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6.9.09

Jon Paris




Jon Paris - Rock The Universe - 1996 - Fountainbleu

The Village Voice said that Jon Paris "makes Rock and Blues a lively art", and The Austin Daily stated that "Paris' stylings of Chuck Berry tunes and sliding blues numbers are remarkable and highly energetic." Brad Tolinski, editor of Guitar World stated that "Jon Paris is an extremely talented guy. He does a lot of things and he does them all well. I don't run across too many guitarists who can combine such sure-footed skills with intuitive blues sense like Jon does". In 1996, Downtown Magazine praised Jon very highly, by saying that "Paris need bow his head to no one. Not Hendrix. Not Elmore James. Not Stevie Vaughan." Now, the last quote would definitely take some living up to, but Jon's playing on "Rock The Universe" is definite proof that the guy is one great musician. On the album, Jon penned eight of the songs, and also covers The Stones' "It's Not Easy", Chuck Berry's "Deep Feeling", Doug Yankus' "Tryin' Times", and Otis Rush's "Double Trouble". This is a classy "straight shootin" blues rock album by Jon Paris, who has already established himself on the New York rock circuit. He has opened gigs for greats like George Thorogood,, and Albert King, and played with the legendary Johnny Winter for over a decade. He is joined on this album by the great Uptown Horns, and also tremendous players like Johnny Johnson, Anton Fig, and Amy Madden. "Rock The Universe" is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Buy his " Blue Planet" album, and check out Johnny Winter's 1980 "Raisin' Cain" album, on which Jon plays bass, and also penned rwo songs.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

Blues This Bad - Jon Paris
It's Not Easy - Mick Jagger, Keith Richards
Rock-Rock-Roxanne - Jon Paris
So Much Love - Jon Paris
Deep Feeling - Chuck Berry
Goin' Nowhere Fast - Jon Paris
Tryin' Times - Doug Yankus
Lost in the Shuffle - Jon Paris
Born to Rock - Jon Paris
Go! Mary Lou - Jon Paris
Milwaukee Metal - Jon Paris
Double Trouble - Otis Rush

MUSICIANS

Jon Paris (Bass), (Guitar), (Harmonica), (Maracas), (Vocals),
Amy Madden, Kenny Aaronson (Guitar (Bass)
Johnnie Johnson, Junior Brantley (Piano)
Tom Major, Anton Fig, Steve Holley, Bobby Chouinard (Drums)
Arno Hecht, Crispin Cioe (Saxophone) [from the Uptown Horns ]
Laurence Etkin (Trumpet) [from the Uptown Horns ]
Bob Funk (Trombone) [from the Uptown Horns ]
Soozie Tyrell, Junior Brantley, Lisa Lowell Sherryl Marshall , Uptown Horns (Vocals (Background)

REVIEWS

By the time Jon Paris got around to releasing his first solo album, he had already toured around the world and spent quite a bit of time in the studio. As a bassist and harmonica player, Paris spent more than a decade performing and recording with blues rocker Johnny Winter. He has also recorded with the likes of Bob Dylan, Ron Wood, John Hiatt, Jimmy Cliff, and Peter Tosh. Last June, Paris has finally stepped into the spotlight with the release of Rock the Universe (Fountainbleu). "I hope people get a chance to hear this," Paris says of his debut, which shows him leading his own band on guitar, vocals, and harmonica. "When you spend years playing behind other musicians, people don't realize that you have you're own trip." Before releasing the album, Paris built a following for his solo act performing in New York clubs and opening up for such artists as George Thorogood, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Albert King. Rock the Universe shows Paris and his band playing energetic, high-strung blues, with guest performances by Johnny Johnson, The Uptown Horns, and drummer Anton Fig. "My feeling about music is that it's music," Paris says. "I wish there were no categories. If you had to categorize it, it's blues-rock. It's great to be compared to your idols." © Guitar World, February 1996

What took him so long? Seasoned New York club legend Jon Paris finally goes solo with a seamless mix of eight original tracks soaked in the blues-rock tradition and four excellent covers given firece and fiery treatments. A veteran bass-and-harmonica-man who's worked with people like John Hiatt, Link Wray, Ron Wood, and most notably Johnny Winter, Paris proves an exciting frontman, with a great voice that's curiously smooth and biting at the same time. A varying line-up and top-flight session pals help him maintain a consistent intensity from track to track. Anthems like "Born to Rock" and "Milwaukee Metal" steer clear of cliched FM hard-rock with the help of a genuine bluesy feel. Stand-out tracks include the slide-driven "Blues this Bad;" a boogie update on the Rolling Stones' chestnut "It's Not Easy;" the Chuck Berry instrumental "Deep Feeling" (with Berry's pianist Johnny Johnson); and Otis Rush's "Double Trouble" (with the Uptown Horns), featuring some fiery guitar work. There's a sinewy purity to all this; it's rock n' blues without the bluster; power-packed chords without the posturing. This man deserves to be heard far and wide © Brendan Foreman, True Blues, July 1996

If anyone can rock the universe, it's Jon Paris. Best known as a sideman (notably with Johnny Winter, with whom Paris worked for over ten years), Paris has also led a first-rate trio for many years that is easily one of the most popular live blues-rock acts in New York City. His long awaited debut captures much of the energy and excitement of his live performances. Paris' originals sound like old R&B standards that someone you've managed to miss for all these years. Did Paris really write "Born to Rock" and "So Much to Love" and "Lost in the Shuffle?" You bet he did. The few covers are chosen with great care. The Chuck Berry instrumental "Deep Feeling" showcases Paris' excellent slide work, and is given the stamp of authenticity by Berry's pianist Jonnie Johnson, who also plays on the Paris original "Goin' Nowehere Fast." Another excellent choice of cover material is Itis Rush's "Double Trouble," a chance for some deep, true blues, and for Paris to show his fine vocal abilities, in addition to his extraordinary guitar and harp work. Other guest artists lend their special touch to this release, notably the Uptown Horns, who make the rave-up "Rock-Rock-Roxanne" even punchier. Clearly a lot of care has gone into this album, and it's easy to see why Paris has long been a favorite with New Yorkers. We've pretty much come to regard him as our own private property. But once word gets around about this album, I guess we're going to have to share him with the rest of you © Jennifer Zogon, Blues Review, December/January 1996



BIO
New York City-based guitarist, bassist, singer/songwriter, and bandleader Jon Paris has long had a gift for singing and playing blues and blues-rock. He was raised in Milwaukee, a town famous for those styles, and cut his teeth in a procession of area bands in the 1960s. But in recent years, Paris has branched out into jazz as well, through his long friendship with guitar legend and inventor Les Paul. Paul maintains a weekly residency at the Iridium jazz club in Manhattan, and for years before that, he performed a weekly residency at Fat Tuesday's, a now-closed jazz nightclub. Paris may be best known as a longtime sideman to Johnny Winter in his various trio groups during the 1980s and '90s, but in recent years Paris has launched his own successful solo career. He recorded Rock the Universe in 1996 for Fountainbleu Records and Blue Planet in 2004 for the New Jersey-based Blues Leaf Records label. Paris began his performing career in high school, playing drums. By the time he had graduated from high school, Paris could play guitar, some bass, and harmonica, and found work filling in with various area bands, as Milwaukee had a vibrant club scene. Raised by parents who were both artists, Paris grew up thinking he'd be a commercial artist or a painter. But the music he heard on the radio in the '60s, by artists including Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, was all blues-based. He and his peers didn't realize right away that they were close to the blues center of the universe -- at least at that time -- Chicago, IL. Paris admitted it took British Invasion musicians like the Animals, the Rolling Stones, and Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac to turn Paris and his friends on to what was going on in Chicago. Soon, they turned their attention to the living blues musicians who were in Chicago who would come up to Milwaukee periodically to play. In his youth, Paris saw Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Big Walter "Shakey" Horton, Johnny Young, Big Joe Williams, and Magic Sam. Paris credits Magic Sam as a primary influence on his guitar playing. Paris and his various Milwaukee-area touring bands would play their own arrangements of classic blues by Muddy Waters, Little Walter Jacobs, Chuck Berry, and Eddie Cochran. Most notable among his many bands in Milwaukee before moving to New York City was a group he formed with Jim Solberg. Solberg later went on to tour with Luther Allison for many years and put out two albums under his own name in the 1990s. Paris moved to New York City when he was in his early twenties, feeling as if he'd done everything and been everywhere on the Midwest club circuit. He followed his friend Stuffy Shmitt to New York, where Shmitt had secured a record deal. Paris began playing solo gigs and leading a blues jam at Broadway Charlie's, where he met Honeyboy Edwards, Sugar Blue, and the Uptown Horns in the mid-'70s. After that club closed, Paris moved his blues jam to Tin Palace, on the Bowery, not far from the legendary CBGB. There, he befriended Robert Gordon, who would come in with Link Wray. Gordon and Wray later contacted Paris about a European tour, in which Paris would play bass and Anton Fig would play drums. Paris toured Europe with Gordon and Wray in 1977 and 1978, when Gordon had a hit with "Red Hot." Paris found himself immersed in all the great rockabilly music that had been recorded years before by the likes of Gene Vincent, Johnny Burnette, and Elvis Presley with Scotty Moore. After getting off the road from tours with Wray and Gordon, Paris met Johnny Winter in a club in Manhattan where Louisiana Red was playing. (Red was briefly married to folk-blues singer Odetta.) Paris explained to Winter that he played both bass and guitar and wrote his own songs. Paris gave Winter his number and a few days later Winter called, looking for a bass player for an upcoming U.S. tour. Fortunately for Paris, the long residency he'd had with his trio at the Tin Palace on the Bowery was ending, so he joined Winter on the road, playing bass and some harmonica. That continued up until about 1990. Paris has been pursuing his solo career since then, occasionally touring with the likes of George Thorogood and Mick Taylor. In his time in New York City, Paris has backed a short who's who in the world of blues and blues-rock, including Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Hubert Sumlin, Elvin Bishop, Phoebe Snow, Percy Sledge, and Big Jay McNeely. His sessionography includes work with Johnny Winter, Bob Dylan, Ron Wood, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, and John Hiatt, and he's shared the stage with most of his heroes, from B.B. King to Freddie King to Luther Allison to John Mayall. In addition to the aforementioned releases under his own name, Paris can be heard on a slew of recordings by Johnny Winter. © Richard Skelly, All Music Guide