Blues Shone Bright at Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival 2017
Colston Hall was buzzing to the sound of live music from the Foyer, through The Lantern and into the Main Stage. Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival has become a regular event in music lovers diaries from Bristol and beyond with its sparkling mix of Jazz & Blues.
Bluesdoodles dipped into the weekend for a Smörgåsbord of blues on offer, from Sari Schorr to Mud Morganfield and we had listening fun and the magic of live music, festival delights of food, beer and meeting and making friends.
The Lantern shone bright as Lorna took the vocal lead for Northsyde and their distinctive blending of blues, funk twisted with the free flow of blues jam tradition weaving in the Allman Brothers and a rocky edge…………………….
No gentle warm up with Sari and her band, she hit the ground running and the tension power and sheer beauty of live music just kept coming. The set list was dominated by tracks from her critically acclaimed debut album Force Of Nature. The album title perfectly describes Sari’s voice it is a true force of nature. Read more HERE
Triple Blues Power Saturday.
Whilst we waited we were treated to Bristol based Elles Bailey in the Foyer deliver blues with power and emotion not surprisingly the applause was warm and loud after every number.
Robben ford was the first act on the main stage today, as blues touched the soul of Jazz we heard a trio on top form as Jonny Henderson’s Hammond and Evan Jenkins drumming provided the support for Robben’s vocals and glorious guitar.
No one would argue, Robben Ford was on fire this afternoon for the Bristol Jazz &
Blues Festival. This was a masterclass in blues guitar playing full of timing, emotion and the soul that makes blues blend and bend around the lyrics. Read More HERE
With a short gap, we had time to eat and chat and listen t the music flowing through the venue this is what a festival is all about what every the weather the music is the force that binds us all.
The next double helping of blues from two renowned artists Kirk Fletcher former lead guitarist of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Followed by Mud Morganfield, bringing to Bristol the legacy of his father Mud Morganfield.
Kirk Fletcher– The set was smooth a cocktail of blues guitar with a new song included with Kirk exploring the eternal question Wish I Had The Answer. This is blues that is full of the whole palette and warmed the hall up for the second helping on the double bill Mud Morganfield………..
The blues were hollered up in every shade with lead breaks and play from all the instruments in turn as hooks for Mud’s vocals as he delivered his father’s catalogue of classics. Mud Morganfield is the legacy that keeps the legend live on stages across the world. We definitely got our Mojo Working, as we met the Seventh Son and left with the Backdoor Man. Read More HERE
The audience sat in anticipation waiting for the fireworks to spark as blues meets jazz creating the sound that defines Robben Ford across the years. The set list was a journey through various albums with a cluster from his acclaimed current album Into The Sun. The trio worked perfectly with an intuitive understanding of where the music was taking them forming shapes and colours that sparkled; with Jonny and Evan playing off each other, opening up the guitar leads breaks for Robben, they sat above the keys and drums but never distant from them. The three musician’s synergy added to every number they shared with us, the audience who collectively purred with the delights of music of the quality as part of a festival that is five years on becoming an integral part of the Bristol music scene.
My favourite moment was Rose of Sharon from Into the Sun with the Hammond’s chords and Evan’s drumming creating a backdrop where Robben’s guitar could fly with the six-strings sparking with energy and blues-drenched style. We heard a firm favourite the tribute that Freddie King, Cannonball Shuffle, for a few moments Robben brought the spirit of Freddie into the auditorium. Robben’s vocals were full of warmth drench in the blues with a story to tell, yet the trio raised the bar with the instrumental, from Bringing It Back Home. On That Mornin’ wow, I truly believe the audience collectively held their breath so nothing disturbed the music being delivered, we were all in a special, unique collective musical moment.
No one would argue, Robben Ford was on fire this afternoon for the Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival. This was a masterclass in blues guitar playing full of timing, emotion and the soul that makes blues blend and bend around the lyrics.
Closing out the afternoon with an authentic blues number, Set A Date, provided a perfect ending as jazz collided with blues and many will be Setting a Date to see Robben Ford live wherever and whenever he plays in the U.K. again.
Blues Joins The Jazz Party in Bristol Festival 2017
From the 16th – 19th March Colston Hall is buzzing with lovers of live music with a mix of Jazz and a sprinkling of shimmering Blues.
People flock to the Lantern, Main Hall and while they wait can sip a coffee, enjoy refreshment to the acts playing in the foyer. Opportunity for Bristolians to meet friends and gain a musical Spring to their ears. Did I mention dressing up in finery and Jiving it all happens over this joyous weekend.
If you think you know jazz and blues, you’re probably wrong! If you love music, you’ll love Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival. We’ve dipped into every genre and traversed the globe to bring you a line-up dedicated to the incredible musical legacy of jazz and blues.
A Trio of Blues Acts will excite with the energy and musicianship.
Thursday 16th March – The Lantern: Colston Hall
Double Bill: Sari Schorr & The Engine Room and Northsyde
New Yorker Sari Schorr with the her Engine Room is taking the world by a storm. Her Album Force Of Nature. With a voice that jolted legendary blues producer Mike Vernon (think Mac, Clapton and Bowie) out of retirement, it’s not hard to see why. The Engine Room is a musical powerhouse featuring the legendary blues guitarist Innes Sibun.
Northsyde has a vocalist Lorna, a true singing phenomenon and a Storytellers Daughter fronting the band. Completing the Northsyde quartet guitarist, Jules Fothergill and longtime friend Left-handed Ian Mauricio’s unusual style (he strings the bass upside down) combined with Haydn Doyle’s forceful grooves give the band a sound unlike anyone else on the rock and blues circuit today. Left-handed Mauricio’s unusual style (he strings the bass upside down) combined with Doyle’s forceful grooves give the band a sound unlike anyone else on the rock and blues circuit today. Bluesdoodles loved Story Tellers Daughter.
Robben Ford five-time Grammy nominated stage and studio legend back to his earliest roots as a performer, playing blues on hs current album Into The Sun; showcasing his distinctive guitar style that ensures Robben stands out from the crowd this weekend in Bristol.
What a stunning combination the voice of Mud Morganfield the first-born son of Muddy Waters – undisputed King of Blues – was naturally drawn to music from an early age but it wasn’t until three years after his father’s death that he decided to pursue it as a career. He’s been wowing audiences worldwide with his charismatic brand of Chicago blues ever since. Mud is a tribute to his father’s memory and a fantastic songwriter in his own right. He’ll spend much of 2017 in the studio working on a new album, but not before doing us the honour of gracing our stage with his talent.
The guitar of Kirk Fletcher, creating licks, riffs and lead breaks infused with blues and darkened with soul. Raised on gospel and R&B, but equally influenced by the likes of Hendrix and Steely Dan, a rich mix of sounds informs the depth and quality of tone you can hear in both his guitar and his voice today.
Kirk spent three years as lead guitarist for legendary blues-rock band The Fabulous Thunderbirds before going solo and has now released one live and three studio albums with a fourth hotly anticipated and on its way. We’re extremely excited to welcome him.
“Kirk is hands-down one of the best blues guitarists in the world.”Joe Bonamassa
Midweek made glorious thanks to the stupendous guitar playing of Robben Ford to a packed house in Cardiff tonight. The anticipation was high and everyone was rewarded with a showpiece of blues with the chimes of jazz rather than dilution of blues guitar by rocky riffs. Robben and his rhythm section delighted the audience at The Globe, a full venue is a delight the energy pings between artist and audience and back again. Robben has a unique take on the blues, exploring a whole gamut of styles with sublime and scintillating lead guitar breaks, whilst maintaining real authenticity with each number. The set list was a mix of music comprising old from his extensive back catalogue; something new with tracks from his last album Into the Sun; lots of Blue and even something borrowed Freddie King’s shuffle.
Opening with Same Train from, Into The Sun we stepped onboard a journey of guitar magic that sets Robben out from the crowd. The blues with jazz chords interspersed with tasty licks were spellbinding, you could spot the guitarists in the audience by the steely fixed gazes of amazement. Cannonball Shuffle proved a fitting tribute to bluesman Freddie King, and throughout the influence of Freddie’s guitar work was evident. We needed something funkier and Robben obliged with High Heels and Throwing Things, raising the temperature with his guitar solos, into the mix we heard a great percussive bass solo from Brian Allen and not to be left out Wes Little explored his drum kit to great effect in his solo.
The whole evening was a masterclass in guitar control, with depth and glittering brilliance, Fool’s Paradise was a beautiful blues/jazz fusion to add to the mix. The music is not about control of his hands as in every track there is a deftness of touch and relaxed approach as if Robben is choosing the path the songs are taking. This is exemplified on Bird’s Nest Bound, the solo is startling its crystal clarity contrasting with the lyrical vocals, the combination was totally mesmerizing.
With a salute to the adoring crowds the band left the stage, but we had one more moment in the sun with Robben Ford’s guitar as he came on and did an Encore Thoughtless. Tonight the concert went too fast for many and we all wanted to hear some more but as Robben sang earlier in the set Midnight Comes Too soon, just like the final note from the guitar it was just too soon. Here’s to the next time Robben Ford visits Wales.
Midnight Comes To Soon
Howlin’ At The Moon
Rose Of Sharon
How Deep In The Blues
Bird’s Nest Bound
High Heels and Throwing Things
Cut You Loose
Please Set A Date
This debut album crammed with a mix of approaches to the blues; it is accomplished and a joy to listen to from the first to the last note. Dr Z Presents Super Sonic Blues Machine has a core of three musicians who understand making great music. Bassist/Producer Fabrizio Grossi is joined by Lance Lopez on guitar and vocals and drummer Kenny Aronoff. Added to this powerful hub are guests that all bring a special style and interpretation to the blues.
The first two tracks introduce the heart of Dr Z, opening with Miracle Man with its blues infused opening and a burst of harp the vocals then kick in as the tempo builds and you just have to join in with the clapping. With its opening chant you are taken deep into the roots of America’s history raw hot and swampy southern rock I Ain’t Fallin Again is both melodic and hypnotic. Throughout the album the trio that is the backbone of the album deliver songs that work in context of the guest they have on board the Dr Z journey taking us West Of Flushing South of Frisco.
Third track Running Whiskey ringing with guest Billy Gibbons’ vibe, a vitality that pours into your ears with the heat and intensity of hot whiskey. The combo of stinging guitars and vocals from Billy adds the feel of ZZ Top to the Party that Is Dr Z Presents Super Sonic Blues Machine. Tempo changes along with the signature style of Warren Haynes steps in with his delicious Southern Rock guitar playing, he is and always will be the Remedy. Recognize the name, you should as he is at the heart of the Gov’t Mule sound, and longtime guitarist with The Allman Brothers Band and his solo work. Who else puts in an appearance with their guitars? Chris Duarte changes the tonal texture with his Texan blues-rock guitar playing – That’s My Way, this is a track that is done Chris’s way with guitar so sharp you can hear the strings vibrate as they cut through the musical backdrop. Next up on the guest roster is Eric Gales, with Nightmares and Dreams as a child prodigy I am positive his musical career has been both, this is a track that is guitar-led and driven with the power of the six-string searing through and dominates. The domination is not about noise and speed it is the subtle mixing of vocals and guitar and layers of sound and variation in tempo as the track develops and as the urgency becomes heightened the guitar follows. Then there is the wailing, howling blues guitar that is the spirit that drives Walter Trout on Can’t Take It Anymore with the accompaniment of keyboard playing that winds itself around the guitar and Walter’s vocals this is a track that is dripping in emotions. The notes are wrung out, stretched out as the lead breaks augment the lyrics with raw open emotions. The last of the guest guitarist plays a slower number full of reflection as Robben Ford sings Let’s Call It A Day a gentle beat as the lyrics explore the ending of a relationship. The guitar work is spot on every time blues with swashbuckling style.
West of Flushing South of Frisco an exploration of the emotive power of the guitar, vocals and the working of the instruments to create an array of tonal textures, emotional shapes. This is blues that rocks gently in the breeze and then howls like a hurricane. Sometimes in a rush other times laid back exploring the power of the six-strings. This album keeps on giving no wonder with so many special guests at the party.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
Dr Z Presents Super Sonic Blues Machine – West Of Flushing South of Frisco – out 26th February on Mascot Label Group
1. Miracle Man
2. I Ain’t Falling Again
3. Running Whiskey (Feat Billy F Gibbons)
4. Remedy (Feat Warren Haynes)
5. Bone Bucket Blues
6. Let It Be
7. That’s My Way (Feat. Chris Duarte)
8. Ain’t No Love (In The Heart of The City)
9. Nightmares and Dreams (Feat Eric Gales)
10. Can’t Take It No More (Feat Walter Trout)
11. Whiskey Time (Running Whiskey’s extended ending)
12. Let’s Call It A Day (Feat Robben Ford)
Supersonic Blues Machine – The Remedy (Lyric video) feat. Warren Haynes
‘West of Flushing South of Frisco’
Out via Provogue/Mascot Label Group
on 26th February 2016
Featuring: Billy F. Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Chris Duarte, Eric Gales,
Walter Trout & Robben Ford
At the heart of it is Bassist/Producer Fabrizio Grossi, Guitarist/singer Lance Lopez and drummer Kenny Aronoff as well as a host of guest of the highest calibre; ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons, Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule/Allman Bros Band), Chris Duarte, Eric Gales, Walter Trout and Robben Ford.
Listen and enjoy – ‘I Ain’t Falling Again’ here:
It happened in 2012, Texan guitarist-singer-songwriter Lance Lopez was planning a visit to Los Angeles to record a new album and producer Fabrizio Grossi suggested they hook up and work on some ideas. The following whirlwind day and a half in the studio resulted in three songs which became the foundation of an exciting new project before they knew it. With a prolific career as a producer, mixer and bass player Fabrizio has worked with some of the finest musicians around today pulling into an array of eclectic styles, from Steve Vai to Tina Arena, Nina Hagen to Alice Cooper as well as Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Zakk Wylde, the list is endless.
Supersonic Blues Machine isn’t just a band; it’s a mood, a comradeship, a melting pot of ideas with like-minded people bringing their own unique talents to create something with feeling that is very organic. “I was thinking of all the people we know and thought, how about putting together something like The Who or The Rolling Stones used to do in the early 70s” he adds, “they would put together a record and bring all of their friends on board, I thought that would be cool. Bringing back the spirit of camaraderie between musicians.”
Before the name, before the album, entwined circles of friendship and respect began cooking up the music storm that was to become Supersonic Blues Machine.
Before Supersonic Blues Machine even existed as it is, the seeds began to be sewn from a hook up with Billy F. Gibbons, “I was telling Billy about my work with Lance” explains Fabrizio before excitedly adding the ZZ Top legends response was “‘Oh, you know Lance? He’s fantastic, I’ve known him since he was a little kid, you two should seriously consider working on something together.’” Add into the mix drummer Kenny Aronoff thanks to Toto’s Steve Lukather. Aronoff brought with him the experience of working with a huge collection of artists such as John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Cocker amongst a host of others.
Debut album West of Flushing, South of Frisco is a sprawling and emotional journey that has an emphasis on peace, hope, forgiveness and empowerment. Grossi said, “We could have done a record that was jam-packed of famously random guests, but we didn’t want to do that that’s not the idea.”
Sneak a peak with this album trailer…
More friends started to feel the vibe; with tracks being added featuring the wealth of talent among friends. Warren Haynes, Gov’t Mule main man and former Allman Brothers Band, features on Remedy. , and next up was guitarist Warren Haynes. Then joining the mix Tennessee guitar virtuoso Eric Gales can turn his hand to dazzling effect to a number of genres and the pair first worked together with funk father George Clinton on a cover of Hendrix Voodoo Child back in 2001. Playing on the album Nightmares And Dreams.
Eric long time fan of Walter Trout contacted Marie after his liver transplant and was back playing guitar do you fancy joining in the fun. I said ‘hey Marie, I’m doing this thing, and I would really like to see if we could get Walter to play with us.’” Within 5 mins, Walter called back and said “are you fucking shitting me, I’ll bring the guitar.” A few months later they were in the studio recording Can’t Take it No More.
Chris Duarte has been friends with Lance with a long time and started to show interest in working with the Supersonic family and immediately started sending ideas to and forth with the others which became That’s My Way. When it came to subtle jazz-rock maestro Robben Ford, who collaborated on Let’s Call It A Day the final piece slotted it magnificently.
The winding exploration through the album takes you through different emotions, themes and tones and when Lance himself takes on the lead vocals some of those are profound and some are pure foot to the floor stomp from the bar room rocking of Bone Bucket Blues to the opener Miracle Man which is a twist on the theme from Beyoncé’s Single Ladies and the even more sad “Gold-digger/Free loaders” attitude fortified by Reality trends TV shows. “If you read between the lines, the stereotype: the guy is the dog and the girl gets the short end of the stick, but that isn’t always the case, especially in LA, where there’s a lot of great decent guys out there where but, one has ever given these guys a voice…well we just did, in our “gospelly” type of way.”
The album has moments that come from a dark place and a very personal part of Fabrizio life, he lost his birth mother aged 11 and was growing resentful of God and all related to him. “Around 15-16, I got curious and involved with readings about Aleister Crowley ,The Golden Dawn , Magic or sort, he offers, “then weird things started happening which affected me quite a bit. Even though the whole “dark” infatuation, phased out by the time I was 18/19, it took me a really long time to get rid of the negative vision of matters” and it was this that fed into I Ain’t Falling. Let It Be is about the power of forgiveness and regardless of what an individuals’ background is.
Album closer Whatchagonnado is about what Jesus would say if he came back around and talked to people right now. “We’re not a Christian band, we don’t endorse any specific belief, other than what works for you” asserts Fabrizio, “but it seems that everybody embraces this figure and builds his own agenda with it, but how would Jesus really react if he would come back and see all of his teaching twisted around? And we did that with our funky mould.”
West of Flushing, South of Frisco is a reminder of an era that embraced collaborations, one that shared a vision and shared moments, both good and hard, one that put every ounce of their experiences into it, its bleeds emotion but is an uplifting and powerful listen. Now that the Supersonic Blues Machine has begun its journey, there’s a lot more to experience from it.
West of Flushing, South of Frisco – Track Listing
1. Miracle Man
2. I Ain’t Fallin’ Again
3. Running Whiskey (Feat. Billy F. Gibbons)
4. Remedy (Feat. Warren Haynes)
5. Bone Bucket Blues
6. Let It Be
7. That’s My Way (Feat. Chris Duarte)
8. Ain’t No Love (In The Heart Of The City)
9. Nightmares And Dreams (Feat. Eric Gales)
10. Can’t Take It No More (Feat. Walter Trout)
11. Whiskey Time (Running Whiskey’s extended ending)
12. Let’s Call It A Day (Feat. Robben Ford)
<a href=”http://www.komedia.co.uk/bath”>Komedia, Bath is a new venue for Bluesdoodles, and the theatre that at one time was a cinema was very majestic, the only tiny gripe was it was all seater, and as the seats downstairs had been carefully placed there could have been a standing area for the audience members who would prefer to stand. Opening the evening Tristan MacKay, a talented young solo acoustic artist who delivered a series of self-penned numbers that like many singer/songwriters straddle blues/folk. Tristan played an excellent set, delivered with aplomb and using his melodic voice to good effect, despite the level of noise from the audience arriving to see the main act of the evening. His banter between songs was good so we all got to know this young man a little bit better; including that Tristan was hailed from Devon and started his musical career busking in the small town of Tiverton, moving on to Leeds – larger but definitely colder! This combination of an easy, friendly manner with great guitar playing and singing at times reminded me of Marcus Bonfanti, which is no mean feat. Tristan has one CD under his belt and a second due to be recorded very soon on his label ‘Battered Hat Records‘; appropriately named as a battered hat is worn by Tristan on stage. Tristan though has a clever trick up his sleeve which he used with a light touch the use of the loop to bring additional layers of sound and at times deeper or different tone to the rendition as demonstrated on ‘Wire and Wood‘, adding a percussive timbre to this great song. The all too short set was mainly his own compositions, his cover of John Mayer’s ‘Gravity’ was not the first song you would associate with an acoustic act, but once again with the clever use of loop pedal, he achieved 3 or even 4 layers of sound. Tristan finished the all too short set, with a personal song ‘Lullaby for Layla‘ composed for his soon to be expected baby daughter; a beautiful song for what is a precious experience for this young man. The set was entertaining, inventive and the use of acoustic and electric guitars, depending on the song made this an impressive and popular with the audience support for the much-anticipated Robben Ford following after a short break.
Robben Ford Band, a four piece, opened up with a funky number, ‘Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky‘, with Robben producing his trademark stunning tone from his Gibson 335. With immaculate timing and note perfection, combined with sublime accompaniment provided by a trio consisting of Rich Peterson, Keys, Tony Moore, Drums, and Brian Allen, Double Bass. It is the pure strength and talent of these three musicians that provides Robben with real freedom to sell his wares and boy can he play his guitar, with a unique blending of precision and passion. Tonight’s show was an opportunity to showcase his latest album, Bringing It Back Home, including, ‘Birds Nest Bound‘ written by Big Joe Williams which is a slower tempo classic blues and, as they all play a solo piece, there is a jam feel demonstrating that the band really knows how to listen to each other; and ‘Oh, Virginia” the only Ford authored tune on the album is a pretty romantic ballad delivered in a laid-back soulful way; with the emotional line, ‘ hard times hunger on’ with the band in perfect balance, creating layers of scintillating harmonies, with the growl of the bass, mellow chords from the organ, crisp sharp drumming and then the crowning glory Robben’s faultless guitar and voice that blends the emotion of the song and the instruments together. The show is an evening of changing tempo’s and origins, making every track delivered interesting and keeping the audience really engaged. The sounds produced were very modern, funky blues with a generous twist of jazz, the guitar licks were delightful, including subtle changes that were mellow and so relaxing, the breaks were never too long and always relevant to the song and the other musicians came in on the beat every-time. Robben started the gig off on a high note and the playing just got better and better as he and the band relaxed and played themselves into the zone; one of the highlights had to be his rendition of a traditional gospel tune which as he told us, we recorded it and called it ‘On That Morning‘, yes in this instrumental the guitar dominated, not in an aggressive way but through the purity of sound produced with the interlude of drum and bass, then Rich on keys joined in it was simply beautiful music, which was as sweet as a nut, pure pleasure, which was reflected in the warm applause, and amidst all this Robben quietly re-tuned his guitar and carried on no dramatics, no techie to assist, no this was professional musicianship and stage craft at the top of the tree. Robben’s, nephew Gabriel is a songwriter and drummer for Little Feat, wrote ‘Too Much‘ from the CD Truth and this saw a change of guitar as the Gibson SG was bought into action, providing a harsher edge to the sound which suited the track perfectly. This was a long set with no break for Robben who was upfront playing his heart out; then from Supernatural, ‘Nothing and Nobody’ written in collaboration with Mick MacDonald, the whole band was on stage; and then Robben left the stage and the trio remaining played on; then Rich left and the keys fell silent and a drum and bass duet was played, demonstrating the strength of the rhythm section without doubt the heartbeat of the Robben Ford sound; and then Brian left leaving the stage to the sole domain of Tony Moore, who produced a a drum solo that was full of finesse, no crash bang wallop solo but one rising to a crescendo of absolute drumming power… wow what an interlude; and then the rest of the band came back on picked up the beat and carried on playing!
The whole gig was a jewel box of shining gems, every note was played and showcased to deliver the ethos of the songs, wow, this is going to be one of the gigs of 2013, an encore was demanded and they obliged with ‘Fool’s Paradise”, then all too soon it was the end, like me I am sure many in the audience wanted the music to go on and on.