Get this crazy baby off my head!


Eric Bibb, Rory Block , Maria Muldaur


Eric Bibb, Rory Block , Maria Muldaur - Sisters & Brothers - 2004 - Telarc

Eric Bibb, Rory Block and Maria Muldaur unite to celebrate their family ties in Sisters & Brothers, a 13 track dynamic collection of blues. A great album from three of the best blues artists in the business.


Rock Daniel;
Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down;
Get Up Get Ready;
Lean On Me;
Bessies Advice;
Good Stuff;
Rolling Log;
Gotta Serve Somebody;
Travelin' Woman's Blues;
Little Rain;
Maggie Campbell;
Give A Little More,
My Sisters And Brothers.


Eric Bibb, Rory Block Guitars, Vocals;
Maria Muldaur Vocals;
Chris Burns Keyboards;
Michael Ward Bass;
Per Hanson Drums.


What do get when you place three accomplished blues artists inside a comfortable recording space, slowly combine their individual talents, add three seasoned band members and let simmer? You've got the recipe for the new release, Sisters and Brothers (Telarc 2004), featuring, Eric Bibb, Rory Block and Maria Muldaur. The album is a celebration of their musical journey and the bond shared as blues musicians. Their initial steps began in the 1960's, firmly rooted in folk music at the peak of its popularity. During that time, all three became captivated by the sound of acoustic country blues. Their attraction continued to grow, feeling deeply connected to the music beyond just simple fascination. Calling it home, each artist built a musical foundation in traditional country blues. They selected different areas within the genre to reside, reflecting their individual style. After many years of hard work and dedication Bibb, Block and Muldaur enjoy successful solo careers, representing their distinct segment of the blues.
Sisters and Brothers" is a dream come true, reuniting three talented performers who happen to be old friends. Bringing their own unique ingredients to the table, they created a delicious banquet of blues entrees. There's 13 tasty tracks, covering a variety of styles to satisfy any appetite. This threesome cooked some savory blues selections, from country and gospel, to folk and jazz. A full serving of genuine emotion and memorable performances. Albums with an assortment of styles from a specific genre as diverse as the blues, may sound chopped or tossed together. You won't find anything thrown together on this new release. Sisters and Brothers is a perfect example of how an album, covering different styles within a specific genre is suppose to sound. Each track blends smoothly in a natural progression, the thoughtful grouping of certain styles gives the recording a cohesive transition throughout. A true testament to the artists, the band and especially the producer Randy Labbe.
Sisters and Brothers has a spiritual theme, but it certainly doesn't preach. Instead, you'll find a positive, uplifting tone, touching the human spirit. It delivers a clear and simple message of unity and brotherhood, the importance of giving and being there for one another. In a world of uncertainty and fear, the message here is needed now more than ever. The opening track, is an accapella version of the gospel standard, Rock Daniel. A call and response tune with Rory Block singing lead, Eric Bibb and Maria Muldaur providing steady vocal support. Next, Bibb takes the lead on this shuffle tune, Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down. His smooth, soulful, R&B style really shines, the emotion level in his voice slowly rises on every verse. Muldaur jumps in for a verse with her sassy vibrato, then returns with Block singing chorus. Chris Burns tears up the ivories with great riffs and an excellent solo. Get Up Get Ready, finds Muldaur at her best on this swing tune. She drives home the message with her exuberant, sultry vocals, Block adding some jazzy guitar riffs. Michael "Mudcat" Ward on upright bass and Per Hanson on drums, stay front and center as Muldaur leads the way. You can't help but sing along to this one. The albums finest duets come from Block and Muldaur, their first is the Withers classic, Lean On Me. Block delivers a strong, soulful lead, as Muldaur joins in with warm, soaring harmonies. Their duet version of this R&B favorite, adds more depth and harmony without veering too far from the original. Their second duet is on a Block original, Travlin' Woman Blues. Both woman turn up the heat, each bouncing off the other with a healthy dose of steamy, sultry vocals. Burns' piano keeps the fire burning on this honky-tonk tune, tickling the ivories with a sizzling solo. This is one of the albums best tracks, including, Gotta Serve Somebody. Bibb gives this Dylan spiritual a fantastic ride. His smooth as silk voice sounds a bit scratchy, even gritty at times when placing emphasis within a verse. Bibbs slow and soulful variation to this spiritual, adds an authoritative aspect to the original. Block and Muldaur's background vocals sound like a Sunday morning choir, as they echo the chorus. Bibb also exercises his wide vocal range with deliberate emotion. This interpretation is powerful, he'll get your attention without letting go till the very last note. The final and title track, Sisters and Brothers is an uplifting gospel tune. Each voice wraps around the other in waves of warmth and comfort. It's really a shame, being the only track where they sing together as a trio.
Sisters and Brothers is a dynamic collection of blues. There isn't a bad track to be found, each one taking you in a new direction. This threesome gives their very best, never once overshadowing someone else. Each artists expressive originality truly compliments the other, highlighting their strengths and creativity. This trio opens the door to a different side of the blues, the hopeful, uplifting, inspiring side. You'll be pleasantly surprised just how infectious this recording becomes, as you play it again and again. It's a genuine "feel good" album with lots of toe-tappin' energy. I highly recommend you dive right into this one. Copyright 2004, Peterborough Folk Music Society and P. L. Dow. © Pamela L. Dow http://images.google.ie/imgres?imgurl=http://www.acousticmusic.com/fame/g02869.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.acousticmusic.com/fame/p02869.htm&h=317&w=353&sz=21&hl=en&start=1&tbnid=wV-9LyLcPNFhfM:&tbnh=109&tbnw=121&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsisters%2Bbrothers%2Bblock%2Bmuldaur%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den

Behold, how good and how pleasant for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity.

?Psalm 133.
I will be damned if I know what biblical translation was used for this quote. But that is no matter. Three journeyman artists have joined forces to bring the sensual and the divine together under the same roof and celebrate them. Eric Bibb, Rory Block, and Maria Muldaur cast a new light on the spiritual and mostly with success.
Recordings like this frighten me because they always seem to be really good ideas and then fizzle out when the idea becomes kinetic. With one or two exceptions, Sisters and Brothers possesses some real religion, sharing it with the listener on the way. These three disparate vocalists, sharing only the blues come together to present the dirty gospel.
The opener, “Rock Daniel,” is a Rosetta Tharp spiritual taken as a loose but effective a?cappella. This song sets the earthy mood of the remainder for the recording. “Bessie?s Advice” is a sensual original made humid by Maria Muldaur?s smoky tone and Michael ward?s walking bass. “Lean on Me” takes on a decidedly more blues-soaked character with Ms. Block?s lead vocals, supported by Ms. Muldaur?s harmony. “Rolling Log” is an old Lottie Beaman tune reprised by Rory Block, containing a good bit of her trademark acoustic guitar. Rory Block continues to provide us with the significant and overlooked contributions of women blues singers of the ?20s and ?30s.
Eric Bibbs? take on Bob Dylan?s “Serve Somebody” is soulful tribute and Jimmy Reed?s “Little Rain” provides Rory Block more exquisite blues fodder for her to transform. These songs project perfectly the collision between Saturday night and Sunday morning. © C. Michael Bailey © 2007 All About Jazz and/or contributing writers/visual artists. All rights reserved. www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=12963
With Eric Bibb’s signing to Telarc Records, the seeds for this recording could finally be planted. Rory Block and Maria Muldaur have already released a number of wonderful efforts for the label. Bibb has done estimable work on a number of labels, and he released his first Telarc disc a few months ago. Sisters & Brothers demonstrates that bringing these three together in an intimate setting in Unity, Maine was an inspired idea.
Please don’t mistake this for an all-star date where the closest the leaders get to each other is the cover photo. Nothing could be further from the truth. Right from the opening track, an a cappella rendition of "Rock David," all three musicians are playing together and singing harmony on one another’s songs. Bibb and Block handle all the guitar playing, backed up by Chris Burns on piano and/or Wurlitzer, Michael "Mudcat" Ward on bass, and Per Hanson on drums.
This is honest, rural, backcountry blues by three artists who were weaned on the stuff, especially Muldaur, who has been singing songs like this her whole life. Listen to her confident handling of Bibb’s "Bessie’s Advise" for a prime example. And the recording meets the standards set by the performances. Vocals are true, instruments are rock-solid, and the soundstage is nicely defined. I hope this is the first in a run of albums featuring these three. Every layer, from CD to stereo SACD through surround SACD is good, better, best (and I’ll leave it to you to decide Don’t let this album’s 24-bit PCM origin dissuade you from giving it a try. This is a wonderfully fine-sounding blues disc. It’s already one of my favorites. © John Crossett www.soundstage.com/music/reviews/rev650.htm

A few decades ago, when they were teenagers, Maria Muldaur, Rory Block and Eric Bibb were living in New York City finding musical thrills in their individual discoveries of blues music. Rory's father even gave Maria violin lessons. In 2003, Maria, Rory and Eric got together and recorded the album "Sisters and Brothers" in a barn in Unity, Maine, with the excellent trio of pianist Chris Burns, bassist Michael 'Mudcat' Ward and drummer Per Hanson. Maria, Eric and Rory work in different combinations on a repertoire that reflects a wide range of 'Blues', from Bill Withers "Lean on Me" to Eric and Maria's minor swing fantasy on "Bessie (Smith's) Advice". © 2007 ABC www.abc.net.au/rn/dailyplanet/stories/2005/1311390.htm

Norah Jones


Norah Jones - Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz (NPR Radio) - 19.1.03 (Unofficial Release)

Marian McPartland, born Margaret Marian Turner, on March 20, 1918 in Slough, England, is a jazz pianist, violinist and host of the legendary Mary McPartland's Piano Jazz on National Public Radio., which began broadcasting on June 4, 1978, and is currently the longest-running cultural program on NPR. On the 25th anniversary of the program, she celebrated with a performance at the Kennedy Center. Peter Cincotti was the program's special guest.. High-profile jazz critic Scott Yanow has said that McPartland is "...a harmonically sophisticated improviser, open to the influence of later stylists including Bill Evans." Her guests have included Tony Bennett, Henry Mancini, Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Elvis Costello, and Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, (Steely Dan). Marian never gets too technical on “Piano Jazz” for her audience. Critic and author Gary Giddins last year wrote: “The courtliness of it all, and the focus on music-making with only scattered touches of biography, elicit an ingenuous desire to reveal and explain.” She has interviewed all her guests, and played with them. She is now in her late eighties, but still tours. She is one of the worlds leading jazz experts. Her friends have included Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. This unofficial album covers her show with Norah Jones. All conversation and advertisements have been excluded from the disc. A beautiful recording, and a joy to listen to. Check out her own recordings on the Concord Jazz, and Halcyon labels, and the Piano Jazz radio show recordings on the Jazz Alliance label.


September In the Rain (Dubin/Warren)
In The Dark (Little/Green)
Comes Love (Brown/Stept/Tobias)
For All We Know (Doots/Lewis)
I Can't Get Started (V.Duke/I.Gershwin)
Don't Know Why (Jesse Harris)
Peace (Silver)
The Nearness of You (Carmichael)
Beautiful Friendship (Kahn/Styne)

Two Banks Of Four


Two Banks Of Four - Three Street Worlds - 2003 - Red Egyptian

An exciting retro jazz sound from the highly original Two Banks Of Four, who have added a new dimension to nu-jazz/soul jazz with this great recording.


01 Two Miles Before Dawn (4:29)
02 Angels' Walk (4:32)
03 One Day (6:25)
04 Banks Of The Nile (4:18)
05 Stiles (1:20)
06 Blues For Brother (5:20
)07 Unclaimed (4:50)
08 Endless (5:21)
09 Closer (5:55)
10 The Bird Monster (1:34)
11 Three Street Worlds (5:44)
12 Rising (9:00)


Rob Gallagher and Demus are 2 Banks of 4, along with vocalists Valerie Etienne, Paul Jason Fredericks, and Bembe Segue, pianist Ski Oakenfull, bassist Andy Hamill, flutist and saxophonist Andy Ross,


A group that features work from some of our favorite older members of the British scene -- including singer Valerie Etienne, and musicians Chris Bowden and Ski Oakenfull! The album's got a really soaring, spacious feel -- with jazzy roots that stretch back to groups like Kalima, and include Fertile Ground, but an overall sound that's very much in step with the current sound of the 21st Century London scene. The tunes are all incredibly soulful -- driven by warm acoustic basslines and snapping snare percussion -- and the album's got an overall feel that has a lot more real jazz playing than just beats and keys -- something we approve of highly. © 2007 Dusty Groove
Taking inspiration from the radical, spiritual jazz of the late 60's & early 70's, and blending that with a downtempo smokers soundtrack, this amalgamation of renowned producers, DJ and current UK jazz talent goes along way to prove that having one foot in the past doesn't prevent progressive musicmaking. The assorted members ofTwo Banks of Four certainly have the historical credentials to move jazz & dancefusions forward. Messrs Gallagher, Demus & Valarie Ettienne have a combined history that include Galliano, The Brand New Heavies & The Young Disciples, and combine the jazz approach with a template that won't frighten ears used to clubbier sounds. Two Banks of Four may owe a small debt to the jazz & beats feel of 4 Hero, but only for opening a musical door - not providing a roadmap. Thecover ofCarlos Garnett's spiritual jazz/dance classic "Banks of the Nile" juxtaposes nicely with "Stiles" - ablend ofdowntempo, chilled hip hop beats and funky analogue synth sounds. Perhaps slightly incongruous to some - but it demonstrates that collectively their ears are very open. "Blues For Brother" is very live sounding yet is beautifully crafted, blending instrumental technique andnew technologies into a homogenous whole. What has not escaped their attention amongst allthe jazz blowing and beat sampling is the need for melody, musical hooks and the ability to make the essence of the tunes stick in the mind. The retro jazz influences are apparent enough, but the overall soundscape is something that could only have been made in modern times, and in the musical potpourri that is contemporary London. Intentionally this musicis light years from commerciality, but is a rewardingand promising debut. © Greg Boraman (2007-06-21) © www.bbc.co.uk/music/release/p34h/
In the end, it all comes back to jazz. Many of today’s underground music artists cruise adeptly through the twisted corridors of funk, rock, house (broken and unbroken), r-n-b, drum-n-bass, dub, blip-trip-and hip-hop, creating style by recreating what has come before. Style baths the dancefloor—a world savvy metropolis unto itself- swollen with syncopated rhythms, relentless 4/4 throbs, dirty basslines, where high hats and snares strut irreverently, and vocals soar to worlds unimagined. In the end, however, it all comes back. . . Rob Gallagher and Demus are 2 Banks of 4, and along with vocalists Valerie Etienne, Paul Jason Fredericks, and Bembe Segue, pianist Ski Oakenfull, bassist Andy Hamill, flutist and saxophonist Andy Ross, they travel through the grey cityscapes of "Three Street Worlds". Theirs is an eloquent journey attended by an enrapturing soundtrack that transcends the boundaries of musical epochs. One should saunter through “Three Street Worlds”, so as not to miss its subtleties. Meander, with eyes wide open, to see sultry swing of “One Day”; hands ungloved, to feel the heat “Rising” from the bowels of beneath the city; ears poised to the haunting tale of an old woman collecting the “Unclaimed” dreams of those dead; head titled upward, mouth open to drink in the hazy twilit dew falling from the album’s title track. "Three Street Worlds" is a masterful accomplishment in modern music, on par with stellar works throughout the ages. Acknowledgement: In the end, it all comes back to jazz, ‘cos jazz is where it all begins. © Emmerald ©2007 About, Inc., A part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved
THREE STREET WORLDS is a 13-track release by electronic artists Two Banks Of Four, featuring "Two Miles Before Dawn" and "Stiles."Two Banks of Four are Dillip Harris & Robert Gallagher. 'Three Streets World' can be characterized as a modern-day revision of soul-jazz, interlaced with touches of breakbeats, electronic, nu-jazz flavors. Featuring a wonderful melange of sounds & styles, it is an entirely coherent recording from start to finish. ©1996 - 2007 CD Universe


Black & Brown


Black & Brown - Cool Affair - 2000 - Irma


01 Gimme Some Of That Stuff (5:16)
02 Cool Affair (5:23)
03 Song 4v (4:44)
04 Still Under Funk (4:59)
05 Trekking In Kalaw (5:59)
06 Liquid Flies (5:20)
07 Specially That One (1:51)
08 Blue Train (5:36)
09 Take This Mine (5:16)
10 Surfing Wave (4:07)
11 What Time In Tokyo (5:14)
12 A Lick On Your Back (5:06)
13 Hip-Not (5:06)
14 Song 4v (Unity Sky Mix) (5:50)

Released by the Italian jazz funk partnership. Original smooth electronica and acid jazz breakbeats with a very recognizable sound. An all instrumental album with a great Jazz club flavour. Any info on Black & Brown, e.g, other releases, track composers, etc, would be appreciated by A.O.O.F.C

Joey Fehrenbach / Dream Traveler


Joey Fehrenbach - Mellowdrama - 2006 - DT Music, USA

A brilliant album of the ambient/downtempo electronica genre. If you like the works of Brian Eno, then you should like this album. Check out the Dream Music label for some of the best electronic music today, and buy some of the albums.


1 Being Around You (7:35)
2 Runaway Child (4:58)
3 Behold (5:19)
4 Particles (6:08)
5 Beltenebros (3:43)
6 Rain (4:13)
7 I Remember (5:42)
8 The House Of Lost Hope (5:33)
9 The Beginning (5:34)


Joey Fehrenbach’s Mellowdrama is a very welcome set of ambient/downtempo tracks. At its best, the CD mixes the beautiful otherworldliness of Brian Eno’s ambient classics with mellow beats, creating a future chill-out classic. © www.synthtopia.com/content/2006/05/
Mellowdrama is one of the best received and highly rated Melodic-Electronica/Downbeat albums of the year:

"For fans of forward-thinking electronica, Mellowdrama should not be missed" © Brent Kallmer, Amazon.com

"One of the best downtempo releases of 2006" © Syntopia Magazine

"Gorgeously sculpted, uber-melodic downtempo" © BPM Magazine

"Joey Fehrenbach – Mellowdrama' Verdict? Buy this CD now!" © Buzzoutroom.com

Each track delivers a multitude of unique electronic sounds that exercise the mind." © Slacklineradio.com

Mellowdrama is an enlivening mix of longing, loneliness, and minimalism. One listen, and you may be reminded of Ulrich Schnauss’ A Strangely Isolated Place or Boards of Canada’s The Campfire Headphase, but Mellowdrama is much more than that.

Mellowdrama’s opening track, Being Around You, starts with a minimalist groove that slowly builds without ever meandering aimlessly. The minimal beat is eventually taken over by a catchy synth melody reminiscent of The Cure, which finally gives way to vocoded vocals.

Introducing more atmospheric and organic sounds, a high point of Mellowdrama is the album’s second track, Runaway Child. With its radio friendly beats, male vox, and a haunting, infectious melodic synth hook, the song boasts a reverb so cavernous, it could have been recorded from the farthest corner of the universe.

The atmospheric and organic sounds introduced in Runaway Child are further explored in track three, Behold, via expressive Moog synths and Theramin sounds, which are successfully used to capture emotion. Its melody is as thoughtful, as it is expressive, haunting, and romantic.

Track four, Particles is a more chill, jazzy, and loungy track than can be found elsewhere on the album. As the track builds, it crosses over into more familiar drum and bass territory. The amalgamation of these sounds work together to create one of the album’s stand out tracks.

Continuing with the more chill, loungy vibe is track five, Beltenebros (the title of which comes from Don Quixote and suggests “Dark Beauty”), Fehrenbach originally recorded this as a dance track for the now defunct label, Hooj Choons. Realizing that he had a solid track on his hands, he remixed this with a more downtempo beat to sit neatly on Mellowdrama.

Following Beltenebros is Rain, the only full vocal track on the album, which tells the story of a messy breakup via jaded, haunting vocals wrapped in a dark orchestra of sound.

Conversely, track seven, I Remember, is more optimistic and hopeful. It starts out minimally with synced water drips and a groovy beat, but builds into a bigger sum of its parts, culminating with a detuned synth lead, and bold acoustic guitar hook taking over the mix.

The album’s most upbeat track, The House Of Lost Hope, features acoustic guitar, multiple drum loops, and steel drums that sound like they’re being played from another dimension. Bordering on sexy and carefree, the song’s incredible, melodic hook will stick in your mind for days.

Mellowdrama closes with Fehrenbach’s first attempt at writing an orchestral song The Beginning, is written in "movements.” Beginning with a sublime beat and getting darker and moodier in the middle, the final movement returns once again to the sublime, completed with blissful, radiant beats.

Mellowdrama is a solid debut and takes the listener on an auditory journey through the haunting, dark, lonely, and twisted without dwelling too far in the melancholy. The underlying euphoric and inspiring beats throughout ensure that Mellowdrama is aural pleasure from beginning to end, while being affable and unexpected at the same time. © Dea Lazaro (1212 Media)
Joey Fehrenbach has brought his history to the present with a new release. On Mellowdrama, he creates a fresh, new sound with the insight and influence of a completely opposite style of electronic music. How does one take over 10 years of experience in a different genre to create a downtempo debut? It is obvious that his talent is not limited by the constraints of a single style.
In 1998, Joey Fehrenbach’s Dream Traveler project hit the world stage on Paul Oakenfold’s Tranceport. The popularity of Time on this release put DT on the map of house. Over the years, Joey has kept busy producing his own progressive music as well as collaborating with others including DJ Sasha. Like an actor, musicians can become typecast leading some to believe their achievements are only made in a narrow field. It can be difficult to escape the boundaries of the definitions that are applied. On his downtempo debut, Joey Fehrenbach takes a bold step to do just that.
Apparently, his experience is of immense value on Mellowdrama. Throughout the nearly 50 minutes, Joey creates a well-balanced soundscape of musical layers. Being Around You is a nice prologue for what lies ahead on this album. It introduces the listener to the complexity of the full production. Each track delivers a multitude of unique electronic sounds that exercise the mind. When the listener arrives at I Remember, one cannot help but wonder what memories were the cause for such a nice twist on dub. In the end, Mellowdrama proves to be an excellent starting point for Joey Fehrenbach’s new venture. © www.slacklineradio.com/
Joey Fehrenbach has released numerous dance singles and remixes over the past 9 years under the name Dream Traveler. Joey decided to explore other elements of music and songwriting and the result is Joey's beautifully melodic and haunting debut downtempo album, entitled Mellowdrama. © 2005-2007 PodShow, Inc


Joey Fehrenbach is a Trance producer from Arizona and co-owner of the Dream Music label. Dream Traveler shot to fame when Paul Oakenfold found heavy favor with his track "Time", and opened his popular Tranceport mix-CD with it. © 2007 Discogs www.discogs.com/artist/Dream+Traveler




Steamhammer - Mk II - 1969 - CBS UK

This is mainly a well structured blues rock album, with great jazzy improvisations. Steamhammer was a very prominent live act in the sixties, especially in Germany. An unusual band in that their music has been categorised as progressive blues, which was a rather unusual music style in the late sixties. There is nothing groundbreaking here, but the album is enjoyable, and well worth listening to for its variety of expertly played musical fusions.


1. Supposed To Be Free - White (5:59)
2. Johnny Carl Morton - Jollife (4:38)
3. Sunset Chase - Pugh (3:02)
4. Contemporary Chick Con Song - White/Pugh/Jollife/Bradley/Davy (3:49)
5. Turn Around - Joliffe (3:36)
6. 6/8 For Amiran - White/Jollife (3:04)
7. Passing Through - White (5:17)
8. Down Along The Grove - White (0:47)
9. Another Travelling Tune - White/Pugh (16:23)
10. Fran And Dee Take a Ride - White (2:58)


11. Junior's Wailing (single version) - White/Pugh (3:30)
12. Windmill - Quittenton/White (4:28)
13. Autumn Song - White/Jollife (4:09)
14. Blues For Passing People - Steamhammer (6:26)


- Steve Jolliffe / flute, harpsichord, keyboards, saxophone (Alto), vocals, wind
- Kieran White / guitar, harmonica, Jew's-Harp, vocals
- Mickey Bradley / percussion, conga, drums
- Steve Davy / bass, guitar (bass), vocals
- Martin Pugh / guitar, guitar (electric), vocals


The second version of the British combo Steamhammer released its first LP utilizing the talents of Steve Davy (bass), Martin Pugh (guitars), and Kieran White (vocals/guitar/harmonica/Jew's harp) from the original band as well as new recruits Steve Jolliffe (woodwind/brass/harpsichord/vocals) and Mick Bradley (drums). It was the blues that initially drove the combo on its debut long-player, Reflection (1969), likewise known as Junior's Wailing. This lineup adds more exploratory and intricate melodies, courtesy of the multi-instrumental talents and sonic sculpting of future Tangerine Dream member Jolliffe. While this version of the band would not remain past this album, its unique fusion would arguably peak on Mountains (1970), the follow-up to MK II (1969). There are definite shapes of things to come throughout this effort, thanks to the aggressive interaction of the new recruits. They immediately step up to the plate, providing a variety of interesting melodic and instrumental textures. These range from the full-speed gallop of Jolliffe's "Johnny Carl Morton" or the Baroque waltz "Turn Around" -- both of which are punctuated by some prominent harpsichord interjections reminiscent of other U.K. progressive groups such as Family and Blossom Toes. Pugh's guitar work is another of the band's conspicuous assets, as he is able to fluidly waft between the acoustic romanticism of the diminutive "Sunset Chase" to the bluesy and tongue-in-cheek "Contemporary Chick Con Song." The latter track includes a stretched-out instrumental jam that captures Pugh's criminally underrated electric fretwork. Steamhammer's various and seemingly disparate musical elements coalesce on the manic "6/8 for Amiran." They blend the complexities inherent in the time signature with a tightly executed and churning blues -- much in the same way that early Jethro Tull was able to do on sides such as "Nothing Is Easy" or "For Our Mothers." The second side consists of a suite containing "Down Along the Grove," "Another Travelling Tune," and "Fran and Dee Take a Ride." This 16-plus minute epic allows Steamhammer to improvise and stretch out. The open structure makes room for the various musical styles to be thoroughly explored with more intricacy than a majority of the three- and four-minute tunes. The double lead electric guitars, courtesy of the song's co-authors, Pugh and White, blend well with Jolliffe's jazzy sax and flute improvisations. Enthusiasts are encouraged not only to seek this platter, but the Mountains (1970) follow-up as well. © 2007 Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide

BIO (Wikipedia)

Steamhammer was a blues-rock band from Worthing, England. The band was founded in 1968 by Martin Quittenton (guitar) and Kieran White (vocals, guitar, harmonica). The first stable lineup consisted of Quittenton, White, Martin Pugh (guitar), Steve Davy (bass), and Michael Rushton (drums). This version of the band acted as backing band for Freddie King on one of his tours of England. The band's first album, Reflection, was released in 1969. It included covers of "You'll Never Know" by B. B. King and "Twenty-Four Hours" by Eddie Boyd as well as original songs by White, Quittenton, and Pugh. Session musicians Harold McNair (flute) and Pete Sears (piano) also played on the album. This album was not commercially successful, but the band became a popular live act, especially in West Germany. In the summer of 1969, Quittenton and Rushton left the band, and Steve Jollife (saxophone, flute) and Mick Bradley (drums) joined the band. This version of the band recorded the album Mk II, released in 1969. It consisted entirely of original songs, and the musical style had more jazz and progressive rock influences. Jollife left the band in 1970. The remaining band members recorded the album Mountains, which was released in 1970. This album included a cover of "Riding on the L & N" by Lionel Hampton and seven original songs. In 1971, White and Davy left the band, and Louis Cennamo (bass) joined the band. This lineup, along with session vocalist Garth Watt-Roy, recorded the album Speech, which was released in 1972. It consisted of three long, mostly instrumental songs. Bradley died of leukemia in 1972, leading to the break-up of the band. Pugh and Cennamo went on to play in Armageddon. After that band broke up, Cennamo joined Illusion. White recorded a solo album, Open Door, which was released in 1975. Quittenton played guitar and co-wrote songs on albums by Rod Stewart. Jollife joined Tangerine Dream in 1978 and played on the album Cyclone.

Two Banks Of Four


Two Banks Of Four - City Watching - 2000 - Toy's Factory (Japan) - Originally released as an 11 track CD in 2000, on the Sirkus label

For those that like non commercial jazz, give this nu-jazz album a listen. It is smooth and funky, with a cafe acid jazz flavour. Very laid back, similar to the approach of "Massive Attack" . Its also got a stylish " Morcheeba" flavour.. Check out their album, "City Watching". Also check out albums by Jazzanova, Koop, & Zero 7.


1-Skylines Over Rooftops (5:18)
2-Theme De La Tete (3:52)
3-Afro Blue (4:32)
4-Time Flies (5:07)
5-Erols Cafe (4:18)
6-Last Dance (5:33)
7-Speedy's Auto Repair (4:14)
8-Perilous Ways (4:40)
9-Hook & A Line (4:53)
10-Routemaster (5:07)
11a-Street Lullaby Pt. 1 (5:35)
11b-Lullaby Reprise
12-Street Lullaby (2 Banks Of 4 Remix) (5:41) - Bonus track for Japan only.
13-Street Lullaby (Fourtet Remix) - Remix - Four Tet (6:28) - Bonus track for Japan only.


Arranged By [Piano And String] - Ski Oakenfull
Reeds : Kate St. John
Bass - Andy Hamill
Featuring [Reeds] - Kate St. John
Guitar - Alias Nelson
Saxophone - Chris Bowden
Scratches - Tony Vegas
Trumpet - Kevin Davey
Violin - Sally Herbert
Vocals - Culture G , Doug & Jean Caramouce , Marsha White , Paul Jason Fredericks , Red Egyptians, The .
Special Thanks To The Singers And Players Who Gave For Little Or Nothing
Produced by 2BO4 (D. Harris & R. Gallagher)
Recorded at Junior Strictly Meals Only Studio
Design by James Sloan, Image Supplied by Tomato


Formed in 1999, Rob Gallagher and Demus are Two Banks of Four, a nu-jazz band from London, UK, along with vocalists Valerie Etienne, Paul Jason Fredericks, and Bembe Segue, pianist Ski Oakenfull, bassist Andy Hamill, flutist and saxophonist Andy Ross. Their music has been remixed by artists such as Four Tet, Herbert and Derrick Carter, while 2BO4 have themselves provided remixes for Faze Action and Koop.Known for his production and engineering skills ranging from the Young Disciples classic debut LP through to Zero 7 and IG Culture, Demus is one of the most well respected engineers in the UK. Gallagher honed his craft in Galliano and latterly under the mercurial Earl Zinger guise. As well as these personas, Gallagher has featured on recent albums from Big Bang and Jazzanova. The Two Banks of Four debut album "City Watching" was something of a vanguard release. It was a jazz record, a soul record, a funk record. Their follow up "Three Street Worlds" had a more matures, jazz influenced sound, reaching out to draw inspiration from the classic spiritual soul-jazz of Doug Carn, Max Roach, Andy Bey, Strata East Records and Pharaoh Sanders. Featuring appearances from Valerie Etienne, Paul Jason Fredericks and Bembe Segue, "Three Street Worlds" provided a platform for some strong vocal performances, and skilled musicianship from Chris Bowden, Ski Oakenfull, Robin Mullarkey, Andy Hammill and Chris Storr.


Duke Ellington & Coleman Hawkins


Duke Ellington & Coleman Hawkins - Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins - 1962 - Impulse

There is so much that could be written about these two musical giants. When the two jazz masters met to record this album, they produced a work of genius. They're all great Ellington, or part Ellington compositions, but “Mood Indigo” and “Self Portrait (of the Bean).” are classics. A marvellous track, "Solitude," omitted from the original 1962 album is added to the 1995 CD reissue. The grear Donald Fagen mentions "Limbo Jazz" on the CD " Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with guests Steely Dan " released on the Jazz Alliance label in 2005. Check out Becker & Fagen's great live studio version on this CD.


A1 - Limbo Jazz (5:20)
A2 - Mood Indigo (5:55)
A3 - Ray Charles' Place (4:04)
A4 - Wanderlust (4:57)

B1 - You Dirty Dog (4:19)
B2 - Self Portrait (Of The Bean) (3:50)
B3 - The Jeep Is Jumpin' (4:40)
B4 - The Ricitic (5:49)
9. Solitude (Bonus track on 1995 CD reissue)


Bass - Aaron Bell
Cornet, Violin - Ray Nance
Drums - Sam Woodyard
Engineer - Rudy Van Gelder
Piano - Duke Ellington
Producer - Bob Thiele
Saxophone [Alto] - Johnny Hodges
Saxophone [Baritone], Clarinet [Bass] - Harry Carney
Saxophone [Tenor] - Coleman Hawkins
Trombone - Lawrence Brown

About Coleman Hawkins, ("The Hawk"), Father Of The Tenor Sax
From the Classic Jazz period to the Swing Era one player had a virual monopoly on the tenor sax, that man being Coleman Hawkins, a.k.a., the Hawk or the Bean. Hawkins (born 1904, St. Joseph, Mo.) was not the first Jazzman to play the tenor but he was the leader in transforming it into a fully expressive, hard driving Jazz instrument. Following a ten year period of getting the hang of that confounded contraption, the Hawk went on to a fifty year career filled with near flawless playing as leader of his own groups as well as with an amazing variety of other combos. He was an inspiration to dozens of top notch Jazz tenor men. © Len Weinstock www.redhotjazz.com/index.htm

About Duke Ellington, ("The Duke")
Born Edward Kennedy Ellington, on 29/4/1899, in Washington, D.C., Duke Ellington was one of the founding fathers of jazz music. He started playing piano at the age of seven, and by the time he was 15, he was composing. A pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer, Ellington and his band played together for 50 years. Some of Ellington's most famous songs include "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Sophisticated Lady" and "In a Sentimental Mood."


Blue Six


Blue Six - Aquarian Angel - 2007 - Naked Music

A great CD from Naked Music, a.k.a Jay Denes. A terrific mix of easy listening, smooth house, r&b, with jazz influenced soulful grooves. Every track .has it's own unique jazz-house soundscape, aided by the great vocalists, Ada Dyer, Aya, Gaelle, and Lisa Shaw. Naked Music is creating some great albums. Ckeck their catalogue. For more original music of a downtempo nature, check out the Pork Recordings label.


1. Tropicallia
2. You Just Can't Stop
3. Half Life
4. I've Given Enough
5. A Woman Of The World
6. Harbour
7. Aquarian Angel
8. Here I Come
9. Fast Free Delivery
10. A Woman Of The Sea
11. Real As Anything
12. Tropicalia - (Jay's Bahia Remix)


Catherine Russell - vocals
Dave Boonshoft - bass guitar
J.D. - keyboards
Lisa Shaw
Mark Anthony Jones
Saul Rubin - guitar
Composer: Jay Denes.
Lyricist: Jay Denes.


Fans of the genre called deep house owe much to pioneers like Jay Denes, whose Beautiful Tomorrow (2002), recorded under the moniker Blue Six, introduced many to a silky and impeccably produced cocktail of jazz-house soundscapes. For fanciers of Tomorrow, Aquarian Angel--which is chock full of the vocal stylings of house sirens Lisa Shaw and LT (Aya)--does not disappoint. On the captivating "Here I Come," Shaw's smoky voice chants "this day's done, build another in its place" over a chilled organ line, and LT's singing makes the title track a spot-on lullaby for the urban set. Like Tomorrow, Angel is house made more for the lounge or beach than the floor, as the lush harmonies of "Half Life" and the Brazilian-inflected "I've Given Enough," whose throaty sax line that would make Chet Baker smile, attest. And while some may find Angel's atmospherics a bit saccharine, Denes's crystalline mixing is truly astounding. There is also a sincerity and dimension to the music that sets Angel apart from the genre's more formulaic productions and lures the listener back to tracks that don't immediately make sense. After all, they call it "deep" house for a reason. © Brent Kallmer Amazon.com

Blue Six, the production alias of Jay Denes, New York-based musician and co-founder of the highly-regarded Naked Music label, will release his eagerly-anticipated second full-length album, Aquarian Angel on March 13, 2007. By blending underground sensibilities with soulful grooves and lyrical seductiveness, Aquarian Angel continues to do what Blue Six and Naked Music are known for - taking dance music to the next level with mature albums that are synonymous with soulful, stylish sophistication.
Originally a production company, Naked Music was formed in 1998 by Jay Denes and his partner, fellow musician Dave Boonshoft. As the signature artist who captured the essence of the label, Blue Six quickly proceeded to capture the attention of the music scene with their underground dance classics "Sweeter Love" and "Music & Wine" rapidly becoming the ubiquitous soundtrack for scores of clubs, restaurants and bars, from New York to London to Paris.
Aquarian Angel is the follow up to Blue Six's full-length Naked Music debut, Beautiful Tomorrow (2004), which was a dazzling collection of tracks that combined dance grooves and R&B vocals with darkly intelligent lyrics. Aquarian Angel takes all the elements that made Beautiful Tomorrow so well loved and evolves into adult dance grooves and R&B-styled vocals that are cross-fertilized with Brazilian beats, ambient backdrops, and elements of jazz. Additionally, the upcoming CD reunites Jay with the three unique voices that helped make Beautiful Tomorrow such a classic: The triumvirate of label mates, Aya, Lisa Shaw and Catherine Russell return to lend their very different vocals styles, three distinct voices that, over the course of the album, combine to create that instantly recognizable Blue Six sound.
Denes spent the time between Beautiful Tomorrow and Aquarian Angel producing solo albums for both Aya and Lisa Shaw. Aya's "Strange Flower" and Lisa's "Cherry" garnered rave reviews and continue to get consistent radio-play worldwide. After these two intense collaborations, he was ready to compose the Aquarian song-cycle, writing each piece with a specific vocalist in mind. Musically, he has concocted a hybrid that combines his own expert manipulation of state-of-the-art computer technology with the warmth and unpredictability of live musicianship. As a result, Aquarian Angel breathes with a life of its own as it caresses your body and plays with your mind. "Tropicalia", a lush Afro-Brazilian track that features Lisa Shaw, is the first single off the album. Its infectious percussion-driven rhythms will entice DJ's of all stripes.
"On Aquarian Angel I threw all my musical preconceptions out the window," says Denes. "My only intention was to communicate my thoughts and feelings as they presented themselves to me. I think the end result is more varied and broader in scope than my previous work and will ultimately be as meaningful to my listeners as it has been to me." © 1996-2007, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates


Musician, producer and remixer Jay Denes, better known as Blue Six, was born in Newark, NJ. After moving to N.Y.C., the newcomer failed to get seriously involved in the local music scene until hip-hop producer Bob Power hooked him up with Dave Boonshoff. Jay Denes began working on his own freestyle project soon after naming himself Blue Six. Released by Naked Music, his debut full-length record called Beautiful Tomorrow delivered a mix of electronic music, soulful pop, and smooth jazz, featuring contributions from multi-instrumentalist Marc Anthony Jones. © Drago Bonacich, All Music Guide

Drew Gress


Drew Gress - 7 Black Butterflies - 2005 - Premonition Records

7 Black Butterflies is the follow up to his "Spin & Drift" album, which was critically acclaimed. .7 Black Butterflies contains nine original, and very acessible jazz compositions by Gress, with fantastic harmonic and melodic structures. All these factors, combined with superb improvisation from the excellent musicians involved in this recording, make this a great modern jazz album. The album is produced by experimental guitarist/producer David Torn (ECM).


Bright Idea;
New Leaf;
Bas Relief;
Blue on One Side;
WIng & Prayer;
Low Slung/High Strung;
Like It Never Was


Craig Taborn - piano
Drew Gress - bass instrument
Ralph Alessi - trumpet
Tim Berne - alto saxophone
Tom Rainey - drums


Along with Scott Colley, Drew Gress must be the most ubiquitous bassist on the New York scene. Gress' broad stylistic reach has allowed him to support artists including pianist Fred Hersch, trumpeter Dave Douglas, and saxophonist Tim Berne since arriving on the scene in the late ’80s. Capable of bringing an unerring sense of tradition to mainstream acts and a free-spirited sense of adventure to those from left of centre, Gress has also been gradually emerging as a composer of note. With his latest release, 7 Black Butterflies, he has fashioned an album that, while as forward-looking as any, also embraces a kind of postmodern lyricism that, rather than spoon-feeding the listener, demands careful and constant attention.
By enlisting Tim Berne’s Acoustic Hard Cell trio—Berne, along with pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Tom Rainey—Gress has built an ensemble with an instantaneous improvisational chemistry and sense of identity. And yet, Gress’ quintet—which also features trumpeter Ralph Alessi—while cashing in on Berne, Taborn and Rainey’s evolved simpatico, doesn’t sound like merely an expanded edition of Hard Cell. Gress’ growing compositional prowess has its own identity, and while there are certain parallels to Berne’s writing in terms of metric complexity, harmonic breadth, and open-ended improvisational liberty, it avoids the kind of mathematical idiosyncrasies that most commonly define Berne’s approach.
Perhaps because he’s a bassist, and perhaps because he’s spent time close to the mainstream, Gress’ music, for all its rich harmonies, contrapuntal depth, and fluid time changes, also has its own refined sense of swing. The tempi may change, but “Blue on One Side” also retains a sense of groove throughout. Gress is also unashamed of vulnerable melodicism; the ballad “Wing & Prayer” manages to be both dark and tender at the same time.
Nor is Gress afraid to tackle more through-composed music. While there’s a certain air of freedom and space about the opening track, “Rhinoceros,” it relies mainly on gradually unfolding repetitions, dynamic development, and time shifts to get its point across. Elsewhere, exploratory élan is the order of the day. “Bright Idea” asserts a complicated, bebop-informed line over a fluid metric base before opening up to strong solos from Gress, Berne, Alessi, and Taborn. While Rainey doesn’t get much solo space on the disc, his interpretive and intuitive abilities form an essential underpinning.
Also essential to the album’s complexion are producer/mixer David Torn’s contributions. Torn finds creative ways to expand the sound of this acoustic quintet, occasionally creating subdivisions within Gress’ compositions through use of stereo panning and sound processing. Twice during Taborn’s solo on “Blue on One Side,” Torn grabs a short phrase and repeats it multiple times, creating an extremely effective artificial tension.
7 Black Butterflies is the compelling result of an artist working in a multitude of contexts, soaking everything up, and then filtering it through his own personal lens to create an album that proves that modernity need not be equated with obfuscation. © John Kelman © 2007 All About Jazz
Drew Gress throws his contender for year’s best in with 7 Black Butterflies, a crackling collection uniting a stellar cast of players who live up to their collective reputation. With Tim Berne, Ralph Alessi, Craig Taborn, and Tom Rainey fully engaged, Gress holds an all-aces hand. His multifaceted compositions provide the tracks for this ride, while the quintet provides the vivid scenery. While Berne, Alessi, and Taborn usually inhabit worlds of sonic phenomena, the simple acoustic setting here spotlights the prodigious pure jazz power each player wields.
Opening with a dizzying panning hiss and Alessi’s choked breathy notes, “Rhinoceros” lumbers in on Gress’ metronome bass. Alessi and Berne harmonize a classic theme only to evaporate, dub style. A tempo change has Taborn and Gress doubling for momentum, urged on by Rainey and Taborn’s chording right hand. Alessi and Berne return to fan flames and blow the structure apart. A loose-jointed neo-bop line dances through “Bright Idea,” opening for a rubbery solo by Gress. Berne spreads low-register alto butter around the prickly rhythm section, while Alessi flashes through rolling time signatures. Rainey simmers under Taborn’s acute chords and melody line.
Taborn plays spaciously heartfelt music on the ballad “Zaftig.” Berne moves the tune into a more frenzied direction, replacing wistfulness with passion. With a theme that seems to occasionally tease with a taste of “Salt Peanuts,” “Blue on One Side” tears along with Taborn and Berne driving, then Alessi plays an inspired and occasionally echoed duet with Rainey. Alessi and Berne slug it out on “Low Slung/High Slung,” the clunky riff chugging with occasional ultra stereo dub effects, causing the horns to take flight. Taborn slows it, only to use his right hand to start fires.
Between nasty multi-time grooves and emotionally satisfying reveries, 7 Black Butterflies convincingly applies for a long-term residency in your CD player. © Rex Butters © 2007 All About Jazz
Bassist Drew Gress consistently delivers, whether he’s playing straightahead or outwardly adventurous music. He maintains a vigorous touring and recording schedule with a swath of the jazz community. Though creatively challenging, this approach has limited the time he has to develop his own music. With 7 Black Butterflies, his third CD as a leader, Gress makes a compelling musical statement with structured and purposeful composition, supported by focused improvisation.
While the tunes are often complex, both rhythmically and harmonically, they flow naturally, and Gress confidently allows his musicians to extrapolate and color the passages. It helps to be surrounded by consummate improvisers with deep, interconnected playing histories like these. Here he taps longtime collaborators alto saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey, altering the mix with the additions of trumpeter Ralph Alessi and pianist Craig Taborn.
The tunes are dynamic, taking unexpected turns. The textured unfolding of “Rhinoceros” builds intensity to a chaotic flourish, while the boppish groove and unison horns of “Bright Idea” buoy a series of solos from the ensemble, with each player emphasizing elements of the written music while Rainey and Gress prod or rein in the tempo. The deceptively simple-sounding “New Leaf” spotlights a lyrical Berne, his wilder tendencies tempered to support the lush tune. The slower tempo of “Zaftig” takes off behind Berne’s solo, with Rainey matching wits with the saxophonist, until Taborn and Alessi restate the sparse opening theme for resolution. “Low Slung/High Strung” is set up by Taborn’s angular piano pattern, which Alessi and Berne swirl around with oblique counter lines, quickening their pace and threatening to lose control before dropping out entirely. As Taborn rebuilds the intensity, Rainey’s drum break signals the horns to return for a powerful finish.
A reflection of Gress, 7 Black Butterflies contains bold ensemble playing and sophisticated improvisation, kept accessible by a strong melodic sense and clarity. © Sean Patrick Fitzell © 2007 All About Jazz
Most of the music on this exhilarating record defies easy description. Much of it is lyrical, even beautiful. There's some driving, fiery swing. The improvising is of a consistently high order throughout. And Gress contributes his inventive compositions, with structures that challenge the improvisers with knotty harmonies and tempo changes. On 7 Black Butterflies, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and the parts are extraordinarily good.
Tim Berne's contribution is obvious. The alto saxophonist improvises with heat and originality. He rarely uses the overblowing or noise effects commonly associated with the so-called avant garde. Instead, he plays striking melodies, as if he were a tart-toned Johnny Hodges. He is especially effective on “Zaftig,” his solo climaxing with high, held tones while Alessi intones the song's mournful melody.
But is good as he is, Berne is hardly the only reason to hear this album. There's also Craig Taborn, one of the finest younger pianists out there. He negotiates Gress' structures effortlessly, his comping pushing the horns, his improvising spiky and memorable. He generates a whirlwind of authoritative swing on “Bright Idea.” Alessi, an emerging giant among younger trumpeters, is in typically excellent form.
Drew Gress is the unassuming leader, with his composing, his booming tone, his fine solos, and his solid time. He leads a state-of-the-art rhythm section, sometimes hocketing the time, sometimes uniting in explosive swing. Sometimes his bass lines enter into dialogue with Berne or Alessi, and sometimes he walks the walk. Ultimately, he's the glue that holds this music together, and Rainey's excellent drumming is always at the service of the music.
In the 21st Century, jazz has evolved into many different styles or idioms, and there are always musicians today who strive for something new. The ones who play on 7 Black Butterflies are definitely in this category. So while Gress' tumbling tunes have a faint echo of bebop, he plants both feet in the present, while he and his quintet look forward. © Marc Meyers © 2007 All About Jazz
To say that Drew Gress may be one of today’s premier bassists/composers is a bold statement, but one with considerable merit. The veteran player has profoundly enhanced numerous recordings by names like Uri Crane, Don Byron, and Ravi Coltrane with his distinct sound, dynamic playing, and writing abilities. But his most revealing work has been on his own recordings, of which 7 Black Butterflies is simply a cut above in terms of vision, creative energy, and sheer musicality. This followup to 2001’s Spin and Drift continues to challenge and yield deep rewards with music that is beyond the norm and thoroughly engaging.
Iron sharpens iron, as the band includes the vast talent of saxophonist Tim Berne, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, drummer Tom Rainey, and keyboardist Craig Taborn, who are a perfect mixture for Gress’ fertile concepts. These artists have proven on many recordings that they that can play it straight, but they definitely push towards the edge with their associations with freer jazz idioms. Collectively they are force to be reckoned with, and with Gress as the catalyst, 7 Black Butterflies unflinchingly gives a broader view of his abilities.
Once again the bassist has composed all new material with the goal of creating music that is “modern and beautiful.” This becomes evident starting with the atmospheric “Rhinoceros”—a composition that at first moves slowly and gracefully, then shows dangerous instincts as the tempo swells and charges, with a forceful vamp powered by robust drumming, and then retreats with eerie sax/trumpet siren wails. The remaining eight selections are compositions in the truest sense, allowing optimum creative interaction between the music and musicians.
The album's beauty has many facets, from the cinematic quality of “Zaftig,” with its grand thematic changes, to the uptempo siblings “New Leaf” and “Blue On One Side,” which employ aggressive swing with heated horn arrangements and outstanding solos solidified by Gress’ bass. Beyond his formidable skills as a composer, Gress is an incredibly strong player. To get a full taste, listen to his solo on “Bas Relief,” which is marked by power, nimbleness, and ingenuity, with biting and sustained notes.
The modern nuance of electronics enhances this acoustic setting nicely, but it’s the musicians themselves who create the fifth element, with many memorable performances like “Low Slung High Strung,” with its serrated tempo, where Berne and Alessi converse against complex and feuding horns as Rainey’s drums push the music, Talborn delivering another stellar solo.
The closing ballad “Like it Never Was” recalls ideas from Mingus and Weather Report, but more so from Gress himself. Wondrous, strange, bold, and beautiful are all synonymous of 7 Black Butterflies, one of this year’s most interesting releases. © Mark F. Turner © 2007 All About Jazz


New York bassist Drew Gress became increasingly visible in contemporary improvised music throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In the late '80s, he co-founded the quartet Joint Venture, which released three albums on Enja spanning 1987-1994. Later, Gress led his own N.Y.-based quartet, Jagged Sky, who released their debut, Heyday, in 1998 on Soul Note. The late '90s also found Gress performing and recording in Paraphrase, an improvising trio with Tim Berne and Tom Rainey. Paraphrase released two CDs during the 1990s on Berne's Screwgun label: Visitation Rites in 1997, and 1999's Please Advise. Gress has performed across Europe; Asia; and North, Central, and South America. He has served as artist-in-residence at University of Colorado-Boulder and Russia's St. Petersburg Conservatory, and has received grants from Meet the Composer and the NEA. In addition to the groups already mentioned, Gress also performs in many other projects, including Erik Friedlander's Chimera, the Fred Hersch Trio, the Don Byron Quartet, and Dave Douglas' string group, which released an album on Soul Note entitled Convergence in 1999. © Joslyn Layne. © 2006 All Media Guide, LLC. All rights reserved


Drew Gress falls into the great tradition in jazz of musician/composer/bandleader that was pioneered by legendary artists such as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk and is practiced in the present day by Dave Douglas, Tim Berne and John Zorn, among others. His instrument is the acoustic bass, although he also plays the pedal steel guitar. He is currently one of the busiest bassists on New York City’s jazz and contemporary improvised music scene with touring and/or recording credits that include work with leading artists such as Fred Hersch, Dave Douglas, Don Byron, Tim Berne, Uri Caine, Lynne Arriale, Ray Anderson and Erik Friedlander. As a composer/ bandleader, he has two records under his belt: 1998’s Jagged Sky (Soul Note) and the current Spin & Drift (Premonition). These recordings have earned Gress recognition as a composer of note, an artist in the forefront of creating important new music in the jazz realm.

Born in Trenton, NJ in 1959, Gress grew up in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area and began his career in music there. He attended Towson State University where he was a composition major studying under composer/arranger Hank Levy (Stan Kenton, Don Ellis). He quickly became a first call bassist on the Baltimore/D.C. scene where he could regularly be found playing at clubs like “Blues Alley” backing up artists such as the singer Ethel Ennis. As his graduation neared he earned an apprenticeship at Hanna Barbera Studios in Los Angeles ghost-writing, arranging and fleshing out sketches for “Casper, The Friendly Ghost” cartoons. Three months in the cartoon business proved to him that jazz, and not “functional” music was where his heart was. He moved back to the D.C. area and then on to New York City where he has lived and worked for the past nine years.

Since then he toured North, South and Central America, Europe and Asia and has served as an Artist in Residence at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia and at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has been awarded grants from major arts institutions such as The National Endowment for the Arts and Meet The Composer. And, Jagged Sky and Spin & Drift, album titles that also serve as band names, have both received rave reviews. The New York Times called Jagged Sky, “One of downtown’s most promising bands.” The Village Voice described Spin & Drift as “an intimidating brood whose sundry skills are likely to forge a sense of grand abstraction and disarming cogency. Pregnant with possibility, this is a first-time grouping you hope will sustain itself.”

The San Francisco Examiner said Gress’ music is “full of the jazz spirits of excitement, improvisation and technical brilliance.” With Spin & Drift, Gress lives up to the hype offering up an album featuring indelible melodies, rich harmonies, and hip, offbeat rhythmic structures that leave a lasting impression. © 2005 Premonition Music. All rights reserved

Janis Joplin


Janis Joplin - This Is Janis Joplin - 1965 - Naughty Dog

A great recording from Janis Joplin. This series of songs was recorded in the mid sixties. Recording information is very sketchy, and any info would be greatly appreciated. Joplins immense talent shines through every track. She was a hugely talented blues singer, and this album is a good demonstration of her future potential.


1. Apple of my eye,
2. 219 train,
3. Codine,
4. Down and out,
5. Turtle blues,
6. I aint got a worry,
7. Brownsville


Janis Joplin - Vocals, Guitar
Guiseppe Insingo - Bass 2/4/5
Ras Jab Jimmy - Bass, Tambourine (Name here is vague).
Afucho Cabasa (Name here is vague).
Etaoin Shrdiu - 12 String Guitar (Name here is vague).
Able Perkins - Piano
Hongo Gurley - Drums, Tambourine
St.James Tabernacle Choir - Back Up Vocals
"The Grouchy Old Hillbilly" - Slide Guitars
Mastering - Saint James
Recording - Hit Masters Studio
Engineered & Mixed - Saint James
Album Design - Saint James [Not Available]
Cover Art - Oil Painting On Canvas by Margaret V. Nelson
Technical Support - Jim Holt
Guitars & Basses by Hohner Inc.
Recorded on an unknown date in 1964 or 1965. Location unknown.

Oscar Benton


Oscar Benton - The Best Of The Oscar Benton Blues Band - 1972 - Decca

Oscar Benton, b. Ferdinand van Eis in 1949, is a Dutch blues vocalist and guitarist. He formed the Oscar Benton Blues Band in 1967, in Haarlem, Noord Holland, Netherlands. A.O.O.F.C would appreciate any info on this great album. Can anybody post the track composers names?. I am not sure if the recording is from 1969 or 1972. I think it was originally released on the Decca label. Also, the artwork displayed may be incorrect. Please help!


1. Bensonhurstblues
2. Somebody's Love Will Do
3. Helpless
4. I Don't Know
5. Not The Same Dream Anymore
6. Took Me A Long Time
7. The Day A Got Rid Of The Blues
8. Lovin' C.M.B.H.
9 The Long And Winding Road - Lennon/McCartney
10. Busted
11. The Tree Bells
12. It Ain't Nobody's Business
13. I Believe In Love
14. How Can I Just Start Again
15. Bensonhurstblues(ver 2)


Oscar Benton [Ferdinand van Eis] (guitar, vocals),
Hank 'Jay' Hawkins [Peter van Kouteren] (bass),
Han van Dam (piano, keyboards, vocals),
Tanny Lent [Herman Souverein] (drums),
Gerard Van Doorn (bass)


This blues band from Haarlem was around between 1967 and 1975 and left an impression at the Loosdrecht jazz festival in 1968. The first line-up was: Oscar Benton (v,g = Ferdinand van Eif), Tanny Lant (dr = Herman Soeverein), Hank Hawkins (b = Peter van Kouten) and Hans van Dam (p).

Sara Lazarus

Sara Lazarus - Give Me The Simple Life - 2005 - Dreyfus Records

An effortless and unassuming jazz singer, Sara Lazarus has a terrific rhythmic agility, and her breath control and vocal range is remarkable. Jazz vocalists are a dime a dozen, but Sara Lazarus has a great quality in her voice, slightly reminiscent of Lena Horne, and Ella Fitzgerald. A very good album, with some great musicians backing her, including Bireli Lagrene on guitar, (check out tracks 3, & 10). See cover art in rar file for detailed info on this album


It's Crazy
Once Upon A Summertime
Some Of My Best Friends Are The Blues
Get Out Of Town
He Was Too Good To Me
Give Me The Simple Life
Foolin' Myself
I'm Thru With Love
This Can't Be Love
September Song


Bireli Lagrene: guitar (3,10)
Gilles Naturel: bass
Alain Jean-Marie: piano
Andrea Michelutti, Winard Harper: drums
Sara Lazarus: vocals


Sara Lazarus' debut recording, Give Me The Simple Life, shows her to be a gifted jazz vocalist with a real ability to swing. The dozen selections on the recording are well balanced, including ballads, blues and bossa. Lazarus brings a natural jazz sensibility to these songs and there is no hint of artificiality in her vocals. The French piano trio is composed of pianist Alain Jean-Marie, bassist Gilles Naturel and drummer Andrea Michelutti, augmented by guitarist Bireli Lagrene (on two tracks) and drummer Winard Harper (on six tracks). The album opens with a spirited version of the Sarah Vaughan-associated tune “It's Crazy,” and Lazarus keeps things moving with the same touch on the title tune, “Get Out of Town,” and “This Can't Be Love.” “Some of My Best Friends Are the Blues” gets a gritty reading and the “Foolin' Myself” is taken at a nice midtempo pace. Clare Fischer's underappreciated jazz standard “Morning” is a good example of lyrics that don't detract from the melody line. Some of the ballads that Lazarus adds a luster to are “He Was Too Good To Me,” “I'm Thru With Love” and “Once Upon A Summertime.” All in all, this is a most impressive first effort, and I look forward to hearing a lot more! © Michael P. Gladstone © 2007 All About Jazz

You've got a good voice! Hey, you should do an album! Do you perform? Sara Lazarus probably had folks saying things like this to her many, many times. And she probably believed them, and thought she could sing, and decided to record. Well, they were right and so was she. SHE CAN SING!!!. Beautifully! Expressively! Intelligently! Honestly! Emotionally! And with much class and self assurance. When given this CD to review, I'd never heard of Sara Lazarus and thought ho! Hum! not another wannabe female jazz vocalist. Slipped it in the CD player, and was singularly underwhelmed, but strangely, did not feel any compulsion to stop listening either. Aaaah! She's a wily singer is this Ms Lazarus. No histrionics, no vocal calisthenics, no flashy instrumentation-just honest singing. And that's what reeled me in. Three spins of the disc later, I was hooked, I'm a fan, I luvvit!!!!.. Sara Lazarus is such an accomplished, intelligent singer, that she just gets every nuance of every song. Every time. She sings with impeccable timing, crystal-clear diction and masterful breath control. I'd mentioned that she sings with honesty, so much so that you feel that she's singing just for you, and only to you - especially on the arresting Smile and the oh-so-poignant He was good to me. I really believe that she comes into her own on slow, slow songs- but she can certainly rev it up if she wants to. I'ts crazy and Give me the simple life show just how much she can really rattle your cage!!! She is brilliantly aided and abetted by a team of musicians who appear to absolutely believe in this project and they pull out all their considerable stops to make a magnificent job of accompanying this superb singer. As to her accompanists. They do just that. And they do it SUPERBLY! I somehow don't think this album will hit no. 1 on the charts, but I do believe it will sell steadily for many years to come. It's that good. BUY IT! YOU'LL LOVE IT! © Hadley Tituss 27/7/06 www.jazzrendezvous.co.za/listcdreview.php?rev=000000044


In 1994, Sara Lazarus, a young American singer, is awarded the first prize of the international Thelonious Monk contest thus following in the steps of Joshua Redman and Jacky Terrasson. The jury is no less famous with the likes of John Hendricks, Shirley Horn, Cleo Laine, Abbey Lincoln, Dianne Reeves and Jimmy Scott. During the award ceremony, Sara takes part in a jam session with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Heath and Clark Terry. Born on April 1st in Delaware, one of the smallest US states, Sara displays a strong interest in musical comedies from an early age and thankfully discovers the jazz standards. She takes piano lessons at 8 and starts playing the saxophone so as to join her high school band. At 16, she joins the American Youth Jazz Band as a tenor saxophonist and singer and starts on European tour with the band culminating at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Back in the US, Sara studies literature at Harvard University. She joins the Harvard University Jazz Band and meets the tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet who asks her to be a guest singer in his band and strongly advises her to keep going in the same direction. She is awarded the best vocal jazz soloist prize (university standard) by the Downbeat magazine, a main American jazz magazine. After graduating, Sara decides to settle in France. She takes part in numerous European festivals like Marciac, Crest Jazz Vocal, Montlouis, Braga and the JVC Paris Jazz Festival. She has been given the opportunity to sing with such musicians as Alain Jean-Marie, Jacky Terrasson, Manuel Rocheman, Frank Amsallem, Riccardo del Fra, Gilles Naturel and Andrea Michelluti. In November 2000, she sings in Patrice Caratini Jazz Ensemble for his project centring on Cole Porter music and takes part in his record “Anything Goes” / Harmonia Mundi distribution. Following the great tradition of female jazz singers, Sara draws from the lore of standards to give free way to her true and tender nature and to her swing rhythm. In mars 2005, her first album is published (Give Me A Simple Life) under the Dreyfus jazz label. The record is praised both by the press and the public. There follows a tour in France and Europe along with worthwhile performances in the great jazz festivals. After this successful first opus, Sara Lazarus records a new studio album with a new group. Surrounded by Biréli Lagrène Gipsy Project, Sara Lazarus sets her delicate and temperate voice on the 12 standards of It’s All Right With Me (nov. 2006). Exuding a compelling swing rhythm and entrancing ballads, this second album highlights the obvious gift of this young Franco American artist and is set to place her for ever as one of the outstanding jazz voices.


Tab Benoit


Tab Benoit - Power Of The Pontchartrain - 2007 - Telarc

Tab Benoit`s finest album of his career, "Power of the Pontchartrain", reunites him with Louisiana LeRoux, the classic rock combo that backed him on his Grammy-nominated 2006 release "Brother to the Blues." On this release, he lends his soulful voice to a smoking set of songs; including a Cajun-inflected cover of "For What it`s Worth," the bluesy original "Don`t Make No Sense," and the sexy rocker "Addicted." Produced by veteran David Z (Prince, Kenny Wayne Shepard), "Power of the Pontchartrain" is an exciting blend of R&B driven roots music.


1 Don't Make No Sense - Smith, Faulkner 4:23
2 Good to Ya, Baby - Flett, Egan 4:43
3 Shelter Me - Miller, Miller 5:06
4 Power of the Pontchartrain - Medica, Wall, Teekell, Rowell, Diefender 6:07
5 For What It's Worth - Stills 5:19
6 Midnight and Lonesome - Miller 5:05
7 Sac-Au-Lait Fishing - Benoit 3:56
8 Somebody's Got to Go - Johnson 4:19
9 I'm Guilty of Lovin' You - Parker, Williams 4:18
10 Addicted - Roddy 4:59
11 One Foot in the Bayou - Egan


Tab Benoit - guitar, vocals
with Louisiana's Leroux
Tony Haselden - banjo
Jim Odom - guitar
Nelson Blanchard - keyboards, piano, backing vocals
David Peters - drums
Leon Medica - bass
Mark Duthu - percussion


Tab Benoit Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Leon Medica Bass, Leader
Jim Odom Guitar
Nelson Blanchard Piano, Keyboards, Background Vocals
David Peters Drums
Tab Benoit Producer
Lincoln Clapp Mastering
David Z. Producer
David Farrell Engineer
Robert Woods Executive Producer
Anilda Carrasquillo Art Direction
Randy Labbe Liner Notes
Rueben Williams Liner Notes, Management


Louisiana bluesman Tab Benoit has just dropped the best album of his career on us. "Power of the Pontchartrain" is an 11-track wonder that showcases Benoit's thorough command of contemporary blues. He's got it going on here with splendid songwriting, gritty vocals and choice lead guitar work. He cut the record with Louisiana band Leroux, a crew that carries a pretty heavy reputation in the bayou country. The disc opens with killer blues tune "Don't Make No Sense," and the groove only gets better. Benoit taps his Cajun roots for the very cool "Sac-au-lait Fishing," knocks off a great soul number on "Guilty of Lovin' You" and imparts a decidedly bluesy vibe to Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth." © Philip Van Vleck
Tab Benoit is a real Louisiana music man, born in Baton Rouge and nourished on swamp-flavored sounds until he could cook his own. And he does. He conjures music in a blue haze over swampy roots, and lively second-line rhythms. The songs he's chosen here are excellent vehicles for his almost-lazy vocals and sharp guitar work. There's "Midnight and Lonesome," a haunting Julie Miller song that opens with this imagery: "There's a wordless moon that's watchin' tonight / there's a garden that's left to grow wild / there's a sound with no name when a faraway train / cries like an unloved child." His reading is flawlessly poignant; his guitar gently makes you want to weep. And he offers a gritty new take on Stephen Stills' classic "For What It's Worth," with a little Huricane Katrina salt to rub in. Benoit was Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year at this year's Blues Music Awards. It's not hard to see why. Copyright © 1997-2007 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved. © www.billboard.com
Tab Benoit's album titles leave little doubt as to where he's from or the music he plays. Brother to the Blues, Fever for the Bayou, Wetlands, and now Power of the Pontchartrain exude the sweaty Louisiana swamp, blues, and R&B inherent in their names. But that only tells part of the story--the rest is in the grooves where Benoit's distinctive, grainy voice and tough Telecaster leads bring soul, grit, and intensity to a sound already infused with an earthy sensibility. There's more of the same on this disc, but that's no criticism. Benoit generally sticks with others' songs here, yet he unearths hidden gems. Julie Miller's "Midnight and Lonesome" is dragged into the murky swamps as a driving ballad with eerie qualities that live up to its name. Miller and husband Buddy are also credited with the righteous-yet-rugged gospel of "Shelter Me." "Somebody's Got to Go," originally by Lonnie Johnson, gets a crisp, frisky makeover, and even Buffalo Springfield's crusty "For What It's Worth" takes a swim in the muddy waters of Benoit's home state, with a little help of some altered, post-Katrina lyrics. The guitarist lets his Cajun influences fly on the bouncy rhythms of "Sac-Au-Lait Fishing," the album's only original, and shifts into pleading Otis Redding mode for the aching blues ballad "I'm Guilty of Lovin' You." The Chicago-by-way-of-the-Delta shuffle of "One Foot in the Bayou" is also an apt description of Benoit's approach. He touches on a variety of Americana styles, yet always keeps part of himself planted firmly in the wetlands of his roots. © Hal Horowitz www.full-albums.net


Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Tab Benoit makes his home near New Orleans in Houma, LA. Born November 17, 1967, he's one of a handful of bright rising stars on the modern blues scene. For most of the 1990s, he's been working each of his records the old fashioned way, by playing anywhere and everywhere he and his band can play. Unlike so many others before him, Benoit understands that blues is not a medium in favor with 50,000-watt commercial rock radio stations, so as a consequence, he's worked each of his releases with as many shows as he can possibly play. Since the release of his first album for Justice, Benoit has taken his brand of Cajun-influenced blues all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Nice and Warm, his debut album for Houston-based Justice Records, prompted some critics to say he's reminiscent, at times, of three blues guitar gods: Albert King, Albert Collins, and Jimi Hendrix.

Although the hard-working, modest guitarist scoffs at those comparisons, and doesn't think he sounds like them (and doesn't try to sound like them), Benoit doesn't appear to be one who's easily led into playing rock & roll in favor of his down-home blend of swamp blues and east Texas guitar-driven blues. Talk to Tab at one of his shows, and he'll tell you about his desire to "stay the course," and not water down his blues by playing items that could be interpreted as "alternative" rock. Despite the screaming guitar licks he coaxes from his Telecaster and his powerful songwriting and singing abilities, Benoit's laid-back, down-to-earth personality off-stage is the exact opposite of his live shows.

Benoit's releases include Nice and Warm (1992), What I Live For (1994), Standing on the Bank (1995), and Live: Swampland Jam (1997), all recorded for Vanguard. Benoit then moved over to the Telarc label for These Blues Are All Mine (1999), Whiskey Store (2002, with Jimmy Thackery), Wetlands (2002), and The Sea Saint Sessions (2003). In 2004, Benoit released Whiskey Store Live, recorded with Jimmy Thackery on the support tour for Whiskey Store. 2005 saw the release of Fever for the Bayou on the Telarc label. 2005 also saw Voice of the Wetlands come out on Rykodisc. Another album from Telarc, Brother to the Blues, appeared in 2006. Power of the Pontchartrain followed in 2007.

Considering that many of Benoit's records have surpassed the 50,000 mark, he's well on his way to a career that could rival the kind of popularity the late Stevie Ray Vaughan enjoyed in the late '80s. © Richard Skelly & Al Campbell, All Music Guide


John Campbell


John Campbell - A Man and His Blues - 1988 - Cross Cut Records

A Man and His Blues, by the late John Campbell is a brilliant demonstration of traditional blues tunes by a great artist. Like the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Rory Gallagher, he had a deep love of the blues, and also, like them, he never achieved his full potential. He passed away from heart failure at the age of 41. Campbell did not play any slide guitar on this album, but still displays his brilliant guita playing on tracks like "Judgement Day". He is also aided on this album by the great Ronnie Earl. Check out Campbell's album,"One Believer", if you can find it. A.O.O.F.C is interested in any info on live recordings by John Campbell. All comments are very welcome.


Going to Dallas (Lightening Hopkins) 3:36
John Campbell – guitar, vocals

Bad Night Blues (John Campbell) 4:15
John Campbell – guitar, vocals

Judgment Day (Snooky Prior) 5:15
John Campbell – guitar, 2nd guitar solo
Ronnie Earl – guitar, 1st guitar solo
Jerry Portnoy – harmonica
Per Hanson – drums
Darrel Nulisch – vocals

Bluebird (Lightening Hopkins) 4:26
John Campbell – guitar, vocals

Deep River Rag (John Campbell) 3:01
John Campbell – guitar, vocals

Texas Country Boy (John Campbell/Jerry Portnoy) 3:10
John Campbell – guitar, vocals
Jerry Portnoy – harmonica
Per Hanson – drums

Sittin’Here Thinkin’ (John Campbell) 6:41
John Campbell – guitar, vocals
Ronnie Earl – lead guitar

Sunnyland Train (Elmore James) 4:51
John Campbell – guitar, vocals
Ronnie Earl – lead guitar

White Lightnin’(Furry Lewis, adapted by John Campbell) 5:50
John Campbell – guitar, vocals
Per Hanson – drums


Those who knew the late John Campbell only through his recent Elektra releases would do well to seek out this 1988 album. Produced by Ronnie Earl (who guests on several tracks, most notably on Snooky Pryor's "Judgment Day"), it was recorded in Boston with distinguished help from harp ace Jerry Portnoy and drummer Per Hanson. Darrel Nullisch contributes a nice vocal, too.
But, this is Campbell's show and its wonderful. Forget his most recent preoccupation with the dark side of the blues; this album showcases Campbell's ability to bring to life classics like "sunnyland Train" or Lightnin Hopkins' "Bluebird" with warmth and an unusually authentic country blues feel. His own "Deep River Rag" instrumental is totally unlike anything on his last recording, a down home gem. On the laconic, sensuous "White Lightnin'," an old Furry Lewis tune, Campbell's restrained, powerfull guitar work beautifully bolsters his half-spoken, half-sung and positively heartrending vocal. "Sittin' Here Thinkin'," which was written by the artist, has similar appeal.The Elektra products may have more luster, but in many ways, the Cross-Cut effort gives a truer picture of John Campbell's talent. © Deborah M. Nigro Copyright 1994 Blues Access

SHORT BIO (Wikipedia)

John Campbell (20 January 1952 – 13 June 1993), blues guitarist and singer, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.
A supremely talented guitarist who took blues technique to new heights in live performance with a unique modern blend of driving rhythms, staccato riffs and bravura slide guitar sequences. His favoured instruments were a 1952 Gibson Southern Jumbo acoustic, a 1934 National Steel and a 1940's National resophonic guitar.
At the time when his recordings and live performances were gaining him ever increasing popularity and respect, he suffered heart failure, in his sleep, aged 41, at his home in New York City.


For some Blues musicians tales of mojos and gris-gris make for nice story lines behind their songs. For guitarist John Campbell though, they were a part of his life. A self-proclaimed hoodoo man, Campbell lived a lifetime full of tragedy and sadly succumbed just as his career was hitting its stride, at an altogether much too early age.
John Campbell was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on January 20, 1952. The son of a construction worker, he was first exposed to string music at an early age by his grandmother, who played a Hawaiian-style lap steel guitar. Young John received his first guitar at the age of five and was quickly immersed with a desire to learn as much as he possibly could. As his family moved between Shreveport, Baton Rouge and East Texas, John sought out musicians to fulfill this hunger. He learned his lessons well, as he began playing professionally by the time he was 13, opening shows for Blues greats like Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Son Seals and Albert Collins.
But, it was another passion that altered John Campbell's life permanently. As a teenager, John craved fast things. Especially cars and motorcycles. He'd enter local drag races and it was at one of these that he was involved in a near-fatal accident. Campbell suffered several broken ribs, a collapsed lung and lost his right eye. His face had to be reconstructed, a feat that required nearly 5,000 stitches and left him horribly scarred.
Campbell's recuperation from the accident took almost a full year. He spent most of this time in solitude and occupied his time with his guitar. It was during this recovery period, Campbell explained to "Offbeat" Magazine Blues historian Keith Spera, that he "first met the Blues." He tenaciously studied the music of Lightnin' Hopkins, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Playing the guitar was an outlet for him; a method for reaching his inner self, his spirituality, and also to communicate with his dreams and nightmares.
At the age of 16, John Campbell left home with his family's blessing to seek his future as a musician. He lived as an itinerant Bluesman, playing wherever he could find an audience; mostly on street corners and at gas stations. He first traveled to New Orleans, which he viewed as a musical mecca, but he only stayed in most places long enough to make enough money to survive before moving on.
By 1985, he had moved to New York City, where his talent earned him work opening shows for some of the biggest names in Blues music as they passed through town. It was at one of these gigs that guitarist Ronnie Earl caught Campbell opening a show for Johnny Littlejohn. Fascinated by Campbell's growling vocals and deft playing, the two developed an instant friendship and Earl decided to produce an album for him.
The album, "A Man And His Blues", was released in 1989 on the German label CrossCut Records. Backed by Earl and seasoned Bluesmen Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Per Hanson (drums) and Darrell Nulisch (vocals), and using an acoustic guitar with a single pick-up, it was truly a showcase of the musical styles Campbell had blended from those earlier influences of his recovery period. At the time the album did not receive much media attention in the United States, but it was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award. It also earned John an invitation to perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where he became life-long friends with JazzFest creator Quint Davis.
Another person who was captured by Campbell's skills was talent manager Barbara "B.B." Becker, who also handled the career of Dr. John. After first witnessing Campbell's playing at a New York restaurant, and armed with a copy of "A Man And His Blues", Becker convinced Elektra Records to sign the rising star. In 1991, the first American John Campbell release was issued titled "One Believer". Well produced by Dennis Walker (best-known for his work with Robert Cray), it was full of the haunting sounds of hoodoo-based swamp guitar played on a 1934 National Steel that was Campbell's trademark. The success of the album did not change his life-style, though, as John continued to play whenever and wherever possible.
Campbell and his wife Dolly married that same year. His passion for motorcycles was still evident as the president of the local chapter of the Hell's Angels served as his best man, while Dr. John (a minister of his own temple) performed the service.
A second recording was issued in 1993, "Howlin' Mercy", which even further pursued his inner magic and demons to a greater extent. Critical acclaim followed and Campbell pushed himself even more, traveling to Europe on an extensive tour with Buddy Guy.
John Campbell suffered his entire life from poor health that was mostly a result of the drag racing accident as a teenager. Drug abuse also played a role, as did his nightmares, for he rarely slept, believing that he may never wake again. After his European tour, he entered into the studio laying down tracks with Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon. It would be a project that would never be finished. On the night of June 13, 1993, John Campbell died in his sleep of heart failure at the age of 41. His worst fear had come true, leaving behind his widow Dolly and their 5-month-old daughter, Paris.
John Campbell's body was cremated along with personal items and talismans from his family and friends to help him rest in peace. A memorial service was held on June 17, 1993, with Dr. John delivering the eulogy. His urn was then ridden home on a motorcycle by a procession of Hells Angels, in a manner that his wife said would be just as he wanted it.
A new CD was made available in early 2000, featuring unreleased tracks from a session recorded prior to his Elektra contract. Titled, "Tyler Texas Sessions", the CD is a compilation of Campbell working an acoustic guitar on personal standard Blues favorites by greats like Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins and Elmore James.His music will mark his legacy. Campbell's haunting slide work on his steel-bodied guitar will forever bring envisions of the mystical and spiritual world he possessed. It will also serve as a sad epitaph to the brilliance that John Campbell held and the rest of the world will never know. © Greg Johnson (Article Reprint from the May 2000 BluesNotes) © 2000 Cascade Blues Association www.cascadeblues.org/History/JohnCampbell.htm


Tower Of Power


Tower Of Power - Back To Oakland - 1974 - Warner Bros

Not regarded as one of Tower of Power's better albums, but it contains plenty of funky syncophated rhythms, some great instrumentals, and brilliant horn arangements.Check out their brilliant instrumental, Squib Cakes. One of the best R&B/Soul albums of the seventies. Also check out the Average White Band, and Blood Sweat & Tears.


A1 Oakland Stroke... (0:53) - Written By David Garibaldi , Emilio Castillo , Stephen Kupka
A2 Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream) (4:28) - Written By .J. Watson , Lenny Williams. Arranged By Tower Of Power. Backing Vocals Marilyn Scott , Pepper Watkins
A3 Just When We Start Makin' It (6:30) - Written By Emilio Castillo , Lenny Williams , Stephen Kupka. Arranged By Greg Adams. Backing Vocals Marilyn Scott , Pepper Watkins. Conductor [Strings] Greg Adams
A4 Can't You See (You Doin' Me Wrong) (3:00) - Written By Emilio Castillo , Lenny Williams , Stephen Kupka. Arranged By Greg Adams , Tower Of Power. Backing Vocals Marilyn Scott , Pepper Watkins
A5 Squib Cakes (7:49) - Written By Chester Thompson . Arranged By Chester Thompson.
B1 Time Will Tell (3:11) - Written By Emilio Castillo , Stephen Kupka. Arranged By Greg Adams. Backing Vocals Alice Thompson , Marilyn Scott. Trombone Kell Houston , Ray Gillette.
B2 Man From The Past (4:00) - Written By Emilio Castillo , Lenny Williams , Stephen Kupka. Arranged By Tower Of Power. Conductor [Strings] Greg Adams
B3 Love's Been Gone So Long (4:47 ) - Written By Bruce Conte. Arranged By Greg Adams. Conductor [Strings] Greg Adams
B4 I Got The Chop (2:59) - Written By Emilio Castillo , Stephen Kupka. Arranged By Tower Of Power
B5 Below Us, All The City Lights (4:20) - Written By Emilio Castillo , Stephen Kupka. Arranged By Greg Adams. Conductor [Strings] Harry Betts. Flute, Flute [Alto], Saxophone [Alto], Piccolo Flute Bud Shank. French Horn David Duke , Richard Perissi , Vincent DeRosa. Trombone - Frank Rosolino , Tom Shepard .
B6 ...Oakland Stroke (1:08) - Written By David Garibaldi , Emilio Castillo , Stephen Kupka.


Richard Perissi French Horn
Lenny Pickett Flute, Flute (Alto), Piccolo, Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), Sax (Bass), Sax (Baritone), Sax (Alto)
Francis Prestia Bass
Frank Rosolino Trombone
Tommy Shepard Trombone
Bruce Steinberg Art Direction, Cover Design, Photography
Chester Thompson Organ, Synthesizer, Vocals (Background), Clavinet, Piano
Pepper Watkins Vocals (Background)
Vincent DeRosa French Horn
Ray Guilette Trombone
Kell Houston Trombone
Stephen Kupka Horn (English), Vocals (Background), Sax (Baritone)
Greg Adams Strings, Trumpet, Conductor, Flugelhorn, Vocals (Background), Bells, Arranger
Thomas Shepard Trombone
Alice Thompson Vocals (Background)
Ali Thompson Vocals
Marilyn Scott Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Harry Betts Conductor
Brent Byars Conga
Emilio Castillo Sax (Tenor), Vocals (Background)
Bruce Conte Guitar, Vocals (Background)
David Duke French Horn
Jim Gaines Engineer
David Garibaldi Drums
Mic Gillette Trombone, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, Trombone (Bass), Vocals (Background)
Stephen "Doc" Kupka Horn (English), Sax (Baritone), Vocals (Background)
Tower of Power Producer, Main Performer
Lenny Williams Vocals
Bud Shank Flute, Sax (Alto), Piccolo, Flute (Alto)


Tower of Power followed their self-titled gold album with an even better album that didn't enjoy similar sales success. Back to Oakland had tougher, funkier and better-produced cuts, stronger vocals from Lenny Williams (who was more comfortable as their lead singer), and included an excellent ballad in "Time Will Tell," and a rousing tempo in "Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream)." The Tower of Power horn section reaffirmed its reputation in both soul and pop circles, and the album included a powerhouse instrumental. © Ron Wynn, All Music Guide
Paying tribute to their hometown, Tower Of Power's BACK TO OAKLAND is a landmark in the group's history. Sporting the syncopated instrumental "Oakland Stroke" that bookends the disc, this set is the very definition of the Tower Of Power sound and style, powered by both the ultra-funky rhythm section and the world-renowned Tower Of Power horns. Vocalist Lenny Williams is the guiding light through R&B-flavored cuts like the bouncing "Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of the Stream)" and the dramatic ballad "Just When We Start Makin' It." It's the signature instrumental "Squib Cakes," however, that opens the floodgates to all the funky power that the band can muster; it's the group's premiere showcase, with hearty contributions from keyboardist Chester Thompson, drummer David Garibaldi, and the entire stellar horn section. © 1996 - 2007 CD Universe


In the mid-1960s, 17-year-old tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo moved from Detroit, Michigan, to Fremont, California. He started a band called The Gotham City Crime Fighters[1] which evolved into the Motowns, specializing in soul music. In 1968, Castillo teamed up with baritone saxophonist Stephen "Doc" Kupka (aka "The Funky Doctor") and trumpet/trombone player Mic Gillette, moved to Oakland, and began writing original material. They changed the band's name to Tower of Power and began playing frequently in the Bay Area.
In 1970, Tower of Power (by then including trumpeter Greg Adams) signed a recording contract with Bill Graham's San Francisco Records and quickly released its first album, East Bay Grease. They moved to Warner Bros. Records and 1972's Bump City and 1973's self-titled release were breakout albums for the band; the latter included possibly their most enduring song, What is Hip?. On some of their releases in mid-1970s, such as Urban Renewal (1974), the band moved towards funk, but always continued recording ballads as well. After vocalist Lenny Williams left, the band's days of commercial success were over. In late 1970s they moved towards disco sounds.
Tower of Power has remained active throughout the years, and is still touring. Personnel changes have been part of the history and evolution of the band; at least 60 musicians have performed, toured, and/or recorded with the band through the years, including Saturday Night Live musical director Lenny Pickett, drummer David Garibaldi, trumpet Rick Waychesko, bassist Rocco Prestia, saxophonist Richard Elliot, and bassist and BALCO founder Victor Conte whose cousin Bruce Conte played guitar in the band as well (Bruce Conte has recently rejoined). After leaving the band, one of their original vocalists, Rick Stevens, was sentenced to life in prison on three counts of first-degree murder. The other original vocalist, Rufus Miller, performed most of the lead vocals on "East Bay Grease."
Tower of Power has released 18 albums over the years (Compilations and regional variations not included), the latest being 2003's return to form Oakland Zone. In addition, the horn section has become well-known as a backing unit for other artists. The TOP horn section has appeared on many artists' recordings, including Little Feat, the Monkees, Santana, Elton John, Linda Lewis, John Lee Hooker, Rod Stewart, Jefferson Starship, Heart, Huey Lewis and the News, Spyro Gyra, Lyle Lovett, Poison, Phish, and Aerosmith. The song, "So Very Hard To Go" was featured in the soundtrack of the film City of God.
Tower of Power has also made special guest appearances in the albums of other major recording solo artists. In 1993, the band was featured in Luis Miguel's album Aries, in a cover of "Attitude Dance" titled "Que Nivel de Mujer." Most recently, Tower of Power has been featured on Josh Groban's Awake album, during an instrumental break in Machine. Copyright © 2007 Answers Corporation. All rights reserved