Saturday, March 31, 2018
Thursday, March 29, 2018
BREAKFAST IN AMERICA - CELEBRATING 39th ANNIVERSARY - RELEASED MARCH 29, 1979
"Breakfast in America” is one of the most successful and beloved albums in all of rock history. It became one of the biggest selling albums of all time, selling over 20 million copies and is still selling today. The album went to number one in almost every country around the world and stayed at the top of the charts in many countries for a full year.
Three of Roger's songs from this album became instant international hits - “The Logical Song,” “Take the Long Way Home,” and the title track, “Breakfast In America.” Other fan favorites on the album include Roger's "Lord is it Mine" and "Child of Vision," all of which he still performs in concert today. See tour details on the Events tab here on the page or directly at https://www.Facebook.com/RogerHodgson/events. More 2018 announcements coming soon.
Enjoy Roger performing his timeless classic song, "Breakfast in America," - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tODaH_fGtMY
Rolling Stones Back-up vocalist Lisa Fischer
plays the Berks Jazz Fest
By Rob Nagy
Lisa Fischer has spent decades as one of music’s most revered back-up vocalists. Lending her vocal talents to the Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Chris Botti, Chaka Kahn, Sting and Tina Turner among many others, Fischer continues to nurture her authenticity as a solo artist.
“I feel like my history with the Stones, Tina Turner, Chaka Kahn, I get to use all these different creative spices and experiences,” says Fischer, from her home in New York City. “I’m playful, experimental and I just like to have fun with the melodies and the songs.”
“I needed to do everything that I’ve done, playing with the make up, performing and the clothes, different stage settings, just everything that was part of the job requirement,” adds Fischer. “I thought to myself, ‘I don’t think I know who I am as far as who I want to be?’ It’s like everything I had been doing was usually someone else’s perception of what they needed and what they wanted to present which was beautiful but it was their vision. I felt like I just needed to take a breath and be simple and as natural as possible so that I could really not worry so much about who I was presenting. Who I am is who I am going to be. I think in a way that has really helped me build my own feelings about how I feel about myself visually and just the nakedness of that and the fragility of that and feeling honest and imperfect. It’s a lesson for me how to love myself as I am. It has been an interesting journey.”
Fischer rose to international prominence in 1991 with the release of her debut album “So Intense.” Yielding three Top 20 R&B hit singles including the 1992 Grammy Award winning single “How Can I Ease the Pain,” Fischer also won the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. In spite of her newly found success there was no follow-up album release. Fischer chose to return to her role as a highly sought-after session and touring back-up vocalist.
Capturing the attention of film director Morgan Neville, Fischer was one of the principle subjects, which also featured fellow back-up singers Merry Clayton and Darlene Love in the Oscar winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom” (2013). Highlighting the oral history of minority back-up singers in the music industry, the film won the Grammy Award in 2015 for Best Music Film.
In 2014, Fischer launched a solo tour fronting her own band, the trio Grand Baton. Travelling the world performing at festivals, clubs and concert halls, Fischer and Grand Baton have received critical praise and a fan following that continues to grow.
Forging a relationship with the Rolling Stones in 1989, Fischer joined the band’s Steel Wheels concert tour that same year. An electrifying stage presence and a fan favorite, notably in the songs “Monkey Man” and “Gimme Shelter,” she has performed with the band on their subsequent concert tours through 2015.
“What you’re giving is from your heart,” says Fischer. “A singer, dancer, musician, painter anyone who is in the arts I think they give from the heart, they really, really do. You want to make people happy. You want to share your joy and your heart ache and the pain and just everything through the music and I think it connects us all and it sort of makes any room that you’re in smaller, more personal according to how you do it and how open you are. Mick and the boys have a way of doing that. Making an audience feel that they are present and that they’re important.”
“Life is so crowded,” adds Fischer. “It’s noisy. There’s a million and one to do lists that you don’t want to do but need to be done and emotional stuff that’s going on. Just the stress of everyday living and trying to be OK so you’re constantly trying to balance that madness to the moment. When I get on stage, I don’t think about it at all. I think the music helps me when I call on it to help me. It calms me in another way being able to sing and being able to do a show is always a gift. It’s a focus, a meditation and a prayer and an angst, and a yell. It’s just so many things. It’s everything we need it to be according to what we need in the moment.”
Eager to capture their creative energy, Fischer and Grand Baton are working toward the culmination of an impending studio or live album that could be released later this year.
“No new release yet,” says Fischer. “We are moving in that direction. I think the biggest issue has been capturing the live energy. It’s difficult to capture that in the studio. I have to figure out how to best capture things and be alive as possible dealing with all the issues of sound. We also thought of doing a live album but again finding the right venue and how to record the sound, I’m thinking about it. There is so much you can’t control. It’s funny, you’ll be on stage and you think this would have been a good night to record but the moment is already gone.”
Possessing the talent, determination and being in the right place at the right time, Fischer is grateful for the accolades and opportunities that continue to define her career.
“I’m not only satisfied, I’m like shocked,” says Fischer. “You follow the path and you’re just thankful for everything that you get. Any tour, any job, any session, any experience that I get to sing is a gift. It’s not a given and I treat it as such.”
“I like to think of myself as someone who is trying her best to make the melodies come alive in a way that is unique for me,” adds Fischer. “I want people to feel a sense of peace. I want them to have melodies running through their head. And thoughts and impressions and things that help them dream.”
Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton perform at the Miller Center for the Arts / Reading Area Community College on Friday April 13, 2018 at 7:30 P.M. For further information and tickets visit www.berksjazzfest.com
To stay up to date with Lisa Fischer visit www.lisafischermusic.com
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Billy Cobham Pays Tribute to Crosswinds at the Colonial
By Rob Nagy
Undeniably one of the greatest drummers of all time, Billy Cobham elevated the art of jazz- fusion drumming to new heights leaving a legacy that has inspired his peers and contemporaries for decades.
Backed by a stellar band that includes Paul Hanson (bassoon, sax), Fareed Haque (guitar), Tim Landers (bass), and Scott Tibbs (keys), Cobham is hitting the road with the “Crosswinds Project” paying tribute to his classic 1974 album release “Crosswinds.” Cobham will also be performing selections off his 1973 breakthrough album “Spectrum.”
“I come with the idea that I’m going to share who I am now based on who I was before,” says Cobham while on tour on the West Coast. “I decided to come together and present “Crosswinds” now, based on what I had been affected by in the business back then 40 years ago, so this is what you’ll hear. It’s a tribute and a roll back to an album I never really paid full homage to. I decided to get all the charts out again and revisit everything and upgrade it the best I can after forty years. It’s with a different cast of course. Most of my favorite people that were on that record are gone and there is nothing I can do to get them back, except play their parts through the younger generation.”
“We’re doing 22 shows in 30 days,” adds Cobham. “If you can imagine there was a time when it was totally natural for a band to play multiple shows a night, 6 nights a week with a matinee on Sunday for 6 weeks in one place. Those were the days when creativity was really at a pinnacle. Now, 22 shows in a month is platinum. I am quite pleased with the shows so far and I can only imagine that it will only get better.”
“People are curious pretty much every time I come out because it’s something a little bit different,” says Cobham. “I feel very blessed with the fact that all the people who come to play with me can play. We contribute our level of proficiency through our instruments and our ideas. That makes it all unique and brings something new to the stage that people find fresh. You watch all of that and you go, ‘Wow! What did I just hear that’s different?’ Leave everybody in a very positive environment with a feeling of ‘This is great! I got something for the investment that I made.’ That’s what it is all about.”
Rising to international prominence in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s working with Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cobham ultimately earned his place among the elite with his 1987 induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2013.
“Part of the objective for me is not to just become one with the instrument, but become one with everyone else through my instrument,” says Cobham. “I speak through the drums. I’m not speaking spoken word, it’s much more intense and stronger than that. What we come across as is a personality that is only unique to the people who you are working with. You gotta believe enough in yourself to put your best foot forward every step.”
Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1965, Cobham served as the drummer in the U.S. Army band. Following his discharge, his drumming prowess found him working with the Horace Silver Quintet. A house drummer with Atlantic Records, Cobham was an active session drummer appearing on recordings by George Benson, Milt Jackson and Grover Washington, Jr. Cobham formed the jazz rock group Dreams with Randy and Michael Brecker and John Abercrombie. Delving deeper into the world of jazz, Cobham toured with Miles Davis, appearing on the classic Davis albums “Bitches Brew” and “A Tribute to Jack Johnson.”
Following his time with Davis, Cobham and guitarist John McLaughlin formed the legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971. Touring extensively throughout the early ‘70s as the premier rock, jazz and funk-infused band they released the studio albums “The Inner Mounting Flame” (1971), “Birds of Fire” (1973) and the live album “Between Nothingness & Eternity” (1973).
Giving birth to his long awaited solo career, Cobham released his debut classic album “Spectrum” (1973), reaching number one on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart and the Top 30 on the Top 200 Albums chart.
Throughout the ‘80s, Cobham has expanded his musical reach working with Jack Bruce (Cream), and The Grateful Dead, respectively, before giving birth to the band Glass Menagerie.
In the decades to follow, Cobham has continued to record and perform. His dedication to his craft and his versatility on the drums found him working with a who’s who of artists in the jazz community, a list that included Stanley Clarke, John Scofield, Larry Carlton, Buddy Miles, Jan Hammer and Jeff Berlin just to name a few.
“I just play what I do,” says Cobham. “That’s fundamentally what it’s all about for me, I can’t do much more than that anyway. I’m just going to do what I feel I can do and enjoy it for what it is and move on.”
“I’m taking it one day at a time. You play what you feel. You enjoy life and you thank goodness that you have the opportunity to play another day and you move on!”
In conjunction with the Crosswinds Project Tour, a special free eBook excerpt (first
chapter preview) of a forthcoming full-length book about Cobham will be released, written by author Brian Gruber, entitled, “Six Days at Ronnie Scott’s: Billy Cobham on Jazz Fusion and the Act of Creation.” This one-of-a-kind book offers a behind-the-scenes look at a grand musical collaboration: British arranger Guy Barker’s orchestration of Billy Cobham’s life's work for a six-day run with a 17-piece
big band at London’s iconic Ronnie Scott’s. In a riveting series of backstage conversations,
"Six Days at Ronnie Scott's" covers six decades of Cobham’s musical life, from his early days playing with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew to the formation of Mahavishnu Orchestra to performances with virtually every jazz great to his still-prolific schedule of touring and recording at age 73. Masters such as Ron Carter, Randy Brecker, Jan Hammer, and Guy Barker, as well as club owners, jazz critics and fans all get in on the action as the transformative early years of jazz fusion are explored, along with what drives Cobham to continue to create. Details of the full print and eBook release will be made public shortly.
“There are flashes of things that happened in my career,” says Cobham. “The things that you go through in life that make you say, ‘Wow I never thought about it like that, until it happens.’ When you put it down on paper it takes on a life of its own. A really great friend named Brian Gruber sat down with me. We used to chuckle about a lot of the funny quirky things that used to happen, over time he said, ‘We should do this.’ And I said, ‘Come on, nobody will ever read this.’ Sure enough we did it, the book is here and it’s really interesting.”
“It was fascinating for me to explore what happens with an artist that has that strong impulse to create and Bill’s personal story as to how he has stayed the course all these decades as an innovator and pioneer,” adds the book’s author, Brian Gruber, while on tour with Cobham. All the jazz legends that I spoke to said, ‘Billy is one of the greats.’ A very unusual combination of someone who can do it all, not just do one thing great, but from jazz to rock to funk and integrating it all.”
Billy Cobham brings his Crosswinds Project to the Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460, Wednesday April 4, 2018 at 8:00 P.M. For tickets and further info call 610-917-1228 or visit www.thecolonialtheatre.com
To stay up to date with Billy Cobham visit www.billycobham.com
Acoustic Hot Tuna returns
to the Colonial Theatre
By Rob Nagy
Pivotal members of the legendary Jefferson Airplane, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady return to the concert stage with acoustic Hot Tuna.
“It’s just going to be me and Jack,” says Kaukonen while on tour in the southwest. “I think an acoustic show is a little more internalized which is satisfying. I’m not sure each of us knows what the other is going to do. We listen really well and we’re willing to go wherever the other person is leading.”
“We want to give people the best possible experience that we can,” adds Kaukonen. “We’ve got a great team that helps us do that in terms of sound and all that stuff, the palate to express ourselves. In terms of the show, to let people hear the stories and in some way be part of the conversation.”
“Jack is my oldest friend,” says Kaukonen. “If you talk to him you know that he and I are really different people but we’ve always tolerated (laughs) and respected each other personally and artistically. I think that just makes it easier to get together and have fun.”
Relocating from the east coast to San Francisco in the early ‘60s, Kaukonen befriended fellow guitarist Paul Kantner who he joined along with vocalist Marty Balin and later, bassist Jack Casady, to form the Jefferson Airplane.
Signed to RCA Records, and following the release of their unsuccessful debut “Jefferson Airplane Takes Off” (1966), vocalist Grace Slick and drummer Spencer Dryden joined the band. It was their follow-up album, “Surrealistic Pillow” (1967), featuring the singles “Somebody to Love” and " White Rabbit” that would be the break the band needed. Both songs were instant classics and remain a part of the soundtrack of the ‘60s generation. The band released five more albums, “After Bathing at Baxter’s” (1967), “Crown of Creation” (1968), “Volunteers” (1969), “Bark” (1971) and “Long John Silver” (1972).
“When you go back and listen to the freshness of that music, when it was new for all of us, it’s hard to recreate that sort excitement or newness.,” recalls Kaukonen. “At the same time, I think I have a deeper appreciation of what we were able to do.”
Kaukonen recalls performing at the decade’s most significant musical and social gatherings.
“Both Jack and myself and a lot of my contemporaries have been so fortunate,” recalls Kaukonen. “A lot of it has to do with being in the right time and the right place with the right people. And to leave footprints on the pages of history like that, it just doesn’t happen to everybody. People say, ‘You were at the big three: Monterey, Woodstock and Altamont’ - we had no idea what was going to happen. Woodstock was an oddity because there were a number of festivals that summer, but there was only one Woodstock. You just couldn’t script that but there it was and there we were.”
“Time marches on, nothing stands still,” adds Kaukonen. “I think there is a lot of truth in that one of the things that I think made the music so important to all of us, not just the creativity that was happening at the time, but the relevance to the social fabric at the time. I just don’t hear that today.”
In an effort to expand their creativity outside the band, Kaukonen and Casady formed Hot Tuna in 1969, which initially included Marty Balin. Featuring Kaukonen’s blues finger picking and Casady’s powerful bass licks, Hot Tuna released their self-titled debut live album in 1970.
“Jack is one of the best bass players in the world, ever! says Kaukonen. “He has the ability to play groove, which he is so good at as well as extremely inventive improvisational and crafted solos. You would think that people would know about him. I guess maybe the reason is that he isn’t a front guy and he has played with other people and so people don’t hear about him as much. It is a shame because he is so good!”
With the disbanding of the Jefferson Airplane in 1972, Kaukonen and Casady concentrated their efforts on Hot Tuna. Initially an acoustic act, they evolved into an electric band as well. Their third and first studio album “Burgers,” yielded the hit “Ja Da (Keep on Truckin').” Kaukonen launched his solo career with the release of his debut album “Quah” (1974). Hot Tuna broke up in 1978 reforming again in the late ‘80s. He has spent the last three decades performing and recording with Hot Tuna as well as his own solo career.
“I’m at a point in my life that I’m not self conscious at all (laughs),” says Kaukonen. “I don’t now if that’s a good or bad thing but that’s how it is. You give what you’ve got to give and if the people like it, great but if not, oh well.”
“I can truthfully say that I never phone my parts in. I’m always there in the moment,” adds Kaukoen. “Sometimes your ability to be able to communicate on that primal level, to me, the music is storytelling. Success is when I’m telling the story and people are getting what I’m saying.”
“Our fans tend to be people of a certain age that have made the journey with us,” says Kaukonen. “I would just like to thank them for being part of our life as we’ve been part of theirs.”
Kaukonen and his wife Vanessa own and operate the Fur Peace Ranch, a 119 acre stretch of land in the hills of southeast Ohio, near Pomeroy, which includes a recording studio. The ranch offers music camps to aspiring musicians, both young and old, as well as live concerts.
“We are starting our 21st season at Fur Peace Ranch,” says Kaukonen. “We’ve got great teachers. We’ve got great shows and we’ve got great food. The teaching thing for me has always been important. You try to believe that you have to make the world a better place. But on a more personal level, in some way to be able to give back the access to the music that was given to me. I’ve been teaching on and off since before Jefferson Airplane. It’s so enjoyable to me because I enjoy the process so much it’s just a gift to be able to do it.”
Hot Tuna performs at the Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460, Monday April 2, 2018 at 7:30 P.M. For tickets and further info call 610-917-1228 or visit www.thecolonialtheatre.com
To stay up to date with Hot Tuna visit www.hottuna.com