Jack Bruce and Robin Trower for the first time performing live! The news spread like wildfire, the sensation was perfect.
The legendary Cream bassist and singer, all his life striking new paths in blues and jazzrock, and the immense talented guitarist of Procol Harum fame who left the chains of 5-minute-pop behind him very early and who never followed any mainstream cliches: Both musicians have written history in rock for more than 40 years.
It was at the beginning of the 80s when they first worked together in a studio with two remarkable records resulting (B.L.T. 1981 and Truce 1982), but the fans had to wait for another meeting of the titans 27 long years: It was not until last year when "Seven Moons" came out.
The Veterans had formed a power trio; together with the a few years younger drummer Gary Husband (Level 42, Gary Moore, John McLaughlin), they recorded exclusively own material. Trower had come up with some basic ideas and Bruce and he worked them out: Fine bluesrock painted in psychedelic colours und wonderful sounds - a record transporting the living spirit of the creative seventies in to the third millennium. "Seven Moons" is the third joint venture of two aged musicians - and it is their masterpiece.
A few months later a fansite announced: "Bruce, Trower & Husband to take ´Seven Moons´ into orbit! For a few nights only, Robin and Jack will get to play live together for the first time ever in late February 2009."
As a matter of fact: After only two gigs - Karlsruhe and Cologne - the trio was ready to play the dutch town Nijmegen, where the concert would be filmed by a big camera crew. Fans from France, England, Germany and elsewhere arrived in order to enjoy the event together with the dutch devotees of the band.
Somebody placed a notice in the fanblog: With cameras filming the event it might be guaranteed that Bruce, Trower and Husband would play a good concert. Well, this night had something really special, but not because of the camera crew and their equipment. It was only the third joint venture show of the trio, but these guys had found out something meanwhile: They belonged together. They formed a unity. Moments like these bring joy, joy of playing (musicians and footballers know that for sure). You don´t need cameras then.Let´s take a look into the concert.
It´s 8:45 pm. The historic night at the mighty and majestic Concertgebouw De Vereeniging begins on the tick. Jack Bruce, 65 meantime, greets the audience with a short "Good evening" and the band jumps off with the title track of "Seven Moons". Four minutes later the first solo from Robin´s axe, who ist just a little younger than Jack. Both have become lined with age, but it seems as if they will never make old bones. Bruce´s delight about the fascinating little solo is written in his face; Trower notices that he´s doing more than a good job and is all smiles. Solo finished, rhythm change and the trio sets off for the next song, the bluesy "Lives Of Clay". Some time later Bruce makes a little comment with understatement: "Now we are beginning to get somewhere."
They are going to play nearly the whole "Seven Moons" album, they will present a wonderful and easy going version of "Carmen", a song from ways back, off the "B.L.T." album, not as glassy as in 1981 but soulful, very deep. And you bet, there are the signature tunes from Bruce´s famous catalogue. "Sunshine Of Your Love", the song with the legendary bass riff. Here Trower stays true to his own way of playing, no way a Clapton copy but a confident collector of melodies working on his WahWAh without any gimmickry at all. And this version of "White Room" with the "white Hendrix", as they call Robin in the U.S.A., hasn´t ist been remade into something secial here? The bonus "Politician" shows his full artistry during a great solo.
It´s not only striking in what a laid-back way the trio work the themes of this evening, considering that Nijmegen is only the third live show they have staged together so far. To share the joy the musicians show while performing makes this DVD a document of classic, everlasting rock music. Having Jack Bruce on stage again after some heavy blows of fate is particularly heart warming, the more so as he is laughing away at things. What does the scot tell who´s ever so economical in his choice of words? "It is fantastic to be here. For me personally ist is fantastic to be anywhere, actually..." It feels good to have musicians of that kind among us.
Jack Bruce and Robin Trower for the first time performing live! The news spread like wildfire, the sensation was perfect.
Redefining musical diversity worldwide, Bob Brozman is a remarkably prolific artist whose wit, energy, and musical technique combine powerfully to create an unforgettable live performance. A master of slide, fingerstyle, and percussive guitar, Bob's exhilarating show spans the global and musical spectrum, and keeps audiences enthralled, begging for more of his endearing, infectious energy.
Bob's familiarity with diverse world music cultures produces a novel blending of rhythmic and timbral influences, unparalleled in today's musical environment. His rhythmic dexterity resonates with elements of blues, jazz, Gypsy swing, calypso, sega, and even the most modern hip-hop and ska beats.
Likewise, his chords and harmonies articulate an acute blend of timbres from Hawaiian, Indian, African, Japanese/Okinawan, Caribbean, and American roots blues. His fingerwork has been described in world press as uniquely staggering, yet full of humor. Bob has a collection of hand-tricks that make audiences look for electronic effects that in fact don't exist: his show is the clean product of acoustic genius.
Bob's disarming talent for humor and rapport invariably adds spice to his already well-seasoned repertoire of music. A lifelong study of ethnomusicology and the global migration of musical styles ensures Bob's committed attention and respect to each of the cultures in his repertoire. He casually shares historical facts with his audiences, and charms them with his ability to integrate local languages into his show: over the years, Bob has taught himself useful phrases in over 30 languages, which he regularly uses both on stage and off.
Undoubtedly, however, Bob's preferred language is music - which he speaks fluently, around the world. His most recent projects have rendered him a true player in the world music scene. In the past year alone, he collaborated on stage and in the studio with over four dozen artists from more than 13 different countries. At the 1999 Festival d'Été in Quebec, for example, Bob assembled an international troupe that included Debashish & Subhashis Bhattacharya (India), Takashi Hirayasu (Okinawa), Rene Lacaille (La Réunion), Djeli Moussa Diawara (Guinea), George Pilali (Greece), Romane (French Gypsy guitarist), La Familia Valera (Cuba), and George Gao (China) - all performing for the first time together, live on-stage! Since that time, Bob has brought parts of this vast ensemble to the USA, Europe, and South Africa.
In the years since 2000, Bob has completed fourteen full-length recordings with many of these individuals: most notably, the 2003 release of MAHIMA with Debashish Bhattacharya, the 2002 release DIGDIG with Rene Lacaille, as well as JIN JIN (with Hirayasu); OCEAN BLUES (with Diawara), IN THE SADDLE (with Led Kaapana); NANKURU NAISA (with Hirayasu), TONE POEMS III (with David Grisman); SUNRISE (with Bhattacharya); ROLLING THROUGH THIS WORLD (with Jeff Lang, Australia); GET TOGETHER (with Woody Mann); and FOUR HANDS SWEET & HOT (with Cyril Pahinui). In addition, Bob has released four solo projects: LIVE NOW; METRIC TIME; BLUES REFLEX; and the latest POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES. In 2003 and 2004, Bob journeyed twice to Papua New Guinea, to record and be filmed with five string bands (60 musicians) for international release in 2005.
On POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES, as Bob breaks from the collaborative genre, he brings this same spontaneity with him to the studio. Bob's impromptu recording style breeds a freedom that informs not just the structure of a song, but the timbral landscape as well. Many of the instruments that give POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES its signature "Brozman" sound, were added in a spirit of sheer experimentation.
On POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES, Bob returns to his blues and Americana roots for a musically brave and honest look at a world in change. With several new socio-political songs, plus emotional reditions of some Delta blues, POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES is a perfectly timed soundtrack for today's changing world. It is proof that Bob continues to challenge himself artistically, taking risks and evolving in the manner of the great blues pioneers that have come before him.
Oli Brown is a man in motion. The world knows his name. The circuit knows his reputation. His mission to bring blues-rock to the people has seen him cross continents, tear through time zones and break language barriers. And yet, no matter how far the tour bus takes him, Oli has never forgotten his roots, nor the city that put him on his musical path. As such, on December 16, 2012, the bluesman who once stood in a Norwich schoolyard dreaming of a record deal returned as a conquering hero for a hometown gig like no other.
Of course, Oli has returned to Norwich for triumphant end-of-year shows many times in the past, rewarding his loyal hometown fans for their support through the blood, sweat and slog of the early years. And yet, this time, the stakes were even higher, and the atmosphere still more electric, as the bandleader hit the city’s Waterfront venue with a recording crew, intent on capturing his live set as the latest release in Ruf Records’ legendary Songs From The Road series. “I really wanted to record my live show in Norwich,” explained the bluesman, “as everyone there has been so good to me.”
Released in June 2013 as a CD/DVD set, Songs From The Road catches Oli at the top of his game, as he draws on an all-killer setlist that mines all three classic albums that fuelled his ascent. From his scorching 2008 debut, Open Road, there’s the irresistible groove of Stone Cold. From 2010’s lauded follow-up, Heads I Win Tails You Lose, there’s the heart-in-mouth Speechless, while from 2012’s game-changing Here I Am, the Waterfront roof is raised by cuts like Thinking About Her, Manic Bloom and Devil In Me. With the set also taking in new songs like Love Is Taking Its Toll, Songs From The Road is both a testament to the heights he’s already hit and a signpost to the thrillride ahead.
Indeed, Songs From The Road is just one peak in what promises to be another triumphant year for Oli, as the bluesman prepares for a full-throttle summer of support slots with guitar legends Joe Satriani and Johnny Winter, alongside a volley of festival appearances and his own headline shows.
Faced with all these achievements, it’s easy to forget that Oli is still only in his early-twenties, and just a decade down the line from the fateful day when he picked up his first guitar. “I didn’t have any career ambitions until I started playing guitar in 2002,” he once noted. “Blues was always in the background, but what really hit was the first Stevie Ray Vaughan album I bought. When I started playing, Hendrix was my first influence. He was a showman, too, setting his guitar alight. I’ve never done that!”
With his chops primed, Oli soon went public, playing impromptu Norwich jam nights where “we didn’t even know what we were playing, but it taught me a lot”. The pivotal moment came at 15, when he was invited to the US as the guest of Blinddog Smokin’: a support slot that morphed into a mentoring scheme, with Oli sharing bills with Buddy Guy and Taj Mahal, and being schooled after-hours by his hosts. “Before that, I didn’t care what the music was, I just wanted to solo,” he admits. “But while I was out there, they taught me everything about the blues, about stagecraft, about walking tall and speaking to the audience.”
Oli would return to the US with Blinddog Smokin’ several times, while he also cites the wisdom imparted by legends including Robben Ford, John Mayall and Walter Trout. Fast-forward to 2008, though, and the student had become the master, and when Ruf Records label boss Thomas Ruf witnessed an explosive UK gig, he signed Oli on the spot. Things moved fast. That same year, the young bandleader burst out of the blocks with Open Road: a dazzling opening shot that fused funky cuts like Psycho with heartfelt solo stunners like Missing You. “There aren’t many 12-bars on there,” said Oli. “I try to get across a few different styles, but I haven’t had any purists shout at me yet!”
So it began. With that first release, the press woke up to what live blues fans knew already, and promptly showered Oli with champagne, with Blues Matters! voting Open Road the #2 album of 2008, and Classic Rock declaring the singer had “the blues under his fingernails like few of his peers”. The flattery stepped up a gear when the Oli Brown Band became the only UK act selected for 2008’s International Blues Convention in Memphis, and some measure of his rising profile came when Oli was invited by John Fry of Ardent Studios to record a live session… which scored 1.3 million hits in under a month.
The buzz was building, and by 2010, it had caught the ear of legendary British producer Mike Vernon. Impressed, the veteran of such benchmarks as 1966’s Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton was lured out of semi-retirement to helm Oli’s second album, Heads I Win Tails You Lose, and captured a light-footed tracklisting that mixed up scuttle-buttin’ grooves like Evil Soul and room-shakers like Real Good Time. On release in April 2010, it was clear this kid was more than alright, and the press duly threw star ratings like confetti, with Mojo dubbing Oli “the hottest young pistol in British blues”, Uncut praising “a British bluesman to rival Trucks and Bonamassa”, and Classic Rock voting Heads I Win as its #3 blues album of the year.
With the 2010 British Blues Awards toasting him as ‘Best Male Vocalist’ and ‘Best Young Artist’, some musicians would have rested on their laurels and watched the royalties roll in. Not Oli. He once noted that “blues needs to be heard live”, and it’s true that while he tears it up in the studio, his natural habitat is the darkened stage and his favourite sound the roar of the crowd as he blasts songs skyward with his signature Vanquish guitar. In 2011, he toured the UK, Europe, New Zealand, Canada and America – even charming Uncle Sam with a high-profile breakfast TV appearance – and scored another haul of trophies at the British Blues Awards (‘Best Band’ and ‘Best Album’). That year concluded in schoolboy fantasy-style, playing 25 gigs with John Mayall. Somebody pinch him…
But just when you thought you knew the real Oli Brown, 2012’s Here I Am found him letting down the barriers, showing his cards, turning the spotlight on himself and defying you to turn off your stereo. “The new album is called Here I Am,” Oli explained, “because I’m saying, ‘this is me’. People know when something isn’t believable. I’m just trying to be honest.”
Here I Am was the sound of an artist on the crest of a wave. When Oli hit the studio in Nottingham after a triumphant 2011, he had the plaudits of fans, press, peers and heroes ringing in his ears, a truck-load of trophies and a huge weight of expectation. Most 22-year-olds would have felt pressure, but with his dream team around him – drummer/producer Wayne Proctor and bassist Scott Barnes – Oli rode the red light and chased down 12 classic songs to hand over to Magic Garden Mastering’s Brian Lacey (fresh from The Black Keys’ El Camino album).
It was a tracklisting that runs the gauntlet, from Thinking About Her’s grooving ode to a seductress, past the desolate break-up blues of All We Had To Give, to the stinger missile Solid Ground that featured Paul Jones on harmonica and signed off the album with a slam-dunk. “Ain’t tryin’ to be no Jimi or Stevie, I wanna be my goddamn self,” Oli roared on the title track, and even on covers of Donny Hathaway’s I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know and Nikka Costa’s Like A Feather, he had both hands on the wheel. When the album flew to the top of the iTunes, Amazon and HMV blues charts, and secured him a 2012 British Blues Award in the ‘Best Young Artist’ category, it was clear that Oli Brown had stepped it up once – again.
Jimmy Bowskill has done a lot in his musical career. He has opened for Dickey Betts, Garth Hudson, ZZ Top, Deep Purple and The Sam Roberts Band. He has toured internationally including shows in Germany, Ukraine, France, Mexico and at the World Expo in Japan in 2005. He has also received a Juno Award nomination for Best Blues Album. All this and he's only 19 years-old.
Jimmy seemed destined to be a musician. Born in Toronto on the same day as B.B. King, he was raised in Peterborough, Ontario in a household filled with the music of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. While he played hockey from the age of 3, once he picked up the guitar at 10, he put everything he had into mastering the instrument. Like any kid of the nineties, he could've been inspired by Nirvana or Radiohead, but instead he was drawn to the blues.
"It just seemed so real," explains Jimmy. "It's just a really soulful music and it comes straight from the heart. There's nothing used to hide anything. It's just straight up."
A year after first picking up the guitar, he convinced his father to drive him to downtown Toronto to meet Jeff Healey at the legendary guitarist's original blues club. Busking on the sidewalk, Jeff came outside to witness this kid prodigy and personally invited him in for a jam session. In 2002, Jimmy released his first CD, Old Soul, a mix of covers and originals that earned him international attention. "It's a neat thing to have," says Jimmy of the album he made at age 11. Albums released by Jimmy are Old Soul (2003), Soap Bars & Dog Ears (2004) Jimmy Bowskill (2008).
Now 19 years-old, his 4th album "Jimmy Bowskill Band Live '09" has seen remarkable praise from the Blues world's most talented musicians and critics.
"The best natural singer I've ever heard"
"Jimmy Bowskill is one of brightest shining stars for people who love REAL rock and blues music."
-Jeb Wright, Classic Rock Revisited
"Live and in the studio he reacts cleverly. Jimmy Bowskill doesn't have to hide behind anyone regarding his singing and guitar-playing. Only 19 years old, he already plays in
the top league...Peter Green, Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jeff Healey send their regards."