2005: News In Review (Features Too)
In the following piece we scroll back through the Jmabands.com news to highlight many of those stories that we found most significant over the past twelve months. When fitting, we offer a link to some of features stories on a related topic as well.
Chris and Rich Robinson and the Black Crowes Join Hands
Speculation and rumor regarding a potential Black Crowes reunion finally has been borne out. The Robinson brothers, Chris and Rich, will reassemble a version of the group for five dates at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom beginning March 22. The shows will take place on March 22, 23, 25, 26 and 27 with a different opener every night. As for the Crowes' roster, at present the additional players have not been announced
The Meters Will Reunite at Jazz Fest
The original Meters: Art Neville, George Porter, Jr., Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste and Leo Nocentelli originally disbanded in 1979 only to come together once again via an informal jam at the 1989 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. This year the quartet will perform once again, this time with a more formal billing as the Meters Reunions headlines the second day of Jazz Fest 2005. Other artists who will perform at the event which takes place from April 22 through May 1 to include Trey Anastasio, Buddy Guy, Dr. John, BB King, The Roots, Widespread Panic, a tribute to Little Walter featuring Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton, Jerry Portnoy, Carrie Bell and Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone and much much much more. The full line-up can be found at the official Jazz Fest web site.
Feature: Used with George Porter Jr.
Bustle in Your Hedgerow at Tsunami Relief Jam
As expected, last night’s Tsunami Relief Jam at BB King’s Blues Club showcased several unique performances packages. The evening’s festivities commenced with an ad hoc group, featuring drummer Joe Russo, original ulu bassist Justin Wallace, RANA guitarist Scott Metzger and DJ Logic. After riffing on some danceable grooves, including a well-received nod to Don Henley, Marco Benevento joined his fellow New York natives for a brief jam, which segued into a full-set by The Duo. After running through a handful of tracks off their forthcoming album, Best Reason to Buy the Sun , The Duo welcomed Metzger and Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz for a series of Led Zeppelin covers. Dubbed Bustle in Your Hedgerow, the quartet dug deep into Zeppelin’s repertoire, peaking with a tight version of “Immigrant Song.” Steve Kimock then offered an intimate set, which took the Monday night benefit well into Tuesday morning. The evening’s festivities concluded with an open ended jam anchored by Oteil Burbridge, Eric Krasno and drummer Adam Deitch. Notable players joining the late night jam included AGP’s Rob Marscher, Nick Casper, Seth Winter and DJ Logic (though audience member Wyclef Jean did not make it to the stage). The multi-band bill successfully raised over $12,000.
Mickey Hart + Particle=Hydra
This April, Mickey Hart and Particle will come together to form Hyrda. Hydra will offer a mix of Hart originals, Particle songs and, most likely, reworked selections from the Grateful Dead catalogue. The group has also composed a series of new songs, including "Heart Of The Hydra," "Creature of Comfort" and "The Glow." The quintet’s 14-date tour will kick off this spring on April 7th in Santa Cruz, CA. Hyrda’s tour will also make stops in San Francisco, CA, San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Denver, CO, Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, IL, St. Louis, MO, Covington, KY, Worcester, MA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC. To give listeners a taste of Hydra’s sound, a number of MP3s have been made available at www.hydra-music.com.
Feature: Two Heads of Hydra
Jimmy Smith 1925-2005
Jimmy Smith who certainly revolutionized the Hammond B-3 organ passed away on Tuesday at the age of 79. Smith brought the instrument into the new context, while also bridging boundaries from jazz to blues to gospel. In the late 50’s and early 60’s he recorded a series of albums for Blue Note and later Verve, many of which were lively jam session with other notables including Art Blakely, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Burrell and Jackie McLean. In the mid-60’s he a recorded and gigged with guitarist Wes Montgomery (Jimmy and Wes The Dynamic Duo is one successful offering). Smith continued to perform and was preparing to tour with Joey DeFrancesco in support of their new disc Legacy.
Peaches for Tsunami Victims
Last night, five guys with the moniker moe. played host at New York's Tsunami Relief Concert. Held at Roseland Ballroom, the sold out show featured a mix of special guests and unique covers, including appearances by Trey Anastasio, John Medeski, Sam Bush and Ray Paczkowski. Unannounced guest Jennifer Hartswick also lent her vocal talents to several songs, including Trey Anastasio Band's "Night Speaks to Woman" and Stevie Wonder's "Boogie on Reggae Woman." After opening with a guest free-version of "Rebubula," moe. welcomed Medeski and Bush to the stage for a run through its own "Mexico" and "Plane Crash." Bush then offered a brief solo interlude, including a spirited take on Little Feat's "Sailing Shoes." Anastasio made his first appearance during a set closing version of Robert Johnson's "Crossroads"
Without smothering his hosts, Antastasio took the reins second set, offering several choice solos during the classic moe. segue "Spine of a Dog" into "Buster." Anastasio also offered solo, acoustic renditions of Phish staples "Chalkdust Torture" and "Wilson." Each of the evening's guests returned to the stage for a 34-minute take on "Meat." For an encore, Anastasio returned with moe, and played on Frank Zappa's "Peaches en Regalia" and JJ Cale's "After Midnight" (aongs he last played with Phish on 9/24/99 and 12/31/99 respectively).
Phil Lesh Autobiography Due In April
After many months of speculation Phil Lesh’s autobiography finally is set for publication. Searching For the Sound is slated for a April 18 release by Little Brown. The book is said to be a candid account of Lesh’s life and music which examines the music and also the lifestyle of the Grateful Dead with some scrutiny. Lesh also will be narrating an abridged audio CD of the work (alas, we all we have to wait for the sequel to learn about his experience at the Jammys).
Jon Trafton To Undergo Cancer Treatment
Jon Trafton has had a quite a ride since he began performing with Reid Genauer in Strangefolk nearly fifteen years ago. Now life has again taken a difficult turn, as he has posted to his section of the Strangefolk web site that he has been diagnosed with rectal cancer. In Jon's room he explains that over the coming weeks he'll be undergoing radiation, chemo, and surgery. Beyond that he notes, "Over the years I've answered a good many emails from people who had fought or were fighting cancer. Being told that Strangefolk's music helped pull them through and was a key factor in their recovery is one of the biggest prizes someone who makes music can receive. If I ever doubted the reason I decided to play music professionally, hearing from people like this was all the reason I ever needed. Now it's my time to fight and fight I will. This is going to be okay but I'm going to have to lie low for the next few months while we wrench this bugger out. I'll try to check in from time to time if I can."
Jon has been a vital member of our community for many years. Please take the time to send him some healing thoughts or even an email of support (but please let it be known that he doesn't need to write back- the last thing we want to do is make him feel overhwhelmed at a time such as this- you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Feature: target=j>Chasing Away: Jon Trafton Returns To The Stage With Strangefolk
Amsterdam Travelers are “Home Again”
As expected, the inaugural Jam In the Dam will be remembered by a pair of words which start with the letter “C”: coffee (*cough* shops) and collaborations. Featuring Keller Williams, Particle, Umphrey’s McGee and the Disco Biscuits, Jam in the Dam brought 1,500 international fans to a pair of Amsterdam venues, which likely served as the springboard for numerous non-musical bicycle-fueled adventures. Over the course of the three-day festival, each band welcomed its share of special guests and offered a wide range of festive covers. According to reports Umphrey’s McGee’s “Hot for Teacher” served as a Day Three highlight.
A fitting finale, last night the Disco Biscuits’ invited Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendon Bayliss and Joel Cummins on to the stage for a version of Marc Brownstein’s “Home Again,” before stretching past the 3AM-mark with “Aceetobee.” Earlier in the evening, Umphrey’s McGee and Particle also exchanged guitarists: Jake Cinninger added a second axe to Particle, while Charlie Hitchcock lent his talents to Umphrey’s McGee. For a full report on the weekend’s collaborations, as well as exclusive band interviews, be sure to checkout Shain Shapiro’s daily reports over at Relix.com.
Big House A-Hopping
In 1969, Linda Oakley, eager to move out of the small-apartment she shared with her husband Berry, rented a turn of the century tudor house located at 2321 Vineville Avenue in Macon, GA. Inviting several members of the Allman’s extended family to move in, including Gregg and Duane, the Oakleys created a fraternal living environment which, in turn, helped cement the Brothers’ familial-feel. Dubbed The Big House, the three-story home served as the Allman Brothers Band’s communal stomping ground for much of the early 1970s.
20-years later, Kirk and Kirsten West purchased The Big House and have spent the past 12 years refashioning the tudor as a three-dimensional shrine. And, last night, the Big House Foundation made strides in turning the Brothers’ former estate into a proper museum, hosting a guest-laden benefit concert at the Allman’s unofficial New York home, the Beacon Theater. In addition to performances by Allman-offshoots Jaimoe’s Jassss Band, Oteil and the Peacemakers, Derek Trucks Band and Gov’t Mule, the Allman Brothers offered an abbreviated two-hour show, which stretched from midnight until nearly 2 AM. A quick setlist scan reveals any number of Allman Brothers anthems: “Revival,” “Ain’t Wasting time No More,” “Melissa,” “Dreams,” “Jessica,” “Statesboro Blues,” and “One Way Out.” Nodding to the evening’s overriding theme-family—former Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell appeared on “Stormy Monday” and “Jessica,” a number he originally helped color on Brothers and Sisters . Later in the evening another Allmans-alumnus, Johnny Neel joined for a set closing take on “One Way Out.” A grand gesture, Oteil Burbridge offered his bass to Berry Oakley Jr., son of the late-Allman’s founder, on “Statesboro Blues” and “One Way Out.” Trey Anastasio also made his first appearance with the Allman Brothers Band, adding guitar to an encore version of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.”
A piece of fun trivia from Warren Haynes: Shortly after Gov’t Mule’s inception, Allen Woody, Matt Abts and Haynes took a trip to The Big House to tighten their early repertoire. During their visit, Haynes stayed in Duane Allman’s room, while Woody occupied Oakley’s former living quarters. Forging another connection to the Allman Brothers past, Haynes also invited Leavell onstage for a version of “Soulshine” during Gov’t Mule’s opening set last night.
A tradition since 1994, the Allman Brothers Band’s has individualized each of their multi-night Beacon Theater runs by sparring with special guests. Over the past ten-shows, the Allman Brothers jammed with Ravi Coltrane, Susan Tedeschi, Rob Barracco, Matt Abts, Kofi Burbridge, Little Milton, Page McConnell, Yonrico Scott and Ron Holloway, among others
Feature: Used With Derek Trucks
“Holden Oversoul” Comes Back
Last night at Atlanta’s Fox Theater, Widespread Panic returned to the stage after more than a year. The night opened with the group’s performance of “Holden Oversoul,” the first time the group has played the song since the late Mikey Houser appeared with the group. Last year in a Jambands.com interview, JoJo Herman he indicated that the group would indeed work up some of its older material, observing “There's stuff off the first album we haven't even brought back like "Holden," and "Contentment." And "B of D," "Impossible" and "A of D." There's just so much. We had to bring it back slow you can only bring them back one at a time. We're getting there but it's still going to be a long process. We're just going to take it at as it comes.” The band will do just that once again this evening in Atlanta.
Feature: ‘Everyone Gets Their Song’: John Bell, Stand-Up Comedy and the The Ontology of Widespread Panic
String Cheese’s Guest “Addiction”
String Cheese Incident spent the weekend close to home, offering a three-night stand at Denver, CO’s Fillmore Auditorium. A kick-off celebration for the Incident’s spring tour, the sextet buffed up its bill a series of high-profile openers: Dr. John (3/24), Perry Farrell (3/25) and Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury and Jason Carter (3/26). Each night String Cheese Incident also invited its opening acts out for a handful of numbers, many of which doubled as debuts.
On Thursday, Dr. John emerged at the end of String Cheese Incident’s first-set, fronting the group for three numbers he is no doubt quite familiar with: “Mos Scocious,” “Aiko Aiko,” and “Right Place Wrong Time.” A night later, Perry Farrell, who used his opening spot to a perform under his alias DJ Peretz, offered his vocal skills to a pair of Jane’s Addiction covers, “Mountain Song” and “Been Caught Stealing,” as well as Bad Company’s “Feel Like Making Love.” Farrell’s appearance was a longtime coming. During the ill-fated Lollapalooza tour, Farrell was scheduled to perform a set of Jane’s Addiction songs with String Cheese. At the time of the festival’s cancellation, SCI’s Keith Mosley told Relix, “We had enough of a connection with Perry that something will happen. The band's been rehearsing some of the Jane's songs. I am sure that it is an idea that will happen at some point.” The Jane’s Addiction founder also jammed with the Cheese at last year’s Jammy Awards. String Cheese Incident closed out its three-night run last night by inviting Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury and Jason Carter onto the stage. The bluegrass players performed on “Old Dangerfield” and “Six Days on the Road” at the end of the group’s first set and returned for an encore of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and Bob Dylan’s “You Ain't Going Nowhere.” Kyle Hollingsworth also debuted his “Fire” and the band dusted off their cover of Bob Marley’s “Exodus” for the first time since Halloween 1999.
Bela Fleck Touring with Trio and !Trio!
Although the Flecktones are off the road, Bela Fleck’s tour schedule will soon pick up momentum. His Acoustic Trio which also includes Casey Driessen on fiddle and Bryan Sutton on guitar will gig throughout the summer with the next run of shows beginning on April 12 at Detroit’s Emerald Theater. Then, starting on June 12 at Burlington’s Discover Jazz festival, he will debut a group which has dubbed itself with jazz legends Stanley Clarke on bass and Jean Luc Ponty on violin (exclamation points merited) . Later in the year he will add duo shows with bassist Edgar Meyer before the Flecktones return in 2006.
Anastasio Plugs in 70 Volt Parade
In 1998, Trey Anastasio co-opted the Higher Ground’s opening week celebration, using the opportunity to debut a handful of new songs along with the band Eight Foot Florescent Tubes. In addition to unveiling a handful of new compositions, including “First Tube” and “Gotta Jiboo,” Anastasio laid the groundwork for his first solo band, which featured bassist Tony Markellis and drummer Russ Lawton. Seven years later, Anastasio returned to the Higher Ground once again, testing out his new band 70 Volt Parade before an equally intimate audience. The band breezed through a handful of numbers off of Anastasio’s major label debut—-including “Night Speaks to a Woman” and “Push on 'till the Day”—-before dipping into his extensive Phish canon. While Anastasio consciously avoided the bulk of his Phish material during his previous solo tours, this time around the guitarist offered one of his most complex numbers, Rift’s “It’s Ice,” as well as Round Room’s “46 Days.” A longtime Beatles fan, Anastasio used the opportunity to also work in a reworked version of “I am the Walrus.”
A departure from his more horn-driven sound, Anastasio’s new group reportedly contains a solid rock-foundation, anchored by drummer Skeeto Valdez and bassist Peter Chwazik. Featuring two-keyboardists, Les Hall and Ray Paczkowski, 70 Volt Parade is featured on Anastasio’s forthcoming album, culled from recent recordings sessions in the Barn and Atlanta. Anastasio reportedly scrapped his previous work with Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta in favor of his new project. Debuts included “Low,” “What’s Done,” “Come as Melody” and “18 Steps.” Anastasio also reworked two semi-acoustic numbers first played at February’s Tibet House benefit for a full-band setting: “Love is Freedom” and “Bar 17.” The evening concluded with a pre-recorded version of the eponymous “70 Volt Parade.” Anastasio will kickoff his official tour April 26 in Richmond, VA. Until then, check-out Anastasio’s first post-Phish interview over at Relix.com
The Word From Wannee
We’ll start out the news today with a report on the Wanee Festival which took place over the weekend at the Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL. The show was anchored by the Allman Brothers Band and their extended family. Wannee offered two stages of silmultaneous music (which at times led to some difficult choices as on both Friday and Saturday nights, the Derek Trucks Band and Gov’t Mule performed at the same time). In addition, as one might expect there were plenty of sit-ins: John Popper, for instance, who appeared with the John Popper project on Saturday, also joined the Allman Brothers Band during “You Don't Love Me,” the Derek Trucks Band for “To Know You Is To Love You” and Gov’t Mule for “32/20 Blues.” That same day Ron Holloway also pulled the trifecta by lending his sax to the ABB during “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed” and “Southbound,” to the Mule during “Sco Mule” and “Blind Man In The Dark,” and also to the Derek Trucks Band for “To Know You Is To Love You.” The official festival web site proclaims, “Thank You for coming…See you next year!” so the event may well return in 2006.
Scott Larned, Dark Star Orchestra Keyboardist, 1969-2005
Scott Larned, the Dark Star Orchestra keyboardist and co-founder passed away due to heart failure yesterday afternoon. Larned’s work on the Hammond organ as well as his gravelly vocals were particularly well suited for elciting the sounds of Grateful Dead keyboardist Brett Mydland. Larned, a former teacher, had an affable personality that endeared him to other musicians and DSO fans alike. The memorial service will remain private although details regarding a band-faciliated memorial will appear in the days to come on the Dark Star Orchestra web site.
Buddy Guy Accepts Jammys Lifetime Achievement Award Alongside Host Phil Lesh and Special Guest John Mayer
Buddy Guy received the Lifetime Achievement award at the fifth annual Jammys Awards last night. A noted blues guitarist and singer, Guy’s roots in the jamband community run deep, having performed with the Dead and Janis Joplin during the traveling circus documented on Festival Express . After accepting his award, Guy led an all-star power jam anchored by ceremony host Phil Lesh and Roots drummer ?uestlove. John Mayer, a 2002 Jammy performer and Guy disciple, also made a surprise appearance, adding guitar to a version of “Hoochie Coochie Man.”
For many, Guy’s appearance highlighted an evening full of unique collaborations. 2004 JamOff winner Jonah Smith opened the ceremony with an hour-long set in the Theatre of Madison Square Garden’s lobby, while the Disco Biscuits autographed copies of the current issue of Relix magazine. The North Mississippi Allstars kicked off The Jammys proper with Umphrey’s McGee drummer Kris Myers sitting in for Cody Dickinson. Freed from his kit, Dickinson stepped to the forefront for The Jammys’ first washboard solo. The North Mississippi Allstars returned to its classic configuration for a version of “Freedom Highway,” with vocal duties supplied by Mavis Staples. The former Staples Singer later offered her microphone to Buddy Guy for the first of several evening appearances.
Exploring his bluegrass leanings, Bruce Hornsby ran through his “Valley Road” with Yonder Mountain String Band and Leftover Salmon’s Vince Herman. Of the collaboration evening, Herman said: “It was great to be up on that stage looking out on the Congress of the jam nation. It looks like the House of Representatives out there. Everybody’s representing from all around the country, and it’s pretty cool to see the scene come together and celebrate itself because for a while the counter culture had painted itself into believing that because we’re not part of the mainstream that we can’t rule the world. It’s that feeling in the room tonight. It just really says that we’ve got things on the agenda. It’s really cool. We’ll always maintain our little niche, but we’re a lot more mainstream then we think.”
Next up, Huey Lewis joined Umphrey’s McGee for a mini-set beginning with “Heart & Soul.” Soon after, Mavis Staples, Sinead O’ Conner and Jeff Coffin joined the collective for covers of “The Weight” and “I’ll Take You There.” Coffin discussed his fellow performers’ contrasting styles: “Lewis is powerful in a down-to-earth, almost Springsteen kind of way. Mavis is the diva, man. She wants to strut her stuff up there. She is strong, powerful and spiritual. Sinead was quiet, but still a dominant presence.” Somewhat of a stranger to the jam scene, Lewis remarked “I think it’s just fantasticit’s so eclectic. If we don’t remember something we just go with it.”
Keller Williams and ?uestlove provided the rhythm section for the evening’s next jam session, which included a Nelly McKay-bolstered version of Bon Dylan’s “Rain Day Woman.” In addition to adding some mouth flugel, Williams proved his bass skills, sparring with the Roots percussionist. Williams, a first-time Jammys performer remarked: “I didn’t decide what I was going to play. There’s a fun thing I play on the bass that I do at my live show. I have the pleasure of being able to play with ?uestlove, so I figured instead of doing acoustic guitar and drums, I’d do bass and drums. So I did this big medley of songs with ?uestlove on the bass and drums.”
Over the course of evening, several scene staples offered heartfelt acceptance speeches. While accepting the Tour of the Year Award on behalf of Phish, Mike Gordon remarked that their award showed that the band could have gone on for several more decades. On a happier note, the bassist recalled first hearing bandmates The Duo at the Rope-a-dope New Music Seminar and being drawn to their “greatness.” A three-time Jammy attendee, Gordon also noted that The Jammys are “kind of hectic, but this year seems more organized.”
Ken Hayes, honored with the Grahamy Jammy, an industry award for support of the scene, discussed the founding of Terrapin Tapes and Gathering of the Vibes ten-year trip. HeadCount co-founders Andy Bernstein and Marc Brownstein accepted the Mimi Fishman Memorial Community Service Award for their organization’s pre-election work. Big Lebowski inspiration Jeff “The Dude” Dowd provided some onstage entertainment, noting that there is nothing better than a “Mavis Staple and Sinead O’ Conner sandwich.”
An evening highlight, Ryan Adams invited Phil Lesh onto the stage for a faithful reading of the Grateful Dead classic “Wharf Rat.” A longtime Dead fan, Adams is known to cover the group’s material on occasion, often during his encore sets. Before jamming with Lesh, Adams said, “Its an honor to play the Jammys. My entire career people have been telling me, you just get drunk and jam.”
Earlier in the evening, the Benevento/Russo Duo accepted the coveted New Groove of the Year honor, making Joe Russo the first artist to receive a second award in this category (in 2000 he received the ward for his work in Fat Mama). Performing with frequent “trio” bandmate Mike Gordon, the Duo ran through a medley of its material before launching into Gordon’s “The Beltless Buckler” (off his 2003 solo album Inside In ). Les Claypool, dressed in a pig mask, and Gabby La La joined in during a jam which led out of the odd-ball Gordon original. Later, Lesh also joined in the fray, marking his first collaboration with Gordon since the summer of 2003. Claypool noted of Lesh’s playing: “Phil’s phrasing always strikes methe way he drops those low-end bombs. It leaves your bowels rumbling.”
In a bittersweet moment, the Disco Biscuits performed for the first time without founding drummer Sam Altman, who is currently preparing for a career in medicine. Scheduled to perform “Honytonk” with Travis Tritt (who performed his own show earlier in the evening at BB King Blues Club), the Disco Biscuits also drafted the country star’s drummer for a version of its “House Dog Party Favor.” Tritt later took a well-received stab at the number, reprising the popular Biscuits song after “Honytonk.” Disco Biscuits guitarist Jon Gutwillig joked, “We thought we’d let him try one of our most difficult songs.”
Medeski, Martin & Wood anchored the evening’s most high-profile offering pairing of Burning Spear and Sinead O’Connor. Along with the Antibalas Horns, MMW helped O’Connor rearrange a series of reggae compositions, including “Marcus Garvey,” “Door Peep,” “Jah No Dead” and “He Prayed,” for the first time onstage. The downtown trio then stepped aside for a memorable vocal duel between the noted singers. Last night’s performance marked O’Connor’s first appearance in New York in over five years. MMW’s set quickly faded into a show-closing powerjam centered around “Lively Up Yourself.” Luther Dickinson, ?uestlove, Disco Biscuits Aron Magner and Jon Gutwillig, Les Claypool and Marco Benevento all returned to the stage, with Gutwillig sharing a humorous vocal duet with O’Connor. Burning Spear also showed off his percussion skills, moving behind his trademark rig. Additional reporting by Nell Rickenbach and Wes Orshoski
Fifth Annual Jammy Award Winners
*Song of the Year:*Umphrey's McGee, "In the Kitchen."
*Lifetime Achievement:*Buddy Guy
New Groove of the Year: Benevento/Russo Duo
Tour Of The Year: Phish, Summer 2004
*Download of the Year:*The Dead 6/12/04, Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
DVD of the Year: Phish, IT
Archival Live Album of the Year: Jerry Garcia, After Midnight Kean College, 2/28/80
Mimi Fishman Memorial Community Service Award: HeadCount
Studio Album of the Year: Gov't Mule, Deja Voodoo
Live Album of the Year: Keller Williams, Stage
*Live Performance of the Year:*Phil Lesh & Friends, 12/19/04
Grahamy Jammy: Ken Hays
Feature: The Jammys From All Angles (Photos from Onstage, Backstage, Sidestage)
MMW, Toots & The Maytal s and Gomez Among Artists to Join Anastasio and Harper on Zooma Tour
Medeski Martin & Wood, Toots & The Maytals, Jurassic 5, Galactic, Gomez and The Black Keys, are among the artists who have been announced for the upcoming Zooma tour. Anchoring all the dates will be performances by Trey Anastasio’s current group as well as Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. The first confirmed date for Zooma is Thursday June 16 at the Tweeter Center at the Waterfront in Camden, NJ. From there the tour will route to the south, and then dip back up to the northeast before heading out west with the final date on July 31 at the Gorge. Zooma will feature multiple stages with many additional performers yet to be announced.
Last night Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker returned to London's Royal Albert Hall for the first time since November 26, 1968. The Cream reunion, which began with “I’m So Glad” and concluded a little more than two hours later with a “Sunshine of Your Love” encore, featured nineteen songs. The band proved tentative with regard to improvisation although three shows yet remain so perhaps they will open up the music a bit. Ginger Baker, whose “Pressed Rat and Wart Hog” (from Wheels of Fire) offered one of the evening’s surprises, proved rather spry at age 65 as he closed out the set with a solo on “Toad.” Other songs included originals “N.S.U.” “Sleepy Time Time,” and “White Room” as well as such covers as “Spoonful” “Crossroads” and “Rollin' & Tumblin'.”
Gorman’s A Crowe Again
Last night in Atlanta the Black Crowes returned to their hometown for a gig at the Tabernacle that yielded a pleasant surprise for longtime fans. Despite initial reports that Jeff Sipe would join the band, the Crowes have instead patched things up with longtime drummer Steve Gorman who is rejoining the group. Aside from the Robinson Brothers, Gorman is the only other founding member of the group that first released Shake Your Money Make back in 1990. Marc Ford, Eddie Hawrysch and Sven Pipien round out the band which will be at the Tabernacle for three more shows through the weekend before heading up to the northeast.
Keller Williams: King of Haymaker
Keller Williams performed with a variety of unique collaborators at this weekend’s Haymaker Festival. On Friday night, John Molo and Steve Kimock performed with the one-man band during a special “friends” style-show, with Williams supplying bass duties for the hour-long jam session. Later in the weekend, Williams returned the favor joining Kimock for a version of “Tongue 'n' Groove,” also offering a full-set with the Keel Brothers. A social musician himself, Kimock recruited longtime friends Molo, Robert Walter and Leo Traversa to back him for his own set.
Reunion at the Reunion
For fear of disappointing Jambands.com columnist Andy “Padre Wu” Miller, we hereby offer some news from the Big Wu Family Reunion which took place this past weekend at Harmony Park Music Garden, in Geneva, MN. On Sunday, God Johnson the group which includes former Big Wu guitarist Jason Fladager preceded the Wu and Fladager later emerged for a few songs during the group’s second set including “Two Person Chair,” “S.O.S” and “Midnight Rudy.” The imagery for this year’s Reunion featured an ocean theme and the group responded in that same set with a number of fitting songs such as “Octupus's Garden” “Ship of Fools” and the “Love Boat Theme”
Fladager, himself a once (and future?) Jambands.com columnist offers the following impressions of the event, "Local and regional Midwest artists such as Trampled by Turtles, Fat Maw Rooney, and Cloudsplitter (featuring Terry V and Chris Castino from Big Wu) were blowing the roof off the Parlour Stage. There were some great acts on the main stage, but this year it was all about the side stage. I do have to apologize to a few people during the Saturday late night RAQ show. During the set, many attendee's were coming up and congratulating me on a great show with my new band God Johnson, but I have to admit I wasn't paying much attention. RAQ was totally deconstructing my world at that point! Without question, RAQ was the sugar-cube set to remember from BWFR #8; featuring a perfect rendition of Van Halen's "JUMP" as well as several other mind-bending jams. WOW. What set this year's Reunion apart from all others was the deliciously chill vibe set by all concertgoers. Maybe because elder artists such as The Radiator's brought out the older, kinder gentler generations, the younger kids picked up on the "Vibe" which can be only learned through the ages. Folks, if you want to know how to hold a regional festival, take lessons from the Big Wu."
Who is That Familiar Face Hitting It With COC?
Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, who appears on the latest Corrosion of Conformity disc In The Arms Of God, is currently on the road with the group. Moore who is wrapping up a brief COC run will appear with the band tonight in Buffalo, NY at The Buffalo Icon. Following a trip down to Bonnaroo and an appearance with Galactic he will rejoin Corrosion in the south and later pick it up out west.
Whole Lotta Collaborations at Bonnaroo
Manchester, TN-Glowsticks and covers colored the Dave Matthews Bands’ headlining set Friday night at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. After opening with “One Sweet World,” the Virginia-bred quintet offered over two hours of continuous music, including a cover of the Zombies’ “Time of the Season.” Before inviting Warren Haynes onstage for a version of “Jimi Thing,” which gradually slipped into Buffalo Springfield’s “For What Its Worth,” a glowstick war erupted during “Bartender.” Later in the evening, the guitarist invited Robert Randolph onstage for versions of “Louisiana Bayou” and “All Along the Watchtower” with Matthews sporting Randolph’s trademark brim hat.
The Dave Matthews Band’s first appearance at Bonnaroo arrived near the end of a busy first day. During the Allman Brothers Band’s set on the Which Stage, Jerry Douglas emerged for a version of “Good Morning Little School Girl.” The Allmans also offered its share of covers, including The Band’s “Night they Drove Old Dixie Down” and the Grateful Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower”. Later in the evening, Gabby La La added her distinctive sitar style to “The Beltless Buckler” during the Benevento/Russo Duo’s set with Mike Gordon. Before its 1:30 AM show in The Other Tent, Sound Tribe Sector 9 also offered a set of music under its electronic Live PA alias on the Sonic Stage.
As expected, Galactic’s Krewe De Carnivale served as a springboard for countless collaborations. Nodding to its New Orleans heritage, Galactic invited Big Easy icons Leo Nocentelli (the Meters), Kermit Ruffins (Rebirth Brass Band), Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Gold Eagles Mardi Gras Indians and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s Roger Lewis, Efrem Townes and Kevin Harris onstage at various points throughout its after midnight set. American Idol runner-up Bo Bice also made a surprise appearance with Galactic after serving as Grand Marshall during Bonnaroo’s annual Centeroo parade. Bice added vocals to a series of covers beginning with Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” with Teedy Boutte and Dave Matthews Band’s Boyd Tinsley also joining in the fray. Meanwhile, in the comedy tent, four costume-clad Bonnaroo artists performed a surprise “Masquerade Ball.” Filling its set with classic-rock and metal covers like Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” the quartet was later revealed to be Marco Benevento and Particle’s Darren Pujalet, as well as Umphrey’s McGee’s Jake Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss. Adding to the confusion, Cinninger traded in his guitar for a bass for the surprise performance.
Throughout the day, scattered showers seeded Bonnaroo’s mud pits, though on the whole the festival’s grounds are still in good condition. Perhaps the weekend’s most anticipated performance Herbie Hancock offered versions of his “Watermelon Man” and Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” with a new version of his Headhunters. In a press conference before his set, Hancock discussed the jamband scene with Headhunters guitarist John Mayer, Saul Williams and Matisyahu. When asked about his increased presence in the jamband community, Mayer mentioned his admiration for Charlie Hunter and joked about his pop single, “Your Body is a Wonderland.” “When people compliment you say thank you’,” Mayer says. “But then you think wait to you see what I’m about to do next.’”
Roger Waters to Reunite with Pink Floyd
While Bonnaroo captivated many of us over the past few days, a signficant announcement took place over the weekend: Roger Waters will appear once again with Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright. Pink Floyd will perform in London on July 2 as part of the Live 8 event. It has been more than twenty years since Waters appeared with his old bandmates and many are hoping this will be the first step towards additional performances.
Mike Gordon, Vince Herman, Keller Williams Among Yonder Guests at String Summit
The Fourth Annual Northwest String Summit returned to Horning’s Hideout this past weekend with six sets from the host Yonder Mountain String Band. On Friday Yonder opened the first set of its festival as a quintet, augmented by Darol Anger on fiddle. Anger would remain with the group throughout the weekend. From here numerous artists sat in with the band during the sets that followed. First up was Mike Gordon who appeared on banjo and vocals for “Molly & Tenbrooks,” “Lost & I'll Never Find My Way” and “Raleigh & Spencer.” A bit later Eric Deutsch (Fat Mama, County Road X) appeared on keys and Mark Dalio added drums.
On Saturday, Keller Williams segued his set into that of Yonder and later added vocals to “I Want A New Drug” and his own “Porta Potty.” In addition, Vince Herman, who had performed earlier with Rob Wasserman and is still recovering from back surgery, sang on “New Speedway Boogie.” Wasserman joined in a bit later for a few songs including “Kentucky Mandolin” and “Groundhog,” which also featured String Summit Super Jam host Danny Barnes. For the encore all of Saturday’s guests along with the members of Themusemeant, Keller’s soundman Lou Gossain and Jenny Keel stepped up for a cover of John Hartford’s “Tear Down The Grand Ole Opry.”
Feature:“We Have Minds That Think Like Comic Strips”: A Conversation with Yonder Mountain String Band’s Jeff Austin”
Cross-Pollination Aplenty at BIG Summer Classic
The BIG Summer Classic kicked off this weekend with a pair of performances at Morrison, CO’s Red Rocks Amphitheater. Each night the traveling-festival’s headliners, the String Cheese Incident, invited a handful of its tourmates onstage during the encore portion of its set. Saturday night, Keller Williams added guitar and vocals to “Fuel for the Road,” “Alligator Alley,” “Freeker By the Speaker” and “Will it Go 'Round in Circles.” Umphrey’s McGee members Jake Cinninger, Joel Cummins and Andy Farag also joined in the fun for the later two-numbers. A night later, Yonder Mountain String Band’s Dave Johnston and Jeff Austin, along with New Monsoon’s Brian Carey and Marty Ylitalo, enhanced “Born on the Wrong Planet” and “I Know You Rider.” String Cheese Incident also debuted another new track from its recent studio album, One Step Closer, the John Barlow collaboration “Give me the Love.”
String Cheese Incident’s sets capped off a busy day of collaborations. Saturday Keller Williams invited Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss onstage for a version of Tenacious D’s “Kielbasa Sausage,” inviting Yonder Mountain String Band’s Jeff Austin and Ben Coffman onstage for a version of “Crater” a night later. Umphrey’s McGee has remained guest-free so far, but did earn an asterisk by riffing on “Another Brick in the Wall” during “Jimmy Stewart” at roughly the same time Pink Floyd reunited at Live 8. Spearhead also buffed up its weekend performance by inviting a number of dancers onstage throughout its set. The BIG Summer Classic will continue tomorrow at Milwaukee, WI Summerfest.
Feature: The Big Summer Classic Comic Book
Ropeadope will take the concept of its New Music Seminar into the New York harbor this fall. Charlie Hunter, Sex Mob and DJ Logic are among the artists scheduled to perform on September 16's Ropeadope All-stars cruise. Part of Rocks Off's concert cruise series, the Ropeadope All-stars will perform while the Temptress sails around New York's perimeter. As is custom with their dry-land New Music Seminars, Ropedope's artists roster will likely collaborate in a variety of configurations. Additional artists are expected to be added in the coming weeks.
Reed Mathis and Robert Walter Set To Join Steve Kimock Band
The Steve Kimock Band will be shaking up its roster once again when it resumes touring next month. Bassist Reed Mathis (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey) will perform with the group in August and on into the fall. The August line-up also will include keyboardist Mookie Siegel (David Nelson Band) along with recent SKB staples Rodney Holmes on drums and Mitch Stein on guitar. Then for the two announced September dates, Robert Walter will join in on keys while the band performs as a quartet without Stein, who first appeared with the SKB in March 2001. Additional shows are set to follow the September 9 and 11 Calfornia gigs in support of the group’s studio debut Eudemonic, which hits on August 23.
Feature: Eudemonic For The People: A Conversation With Steve Kimock
Twenty Years of Camping With Creek
Camp Creek bills itself as “the Northeast’s longest-running jam festival” and sure enough there’s truth in that advertising. Max Creek hosted its first such event back in 1982 (although there have been a few Camp-free years along the way which brings us to 20). This weekend, July 29, 30 and 31 the festival returns to Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, NY. Set to join the host group are numerous artists including Vince Herman and Rob Wasserman, Perpetual Groove, RAQ, Donna the Buffalo, Jeff Pevar and Friends, the Low Dogs and many others. In an archival interview with site editor Dean Budnick, Max Creek’s Scott Murawski observed, “We try to vary the other acts to expose our audience to as many musical styles as possible and introduce everybody to everybody. We try to promote musician camaraderie and jamming. In fact there's a lot of playing that takes place off stage and that's really gratifying as well.”
Mountain Moves Haynes
Though on vacation between legs of the Allman Brothers Band’s summer tour, Warren Haynes has kept busy. Sunday the guitarist joined Leslie West and Corky Laing during Mountain’s 35th anniversary performance at Farmingville, NY’s Brookhaven Amphitheater. Halfway through the group’s set, Haynes emerged adding guitar to “Never In My Life,” “Politician,” “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Crossroads.” West also jokingly thanked Haynes for his “guitar lesson.” The Gov’t Mule leader returned during Mountain’s encore, which included runs through “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’.” Mountain and Gov’t Mule’s similarities run deep. Both are blues-based rock-and-roll power trios who have suffered the untimely death of their bassist. Haynes has also covered Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” on occasion over the years.
Final Horning’s "Jellyfish"
We're back after a busy Jerry Day with some belated news from North Plains, Oregon. After a brief rest from the road following the BIG Summer Classic, String Cheese Incident hosted its final Horning's Hideout event. On the festival's concluding night String Cheese Incident peppered its setlist with a number of special guests throughout its two-set show. During "Catfish John" Railroad Earth's Tim Carbone emerged on fiddle, later returning with his bandmates for "Big Sciota," "How Mountain Girls Can Love" and "Long Way to Go." Deeper into the group's second set, Scott Law joined in on guitar for "Shantytown," before yielding to percussionist Brian Blue on "Jellyfish." For its encore, String Cheese invited back Law and Carbon, as well as New Monsoon guitarist Jeff Miller, Railroad Earth clarinetist Andy Goessling, Railroad Earth mandolinist John Skehan, Jamie Janover and New Monsoon percussionist Marty Ylitalo, for a festival-closing version of Bob Dylan's "Quinn the Eskimo." A night earlier, Janover made news when he conducted a piece of Third Eye Open Ceremonial Theatre between the group's sets. String Cheese Incident is now off the road until its Japanese tour begins on September 28.
Jerry Garcia Tribute and Ominous Seapods Reunion Among Good Vibes Gathered in Mariaville, NY
Over the weekend The Gathering of the Vibes celebrated its first ten years in Mariaville, NY. Throughout the three-day gathering many of the festival’s alumni returned to the stage including veteran performers the Zen Tricksters, Assembly of Dust, Deep Banana Blackout, the Rafter Bats, Stephen Kellogg and Windfalls, which features members of Vibes’ stalwarts Strangefolk. Medeski, Martin and Wood offered a rare A Go Go-heavy performance alongside old friend John Scofield while Solar Circus frontman Mark Diomede made his first Vibes appearance since 1996 as a member of the Juggling Suns. Seminal jamband the Ominous Seapods also reunited boasting the triple guitar-attack of founding members Max Verna and Dana Monteith as well as later-day axe-man Todd Pasternack.
Originally created to celebrate the life of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, the Gathering of the Vibes returned to its roots to mark the tenth anniversary of Garcia’s passing. Friday night Bob Weir and RatDog made its second Vibes appearance playing a three-hour set amidst occasional showers and a lightning storm. Former Grateful Dead member Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay joined RatDog for much of its set, adding vocals to numbers like “Bertha,” “Cassidy,” “Lazy River Road,” “Truckin’,” “The Wheel” and “Franklin's Tower.” Saturday a Rob Barracco-bolstered version of the Dark Star Orchestra anchored the five-hour jam session which ran through a breadth of Jerry Garcia material. Boasting an impressive setlist written by Zen Trickster’s guitarist Jeff Mattson A Tribute to Jerry Garcia & the Grateful Dead featured a revolving cast of Dead-associate including Godchaux-MacKay, Peter Rowan, David Nelson, Melvin Seals, Martin Fierro and Tom Constanten. First, Rowan, Nelson and historian David Gans reinterpreted numbers like "Oh, The Wind and Rain," “Peggy-O” and “Panama Red” with a stripped down version of Dark Star Orchestra serving as their backing band. Rowan also invited out Max Creek guitarist Scott Marwaski for a touching "Midnight Moonlight." Later, Fuzz supplied guitar and vocals for a bluesy version of “Easy Wind,” while Reid Genauer, Keller Williams, flutist Julee Avallone and Assembly of Dust’s Terrell performed on “Eyes of the World” and “Bird Song.” In lieu of a set-break, Barracco invited out his former band, the Zen Tricksters, for a mini-set which featured former Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten and Legion of Mary saxophonist Martin Fierro on numbers like “It’s No Use” and “Favela.” Dark Star Orchestra returned to the stage with the Jerry Garcia Band’s Melvin Seals, Jaclyn LaBranch and Gloria Jones who recreated JGB covers such as “Don’t Let Go” and “The Harder They Come.” Dark Star Orchestra closed out its set with inspired versions of “Mission in the Rain” and “The Music Never Stopped,” among other Grateful Dead numbers, before most of the evening’s cast emerged for jams built around "My Brothers & Sisters" and “Ripple.”
Dead tributes also dotted the weekend’s other setlists. On Friday the Zen Tricksters invited Godchaux-MacKay onstage for “Beat It On Down the Line” and “I'll Take a Melody, while Hope in Time’s Wendy Lanter added vocals to “Shine Your Light.” Avallone also added flute to both “Shine Your Light” and “Fat Angel.” The Tricksters trio of Mattson, Klyph Black and Tom Circosta, as well as Godchaux-MacKay and Dark Star Orchestra drummer Dino English, later joined Gans for “Sing Me Back Home” and “Terrapin Station” on the venue’s Jam Stage. The Jam Stage also hosted Meters’ guitarist Leo Nocentelli who performed songs from throughout his career backed by Assembly of Dust keyboardist Nate Wilson and the Deep Banana Blackout rhythm section of Benj Lefevre and Eric Kalb. Near the end of his set Nocentelli declared “the Meters are back.”
A number of the weekend’s performers also offered special acoustic sets for Relix Magazine’s official podcast, Cold Turkey. Exclusive performances by Dark Star Orchestra featuring Rob Barracco, Ryan Montbleau and The Ominous Seapods’ Dana Monteith and Todd Pasternack will be available on Relix.com and Gathering of the Vibes.com in the coming days, along with a wealth of interviews, soundboard recordings and artist commentary. As a treat, both Montbleau and the Ominous Seapods recorded their Cold Turkey sets right in Relix’s onsite booth for an intimate crowd of future subscribers.
Feature: A Decade of Good Vibes: A Conversation with the Gathering of the Vibes’ Ken Hays and Bob Kennedy
Jack Pearson To Rejoin ABB For Next Week
When the Allman Brothers Band resumed its summer tour on Friday in Minnesota, Warren Haynes was not on stage. Instead, Jack Pearson stepped in on guitar. Pearson, who put in a stint with the ABB from 199799 after Haynes originally left the group to focus on his efforts with Gov’t Mule, also contributed vocals to a cover of “Dimples” (the James Bracken/John Lee Hooker song long associated with Duane Allman, which Pearson had re-introduced during his time with the ABB). In addition, Ron Holloway joined the band on saxophone, as he did last month when Haynes missed the group’s Philadelphia show due to illness. Pearson and Holloway will remain with the group over the next few shows while Haynes is off “due to family matters.” At present, the guitarist is tentatively slated to return to the band on August 19, for a show at the Montage Mountain Performing Arts Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Sam Altman Says ‘Goodbye’ at Camp Bisco; Orange Team Victorious in Color War
Sam Altman performed his final show as a Disco Biscuit Saturday evening as part of the semi-annual Camp Bisco festival. A two-day event held just outside Ithaca in Van Etten, NY, Camp Bisco boasted four sets by the trance fusion pioneers, as well as performances by Hallucinogen, Umphrey's McGee, the New Deal, The Duo, Big in Japan, John Brown's Body and Conspirator, among others. Nine months since Altman announced his decision to pursue a career in medicine, the Disco Biscuits have also begun to audition new drummers and will likely embark on a more extensive tour later this year. But this weekend the group looked back on its past, dotting its setlist with mood appropriate music including Altman's own "Floes." Before officially closing with "Spectacle," the Disco Biscuits also performed a musical tribute to Altman featuring lyrics co-penned by remaining band members Marc Brownstein, Jon Gutwillig and Aron Magner. In typical Biscuits fashion, the touching tribute doubled as something of a prank on the longtime drummer. In order to teach Altman the new song's drum part without revealing its personal message, the Disco Biscuits composed a fake number called "Jenny" set to the tribute's tune. In an effort to convince Altman that "Jenny" was a real song Gutwillig and Brownstein even staged a fake fight during band rehearsals. After the song, the teary eyed drummer joined his bandmates for a final onstage bow.
Nodding to the festival's summer camp theme, the Disco Biscuits also offered a number of non-musical activities including a daylong Color War. Activities included Dodgeball, Tug-o-War and an Egg Toss with the Orange Team declaring victory.
“How Not To Promote Concerts & Music Festivals”
Hal Abramson, the promoter of the cancelled Shakedown Campout & Music Festival has published a “festival promotion and productions manual.” It now appears that this book, How Not To Promote Concerts & Music Festivals is all too aptly titled. Lowell MacGregor of the Lowell MacGregor Group, who manages the Columbia Meadows facility where the festival was scheduled to take place, explains that “due to several breaches of his contract with the venue the show was forced to be cancelled.” Advance ticket sales had reached 2300. Abramson has been unavailable for comment.
R.L. Burnside 1926-2005
R. L. Burnside, who long perpetuated the traditions of north Mississippi hill country music, passed away yesterday in a Memphis, Tennessee hospital. Burnside received some of his early teachings on the guitar from his neighbor Mississippi Fred McDowell and often performed with another neighbor and eventual labelmate Junior Kimbrough. Burnside played in area clubs for many years while toiling at other jobs, before gaining some renown for his 1992 debut Bad Luck City. Burnside’s work has been championed by such artists as Jon Spencer, the North Mississippi Allstars and recently Iggy Pop (who named Burnside’s Too Bad Jim as one of his favorite discs). Burnside collaborated with Spencer and the Blues Explosion on 1996’s A Ass Pocket of Whiskey and his Come On In release (1998) is an intriguing amalgam of juke-joint blues and contemporary sampling and looping. Burnside is survived by his wife Alice Mae, twelve children (including son Duwayne, who performed with him and later the North Mississippi Allstars) and numerous grandchildren.
Closin’ at the Knick
RatDog and Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers closed out their joint tour on familiar ground last night at Albany, NY’s Pepsi Arena. Formerly known as the Knickerbocker, the famed Capitol Region arena has hosted several classic Grateful Dead performances over the years including the three-night stand documented on Dozin' at the Knick. During Hornsby’s opening set, RatDog’s Bob Weir, Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti and Kenny Brooks all emerged for a version of “Rag Doll” built around Hornsby’s “Valley Road.” Lane also sat in on Hornsby’s signature “The Way it Is.” Later, during RatDog’s set, Hornsby and Noisemakers saxophonist Bobby Reed returned the favor on “Playin in the Band.” Reed remained on for “Big Boss Man” later yielding to longtime Hornsby keyboardist J.T. Thomas on “Uncle John's Band” and Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall.”
Last night’s performances closed out a busy weekend for the longtime collaborators. Sunday at Atlantic City’s House of Blues, Hornsby joined RatDog for “Bertha,” while Weir played guitar on “Black Muddy River.” Friday night Hornsby also performed on “Jack Straw” and “Dark Star” during RatDog’s set at Gilford, NH’s Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center. Hornsby and Weir will likely collaborate again September 24 at Berkeley, CA’s Comes A Time: A Tribute To Jerry Garcia benefit.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band Back in Baton Rouge
The members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band were on tour when Katrina hit their native New Orleans and while some lost personal possessions, the group is in good health and continuing to perform. This evening marks a notable occasion as the Dozen returns to Louisiana for a one-off gig at SoGo Live in Baton Rouge. The group is then off for two weeks before beginning its fall tour in Huntsville, AL with the Big Spring Jam. During the two week window of open dates, guitarist Jamie McLean will gig with his Jamie McLean Band. He will travel up from Louisiana on Saturday to perform at New York’s Knitting Factory, followed by shows in the northeast and then into the midwest with three opening slots for the North Mississippi Allstars.
Project Z Offers a Lincoln Memorial
After Ricky Keller passed away in June 2003, his bandmates in Project Z: Jimmy Herring, Jeff Sipe and Jason Crosby weren’t altogether sure when would be the apt time to release the disc that they had recently recorded. Finally on November 15, the band’s second studio effort will be available. Greg Osby also contributes saxophone to much of the album, which has been titled Lincoln Memorial. Keller had received the nickname Lincoln Metcalf from his fellow partner-in-Zambi, Col. Bruce Hampton when they began working together in the 1980’s (for a bit more on Keller, read Jimmy Herring’s comments soon after his passing ).
Tom Waits, Bill Clinton, Trey Anastasio and The Meters Bring Mardi Gras to Manhattan
Trey Anastasio closed out Radio City's From the Big Apple to the Big Easy benefit with a guest-laden jam session featuring many of the evening's entertainers. After performing a short, upbeat set with 70 Volt Parade, Anastasio invited Dave Matthews onstage for a version of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." As 70 Volt Parade completed the song's composed section, a number of musicians began to filter in from the wings including The Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians, Ivan Neville and Galactic's Stanton Moore and Ben Ellman, as well as members of the Rebirth Brass Band. As Matthews faded offstage, the crowd's focus shifted to the Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians who led the supergroup through the Big Easy staple "Big Chief." Matthews returned a song later for a show closing version of Sly and the Family Stone's "Thank You (Fallettin' Me Be Mice Elf Again)," with Eric Krasno joining in on guitar. As Radio City dropped its sky-scrapper size curtain the audience trickled onto the street, still singing Sly and the Family Stone's anthem.
Decorated with Mardi Gras Beads and spiced up with authentic New Orleans cuisine Radio City Music Hall welcomed a sold out crowd to the more intimate of New York's two From the Big Apple to the Big Easy Benefits. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band opened the nearly six hour show with a brief set before fellow New Orleans natives Galactic and the Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians officially kicked-off the evening's festivities. Performing its first New York show in over 25 years, The Meters stacked its short set with New Orleans anthems including "Cissy Strut" and "Fire on the Bayou," a number which seemed to take on new meaning in the wake of hurricane Katrina. A bit later Meters, keyboardist Art Neville returned for a set with the Neville Brothers before scooting across town for a performance at Madison Square Garden. Continuing to develop the new, more blues oriented sound he has experimented with all year John Mayer performed a brief set with drummer Steve Jordan and bassist Pino Palladino. After peaking with an elongated "Gravity," Joss Stone helped the Trio close out its performance. As fans bid in Radio City's silent lavish auction, The Rebirth Brass Band also entertained audience members floating throughout the lobby.
The night's non-musical entertainment ranged from heroic to horrendous. Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance early on in the evening discussing the first trip he took to New Orleans as a child. "It was the first time I saw a building more than two-stories tall," the 42nd President said. The evening's MC Harry Shearer, best known for voicing Simpsons' characters like Mr. Burns and Principal Skinner, lost the crowd early with his political commentary. The New Orleans resident was booed continuously throughout the evening until he resorted to plugging The Simpsons' upcoming season.
Perhaps the evening's most unique segment, Tom Waits performed a short song set backed by an all-star ensemble which included Marc Ribot, Charlie Musselwhite and Smokey Hormel. Though plagued with sound problems, Waits soldiered on performing numbers like "Way Down in the Hole," "Jesus Gonna be Here," "Get Behind the Mule," "Take Care of All My Children," "House Where Nobody Lives" and "Make it Rain." A particularly inspiring version of "I Wish I was in New Orleans" helped Waits earn the evening's sole encore.
Dave Matthews also bounced between benefits, performing "Heart of Gold" with Jimmy Buffet at Madison Square Garden before offering his own segment at Radio City Music Hall. A nine-song mix of solo numbers and DMB-classics, Matthews' set mirrored his performance at Farm Aid earlier in the week. At the end of his performance, Anastasio also joined in on guitar for Matthews' "Everyday" and Phish's "Bathtub Gin." Be sure to check Relix.com this afternoon for a report on From the Big Apple to the Big Easy's Madison Square Garden counterpart.
“Touch of Grey” at Comes A Time
The Comes A Time Tribute show took place on Saturday at Berkeley’s Greek Theater. The Rex Foundation Benefit featured a climactic two hour set led by Bob Weir joined by numerous other musicians, including Garcia’s Grateful Dead bandmates Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. The evening began with a nod to Garcia’s early years, with collaborators David Nelson and Sandy Rothman leading a run through some bluegrass numbers. An acoustic incarnation of The String Cheese Incident followed, joined by Scott Law on guitar for five songs including “Friend of the Devil,” “Catfish John” and “Ripple.” Alumni of the Jerry Garcia Band followed as Melvin Seals, Gloria Jones, Jackie LaBranch a