" Big Apple Blues December 2006 "
As it appears in "Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine"
by Bob Putignano
NY Report December, 2006
As the beautiful Fall season rolls into cold/dark days of winter, Mother Nature delivered a relatively warm day in October for the annual Towaco Arts & Music Festival, featuring Big Luther Kent, Dave Keyes, Nikki Armstrong, and Ed Alstrom's Acid Cabaret with Charlie Jones on guitar. Last years Towaco event had to be moved in-doors due to torrential rains, so it was especially nice to be back outdoors at the picturesque Towaco Train Station. Its almost a given that whenever Luther Kent is in town he will always delivers the goods, and this set was no exception, as Luther provided a pedal to metal, non-stop set of blues, soul and good ole N'Awlins funk, especially with the solid backing of pianist Dave Keyes who stirred up that authentic Crescent City groove.
The usual venues continue to attempt to keep the blues alive around the Big Apple, that being B.B. Kings in Time Square, The Turning Point in Piermont, NY, Mexicali Blues in Teaneck, NJ, Terra Blues in NYC, and its great to see Darrell Bridges back booking the weekend blues shows at the Dinosaur BBQ in the city. A couple other venues need to be mentioned as the Bergen Performing Arts Center in North Jersey brought in Etta James, as well as Tower of Power with the Average White Band, and in December they will have the Godfather of Soul as well. The North Fork Theatre (formerly know as The Westbury Music Fair) on Long Island has been booking blues/roots music as Bob Weir & Ratdog, B.B. King, and Greg Allman (for New Years Eve) have or are about play at this delightful theatre in the round venue. Additionally, Derek Trucks and his lovely wife Susan Tedeschi played at the Nokia Theatre in Time Square, and downtown at Joe's Pub in NYC (another great room) also booked Scrapomatic, whose superb vocalist is Mike Mattison who is also the lead singer from Derek Trucks very fine band. Joe Bonamassa sold out both his NY area appearances at B.B. Kings & Mexicali Blues, and I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Joe at WFDU, and must say he really has it together- both as a musician and as a person, its especially heartwarming to hear that Joe is doing so well as he told me he is playing over two hundred shows a year now, and he also mentioned that his CD sales are nearing the one hundred thousand unit plateau- good for you Joe! The Jazz Standard (midtown NYC) had Don Byron in for a week for two shows nightly which were well received and attended, and what a band they were, a full throttled, high energy, balls to the wall powerhouse unit, as they played music from their current outstanding recording "Do the Boomerang The Music of Junior Walker"which is on the Blue Note record label. I thought Byron’Äôs CD is killer, but this band’Äôs live performance made my hair standup and they produced as solid of a performance that I have seen all year. Byron and company should be a no-brainer for the 2007 festival season, and should they come to play near to where you live, just go see them, and especially take note of guitarist David Gilmore who flat out knocked me flat on my butt. One last thought about the "Do the Boomerang The Music of Junior Walker" CD, I just don’Äôt understand why some jazz & blues stations are not playing this CD??? As it is as roots oriented music as I have heard this year, even Chris Thomas King is on part of the recording- go figure? Thank goodness for great radio Music Directors like Linda Yohn of WEMU in Michigan, who always has my respect with her tasteful ears, and hallelujah Linda has been beating Byron’Äôs ’ÄúDo the Boomerang’Äù to death on the airwaves, bravo Linda!
In closing, I would like to attempt to raise awareness of the fact that the blues based roots music industry is going through major changes, which is not necessarily all good right now. It is true that the entire music industry has been in funk for quite some time now, but in the blues business it’Äôs just a lot tougher. For sometime now, each day does not passes where I hear some disturbing news or info about an artist not being able to go out on tour, a label running into financial stress, and about how clubs are not as willing to book blues based music, so now more than ever, do whatever you can do to support the blues in your area. Go to a show, purchase blues CD’Äôs, or download blues music, and ask a club if they will book more blues music,) as I feel that the blues as a whole, needs all of our support more than ever.
Until the next time...
Bob Putignano www.SoundsofBlue.com
Bob Putignano, President of NY Blues and Jazz Society www.NYBluesandJazz.org & www.BluesandJazzSounds.com
Bob Putignano www.SoundsofBlue.com
Radio Host WFDU's "Sounds of Blue"
President of the NY Blues and Jazz Society