Despite being the newest group on Truth & Soul Records, the band is anything but inexperienced. Michael himself, a New York native, won a GRAMMY at 17 for being most outstanding musician in a US high school, and plays trumpet for Steely Dan and the Plastic Ono Band (not to mention performing and/or recording with A Tribe Called Quest, Lenny Kravitz, Caetano Veloso, Mark Ronson, Levon Helm, Mos Def, Brian Eno, Raekwon, Steven Tyler, David Byrne…and the list goes on…).
The Avramina 7, in turn, is comprised of musicians who have not only been involved in the New York/Brooklyn funk and soul scene, but have pretty much built it. The 16-piece (yep, you read that right) band features members of the Dap-Kings, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Budos Band, Menahan Street Band, El Michaels Affair, and Antibalas, among others. In short, pretty much the go-to set of players in New York today.
It’s no surprise then, that the stuff they’re turning out is tight. Heavy psychedelic funk (or funky pyschedelia) with a wall of voices, four horns, and heavy percussion and fuzz guitars inspired by Leonhart’s own personal fascination with 60s and 70s African and Indian funk (Fela Kuti & Africa 70, The Funkees, Ananda Shankar, R.D. Burman, etc), as well as his vast musical cache and years of experience.
Truth & Soul, a label for which Leonhart has been the house trumpet player for more than 20 recordings, released the 7-inch “Scopolomine b/w Gold Fever” on September 2, 2009, with the full-length Seahorse & the Storyteller to follow in early 2010.
Michael Leonhart & the Avramina 7 had their debut performance to a sold-out audience in September 2008 at Joe’s Pub, and will return on October 7, 2009, along with special opening guest Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto, Plastic Ono Band), with additional shows also on November 4 and December 9.
MICHAEL LEONHART & THE AVRAMINA 7 JOE’S PUB RESIDENCY DATES
Oct 07 – New York, NY @ Joe’s Pub (9:30pm) w/Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto, Plastic Ono Band)
Nov 04 – New York, NY @ Joe’s Pub (9:30pm)
Dec 09 – New York, NY @ Joe’s Pub (9:30pm)
Michael Leonhart & the Avramina 7
MICHAEL LEONHART: vocals, trumpet, special effects (STEELY DAN, PLASTIC ONO BAND, SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS)
LUKE O'MALLEY: guitar (PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND, ANTIBALAS, ROOTS)
BINKY GRIPTITE: guitar (SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS)
TOMMY TNT" BRENNECK: bass (SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, BUDOS BAND, MENAHAN STREET BAND, AMY WINEHOUSE, MARK RONSON)
HOMER STEINWEISS: drums (SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, MENAHAN STREET BAND, EL MICHELS AFFAIR, AMY WINEHOUSE)
NICK MOVSHON: percussion and drums (SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, EL MICHELS AFFAIR, MENAHAN STREET BAND, AMY WINEHOUSE, MARK RONSON)
SUNNY JAIN: tabla, dhol and percussion (RED BARAAT)
TOBY PAZNER: electric piano and vox organ (SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, MENAHAN STREET BAND, EL MICHELS AFFAIR)
JAMIE LEONHART, CASEY SHEA, DEIDRE RODMAN, MIKE WILLIAMS: backing vocals
STUART BOGIE: tenor sax (TV ON THE RADIO, ANTIBALAS)
COCHEMEA GASTELUM: tenor sax (SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, ANTIBALAS)
DAVE GUY: trumpet (SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, MENAHAN STREET BAND, MARY J. BLIGE)
MIKE WILLIAMS: bass trumpet
LEON MICHELS: bari sax (SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, MENAHAN STREET BAND, EL MICHELS AFFAIR)
KATIE SCHEELE: oboe