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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
Bubble
Uncle Jr.
Backwards Jack
Brother Soul
Cannonball
Nubian Lady
Povo

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.

Wyllys

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.

Conclusion

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:

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List of Special Guests and Openers

THURSDAY, MARCH 13 – Special Guests: NIGEL HALL, EDDIE ROBERTS, more TBA

FRIDAY, MARCH 14 – Special Guests: GEORGE PORTER JR. and SPECIAL GUESTS TBA
Opener: LEROY JUSTICE

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

TUESDAY, MARCH 18 – Special Guest: JOHN SCOFIELD
Opener and Special Guest: JON CLEARY

WEDNESAY, MARCH 19 – Special Guests: JOE RUSSO and SUSAN TEDESCHI
Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY, MARCH 20 – Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC)
Opener: ALAN EVANS TRIO

FRIDAY, MARCH 21 – Special Guests: MARCO BENEVENTO, ROOSEVELT COLLIER, OTEIL and KOFI BURBRIDGE, FELIX PASTORIUS, and BRANDON NIEDERAUER
Opener: SONYA KITCHELL

SATURDAY, MARCH 22 – Special Guest: BILL EVANS,
Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

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Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Bowlive V: Night IV – Soulive feat. Jon Cleary and John Scofield @ The Brooklyn Bowl (03.18.14)

As the members of Soulive settled in over the years, their Brooklyn Bowl based annual residency, Bowlive, has became as institutional as the music itself. During the first week, the audience was privileged enough to enjoy the musical styling of vocalists Nigel Hall and Nicki Bluhm, turntablist DJ Logic, rocking guitarists Warren Haynes and Eddie Roberts, legendary bassist George Porter, Jr., and house band, The Shady Horns. Full band performances and collaborations by Leroy Justice and The London Souls added to the marvel. Every song sailed down the middle of the stage, rolled by the trio with the consistency of a pro bowler. This consistency, of course, has been the key to Soulive’s longevity.

“When Soulive hit the stage, I was surprised at how they constantly matched the energy from the previous nights. I’m always reminded of the 80’s power trio bands that filled a room with just three musicians and am amazed how these guys do it. A modern day jazz/funk power trio like no other.” ~ R.G.

Commencing with their second week of Bowlive V, Neal Evans, Alan Evans and Eric Krasno have put together another long list of talented musicians to keep us satiated for the remaining five nights. Over the next few evenings our musical senses will be overloaded with the likes of Joe Russo, Susan Tedeschi, Jon Cleary, Bill Evans, Alan Evans Trio, DMC (of Run DMC), Marco Benevento, Sonya Kitchell, and WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger. You can also count on some surprise guests.

For night IV, Soulive made all the right moves, showering the audience in musical genius, making sure no one would regret coming out on a Tuesday night. With Jon Cleary and John Scofield as the special guests last night, it was the perfect kick-off for the second week. And what a kick-off it was. It was truly stimulating. Soulive and their guests performed one long extended set with Jon Cleary opening to a packed house at 8:30pm.

“Notes from the front line, my first encounter with Bowlive! Thank you Soulive and Brooklyn Bowl for making our first Brooklyn Bowl/Bowlive experience a very memorable one. From the moment we arrived, we were welcomed by the staff and had a great pre-show dinner, followed by the acquisition of the highly coveted John Warner Bowlive poster, which are limited to 15 posters per evening. After seeing some fellow Pittsburghers and Jam Cruisers, we secured our spots on the platform area with a killer view of the stage.” ~ M.M & L.M.

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

Phone Capture Courtesy By Rob Mishaan

Phone Capture Courtesy By Rob Mishaan

The venue was packed with devoted music fans. This wasn’t your average audience who was there to drink and chat it up with their friends. Almost every eye was fixated on the stage as Jon Cleary opened the night with a solo piano set showcasing his vested studies in the music of New Orleans. Having moved from Kent, England to study the music of New Orleans, Jon Cleary is arguably the best out there right now. A disciple of Professor Long Hair and James Booker, Cleary’s voice is salty-sweet and he is a master of the piano, organ and guitar. You may know him best as a member of Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal‘s bands and his own group, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. With his blend of jazz, blues, soul, gospel, and honky-tonk, Cleary epitomizes New Orleans music. His set was evidence of his extreme caliber of musical knowledge.

Jon Cleary started the night of music off right, as I was immediately intrigued by his silky smooth voice and Deniro-esque looks. His “Big Easy” style was quite a cover for his British heritage. This new musical discovery for me had me Googling his discography this morning to see what else I could find out about this man!” ~ M.M. & L.M.

“Having just booked our trip to Nola for jazziest the night before I could not have asked for a better punctuation. Watching Jon Cleary play keys in such classic New Orleans style blew us away. I could only wonder if Neal Evans was peeking down the stairs to watch this guy.” ~ R.G.

Set I
Shaheed
Come Together
One in 7
For Granted
Cannonball
What You See Is What You Get
Nealization
Something’s Got A Hold on Me
Motherless Child
Walk With Me
Don’t Need No Doctor
Turn It Out
Hottentot

Encore: Get Back

Last night, there wasn’t three sets or even two sets, there was one long extended set which ended promptly at midnight. Soulive, The Shady HornsJon Cleary and John Scofield would command the stage with various genres of blues and jazz, filling every second of the evening with prodigious music. The set started out with the members of Soulive performing “Shaheed,” The Beatles‘ tune, “Come Together,” and “One in 7.” During “Come Together,” the audience sang along with heads bobbing and the stage lights flashing, while “One in 7” was played with a delightful intro. It was also during this time that there was some malfunction with Neal’s keyboards. Times like these can break a musical moment but Alan Evans picked up the slack by drumming his heart out while the chords on his brother’s rig were being fixed. When the audience heard the rejuvenation of the bass keys, it was on!

“Upon completion of Jon Cleary‘s set, Soulive took the stage, embracing me with their soul soothing sounds and reminding me that Neal Evans is a true bad-ass! Watching him lay down those bass lines with his left hand as his right hand plays the Hammond chords was literal music to my ears! The Beatles‘ cover “Come Together” got the crowd singing along, but you could see the anxious anticipation for the arrival of John Scofield, who was the special guest of the evening. Having the pleasure of watching such musical prowess and interplay in such close proximity was truly a treat.” ~ M.M.

“For Granted” and “Cannonball” were both played with the help of The Shady Horns. Ryan Zoidis (baritone/alto saxophone), Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet) and James Casey (alto saxophone/percussion) always bring a special vibe to the stage when they join Soulive. As much as they is a respected jazz trio, their vested interest in funk runs deep. The audience is blessed to have a horn ensemble in the mix of some of their favorite jazz tunes. “For Granted” was a wonderful showcase for the widely talented Ryan Zoidis, while James Casey absolutely stole the show with his performance on “Cannonball.” Eric Bloom took his liberties with his pedals and effects during his solo, as well.  These two songs were meant to showcase The Shady Horns and boy, did they deliver.

The Shady Horns were dead on, once again. Eric Bloom‘s effects-enhanced solos and James Casey killed it, as always, while Ryan continues to be the mainstay. Gonna get some more rest today so I can get back there tonight with Tedeschi!!!” ~ R.G.

The eyes say so much, and they speak even louder when a musician closes his eyes and is fully immersed in song. This happened to Krasno throughout the remainder of the set. When Scofield came on the stage, Krasno was in a blissed-out state of being, eyes closed, in total focus. “What You See Is What You Get,” a major hit for the Dramatics in 1971, is Scofield’s interpretation of Detroit soul music.  The beautiful thing about John Scofield is that even though he covers many old tunes, the arrangements are all his own. “Nealization,” obviously composed by Neal Evans, was a fantastic representation of his talent. Scofield played lead guitar while Krasno played rhythm. The entire crew on stage was grinning from ear to ear while the ax-men played off each other, trading delicious licks on their guitars.

“I have been a fan of John Scofield since the first time I saw him at The Bottom Line in NYC in 1980. I always mark this night as a must go. Even having stayed home from work sick, I got the energy up to get there. I was not disappointed!!! It is so obvious that Kraz uses Sco as a mentor and has used him as one of his many inspirations. As it is equally obvious how Sco is impressed with Kraz. There dueling solos blew the entire audience away. Sco has a way of making his guitar sing.” ~ R.G.

“Can someone explain to me how Neal Evans solos on keys with Soulive while also dropping funky bass? Meanwhile, I can’t even rub my tummy and tap my head at the same time…” ~ K.S.

“Neal Evans is the most underrated bass player in music. His right hand gets so funky, we forget his left is leading us to the promise land.” ~ J.S.

The next two songs were songs off John Scofield‘s latest album release, Piety Street. The Rev. James Cleveland cover, “Something’s Got A Hold On Me,” was first but it was “Motherless Child,” a traditional negro spiritual born out of slavery and sung by Cleary with sharp new harmonies, that grabbed the audience’s attention. 

“When I heard “Motherless Child,” I almost didn’t recognize it. I recognized that I was hearing the words of a song I knew but the arrangement was so different from the versions I’d previously heard.  I am aging myself by saying this but I remember the first time I ever heard that song. I was just 15 years old. It is the hidden song within Track 11 off the Cracked Rear View album by Hootie and The Blowfish. Y’all remember that? Darius Rucker sings the song in it’s traditional A-Capella style. It was as beautiful to back then as it was now, hearing it in this new style and arrangement. I adore when modern musicians take classic songs and make them their own.” ~ K.D.

“One of my favorite moments of the evening, was when the stage was packed with everyone on the bill, Soulive, The Shady Horns, Scofield and Clearly as they played a tune that featured three part harmonies of Alan EvansJon Cleary and Eric “Benny” Bloom. I look forward to finding that show on Archive.org to relive that moment and sing along with them!” ~ M.M.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Then, the jazz/organ trio pulled a new maneuver out of their Bowlive bag of tricks. Jon Cleary and John Scofield remained on stage, while Soulive and The Shady Horns exited. This would be the first time in Bowlive history where the band allowed the stage to be commanded solely by the guests. It was not a coincidence that Jon Cleary and John Scofield were the two guests playing on the bill last night. Cleary is not only renowned for his ability to play the ivories, but he also composes music and went on to write and join John Scofield on the the road singing and playing with Scofield’s Piety Street Band. Needless to say, the combination of the two artists performing their song, “Walk With Me,” was electrifying and unique. Cleary sat back and watched as Scofield took a few measures for himself before joining in the song.

Through great applause, John Scofield leaned into the microphone. Referring to Cleary, he says, “This guy can play a mean piano but did you know he is an amazing guitarist, as well?” With that, Cleary jumped from the keys and moved to guitar while Krasno picked up the bass for “Don’t Need No Doctor.” Scofield continued, “John Mayer used to sing this song, but you should hear Cleary sing this song.” The audience laughed. The horns had left the stage but James Casey remained playing percussion. Casey is an amazing horn player but his talent by way of understanding sounds in percussion has grown exponentially since we saw him last year at Bowlive IV.  During the song, Scofield could be seen bouncing around, pointing to the next member on stage he wanted to pull a solo.

“I want to say that my highlight was “What You See Is What You Get,” “Nealization” or “Hottentot,” but honestly I had two highlights. (1) Cleary killing it on guitar with Kraz killing it on Bass, and (2) Scofield directing traffic. Maybe it’s an elder statesman thing, but the respect that guy engenders on stage is impressive. He was absolutely in charge and was clearly enjoying going tit for tat with everyone. I especially loved when [John Scofield] made a point to give Alan some play time, because, give the drummer some! Am I right? All in all, just a beast of a show. I fucking love Bowlive.”  ~ B.M.

Jon Cleary‘s turn was up and he retired backstage. The Shady Horns were also held back as Soulive and John Scofield played, “Turn It Out.” This was the time for all the jazz heads to revel in the genre. As much as Soulive likes to give us the funk, jazz is their priority and their growing reputation on this musical path is what has brought them this far. Scofield’s reputation in the Jazz community runs deeper and Krasno’s idolization of Scofield’s style is evident in how Krasno, himself, plays. So you can imagine how equally graceful and intense this part of the set was.

“Seeing two guitar gods trade licks was invigorating, and truly impressive at the same time, as you could see the admiration that Krasno has for Scofield as they both played their hearts out! It was ON, for sure!! “Turn It Out” brought back some great musical memories for me, as I harkened back to a January 2003 Soulive show that took place in an Italian restaurant in the tiny mountain town of Makawao, HI on the island of Maui. It reinforced the fact that we made a great decision to make the trek for our first Bowlive and it’s got me jazzed looking forward to what I’ll get to experience tonight! Thank you Eric, Alan and Neal!! You and your friends bring me musical delight!” ~ M.M.

We love you madly,” said Scofield, “This one is a groover, called ‘Hottentot,’ so let’s keep dancing.” And dance we did. The venue never emptied out like in previous nights and this was a true testament to the musicianship on stage. Like I mentioned previously, this wasn’t your average audience of bar goers. There were super fans in the audience for each of the artists on stage and they were there in full support all night. Alan Evans was featured on a rousing drum solo during “Hottentot.”  He is honestly one of the best jazz drummers around and the audience was overheard speaking on how they were looking forward to the Alan Evans Trio opening for Bowlive on night six.

Everyone was brought back on stage for the single-song encore, “Get Back.” A Beatles‘ tune, it was expertly played by the musicians on stage, having all worshiped the Beatles at some point in their musical careers.  The audience was invested as well and sang along with bodies bouncing. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful collaboration of musicians.

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Tonight, Jon Cleary will return with special guests jazz saxophonist Bill Evans, acclaimed Brooklyn drummer Joe Russo and southern vocalist and guitarist Susan Tedeschi. 

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List of Special Guests and Openers:

THURSDAY MARCH 13 – Special Guest: NIGEL HALL, EDDIE ROBERTS, more TBA

FRIDAY MARCH 14 – Special Guests: GEORGE PORTER JR. & SPECIAL GUESTS TBA
Opener: LEROY JUSTICE

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

TUESDAY MARCH 18 – Special Guest: JOHN SCOFIELD
Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

WEDNESAY MARCH 19 – Special Guests: JOE RUSSO & SUSAN TEDESCHI
Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY MARCH 20 – Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC) and TALIB KWELI
Opener: ALAN EVANS TRIO

FRIDAY MARCH 21 – Special Guest: Marco Benevento, Sonya Kitchell, Roosevelt Collier, Felix Pastorius, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, and Brandon Niederauer
Opener: SONYA KITCHELL

SATURDAY MARCH 22 – Special Guest: Bill Evans and more TBA
Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

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Bowlive IV Recap Including Day & Night 8 Reviews

We’ve officially been “Bowlived” for the fourth year as Soulive reached the finish line of their 4th Annual residency, Bowlive, on Saturday night. It’s a bittersweet feeling; similar to the feelings you get when you have to leave an amazing few weeks at summer camp. For the members of Soulive, seeing the regular faces and New York City fan dedication is a wonderful energy for them to play off of throughout the run. In turn, fans get to see their favorite artists night after night, performing exquisitely executed originals and crushing covers with spectacular guests. All the while, both fans and band dance around with each other, their friends, and other musicians in the audience who are there just to bare witness. Everyone smiles and engages each other, soaking up every glorious note. It’s a symbiotic relationship that is hard to fall away from after being dipped so deeply for eight nights. So, when the end comes, we must remind ourselves that these residencies are special because they only happen once a year! Soulive reminds themselves that they have something special to look forward to as much as the audience does. And each year, the audience witnesses the unfolding of a beautiful musical dynasty that Eric Krasno and brothers Neal and Alan Evans have created.

 Unlike the three previous year’s run, Soulive chose to focus their energy into eight shows instead of ten. This choice applies great pressure to any band who chooses to change the formula of a well-established and respected event. Bowlive fans expect a certain caliber of guests, a high level of surprise sit-ins, and some spectacular musical experiences that sometimes end up being a once-in-a-lifetime moment.  Soulive knows this to be true and always takes the time to consider such factors. How about having Mod dancers bust out into the bowling lanes during the second set of Night I?! It was just go time at that point!

Over the course of eight nights, guitarist Eric Krasno, bass keyboardist Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans provided a stage and support for fantastic and exciting artists. They played endless jams in multiple styles across the musical spectrum, which is an important goal of the residency every year. Special guests included rocking Southern Blues brothers, guitarist Luther Dickinson and his brother, drummer Cody Dickinson, the 1970’s soul vocalist, Lee Fields and his modern day counterpart, Nigel Hall. There was the unmatched pedal steel slide guitarist Robert Randolph, legendary jam scene DJ, DJ Logic, and The Shady Horns lent their wall of sound during the second week with the help of crushing saxophonist Bill Evans one night. Some of America’s most outstanding keyboardists, 1970’s Memphis blues keyboardist, Booker T. Jones, mad scientist and keyboard wizard, John Medeski, and the ever experimental Marco Benevento, dominated their time on stage. Stepping in to melt faces on guitar was the astonishing Los Lobos’s David Hildago and The Meter’s Leo Nocentell. Soulive closed out their epic week playing with America’s most famous funk bassist, George Porter. Jr.

Another exciting element of Bowlive each year is the choice opening bands Soulive picks to set the audience’s mood each night. Due to a benefit at the Brooklyn Bowl on Night Six, there were only seven opening groups, all delivering a variety of musical power. The ridiculous ragers who make up Kung-Fu opened the run with so much fury. It was a perfect choice. The rocking Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, The London Souls and Leroy Justice got the dance floor grooving. It was also a great pleasure to see two powerful females amongst the male-dominated residency by way of Alecia Chakour (The Alecia Chakour Band) and Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow). The soul and flavor of love got shot to our hearts with The Nigel Hall Band, the Alecia Chakour Band and Cocheme Gastulum’s The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow. You’re encouraged to read about them all in the previous night’s posts.

Then, you have the unannounced guests who are a separate list of continual, crushing talent. The Allman Brother’s southern rock guitarist Warren Haynes and slide guitarist Derek Trucks surprised the audience with a secret full third set on Night Two. Trombonists Sanders Sermon (Tedeschi/Trucks Band) and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastatio Band) and trumpeters Maurice Brown and Igmar Thomas, and saxophonist Cocheme Gastulum (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings), enhanced the wall of horns over the run on various nights. Behind everything, the chemistry and talents of Eric Krasno, Neal Evans and Alan Evans, are what make Bowlive possible.

Perhaps the most special show for many Soulive fans is the Kids show. Soulive held another KidsBowl performance early Saturday afternoon from 2pm to 3pm. These specific types of shows bring Soulive’s music to both the fans children and the unknowing adults who bring their kids to bowl on a Saturday, not knowing what a treat they are in for.  For dedicated Bowlive fans, the kids show is a wonderful way for the individual dancing alone at night to bring his or her family to meet one another.  The reality of life becomes evident as the adults were in “parent” mode, not “party” mode. Babies were crawling on the dance floor and children of all ages were running around in bowling shoes. The lights were on and bumpers were out. In their hour, they performed a few Soulive originals and brought Meter’s bassist, George Porter, Jr. It was when the set was over that the real raging began, however, when the children were allowed on stage to play with instruments and dance.

KidsBowl Set:

Uncle Jr.

Vapor

Hat  Trick

Turn It Out

Hey Pockey Way (w/ George Porter, Jr.)

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

 It was back to party time with the evening show and The Alecia Chakour Band opening. Her blues siren vocals backed by Neal Evans on keys, bassist Alex Chakour, drummer Caito Sanchez, saxophonist Cocheme Gastulum, and trombonist Dave “Smoota” Smith, were perfection.  After a lovely instrumental intro, Chakour sang seven band originals, including “Runaway,” “Over Again,” “You Didn’t Tell Me,” and “The Sun.” Each member of her band taking solos and leads amongst her sweet sounding vocals. This was a fantastic group of soulful musicians and a perfect choice to transition into the funk-filled evening.

Opening Set:

1. Instrumental

2. Runaway

3. Over Again

4. You Didn’t Tell Me

5. The Sun

6.Ghost

7. Shirley

8. Everything Time I See You (Stevie Wonder Cover)

The important point of all of this, simply, was the music. Music that creates a passion within Soulive and luckily, that passion is extended to the fans. For the final evening of their amazing residency Soulive would play host to their mentor in funk, Meter’s bassist, George Porter Jr. But not before bringing it home for the Soulive purists, proving once again what a sick power trio they truly are.  The first set was pure fire, and with help from the Shady Horns, there was nothing to divert our thoughts from what was most important.  The set was full of sick Soulive originals, “Uncle Jr.,” “Aladdin,” and “One in Seven.” “Lenny,” a Stevie Ray Vaughn cover and highlight of any set, allows Krasno to open up a can of whoop ass upon your ears. He broke his string during his ripping solo. Enough said. The London Souls’ Tash O’Neal (guitar and vocals) and Chris St. Hilaire (drums) joined for the a “cover” of their own “Steady Are You Ready” then stayed on to help deliver a crushing version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killin’ Floor” in the vein of Electric Flag’s version. Remember, as we learned on Night Four, Krasno is a huge Tash O’Neal fan, so you can imagine the chemistry.

Set I:

Uncle Jr. (w/ Shady Horns)

Aladdin (w/ Shady Horns)

Come Together (Beatles cover)

Lenny (Stevie Ray Vaughn cover)

One In Seven

Steady Are you Ready (London Souls cover w/ Tash O’Neal & Chris St. Hilaire)

Killin Floor (Howlin’ Wolf Cover…Electric Flag Version w/ w/ Tash O’Neal & Chris St. Hilaire)

 Soulive performed a beautiful rendition of “El Ron,” before George Porter, Jr. was introduced for Set II, continuing on as one of Bowlive’s greatest musical mainstays.  During this tune, the Shady Horns, with the help of guest saxophonist Cocheme Gastulum, broke off into an extended improvisational blowing session with Alan supporting on drums. For lack of better words, it could best be described as a drum line for horns. A Hornline, if you will?! The entire second set evolved into of slew of classics from The Meter’s catalog.

“People Say,” kicked off a funk-fueled set with James Casey delivering a rousing solo. Casey has carried a saxophone around his next all week and when he plays, it’s clear that he was meant to blow a horn.  However, it must be mentioned that over the run, Casey provided grooving percussion on the congas for many songs. It was a dance party for “Hey Pockey Way,” as Porter announced that, “Everyday should be Mardi Gras!!!”  Then, audience participation time for the fun tune, “Hand Clapping Song.”  The next Meter’s original, “Out in the Country,” was performed in the style of Porter’s slow emotional arrangement from his It’s Life album. This was a gorgeously played ballad that tugged at the heartstrings of the crowd in a deep way. From a personal perspective, it brought tears to my eyes, almost opening the floodgates until I reeled it back in.  I wasn’t alone in this outpour of emotions. Again, acknowledging that this super-stimulating, night time version of summer camp, full of friendly faces, is like ending an addiction cold-turkey. Bowlive is an institution in the Jam Band universe at this point, it lasts longer than many music festivals, and it’s not easy for the die-hards when it ends.

The set ended and no one moved.  There was just endless screaming and shouting of Krasno and the Evans brother’s names. Then, Brooklyn Bowl owner, Peter Shapiro, stepped onto the stage. On the last night of every Bowlive, right before the final encore of the run, Peter Sharpio does something special for Bowlive’s loyal audience in an effort to show his gratitude for their support of live music.  At the end of the first Bowlive, 700 shots of tequila were handed out from the stage.  He kept it entirely mellow last year by passing around Aromatherapy plants: Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, asking that the audience to grab sprigs of each plant and inhale. This was to encourage a revitalization within our body, mind and soul for the energy to dance on for one more song. Not missing a creative beat, Peter Shapiro took the mic on this final night and thanked us for our loyalty in proper rockstar fashion. He alerted the audience that this was a milestone 40th show for Bowlive and that the he had had made t-shirts with “40” on the back and “BOWLIVE” on the front. XL shirts went flying around the venue and Shapiro asked that the audience put them on right away before Soulive would deliver us our double encore of “He Bite Me (The Dragon)” and “Ain’t No Use.” The gifting of the shirts was a smart and fun way to end this year’s Bowlive.

Set II:

El Ron (w/ Shady Horns and Cocheme Gastulum)

People Say

Take A Chance

Hey Pockey Way

Jezebel

Hand Clapping Song

Out In the Country

Encore:

He Bite Me (The Dragon)

Ain’t No Use

Soulive has truly cemented their reign as a musical dynasty. A talented trio on top of their game in this unforgiving musical bastion of NYC. The magnitude of music overheard during the last two weeks was dynamic and inspiring.  The guests and the musicians solos were magnificent, diverse and captivating. Soulive always gives us something to look forward to every single night of Bowlive and this year was nothing less.

On personal note, I hope these reviews have helped supplement the wealth of musical knowledge that Soulive bequeathed upon us during Bowlive IV.  It is a delight and a  privilege to witness Bowlive every year and count Soulive and the Brooklyn Bowl as part of my local music scene. It also goes without saying that it is an honor and a true highlight of my career to be blessed to write for this amazing phenomenon called Bowlive. Thank you to Peter Shapiro, the Brooklyn Bowl, all the staff and production crew. Thank you to Royal Family Records for the opportunity to cover such a delightful event. A giant thank you to all the guests who lent their sound to the stage. Finally, the biggest congratulations and thank you to Alan Evans, Neal Evans and Eric Krasno for making it all possible. Your fans eagerly await to see what you have in store for Bowlive V!

Karen Dugan

tinyrager.com

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Bowlive IV Night 6 Recap w/ John Medeski, Bill Evans, George Porter Jr & Shady Horns : Tonight Porter, Leo Nocentelli & Shady Horns

To many New Yorkers, Thursday signifies the start of the weekend. Music venues bulk up their staff and bands slated to perform anticipate an audience that is ready for a party.  Last night was the sixth night of Soulive’s Brooklyn Bowl residency, Bowlive IV. The foundation was set for a rocking night of music with the Brooklyn Bowl stocked with staff and Soulive ready to throw it down.

With so many amazing musicians sitting in with Soulive over the past six nights, it has been challenging to ensure proper love is given to everyone. Especially during residencies, focus on special guests and their performances become the unexpected highlights of the articles and sometimes people forget to focus on the core members of the residency themselves. Credit must be given where credit is due.

Guitarist Eric Krasno, drummer Alan Evans and Neal Evans, along with the Brooklyn Bowl, have created something extremely special and unique for the New York music community. Since it’s inception in 2010, Bowlive has turned into a musical Superbowl that pushes the skills of the best of the best. For eight to ten nights, these three rock stars provide a fusion of styles that showcase numerous artist and instruments with Soulive’s distinct sound providing the base. The shared respect between musicians to musicians, and musicians to fans amps the frenetic creative energy that flows from the first downbeat to the final bow. Eric, Alan, and Neal are all at the top of their game and are now standing out among the greats, using the glory of Bowlive to cement their place as a musical dynasty. A dynasty that began in 1999.  It speaks volumes that the trio can support an eight to ten night residency that packs the house every night and attracts some of the biggest names in live music. Last night continued the tradition of amazing collaborations with keyboardist John Medeski and saxophonist Bill Evans.

The power trio had to make a few changes to the musical formula last night. Due to a benefit concert earlier in the day, last night was the first and only night of the run where the power trio did not have a rocking opening band to set pace. Without an opening band, Soulive was tasked with pumping up the eager crowd that was filled up with party animals, packing the dance floor to the brim. By doing so, they completely reinforced to the fans why any of us were there in the first place. Soulive original, “Aladdin,” began the set, providing the first platform for Krasno to open up and slay his guitar.  Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” followed, a song that everyone can geek out on, especially the musicians playing the tune. After six nights, the guys were thoroughly warmed up and just crushing solos left and right on The Beatles tune, “I Want You.”

Enter The Shady Horns, consisting of trumpeter Eric Bloom, saxophonist James Casey, and baritone saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, for “Backwards Jack.” These three horn players provide a platform for the trio to open up and rage. Over the run, Eric Bloom has been experimenting with a guitar Wa Wa pedal during his trumpet solos, while James Casey has broken out the flute and provided percussion on many songs.

Continuing his guest appearance from the fifth night, London Souls guitarist Tash O’Neal joined the stage for the Beatles, “Get Back” and a slow “PJs.” Quality choices off their 2010 album, Rubber Soulive, made up the bulk of the first set before the audience was hit with a special unannounced guest.  Alan spoke to the crowd, “I am sorry for those of you who can’t come tomorrow night. You know, it’s a real shame that you won’t see George Porter, Jr. tomorrow. But it’s ok! Because you can see him now!!!” This was special.

Bassist George Porter, Jr. is an icon, legend and mentor, not only to the members of Soulive, but any true musician or music lover who loves funky, deep, in-the-pocket bass lines. A member of the legendary group, The Meters, Porter’s unique sound can be heard on recordings for Warren Haynes, Patti Labelle, Jimmy Buffett, David Byrne, Johnny Adams, Harry Connick Jr., Earl King, and Tori Amos, to name a few. Soulive is so well-versed on Porter’s catalog that the end of the set list simply read, “Whatever GPJ Wants!”  They cranked out Meter’s covers “Check Your Mind” right into “Funky Bitch,” without missing a beat.

Soulive continued to descend upon us with new musicians, adding keyboardist John Medeski (Medeski, Martin and Wood) and saxophonist Bill Evans to their Bowlive IV roster for the second set. A set that is hard to describe in words. Let’s just start with knowing the fact that Bill Evans was in Miles Davis’s band at the age of 22 and John Medeski was asked to perform on Jaco Pastorius’s 1981 tour while still a teenager. Along with Soulive and the Shady Horns, Medeski and Evans played a mind-blowing set.  Medeski’s avant-garde jazz quality added an incredible layer of sound to the stage, either filling every empty space with a melodic note, or simply striking one key and locking eyes with Neal. The set was filled with songs from Spark, a collaborative album with Karl Denson, released in March 2012. “Spark!,” the title track, kicked it off with Bill Evans crushing a sick solo on his soprano sax. Trombonist Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band) was the next unannounced sit-in who lent her sound on “Povo.”  “Nubian Lady” and “Liquid” followed, sounding exactly like the names suggest. The musicians were so tight, fluid, and everyone on stage was cranking out their notes in improvisational ways, yet sounded as if they had been rehearsing the same songs for years.  Unannounced drummer ?uestlove, who holds a standing DJ set on Thursdays for the Brooklyn Bowl, snuck in for “Nautilus” and proceeded to slam our heads into the beat of the song.  It was inspiring. Soulive encored with an extended, jamming “Tuesday Night Squad.”

Tonight’s jam sessions will start at 8:30 with Leroy Justice opening. Special guests will include bassist George Porter, Jr., guitarist Leo Nocentelli and The Shady Horns will be back in full effect to give their fans one extreme night of funk and fury.

Karen E. Dugan

http://tinyrager.com

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Bowlive IV Night 5 Recap w/ Marco Benevento, David Hidalgo & The Shady Horns : John Medeski, Bill Evans & The Shady Horns

Soulive’s Brooklyn Bowl residency, Bowlive IV, reached it’s fifth night last night.  In past years, this would signify the middle of the run and the end of the residency’s first week. However, Soulive has chosen to pack more talent into eight days this year and continue to impress upon us just how talented they truly are. As if we didn’t know already.

The equally impressive power trio and Bowlive alumi, The London Souls, opened with a fury that paralleled Bowlive IV’s previous night openers. Eric Krasno made a point to remind the audience that this is one of his “favorite bands!” That was a powerful statement from a powerful guitarist who sees and appreciates the talent in his peers and a clear invitation to Soulive fans to pay attention. The London Souls are a classic rock band consisting of shredding guitarist Tash O’Neal, drummer Chris St. Hilaire and bassist Stu Mahan.  Tash’s sound is reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix; the comparisons are just inevitable. However, as a group, they seamlessly flow from multiple styles while improvising styles all with undertones of pure Rock ‘n Roll! Their wickedly expansive sound, something every power trio hopes to accomplish, shone through vibrantly in their performance of originals “Old Country Road,” “Easier Said Than Done,” and the old-timey tune “Bobby James.” The audience rocked out to AC/DC’s “Long Way To The Top” and The Souls closed their set with a rousing cover of Frank Zappa’s “Apostrophe.” So much to say, so little time.

The London Souls Set List:
Lucille Cover
Under Control
All Tied Down
Old Country Road
Honey → Long Way To The Top (AC/DC)
Bobby James
Some Day
Easier Said Than Done
I Think I Like It
Apostrophe (Frank Zappa)

Many times, the relationship between Soulive and their guests is one that has been cultivated in New York City, in front of Soulive fans who get to witness local musical guest sit-ins during local shows.  Last night’s first guest, avant-garde pianist and organist Marco Benevento, a long-time NYC resident now living in Woodstock, is a Bowlive alum that fit this category. Benevento adds an element of improvisational psychedelia and locks right into the groove of every tune he touches with a specific experimental jazzy sound that defines his music. Soulive, with the help of the Shady Horns, churned out “El Ron” and teased Bob Marley’s “WAR” before a crushing “Reverb.” Saxophonist James Casey, Baritone saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and trumpeter Eric Bloom went into a hot, circular jam session, just the three of them, before Benevento joined the stage for another Soulive original “Upright.” Benevento made his presence known with an extended face-melting solo of his own. He remained on stage for the rest of the set, seamlessly layering his sound amongst the trio’s for “Swamp E” and The Beatles cover, “Revolution.”  As much as Benevento is known for his own amazing techniques and stand alone performances, he is also part of a wonderful Led Zeppelin tribute band, Bustle In Your Hedgerow, which New York jam band music fans fawn over. So, when Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” began, Benevento fans and beyond went ballistic and everyone’s musical taste buds were satisfied.

Set I:
El Ron
Reverb
Upright (w/ Marco)
Swamp E (w/ Marco)
Revolution (Beatles cover w/ Marco)
The Ocean (Led Zeppelin cover w/ Marco)

The second set came quick as the excitement of the next guest was something that could hardly be contained by the members of Soulive. Los Lobos guitarist David Hildalgo came out on stage and became the newest musician to join the Bowlive roster. Granted, he snuck into a few tunes the previous night but now was his time to shine.  For those of you who don’t know, Hildalgo is a world renowned guitarist who has played on albums of Buckwheat Zydeco, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Gov’t Mule, and even G. Love and Special Sauce. The list of collaborations goes on as does Hildalgo’s ability to play multiple instruments and styles. However, tonight, his vocals and guitar skills would be the highlight of the second set.  Soulive performed “Shaheed” alone before Hildalgo picked up his guitar and walked out to a screaming audience.  He veered completely off the setlist and performed a fantastic version of Traffic’s “Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring.” The energy on stage was magnetic and the foursome pushed the boundaries of memorable Bowlive collaborations to the limit with Hendrix’s “3rd Stone From the Sun,” and Los Lobo’s tunes, “Dream in Blue” and “Chains of Love.” The Shady Horns threw out killer solos amongst the jams and a highlight of the evening was watching Hildalgo and Krasno trade licks off each other for Jerry Garcia’s “West LA Fade Away.” The tie between Garcia comes from Hildalgo writing “Evangeline,” which the Jerry Garcia Band covered regularly.  Hildalgo and Jerry  played together on numerous occasions and had a huge respect for one another’s playing.  The musicianship on stage was outstanding and the set was pure fire. It’s impossible to replay into words sometimes and for those who were present, they know what I am talking about!

Finally, last evening’s encore could easily rank high in Bowlive History as one of the best. It wasn’t just an encore…It was a “Neil-Core”:  Soulive ended the night with a Neil Young medley for the ages, touching on three distinctly different parts of Neil Young’s career. There could not have had a better supporting cast of guitarists to bring the screeching Neil Young chords to life with David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) and Tash Neil (The London Souls) on stage alongside Eric Kranso.  The first song in the Neil medley was “Ohio,” a political song written by Neil Young about the 1970 Kent State shootings and the protest movement that it helped shape. “Ohio” was followed up by a spirited version of “Down by the River,” a tune Neil Young and Crazy Horse played on the album Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.  Alan Evans, who was lending his drum kit to The London Souls’ Chris St. Hilaire, shared the vocals on that tune with Tash O’Neal. Seeing Alan in the middle of the stage with a microphone in his hand was new and fun. He seemed to be having a blast.  Soulive went even deeper into the Neil Young catalog by playing “For What It’s Worth,”  another powerful protest song written by Neil’s band mate in the Buffalo Springfield, Stephen Stills. These three songs forced those remaining at the Brooklyn Bowl into a dancing frenzy of happiness.

Set II:
Shaheed
Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring (Traffic cover)
Dream of Love (Los Lobos Cover) >
3rd Stone From the Sun (Jimi Hendrix cover)
Chains of Love (Los Lobos cover)
Revolution (The Beatles cover)
West LA Fade Away (Grateful Dead cover)
Stone Free (Jimi Hendrix cover)
-Encore-
Ohio (CSNY)
Down By the River (Neil Young and Crazy Horse)
For What it’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield)

Sure, it was Wednesday night and the audience was weary from dancing their legs off the previous nights, but true music fans love hearing famous covers performed by their favorite bands. Soulive has been consistently banging out tight versions of their own originals but it’s the rousing covers of popular classic rock songs that brought the jam band crowd of the Brooklyn Bowl to their Nirvana last night. These collaborations also feed the members of Soulive. Marco Benevento and David Hildalgo expanded the consciousness of Soulive last night and the audience was just in awe.

Tonight’s guests will include organ wizard (and possibly a regular wizard as well) John Medeski and saxophonist Bill Evans along w/The Shady Horns. Because Brooklyn Bowl is hosting a fundraiser for The Brooklyn Nets this afternoon, so there isn’t an opener tonight.  Doors will open at 8p with Soulive on close to 9p.  On to the next one……

Written by Karen Dugan
Www.TinyRager.com

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Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Paul Motian, and Sp. Guest John Scofield @ The Blue Note (05.12.10)

The Blue Note, NYC

The Blue Note, NYC

I was completely FREAKING OUT!  110% shaking like a leaf with excitement.  My friend was standing next to me just kinda staring at me.  It was physically noticeable.  With a genuinely concerned look, she asks me if I am OK.  Honestly, I might as well been on 100 Five-Hour Energy Shots and crack.  I was on the verge of hyperventilating.  That is how ridiculously excited I was.

Chick Corea took The Blue Note by storm for two weeks, from May 4-9 and May 11-16.  Playing with a brand new project featuring Eddie Gomez on bass & Paul Motian on drums, Chick celebrated the lesser known works of Bill Evans, the project simply called Further Explorations of Bill Evans.

Bill Evans

Bill Evans

For those of you who need some schooling, Bill Evans was a famous, FAMOUS Jazz Pianist/Composer/Arranger who…

“influenced a generation of pianists including: Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, John Taylor, Steve Kuhn, Don Friedman, Denny Zeitlin, Bobo Stenson, Michel Petrucciani and Keith Jarrett, as well as guitarists Lenny Breau, Ralph Towner and Pat Metheny.” ~Wikipedia~

In 1958, Bill Evans was a pianist in Miles Davis’ group.  Can you imagine?  I know Chick Corea and John Scofield certainly can.  Evans influence ran so deep with Miles, his talent so respected, that he wrote the liner notes for Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blues; the best selling jazz album of all time.

Tonight, I got my chance to see two of my biggest musical heroes celebrating one of their musical heroes.  I found that exhilarating.  Of the 12 days Chick Corea played at The Blue Note,  I chose tonight specifically because John Scofield would be the special guest and I was geekin’ out.  Tonight’s Line Up:

FEATURING:
Chick Corea, piano
Eddie Gomez, bass
Paul Motian, drums
w/ sp. guest: John Scofield, guitar

The Blue Note

The Blue Note

At 69 years old, Chick Corea is still going strong.  Having become a fan of his music through my love of Fusion Jazz, Chick Corea has been on my radar for many, many years.  Most of you should recall Return to Forever, with it’s classic lineup of Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on Guitar and Lenny White on drums.  If you haven’t heard of Return to Forever, you might want to stop reading and go check it out.  Seriously, get away from this article and go listen to the music instead of reading about it.  I don’t mind.

For weeks prior to his two week stint, Chick Corea was offering up free tickets to each of his shows through Twitter and via e-mail.  I entered twice a day, every day allowed, but alas, it looked as if I was doomed to pay the $65 for a table or $40 to stand at the bar.  Not a big fan of The Blue Note for these high prices but in this case, I would spend my savings account to see Chick and John play together in this intimate setting.  I mean, it was one of the world’s most famous jazz clubs, how could I complain?!

Stage Sign

Stage Sign with Eddie's bass below

The plan was to get there early and see if we could get a seat at the bar ($40) vs. getting a table ($65) plus a $5 minimum purchase (nothing there is under $7), plus tipping your waitress…you get my point.  Unfortunately, we just missed snagging a seat by one person. We were the first ones standing.  I took a trip upstairs, just figuring out they had restrooms and gift shop up there…and figuring out that this was where the Green Room was located.  I just don’t go to The Blue Note that often for shows so this was a fun discovery. Especially when I saw John come out of the Green Room and throw a smile my way.   People come from all over the world to stop in at The Blue Note, it’s gift shop stocked with all kinds of paraphernalia that  I wanted like the piano ashtray or the hanging poster of Lionel Hampton that isn’t even for sale.  When it does go on sale, my friend “E” and I will be fighting for it to the death.  After my explorations upstairs, we stand around for another 45 minutes.

Inside The Blue Note ~ Chick's Set Up

Inside The Blue Note ~ Chick's Set Up

Already weary from a long day’s work, standing in line outside for 30 minutes and another hour and a half inside, it didn’t take long for my friend to talk me into upgrading to a table so we could sit.  We had to wait until the rest of the reserved patrons were seated but we finally got a seat, in a decent spot for me to see Chick’s side view and John’s front view.  I was happy but, and this is a big but, we were HORRIBLY crammed into our seats, I was practically on top of my neighbor and I am a small little lady.  I felt like a sardine and my back was to the stage the way I was seated.  I turned and was grateful that I WAS a small human being and manipulated my way around to see the stage.  It is also about this time that I said screw the money and I made the MOST out of the awkward situation.  I ordered a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and a scrumptious Flat Bread Salad with Grilled Chicken.  So much for the $40 budget, I think I walked out with a $130 bill that night…so worth every penny.

The Blue Note Bar Sign

The Blue Note Bar Sign

The stage was set with Chick’s grand piano to the left, Eddie’s stand up bass in front of that, Paul’s drum kit raged the middle of the stage and to the right of the stage stood John Scofield‘s stool and music stand.  The scene was set and everyone was waiting.  When they came onto the stage the venue erupted in applause.  I scanned the room looking for someone younger then me and my friend. I was hard-pressed and it made me weary.  I wished there were more young people who are willing to learn from a real musician instead of what was on their radio stations and MTV…barf music.  The set list that night was kind of hard for me, I picked up on 5 out of the 8 songs.  It was hard to tell where one ended and another began.  Luckily Chick’s website had the set list:

SET LIST:
Diane
Stella By Starlight
Song #1
Little Rootie Tootie
My Foolish Heart
Someday My Prince Will Come
Bessie’s Blues
Peri’s Scope

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Diane, a song by Erno Rapee and Lew Pollack, was fast and playful. A great opener, a great song to show case their talent immediately.  There was playfulness between John and Chick right off the bat.   John breaks into his first solo of the night.  What do you think it sounded like?  It was crisp and fast and he was up off the stool as if the music had lifted him right out!  This first song was easily 10 minutes, so long and lovely.  They each took their turn down the line soloing.  Chick was second and being that Erno Rapee was a virtuoso pianist, this song was written for Chick to rage it.  Then it was Eddie’s turn and then it got quiet.  Chick starts the twinkling on the keys…playing scales.  I can see his fingers with his head lowered and slowly Paul sneaks back in with the beat.  John gets up and out of his seat again as he plants another lucrative solo on us.  This was just the first song and I was satisfied.  Great wine, great food, great company, GREAT music.

John Scofield @ The Blue Note

John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Stella By Starlight is a jazz standard, written by Victor Young, that I recognized immediately, but couldn’t grab the name when Chick gave it to us later. Chick started off plinking the keys.  So very slow, Miles Davis’ version has horns but there would be no horns on stage tonight.  With soft taps on the cymbals, Paul joins the songs.  It all seemed so very My Fair Lady, very lounge-y.  Eddie’s bass joined in with slow pulls of his bow here and there, so light and timid.  Just a gorgeous song.

Chick stands up and introduces the band to the audience. There is massive applause for each member.  “These are brand new Bill Evans songs composed a while ago,” Chick says.  “Happy belated Mother’s Day. The first song was called Diane.  We are doing song with ladies in the title….ladies tunes. We will be doing a few Thelonious tunes…”  And the music continues…

Eddie Gomez and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Eddie Gomez and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Song #1 is beyond me.  I had no clue what this song was and I still don’t.   John’s face was contorted into a knot as he played.  The main vein of the song was John on guitar with Chick coming in sporadically on keys.  Chick stopped to take off his jacket, taking a turn to smile at the audience as his back was to half of us.  My wine finally comes.  Even better.

Pounding on the keys with Paul’s drum backing Chick, Little Rootie Tootie, a Thelonious Monk song, was next.  A cute song that reminds me of Charlie Brown cartoons for some reason.  The piano section is just exquisite.  Chick was working up a sweat and dried off his key with the towel.  But it didn’t end there.  John picked up the melody and using his towel, Chick made strokes across the piano from one end to the other making the sounds he needs to banter with John.  This was so cool and lasted for a good three minutes.  My focus then went to Eddie on bass, plucking away as Chick inserts his two cents here and then abruptly ending.  Monstrous applause.

Eddie Gomez @ The Blue Note

Eddie Gomez @ The Blue Note

My Foolish Heart, another jazz standard by Victor Young, was to follow.  Mainly a solo piano piece, this was not to be Chick’s grand solo.  Eddie Gomez starts off very, very slow, dragging his bow across his bass.  With daunting pulls, he stood alone, his sound so deep and lovely.  I remember having to focus very hard as the table full of European tourists were drunk and talking loudly.  It is VERY hard for me to focus. I tried so hard. Luckily the manager came over and quieted them. It didn’t last long.  Did these people not know who they were watching?  I couldn’t believe their lack of manners.  This was not the show to be having a conversation and I was NOT the neighbor to be having a conversation by.  I only had to ask them once.  I was livid for a hot minute and I quickly let the music sooth me.  Heal my anger.  It didn’t take more then a few notes, a sip of my wine and a bite of my lovely salad to be put back into my happy place.  I fell in love with Eddie at this moment.  It was simply magnificent.

Eddie was playing this technically classical jazzy song all by himself and he had hooked me into a dream world as I closed my eyes and let his sound take me over.  There is something about how he played. I could have listened to it for hours. It was the most soothing part of the night. This was not jazz.  This was classical goodness and with the bass! So much appreciation!! It went on for quite some time…and then John comes back in…

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

As I sit there listening, I realize that the songs have been mashed up as Disney’s Snow White’s Someday My Prince Will Come was teased amongst the songs.  In my head I start singing:”A Dream That You Wish Will Come True”.  I also feel as though Norah JonesThe Nearness of You was teased by John.  I thought of my sister and wished she was there to hear this.

John Scofield @ The Blue Note

John Scofield @ The Blue Note

John Coltrane’s Bessie’s Blues brought us a new song, a new sound. Chick starts plunking the keys, pacing the song.  Straight Jazz.  Medium pulls on the bass strings, Eddie is very evident in this song.  Just a yummy jazzy song, all instruments playing at their leisure…that whole organized chaos vibe going on.  John pulled out a faster guitar here and during his solos, shredded his guitar with his face in a million different directions.  Chick’s fingers were moving fast as lighting.  John strums his guitar.  These two were just killing it and this became my favorite song of the night.  Eddie started playing so hard that you could hear his breathing over the music…his voice came out and he couldn’t help it.  And with an oh-so-bluesy ending, more applause and a huge smile on Chick’s face 🙂

Chick on Mic

Chick on Mic

The final song was Bill Evans’ Peri’s Scope.  I think that was the only Bill Evans song they performed to be honest unless that Song #1 is his.  This is not something that held back my happiness one bit. The night had been glorious and it wasn’t even close to being over.  A typical jazzy tune, John filling in for the horn section, it was lovely.  The piano was playful and John and Chick banter with their instruments. So upbeat, light. Soft taps of the cymbals and paced pulls of the bass strings. They were having fun and we felt it.

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

I felt as if it were over as soon as it begun.  I was in love with what I had seen and actually needed more.  Right then.  But there would be no encore and I had been surrounded by overly chatty people, the old gentleman behind me was drunk and HUMMED the entire set.  These things didn’t matter! Within a few minutes I was up out of my chair and ready to go straight up meet these legends.   And that is exactly what I did.  To the Green Room…

John Scofield and TR @ The Blue Note

John Scofield and TR @ The Blue Note (05.12.10)

Upon first meeting John, he asks me if I play guitar.  He asks my girlfriend the same question.  I believe he asks all the ladies this question as his follow up statement was “YIPPIE, I have girl fans.”  LOL!!!  The man was genuinely intrigued and a conversation began between the three of us that continued on for some time.  I lost track of my entire life during that time.  We spoke of the Montreal Jazz Festival, music, guitars, songs, NYC…to transcribe it would take forever and it’s times like these that I don’t need to write down for I will never forget these moments…

Chick Corea and TR @ The Blue Note (05.12.10)

Chick Corea and TR @ The Blue Note (05.12.10)

Upon meeting Chick, he wasn’t as excited but wasn’t fan-blocking me or anything either haha.  We talked about the set, this is the point we discussed song titles and I missed a few as I lost my mind a little during this meeting as well.  There are some artists where I can talk to them like they are family but there are others I can’t even look in the eyes for fear I might explode or turn to stone.  Yeah, it’s like that.  Just so much love for their music, I almost can’t speak to them cause, really, want me to be brutally honest??  The person is so different from the music and I am terrified of changing my relationship with the music.  I don’t generally like to have big sit downs with artists I like.  But when I do, I PRAY they are as genuine as their music.

In this case, Chick and John were lovely people, Eddie and Paul included, even though I barely spoke three words to them having the attention of Chick for a few minutes and John for a few minutes…that was good enough for me.  My friend and I raged the Green Room area for a bit meeting Chick’s wife, who was covered in what I referred to as “glitter.”  She corrected me and said, “Fairy Dust.”  She was a kindred spirit for sure.  After about 30 minutes of straight chillen, my girlfriend and I left The Blue Note completely speechless.  As we walked down the street, neither of us talked but I knew exactly what she was thinking: HOLY SHIT!!  THAT – JUST – HAPPENED!!!

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