Born in New Orleans, John “Papa” Gros has spent more than a quarter-century championing the music of the Big Easy. He’s played it all — New Orleans funk, rock & roll, jazz, blues, Americana, pop/rock — and he swirls those styles into a genre-bending gumbo that pays tribute to his influences while still pushing ahead into new territory. Like Allen Toussaint and Dr. John, Gros is a proud local who carries on the tradition of New Orleans music, both honoring its past and helping to shape its future.
After kicking off his career as an organist and pianist, for George Porter Jr.’s Runnin’ Pardners, during the 1990s, Gros formed the funk group Papa Grows Funk in 2000. The band held down a weekly performance at the famous Maple Leaf Bar for 13 years, mixing the smooth sophistication of a jazz quintet with the wild, anything-goes spirit of Mardi Gras. Fans and tourists crowded the bar every Monday night, looking for Papa Grows Funk to dish out a greasy, groove-heavy serving of Big Easy funk. The band delivered, releasing six critically-acclaimed albums — including Needle in the Groove, which was co-produced by Nola legend Allen Toussaint, and a 2015 live record that captured Papa Grows Funk’s last Monday night at the Maple Leaf Bar.— and touring around the world, carrying the torch of New Orleans’ music scene to far-flung places.
Papa Grows Funk called it quits in 2013. Gros (pronounced “grow”) kept playing music, landing work as a sideman for many Nola artists — including Better Than Ezra, Anders Osborne, The Metermen, Raw Oyster Cult, and Bonerama— and playing organ during a pair of all-star tributes to Dr. John and the Neville Brothers. Finally, Gros began focusing once again on his solo career — which he’d kicked off in 2004 with the album Day’s End — by prepping a second solo record that focuses on the full range of his musical influences and abilities.
He’s been a sideman. A bandleader. A frontman. A solo artist. A singer. An instrumentalist. The roles have been varied, but the goal remains the same: to honor the music he’s been living his whole life, and to add his own page to New Orleans’ history book.
American rapper, record producer and actor Eminem was born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri. Eminem had an extremely turbulent childhood and home life. He never knew his father, Marshall Mathers Jr., who abandoned the family when Eminem was still an infant; moreover, he rebuffed every one of his son’s many attempts to contact him during his entire childhood. As a result, Eminem was raised by his mother, Deborah Mathers. Even though she was a single mother, she never managed to hold down a job for more than several months at a time. This necessitated Eminem and his mother to move frequently between Missouri and Detroit, Michigan, including spending large chunks of time in public housing projects. “I would change schools two, three times a year,” Eminem later recalled. “That was probably the roughest part about it all.”
This nomadic lifestyle left a huge impact on his personality. He had no close friends and kept primarily to himself. He felt he was treated like an outcast at every new school he attended. Obvious to anyone that has listened to his lyrics, Eminem has been scathingly critical of the way his mother raised him and the choices she made while he was growing up. Through his song lyrics, he has publicly accused her of being addicted to prescription pills; additionally, subjecting him to physical and emotional abuse. Yet, Deborah Mathers has vehemently denied all such accusations and early on in his career, in 1999, she filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against her son. They settled the case for $25,000.
Eminem attended Lincoln High School in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, where he failed the ninth grade three times, never graduated and eventually dropped out at the age of 17. Despite being a poor academic student in school, Eminem always had a deep affinity for language and words, devouring comic books and even studying the dictionary. “I found that no matter how bad I was at school, like, and no matter how low my grades might have been at some times, I always was good at English … I just felt like I wanna be able to have all of these words at my disposal, in my vocabulary at all times whenever I need to pull ’em out. You know, somewhere, they’ll be stored, like, locked away.”
Though he was a teenage dropout, Eminem found a way to express his passion for language, as well as to release his youthful anger through the emerging musical genre of rap/hip-hop. He identified with the nihilistic rage of late-1980s and early-1990s rap music and he was especially very into with N.W.A., the legendary and highly controversial gangster rap crew from Los Angeles.
At the time Eminem entered the Detroit underground rap scene rap music was almost exclusively produced by black people. Eminem was the polar opposite of black, with his pale white skin and bright blue eyes, nevertheless, he stormed onto the scene as a frequent competitor in legendary rap “battles.” Battles were one on one competitions in which two rappers take turns insulting the other through improvised rap lyrics in front of a crowd who cheered on both rappers until the crowd determines a winner. Out of the gate, Eminem proved to be a formidable opponent as he was highly skilled at such verbal sparring and in spite of his race, he quickly became one of the most revered and respected figures in Detroit’s underground rap scene.
He recalled, “I finally found something that yeah, this kid over here, you know, he may have more chicks, and he may, you know, have better clothes, or whatever, but he can’t do this like me. You know what I mean? He can’t write what I’m writing right now. And it started to feel like, you know, maybe Marshall’s gettin’ a little respect.” During his early rap battles, Mathers assumed the stage name M&M, a playful reference to his initials. He later began writing his moniker phonetically as “Eminem.” During this period of Eminem’s life, he was working odd jobs to make ends meet while participating in rap battles and desperately attempting to land a record contract. Eminem’s story was later dramatized and made into a movie which chronicles Eminem’s semi-autobiographical film, 8 Mile.
It was also during this period that Eminem began dating his future wife Kim Ann Scott. In 1995 the couple had a daughter and named her, Hailie Jade Scott. Eminem was inspired by the birth of his first born daughter to make a living as a rapper. In 1996, Eminem released his first independent rap album, Infinite. Though the debut album Eminem displays egregious flashes of his verbal prowess, biting wit and flair for storytelling. Unfortunately, the low-budget record failed to turn a profit or attract more than local attention. However, a year later, Eminem released The Slim Shady EP, which was discovered by Dr. Dre, the legendary rapper and former producer of Eminem’s favorite rap group N.W.A. Eminem traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the 1997 Rap Olympics MC Battle, in which he placed as runner-up. Dr. Dre got the rapper’s cassette from Jimmy Iovine and listened to it in the basement of Iovine’s home. Dre was so impressed that he immediately signed Eminem to his Interscope Records label. In 1999, after two years of working with Dre, Eminem released The Slim Shady LP. The heavily hyped record became an instant classic and went on to sell over three million copies. Eminem’s first single, “My Name Is,” mixed a childish humor and energy with rampant profanity and flashes of violence—a potent and fascinating combination that felt different from anything else in rap. Marshall and Kim Mathers married later that same year.
Eminem released his second studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP, in May 2000. The album showed off Eminem’s poetic talents as well as his emotional and artistic range. His songs vary from manically funny (“The Real Slim Shady“) to heartbreakingly poignant (“Stan“) to explosively violent (“Kim”) to disarmingly self-critical (“The Way I Am“). The Marshall Mathers LP sold over 19 million copies worldwide, won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, received a nomination for Album of the Year and is widely considered among the greatest rap albums of all time.
Nevertheless, The Marshall Mathers LP also came under a hailstorm of criticism for its excessive use of profanity, the glorification of violence and drugs and its apparent misogyny and homophobia. Eminem tried to mitigate the criticism by maintaining that his lyrics and rhymes use the rough language he has been surrounded by since childhood. Later Eminem, performed a duet with Elton John at the 2001 Grammy Awards to demonstrate his openness to the gay community; nevertheless, Eminem remains widely reviled in some communities for his offensive lyrical content.
In 2001, Eminem reconnected with several of his friends from the Detroit underground rap scene to form the group D12. They recorded an album called Devil’s Night featuring the popular single “Purple Pills.” A year later, Eminem released a new solo album, The Eminem Show, another popular and critically acclaimed album highlighted by the tracks “Without Me,” “Cleaning Out My Closet” and “Sing for the Moment.” His next album, 2004’s Encore, was less successful than his previous efforts, but still featured popular songs such as “Like Toy Soldiers” and “Mockingbird.”
For the next several years, Eminem recorded very little music and was completely consumed by his mounting personal problems. Eminem and Kim Mathers divorced in 2000 but continued to maintain a tumultuous off-and-on relationship until remarrying in 2006. Nevertheless, they divorced again several months later and began a years-long, ugly and highly public custody dispute over their daughter Hailie. During this period, Eminem slipped further into alcoholism and an addiction to prescription pills and sleeping pills. In December 2007, he overdosed and nearly died. “If I would have got to the hospital two hours later, that would have been it,” he said.
By early 2008, Eminem finally returned to recording music and managed to kick his addictions to drugs and alcohol. He released his first album of new music in five years, Relapse, in 2009, featuring the singles “Crack a Bottle” and “Beautiful.” In 2010, Eminem released another album, Recovery, his highly autobiographical attempt to come to terms with his struggles with addiction and his experience with rehabilitation. His most acclaimed album in years, Recovery struck a kinder, somewhat gentler and more inspirational tone than his previous music. Eminem said, “I don’t want to go overboard with it but I do feel like that if I can help people that have been through a similar situation, then, you know, why not?” The revealing album won Eminem a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
As much as any other individual artist, he is responsible for rap’s transformation into a mainstream music genre over the past decade. And after almost 20 years and eleven albums, the rapper who shocked, appalled and fascinated the music world with the unbridled rage of his youthful music is reinventing himself as a mature artist. Eminem is doubtlessly one of the most acclaimed rappers in the genre’s brief history. Some people consider him the GOAT (greatest of all time).
“I started learning how to not be so angry about things, learning how to count my f—ing blessings instead. By doing that, I’ve become a happier person, instead of all this self-loathing I was doing for a while,” Eminem said. “The music, I wouldn’t say it’s gotten happier, but it’s definitely more upbeat. I feel like myself again.”
Eminem released his eighth album, MMLP2, on November 5, 2013. The announcement for the future Grammy-winning album, formally titled The Marshall Mathers LP 2, was made during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. On the awards show, Eminem leaked a snippet of the first single from his album, entitled “Berzerk.” He went to reach of the top of charts with “The Monster,” a track that also featured Rihanna and earned a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
In 2014, Eminem celebrated the 15th anniversary of his Shady Records label with a special two-CD set called ShadyXV. The collection features the label’s most popular songs as well as some new material. The new single “Guts Over Fear” quickly rose up the charts after its late October debut.
In October 2017, Eminem made headlines for a freestyle segment known as a cypher, taped for the BET Hip Hop Awards, in which he ripped into President Donald Trump. Two months later, he released his ninth studio album, Revival. Its first two singles, “Walk on Water” and “River,” featured collaborations with pop superstars Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran, but the album as whole divided critics and failed to garner the accolades notched by his previous efforts.
While four years passed between Eminem’s eighth and ninth albums, fans only had to wait a few months before he dropped his next studio effort, Kamikaze, on August 31, 2018. The surprise album kicked off with “Ringer,” which featured the rapper diving right back into his disdain for President Trump.
John Mayer launched his music career in the late 1990s and in 2001, released the album Room for Squares and two years later, debuted Heavier Things. Both efforts were commercially successful, multi-platinum albums that spawned several hits, including Grammy-winning songs like “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters.” Having established himself in adult contemporary rock, Mayer broadened the scope of his sound to incorporate the blues, forming the John Mayer Trio in the mid-2000s. In 2015 he collaborated with Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir to form the touring band Dead & Company.
John Clayton Mayer was born on October 16, 1977, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. John was the middle child of parents Richard and Margaret, who were both teachers. Mayer became interested in learning guitar after seeing Michael J. Fox’s guitar work in Back to the Future. After listening to a cassette tape of iconic blues artist Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mayer began practicing and growing his love and knowledge for t he blues genre, listening to other legendary blues artists such as Otis Rush, B.B. King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Buddy Guy.
In 1997, Mayer enrolled at Berklee College of Music however, he quit two semesters later. With his friend Clay Cook, the two decided to move to Atlanta and began performing at local venues as the short-lived group LoFi Masters. With the emergence of the internet, Mayer began gaining a voracious online following which continues to this very day. After making a huge impression at the SXSW Music Festival in 2000, he was signed to Aware Records.
In 2001 Mayer released his first full-length album Room for Squares, which spawned hits like “No Such Thing,” “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” and “Why Georgia.” The album was critically praised and a multi-platinum commercial success, winning Mayer a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2003 for “Your Body Is a Wonderland.” Mayer followed up with his sophomore album, Heavier Things, which also did considerably well, reaching the top of the Billboard 200. One of its releases, “Daughters,” won the Grammy for Song of the Year.
In 2005 Mayer began shifting his musical direction, focusing on the genre he first fell in love with: the blues. Teaming up with musicians Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan, Mayer formed the blues and rock band the John Mayer Trio. The group released the live album Try!, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album.
In 2006 Mayer released his third studio album, Continuum, which received a Grammy for Best Pop Album and another Grammy for its single “Waiting on the World to Change.” With yet another huge success under his belt, Mayer felt skittish with starting a follow-up album, but he forged ahead with the release of Battle Studies in 2009. Despite mixed critics’ views, the album did well and its arena tour garnered an impressive $45 million.
After doing a distasteful interview with Playboy in 2010, along with other incidents that became tabloid fodder, Mayer retreated from the spotlight and re-focused on his music. However, in 2011 he discovered he had a granuloma on his vocal chords and had to undergo extensive treatments, delaying the release of his album Born and Raised until 2012. After his health recovered, Mayer was recording and touring again, and the following year he released his country-inspired album Paradise Valley. Around the same time, he developed a strong interest in the Grateful Dead’s music and eventually created a new touring group Dead & Company with Bob Weir.
John Lennon had already started a solo career by the time the Beatles dissolved in 1970. In fact, he and new wife Yoko Ono had released three experimental LPs chronicling their lives together, and he had two hit singles under his belt: the anti-war anthem “Give Peace A Chance” and the Beatles-reminiscent “Instant Karma!”
Unsurprisingly, Lennon’s post-Beatles solo work would also follow a more offbeat path. He made very few live appearances and preferred to chase his own artistic muse and focus on political activism. In short, it was the perfect second musical act for the life-long outspoken nonconformist.
Lennon was born in 1940 in bombing-ravaged Liverpool, England. His parents’ marriage was rocky and ended in divorce when the future Beatle was 1 year old. In fact, Lennon never developed a relationship with his merchant seaman dad. He was instead raised by his aunt Mimi and uncle George, who provided him with the kind of stable home environment his biological parents could not.
Lennon’s mother nevertheless encouraged his nascent musical talent, showing him rudimentary banjo chords and buying him his first guitar when he was a teenager. Thankfully, Lennon showed aptitude on the instrument and had designs on making his band the Quarrymen successful. Since he was a poor student and lasted only a year at art school, music was a good backup plan.
The Quarrymen—which at a future point also featured Paul McCartney and George Harrison—would eventually morph into the Beatles. Lennon’s tenure in the Fab Four would’ve been enough to cement his musical legacy. In hindsight, however, it’s even more impressive that he made such a clean break from the band that made him so popular.
1970’s Plastic Ono Band LP was a direct result of the primal scream therapy he and Ono had with Dr. Arthur Janov. The straightforward, unadorned music was often emotionally piercing: on “Mother,” Lennon sounds as if he’s in agony recounting being caught in the middle of his parents’ traumatic separation; the acoustic-driven “Working Class Hero” is an unsparing condemnation of how workers are treated; and on “God,” he sounds weary renouncing everything in his life and belief system but “me, Yoko and me.”
The next year’s rowdy, inspiring “Power To The People” single and Imagine LP were more political and musically adventurous. (Sometimes both at once: witness the gnarled, psychedelic “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die” and the touching, piano-based title track.) Imagine was also marked by brutal honesty, between Lennon’s admissions of cruel behavior on “Jealous Guy” and alleged digs at Paul McCartney throughout “How Do You Sleep?”
Lennon’s next few years were marked by ups and downs. 1972’s Sometime In New York City and 1973’s Mind Games didn’t replicate the success of his first few solo albums. He separated from Ono for over a year and moved to Los Angeles to have a multi-month “lost weekend” marked by partying, heavy drinking and a production credit on pal Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats (1974). To add insult to injury, Lennon was also trying to fight off being deported, an order that came down from the Nixon administration in 1973 due to his politics.
Still, there were bright spots. Lennon’s horn-peppered, soul-influenced single “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” hit Number One in November 1974. The pianist on that song, Elton John, even persuaded Lennon to guest at his Thanksgiving Madison Square Garden show, where the pair performed “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” And Lennon and Ono got back together and decided to have a baby.
Save for a few more high-profile appearances—including co-writing and performing on David Bowie’s 1975 Number One hit “Fame”—he effectively took off the second half of the ’70s to raise their newborn son, Sean Ono Lennon. He only returned to music in 1980, with the Ono collaborative album Double Fantasy.
Lennon never had a chance to experience a career resurgence while alive. On December 8, 1980, three weeks after Double Fantasy‘s release, the unthinkable happened: Mark David Chapman shot and killed Lennon outside his apartment in New York City.
The entire world stopped to grieve, and musical tributes poured in from all corners for years to come. These even included one from his Beatles bandmates, who all appeared on George Harrison’s 1981 single, “All Those Years Ago.”
Yet most of all, people found solace in Lennon’s music. After his death, Double Fantasy‘s “(Just Like) Starting Over” hit Number One on the singles charts. Roxy Music covered “Jealous Guy” and made it their own. And Lennon’s posthumous 1984 album Milk & Honey, was marked by the great “Nobody Told Me”—whose line about “strange days, indeed” was both bittersweet and comforting.
Described by Spin as “one of the greatest living voices in rock today,” and by SF Weekly as “the whole package”, Grace Potter continues to impress both critics and audiences with her musical achievements and captivating live shows.
Heralded as one of today’s best live performers, Grace Potter has played every major music festival from Coachella and Lollapalooza toBonnaroo and Rock in Rio. She’s had the honor of sharing the stage with artists such as Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, the Allman Brothers,Neil Young, Mavis Staples, and The Roots to name just a few. Most recently, she was given the honor of performing, along with Sheryl Crow, a tribute to the late Glenn Frey at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. For an artist who has built a devoted fan base through her electrifying live show, Potter seems hell-bent on breaking out of the box when it comes to studio work. She refuses to be defined by a single genre. Over the last three years, she has seamlessly transitioned from collaborating with the Flaming Lips, for a Tim Burton film, to songwriting and producing for soundtracks and theme songs for film and TV, to multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated country duets with her friend Kenny Chesney, to most recently joiningThe Rolling Stones on stage for an inspired rendition of “Gimme Shelter.”
In late 2015, at the invitation of The First Lady, Michelle Obama, and TV host Conan O’Brien, Grace performed for the troops in Qatar (where she was joined on stage by the guitar-playing O’Brien). Through the years Grace has made it a priority to support her home state of Vermont and in the fall of 2015 was honored with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the state’s highest honor in the creative sector. Earlier in 2015 Potter received the ASCAP Harry Chapin Vanguard Award by WhyHunger honoring her for her work with several charitable organizations. On August 14th, 2015, Grace released her critically acclaimed solo album, ‘Midnight’ to a #17 debut on the Billboard 200 chart.
‘Midnight’ was recorded and mixed at Barefoot Studios in Hollywood, CA, with producer Eric Valentine. The core studio band consisted of Potter and Valentine on most of the instruments, with Matt Burr on drums and percussion. In addition, members of Potter’s longtimeband The Nocturnals: guitarists Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco and bassist Michael Libramento contributed to the sessions, as well as former tour-mates and friends singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter, Audra Mae, Noelle Skaggs of Fitz & the Tantrums, and Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age.“
This album is about embracing life as it comes at you – with all its unexpected twists and turns,” says Potter. “I’ve experienced a huge amount of growth and change in the past two years – both personal and professional, and it can be overwhelming for an artist to find ways to express that in a vacuum. So I tried to strip away the confines of other people’s expectations. I started tapping into some of the deep-running themes that have shaped me into the human I’ve become, and as I went deeper and deeper, I found the results to be insanely satisfying.”
Citing Miles Davis, Dylan, the Beatles, Bowie, Blondie and Beck as prime examples, Potter says she is drawn to artists who make sonic leaps from record to record — a notion she has explored throughout her career.
With her original band, the Nocturnals, Potter has released four studio albums through major label Hollywood Records: 2006’s ‘Nothing But The Water,’ 2007’s ‘This is Somewhere,’ 2010’s self-titled album and 2012’s ‘The Lion The Beast The Beat,’ with the latter two both debuting Top 20 in the U.S. In 2010, Potter was featured on Kenny Chesney’s Grammy nominated, platinum-selling hit, “You and Tequila,” and his 2015 hit,“Wild Child,” which also achieved #1 status on the (billboard) Country chart.
Described by Spin as “one of the greatest living voices in rock today,” and by SF Weekly as “the whole package”, Grace Potter continues to impress both critics and audiences with her musical achievements and captivating live shows.
Herbie Hancock is an award-winning jazz composer and musician with a rich, stylistically diverse canon of songs that include “Maiden Voyage” and “Rockit.”
Herbie Hancock is an iconoclast of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while maintaining his unmistakable clear and true voice. With an illustrious career spanning five decades and 14 Grammy™ Awards, including Album of the Year for River: The Joni Letters, he continues to amaze audiences across the globe.
There are few artists in the music industry who have had more influence on acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B than Herbie Hancock. As the immortal Miles Davis said in his autobiography, “Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and I haven’t heard anybody yet who has come after him.”
Born in Chicago in 1940, Herbie was a child piano prodigy who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. He began playing jazz in high school, initially influenced by Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. He also developed a passion for electronics and science and double-majored in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College.
The major initially seemed more practical and allowed him to invest in his passion for technology.
In 1960, Herbie was discovered by trumpeter Donald Byrd. After two years of session work with Byrd as well as Phil Woods and Oliver Nelson, he signed with Blue Note as a solo artist
and released his debut album as the head of a band, Takin’ Off, which garnered fame as the first album on the Blue Note roster to feature all newly composed tunes, like the seminal “Watermelon Man” while continuing to record and pen future classics like “Cantaloupe Island” and “Maiden Voyage
In 1963, Miles Davis invited Herbie to join the Miles Davis Quintet. During his five years with Davis, Herbie and his colleagues Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums) recorded many classics, including ESP, Nefertiti, and Sorcerer. Later on, Herbie made appearances on Davis’ groundbreaking In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew, which heralded the birth of jazz-fusion.
Herbie’s own solo career blossomed on Blue Note, with classic albums including Maiden Voyage, Empyrean Isles, and Speak Like a Child. He composed the score to Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow Up, which led to a successful career in feature film and television music.
Over the ensuing years, via the release of dozens of albums, Hancock established a reputation as an outstanding composer who feels free to explore genres outside of traditional jazz, ranging from fusion to R&B to hip-hop. The sonically radical, mystical and revered Mwandishi (1970) started his independent streak. After leaving Davis, Herbie put together a new band called The Headhunters and, in 1973, recorded Head Hunters. With its crossover, the funk-based hit single “Chameleon,” became the first jazz album to go platinum; the album featured “Chameleon” and another version of “Watermelon Man,” whose sexy grooves would later be sampled in hip-hop/reggae circles. 1977’s “Sunlight” featured rejuvenating soul with Hancock himself on vocoder vocals.
By mid-decade, Herbie was playing for stadium-sized crowds all over the world and had no fewer than four albums in the pop charts at once. In total, Herbie had 11 albums in the pop charts during the 1970s. His ’70s output inspired and provided samples for generations of hip-hop and dance music artists. Herbie also stayed close to his love of acoustic jazz in the ’70s, recording and performing with VSOP (reuniting him with his Miles Davis colleagues), and in duet settings with Chick Corea and Oscar Peterson.
In 1980, Herbie introduced the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to the world as a solo artist, producing his debut album and touring with him as well. In 1983, a new pull to the alternative side led Herbie to a series of collaborations with Bill Laswell. The first, Future Shock, again struck platinum, and the single “Rockit” rocked the dance and R&B charts, winning a Grammy™ for Best R&B Instrumental. The video of the track won five MTV awards. Sound System, the follow-up, also received a Grammy™ in the R&B instrumental category.
The following decades saw more releases on different labels, including Dis Is Da Drum(1994), Gershwin’s World (1998), honoring George Gershwin’s 100th birthday, and the electronica-oriented Future 2 Future (2001). 2010’s The Imagine Project saw the composer working with an international cast that included Céu, Pink, Seal and Juanes.
Hancock has also provided scores to a number of TV and film projects. He penned music for Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert cartoon and an accompanying album as well as for films like Death Wish (1974), A Soldier’s Story (1984) and Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986). Herbie won an Oscar in 1986 for scoring the film ‘Round Midnight, in which he also appeared as an actor. Numerous television appearances over the years led to two hosting assignments in the 1980s: Rock School on PBS and Showtime’s Coast To Coast.
The legendary Headhunters reunited in 1998, recording an album for Herbie’s own Verve-distributed imprint, and touring with the Dave Matthews Band. That year also marked the recording and release of Gershwin’s World, which included collaborators Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Kathleen Battle, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea. Gershwin’s World won three Grammys™ in 1999, including Best Traditional Jazz Album and Best R&B Vocal Performance for Stevie Wonder’s “St. Louis Blues.”
Herbie reunited with Bill Laswell to collaborate with some young hip-hop and techno artists on 2001’s FUTURE2FUTURE. He also joined with Roy Hargrove and Michael Brecker in 2002 to record a live concert album, Directions In Music: Live at Massey Hall, a tribute to John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
Possibilities, released in August 2005, teamed Herbie with many popular artists, such as Sting, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone and Damien Rice. That year, he played a number of concert dates with a re-staffed Headhunters, and became the first-ever Artist-In-Residence at the Tennessee-based festival Bonnaroo.
In 2007, Hancock recorded and released River: The Joni Letters, a tribute to longtime friend and collaborator Joni Mitchell featuring Wayne Shorter, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and co-produced by Larry Klein. He enlisted vocalists Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza, Leonard Cohen and Mitchell herself to perform songs she wrote or was inspired by. The album received glowing reviews and was a year-end Top 10 choice for many critics. It also garnered three Grammy™ Awards, including Album of the Year; Herbie is one of only a handful of jazz musicians ever to receive that honor.
In 2010 Hancock released the critically-acclaimed CD, The Imagine Project, winner of two 20ll Grammy™ Awards for Best Pop Collaboration and Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Utilizing the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility, The Imagine Project was recorded around the world and features a stellar group of musicians including Jeff Beck, Seal,Pink, Dave Matthews, The Chieftains, Lionel Loueke, Oumou Sangare, Konono #l, Anoushka Shankar, Chaka Khan, Marcus Miller, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Tinariwen, and Ceu.
Herbie Hancock also maintains a thriving career outside the performing stage and recording studio. Recently named by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Creative Chair For Jazz, he currently also serves as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the foremost international organization devoted to the development of jazz performance and education worldwide. Hancock is also a founder of The International Committee of Artists for Peace and was recently awarded the much esteemed “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
In July of 2011 Hancock was designated an honorary UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Recognizing Herbie Hancock’s “dedication to the promotion of peace through dialogue, culture and the arts,” the Director-General has asked the celebrated jazz musician “to contribute to UNESCO’s efforts to promote mutual understanding among cultures, with a particular emphasis on fostering the emergence of new and creative ideas amongst youth, to find solutions to global problems, as well as ensuring equal access to the diversity of artistic expressions.” UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassadors are an outstanding group of celebrity advocates who have generously accepted to use their talent and status to help focus the world’s attention on the objectives and aims of UNESCO’s work in its fields of competence: education, culture, science and communication/information.
By 2013, Herbie Hancock had won 14 Grammy Awards, including for album of the year in 2008, for his tribute to friend Joni Mitchell, River: The Joni Letters—marking the first time in more than four decades that the award went to a jazz musician. The album featured artists like Tina Turner, Norah Jones and Leonard Cohen.
Hancock is a practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism, whose spiritual practices inform his art and philosophies. With a 34-CD Columbia Records box set released in the fall of 2013, Hancock later gave lectures at Harvard University in 2014 as part of its Charles Eliot Norton Professorship in Poetry series. And in October of that year, he released the memoir Possibilities, co-written with Lisa Dickey.
Now in the fifth decade of his professional life, Herbie Hancock remains where he has always been: in the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music. Though one can’t track exactly where he will go next, he is sure to leave his inimitable imprint wherever he lands.
Herbie Hancock – USA Summer Tour 2017
“Spank-A-Lee” – HeadHunters live in Bremen, Germany @ Musikladen: November 1974
Herbie Hancock Trio – Live At The Munich Philharmonie, 1987
Soul provider Nigel Hall is in many ways an artist who needs no introduction. An in-demand sideman, he’s built a mighty foundation of funk over the years onstage and in the studio with collaborators including the Warren Haynes Band, Jon Cleary, Soulive, Oteil Burbridge and Roosevelt Collier, Ledisi, the Soul Rebels, Lettuce, The Nth Power and countless others. Legions of fans are already well in the know about Hall’s copious keyboard chops and powerful, soulful vocal style. However, Nigel’s Feel Music/Round Hill debut solo album was a revelation – a confirmation that Hall has stepped out front and center into a creative space to call his own.
“Ladies & Gentlemen… Nigel Hall,” came out in digital and vinyl format in November of 2017 captures the spirit of the songs that made Hall a musician. It was produced by Eric Krasno, guitarist and producer of music by a dizzying array of artists including Norah Jones, Justin Timberlake, Talib Kweli, Aaron Neville and Matisyahu. Hall’s original compositions, from the blissful, sunny ‘60s-style soul grooves of lead single “Gimme A Sign” and “Never Gonna Let You Go” to the teasing, R&B kiss of downtempo cuts like “Too Sweet” and “Call on Me” to show off a record collector’s pitch-perfect knowledge and a lifelong fan’s passion for gritty, muscular rhythm and blues, funky dancefloor rave-ups and sultry bedroom serenades.
Nigel Hall grew up in Washington, D.C., in a highly musical family. His fingers first touched the keys before he hit kindergarten age and his ears were wide open.
“I grew up with records,” he said. “That’s why I’m obsessed. My father had a vast collection. I’d be in third grade with my Walkman and everyone’s listening to Ace of Bass, and I’m listening to “Return to Forever,” Chick Corea’s fusion project with Stanley Clarke. The vintage sounds of “Ladies & Gentlemen… Nigel Hall,” infused with his electric freshness, together make both an audible autobiography and Nigel Hall’s musical mission statement.
Cover choices including Ramp’s “Try, Try, Try,” written by Roy Ayers, Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain,” and Latimore’s “Let’s Straighten It Out” – deep album cuts from the back pages of golden-age R&B – reveal a true student of the sound. Most of the songs on “Ladies & Gentlemen… Nigel Hall” were cut in one take, straight from Hall’s spirit to tape. It’s a loving, detailed, sure-handed scrapbook of American soul influence that tugs your heart and moves your hips.
“Music is our way of traveling through time,” he said. His cover of Stanley Clarke’s “I Just Want To Love You,” for example, newly recorded as a turn-the-clock-back, Motown-infused duet with intensely soulful vocalist Alecia Chakour, was originally released the year Hall was born, in 1981.
“It’s a part of my life, a part of my childhood, and it’s a part of what made me me, that song,” he said.
Nigel Hall is also a relatively new resident of one of America’s most sonically significant cities, a place that has always respected the power of history. Since relocating to New Orleans in late 2013, Nigel Hall has been embraced by its world-renowned music community. In early 2014, a feature in its premier music-focused magazine, Offbeat, enthusiastically welcomed Hall as “a perfect fit” for the vibrant city and its singular culture. The Times-Picayune’s review of his solo debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival the same year crowned him with a comparison to Southern funk godfather Art Neville.
“It’s the best decision I ever made for myself in my life and musically,” Hall said of the move. “I’m surrounded by the most amazing, incredible musicians in the world at all times. The big picture, the sincerity is very present here at all times. It’s a breath of fresh air. Everybody’s in the vibe. Everybody’s feeling something.”
You can feel it on “Ladies & Gentlemen… Nigel Hall,” particularly on the slinky, nasty, Meters-style funk of “Don’t Change for Me.” But Hall’s recent past is present, too; his Lettuce co-conspirator Eric Krasno shares writing credit on several of the original tracks and longtime jamband collaborators like sax man Ryan Zoidis and drummer Adam Deitch, of Lettuce and Soulive, lend their talents. So does fellow crate-digger Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, who guests on a cover of the Isley Brothers’ “Lay Away” along with former Rolling Stones sideman Ivan Neville.
“I like to sing songs that reflect my being and who I am as a person,” he said.
“Because that really touches me. When you hear a song and it makes you cry, or it makes you happy or it evokes any kind of feeling, that is music. That is what music is supposed to do. And music is the last pure thing we have left on this earth. It’s the only pure thing.”
Nigel is currently touring as the keyboardist/vocalist and a permanent member of the funk outlet Lettuce and is presently out on tour with them. Later in the summer, Nigel will set out with one of his favorite collaborators Jon Cleary, who is embarking on a European Summer Tour.
Currently, Nigel is busy working on his follow up, sophomoric album to “Ladies & Gentlemen…Nigel Hall” with his New Orleans brethren, the members of Butcher Brown who are playing and helping Nigel to produce the yet untitled album.
Adam Deitch began his musical odyssey at birth. He was blessed to be born into a family with parents who are two Berklee College of Music drummers, who also sang and played an array of other instruments. All through childhood, he was surrounded by his parent’s eclectic musical friends and band members; moreover, Adam, through osmosis, began to absorb all the knowledge that was being passed on to him from his extremely musical environment. He began playing a full drum set by age 3 and began performing with his parents at local elementary schools by age 5.
After studying piano, alto sax, music production, bass, guitar and of course the drums, Adam started a number of musical projects/bands in his hometown of Nyack NY, as well as, immersing himself in the local Baptist Gospel scene as a drummer during his junior high and high school years. These experiences prepared him for his short tenure at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he met countless brilliant professors and students who molded him into a more seasoned, and all around musician.
After leaving Berklee, Adams’ Hip Hop band Fat Bag found great success in the northeast and he learned much about the music industry as they were signed to Interscope Records for a development deal. When the deal stalled, Adam left the band to join the world renowned soul funk group Average White Band (AWB) and toured the world with them for 3 years as well recording a live DVD in LA. Getting to meet and learn from watching artists like AWB, Chaka Khan, Tower of Power and Earth Wind and Fire first hand at age 24 was extremely inspiring for him.
Adam continued his wide musical landscape by joining Fugees front man Wyclef Jean and platinum producer Jerry Wonder shortly after his stint with Scofield. This brought Adam to work closely with Hip-Hop legends like Lauren Hill, DJ Quik, Akon, Estelle and pop star Shakira.
After touring extensively with these groundbreaking artists, Adam decided to concentrate on his original projects, Funk super group Lettuce and EDM powerhouse Break Science. While taking some time in between the extensive touring and recording of these bands, Adam managed to find time to do occasional international drum clinic tours for Tama Drums and Zildjian Cymbals, perform at the Modern Drummer Festival as a featured clinician, as well as, tour with hugely successful artists such as EDM giant Pretty Lights and DRK WAV featuring keyboard icon John Medeski.
Adam also has produced tracks for a number of Hip-Hop legends in his extremely scarce free time such as Talib Kweli, 50 Cent, and Pharoahe Monch and has launched his new label Golden Wolf Records this year to showcase his evolved music production skills.
Adam is endorsed by Tama Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vater Sticks and Evans drumheads.
Between the potency of his richly detailed songwriting, his intensely emotional, soulful vocals and his piercing, expert guitar work, New Orleans’ Anders Osborne is a true musical treasure. He is among the most original and visionary musicians writing and performing today. Guitar Player calls him “the poet laureate of Louisiana’s fertile roots music scene.” New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly has honored Osborne as the Entertainer Of The Year. OffBeat named him the Crescent City’s Best Guitarist for the third year in a row, and the Best Songwriter for the second straight year. Osborne also won Song Of The Year for his composition, Louisiana Gold.
Osborne’s latest released Flower Box, his second full-length album of 2016, recorded in his hometown of New Orleans late last year, Flowerbox is a heavier, guitar-driven follow-up to the acclaimed Spacedust & Ocean Views.
“I love the way this record comes out stout and determined right out the gate, a four-piece rock & roll band making beautiful and conquering noise,” says Osborne. “The producer, Mark Howard, has a way of making you play in the moment and being confident. His sounds and engineering style is that of classic records, with his own special sauce of ‘haunting’ on top of it. The musicians on here are undoubtedly some of my absolute favorites in the world, both as players and as people. Their contributions are invaluable. Scott Metzger, Brady Blade, Carl Dufrene, Chad Cromwell, Marc Broussard, David LaBruyere, Rob McNelley & Justin Tocket. Bad boys! I’ve been wanting to make this record for several years and I am stoked it’s finally here.”
A powerful live performer, the musician has won over fans through non-stop touring as well as a heralded collaboration with the North Mississippi Allstars & Southern Soul Assembly.
Jambands.com said, “Osborne finds a striking balance of muscle and grace that allows for the smaller moments of quiet to be just as resounding as the sonic booms.” And USA Today has praised his music, saying “The relentless approach amplifies the anguished lyrics, which appear to be about the death of a loved one or a relationship torn asunder or perhaps a spiritual crisis.” In a review of Spacedust & Ocean Views, Boulder Weekly said the album “finds the guitarist in a (largely) reflective mood, an extended meditation on place and moments in time, memory, passages through and exits from paragraphs in the non-fiction docudrama of life. Through languid, gently formed figures, Osborne coaxes odes of gratitude and compelling imagery in what seems a little like a travelogue-like watching his kid chasing seabirds on the beach…”
Osborne has earned hordes of new fans. He has toured virtually non-stop, either with his own band, as a solo artist, or as a guest with his countless musical admirers, including Toots and The Maytals, Stanton Moore, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, Jackie Greene and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. He’s produced and played on critically acclaimed albums by Tab Benoit, Johnny Sansone and Mike Zito.
Since his recording debut in 1989, Osborne has written virtually all of his own material and contributed memorable songs to a wide variety of artists. Two tunes co-written by Osborne appear on Keb Mo’s Grammy-winning 1999 release Slow Down. Country superstar Tim McGraw scored a #1 hit with Anders’ song Watch The Wind Blow By. Osborne’s compositions have been covered by artists as diverse as Brad Paisley, Tab Benoit, Jonny Lang, Edwin McCain, Sam Bush, Trombone Shorty and Aaron Neville and Kim Carnes. His songs have appeared in multiple feature films. He can also be seen performing in an episode of HBO’s New Orleans-based drama, Treme.
“Fiery anthems and tumultuous confessional songs punctuated with raw, inspired guitar.“ — USA TODAY
“Rich and glorious…Osborne possesses a voice that rises out of the darkness to the light of a soulful, tremulous wail. He is a consummate showman and shaman, bending successive moments to suit his majestic purposes. Osborne seeks an epic quality to much of his music, crafting layer upon layer of hugely scaled soundscapes.…never lazily derivative…every slashing guitar figure, every cry of a lyric, seems to come from an authentic place.” — New Orleans Times-Picayune
Dave Matthews is the front man, guitarist and singer-songwriter of the popular group The Dave Matthews Band.
Musician and actor, David John Matthews, was born on January 9, 1967, in Johannesburg, South Africa. A self-taught musician, he and his family moved around the world throughout his childhood. When he was 2 years old, they moved to the New York suburb of Yorktown Heights, where Matthews’ father, a physicist, worked for IBM. In 1977, Matthews’ father died of lung cancer, and the family returned to Johannesburg to live with relatives.
To avoid South Africa’s compulsory military service, Matthews moved back to the United States after high school, where he became a bartender at a jazz club in Charlottesville, Virginia, called Miller’s. It was there that he began to dream about starting his own band.
Formed in 1990 by South African self-taught vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews, the Dave Matthews Band presented a more pop-oriented version of the Grateful Dead crossed with elements of jazz, funk, and the worldbeat explorations of Paul Simon and Sting. Matthews decided to assemble a band and put together a demo tape with several Virginia-based musicians — bassist Stefan Lessard, saxophonist Leroi Moore, violinist Boyd Tinsley, drummer Carter Beauford, and short-lived keyboardist Peter Griesar — and the band built up a strong word-of-mouth buzz by touring the country constantly, with special attention paid to college campuses and grassroots marketing. Griesar left the lineup in March 1993, but the Dave Matthews Band moved ahead in his absence, releasing the independent album Remember Two Things later that year and issuing a live EP, Recently, in 1994. The Dave Matthews Band was soon playing at frat houses and beach clubs around the country. People began to make bootlegs of their shows and word of the band spread quickly among the college crowd.
After fielding offers from major labels, the band signed with RCA and released the debut effort Under the Table and Dreaming in September 1994 which went to No. 11 in the Billboard 200 . By the following spring, the record had launched the hit single “What Would You Say” and sold over one million copies, thus setting the stage for an extremely successful career. A year and a half after the release of Under the Table and Dreaming, the record had sold over four million copies in the U.S. alone, propelled in part by the success of “Ants Marching” and “Satellite.” The Dave Matthews Band responded by releasing 1996’s Crash, which entered the charts at number two and quickly went platinum. The group spent the bulk of 1996 touring in support of the eclectic album, which reached multi-platinum status and spun off five successful singles, including the Grammy-nominated “Crash into Me.” That same year, Matthews launched an attack on bootleggers in conjunction with the federal government, targeting stores that were selling semi-legal discs of live performances. The efforts of Matthews, his band, and his management resulted in an unprecedented crackdown on for-profit bootleggers in early 1997 — with nearly all of the major foreign bootlegging companies placed under arrest by the United States — thereby putting a moratorium on the entire underground industry. In October 1997, the band put out an official double-disc live album entitled Live at Red Rocks. Without any marketing or promotion, it debuted at No. 3, providing a high-quality and reasonably priced alternative to illegal live CDs that were beginning to flood the black market.
The live record paved the way for a string of future DMB concert recordings; it also drummed up support for the April 1998 release of Before These Crowded Streets, the group’s most ambitious album to date. The new millennium, however, saw the band returning to the studio with producer Glen Ballard to record a fourth studio album, Everyday, which was issued in February 2001. Although notable for its slick, mainstream-minded sound — not to mention the presence of electric guitar, which Matthews had never used on previous albums — it was overshadowed by rumors of a darker album that had been recorded with Steve Lillywhite in 2000. Although the original album was rejected, the band eventually chose songs from those sessions, re-recorded several others, and released the results in July 2002 as Busted Stuff. Its debut single, “Where Are You Going,” fared well on national radio, and the band rounded out 2002 with the release of Live at Folsom Field in November.
Several years after releasing Live at Luther College, a concert album that did not feature his band, Dave Matthews released his first proper solo album in 2003. The moody and brooding Some Devil was supported by a “Dave Matthews & Friends” tour — the “friends” being Trey Anastasio, Brady Blade, Tony Hall, Ray Paczkowski, and Tim Reynolds — and the album’s chief single, “Gravedigger,” earned Matthews a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. Boyd Tinsley also released a solo album that year, but the Dave Matthews Band reconvened shortly thereafter, releasing two additional live albums (The Central Park Concert & The Gorge) and returning to the road in 2004. The band mates also joined Bruce Springsteen‘s Vote for Change tour toward the end of the year, just as their mail-order-only DMB Live Trax series debuted. In early 2005, they launched a website that featured progress reports on their next album in the form of video footage, diaries, and sound bites. When the flawed Stand Up finally appeared in May, it was the band’s first album of all-new material since 2001’s Everyday. Like its three predecessors, Stand Up topped the charts, making DMB the only band other than U2 and Metallica to score four consecutive number one albums.
Weekend on the Rocks, another live set, followed Stand Up at the end of 2005, and a two-disc compilation entitled The Best of What’s Around, Vol. 1 collected studio material and unreleased live recordings one year later. Matthews and Tim Reynolds launched another joint tour in 2007, canvassing Europe and North America in the process. A performance from the latter continent was featured on the album Live at Radio City Music Hall, which served as a companion piece to 1999’s Luther College.
After an eight-year courtship, Matthews married wife Ashley in August 2000. Their twin daughters, Stella Busina and Grace Anne, were born one year later. They had a son August Oliver, born in June 2007.
James Edward Olliges Jr. (born April 27, 1978), professionally known as Jim James or Yim Yames, is an American vocalist, guitarist, producer, and primary songwriter of the rock band My Morning Jacket. He has released three solo albums.
Although chiefly known as the frontman of My Morning Jacket, Jim James played a wider role in indie rock during the early 21st century, appearing on albums by several artists (including Bright Eyes, M. Ward, America, and Bobby Bare, Jr.) while also pursuing a small solo career under the alias of Yim Yames. He made his solo debut with 2009’s Tribute To, a short collection of George Harrison covers recorded shortly after the guitarist’s death in 2001. In 2008, during a My MorningJacket tour, James fell off the stage and was seriously injured, forcing the band to cancel the rest of its dates. During his recuperation, he did a great deal of self-reflection. He read the 1929 graphic novel God’s Man by Lynd Ward, which had been given to him by the artist Gary Burden. James was deeply affected by the book.
James resumed his role with My Morning Jacket for 2015’s acclaimed The Waterfall and toured in support. In September 2016, he announced the release of his second solo album, Eternally Even, which he co-produced with Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes). The gritty, tense, nine-song set was issued in November just before election day. James’ next effort, Tribute to 2, issued in December of 2017, was an entirely different outing: It was a collection of cover songs that intentionally reflected hope and blurred the boundaries of time and genre. He interpreted songs by the Beach Boys, Abbey Lincoln, Sonny and Cher, Diane Izzo, Ray Noble and Al Bowlly, Elvis Presley,Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Jim James – Just A Fool (Official Video)
My Morning Jacket – Compound Fracture
My Morning Jacket by Scott Compton (Boing Boing Video)
Phil Lesh is best known as being a founding member and bass player for the 1960s rock group Grateful Dead.
American musician Phil Lesh was born on March 15, 1940, in Berkeley, California. Exposed to classical music early, Lesh played the violin at age 8 and switched to trumpet at age 14. He took private lessons in high school and explored avant-garde classical and jazz music. In 1962, he met bluegrass banjo player Jerry Garcia and later joined his band, the Warlocks, as bass guitarist. The band renamed itself the Grateful Dead and Lesh played with the band from 1965 to 1995.
Phillip Chapman Lesh was born on March 15, 1940, in Berkeley, California, the son of Frank and Barbara Chapman Lesh. His father was an amateur musician and small business owner. While both his parents worked, young Phil was cared for by his maternal grandmother, Jewel “Bobbie” Chapman. An avid listener of classical music, she often had the radio while taking care of Phil. His earliest memory is being carried away by Brahms’s First Symphony.
At age eight, Phil Lesh began playing the violin and joined the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra in Berkeley, California playing classics from Beethoven to Wagner. At age 14, he switched to trumpet. In his sophomore year, he transferred from El Cerrito High School to Berkeley High School for music courses in harmony. During this time he developed a keen interest in avant-garde classical music and free jazz. Phil Lesh credits school music programs with his success in music.
In 1958, Phil Lesh enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley as a music-major, but was quickly disenchanted with the restrictive music curricula. He transferred to Mills College in Oakland, California, and enrolled in Luciano Berio’s modernist music class. There he learned the mechanics of music theory and wrote several compositions. However, he found it difficult to get his pieces performed as he was not an established composer. For a time he made a living driving truck for the U.S. Postal Service.
Life with the Grateful Dead
In the spring of 1965, Phil Lesh met bluegrass banjo player Jerry Garcia, whose band, the Warlocks, was playing at a party. Lesh wasn’t into rock and roll at the time, but really liked the band’s music. He mentioned to Garcia an interest in playing the bass guitar. A few weeks later, Garcia invited him to join the band. Lesh learned the bass while playing several of the band’s gigs. Soon after, they changed their name to the Grateful Dead.
With his earlier musical training, Lesh developed in improvisational style with the Grateful Dead that more resembled Bach counterpoint than rock and roll. Thus, he became a musical pioneer like several other rock bassists of his time: John Entwistle of The Who, Jack Cassidy of Jefferson Airplane, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, and Jack Bruce of Cream.
As one of the seminal bands of the 1960s and 70s, the Grateful Dead was known for its eclectic style. The songs fused rock, bluegrass, folk, blues, and occasionally reggae, and country. Most noticeably during live performances, they blended jazz, psychedelia, and space rock in long musical improvisations, running as long as 45 minutes. Through their near-endless touring, the band gained the devotion of thousands of fans, known as “Deadheads.” The band was also known for its alleged illegal drug consumption. After a drug bust, while on tour in New Orleans, the band memorialized the event in the song “Truckin.”
From 1965 through the 1970s, Phil Lesh and the Grateful Dead toured perpetually. During this time, Lesh composed some the band’s more popular songs including “Unbroken Chain”, “Box of Rain”, and “Pride of Cucamonga.” In the band’s early years, his high tenor voice contributed to the rich texture of the Grateful Dead’s four-part harmony. However, in 1974, he had to stop singing due to vocal cord damage. In 1982, he dropped his register to baritone and resumed singing with the band.
In the 1970s, Phil Lesh began exploring several independent music projects, though never straying too far from the parent band. In 1975, Lesh recorded “Seastones”, an experimental collaboration with electronics wizard Ned Lagin and contributions by Grateful Dead bandmates Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart, members of Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick and Spenser Dryden and David Crosby of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame. The effort was met with mixed reviews, even by devoted Deadheads. One music reviewer described it as “cybernetic bio-music.”
On August 9, 1995, Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia died of an apparent heart attack after a long struggle with drug addiction. Upon hearing of this death, Phil Lesh wrote in his autobiography, “I was struck numb. I had lost my oldest surviving friend, my brother.” The remaining members of the band decided not to continue as the Grateful Dead but did organize several other bands with Grateful Dead alumni. “The Other Ones” was formed in 1998 with original band members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart. They later changed their name to “The Dead.” Phil also formed his own band, Phil Lesh and Friends. In 1999, he co-headlined a tour with Bob Dylan. Lesh continued the tradition of Grateful Dead family music with side project Phil Lesh and Friends, which paid homage to the Dead’s music by playing their originals, common covers, and the songs of the members of his band. Lesh operates a music venue called Terrapin Crossroads. He scaled back his touring regimen in 2014 but continues to perform with Phil Lesh & Friends at select venues, notably the Capitol Theatre, as well as at festivals. From 2009 to 2014, he performed in Furthur alongside his former Grateful Dead bandmate Bob Weir.
Phil Lesh and his wife Jill, administer a charitable organization, the Unbroken Chain Foundation. They have two children, Grahame and Brian, who both are musicians and have followed in his father’s footsteps. In 1998, Lesh underwent a successful liver transplant, a result of chronic hepatitis C and when performing regularly encourages members of the audience to become organ donors (tracks identified as the “donor rap” on the live recordings of his various performances). He is now an advocate for organ donor programs. In 2005, he wrote the book Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead. The book takes its name from the lyrics of a Grateful Dead song titled “Unbroken Chain,” from their album From the Mars Hotel. “Unbroken Chain” is one of the few songs Lesh sings. This was the only book about the Grateful Dead written by a member of the band until 2015 when Bill Kreutzmann released his memoir, Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams and Drugs with the Grateful Dead. In 2006, Lesh announced he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, a disease that killed his father. He underwent surgery and later announced he was cancer-free. He took part in the 2015 Fare The Well concerts and a short North American tour with Bob Weir in the spring of 2018.
“In a way, it’s my way of dealing with, finding closure with Grateful Dead music, and giving thanks in a way to Jerry and Bob and all the guys in the band for making up this wonderful music.”
“So what it boils down to, in my humble opinion, is that we need to support the arts in schools, and at every other level in the education of children.”
Bob Weir was a rhythm guitarist for the legendary rock band the Grateful Dead from 1964 to 1995 and later reunited to tour with former members as The Other Ones.
Guitarist Bob Weir was born on October 16, 1947, in San Francisco, California. In 1964, he started a band that was eventually called the Grateful Dead, with Jerry Garcia and Ron McKernan. In 1972, Weir put out his first solo album. He also performed with other bands throughout his time with the Dead. After Garcia died in 1995, Weir toured with RatDog, and later reunited with former Dead members to tour.
Bob Weir was born October 16, 1947, in San Francisco, California. He was raised by wealthy adoptive parents in the suburban town of Atherton, California.
Weir started playing guitar at the age of 13. As a teen, Weir first attended Menlo Atherton High School, but his struggles with undiagnosed dyslexia and his poor academic performance led his exasperated parents to send him away to boarding school. There, at Fountain Valley High School, Weir met John Perry Barlow, who would later write lyrics for the Grateful Dead. After Weir was kicked out of Fountain Valley, he spent most of his time hanging out in Palo Alto, California, checking out the Bay Area folk-rock scene. He spent his days at a record store where Jerry Garcia gave guitar lessons, and his nights at a club called the Tangent. At the Tangent, Weir had the good fortune to see several rock legends in the making, including Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and the familiar face from the music shop, Jerry Garcia.
In 1964, when Weir was just 17, Garcia convinced him and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan to start a folk-rock and blues band called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, with Weir as their rhythm guitarist. After first renaming the band the Warlocks, the band eventually settled on the name the Grateful Dead and expanded to include drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bass guitarist Phil Lesh and several different keyboardists over the life of the group.
Although the Dead played nearly 100 shows yearly throughout the 1970s, Weir also participated in other musical projects during this time. In 1972 he put out his first solo album, called Ace. He also performed and recorded with other bands, including Kingfish, in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, Weir toured with Bobby and the Midnites and contributed to recording two albums with the band. During this time he met recording session musician Brent Mydland, whom he would invite to join the Grateful Dead as a keyboardist in 1979.
Weir refocused primarily on playing with the Grateful Dead in the late 1980s and continued to tour with them extensively until Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. After Garcia died, Weir started touring nonstop with RatDog, the band he had recently started with bassist Rob Wasserman and Jay Lane. In 1998 Weir reunited with remaining members of the Grateful Dead under the band name The Other Ones. The Other Ones recorded a new album in 1999 and toured in 2000, the same year RatDog’s first album was released.
Weir would tour with former Grateful Dead band members again in 2009. The 2009 tour made Weir and Lesh nostalgic for the band’s old chemistry, leading them to combine members of the Dead and RatDog to form a new successful band called Furthur. Furthur went on hiatus in 2013.
In early July 2015, Weir joined the other original living members of the Grateful Dead —Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh — for three shows at Soldier Field in Chicago. The reunion was 20 years nearly to the day since the band’s final concert with Jerry Garcia at the same venue in 1995. “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” was billed as the original four members’ last-ever performance together. Based on demand, two additional Fare Thee Will concerts were added to the series, performed in late June 2015 at Levi Stadium in California. Fare Thee Well also featured Trey Anastasio on guitar, Jeff Chimenti on keyboards, and Bruce Hornsby on piano.
On October 5, 2015, Weir performed with Ratdog at a special celebratory 60th Birthday Bash for Steve Kimock, it was the first time Ratdog had performed again since 2014.
In late 2015 Weir teamed up with former Grateful Dead bandmates Mickey Hart and Billy Kreutzmann as well as guitarist John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti to form Dead & Company. They played 22 shows starting at the end of October, concluding with a four-show New Year’s run including two shows in San Francisco and two in Los Angeles, ending with a three-set show on New Year’s Eve. The band toured again in summer 2016, which included 24 concerts in 20 different cities. In 2017, they performed in the summer (20 concerts in 15 different cities) and the fall (15 concerts in 14 cities)
In June 2016, at the Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival, Weir received the first ever Les Paul Spirit Award, from the Les Paul Foundation. “I cannot think of anyone more fitting to be honored with the first annual Les Paul Spirit Award than Bob Weir. Not only is he an extraordinary talent who has given us an amazing array of legendary music, but he is an innovator who understands music, technologies and the spirit of Les Paul,” said Michael Braunstein, executive director of the Les Paul Foundation. “If Les were still alive today, I have absolutely no doubt that he and Bob would be experimenting together at TRI Studios or at Les’s house and the results would be extraordinary.”
Weir received the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Americana Honors & Awards in Nashville, TN.
In September 2016, Weir released a new album of “cowboy songs” titled Blue Mountain . The release was followed by a tour beginning in October 2016. The album was inspired by his time working as a ranch hand in Wyoming when he was fifteen years old.
During the spring of 2018, Weir performed a series of duo concerts with former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh.
While Weir has devoted most of his time and energy to music, he has also been active in a number of social causes. He’s been a board member of Seva, a foundation that combats blindness in South America and Asia, and has also been an activist for Greenpeace. Together, Weir and members of the Dead formed the Rex Foundation, which provides community support for creative endeavors.
In his off-stage life, Weir also has two daughters—Monet and Chloe—with Natascha Müenter, whom he married in 1999.
“What I like best about music is when time goes away.”
Bob Weir and Trey Anastasio – Full Set (Acoustic) at Wanee Festival (Spirit of Suwannee Music Park)
Bob Weir | 10/16/17 | The Captiol Theatre | Full Show
Bob Weir “Black Throated Wind”
Jerry Garcia & Bob Weir – Throwing Stones – 12/4/1988 – Oakland Coliseum Arena (Official)
Branford Marsalis has stayed the course. From his early acclaim as a saxophonist bringing new energy and new audiences to the jazz art, he has refined and expanded his talents and his horizons as a musician, composer, bandleader and educator – a 21st Century mainstay of artistic excellence.
Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans as the oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. His first instrument, the clarinet, gave way to the alto and then the tenor and soprano saxophones when the teenage Branford began working in local bands. A growing fascination with jazz as he entered college gave him the basic tools to obtain his first major jobs, with trumpet legend Clark Terry and alongside Wynton in Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers. When the brothers left to form the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, the world of uncompromising acoustic jazz was invigorated. Branford formed his own quartet in 1986 and, with a few minor interruptions in the early years, has sustained the unit as his primary means of expression. Known for the telepathic communication among its uncommonly consistent personnel, its deep book of original music replete with expressive melodies and provocative forms, and an unrivaled spirit in both live and recorded performances, the Branford Marsalis Quartet has long been recognized as the standard to which other ensembles of its kind must be measured. Its most recent recording, Four MFs Playin’ Tunes, was named Best Instrumental Jazz Album in 2012 by iTunes.
Branford has not confined his music to the quartet context. In addition to guest turns with a legion of giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins, he has excelled in duets with several major pianists, including his boyhood friend Harry Connick, Jr. and the longtime pianist in his quartet, Joey Calderazzo. Branford’s first solo concert, at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, is documented on his latest recording, In My Solitude. Branford formed the Marsalis Music label in 2002, and under his direction, it has documented his own music, talented new stars such as Miguel Zenon, and neglected older masters including one of Branford’s teachers, the late Alvin Batiste. Branford has also shared his knowledge as an educator, forming extended teaching relationships at Michigan State, San Francisco State and North Carolina Central Universities and conducting workshops at sites throughout the United States and the world.
Classical music inhabits a growing portion of Branford’s musical universe. With a repertoire including works by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughn Williams, Villa-Lobos and Sally Beamish (who reconceived a work in progress, “Under the Wing of the Rock,” to feature Branford’s saxophone after hearing him perform one of her earlier pieces), Branford is frequently heard with leading symphony orchestras including those in Chicago, Detroit, Dusseldorf and North Carolina as well as the New York Philharmonic. He also served as Creative Director for the Cincinnati Symphony’s Ascent series in 2012-13.
Broadway has also welcomed Branford’s contributions. His initial effort, original music for a revival of August Wilson’s Fences, garnered a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play and a Tony nomination for Best Original Score Written for the Theater. Branford also provided music for The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, and served as musical curator for the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Branford’s screen credits include the original music for Mo’ Better Blues and acting roles in School Daze and Throw Momma from the Train.
As for other public stages, Branford spent a period touring with Sting, collaborated with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby, served as Musical Director of The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno and hosted National Public Radio’s widely syndicated Jazz Set. The range and quality of these diverse activities established Branford as a familiar presence beyond the worlds of jazz and classical music, while his efforts to help heal and rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina mark him as an artist with an uncommonly effective social vision. Together with Harry Connick, Jr. and New Orleans Habitat for Humanity, Branford conceived and helped to realize The Musicians Village, a community in the Upper Ninth Ward that provides homes to the displaced families of musicians and other local residents. At the heart of The Musicians Village stands the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a community center dedicated to preserving the rich New Orleans musical legacy containing state-of-the-art spaces for performance, instruction and recording.
Some might gauge Branford Marsalis’s success by his numerous awards, including three Grammys and (together with his father and brothers) his citation as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. To Branford, however, these are only way stations along what continues to be one of the most fascinating and rewarding journeys in the world of music
Satchmo to Marsalis: A Tribute to the Fathers of Jazz
The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music officially opens in the Musicians’ Village of New Orleans
Branford, Ellis, Wynton, Jason, and Delfeayo Marsalis are honored as NEA Jazz Masters
Branford Marsalis Makes his Debut with the New York Philharmonic
Branford Marsalis Quartet releases “Braggtown”– The Quartet’s new Braggtown, which Marsalis Music will release on September 12, addresses all of these areas and more. Drawing upon a world of inspirations, including an 17th Century English composer, an Indian Warrior and a Japanese horror film, Braggtown is the Marsalis band’s most comprehensive and compelling recording to date.
Branford Marsalis Quartet releases “A Love Supreme: Live In Amsterdam” DVD– For Marsalis Music’s second DVD release, label founder Branford Marsalis and his quartet have been captured in a complete performance of John Coltrane’s 1964 masterpiece A Love Supreme. This legendary suite, which tenor saxophonist Marsalis included on his label’s premier release, Footsteps of Our Fathers, was performed at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis during a European tour in March 2003.
Branford Marsalis Quartet releases Romare Bearden Revealed– Jazz musicians have frequently inspired and been inspired by visual artists; but the interchange has never been more direct and intense than on Romare Bearden Revealed, which was released by Marsalis Music on September 9, 2003. This disc, comprised entirely of newly recorded music, was produced by saxophonist Branford Marsalis in celebration of The Art of Romare Bearden, the major retrospective that opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. on September 14, 2003 and subsequently traveled to museums in San Francisco, Dallas, New York and Atlanta during 2004 and 2005.
The Marsalis Family embarks on a tour of Canada and the United States to support their release “A Jazz Celebration”- For the first time ever, the Marsalis Family joined together to perform a series of concerts in support of their newly released album, “A Jazz Celebration.” Beginning the tour in Toronto, Ontario, the group also performed in cities including Montreal, Quebec, Syracuse, NY, Newark, NJ, Philadelphia, PA and Boston, MA.
Marsalis Music Opens Its Doors – a new record company designed to provide a home for committed creative musicians.
Marsalis Family Concert to Honor Ellis Marsalis – For the first time, all of the musical Marsalis brothers- Branford on saxophone, Wynton on trumpet, Delfeayo on trombone, and Jason on drums- performed together with patriarch Ellis Marsalis to honor their father’s retire from his faculty position at the University of New Orleans. This concert was recorded for history with the release of The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration CD and DVD.
Creation– the most recent of his classical recordings, a collaboration with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is released. It features a program of jazz-influenced and inspired classics from early 20th century French composers, including Milhaud, Ravel, Debussy and
Branford later tours selected dates in the U.S. and Japan with the conductor less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, playing selections from his classical album.
Contemporary Jazz Earns Branford his Third Grammy in the category “Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group”
Joins SFSU Music Faculty (Part-Time)
Contemporary Jazz– Branford’s twelfth album. This album features drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, bassist Eric Revis, and pianist Joey Calderazzo, successor to the late Kenny Kirkland.
Requiem – Release of Requiem, Branford Marsalis’ first quartet album since Crazy People Music in 1990. CD features late pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. Requiem is later nominated for a Grammy in the category of “Best Jazz Instrumental Performance Individual or Group.”
Marsalis Produces David Sanchez’s “Obsesión”– Branford Marsalis’ first project as producer and creative consultant for Columbia Jazz, David Sanchez’s Obsesión, is nominated for a Grammy in “Best Latin Jazz Performance” category.
Marsalis appears in “Eve’s Bayou” – National release of director Kasi Lemmons’ debut film, “Eve’s Bayou,” in which the multi-faceted saxophonist portrays a poignant cameo role. The film stars Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Morgan, Lynn Whitfield, Lisa Nicole Carson, and others.
Creative Consultant to Columbia Jazz – In an historic decision, Columbia Records president Donnie Lenner names Branford Marsalis as the creative consultant to Columbia Jazz. Branford’s new role makes him instrumental in shaping the creative direction of the label through the signing of new talent and providing creative input to current artist roster.
Music Evolution– Buckshot LeFonque’s second CD, Music Evolution, is released worldwide. It includes an early multimedia offering or “CD Extra” described as “free multimedia” and intended for playback on your computer…
Dark Keys– Release of Dark Keys marks Marsalis’ first recording in the jazz trio format since his acclaimed 1993 album, Bloomington. The album is described as a wonderment of texture, mood, and air-tight ensemble performance and receives critical acclaim from musicians and critics alike.
Loved Ones– Branford’s collaborative duet with father/pianist Ellis Marsalis, is released.
Branford accepts a position as the first appointee to theCatherine Herrick Cobb Distinguished Lectureship at Michigan State University. He continued in this capacity through Spring, 2000.
Branford is nominated for yet another Grammy with Bruce Hornsby in the category of “Best Instrumental Performance” for their stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” which the duo performed for Ken Burns’ memorable PBS series “Baseball.”
Buckshot LeFonque – Branford releases the self-titled debut album from his newly formed Buckshot LeFonque (named after a pseudonym used by Cannonball Adderly in the 50’s). An eclectic blend of rock, R&B, hip-hop and blues with a jazz sensibility, this project features artists such as DJ Premiere, poet Maya Angelou, the late blues guitarist Albert Collins and others.
Branford performs on hip-hop star Guru’s “Jazzmatazz“
Records “A Love Supreme” for AIDS Benefit CD – Branford’s rendition of the John Coltrane classic, “A Love Supreme.” Proceeds benefit the Red Hot Organization and their mission to promote awareness of AIDS through popular culture.
Bloomington– a spectacular live album recorded at Indiana University in Bloomington(the same concert is featured in the film “The Music Tells You”). The album is hailed by brother Delfeayo as Branford’s “most important jazz record”. On the album, Branford is joined only by the rhythm section of Hurst and Watts in a truly electrifying performance.
Wins FIRST Grammy Award – I Heard You Twice The First Time, wins a Grammy in “Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group.”
Sneakers– Branford is the featured soloist on the soundtrack of the movie “Sneakers,” starring actor Robert Redford.
I Heard You Twice The First Time– highly-anticipated blues album released. It features the saxophonist’s staunch and acclaimed rhythm section with pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Robert Hurst and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts.” Also highlighted are B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Wynton Marsalis, Wes Anderson, Russell Malone and Linda Hopkins.
“The Music Tells You,” a documentary-style feature, is commercially released. The films follow the consummate artist in a variety of settings including in concert, recording, teaching and in interviews. Special appearances are made by Sting, Jerry Garcia and Bruce Hornsby.
Premieres as Bandleader of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”- Branford is joined by Kenny Kirkland, Robert Hurst, Jeff “Tain” Watts, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, trombonist Matt Finders, trumpeter Sal Marquez and percussionist Vicki Randle.
Branford Marsalis performs with the Grateful Deadon New Year’s Eve 1990 – Branford Marsalis joins the Grateful Dead for the first time at the Oakland Coliseum Arena in Oakland, California on December 31, 1990 for a special New Year’s Eve performance. This is a relationship that continues to this very day!
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Produced by Delfeayo Marsalis, the CD highlights Branford in a trio setting for the first time since Trio Jeepy. Joined by Hurst and Watts, Branford has special guest performances by saxophonist Courtney Pine and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
Grammy nominations abound – Branford earns two Grammy nominations: “Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist” for Crazy People Music and “Best Instrumental Performance, Group” for music from Spike Lee’s “Mo’ Better Blues,”
“Jazz Thing” – A rap performed by Gangstarr over the closing credits of Spike Lee’s movie “Mo’ Better Blues,” is issued as a single. Co-written by Branford Marsalis and co-produced with DJ Premiere, “Jazz Thing” merges rap and jazz for the first time in a successful synergy introducing a new approach to music.
The Russia House – Branford is the featured performer on the score and the soundtrack album of Australian movie director Fred Schepsi’s film, “The Russia House,” featuring Sean Connery.
Trio Jeepy– the album nominated for a Grammy for “Best Instrumental Performance” in both the Soloist and Group categories.
Random Abstract – produced by Delfeayo, with Kirkland, Felix and Nash. Like Royal Garden Blues, this release is nominated for “Best Jazz Instrumental Performance” in the Soloist or Group category.
Second Grammy nod – Nominated for”Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist,” for “Cottontail,” a track from the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s Digital Duke album
Tours with Sting- Branford embarks on an extensive international year-long tour with Sting. Highlights include Freedomfest concert for Nelson Mandela which is broadcast live from Wembley Stadium in London via satellite and the Amnesty International tour and HBO special recorded in Japan.
Renaissance – Produced by brother Delfeayo, the album features pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Robert Hurst and drummer Tony Williams.
Hosts inaugural show of VH1’s “New Visions” Series
Royal Garden Blues – This album, his second jazz album on Columbia Records, garners the saxophonist his first Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Performance-Soloist” and is produced by Branford’s younger brother, Delfeayo, and features his father, pianist Ellis Marsalis, on one of the tracks.
Romances for Saxophone – Recorded with producer Mowery and the English Chamber Orchestra, featuring the music of Faure, Ravel, Debussy and others. It stays on Billboard’s Top 5 classical chart for over two months.
Tours with Herbie Hancock’s band (bassist Ron Carter and alternating drummers Al Foster and Tony Williams)
Live Aid Concert- Branford performs with Sting at the original Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium before a crowd of 72000 music fans and activists.
Branford is introduced to Sting, the leader of the Police, and they form the first band with Kenny Kirkland, bassist Daryl “Munch” Jones and drummer Omar Hakim beginning an on-going affiliation which resulted in acclaimed albums Dream of the Blue Turtles(1985) and Nothing Like the Sun (1987) as well as the video documentary “Bring On The Night” and its UK-only release of the double LP by the same title (1986).
Branford releases Columbia debut, Scenes In The City. It’s the first jazz production by renowned classical producer Thomas Mowrey. The title track (composed and recorded over 20 years before by Charles Mingus) turns into a nocturnal celebration of the jazzman’s lifestyle.
Spends the summer touring with Clark Terry before returning to work with Art Blakey’s ensemble.
Lands a two-week gig touring with Lionel Hampton!
Plays baritone sax in an Art Blakey big band lineup touring Europe
Joe Russo (born December 18, 1976) is an American drummer and half of the Benevento/Russo Duo. He has toured, performed and recorded with a number of other bands, including Cass McCombs, A Big Yes and a Small No, Fat Mama, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Bustle In Your Hedgerow, Younger Brother, Shpongle, Tom Hamilton’s American Babies, the Trey Anastasio/ Mike Gordon duo, the Gene Ween Band, and Furthur (featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead). He also plays with the Shpongle Live Band. In 2013 he formed a Grateful Dead tribute band called Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.
Russo’s drumming is fierce and complex (he has been nicknamed “The Madness” and “Octo-Russo” by fans). His Roland SPD-S sampler is often used for electronic drum samples, which play an important role in many of The Duo’s compositions, such as “Welcome Red”, “Becky”, and “My Pet Goat”. Two songs appearing on Play Pause Stop, “Memphis” and “Powder”, were written by Russo and feature his guitar playing.
Russo has twice won the New Groove award at the Jammys, in 2000 and 2005. In the summer of 2006, he was the drummer in a collaboration with Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, and Marco Benevento (sometimes referred to as GRAB or Mike & the Italians).
During the fall of 2008, Russo traveled to London to record an album with the band Younger Brother.
In December 2008, Russo joined Ween frontman Gene Ween and fellow Bustle In Your Hedgerow bandmates Scott Metzger and Dave Dreiwitz for a short east coast tour with an outfit called the Gene Ween Band. On this tour, Joe played his “house kit,” which notably includes a rare 30-inch bass drum purchased off of eBay.
In Fall 2009, Russo joined Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik (from Dark Star Orchestra), Sunshine (Garcia) Becker and Jeff Pherson to form the band Furthur. Jay Lane left Furthur in March 2010 to rejoin Primus, and Russo continued to tour with the band as their sole drummer until they disbanded in November 2014.
In 2013 Joe Russo formed a band called Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (nicknamed JRAD) with Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, Marco Benevento on keyboards and Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton on vocals and guitars. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead interpret the music of the Grateful Dead. The band’s first concert was on January 26, 2013, at the Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY for the second night of the Freaks Ball XIII. As Joe Russo recalls in the September 2017 Relix Magazine interview, he was supposed to play in the Dean Ween Group (Mickey Melchiondo from Ween’s side project) on that second night but shortly before the date, Mickey cancelled the Dean Ween Group appearance and Joe pulled together Bustle In Your Hedgerow (Russo, Dreiwitz, Metzger and Benevento’s Led Zeppelin band) and added Tom Hamilton to form Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. To date, JRAD has played over 150 shows with no sign of stopping!
Debut Album (2007)
Flawed Logic (2010)
Knives and Teeth (2013)
Loadstar – Live at Theater ’99 (2000)
Debut Album (2002)
Best Reason to Buy the Sun (2005)
Live at Bonnaroo 2005 (2005)
Play Pause Stop (2006)
Hawaii, Shitty Rainbows, Shpongle Live Band, Cass McCombs, Craig Finn, Benevento/Russo Duo, Band of Changes, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Furthur, Phil Lesh & Friends, A Big Yes and a small no, Matt Trowbridge.
Istanbul Agop Cymbals Ludwig Drums
Sugar Percussion Snares
Tune-Bot Drum Tuners
Joe Russo Drum Solo 2-7-2014 – BK Bowl via junoprodigy
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead ~ 2017-10-06 ~ Complete Webcast ~ Brooklyn Bowl ~ Brooklyn, NY
Phil Lesh, Eric Krasno & Joe Russo- Get Back (Jazz & Colors- Sat 11/9/13) via Marc Millman
Furthur – Sweetwater Music Hall – 01/16/13 – Set One via Couch Tour Captures
Jay Lane’s roles on drums have earned him a place in San Francisco’s music history. Lane began drumming at the age of 9 and by 16 was playing in his first band. He started performing in the Bay Area in the early 1980s in a band called Ice Age that featured childhood friend and current Spearhead guitarist Dave Shul. Another childhood friend, saxophonist Dave Ellis, got Lane his next gig with a local ska band, The Uptones, which he played with for two years before joining another popular Bay Area group, The Freaky Executives, in 1985.
After four years of steady gigging and a huge record deal with Warner Brothers that eventually was shelved, Lane met Les Claypool in the halls of the rehearsal space the bands shared. Claypool invited Lane to join his group, Primus, and they played together for about eight months—including a recording session for the Primus cassette “Sausage”—until Claypool was ready to hit the road and Lane needed to bow out due to prior commitments to The Freaky Executives.
Shortly thereafter, Lane co-founded the pioneering hip-hop/jazz group Alphabet Soup with saxophonist Kenny Brooks, New York keyboardist Dred Scott, and rappers Chris Burger (The Mo’fessionals) and Zachariah Mose. Alphabet Soup recorded two albums—1994’s Layin’ Low in the Cut and 1996’s Strivin’—and shot a video that featured regularly on BET.
Also during those years, Lane reunited with old friends—seven-string guitarist Charlie Hunter and sax man Dave Ellis—to form the original Charlie Hunter Trio. The trio recorded two albums, the first on Claypool’s Prawn Song label and the second—Bing Bing Bing!—on Blue Note records.
During Lane’s tenure with the Charlie Hunter Trio, Lane started playing with Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir and bassist Rob Wasserman in a side project that would eventually become Bob Weir and RatDog. Also during this time, Les Claypool reunited with Lane and Primus’ original guitarist, Todd Huth, to put together a band called Sausage. They recorded an album, Riddles, on Interscope records in 1994, shot a video of the title track that was played on “Beavis and Butthead” several times, and did a tour with the Rollins Band and Helmet that summer.
When it rains it pours! After Jerry Garcia passed in 1995, RatDog began a steady touring band. Playing with a great like Bob Weir gave Lane the opportunity to meet and play with many incomparable musicians, such as the true father of rock and roll, pianist Johnnie Johnson (Johnnie Johnson Trio, which hired a then-unknown Chuck Berry). Evening Moods (1999) and Live at Roseland (2001), featuring his work with RatDog, are available through Grateful Dead Records. Also in 2001, Lane appeared once more alongside Claypool and Huth, plus others, on the Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade albums Live Frogs Set 1 and Live Frogs Set 2, the latter of which is a complete performance of Pink Floyd’s Animals. In 2002, Lane guested on the Frog Brigade’s studio album, Purple Onion.
Additionally, in 2002, Lane earned accolades from his peers and fans, winning “Drummer of the Year” at the California Music Awards. His beats are urban, funky, and fluid, and demonstrate the physical power and stamina he’s built over a lifetime on the drums.
In 2005, Lane toured with both Les Claypool’s Fancy Band (Skerik, Mike Dillon, Gabby La La) and Bob Weir & RatDog; layed down beats in his home studio; and played Bay Area shows with Alphabet Soup between tours. This same year, Claypool released his retrospective DVD 5 Gallons of Diesel, featuring many projects that included Lane and Lane toured with him as part of his Fancy Band.
In 2006, founding Soup rappers Zach Mose and Chris Burger formed a new group with Soup rapper Mike Blake and Mo’fessionals rapper Kingpin Rowski called The Band Of Brotherz, which aimed to pioneer hip hop with more of a reggae/world influence. They recorded a single, Down in Babylon, for a Katrina benefit CD that spawned a slew of great songs produced by Zach from his Golden Baboon Studios. Lane hopped on board right away, and they took it to the club. With a few recruits—Kenny Brooks (saxiphone player in Ratdog), Dave Shul, DJ Teeko, Andre Marshall, Jeff Chimenti (Ratdog/Furthur/Dead & Company/Golden Gate Wingmen), and legendary , and legendary six-string bassist Troy Lampkins (all Soup mainstays)—they performed a handful of early shows. 2009 saw the Band of Brotherz playing more shows nationwide including shows at the Fillmore and Austin’s South by Southwest Festival along with an east coast spring tour. Special guests included Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman, and Gaby La La. In fall, the debut CD Deadbeats and Murderous Melodys was released featuring cutting edge hip-hop infused covers of Grateful Dead songs, supported by a tour of the East Coast of the United States and a number of dates nationwide with special guests, including the trio of Lane, Weir and Wasserman reunited under the name Scaring the Children.
In fall 2009, Jay became a charter member of Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s new band, Furthur. Along with Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik (Dark Star Orchestra/Furthur/Golden Gate Wingmen), and Joe Russo (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Furthur, Phil Lesh and Friends, Benevento/Russo Duo) the band played a sold-out three-night stand at Oakland’s Fox Theatre followed by several well-received U.S. tours. In summer 2010, Jay rejoined Les Claypool in Primus
In addition to performing in nearly every state, much of Europe, and Japan, he has appeared on Austin City Limits, VH1 Classic’s All-Star Jams, and The Today Show.
Golden Gate Wingmen
2014 – now
1986 – 1988, 2010 – 2013
June 2010 Rehearsal (EP), 2010
Green Naugahyde, 2011
Bob Weir and RatDog
1995 – now
Evening Moods, 2000
Live at Roseland, 2001
1992 – now
Layin’ Low in the Cut, 1997
Band of Brotherz
2006 – 2010
Deadbeats and Murderous Melodys, 2009
2009 – 2010
Les Claypool’s Fancy Band
Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade
2000 – 2001
5 Gallons of Diesel, 2005 (DVD)
Purple Onion, 2002
Live Frogs Set 2, 2001
Live Frogs Set 1, 2001 complete performance of Pink Floyd’s Animals
Ghetto Cyrano, 1996
Les Claypool and the Holy Mackeral
5 Gallons of Diesel, 2005 (DVD)
Highball with the Devil, 1996
Charlie Hunter Trio
1992 – 1995
Bing! Bing! Bing!, 1995
Charlie Hunter Trio, 1993
Three Guys Named Schmo
5 Gallons of Diesel, 2005 (DVD)
5 Gallons of Diesel, 2005 (DVD)
Riddles are Abound Tonight, 1994
The Freaky Executives
1984 – 1989
1983 – 1984
Ludwig Classic Maple Orange Glass Glitter
18×22 Bass Drum
14×16 Floor Tom
Vader Drumsticks since 2010
Vater Percussion – Jay Lane – Primus
PRIMUS – Jay Lane – San Francisco 9/14/2010 via
Hammerax NAMM 2011 / Primus Drummer Jay Lane via hammerax1
WEIR HERE #14 3-27-13 with Leslie Mendelson, Steve Kimmock, Dave Schools, Jay Lane at TRI Studio
Dr. Octagon is a persona created and used by American rapper Keith Matthew Thornton, better known as Kool Keith. First appearing on Thornton’s 1996 debut solo album, Dr. Octagonecologyst, Dr. Octagon is an extraterrestrial time traveling gynecologist and surgeon from the planet Jupiter. Thornton performed and released two albums under the alias. The character was murdered by Dr. Dooom on Thornton’s 1999 album First Come, First Served, and was briefly revived before once again being killed on Thornton’s 2008 album Dr. Dooom 2, in response to the release of The Return of Dr. Octagon, an album largely produced without Thornton’s involvement.
Thornton and KutMasta Kurt recorded two songs under the alias Dr. Octagon, “Dr. Octagon” and “Technical Difficulties.” Thornton mailed the songs to radio stations as a teaser, as well as giving copies to several DJs, as well as producer Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, resulting in the production of Dr. Octagonecologyst. The album was recorded in Automator’s studio in the basement of his parents’ San Francisco home. Dr. Octagonecologyst featured the work of turntablist DJ Qbert and additional production by KutMasta Kurt. An instrumental version of the album was released under the title Instrumentalyst (Octagon Beats). KutMasta Kurt later pursued legal action against Automator because Kurt’s demos had initiated the project.
In 2002, Thornton announced The Resurrection of Dr. Octagon, a proposed sequel to Dr. Octagonecologyst, that would reintroduce the character. Los Angeles-based producer Fanatik J was chosen to create the music for the album. s production on the album was underway, Thornton had a falling out with Fanatik J over contract rights, and the One-Watt Sun production team was hired to create the album’s music. After completing three vocal tracks with the label, based upon rough sonic themes created by the production team, Thornton had a falling out with the label, and gave the label recordings he had made two years previously, consisting of Thornton rapping and goofing off, in order to complete his contract. The resulting album, The Return of Dr. Octagon, was largely produced without Thornton’s involvement, and did not resemble the direction Thornton had initially intended for the album.
As of 2017, a reunion of Keith, Automator and Q-Bert has been playing a host of live shows to coincide with the 21st anniversary of Dr. Octagonecologyst.
Scott Pemberton’s sound is much like the vibe of his native Portland: freaky, fun and just the right amount of weird. The best way to categorize his music is with the moniker “Timber Rock”. Scott naturally applies his own lens/stamp to the sounds of the Pacific North West, the region he has always called home. The deep jazz, NW rock/grunge, blues roots and the west coast funk. It’s all there, and often all in the same song. Listeners are finding this honest, original and to-the-point music refreshing and fun.
The response to Scott’s music has made him an emerging force on the festival circuit, placed him at #1 in Portland’s pop charts, #4 on Bilboards “Tastmakers” chart and has generated notice from the press:
“The Bruce Lee of Rock and Roll” –Tahoe Onstage
“A modern day Jimi Hendrix” –Chico Enterprise
“It’s not every day we get to see a real, live guitar god in action.” -Fly Magazine (Pennsylvania)
“A wildly creative virtuoso.” -Jambase.com
“Stand out artist at this year’s High Sierra Music Festival” –Relix Magazine.
“At a festival FULL of guitarists (Safeway Water Front Blues Festival), none played like Pemberton or was as fun to watch” -The Oregonian
The mastery of his guitar playing combined with the fun recklessness of his songwriting show that the rules of songwriting and playing the guitar no longer exist for him. Scott plays with the uninhibited joy and intensity of someone who recognizes that every time we make music is an honor and a gift.
Many master guitarists find their homes within a specific genre, perfecting the ins and outs of their chosen musical realm until their names become synonymous with the very art form.
Portland’s Scott Pemberton is not your average guitarist. He’s a musical nomad. His home isn’t in one comfortable bubble, but rather spread across genres. One moment, he’s shredding through the blues. Then next, he’s living in a classic rock world, or drifting melodically through an ethereal psychedelic plane. Maybe he’s leading a dirty funk jam, or experimenting with something heavier, or sitting back on a jazz odyssey.
Regardless of genre, though, Pemberton’s musical journey is marked by two unmistakeable realities: You always know when you’re hearing a Scott Pemberton song. And you’re always going to be captivated.
A Portland native, Pemberton and his guitar have been inseparable since the musician was in his teens, and he quickly established himself as an integral to the city’s musical fabric, sitting in on studio sessions, becoming a fixture at jazz and rock clubs, and taking guitar teaching positions at Lewis & Clark College and Reed College at age 21. So much a part of Portland’s fabric is Pemberton that the city’s famous Voodoo Donutes gifted him a custom guitar-shaped donut for his birthday.
Beyond stages both local and international, his music has found its way into various movies, television programs and advertisements (Nike, Coke, Jaguar, and NASCAR ads have been propelled by his distinctive melodies), and his funky guitar work has led to collaborations with legendary drummers such as Motown’s Mel Brown and Bernard Purdie, AKA “the world’s most recorded drummer.” He’s played prime spots at major festivals across the U.S. and Canada, hit #4 on Billboard’s Tastemakers’ charts and ranked among the top performers on Jambase, peaking at #2 during the High Sierra Music Festival, where he stormed the stage.
Even more remarkable than Pemberton’s quick ascent to a superhero on the axe, though, is his second act. Most musicians are lucky to find their talent in the first place. For Pemberton, his love affair with his guitar received a rebirth following a bike accident that nearly ended his life and caused a traumatic brain injury, a life-changing event that would have grounded most artists. For Pemberton, it only fueled his musical drive. During rehabilitation, the guitarist rediscovered his gift, and emerged with a strong new vision as an artist.
Exploding back into the public consciousness stronger, sharper and more dedicated than ever, Pemberton released his eclectic debut, Sugar Mama, produced by Los Lobos sax player Steve Berlin and featuring a bevy of guest performers including legendary bluesman Curtis Saldago. Amazingly, Sugar Mama manages the difficult task of capturing Pemberton’s wildly ambitious live persona, jackknifing across genres with ease, using the frontman’s intricate musicianship as a glue that holds it all together.
A master showman who draws amazed stares when audiences realize he’s shredding without a guitar strap, Pemberton’s unique musical gifts and infectiously positive attitude come exploding to life, making the axe man and his band’s legendary shows on stages small and large come vibrantly to life. The music is hypnotic in its infectiousness — consistently challenging listeners while grounding it all in a familiar foundation of rock. Music is Pemberton’s domain. The stage is his home. And his door is always open.
Two-time Grammy winning bassist Oteil Burbridge has been in the music business touring and recording for over three decades. His first step into the national spotlight came in 1991 when he became a founding member of the Aquarium Rescue Unit featuring Col. Bruce Hampton, a cult classic that has stood the test of time. That led to his membership in the classic rock group The Allman Brothers Band. Since 1997, his work with the band has earned him two Grammy nominations for best rock instrumental, in 2003 and in 2004. Over the years, Oteil has shared the stage with rock and blues legends such as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Levon Helm, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Billy Gibbons, Chuck Leavell, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Johnny Winter, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow and Trey Anastasio. In 2012, Oteil received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his 15 year contribution to the Allman Brothers Band as the longest running bassist in the band’s history.
While touring and recording with the Allman Brothers over the years, Oteil still found time to collaborate with many other musicians. He formed his solo group, Oteil and the Peacemakers in 1998. From 1998 until 2007, the group toured extensively and released three albums. In 2001, Oteil joined Phish’s keyboardist Page McConnell and The Funky Meters’ drummer Russell Batiste to form Vida Blue. He also founded an improv based trio with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann and Max Creek guitarist Scott Murawski in 2008.
Oteil reunited on stage with his brother Kofi after ten years of touring separately when Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band in late 2010, featuring the Burbridge brothers in the rhythm section. The 11-piece super group released their first record, Revelator, in 2011 which won a Grammy in February 2012. The Tedeschi Trucks Band played Eric Clapton’s iconic Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2011. Oteil’s original composition “Love Has Something Else to Say” was including in the DVD release and on their Grammy-winning debut album. The Tedeschi Trucks Band released their second album (and first live album) in 2012, titled “Everybody’s Talkin”.
Over the years, Oteil has also recorded and shared the stage with jazz and jazz-rock fusion legends Herbie Hancock, Roy Haynes, Randy Brecker, John Scofield, Jerry Goodman, Bob Moses, Lenny White, Steve Smith, Bela Fleck, Jimmy Herring, Howard Levi, Victor Wooten and Branford Marsalis.
Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart joined forces with John Mayer in 2015 to form “Dead & Company” with Burbridge on bass and Jeff Chimenti on keys. The band toured the US in the fall of 2015 and the summer of 2016 and 2017. These tours included sold-out shows at Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Citi Field and a headlining spot at Bonnaroo Music Festival. Plans for future Dead & Company shows are underway, including the destination event “Playing in the Sand” in Riviera Maya, Mexico in February and a 24-date summer tour spanning both the east and west coast in June and July 2018.
Oteil’s fourth solo record, “Water In The Desert” was released on October 27, 2017. He assembled an all-star group of musicians for this record, including brother Kofi on keyboards and flute, Little John Roberts and Sean O’Rourke on drums, vocalists Alfreda Gerald and Mark Rivers, Dave Yoke on guitar, Miguel Atwood Ferguson on strings and producer David Ryan Harris. “Oteil & Friends”, which features Melvin Seals, Eric Krasno, John Kadlecik, Jay Lane, Weedie Braimah and Alfreda Gerald, toured the northeast in November 2017 to support the record and will continue to tour in 2018.
Oteil and Friends 2017-10-31 Set2 The Ardmore Music Hall