Three very different musical entities from the Blue Note Records stable will embark on a joint tour of the Southeast in November. The Jazz Mandolin Project, Charlie Hunter and new label signing Soulive have all been embraced by the jamband" crowd and the uninitiated may wonder why these seemingly disparate jazz-oriented artists would be embraced by fans weaned on the likes of the Grateful Dead and Phish. The common denominator to these three outfits is their commitment to the groove, their amazing virtuosity and their improvisational gifts. And it is these very elements that the open-minded jamband nation" seeks out. This new generation of fans is actually enjoying and celebrating jazz music as it once was, as dance music. So after receiving widespread respect and acclaim from the jazz community, The Jazz Mandolin Project, Charlie Hunter and Soulive are undertaking this tour as a thank you of sorts to this young generation of fans who are injecting a new excitement into jazz. Though new to the scene, these fans are instinctually drawn to very elements that have kept jazz such a fresh and dynamic force throughout the 20th century and into the new millennium.
The Jazz Mandolin Project (with Jamie Masefield on mandolin joined on this tour by Danton Boller on bass and Greg Gonzalez on drums) pushes the envelope on the mandolin and acoustic music in general, adventurously delving into areas of harmony, counterpoint, improvisation and ensemble interaction with abandon. Masefield has challenged the notions of what the mandolin can do, traversing genres at will and creating a mind-bending live musical experience. JMP is fresh off the BUZZTOPIA tour, which found them playing with Rob Wasserman's Space Island and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band to amazed audiences. Wasserman was so impressed with JMP that he opted to fill the bass chair in JMP for their September dates. Their latest album, XENOBLAST marks their debut with Blue Note Records and it has been embraced by both the jazz establishment (**** Down Beat) and the young groove addicts who make up the fanbase of bands like Medeski Martin and Wood and Phish.
Guitar phenomenon Charlie Hunter (joined on this tour by Chris Lovejoy on congas and Stephen Chopek on drums) has amazed musicians, critics and fans alike with his customized eight-string guitar (5 guitar strings, 3 bass strings), on which he plays both lead and bass simultaneously! On his latest self-titled release, Hunter explores a breadth of expression--from funky dance floor grooves teeming with percussion to stop-you-in-your-tracks balladry in a solo setting. The energy and improvisational wizadry of Charlie's live shows have resulted in awe-inspired, jaw dropping from coast to coast. Charlie is very much in demand as a player, playing on projects as diverse as D'Angelo's latest funk-and-soul drenched album Voodoo (Virgin) and label mate Patricia Barber's latest album of sultry jazz standards Night Club. Here's what other artists have to say:
Breathtakingly beautiful, graceful, and eloquent, I always feel uplifted and inspired whenever I hear him do his thing.
-Kirk Hammett, Metallica
Charlie's hip musical identity is completely natural and unpretentious. In other words, Charlie's so hip he doesn't know he's hip."
Charlie Hunter plays great and I have no idea how he can be two people at once!"
Rounding out the bill is the latest Blue Note signing, the B-3 organ trio Soulive (made up of Eric Krasno on guitar, and brothers Alan Evans on drums and Neal Evans on Hammond B-3 organ), who successfully manage to harken back to classic groove outfits headed by the likes of Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, while investing their sound with the street energy of hip-hop. Soulive's music melds traditional funk and soul with the cathartic improvisation of Herbie Hancock and they have caught the imagination of jamband nation with their road warrior mentality and extended jams. Playing with the likes of John Scofield, Maceo Parker, DJ Logic and others, they've not only held their own, but have won devotees coast to coast. They're just finishing their Blue Note debut album, which should be coming out early in 2001.
11/10 Pittsburgh, PA - Beehive Theater, 8:30pm $20 11/11 Norfolk, VA - Norva Theater, 9:00pm $15adv/$17.50dos 11/12 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero Theatre, 7:30pm $16 11/14 Charlottesville, VA - Trax Nightclub, 9:00pm $12adv/$14dos 11/15 Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theatre, 9:00pm $15 11/16 Atlanta, GA - Cotton Club, 8:30pm $16 11/17 Asheville, NC - Music Zone, 9:00pm $15 11/18 Charleston, SC - Music Farm, 9:30pm $14adv/$16dos 11/19 Columbia, SC - Elbow Room, 8:30pm $17