We dissect a few of the new tracks and learn about the entire process (at times I think we did some algebra?). We talk about the new way of working happened in his new studio with Fernando on this project- and how long it was (and how many songs in) before they actually met in person. Fascinating stuff! We also get into new Vanilla Fudge, with the oriGinal line-up and how Carmine was able to help Tim Bogert (RIP) be a part of it. This was one of thse conversations where I cannot tell you more about it than is actually in it. You have to get an earful of the whole thing to get youself in the know. Carmine is “A Piece” of rock and roll greatness. diGG

Talkin’ His Way with Grant Calvin Weston

Grant Calvin Weston was born June 6, 1959 in Philadelphia, PA. He became interested in drums at the age of 6, when he (and his neighbors) discovered his talent for rhythm as he beat on every car on the block. In North Philadelphia he saw musicians like Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and James Brown at the Uptown Theatre, which further fueled his creativity. Seeing his attention focused on the drummers, his father bought him a small set. In high school Calvin learned to read music and played second snare in the drum ensemble. He co-founded the group Bad Influence which played in cabarets and clubs around Philadelphia. At 17, along with bass player Jamalaadean Tacuma, (his close friend from Philly) Calvin joined Ornette Colemans Prime Time Band which toured extensively in North America and Europe. After recording four albums with Prime Time, Calvin went on to play and record with guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer, until 1990, when he joined John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards. During the late 90s and beyond, Calvin recorded and toured with Billy Martin (Medeski , Martin and Wood,) Tricky, Eyvind Kang, Derek Bailey, Marc Ribot, John Zorn ,James Carter, Gypsys Reloaded (with Melvin Gibbs and Jean-Paul Bourelly), Free Form Funky Freqs (with Vernon Reid and Jamaaldeen Tacuma). He has also played on several movie soundtracks including “Get Shorty”.

I had the pleasure of talking with G. Calvin Weston about one of his latest projects, “Stone Church” with Jim Kost, released today via Ropeadope Records. We get into how this album came to be. On our way in that talk, we get into a few stories about Mr. Ornette Coleman, whom he worked with for years at a very early age. Within those stories, we learn how G. Calvin did it, learned how to find himself inside the rhythms, contnuing to be an “improvizationalist”, finding how what he does know can assist in the deeper learning of finding his voice. Man, this is gold!! We circle back to how that influenced his playing on “Stone Church”. Of course, we could not be stopped from hinting about new music that is coming out soon, as you all know how much I like to be one of the first to get the newness into the universe. After talking with G. Calvin, it is so simple to me to see just why I have always leaned into the way he did what he do.

Nate Smith & Kinfolk At Madison Jazz Festival

For nearly two decades, Nate Smith has been a key piece in reinvigorating the international music scene with his visceral, instinctive, & deep-rooted style of drumming. He holds a diverse & ample résumé, which includes work with esteemed jazz leading lights such as Pat Metheny, Dave Holland, Chris Potter, José James, John Patitucci, Ravi Coltrane, and Somi among many others. His 2x GRAMMY-nominated debut album, KINFOLK: Postcards from Everywhere, sees Nate fusing his original modern jazz compositions with R&B, pop, & hip-hop. He’s also ventured into the pop/rock world with recent collaborations with Vulfpeck spinoff band The Fearless Flyers, Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes) & performances with songwriters Emily King and Van Hunt. In recent years, through a series of viral videos, he has emerged as one of the most influential & popular drummers of his generation. His videos have been viewed millions of times and have inspired countless musicians and fans. In September of 2018, he released his first ever solo drumset album Pocket Change. As a composer and arranger, Nate received two (2) GRAMMY nominations for his composition “Home Free (for Peter Joe)” for best instrumental composition & best arrangement (instrumental or a cappella).

I had the complete pleasure to share some of the cool with Nate about his upcoming trip into Madison to play at Breese Stevens Field as part of the 2021 Madison Jazz Festival. We get into the who and what KINFOLK of this stripped down version of the band will be sharing with us (including some not yet released material), the making/feeling “it” of the music toGether. We find out how important the ears are an instrument & we get into an artists relationship w/our mutual friend Laura Hanifin as a story telling/conceptual image-taker on his projects of then now and the future. Get into this one and feel summa that cool ooze off you too.

Photo by Laura Hanifin from Pocket Change Album: Waterbaby Music: 2018

An East African Journey with Omar Sosa

Omar Sosa has been passionately interested in exploring African musical cultures and their connections with his Afro-Cuban roots since early in his career – subtly blending traditional and contemporary sounds on many of his recordings. He has forged collaborations with Gnawa musicians in Morocco, and with musicians from Senegal, Mozambique, Mali, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, and South Africa, et al. Highlights include his 2002 GRAMMY-nominated recording ‘Sentir’ featuring Moroccan singer and Guimbre player El Houssaine Kily, and his 2008 CD release ‘Afreecanos’, which served as a point of departure for his East Africa project. This new exquisite set of music featuring the 7-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Mr. Sosa showcases collaborations with 8 East African artists, fusing traditional sounds with jazz in a subtle, contemporary production. The folkloric music forming the basis of this project was recorded by Mr. Sosa while on tour in East Africa, including material from Madagascar (Rajery), Kenya (Olith Ratego), Sudan, Ethiopia (Seleshe Damessae), Burundi (Steven Sogo), Zambia and Mauritius (Menwar). With Mr. Sosa on pana and Paris-based producer, Steve Argüelles on drums and percussion and multi-instrumentalist Christophe ‘Disco’ Minck on double bass, synths and effects. These recordings will help expose some of the rich musical traditions of East Africa to new and wider audiences. Included in these recordings are some possibly unknown instruments that are the very keys to unlock the newness of sounds.

I had the honor of talking with Mr. Sosa about not only his personal journey on the creation of this magical album, but the journey of the music. We got into the times between the recording and the ability for me to be able to share and enrich others with the final product. We dive into the people, the cultures and the special instruments for the regions unfamiliar to many of us, but easily uniting those who open their ears and minds. I have to admit that Omar Sosa has long been one of those artists I have admired from a far, and I am so pleased we got a chance to talk abut this project…as it has taken me back while moving me forward. Hope you get that sense! An East African Journey will be released everywhere on March 5th. Check out more here.

A Trilogy Of Albums And Mike Dillon

Mike Dillon has spent the last 3 decades playing well over 200 shows a year with both his own band, as well as a vibraphonist/percussionist with artists including Rickie Lee Jones, Les Claypool & Ani DiFranco. So when the pandemic hit in early 2020 forcing him off the road, he instinctively directed his perpetually restless creative energy to writing & recording. Recently relocating to Kansas City after spending 15 years in New Orleans, he and producer Chad Meise would track a trilogy of albums. In collaboration with his longtime record label Royal Potato Family, they would offer the records exclusively via Bandcamp just days after they were mixed and mastered. On March 12, 2021, those albums now receive the full vinyl treatment, as well as complete digital release across all streaming outlets.

The first of the 3 records, ‘Shoot The Moon,’ is a 10 track collection, which Mike describes as “Punkadelic-Funk-Psych,” focused heavily on the current political climate in the United States. Assembling an assortment of stylistically uncompromising musicians to contribute, its line-up features Matt Chamberlain, Steven Bernstein, Nicholas Payton, Robbie Seahag Mangano, Jean-Paul Gaster & Nick Bockrath among others. Highlights include the apocalyptic road warrior anthem “Drivin’ Down The Road,” a swirling New Orleans jazz-raga “Further Adventures in Misadventures” and the snarling punk rock diatribe “Quool Aid Man” with its indictment of the American right: “old men and their guns.”

The 2nd recording in the series, ‘Suitcase Man’ is a 9-song cycle through which Mike examine his life & choices made over the past 55 years. It’s a distinct entry in his extensive discography, notable for its strikingly honest lyricism & minimalist arrangements that incorporate sparse vibraphone & percussion with a handful of background vocals by Tiff Lamson of Givers and frequent collaborator JJ Jungle. Songs like “Empty Bones,” “Turkish Rose” & “Matthew” represent him at his most creatively daring, while confirming his ascent into the upper echelon of cult music outsiders in the lineage of artists like Tom Waits, Harry Partch & Captain Beefheart.

Mike completes the trilogy with ‘1918.’ The focal point here are his instrumentals: the dank and dark Moog/tabla/vibraphone psych vibe of “Pinocchio,” the electro analog trance of “Pelagic” and the jungle groove, space rock of the title track. Mike once again calls on friends like drummer Earl Harvin and guitarist Shane Theriot to assist. Thematically speaking, the material addresses the Covid-19 pandemic and recent social unrest.

I had the pleasure of catching up with friend of the proGram, Mike Dillon to discuss the creation and construction of these three different feelings and flavors of sound. We touch on the who and what, the how and the why and how a pirates’ voice for he comes into play.

Talking Bill Evans Trio With Mr. Jack DeJohnette

Resonance Records proudly released Bill Evans Live at Ronnie Scott’s, the label’s 3rd collection featuring unheard recordings by the great pianist’s short-lived 1968 trio with bassist Eddie Gomez & drummer Jack DeJohnette, as a 2-LP Record Store Day exclusive on Black Friday, November 27. The album will subsequently be released as a 2-CD set and a digital download on December 4th. Unearthed by Resonance co-president Zev Feldman (a/k/a “the Jazz Detective”), Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest (2016) was a two-LP/two-CD studio date, cut five days after the Evans-Gomez-DeJohnette trio’s Montreux appearance, which had sat unheard in the German vaults for 50 years. A 2nd historic discovery, Another Time (2018), was recorded two days later by the Netherlands Radio Union in Hilversum. Drawn from Jack DeJohnette’s personal archives, Live at Ronnie Scott’s comprises 20 scintillating tracks captured during the Evans trio’s month-long ’68 residency at the eponymous saxophonist-impresario’s Soho club. (It is Resonance’s second live Evans album to emanate from that venue: 2019’s Evans in England derived from a 1969 stand at Scott’s, featuring Gomez and drummer Marty Morell.) Recordings by the Evans-Gomez-DeJohnette lineup are as prized as they are rare. Mr. DeJohnette was an especially simpatico accompanist for Evans, for he had been a pianist before taking up the drums. Despite their chemistry, the trio played together for a mere 6 months. During their stay at Scott’s, Miles Davis stopped in to check out the band, and the trumpeter swiftly recruited DeJohnette for his new group. By the end of 1968, Morell was hired by Evans as his replacement, and he drummed behind the pianist through 1974. Distinguished British critic, author, broadcaster, & pianist Brian Priestley, who witnessed Evans’ ’68 trio in action, puts the London stand and Evans’ then-current repertoire in context in newly commissioned notes for the release. He writes that the performances’ “compelling, indeed at times overwhelming, musical quality is such as to impress this listener all over again. Live at Ronnie Scott’s also features a joint interview, conducted by Feldman, with DeJohnette and Grammy-winning pianist (and, in his early career, drummer) Chick Corea, who played with DeJohnette in Miles Davis’ storied late-‘60s lineups. And as with all of Resonance Records releases, the packaging/artwork & provided documented history makes this yet another “must have” to any music lovers collection. Bill Evans Live at Ronnie Scott’s will be the fifth Resonance title to feature unreleased music by the pianist: 2014’s Live at Art D’Lugoff’s Top of the Gate was the label’s first Evans collection. Smile With Your Heart: The Best of Bill Evans on Resonance, a mid-priced compilation, was issued in 2020.

I had the honor of chatting with the legendary, Mr. Jack DeJohnette about this release. We get into the time and place of its creation. How Mr. Evans was creatively at the top of his playing game and how fortunate we are that these recordings made it to all of us, with some fine cleaning up work, we get to re-live and re-feel moments that many of us never shared in originally. Mr. DeJohnette and I also talk a little about working within the change on a moment stylings of Miles Davis as well an naming off a few artists he sees as carrying on that ability to create in any situation, and how they can find some cracks in structure to find freedom.

Sikiru Adepoju & Riddim Doctors

Sikiru Adepoju is a master of the talking drum and many other Yoruba percussion instruments. After moving to the San Fransico Bay Area in 1985, Sikiru joined the influential and pioneering Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olantunji and his Drums of Passion. This marked a lengthy period of high productivity from Sikiru which saw him recording and performing throughout the world until a year before Olantunji’s death in 2003. During this period he was introduced to Grateful Dead drummer, Mickey Hart, who has called Sikiru “The Mozart of the talking drum,” and employed him on many of his personal projects including the Grammy award winning albums Planet Drum (1991) & Global Drum Project (2008). Sikiru has shared the stage or recorded with many of music’s finest including The Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, Ornette Coleman, Airto Moreira, Zakir Hussein, Pharaoh Sanders, Dave Schools, George Porter Jr., and many more. It is his versatility, skill, good humor, and willingness to push the limits of his drumming and his music which has gained Sikiru acceptance and respect among his peers and music listeners of all tastes. Now, in 2020 Sikiru brings us a new album titled “Ope (Gratitude)” with the group dubbed Riddim Doctors on MansMark Records.

I had the honor of spending a little time with Sikiru recently to discuss the new album. We get into the long and winding journey this music has taken, along with Sikiru, in order to make it out to the world. We talk about the incredible process and the amazing people behind the album’s sound and style. Including the role, Zakir Hussain played in the process. We also spoke about what he was able to learn, as a master when he started to talk with, work with and create with both Babatunde Olatunji and Mickey Hart. it is within this portion of the conversation that I knew Sikiru and I were connected by the bridge of the moment, finding your space within each of those moments. It’s times like this that remind me why it’s not just about the sounds, it’s about those who bring them to us just as much. While I have been close to him via his previous recordings and projects and that has helped me grow as a listener and sharer, this new music brings all that back plus, a sense of the now where this music, this sentiment is needed.

Spoken Drum from Victor DeLorenzo

We have been fortunate enough to have Victor DeLorenzo be a part of the show in many ways. From Femmes to the Drum-n-Cello of Nineteen Thirteen to the open aired radio plays of “Frail Pagans”. This time around we have a chance to discuss a new spoken word project he is putting forth to the world. Check out the chat below for more into the thoughts and execution of the Spoken Drum project and hear the voice from within the instrument.

TRACKS LISTING:

head
coffee
run
civil rights
cry
lovely
bow
world
if

Produced by Victor DeLorenzo

*Recorded and Mixed at Sympathetic Muffler
and The Past Office in Milwaukee by Victor

**Text and Light Music by Victor
with Janet Schiff and Josh Schmidt

***All pieces c&p 2020 Defendimusics bmi

Victor: Drum Sets, Snare Drums, Cymbals, Voices, Keyboards,
Bass Keyboards and Percussion.

Janet: Bass Keyboard and Cello on “civil rights”
and Keyboards on “head”.

Josh: Cello Orchestra Arrangement and Recording
on “civil rights”.

Available now here.

Como De Allstars with Robert Walter

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

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

Big Smoke With Five Alarm Funk

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

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

Fred Hersch Live At The Village Vanguard

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

Mr Hersch’s latest project:

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

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

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

Tranceaphone from Victor DeLorenzo

Friend of the program and my brother, Victor DeLorenzo has a brand new stunner of an EP out to sharpen your senses and bring you to a place you remember, or maybe didn’t know you needed to be in. Victor is of course half of the drum and cello duo, Nineteen Thirteen (he’s the drum half) these days, but he has never stopped doing his own things, musically, artistically and humanly. When you find this new EP on one of the many platforms I am sure you find music at, you’ll immediate hear and feel a sense of that old Violent Femmes magic. That sound and feeling is the tranceaphone, I am sure of it. Victor reminds us what that instrument is, which Femmes track you might remember it from and how it lends itself on this brand new release. We get into how the idea to put out a solo effort took share, with the support and door opening from the first lady of cello, Janet Schiff. If this happens to be your first brush with his music, good for you, there is no time like now to start listening in and going back in time to catch up on anything you may have missed. With the uncertain times we are in now, there is a need to find something to fill a void and I personally think, as Victor does that you can never be alone a Tranceaphone.

Warna by Joey Alexander

A funny thing happened to Joey Alexander over the past five years, a whirlwind period during which he became the most brilliantly precocious talent in jazz history—that is, a renowned festival and concert-hall headliner; the youngest musician ever nominated for a Grammy Award in a jazz category; and a media favorite who’s earned a profile on 60 Minutes, a front-page profile in the New York Times and other premier coverage. As heard on WARNA, his new major-label Verve Records debut, he’s simply become one of the most expressive and thrilling pianist-composers currently at work in jazz. Alexander’s precocity can still stun concertgoers, but his music, including original work and personalized interpretations of great songs, has now taken its rightful place in the spotlight. Translating as “color” from Alexander’s native language of Bahasa, WARNA follows four Motéma Music albums that garnered the pianist three Grammy nominations and such honors as historic critics’ and readers’ poll victories in DownBeat and JazzTimes. But whereas those recordings were documents of an extraordinary young musician in development, WARNA is primarily a collection of reflective, moving new music by an experienced, confident bandleader. He arrived in New York as a lightning bolt in the spring of 2014, performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s annual fundraising gala. At the helm of a packed-out theater containing some of Manhattan’s most elite arts benefactors, he dropped jaws with a remarkably lyrical rendition of “’Round Midnight.” A standing ovation ensued, and he hasn’t slowed down since. The following spring, the New York Times wrote in an enthusiastic profile that “For a jazz pianist, the mastery entails a staggering breadth of knowledge about harmony, rhythm and orchestration, all converging in an eloquent synthesis. Joey Alexander has a handle on a good deal of that.” From there, he went on to receive three Grammy nominations, with two of Alexander’s four previous albums topping the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. His live performances have been equally celebrated. At the 58th Grammy Awards, in February of 2016, he played during both the pre-telecast and the primetime TV event. That same year, Joey also performed with Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding for the Obamas at the White House, as part of a nationally televised International Jazz Day special. In 2018, Alexander headlined Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater with a 20-piece string section orchestrated and conducted by Grammy nominee Richard DeRosa. On October 18, 2019, he made his triumphant Carnegie Hall debut to a sold-out Zankel Hall crowd. Early on in Joey’s ascent, the trumpeter and Jazz at Lincoln Center leader Wynton Marsalis said that “there has never been anyone … who could play like that at his age.” Marsalis, who essentially “discovered” Alexander via his YouTube videos and invited him to New York, was spot-on in his assessment. But today, in light of WARNA, one could extend their judgment to say that Joey Alexander continues to perform at the highest level.

I had the chance to catch up with Joey about the creation of Warna. We got into how the album grew from the seed of an idea into the flower of sound I get to share with the listeners. We talk about how the musicians that join him were either selected or how they continued the musical conversations they had started earlier. Like I told Joey offline, Warna is an album I have been really happy to advise advise my pals who may not have stumbled onto it themselves to go ahead and when you feel like you need a Sunday morning to breathe, hit play and sink in.

At The Knuckledown With Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

Night after night at their live shows, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal leave it all on the table, bringing crowds palpably authentic music. This is a real working band; music for the people, by the people. You hear the veracity in his voice. You hear the strife of a guitar amp being pushed to its limits. You hear keyboards hammering notes home while emboldened horns soar over the top of a rhythm section akin to a freight train. The raucous funk and smooth soul emanating from the stage dutifully pays homage to the past soul giants while simultaneously charging forward, piloting themselves into the modern era. This is soul music. Josh formed Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal in 2012 in famed blues town Lincoln, Nebraska. The award-winning five-piece band includes some of the area’s most revered and accomplished musicians. Joining Josh (keyboards/vocals) is Blake DeForest (trumpet), Mike Keeling (bass), Benjamin Kushner (guitar), and Harrison ElDorado (drums). Inspired by the sounds of Stax, Motown, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Philly and San Francisco, the band continuously crosses musical boundaries both in style and era, and joins forces each show with a common goal – to have the crowd dancing so much they forget even their smallest troubles. Through all the years now and the many destinations and opening for and playing with all sorts of musical talents, 2020 is bringing more tour dates and some brand new tunes to gather the people together, and help them move and groove it all away.

I had the chance to catch up with friend of the proGram, Josh Hoyer ahead of the February 29th show in Madison at The Knuckledown Saloon. Josh and I talk about what kinda scene will be happening whenever he and Soul Colossal roll into town. Josh really diggs coming through Madison to make music and he gives a real sweet tip of the cap to Chris and the Knuckledown crew as well as sharing that we will get to taste some of the newmusic that is in the works. We discuss the creation of one of those new tunes and find out more about the label he’s working with to put it out. Find out why Color Red, the label of another friend of this program, Mr. Eddie Roberts gets some high praise and deservedly so. And of course, if I was throwing a share a vinyl with my ears party…..it may not be a surprise what album you could expect Josh to bring to the fun.