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Wil Blades, Donald Harrison, Mike Clark & Rez Abbasi
April 03, 2013
A mix of jazz & funk
Wednesday, April 3
From cookin’ with Blues legend John Lee Hooker, organ summits with B-3 master Dr. Lonnie Smith, television and radio appearances, Wil Blades is gaining critical acclaim and international recognition. Blades, a native Chicagoan, has become the San Francisco Bay Area’s first call organist and is rapidly gaining momentum throughout the country. He has been named “Rising Star” for organ in the Downbeat critics poll every year since 2006. In 2007 Blades released his much anticipated debut record, “Sketchy”, on Doodlin’ Records. In addition to performing with legendary artists such as John Lee Hooker and Dr. Lonnie Smith, Wil has performed and recorded with Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Joe Louis Walker, Don Braden, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Karl Denson, Will Bernard, Scott Amendola, Charlie Hunter, Stanton Moore, Billy Martin, Anders Osborne, Jason Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Betty Joplin, Eddie Marshall, Herbie Lewis, and many others. Wil has kept the traditional sounds of Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, and “Groove” Holmes alive, while creating a more personal, modern sound. In Wil’s words, “I feel indebted to the tradition and masters of the Hammond Organ, but while trying to keep it going, I’m also focused on bringing my contemporary influences to the table.” His playing is rhythmic, funky and bluesy, yet his original compositions are harmonically intriguing and unique. Wil currently leads his own groups around the San Francisco Bay Area, tours internationally and is dedicating his time to teaching the Hammond B-3 Organ privately. Current musical collaborations include groups with guitarist Will Bernard, Stanton Moore Trio and two different duo projects with drummers Scott Amendola and Billy Martin. Billy Martin and Wil Blades Duo debut record, “Shimmy”, is now out on Amulet/Royal Potato Family Records.
Donald Harrison Jr.
Donald Harrison is being called one of the most important musicians of the new millennium by CBS Sunday Morning. A list of his accomplishments shows that he has developed into a musical category unto himself. In the classic jazz genre, he is the originator of the Nouveau Swing style which merges acoustic swing with modern R&B, second-line, hip-hop, (New Orleans African American roots culture), and reggae rhythms. Harrison now a proven master of many musical genres, has written and performed many innovative classic jazz compositions. Some of his compositions are now part of the standard repertoire of jazz. Today the 47-year-old saxophonist is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of these times, yet he remains inextricably tied to his New Orleans roots. The son of late great Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr. began working with Roy Haynes at age 19 and Jack McDuff at age 20. He joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers at age 21. A few years later, he co-led a band with Terence Blanchard that had an enormous impact on the development of the "neo-conservative" movement. Harrison has also discovered and nurtured some of the finest young jazz musicians like the young trumpeter Christian Scott, Mark Whitfield, Dwayne Burno, Christian McBride, Cyrus Chestnut, as well as rap icon The Notorious BIG who was his neighbor in Brooklyn for eight years. Through talent and perseverance, Harrison has developed into one of the most significant artist to emerge in the last twenty years! "Mr. Harrison turned out to be one of the most musicologically literate jazz players to come out in ages." New York Times
Drummer Mike Clark is a true percussion legend - Mike Clark gained worldwide recognition as one of America’s foremost jazz and funk players while touring and recording with Herbie Hancock’s group in the early 1970’s. Mike became known as a major innovator through his incisive playing on Hancock’s 'Thrust' album, which garnered him an international cult following. While often referred to as the “Tony Williams of funk,” Mike, a JAZZ musician, has, in fact, become one of the most vital to ever sit behind a set. He has performed with jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Bennett, Bobby Hutcherson, Christian McBride, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Fred Wesley, Vince Guaraldi, Chet Baker, Larry Coryell, Eddie Henderson, Geri Allen, Billy Childs, Chris Potter, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Dave Liebman, Oscar Brown Jr., Lenny White (Mike has a two-drummer band with Lenny called "New Brew"), Mose Allison, Gil Evans and his Orchestra and many more luminaries. Mike is currently finishing his forthcoming solo CD 'Indigo Blue', which features Randy Brecker, Christian McBride, Donald Harrison, Rob Dixon and Antonio Farao.
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, removed at the age of four to the vastness of Southern California, schooled at the University of Southern California and the Manhattan School of Music in jazz and classical music, along with a pilgrimage in India under the tutelage of master percussionist, Ustad Alla Rakha, Rez Abbasi is a vivid synthesis of all the above stated influences and genres. Making New York home for the past 20 years, Abbasi has developed a unique sound both as a composer and an instrumentalist and is considered by many to be one of the foremost modern jazz guitar players the world over. With nine albums of original compositions under his belt, Rez Abbasi continues to find new groups of musicians to help his musical vision come to life. His 2005 recording Snake Charmer, created a stir in the music world partly due to his organic, original approach in blending two complex musical genres together, namely jazz and Indian music. In 2010, Abbasi reconvened his group, Invocation to record the follow-up to Things To Come. Suno Suno (Enja, 2011) features his new CMA commissioned compositions that are informed by Qawwali – praise music from Pakistan. The power, joy and depth that Qawwali encompasses can be heard throughout Suno Suno. The album was included on multiple top ten lists of 2011. Voted #2 “Rising Star” guitarist in Down Beat’s 2012 esteemed Critic’s Poll, Rez Abbasi’s star is indeed shining bright.