Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Steve Gadd & Friends @ Iridium 11/8/09

Sometimes I'm very in the dark. I never heard of him, but thankfully that's no longer the case. Wow! He's an amazing drummer, but the whole band together was unbelievable. I love a baritone in the band!

Joey DeFrancesco played amazing organ and trumpet. There was a great call and response part between him and Ronnie Cuber.

The guitar was awesome. I really loved the instrumentation.

The music style was so much more than I expected. Based on nothing, I thought it would be stellar straight-ahead jazz. Boy was I exhiliaratingly surprised! There was some lively jazz in there, but also funk, blues, and groove. Everything was superb. I loved every minute.

It was also a great set to be at. The set was 1.5 hours, including an encore. I heard that was the only time they did an encore after the 1st set. I think Steve had a lot of special friends there that night.

Now I'm wondering what else is out there that I don't know about yet.

From the Iridium website listing:
Steve Gadd and Friends with Special Guests Joey DeFrancesco, Ronnie Cuber and Paul Bollenback

Steve Gadd
Possibly the most recorded drummer ever, the modest and retiring drummer who burst onto the New York scene in the early seventies quickly went about his quiet work of redefining the nature of modern drumming. His influence became so vast that it would be difficult to measure. In Japan they called him “God”, while in Cuba, he was the “Papa”, such was the pervasiveness of Gadd’s effect—on the musicians with whom he played and on other drummers, many of whom copied everything from his fills and his unique drumset to his clothing and beard! He’s performed and recorded with all the legends including Eric Clapton, James Taylor, and Paul Simon.

Joey DeFrancesco has come a long way from All of Me, his recording debut as a leader made in 1989 as a fresh-faced 17-year-old. From the get-go, the Philadelphia native established his credentials with virtuoso technique and an innate soulfulness that he brought to bear on the hulking Hammond B-3 organ which belied his young age but spoke of his deep Philly roots under the tutelage of his father, Papa John DeFrancesco, a B-3 burner in his own right. Through the 1990s, Joey was widely recognized as spearheading a renewed interested in the Hammond organ, an instrument that had fallen out of favor among musicians and the public since its golden period during the 1960s and early 70s. Joey dazzling facility was once described as by guitar great Pat Martino, himself a veteran of many classic B-3 sessions. Today DeFrancesco is regarded by organ aficionados as the baddest B-3 burner in the business (a claim supported by his five consecutive DownBeat Critics Poll awards for 2002, 2003, 2004, 3005and 2006).

Ronnie Cuber is a baritone sax player strong enough to bring out the lyricism of the weighty instrument. While he plays traditional jazz in the style of Pepper Adams and Nick Brignola, Cuber also has led Latin sessions and appeared on dozens of pop recordings as an in-demand sideman. Cuber was born on Christmas, 1941, in New York. When he was 18, he appeared in Marshall Brown's Newport Youth Band at the Newport Jazz Festival. Three years later he was in Slide Hampton's groups and spent the 1960s working with Maynard Ferguson, George Benson, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman and Lonnie Smith.During the next decade, Cuber performed on a slew of recordings and embraced distant ends of the woodwind family by playing flute and baritone sax on Eddie Palmieri's 1973 record, Sun Of Latin Music. While working with Lee Konitz in the late '70s, Cuber featured the clarinet and soprano sax alongside the baritone in his arsenal. He recorded his own Cuber Libre in 1976 and released a succession of traditional jazz records in the '80s and '90s, such as Live At The Blue Note and The Scene Is Clean (Milestone). In the 1980's he was a member of the Saturday Night Live Band for 5 years. The slew of pop musicians who have recruited easy-going Cuber for sessions include Chaka Kahn, Paul Simon. In 1998, Cuber played on and arranged The Three Baritone Saxophone tribute disc, Plays Mulligan on Dreyfus Records, and has arranged and recorded on 6 Mingus Big Band cd's for Dreyfus Records. Aaron Cohen/Downbeat. His latest recording ‘Ronnie’ is on the Steeplechase label.

”Not one jazz virtuoso could put the definition of jazz into words, but all agreed that you know it when you hear it. That's the way it is with Paul Bollenback. It's bona-fide playing, unambiguous, up-front and powerful,” summarizes George Benson, a long-time friend. His debut recording, Original Visions, as a leader with Challenge Records, is one of the most creative efforts by a guitarist in recent memory. Double Gemini, his second CD, features four of his own compositions and won the title of CD of The Month in Jim Fisch's distinguished jazz column in 20th Century Jazz Magazine. It won the same award from the renowned jazz radio station WBGO in Newark, New Jersey. Challenge Records has recently released his third recording, Soul Grooves.

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