Another loss to the Jam and musical community yesterday. I found the news out while at the festival Rooster Walk here in Virginia. I had just casually thrown on an Allman Brothers shirt to wear to for the day. When I looked at my newsfeed and saw that Gregg had passed, I thought that it was just another hoax but it felt surreal. My first concert ever was the Allman Brothers in Charlottesville, Va. My allegiances have always lay with the Southern Jam community and the Allman Brothers set the bar for that genre. We all know that Gregg had not been doing well but this is still a hard loss to accept. To think that I will never get to see the Allman Brothers again is mind-boggling.
Their songs live on though, in my heart and my soul and in this community and the musicians that drive this music forward. I truly hope that musicians take note of Gregg's and the Allman Brothers amazing life-changing musical legacy. I am so happy to be seeing live music this weekend and the many Allman brothers tributes from Marcus King Band and Greensky Bluegrass here at Roosterwalk. I can't imagine celebrating the life of such a great musician in any other way, dancing my blues away. We will never catch the Midnight Rider. Peace be with you Gregg, thanks for everything.
The Jam Band Purist
After Funk and Ginger Funk All-Stars- (Bring the Chill To Test Our Will For Funk)
I arrived in gorgeous Shepherdstown, West Virginia at the local Opera House Live and wasn't sure what to expect. I was quite impressed with the little laid back atmosphere of Shepherdstown and the venue itself which was a great space to see live music. I will most definitely be returning to the Opera house and Shepherdstown in the future and will likely bring some friends along.
The Ginger Funk All-Stars, opened up the show with very well-done renditions of “Sneaking Sally,” “Reggae Woman,” “Shakedown Street,” and even “The Wall.” But I enjoyed their original songs just as much as I did the covert. There were several times within their performance that I seemed to lose myself, focusing completely on the music and members on stage. They captured my attention. Ginger Funk seems to be on the cusp between road band and bar band but with just a little bit more practice and some more original tunes, The Ginger Funk All-Stars have something palpable to work with. With some added practice and dedication this band could easily be headlining venues all around Northern Virginia and the surrounding areas. Keep up the good work boys and lets jam soon.
The headlining band for the evening was After Funk, a jam, funk, progressive rock band from Toronto, Canada, who, “brought the chill, to test our will for funk.” To be honest, I had never even heard of this band before the show but boy, was I in for a surprise when they came out and absolutely shredded, immediately swinging for the fences. The crowd may have been small but the energy on stage resonated with everyone there and I was totally blown away. This doesn't happen to me very often and especially coming as a total surprise. The lead singer, Yanick Allwood’s vocals are phenomenal but every member of After Funk brings their own style and presence to the stage. I was truly impressed with guitarist, Phil Tessis and his animated playing style. Not only does he have chops but he knows his stuff and after talking with him after the show, we share many musical similarities and connections. ( I am waiting to hear that “Peaches en Regalia.”) For me to be impressed with any live guitarist is few and far between and I respect Phil’s unique guitar playing style and ability. Drummer, Jaime Rosenberg not only impressed me musically but he seems to know the music business very well. It was reassuring to see his huge smile behind the drumkit all night, knowing he was having just as much fun as I was. Bassist, Justin Bontje is the backbone of this band, laying it down effortlessly, not only on the frets but on paper as well, with some sweet poster art.
I was unfamiliar with their original songs but After Funk seamlessly weaves teases and covers into their songs and setlists. Some notable teasers that I heard were, “Oye Como Va” Santana, “Take On Me” Aha and even “Teen Town” by Weather Report. When Yanick brought out the keytar it was something altogether different, it was as if he was bringing out the heavy fire power to slay us all. From an amazing solo of the US National Anthem to more progressive structures much like Edgar Winter's “Frankenstein” Yanick can play it all and the boys follow right in behind him.
I'm really impressed with After Funk’s original material and song writing capabilities. I was able to grab a copy of their latest Album, “Til’ The Sun Comes Up” and loved it, horns and backup singers included. I'm also highly impressed and surprised at the band's level of musicianship, especially at such a young age but this only leaves room for more growth from the members of After Funk.
This band can basically do it all: pop vocal structures, progressive rock and jazz standards solos, straight James Brown soul and funk with Motown transitions. After Funk takes one of the leading spots on my list of must-see new jam bands in the scene right now. I look forward to watching this band grow and evolve at every turn that comes their way. I can see After Funk getting as big as some of the younger bands in the community very quickly and they have the potential to get even bigger with the right business and musical maneuvers. I would love to see After Funk tour with bands like, New Mastersounds, Dopapod, Lettuce or Soulive or even Turkuaz. Look out for After Funk and take the time to check them out, I am positive you will not be disappointed. Thanks to the guys from After Funk for blowing my mind and indulging me after the show.
Keep the Jam Alive,
Jam Band Purist
When I first began writing about music, I wanted to impact my local Jam community but as I've grown in my writing, so has the need for honesty and integrity concerning all musical genres. When asked to do a musical review for a classical composer and pianist Victor Gashnikov, I jumped at the chance to not only expand my musical horizons but my musical writing as well.
Victor Gashnikov "Untold Stories”- Album Review by Jam Band Purist
Victor Gashnikov is a very talented Composer/Pianist from Moscow, Russia. Victor takes cues from classic rock 'n' roll icons and transforms them into piano compositions that rival the intensity of rock 'n' roll itself. One thing I love about instrumental and classical compositions is the freedom to think as much or as little as the listener would like. I often times let the music become me, embracing it and letting it fill my body, mind and soul. Listening to this album was no different.
The album "Untold Stories" begins with the song, "New Day" which is light and polished with dark undertones. This is a perfect opening song for the album. Nice transitional works, I put this song on several times after listening to the album just for ambience.
Victor shows increasing versatility as the album proceeds with "Begin Again," build ups and crescendos are very reminiscent of classic rock ballads and changes, while still adhering to the traditional values and form of classical compositions. The music is very thought-provoking yet simple enough to be understood by all.
The recording themselves are done in his home studio in Moscow and are well done and fairly clean, although anyone with a trained ear can hear the time signature changes and some of the layered home studio styled recording process. I would love to see what Victor could do with a larger studio platform and possibly some accompaniment.
“Deviations” is a deep emotional song that reminds me of many rock songs, mostly 1970s compositions but the classical element outweighs any thought of rock 'n' roll in the song.
In “A Moment Of Doubt“ we hear classical grand piano movements for a change of pace and style. Again, Victor shows his compositional talent with breathless and easy intent. Great starts and stops to each developing sequence with many ups and downs.
“Into The Past” begins with a harpsichord, which is always a nice change and I love the sound of a classical instruments such as that. Next the harpsichord mixes perfectly with the organ and Victor Gashnikov uses his melodic lines to trace a vision of the past, future and present. This song is most impressive and shows amazing finger work by our composer.
“Calm Before The Storm” is just as the name implies; a dark foreboding feeling accompanied by beautiful but hard, chord stops. “Lonely Yet Not Alone” begins with fast and moving piano strokes, led over chord structures and refused to form something greater then it's equal parts. The longing feeling combined with the etherealness of being alone could be felt through this song's intense vibrations.
“Salvation” is possibly one of my favorite pieces from this album. It's very reminiscent of Beethoven, dark, languid and despairing while still remaining uplifting and strong to the core. The doubling of the solo structures in this tracks help create a full and rich sound. “The Only One” takes on a light hearted spirit with tinkling piano sounds that force the listener into evocative emotional states.
Overall, I truly enjoyed “Untold Stories” and Victor Gashnikov has created something lasting and worth taking the time to listen to. It was my pleasure and honor to review this album and I look forward to Victor’s next album which he currently working on. If you would like to know more about Victor and Untold Stories check these links out:
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ny8dhP
Another night at the Broadberry in Richmond, Virginia and yet another Dopapod show within a just a few days of the last at Sweetwater 420fest. After four shows with Dopapod, I am beginning to understand them better and becoming more familiar with their sound/catalog. The Broadberry has been the smallest venue I have seen them play, and it sounded great; I could hear every note clearly. Richmond has become a hotbed for musical activities and many newer Jam Bands come through on a regular basis.
Groove Fetish opened up the show and I got to catch a few songs from their set. They definitely made a strong showing for their final song, which was high energy and instrumentally sound. I was able to score a copy of their latest album, “See It All” and will be doing an upcoming review (after Twiddle and Midnight North.) I am most interested in their vocal arrangements and song structures but they have an impressive, original sound and have been working hard to gain recognition. Shout out to Drew Massey, drummer for GF who sat in with Dopapod, showing he can play with some of the best out there.
Listen here: http://music.dopapod.com/track/picture-in-picture-w-drew-massey
Lots of good things coming out of North Carolina. I look forward to doing a full review with Groove Fetish and watching their growth in the future.
Dopapod immediately shows versatility and smooth transitional work within the first song, “Psycho Nature.” Rob Compa has grown exponentially as a guitarist, showing his progressive skills on a fine Gibson, a change up from the PRS I had seen before; I personally like this sound better, it has a gritty and full tone that jibes well with their music. “Confabulation” is a strange, funky, groovy song, full of improvisation and fine changes, this may be my favorite song in Dopapods catalog. The drummer reminds me of Animal from the Muppets, beating the drums intensely with precision and power. Dopapods breakdowns are also reminiscent of Zappa, moe. and even, YES or ELP.
I met Steve the taper who was recording the show for archives. Dopapod is one of the only younger bands that still allow tapers at the shows and even leave some tickets for those that wish to record. This taping section and taping community is dying out. Steve and I discussed the ins-and-outs of the taping world, including his recording gear which is bluetooth accessible, allowing him to stand in the back and just watch as his gauges flash and move with the noise in the room and onstage. It's a shame that this part of the Jam community has not grown and with the use of soundboard files and copyright laws, it's getting harder everyday for these veterans to observe their passion .
Dopapod is on the cutting edge of Jam/Prog Rock mastery. Encompassing sounds from Disco Biscuits, moe. Pink Floyd and even the Grateful Dead, they are the perfect blend of light and dark, soft and heavy. Just when you think they can't go any deeper, they go in again and add another layer of musical intensity. Dopapod has the lightness of YES and the dark intensity of moe. The build-up and crescendo work is sparkling with raw unattainable energy that every band wishes they could have. You can hear the classically trained elements within the songwriting techniques themselves. While the band is still keyboard heavy, the sound-mix itself has gotten much tighter from the last few times I had seen them. I took some friends with me and I think they were impressed remarking, “Once they get going, they are actually really good."
Dopapod continues to be one of my favorite new groups on the scene but as I have said before, not because they stay true to the purity of the Jam but because their potential is outstanding. As I have noted previously, I still believe Dopapod should stay in the pocket longer, meaning stay in that groove just a bit longer and really draw the audience in. Sometimes, too many changes, at too many intervals distracts us. Use those Jazz standards and blues standards to your advantage and improvise at all costs. I also bought a poster from the merch booth, what can I say, I am a poster nerd, I love the design and the layout but when I got home I noticed the damage, bummer. Keep up the good work artwise, people still love posters.
Overall, Dopapod is growing at an exponential rate and one can see that growth from show to show and even week to week. I can see myself checking out Dopapod many more times if they continue to come through the area. They are growing, not only musically but their fan base has been getting bigger and bigger with every festival/tour performance. I wouldn't be surprised if this band blows up as some of the others fade away.
Jam Band Purist
*w/ Drew Massey from Groove Fetish on drums
Colonel Bruce Hampton- In Memoriam-(Myth, Legend, Mystic) And The Future of the Jam Community
Colonel Bruce Hampton- In Memoriam-(Myth, Legend, Mystic) And The Future of the Jam Community
We all have that older brother/uncle-type who imparts their wisdom upon us in many ways (ie. musically) forming and molding us into who we will become. Bruce Hampton was like that for many people and many of those people are prominent members of the Jam community today because of it. Colonel Bruce was a self-proclaimed “Minor League Coach of Bands” but to me, he seems more than a minor figure in our world. He seems like an enigmatic and elusive mastermind, but at the same time completely accessible, if you take the time to hear what he has to say.
I first became acquainted with the Colonel’s music through the usual channels; he is spoken of like a legend, a myth, or demigod but when you capture him in the thralls of genius, he is completely transparent. When I first got a hold of Aquarium Rescue Unit it all clicked. They were the ones; the ultimate Jamband, blasting for the stars but burning up too quickly. Its part performance art, part circus but it perfectly embodies what Jam music could be or once was. It is the future and the past colliding into a cacophony of transcendence never seen before in our musical spectrum. I have only seen Colonel Bruce on stage a few times and never in full form but his on stage energy is insatiable. I truly wish I could see him once more and really listen, with not only my ears, but my soul.
Surrounded by friends and family and some of the best musicians on the entire planet, Colonel Bruce Hampton died doing what he loved best. It's some sort of coincidental, supernatural musical conspiracy but it's as if he held out until the very last moment and then let his spirit fly at the feet of the next generation of players on the scene, Brandon Niederauer or TAZ. My thoughts are not only with the Colonel's Family and the musicians on stage but TAZ himself. The importance of this monumental occasion should not be misunderstood. I believe that Colonel Bruce was making a statement saying, “Take it away kid, the next generation is in good hands.” That's one hell of a way to pass the torch. The musicians on stage continue to play as what will be the last few moments of Colonel Bruce’s life pass but he bore witness to the very thing he had helped create. Colonel Bruce’s legacy will always be a part of the Jam community. We respect and honor you and we will strive to keep and uphold the Jam scene in your likeness. Thank you for everything, I would not be doing what I am doing today if it was not for you.
Humbly and Honorably,
R. A. Fadley- The Jam Band Purist
WARNING: The views and opinions expressed on this site may not be in conjecture with your own. Be Advised
Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.