Archive for the ‘Show Review’ Category

Worship My Organ


Worship My Organ

Every year, once a year for the past four years, a collection of musicians gather in town for Jazz Fest and consolidate at the Blue Nile on Frenchmen Street for one night to entertain music loving festival goers with an extended jam session. They do not practice, they do not release albums, but for one night a year they are “Worship My Organ”.

It is an interesting combination of a saxophone (Eric Walton aka Skerik), two Hammond B3 organs (Marco Benevento and Robert Walter), drums (Adam Deitch) and DJ Logic that creates a unique jazzy, funky house type sound. It is nothing like the brass band based jazz I have grown so familiar with in New Orleans, it is closer to the original jazz jams in that you are never quite sure where the next beat is going to take you. Its the sort of sharp sound that breaks through…

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Bowlive V: Night VIII ~ Soulive w/ WOLF! feat. Scott Metzger, Bill Evans, Saunders Sermons, Mark Rivers, The London Souls, Sonya Kitchell and Wyllys @ Brooklyn Bowl (03.22.14)

Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Bowlive, Soulive‘s annual musical residency at the Brooklyn Bowl, has reached the conclusion of its fifth year. Eric Krasno, Neal Evans and Alan Evans started Bowlive V with a bang on Thursday, March 6, 2014, and continued to remain on top of their game for the remainder of the run. A musical residency is not an easy task to accomplish. A few years before Bowlive I, Peter Shapiro, the owner of the Brooklyn Bowl, approached Eric Krasno with the idea of holding a musical residency at some new bowling alley/music venue he was opening. At that time, Krasno didn’t see the same vision that Shapiro saw. A residency at a Bowling alley? Yet, here we are; five years later, 50 Bowlive shows deep, with another year to look forward to. Absolutely incredible. A massive congratulations is in order for these three geniuses for such an accomplishment and a massive thank you to Peter Shapiro for producing such a vision.

“When you see something and you don’t know how it’s done, that is what dreams are made of, that is what art is, and that is what inspires someone to be an artist. I can only imagine how many people were inspired by these performances.” -K.D. 

“I think night 8 was a perfect encapsulation of Bowlive! Guests nonchalantly coming and going from the stage to sit in, playing a mix of classic Soulive tunes and covers. Like I said after Night 1, Brooklyln Bowl is just 100% Soulive’s home turf and I feel like this run encapsulated it more than anything–many of the shows felt relaxed…Sometimes feeling more like jam sessions with their friends than organized concerts, and I can’t get enough. I always joke that Bowlive is Funk Camp–and despite the hearing loss, and very tired legs, I freaking miss Funk Camp. Bowlive for life! “~ B.M.

Bowlive V Logo

Bowlive V Logo

Covering eight sensational nights over the last two weeks, the members of Soulive, with the  help of The Shady Horns, delivered a wide array of new musical partnerships and memories built on trust and appreciation of one another. Many times the audience gets to experience the return of Bowlive alum and they are often lucky enough to see debut artists who begin what eventually turns into a longer relationship with the jazz/organ trio. Bowlive V did everything above and more with the help of over 35 amazingly talented guests.

2014 Bowlive V Guest List (alphabetized)

Adam ‘Shmeeans’ Smirnoff (guitarist)
Beau Sasser (organ)
Brandon ‘Taz’ Niederauer (11 year old guitar)
Bill Evans (tenor & Soprano saxophone)
Chris St. Hiliaire (drums/vocals)
Danny Mayer (guitar)
DJ Logic (turntabalist)
DMC (of Run DMC) (rapper)
Eddie Roberts (guitarist)
Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom (trumpet)
Felix Pastorius (bass)
George Porter Jr. (bassist)
James Casey (tenor saxophone/percussion)
Joe Russo (drums)
John Scofield (guitar)
Jon Cleary (keyboards)
Jon Shaw (bass)
Kofi Burbridge (flute/piano)
Marco Benevento (piano)
Mark Rivers (vocalist)
Maurice Brown (trumpet)
Nicki Bluhm (vocalist)
Nigel Hall (vocalist/keys)
Oteil Burbridge Bass)
Questlove (drummer/DJ)
Roosevelt Collier (pedal-steel guitar)
Ryan Zoidis (alto & tenor saxophone)
Saunders Sermons (trombone/vocals)
Scott Metzger (guitar)
Sonya Kitchell (vocals/guitar)
Stu Mahan (bass)
Susan Tedeschi (vocals/guitar)
Talib Kewli (rapper)
Tash Neal (guitar/vocals)
Taylor Floreth (drums)
Warren Haynes (guitarist)
Wyllys (turntabalist)

Special guests saxophonist Bill Evans, trombonist and vocalist Saunders Sermons, vocalist Mark Rivers and Sonya Kitchell, and acclaimed trumpeter Maurice “Mobetta” Brown were on call tonight for a non-stop jam session of epic proportions. It was all about the music tonight, as it is every night. The featured artists came and went from the stage as they pleased. The energy never once seemed to diffuse as the music was so crisp and tight and the friendships and relationships between the artists on stage with Soulive were completely evident. Enjoy the review…

WOLF! featuring Scott Metzger

Scott Metzger: Photo by Mark Dershowitz

Scott Metzger: Photo by Mark Dershowitz

For the final night of Bowlive V, WOLF! featuring Scott Metzger opened to an eager audience. WOLF! is a very young band, not in age but in performance mileage, having formed in 2011 with a philosophy of “Time. Tone. Taste. Touch.” The instrumental trio consists of seasoned guitarist Scott Metzger, bassist Jon Shaw, and drummer Taylor Floreth. The guitar playing talent of Metzger was undeniable as he shredded through one jamming rock tune with using a drumstick on the frets, into a finger-picking, foot-stomping song, right on into a psychedelic demolition on stage with the help of Shaw and Floreth. Shaw and Floreth support Metzger equally and match his fierceness, creating a vibrant sound that filled the Brooklyn Bowl. It is wonderful when a trio can fill the space as it is not an easy task. There was even audience participation as Metzger asked the audience if they preferred him to play a “fast or slow song.” The audience preferred fast! The members of WOLF! can be found performing frequently on the New York City music scene and you should check them out any time you can.

“Metzger’s country fried telecaster, finger pickin good!” ~ C.Z.

Set I
Uncle Jr.
Backwards Jack
Brother Soul
Nubian Lady

The first set really gave the audience an idea of how the night would play out. Aside from the first instrumental tune, “Bubble,” played solely by Soulive, every other tune had a guest performing alongside our favorite jazz trio. The Shady Horns, comprised of James Casey and Ryan Zoidis on saxophone and Eric Bloom on trumpet, were brought out on “Uncle Jr.” and continued through “Backwards Jack.” Both horn-heavy songs demonstrated the proficiency and technique of each horn player. Bloom’s mastery of the trumpet has changed dramatically since he began playing with Pretty Lights. His new found knowledge with the effect boards has been exposed throughout the entire Bowlive run. The moxie of James Casey dripped off the stage as he bounced between blowing his saxophone and raging the congas. Finally, Ryan Zoidis, the original founding member of The Shady Horns, continually brought the heat with extended technical solos proving that he is worthy of leadership.

“The Shady Horns added breadth to the solos and depth to the already monstrous sound. Nealzilla is relentless on the clav, while brother Alan drove the grooves and Kraz conjuring fantastic ideas in the eye of the storm.” ~ C.Z.

“They put the acid in acid jazz.” ~ W.S.

Guitarist Scott Metzger, who had just finished his opening set, jumped back on stage for a playful “Brother Soul,” with him and Krasno trading guitar licks. According to JamBase, in 2002, James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, told Metzger that his guitar playing is “Frightening! I swear you play so much guitar it scares me!” That pretty much sums him up. If you were to open up Metzger’s veins, blood wouldn’t pour out, musical notes would.

Bill Evans courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Bill Evans courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Special announced guest, saxophonist Bill Evans, joined the stage for the remainder of the set. Evans played the tenor saxophone on Soulive‘s original tune, “Cannonball” and he exemplified a snake charmer with his soprano saxophone on the Dr. Yusef Lateef cover, “Nubian Lady.” “Povo,” a tune off the latest collaborative album, Spark!, between Soulive and Karl Denson, ended the set. Spark! is a tribute to the late Melvin Sparks, an American soul and jazz guitarist who passed away in 2001.  Everyone who understands the history of a horn looked up to this musician and still does even postmortem. It was also on “POVO” that the first unannounced surprise guest, Grammy winning trumpet virtuoso Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, came out.  As the timbres of horns played around the stage, the audience reacted in kind, hooting and hollering enthusiastic praise.

“Bowlive.. Just what the doctor ordered. These guys never fail to bring it. Their continuous gelling with so many different artists shows that they are some of the highest level of talent out there. As a long time fan of Soulive, I can truly say that every show gets better & better. So thankful to them & the Brooklyn Bowl for bringing us all together.” – J.B.


During the set breaks, turntabalist Wyllys, whose real name is Wade Wilby, spun records of all styles to keep the energy up. The last thing anyone wanted on the last night of Bowlive, on this raging Saturday night, was to have the energy drop. Wyllys is a Bowlive Alum from Bowlive IV and has also hosted Bowlive After-Parties in past years.

Beginning as the Lighting Crew Chief for Umphrey’s McGeeWyllys eventually made his name in the DJ and Jam Band community for his elevating demeanor while spinning. Every impression the audience gets from Wyllys is that he is doing something fabulous and fun. He always looks like he is having such a wonderful time, dancing and just power grooving to his own set along with the audience.  The choices he pulls out are based solely on the reflection of energy he feels from the crowd he is playing to. His in-the-moment choices can range from pop to funk to disco and just like last year, he was the last musician standing as he spun a set after Soulive completed their run. But it’s not over yet….on to Set II.

Set II
El Ron
Tuesday Night Squad
Maybe Grandma’s Hands
When I’m Kissing My Love
Inner City Blues

Finally, notwithstanding the encore, the last set of Bowlive V was upon us. Wyllys had kept the vibe up and the high expectations from the audience members were now directed towards the stage. Soulive had to bring the jazzy, funky ferocity that would leave a lasting impression in the minds of Bowlive addicts. The trio came out on a blazing “El Ron,” one of their most powerful opening songs and one that allows Eric Krasno to manifest monstrous solos. “Tuesday Night Squad” might be a horn-heavy tune but the rhythm of the piano is crushing. The range of Neal Evan‘s ability is endless. Musical ideas are literally at his fingertips and his excitement is contagious. That being said, it was Ryan Zoidis‘s alto saxophone solo that stole this song away from the rest of the band members on stage.

“Neal Evans might be one of the Great Americans, like up there with the guy who founded the Red Cross or Buzz Aldrin” ~ E.M.

“You could drop Krasno into any indigenous people’s music circle, anywhere in the undiscovered world, and he’d be able to play.” – E.M.

The beautiful Sonya Kitchell was back for a second night and was invited on stage for “Grandma’s Hand’s,” a widely influential Bill Withers tune he wrote about his own grandmother. Kitchell wore a slinky black dress, which was quite a change from her all-white, layered ensemble from the previous night. This change of vibe was enjoyable because the audience was being shown a different side of Kitchell. Her style of singing did not bring the funk last night and now, she was crushing the audience with her soul. During this tune, trombonist and vocalist Saunders Sermons assisted on the harmony, while falling in line with The Shady Horns. Special unannounced guest vocalist Mark Rivers (Tedeschi/Trucks Band) was front and center for Marvin Gaye‘s emotional tune “Inner City Blues.” This portion of the set really gave vocalists time to pull out all the stops. Scatting is improvised vocalization that does not contain lyrics and Rivers proceeded to dominate the audience with a lengthy, incredibly difficult and perfectly pitched scat session that lasted a good six minutes.

Mark Rivers scatting solo was absolutely stunning. Right now, Esperanza Spaulding is the only young artist who I have felt can hold her own on every note when she attempts this style of vocal improvisation. Ella Fitzgerald made the style famous in my house when I heard my father playing her music. What Rivers accomplished on that stage was nothing short of a male reincarnation of Fitzgerald. Happy to add Mark Rivers to my list of phenomenal scatters. It is so difficult and he made it look effortless.” ~  K.D.

Special guest for the evening, Bill Evans, joined the stage for “When I’m Kissing My Love,” another Bill Withers‘ cover. The stage was now filled with an entirely different horn section. The Shady Horns were now replaced by Saunders Sermons on trombone, Bill Evans on saxophone and Maurice “Mobetta” Brown on trumpet. Mark Rivers was on percussion. All four now backed Soulive for the remainder of the set. Saunders Sermons brought his trombone to the microphone and delivered the second extemporized vocal scatting solo with some trombone blasts accented throughout. It is moments like these that continually define the meaning of what BOWLIVE tries to portray; the sharing of each others talents, putting other artists on the pedestal and in the spotlight. Sonya Kitchell could be seen in line with the horns breaking down the dance moves as she sang along. Let’s not forget the dynamic Evans Brothers duo holding down the rhythm section.

“On the final night, Zoidis kicked the horns in with a blistering alto run that brought the crowd to a frenzy. Later, Benny Bloom brought the chill factor with the hauntingly electronic trumpet solo. Solid tenor solos by James Casey complemented the more eccentric playing of Bill Evans. Maurice Brown silenced the crowd as his sublime trumpet evolved from the primordial to a force that brought Soulive, and the crowd, back in hard. Saunders Sermons added crisp, soulful vocals while the crowd got a bit closer to each other, sexy time at Bowlive.” ~ C.Z.

“Almost shit myself when that cat picked up the trombone!” ~ E.M. referring to Saunders Sermon

At the end of the set, Krasno announced that it was Saunders Sermons‘ birthday and then followed up by letting us know that at midnight, it would also be Alan Evans‘s birthday. A lovely moment was shared between the musicians on stage and the participants on the dance floor. We all sang “Happy Birthday” to Alan as the Brooklyn Bowl staff brought out a birthday cake with candles for him to blow out. What a way to celebrate! Alan had his best friends, fans who adore him and a venue full of people who praised him. But it still wasn’t over.

Encore – 1:30am
The London Souls
Down By The River
Feelin’ Alright
(Another Song)

Ryan Zoidis Fan Club TeeShirt Print Courtesy of Chris Zegers

Ryan Zoidis Fan Club TeeShirt Print Courtesy of Chris Zegers

The guests kept on coming when the members of The London Souls came out for the encore. A few nights earlier, Soulive and The London Souls combined on stage for a raging LondonSoulive set.  It was one of the most aggressive, rock-n-roll sets of the run. The audience wasn’t sure if this set had been scheduled all along or if this was a last minute decision based on the success of the LondonSoulive night, but here they were again to close out one of the greatest residencies New York City music lovers will see all year. The Shady Horns joined the guest horns, Alan Evans moved to guitar and vocals while Chris St. Hiliare took over the drum kit and Stu Mahan was back filling in the rhythm on his bass. Eric Krasno and Tash Neal matched each others energy, absolutely melting the faces of the audience with their alternating musical antics. When the Neil Young tune, “Down By The River,” was played, the crowd went wild. The audience, especially the men, were singing along, many at the top of their lungs. This song was an excellent choice for the rocking musicians on stage. Traffic‘s “Feelin’ Alright” kept the power pumping as the solos and individual performances of the musicians on stage just rolled out one by one. The audience continued to sing along on these vintage tunes before going into another “Happy Birthday” for Alan Evans, this time sung by his brothers Neal.  It was pure BOWLOVE, yall!

“The greatest musicians in the business are masters of their craft but are humble about it at the same time. I think that is what shines most throughout Bowlive. And never did it shine brighter than when Al Evans gave up his kit to Chris St. Hilarie and the London Souls were brought onstage to close out Bowlive 5. ~ K.G.


That’s a wrap folks! The fifth year of Bowlive is over. I won’t wax poetic about everything I have already covered in the previous wrap-ups but I will leave you with these final thoughts. Bowlive is the ultimate musical residency! It creates opportunities for Soulive to invite all manners of artists on stage for a time and takes them away from their normal environment and obligations. It provides a time of reflection and remembrance for the audience members and a time of presentation, research, and production for the band, musical guests, back line crew, writers and photographers. It also allows each individual artist to explore his or her talent within another musical community; meeting new people, performing and creating new material, and experiencing life in a new location. This residency emphasizes the importance of meaningful and multi-layered musical collaborations and in the end, we are all artists, playing a role in this thing called Bowlive.

“Every year I make too many friends, too many memories, and have way too much fun at Bowlive. Somehow Soulive continually manages to bring out the best people (musicians and fans alike) for two weeks of genre defying sets, all under the amazing intimate roof of the Brooklyn Bowl.” ~ N.G.

“Eric Krasno said the nicest thing last night and called us all family.” ~ A.S.

“The sheer power of Soulive that was on display at the Brooklyn Bowl was an honor to witness. Like a fine wine they get better with age, Soulive kept us dancing and smiling for eight nights!!! I can’t wait for Bowlive Six!” ~ L.H.

“Wow, two days in a row of live music and my soul feels like it’s been on a mini vacation. However, my body is aching from the Funk of Bowlive V.” ~ H.H.

Thank you Peter Shapiro for your brilliant ideas and to the ever appreciative Brooklyn Bowl staff for always taking care of this Tiny Rager and all my Soulive-loving friends, who so graciously provided the quotes for the articles. Thank you so much to Hilary Gleason and Tory Pittarelli of the The Mischief Collective for covering Night 6 for this weary writer who needed a much needed night of relaxation with her family. Thank you to all the folks who donated media like photographers Mark Dershowitz (Headyshots), Greg Horowitz (Creative Solutions Music Promotions), Marc Millman (Marc Millman Photography), Andrew Blackstein (ASB Photography), and Scott Harris (LanguageStrange Photography). Thank you to all who took videos and posted them on Youtube. A giant thanks to the music tapers, who make it possible for everyone else in the world to experience the soundtrack from the best musical run EVER! Finally, thank you to the talented members of Soulive for your never ending energy and love that you poured over us the past eight nights.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. Until next year….

To read the previous seven night Reviews, click on the links below:


List of Special Guests and Openers



SATURDAY, MARCH 15 – Special Guests: GEORGE PORTER JR. feat. a special #LONDONSOULIVE joint set

Opener and Special Guest: JON CLEARY

Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY, MARCH 20 – Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC)


Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

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Bowlive V: Night VII – Soulive w/ Marco Benevento, Sonya Kitchell, Roosevelt Collier, Felix Pastorius, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, and Brandon Niederauer @ The Brooklyn Bowl (03.21.14)

Sonya Kitchell Set
Broken Heart
Follow Me In
This Feeling
At First

The seventh night of Bowlive V at the Brooklyn Bowl started off on a more mellow vibe than the previous night openers. Bowlive V has produced rocking sets by The London Souls and Leroy Justice and the wonderful, jazzy Alan Evans Trio but now it was time for a chick flick of musical sorts.

Sonya Kitchell made her Bowlive debut with Jesske Hume on bass, Nate Wood on guitar and the amazing Neal Evans on drums and keyboards. Neal Evans on drums, you say? Yes, drums! When Neal is not playing with Lettuce or Soulive, he holds down the drums for Sonya Kitchell.

“I had a blast rocking the drums last night. Drums were actually my first instrument” ~ Neal Evans

Both Soulive and Sonya Kitchell were signed under Velour Music Group for a while but both have since graduated to new management. This explains their affiliation but there was a larger reason behind choosing Kitchell to open for the last night of Bowlive. Kitchell’s musical resume is filled with gems but she is most noted for touring with Herbie Hancock in 2008 after she helped him on his record River: The Joni Letters.

Neal Evans by Mark Dershowitz

Neal Evans with Sonya Kitchell by Mark Dershowitz

Sonya Kitchell Setlist

Sonya Kitchell Setlist

This set was was a defining characteristic of a Bowlive Residency. Was it what everyone wanted? I don’t think. Was it it as jamming as it could have been for a Friday night opener? Not really. However, Soulive enjoys changing up the game, introducing us to their favorite artists, mixing up the genres and giving exposure to the music world in whatever way they can. And please, do not get me wrong, Sonya Kitchell is a beautiful songstress and writer. I remember hearing Kitchell on Pandora about seven years ago singing “Let Me Go,” off her Words Came Back To Me album which was released on my 26th birthday. I bought it the next day. However, I am a lyric-loving female and the audience was filling up with dude after dude.

Kitchell’s band, was dressed all in white, definitely an artistic expression. White, almost as pure as her sweet, hopeful voice. Her set consisted completely of new tunes, some off the new, yet-to-be-released album, some even newer and some not recorded yet.  There was a nice treat when Marco Benevento came out and played piano for her tune, “Family,” a beautiful melodic tune. “This Feeling” was truly felt with Sonya Kitchell‘s effervescent vocals, Marco’s twinkling keys and Alan Evan’s consistent drumming.

Overall, Sonya Kitchell is a silent but deadly rager. A little grungy, a little edgy, a lot of sex appeal and her high registry and ethereal voice was captivating. She is soft, yet intense and today, she continues to impress the underground music community stretching those high notes and flipping between genres with every song.

Set I
Brother Soul
3rd Stone From The Sun –> Lenny
Manic Depression

The intensely dedicated members of Soulive, drummer Alan Evans, keyboardist Neal Evans and guitarist Eric Krasno, stomped out an audience favorite, “Shaheed,” to open the first set. It was Friday night at the Brooklyn Bowl and if anyone knew what that meant, it was this trio. They brought the fire. The “Swamp” brought out the Shady Horns and there was just some gnarly, funky, connected vibing happening on stage. It got so deep that Alan Evans, for the second time this week, broke his snare drum.

“No snare drum can contain Alan Evans.” ~ G.F

“Brother Soul” showcased saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, who got a jumping ovation because everyone was already standing and as his solo peaked the crowd could be seen jumping in rhythm to his playing. This was a “GROOVER,” as John Scofield would say. Light Technician Victor Cornette supported the music wonderfully with his light work, uplifting the audience that much more. Next on deck was “Reverb” into “Aladdin.” Sonya Kitchell was on vocals in line with the Shady Horns while Neal musically defined the namesake of the song.

“Reverb is created when a sound is produced in an enclosed space causing a large number of echoes to build up and then slowly decay as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air” ~ Dictionary.com

Jimi Hendrix’s “3rd Stone from the Sun” and Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Lenny” was next and The Shady Horns exited the stage. This is always an epic pairing of tunes but when you add in a child guitar prodigy, who only turned 11 last week, things get nuts. The amazing Brandon “TAZ” Niederauer made a big name for himself on Jam Cruise this year. Here it was now that this virtuoso guitar player I had heard so much about was going to show off his skills next to one of the best guitarists in the world.

“Everyone pulled out the Fire for night 7. Taz. Wow. Alan and Neal said it perfectly. Music starts in schools and our support needs to go there. Taz is a prime example of pure unadulterated raw talent. Was really humbling to hear him play and shed his soul on all of us. Can’t wait to say “I heard him play when he was 11″ to my kids one day.” ~ A.L. 

“My friend Dan said about Taz – “he’s not just playing he is feeling it. He’s just got it” ~ K.G.

“The crowd on the back half of the dance floor all turned to the screen to watch when Taz started playing!” – R. L.

When they broke into Hendrix’s “Manic Depression,” it was slow going but then Taz just took it away. Krasno gestured to the sound guy to turn Taz’s sound up. Measure after measure, Taz just built and built upon himself, delivering his solo so intensely, yet wearing such a stoic expression. Not even a little smile. Totally in his head. Everyone’s jaws were on the ground and there were moments when the audience was just screaming in shock and awe. Taz sounds and acts like a seasoned veteran of the stage and watching him grow up musically is going to be a wonderful experience so keep your eyes peeled.

“This is why we need instruments in school y’all.” ~ Alan Evans passionately spoke into the microphone.

1960's photo of John Scofield working with Jaco Pastorius

1960’s photo of John Scofield working with Jaco Pastorius

Alan Evans called out for “Felix” and shouts, “Where’s Marco?” The unannounced bassist Felix Pastorius was introduced by Alan and special guest Marco Benevento joined the stage. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better Felix Pastorius shows up to play some cranking bass for us. Felix is a fantastic musician in his own right but it would be foolish not to mention that he is the son of the late virtuoso jazz fusion bass player from Weather Report, Jaco Pastorius. Many members of the audience could be heard talking about the excitement of seeing Jaco’s son play at Bowlive.  Felix did not disappoint adding a groovy jazzy bass sound to the Soulive mix.

The Shady Horns were back. The set-list listed Jaco’s soulful “The Chicken” next but they nixed that and went into Billy Cobham‘s “Stratus” instead.  Both songs are famous jazz fusion standards but only one made the cut for what turned out to be a psychedelic mash-up of musicians, literally the definition of fusion.

“This was my favorite song of the entire run” ~ T.P.S

Set II
Jesus Children of America/Stay
The Dump
The “In Crowd”
Benny and the Jets
When My Guitar Gently Weeps
Soulful Strut
The Ocean
She’s S0 Heavy

Alan Evans handled the vocals for the Stevie Wonder cover, “Jesus Children of America,” while his feel-good drumming kept the beat.  “The Dump” is actually a Lettuce tune off their first album, Outta Here, which really brought the crowd up. However, it was when Marco Benevento came out for “The ‘In’ Crowd,” a song composed in 1964 largely for pianos and horns, when the stage might as well have caught on fire from the heat. Marco laid down a beautiful melody of keys while each member of the horn section soloed starting with James Casey, to Ryan Zoidis and then Eric Bloom. Bloom’s trumpet solo was reminiscent of Dizzy Gillespie and Casey brought it all home. At one point, Alan Evans pointed out that Marco was wearing a Soulive shirt and the crowd cheered.

“Marco has a special relationship with his piano and the audience. The bond is not to be taken lightly. His sensitive side is what makes him talk to the piano and relate to the audience.” ~ H.H

Miami’s acclaimed pedal steel guitarist, Roosevelt Collier from The Lee Boys, was the next guest for the evening.  He began by to sitting in on The Beatles’ “Revolution.” It was a special treat for Bowlive fans to see this uniquely talented musician play his equally unique instrument, the lap steel guitar.  The Bowl shrieked with the lovely sounds echoing from Rosie’s instrument. Collier was also in town for an Allman Brothers Band after-party gig at B.B. Kings Blues Club in Times Square the following night.  There was wonderful playfulness between Neal Evans and Collier. Marco was in his own world crushing so hard. It’s quite possible that Marco gets better with every note he plays. Roosevelt added a fantastic layer of sound with his lap steel-guitar as he and Krasno battled it out in a full on jam session for the ages. Pure hot-sauce.

Soulive added another piece of musical history to the Bowlive run when, with Roosevelt Collier and Marco Benevento’s help, they jammed out their first ever Elton John tune in Bowlive history: “Benny and The Jets!” What a crowd pleaser. Sonya Kitchell was back on vocals, in line with the Shady Horns and then Marco got up from his rig and dangled the microphone over the heads of those in the front row. “Just these guys!” said Marco and the audience joined in on the biggest sing-a-long of the run. The funny man continued to swing the microphone around heads before going back to his keyboards to have a duel with Collier.

The magic continued with “My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Soulful Strut.” What more is there to say that I haven’t already said. Classic after classic, this group of musicians, all seasoned jamming artists, continued to slay the audience with solo after solo. Jam after jam. Collier and Krasno continued to duel it out on the strings while the Evans brothers held down the rhythm so tightly. Audience members had their hands extended towards the sky as if they were worshiping to their gods. Their Gods of Rock!

For the next tune, it was fun to see Marco opened it up with the famous John Bonham count-in, “We’ve done four already but now we’re steady and then they went: One, Two, Three, Four.” BOOM!!!! The audience was immediately washed away by a rousing rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean.” It’s particularly nice to hear this tune performed during Bowlive with Marco because Led Zeppelin doesn’t have a keyboardist in their band, making this arrangement unique.

Encore I
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

The set was supposed to end there but it was Friday night and Soulive was on fire. So, they pulled out Encore #1 with Beatles’ tune, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” Ironically, on this day in 1984, part of Central Park in New York was renamed Strawberry Fields in honor of John Lennon.

Encore II
So Live!
Cash’s Dream
Nubian Lady

The stage empties for about 60 seconds. At that point, Alan Evans is back on the microphone stating, “We were going to end the set but we have some more surprises y’all, all the way from the Beacon Theatre, Oteil and Kofi Burbridge.” Eric Krasno leans into the microphone with a huge grin and says, “Burbridge Brothers in the building!” Oteil Burbridge has been the bassist for The Allman Brother’s Band since 1997 and his brother, Kofi, has been playing flute and keys for many bands on the jam scene for years as well.  Hearing Kofi’s flute in the mix of “So Live!,” “Cash’s Dream,” and “Nubian Lady” was stunning. He fluttered through the songs, bouncing back and forth between the piano and his flute, both instruments he dominates.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

During “Cash’s Dream,” the Shady Horns joined the stage while Oteil Burbridge really let it rip on his bass. Oteil guided the song to a really spacey place. Victor Cornette used the lights to enhance the mood and there it was, the pinnacle of the evening with Ryan Zoidis adding effects to his horn, bringing it that much higher. In the end, it was just one epic extended solo, each musicians playing off each other and feeling the family vibe super hard. People were jumping on their feet with both hands in the air. Just a full on Jam Session between friends and as we danced with our own friends in the audience, it was a great way to end a Friday night.  Thank you Soulive, Roosevelt, Marco, Oteil, Kofi, Sonya and all the amazing musicians that made last night another night for the books.


Tonight, the last night of Bowlive V, you will get an array of surprise musicians playing a laundry list of amazing songs. That is just how it goes down on the finale night of a Bowlive run. 


List of Special Guests and Openers



SATURDAY, MARCH 15 – Special Guests: GEORGE PORTER JR. feat. a special #LONDONSOULIVE joint set

Opener and Special Guest: JON CLEARY

Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY, MARCH 20 – Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC)


Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

Read Full Post »

Bowlive V: Night VI – Soulive w/ Dmc (of Run DMC) and Talib Kewli @ The Brooklyn Bowl (03.20.14)

The wonderful crew at the Mischief Collective, specifically Hilary Gleason and Tory Pittarelli, have been covering Bowlive V along side myself the entire run. Understanding and impressed with their dedication to art and music, I felt them to be the ideal candidates to cover Bowlive: V Night VI, for TinyRager.com and the Soulive and The Brooklyn Bowl blogs. This is only the second out of 46 Bowlive shows I have missed and I felt the hard pull to be at the Bowl but knew the review was in great hands. For a complete review of The Mischief Collective’s Bowlive V run to date, please click here.

Alan Evans Trio Set
They Call Me Velvet
Easy Meat
Ain’t No Tellin’
Nothing to Say
Going Back to Buffalo
Sunshine of Your Love
Cosmic Hazel Dust

Alan Evans’ Playonbrotha opened Thursday night in epic fashion. Formerly the Alan Evans’ Trio, the group changed their name earlier this week, in part to buck the notion that they are just a jazz trio. In reality, Playonbrotha, skillfully weaves together rock, blues and jazz in a fresh and exciting way. Persevering through a myriad of technical difficulties during their set, Danny Mayer still impressed the audience with his incredibly smooth and improvisational guitar licks. Soulive’s own Alan Evans anchors the trio on drums, which meant he played for nearly four hours last night.

“I don’t know how Alan Evans did it last night, crushing some awesome rock with Playonbrotha before two more dope sets with Soulive. He truly put on a clinic in versatility last night. ~ R.A.

Playonbrotha took the audience on quite a ride last night and undoubtedly converted some new life-long fans. We all know an audience loves a cover, and Beau Sasser did not dissappoint as he skillfully led the trio through bass-heavy hits like Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”. The trio’s most recent album, Merkaba, was extremely well received and contains two of the songs we heard last night, “They Call Me Velvet” and “Cosmic Hazel Dust”. Building upon this success, Playonbrotha will be releasing a new album later this month and touring with Brooklyn based power-funk group Turkuaz. To see when they will be playing near you, click here. We can’t recommend it enough.


Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

dmc-fans walk-this-way

Set I
Rudy’s Way
Uncle Jr.
Backwards Jack
The Blast (Kweli)
State of Grace (Kweli, Abby Thompson)
Get By (Kweli, Abby Thompson, Jennifer Brooks)

It is definitely safe to say that the energy was at its absolute highest thus far in the 8 night run before Talib Kweli or DMC even made their way to the stage. Part of the magic of Bowlive is the element of surprise; no one knew exactly when or how these two hip hop legends would be involved in a Soulive set, but the packed house was ready to find out.  Talib was the first guest of the evening alongside Abby Thompson, and the two broke right into “The Blast,” from Talib’s album with Hi-Tek. Talib then introduced “State of Grace,” and the highly anticipated favorite, “Get By,” from his album “Quality,” co-produced by none other than Soulive guitarist, Eric Krasno.  After this set, there was no question as to why Talib is considered one of the most respected hip hop artists alive.

Talib’s stage presence and flow can only be matched by that of the legendary Darryl “DMC” McDaniels. DMC took the stage with incredible magnetism, getting the crowd more hyped than we had seen from any of the previous nights. Talib professed to the audience how important their set together was for him because Run DMC is the music he grew up on, and then they busted right into “Peter Piper.” We have never seen a crowd move like this at Brooklyn Bowl. One of the greater moments was when DMC dropped down to his knees in front of Krasno, a move that echoed the sentiments of many of us in the crowd.

We were pleasantly surprised, yet again, when Mike Montali, the lead singer of Hollis Brown joined the stage for “It’s Tricky.” This collaboration was awesome, in part, due to the chemistry between Montali and DMC. The pair recorded a single titled, “The Fly,” at Brooklyn’s Galaxy Smith Studios, which was started by the Mischief Collective’s own Dani Barbieri alongside Dave Brandwein in 2012. You can view the video here.

Set II
The Swamp
7 Minutes of Funk (DMC)
Peter Piper (Kweli, DMC)
It’s Tricky (Everyone, Hollis Brown)
Walk This Way (Everyone)

Talib, DMC and Mike Montali brought the excitement levels to an all time high when they launched into Aerosmith’s, “Walk This Way.” Last night proved to us once again how versatile Soulive and The Shady Horns can be. Throughout the run we have seen them master every musical genre imaginable, and we can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for us on these last two nights.

Hilary Gleason (Author, Photos)
Tory Pittarelli (Author, Videos)
Dani Barbieri (Photography)


Tonight, Bowlive will be opened by the beautiful songstress Sonya Kitchell and special guest, avant-garde keyboardist Marco Benevento, joins Soulive for another face-melting night of rage.


List of Special Guests and Openers



SATURDAY, MARCH 15 – Special Guest: GEORGE PORTER JR. feat. a special #LONDONSOULIVE joint set

Opener and Special Guest: JON CLEARY

Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY, MARCH 20 – Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC)


Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

Read Full Post »

Bowlive V: Night V – Soulive w/ Jon Cleary, Joe Russo and Susan Tedeschi @ The Brooklyn Bowl (03.19.14)

How is everyone’s energy level? Bowlive is a dance party that just will not quit, am I right? The trio has kept the energy up with amazing musical collaborations, secret treats and high energy, powerhouse guests for five nights. And we still have three more to go. For anyone who might be a bit tired from the previous nights, remember, when the music starts, those endorphins drop and the music lifts you back up. Last night’s special guests, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Russo and Jon Cleary, all collaborated to bring us to the highest plane of musical existence that could be reached.

Having been to 44 out of 45 Bowlive shows, I am able to pick out the faces of those of you who are engaging with Soulive every single night. I know that the band sees your face and appreciates your dedication as well. Something I have also noticed during this run, more than others, are the faces of other musicians just hanging in the wings watching and dancing. Last night Reggie Watts and Danny Mayer were on the Bowling ledge. Previous nights, you could see famous NBA players, members of Deep Banana Blackout and bassist Ron Johnson.

I was talking to my friend last night about a residency Soulive did in the early 2000’s. It was a five week run on Tuesday nights at different venues throughout the city with different guests and types of music being played.  A funk night. A jazz night. A rock night with Warren [Haynes]. It was really special. Well, I hit all of those shows and we both talked about how the band and I have graduated from a show a week to playing every night with these guests and incorporating all types of music  to really make a delicious soul stew.” ~ G.F.

Bowlive Hump Day edition: From the first notes of So Live! last night, my brain refreshed and reminded me why I have such a fondness for this band, these boys can play!  ~ M.V.M.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Jon Cleary Set
I Feel So Damn Good I’ll Be Glad When I Get the Blues
Cheating On You
The Crave (an emotionally complex piece.)
I Get The Blues When It Rains
Unknown (Boogie Woogie Tune)

Jon Cleary, opened Bowlive for the second night in a row. Just like the previous night, the dance floor was bulging with New Orleans music fans by 8:30pm. For a man with his level of musical knowledge, I was expecting to see more of his talent unfold on the Brooklyn Bowl stage.  However, we were all quite shocked when Cleary performed the same exact set as he had the night prior. Song for song, word for word, story for story.  This was wonderful for those who had missed Cleary’s uplifting performance last night, but some of us were looking for more.  Don’t get me wrong, the set he put together was upbeat, engaging, and informative, as he described each tune before he played them, dropping bits of knowledge on the songs before performing. This is a trait I wish all musicians would adopt. To learn more about Jon Cleary’s set, please check out yesterday’s review on Tinyrager.com.

Cleary opened again with pretty much the same set as the night before. His piano solos with the band prove why he is a Nola living legend. I particularly enjoyed seeing Cleary watching Neal Evans from the stairs for at least 2-3 songs, obviously blown away by his prowess. ~ R.G.

Set I
So Live!
Eleanor –> I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
76 (Joey)
Up & Out (Joey)
For Granted (Horns)
When You Get Back (Cleary, Mark Rivers)

The ever-powerful members of Soulive, Eric Krasno (guitar), Neal Evans (bass keys/clavinet), and Alan Evans (drums), took to the stage for a fifth night of electric and eclectic music.  Following the pattern of the previous nights, Soulive hit the stage as a solo trio for “So Live!” and “DIG.” Both songs are heavy hitting tunes that grab your attention right out the gate. The musical prowess of the trio was thrown from the stage into the ears of the audience, which got everyone grooving.

Once again, Bowlive delivers! Strong, classic Soulive opening reminding us all what we really came for! ~ R.G.

Things got all psychedelic with a Beatles medley, “Eleanor Rigby” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” off Soulive’s Rubber Soulive album, released in  2010, during Bowlive I. The arrangements of these Beatles tunes are distinctly Soulive. They perform the songs with the energy of the 70’s and with a deep appreciation of what it means to be able to play these inspirational tunes today. To get an idea of how hard-hitting the boys have been kicking things off, it was during the medley that Alan Evans broke his drum. Not his drum stick, HIS DRUM! The stage hands were on point and if you hadn’t been watching, you might not have ever known something happened. The beat goes on…

After getting down to the classics, it was time to turn our appreciation upon one of the greatest drummers in the jam band community. Joe Russo, the current drummer for Furthur (featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead), joined the stage for “76” and “Up & Out.”  Russo has a laundry list of musical projects that he is involved with. Most notably, Russo makes up one half of the Benevento/Russo Duo (many might know them simply as “The Duo”) and Marco Benevento, his musical better half, will be a special guest this coming Friday.

Not only did Krasno start with “76,” one of my favorite songs but Joe Russo destroys the drum kit like I’ve never seen, specifically on that song before. Watching Krasno quietly show Russo the rhythm of the song just before they got into it, blew me away even more. ~ R.G.

Russo came out with so much force. The audience had already seen one drum broken and we were waiting on another after seeing Russo’s fierce start.  Russo plays a giant drum set-up when he is playing for Furthur but his range was not squelched one bit as he beat his way around Alan’s kit. All of the power that is normally spread out amongst his large kit became refined and focused on Alan’s.

The Shady Horns, consisting of Eric Bloom (trumpet), Ryan Zoidis (baritone saxophone) and James Casey (alto saxophone), hit the stage next, with Alan Evans back on the drums, for the horn-heavy, “For Granted.” A fan favorite, this song features tight horn arrangements from long-time Soulive collaborators and friends, Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis. Each horn took a solo, showing off their chops and then kicked it right into “Vapor,”  which was dominated mainly by Bloom’s trumpet.

For the final song of the set, Jon Cleary was brought out to drop the sound of New Orleans back into the mix for “When You Get Back, We Gonna Cha Cha Cha.” Cleary played this tune during his solo set last night so hearing it will a full band was phenomenal. What a full sound. We were also privileged enough to have a surprise sit-in by Mark Rivers, the harmonious vocalist from the Tedeschi/Trucks Band. It was a fabulous set and for those who had felt even the slightest bit tired, had shaken it off with all the dancing.

Set II
El Ron
Butterfly (Susan)
Tired of My Tears (Mark Rivers)
Break In The Road
It’s So Heavy
Clean Up Woman (Cleary)

“El Ron,” written by Alan Evans and found on the Steady Groovin album, kicked off the second set and the audience straight grooved. This was followed by “Aladdin,” with deep improvisations and extended jams including a cascading brass waterfall within the horn section. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get more jamming, special guest of the evening, American blues and soul musician, Susan Tedeschi,  joined the stage.  Man, oh, man! What a treat!

“Eleanor Rigby” was sweet, as was the other Beatles cover that enticed the crowd. Seeing Joe Russo and his ferocity on Alan’s kit was a treat, but my hopes for Susan’s arrival had me wondering when I might see her saunter down the steps from the green room above. Needless to say, my wish was granted three songs into the second set, when she came out for her time to shine with “Butterfly.” ~ M.V.M.

Susan Tedeschi was the second lady of music to grace the Bowlive stage this year. Nickie Bluhm preceded her last week with her folksy voice, but now, it was time for some deep, southern blues and soul.  Tedeschi is unparalleled in this department, as far as I am concerned. Her style is based in American roots music, especially electric blues, Southern soul and black gospel. So, when she opened her pipes for her original tune “Butterfly,” those who were not paying attention, stood at attention. Both men and women fixated on her amazing presence. Did I mention that she crushes the guitar also?

“Susan is the direct heir to Bonnie Rait and Muddy Waters.” P.P.

“I can’t give enough love to this woman. Her voice touches my soul. We all have artists who we connect with on a DEEP, personal level and Susan Tedeschi is one of mine. I broke off an engagement in 2009. Susan’s version of the Bob Dylan tune, “Baby, Don’t Think Twice,” was quite literally the song that saved my heart and my head. I was totally prepared to let the tears flow if she sang that tune. Or anything slow for that matter!” ~ K.D.

For those of you who might not know who Susan Tedeschi is, you might know her husband, Derek Trucks, of The Allman Brothers Band.  In fact, while Tedeschi was headlining the Brooklyn Bowl last night, Trucks was headlining the Beacon Theater. This husband and wife duo formed the Tedeschi/Trucks Band in 2010 but plan on focusing on this project full-time after the Allman Brothers end their final run at the Beacon this week. Having played with Soulive on numerous occasions, as well as having made her Bowlive debut at Bowlive I, Susan is a veteran in that regard but her band-mate, vocalist Mark Rivers, made his debut last night, coming out for the remainder of the set.  “Tired of My Tears,” a Ray Charles tune, was a wonderful showcase of their joint ability to sing and perform together. Tedeschi lead the group on guitar while Krasno kept it reeled in on rhythm for “Break In The Road,” a great sing-along song with Joe Russo back on drums. The slower, blues-based Tedeschi/Trucks Band tune, “It’s So Heavy,” was next, followed by “Misunderstood.” Both of these tunes were “written by Eric Krasno,” said Susan, and the harmonies between she and Mark Rivers continued.

I really loved the “Tired of My Tears,” but the sweetest moment of that set for me was the all star ensemble covering Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman,” that in itself, solidified my girl crush for that amazingly talented songstress and one hell of a guitar player, also known as Susan Tedeschi! ~ M.V.M.

The stage was set for an explosive encore as Jon Cleary was brought out again, this time for the Betty Wright tune, “Clean Up Woman.” It should be noted that James Casey also sang the harmonies with Rivers while Joe Russo was seen at the back of the stage beating and shaking all the percussion instruments he could find.

“Last night was amazing. Susan and the boys out on a blues and soul revue. From the moment she walked on stage her ability to sing and play guitar took both the crowd and the band to the highest levels  of the run so far. The last coupe of songs with Cleary and Russo really showed just how good Soulive is at allowing their guests to shine while never taking a step backwards.” ~ G.F.

Little By Little (Joey & Tash)
Turn On Your Love Light (Everyone)

Tash Neal, the shredding guitarist for the rock trio The London Souls, surprised the crowd when he came out for the heart breaking tune, “Little By Little.” There were now three crushing guitarists and two raging keyboardists on stage amongst the horns, drums and vocalists. This tune was supposed to be the finale of the night but when it ended, none of the musicians left the stage. Instead, they put their heads together and pulled out an epic, “Turn On Your Love Light,” that beamed out over the entire audience, who beamed back with intense appreciation. “Love Light” is a famous song recorded in 1961 by Bobby Bland but made famous by The Grateful Dead, who adopted it into their catalog in 1966. The Grateful Dead had finally come to Bowlive and the audience responded with such a fury of applause and smiles.

Soulive and there special guests continue to make magic. The shows get better and better.There “Love Light” was shining oh so bright last night! What fun! ~ L.H.

“Is your light shining yet? ARE YOU SHINING YET?” ~ A.S. shouted as she grabbed my hand and thrust it in the air!

Last night was an epic night at Bowlive. Joe Russo brought a level of energy to the drum kit that pumped the band up to full throttle. Susan Tedeschi blew my mind. I am so used to seeing her next to Derek Trucks these days that I forgot what a virtuoso guitarist she is in her own right. She played pretty songs and blues tunes and ripping jamming songs. By the time the night was over and her “Love Light” was shining on all of us. I felt so happy to be a part of it all standing in the Brooklyn Bowl, my temple on earth. So blessed. ~ J.R.

“Love Light” was the proverbial icing on the cake, the cherry on top, the gravy for my mashed potatoes. Whatever you want to call it, that was on fire! My musical cup overfloweth and my Bowlive cherry has been popped proper! So grateful for two amazing nights of music! ~ M.V.M.

Last night was one of those fantastic Bowlive evenings when everything comes together. Various artists from various genres, playing their various instruments and sounding as if they had rehearsed for weeks. Truth be told, they probably rehearsed earlier that day but one of the most beautiful things about our music scene, which incorporates all genres of music, is that the jam is what is most important. Not the money or fame, but the music itself. Bowlive delivers us our favorite band kicked up a notch. Every night they strive to beat out the first. Every night they strive to hit the highest plane of musical magic. Soulive recognizes that the music is the key ingredient to BOWLIVE and they bring out key players in the musical world to deliver that message to our ears. Thank you Soulive!


Tonight, Soulive will change the game completely with conscious rapper, Talib Kewli and DarrylD.M.C.Matthews McDaniels, a pioneer of hip hop culture and founding members of the hip hop group Run–D.M.C.


List of Special Guests and Openers (and past night reviews)



SATURDAY MARCH 15 – Special Guest: GEORGE PORTER JR. feat. a special LONDON SOULIVE joint set

Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY MARCH 20 – w/ Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC)


Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

Read Full Post »

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