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A Night of Ambient Music
Posted on Saturday April 01, 2017

A Night of Ambient Music:

Tonight, Saturday, April 1. Upstairs at The Edge. 5:00 - 9:00.

See you there.

Don’t Be Cruel Cockatoo
Posted on Saturday April 01, 2017

Don’t Be Cruel Cockatoo

Show at The Edge Coffeehouse - Jonesboro, AR
Posted on Wednesday March 15, 2017

Show at The Edge Coffeehouse - Jonesboro, AR:

Bebop Beatniks and Friends In The Loft at The Edge Coffeehouse. Guest musicians are invited to sit in. Poets and storytellers are welcome to read over jazz music. It’s always a jazz party with Bebop Beatniks and Friends.

Ham n' Beans Blues Jam
Posted on Wednesday March 15, 2017

Ham n' Beans Blues Jam:

Local musicians playing blues, jamming and eating!

March 27 is KASU's next Bluegrass Monday with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers
Posted on Wednesday March 15, 2017

Dear Bluegrass Friends,

    First of all, please note that I’m sending you this Bluegrass Monday reminder earlier in the month than usual.  Our next show is going to be a BIG one as we welcome one of the biggest stars in bluegrass music to our concert series. You will want to mark this show on your calendar now.  Please make plans to join us for a wonderful night of music and entertainment on March 27.

   Chris Jones and the Night Drivers will perform a concert of bluegrass music Monday, March 27, at 7:00 p.m. at the Collins Theatre, 120 West Emerson Street, in downtown Paragould, Arkansas.  The concert is part of the Bluegrass Monday concert series presented by KASU 91.9 FM.  KASU will literally “pass the hat” to collect money to pay the musicians.  The suggested donation is $5 per person.

    Chris Jones has spent over thirty years as a professional bluegrass musician.  Early in his career, he was a sideman for bluegrass legends Dave Evans and Vassar Clements.  He was also member of the bands Special Consensus, Weary Hearts, the Lynn Morris Band, and Whetstone Run.  In 1995, Jones formed his own group, the Night Drivers.

     Jones has recorded 12 CDs as a leader, and he has appeared as a guest on dozens of projects by other artists.  For his work on the CD “40” by Larry Sparks, Jones received an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award in the Recorded Event of the Year category.

    Throughout his career, Jones has had great success on bluegrass radio stations.  Last year, he released his first project for the Mountain Home Music Company.  That CD produced two number one hits, “One Night In Paducah” and “Laurie,” which spent six weeks at the top of the chart.  His follow-up project, “Made To Move,” was released in February 2017, and that CD has already produced another number one hit, “I’m A Wanderer.”

    A prolific songwriter, Jones’ compositions have been recorded by bluegrass artists including the Gibson Brothers, the Infamous Stringdusters, the Chapmans, and Lou Reid.  In 2007, Jones won the IBMA Song of the Year award.

    Jones is also well-known as a host on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction satellite radio channel.  For that work, he is a two-time winner of the IBMA’s Broadcaster of the Year trophy.

    In addition to his work as a musician, Jones has also found success as a columnist.  He is a former writer for Flatpicking Guitar magazine, and he currently writes a weekly humorous column for the Bluegrass Today website.  In 2014, he won the IBMA’s Print/Media Person of the Year award.

    The Night Drivers includes bassist Jon Weisberger, a three-time IBMA award winner, including being named Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year in 2012.  When not touring and recording with the Night Drivers, Weisberger is in-demand as a fill-in bassist for bluegrass greats including Del McCoury, Larry Cordle and Roland White.  He is also a past member of the bands Union Springs and the Wildwood Valley Boys.  Like Jones, Weisberger also hosts programs on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction satellite radio channel.  He has been a member of the Night Drivers for over a decade.

    Mark Stoffel plays mandolin for the Night Drivers.  He is a native of Germany who became a United States citizen last year.  Stoffel has made his home in Southern Illinois for over a decade, and he is a former member of the band Shady Mix which performed in the Bluegrass Monday concert series on two occasions in 2004.  Stoffel has been a member of the Night Drivers for ten years.

    The newest member of the Night Drivers is banjo player Gina Clowes.  She began playing bluegrass at a young age as part of the Furtado family band.  She was a frequent finalist in the prestigious bluegrass banjo competition at the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention.  For four years, she was a member of the band Bud’s Collective, recording three CDs with that group.  Clowes joined the Night Drivers a year ago.

    Additional information about the Jones and the Night Drivers, including videos of the band in concert, is available at or at

    Seating at the concert is first-come, first-served.  Doors to the theatre will open at 6:00.

    In addition to the concert, Terry’s Café, 201 South Pruett Street in Paragould, opens on Bluegrass Monday nights to welcome bluegrass music fans.  The café serves a buffet meal beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the evenings of Bluegrass Monday concerts.  Concessions will also be available at the Collins Theatre.

    Bluegrass Monday concerts are held on the fourth Monday night of each month.  These concerts are presented with support from the Northeast Arkansas Bluegrass Association, Bibb Chiropractic, the Posey Peddler, Holiday Inn Express and Suites of Paragould and KASU.

    KASU, 91.9 FM, is the 100,000 watt public broadcasting service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.  For more information, contact KASU Program Director Marty Scarbrough at or 870-972-2367.  Bluegrass Monday is also on Facebook (search “Bluegrass Monday”).  To be removed from this emailing list, reply to this message.

    Again, the concert is Monday, March 27, one week from this Monday.  Invite your friends, family and neighbors. Let’s fill the Collins Theatre for a memorable night with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers.  See you on the 27th.


Marty Scarbrough

KASU Program Director

BlueHouse Project
Posted on Wednesday March 15, 2017

BlueHouse Project

Self Titled CD

FetSong Music

By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © March 2017


I first discovered BlueHouse Project by hearing a song of theirs on a compilation CD titled “Virginia Blues Showcase” that I reviewed and distributed for Bobby BlackHat Productions.  Liking their track on the disc, I contacted the band for a copy of their full recording and as the expression goes - the rest is history.

BlueHouse Project got started by a bunch of old musician friends running into each other at a reunion concert for the Bayou Club in the DC area.  The usual, but rarely ever happening, “we should get together and do some shows” were thrown around and lo and behold, "their people" actually did contact “their people” and wah-lah - BlueHouse Project was formed.  The band consists of: Ron Fetner - composer of all eleven songs - on electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin, and lead & background vocals; Mark Tramonte on keyboard, piano and background vocals; Tom McCarthy on bass and background vocals; and Corey Holland on drums.  There’s also a sax crew on some tracks and they are: Mike Caffi, Bobby Reed and Scott Ramminger.  On this, the bands’ debut disc, special guests include: Mark Wenner (The Nighthawks) and Tom Dikon on harp; Tim Tanner on guitar, slide guitar and background vocals; Randy Short on drums; Rich Ridolfino on bass; and Jordan Ponzi on upright bass.   

The disc opens with "Piece Of My Heart" and as an opening track should, it did indeed make an excellent first impression.  Ron’s formidable lead vocals; the quite tight rhythm Tom, Corey and Mike T. were locked into; and the guitar and sax leads by Ron and Bobby respectfully, were all outstanding.

“Black Widow Spider” is one of the tracks that features Mark Wenner on harp and if that’s all I said about it, it’s reason enough to listen…..but, there are others.  Ron’s guitar leads are some of the disc’s best, Tom M. & Corey are all over the rhythm and the vocals, with some harmonious backup help, are contagious.   

“I Can’t Lose These Blues” is the track I referred to in my opening paragraph.  It's an absolutely beautifully done ballad that’s highlighted by tender, story telling style vocals backed by silk like rhythm with sultry sax and mesmeric guitar leads.  Ron, if they’re all going to be like this then this listener hopes you’ll never lose these blues.

After hearing this one you’ll surely want to sit down beside Ron and let him “Play You The Blues”.  His vocals and acoustic guitar work, along with Jordan’s upright bass mastery make this very laid back song a must hear track. 

This one is the disc’s smoker.  At the hands of Rich and Randy on the bass and drums, It features some of the disc’s hardest driving rhythm; plenty of barrelhouse piano from Mike T.; fiery hot sax leads by Mike C. and Bobby; and Ron and Tim getting rough and raunchy on guitar.  Oh yeah, by mid track you’ll be joining the background vocalists as they melodically chant “Going Down To Texas”.     

The disc closes with “Black Cat Blues (For Velvet)”, an acoustic track that features some fine pickin' by Ron and some equally fine blowin’ by Tom.  It’s a cleverly and humorously written track that, as a cat person, I was totally able to relate to.  It’s about a stray cat that Ron lets into his house and as cats do, it takes over. 

Other tracks on the album include: “White Cotton”, “Coal Mine”, “Newport Blue”, “Uptown Strut” and “It’s A Good Thing”. 

To learn more about BlueHouse Project check them out at  Once you do, please tell them the Blewzzman sent you


Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro

Blues Editor @

2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient 

MILT JACKSON - Olinga  (full album)
Posted on Saturday March 11, 2017

MILT JACKSON - Olinga  (full album):


Alb. “Olinga“ (1974)

stand alone player

stand alone player

21st Century Jazz Composers

Michael Arbenz - piano Thomas Lähns - bass Florian Arbenz -...
Posted on Sunday March 05, 2017

Michael Arbenz - piano

Thomas Lähns - bass

Florian Arbenz - drums

feat. Greg Osby - sax

Danilo Perez Website
Posted on Tuesday February 21, 2017

Danilo Perez Website:


Pianist, composer, educator and social activist, Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time.

Born in Panama in 1965, Pérez started his musical studies when he was three years old with his father, a bandleader and singer. By age 10, he was studying the European classical piano repertoire at the National Conservatory in Panama. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in electronics in Panama, he studied jazz composition at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

deltaboogie:Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade - CHILDREN...
Posted on Tuesday February 21, 2017


Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade - CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT Live
Blue Note Milano 12-07-2015

Danilo Pérez piano
John Patitucci doublebass
Brian Blade drums

Jazz Night In America goes to Panama City to take in festival...
Posted on Tuesday February 21, 2017

Jazz Night In America goes to Panama City to take in festival performances by Pérez, John Patitucci and a rising-star violinist named Joshue Ashby, and finds out how music can change lives in Panama. 

Festival de Jazz Vitoria-Gazteiz 2011Danilo Pérez, PianoBen...
Posted on Tuesday February 21, 2017

Festival de Jazz Vitoria-Gazteiz 2011
Danilo Pérez, Piano
Ben Street, Bass
Adam Cruz, Drums

best-of-modern-jazz:New Conception of Jazz 2016 Edition Preview
Posted on Saturday February 11, 2017


New Conception of Jazz 2016 Edition Preview

mosaicrecords: Danilo Perez: At Home in Panama Danilo Perez has...
Posted on Saturday January 21, 2017


Danilo Perez: At Home in Panama

Danilo Perez has been one of jazz’s most striking and important pianists since the ‘80s and member of Wayne Shorter’s quartet for the past 15 years. He never lost sight of his Latin American roots and this NPR episode of Jazz Night In America explores his Panamanian roots with performances from the Panama Jazz Festival which he founded and interviews from Danilo, his wife and others. A wonderful story.

-Michael Cuscuna


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More about 21st Century Jazz Composers

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How to start your web site for zero dollars
Posted on Wednesday December 30, 2015

How to start your web site for zero dollars

First you can get a free domain name at They allow you to register up to 100 free domains. I have,,,, and They are not all active yet but I have been maintaining websites at two of them.

Then you get free webspace at They offer quality free hosting with 1 GB disk space, 5 GB of traffic, 1 domain and 3 subdomains, php, mysql, and a cpanel interface. You can also use ftp to maintain your website. To prevent spammers from abusing their service there are restrictions on email. But there are many places with free email much better than most webmail interfaces anyway. If you want an email tied to your website try to get or something like that.

After you get your webspace you have to tie your domain name to your webspace to make it all work. This is done through the magic of name servers. Log in to your account at and click on the pencil below Manage next to your domain name. Then click on Nameserver. Add and in the top two text boxes. That's all there is to it. After just a little while you should be able to enter your domain name in your browser and go to your website hosted on awardspace.

Cool, huh? Completely free.

Here are the two websites I am currently running this way. The first is called MixRemix and it is dedicated to promoting free culture art and music. I am using a WordPress blog that I installed from Awardspace's control panel. They also have Joomla that you can auto install if WordPress isn't your thing.

I also have an internet radio station called LMAJazz that is running on my won KGPL radio software. This site is dedicated to promoting jazz musicians that post at the Live Music Archive found at the Internet Library,

Take a few minutes and explore these sites. Listen to some jazz at LMAJazz while you read about free culture at MixRemix. These are both projects I have been wanting to do. Since I didn't have to spend any money this made it easy for me to push go. Do you have an idea for a website that you might like to work on? Using and you can explore your ideas without financial commitment. Then if your idea takes off and you need more resources awardspace will allow you to upgrade to a paid plan.

Have fun.

New NJHB CD, Stinger
Posted on Wednesday December 23, 2015

I'm pleased to announce the new NJHB CD, "Stinger" featuring guest artist, Chris "Stinger" Stevens. Recorded at The Arts@311 as part of the New Jazz In Jonesboro program in 2013 I just finished the album over two years later. Thanks to Corey Emerson, bass, and Cody Ballard, tenor sax, for overdubbing the parts that let me complete this fantastic music.

You can hear the whole album at this link or download the flac files for CD quality.

The Times and Travels of an American Bluesman.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2015

It's a long way from the rich, fertile delta lands of North Little Rock, Arkansas, to the Netherlands where he records for Dutch blues label Black and Tan Records, but for Billy Jones it was a route of which he never lost sight.

Born into the segregated south, he was exposed to the driving beat of the Blues when he was still an infant. In the crib, he could hear it as it permeated the walls against which he slept. This sound which spoke to him gave him an early direction in life which he has pursued to this day.

His early memories are of a juke joint from where he would draw inspiration; the images, and the folks he knew then are the stuff of his song. They gave him a mind-set that would drive him to perfect his craft as a guitar slinging blues man.

Billy Jones is betting that the Blues can experience a revival of interest. What is needed is a fresh infusion of imagination. And to capture a bigger share of the Black music market, what is needed is for the Blues to once again become relevant to the African American experience.

We spoke with him upon the release of his latest CD My Hometown.

Before we talk of how a Delta Blues artist gets signed by a Dutch-owned label, ie Black and Tan Records, let's talk of how you started in this business. What was your first exposure to the Blues, and what are some of your earliest memories of this music?

"I was raised from the age of six months in my grandfather's cafe and boarding house, The Cedar Street Cafe - 903 Cedar Street - North Little Rock, Arkansas. The room that we lived in was directly behind the wall of the main ballroom where the juke box was. My crib was on the other side of that wall, so as a baby I would be laying there listening to Elmore James, Big Joe Turner, Jackie Wilson, B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke and all the blues and soul greats while the cafe customers played records and partied well into the night. My bed would vibrate on the bass notes. That was my first exposure to the music. I absorbed the music as I could literally hear it in my sleep. One of the first thoughts that I remember having was that I wanted to be like B.B. King and Elmore James.

There was this dangerous juke-joint/nightclub place down the road from my grandfather's cafe called Jim Lindsey's Place. Many of the big "chittlin' circuit" stars of the day used to perform there like Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and Bobby Blue Bland. Sometimes at night when everyone else was asleep, I would sneak out of the room and climb up high in an old chinaberry tree and watch what was going on over at Jim Lindsey's Place. I could hear the band from there and pretend that it was me onstage.

All the pimps, players, dealers, whores and gangsters used to hang out there and someone was always getting shot or stabbed on a regular basis. Remember that this was the segregated south, so whenever someone would call for an ambulance for a shooting, or fight, at a the club, they would send a hearse from the black owned funeral home instead of an ambulance. If the victim was still alive they would take them to a black doctor. ...If not, they would take them to the funeral home.

Of course I thought that these were the "beautiful people" and I wanted to be just like them when I grew up. Especially the musicians, with their tight-legged, sharkskin suits and Stacy Adams shoes, their jewelry and the way they wore their hair in a process. And the women! ...the way they used to dress back then was so glamorous! ...and of course Bobby Blue Bland's Cadillac. ..."No medical school for me dad... I'm gonna be a blues star."

The house band for Jim Lindsey's Place lived in an upstairs room over the club, and during the day I would go over there and try to hang out around them. They could tell that I really wanted to be a guitar player.

There was this one musician who played at the club named Red Harpo... he told me that he was Slim Harpo's brother. I believed him. Whether he was or not, one thing is true, Red could play the hell out of a guitar! ... There was an air of excitement about him. Women would fight over him. He would let me come up to his room sometimes and talk to him while he would sip "Golden Rod" wine on ice and play and sing for me and show me how to play the new hit songs of the day, while I soaked-in all the information that he was giving me about being a real musician.

By the time I was fourteen years old, I was hanging out at 'Williams Pool Hall.' One day this older guy pulled up in a 1957 Chevy station wagon packed full of amplifiers, microphones and drums He came in. He had that same air of excitement about him that Red had. He said that he was in a band and he had a gig booked in Lonoke, Arkasas that night and that he heard me play guitar and they were looking for a guitar player. He said that his name was Hosea Levy and that he and his younger brother Calvin Levy would pay me $6.00 if I played with them and Willie Cobb, Little Johnny Taylor and Larry "Totsie" Davis that night. I didn't tell him that I had never played in a band before. I was fourteen years old and I was going on the road! I was trying to be cool and I agreed to go with him. But I was so excited to be going to play with a real band!

That was the first day that I went on the road with the Levy Brothers Band, and the beginning of a lifetime journey into the world of the blues . I've been on the road ever since. So it was "on the job training" for me."

Now, how old were you when you first picked up the guitar? How did you become this accomplished musician that you are today?

"It's hard for me to remember when I didn't have a guitar... it's just something that I've always wanted to do.

Because I loved guitars so much, around age four, or five years old, my uncle Vernon had given me a little plastic toy guitar with a music-box handle that played 'Pop Goes the Weasel' when you turned it. It was instant love. I used to stand in front of the juke box with that little guitar and pretend that I was every artist whose record was playing. I was always running around holding that guitar. I don't think I ever put it down.

I think I really started getting serious about it during the summer between the 5th and 6th grade.
I didn't play with the other children in my neighborhood that much. I hung around adult musicians and spent most of my time learning songs from records and trying to sound like the guys on the recordings. Sometimes I would hang out with the winos and perform for them. Some of my family thought I was weird. But music is both my occupation and my recreation. And I spent almost every waking moment playing it and studying and imitating the artists that I idolized. ...I guess that I was kinda weird."

How did you start to playing gigs traveling from military installation to installation entertaining military members and their dependents? Were you in fact in the military at the time?

"No. I was not in the military. I always regretted that I didn't join the Air Force. I think that I would have liked it. This was during my twenties, after I had started my own band and was playing a lot of Rick James, Cameo, Funkadelic, Stanley Clarke, Hendrix, Bar-Kays, Commodores, Gap, Zapp, and that kinda thing. At that time I was being booked by this big-shot "Clive Davis" type guy named Gene Williams, who was really hooked-up with the Grand Ol' Opry and the Nashville scene and was managing Ferlin Husky, Claude King and Donna Douglas, who played the part of Elly Mae on the television show The Beverly Hillbillies.

Since he couldn't book a black band in the Country Music Capitol of the World, he started booking me into NCO and Officer's clubs on Naval Stations, Air Force Bases, Army Posts and military installations all over the United States. I lived the military lifestyle without actually being in the military. GI women are great!

I learned a lot and made a lot of friends... to this day I have the highest respect for military personnel. They are great people. They work hard and they play hard... and they love hard."

Where did this traveling take you?

"To over 42 states... countless times. And to many clubs and shows that were booked off-base when we were in whatever city. I did that for ten years. I loved it!"

So you weren't traveling to Europe. It wasn't while traveling like this that you first met Jan Mittendorp of the Black and Tan Record label? How did he come to sign you for his label?

"I met Jan Mittendorp in 2004 when I sent a promotional CD of my music to him. He liked what I was doing and flew me over to Amsterdam to record some of my songs for Black and Tan Records.

A few months later, after the 'tha Bluez' CD was released, I went back to do a month-long tour of Europe to support the release. We liked each other instantly and have been working together ever since.

He's a great guy to work with, and I have complete artistic freedom to style my music any way that I see fit."

According to sources you have a unique take on the "corporate game" as it pertains to the music industry. Can you share your ideas on the recording industry in general? How did you develop this perspective on the record industry?

"Let me be the first to say that I have said a lot of senseless crap in order to get attention in my time. I'm not sure which particular proclamation you are referring to, but it may be the time that I said that some labels have chosen to force feed the public old ideas rather than offer them new ones. And that the response of the youth audience has been to ignore the music in droves."

What I want to do is to re-introduce the young urban audience to the music of their heritage by presenting it in a format that they can appreciate.

I think that one of the reasons that the blues industry is becoming stagnant is because many labels discourage original ideas and many label owners are basically "wannabe" artists and bookkeepers, business guys who want to "handle" and "direct" their artist's careers in order to live out their own musical fantasies by dictating to the artist how the career ...and the music should go....sometimes before it is even written, instead of allowing the artist to be fully creative. That makes for mediocre songs. Some want to impose their own musical limitations into the creative process. They want the artist to be the "idiot savant" like Blind Tom, and create these musical masterpieces on demand, but let the label owner make all the business decisions and of course ...handle all the money.

I have musician friends who sign with these carpet-bagger type of record labels who have them out touring all over the world and making records. The artists never see any reasonable amount of income for it and don't have what they need to get by on, while the record company guys screw them out of most of the money with the promise of those mysterious mechanical royalties that never seem to appear. If they do appear, then it's just enough to pay back the advance that you probably didn't get from the record company in the first place. The artists are like slaves to these guys. Now that's blues tradition!

Some want formulas and repetition of familiar patterns and mimicry that they can re-package into neat little categories and sell to the public, much like the rock guys keep re-packaging Jimi Hendrix, and the Rasta guys keep re-packaging Bob Marley, or the blues guys keep re-packaging Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. That has nothing to do with art or creativity or even music. It's just standard snake-oil sales tactics.

When I first started sending my songs out to labels in order to shop for a recording deal, one of the biggest blues label owners in the game wrote me and said that I had no idea about what the public, especially the black audience wants to hear on a blues record and that I really needed to decide if I was going to be a bluesman, or a soul man, or a rock guy and to stick to that one thing, because if I released a recording with all those musical styles on one cd, the audience would be confused and wouldn't buy it. I think that he seriously underestimated both the musical tastes and the intellect of the general public.

The "my Hometown" cd is exactly that. It's the biggest project that I have ever been involved with. The songs on the cd are being well received by people who listen to all types of music... not just blues.It was recently chosen by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Continental Airlines, Czech Airlines and 25 other international airlines to be included in their in-flight audio entertainment listings. If you are traveling by airplane please check it out on your in-flight audio player. The songs became available for passengers to listen to in the month of November. (..."that's a commercial!") This recording has been gathering very positive critical reviews from music writers and getting high rotation international radio airplay. The "my Hometown" cd has been featured in several music publications. Has been #1 on XM Satellite Radio, and is presently #6 on the Real Blues Magazine Top 100 cd's charts. ...and I'm just getting warmed up!

As much as this applies as much to the existing Blues labels, I am certain that this take applies more to the Big Four labels of the recording industry. How does Jan's approach differ?

In any business situation there is gonna be negotiation and compromise. Jan is a pretty straight forward and honest guy. He's open to new concepts and ideas and I like working with him. ...He's cool.

I'm sure that if I were signed to one of the big four that you mentioned, that 'my Hometown' would have never seen the light of day. I would have had to release a cd that sounds just like every other blues cd out there. The only thing that ever changes about some of those products is the name of the guy singing.

Now recording for Jan's label and having toured Europe, you can certainly answer this: do you feel that the record industry is different in Europe than it is here in the States?

Yes... In America the record industry has become an assembly-line, one-beat type of thing.
All the rap songs sound the same. All the blues songs sound the same. All the subject matter sounds the same. If one song is a hit, then there is a rush to make every song after that sound just like that one.

In Europe the music is not shaped by trends and fads.. It's shaped by talent.. ..and it just has to be good.

Not that I'm down on corporate American music companies, but they are about numbers, not music. There is plenty of great music in America, but it is coming from the home studios and independent artists. There's some fantastic stuff that's coming off the streets that is re-shaping the dynamics of the industry.

Do you find the audiences here and abroad different? In what ways?

Yes... The European audience seems to listen to a wider spectrum of music than the American audience. They are open to all types of music and will listen to anything based on whether they like the song or not.

I find that Americans tend to see music in the same way that they see fashion and fads.
There is a "herd" mentality involved here where everybody wants to do what everyone else is doing.

It's like musical segregation. If jazz is in vogue, then everyone in a certain peer group wants to listen to only jazz. Anyone who listens to anything different is considered un-cool by that group. Same with blues. Same with Hip-Hop. I think that this makes for a poor musical diet. There is something to learn from every musical genre.

I once had a friend who gave me an album of Iranian sheep herder songs. At first listen, I dismissed it as illogical noise because I was not familiar with the scales and melodic patterns that were being played on what sounded to me like a banjo... I'm sure that it was an instrument specific to the region that the music came from and not a banjo, and I didn't understand the language that the songs were being sung. But by the third listen I had discovered that the music was fantastic!; the passion and intensity of the singer's delivery was amazing... and I found myself listening to it all the time. I ended up writing one of my most popular songs, 'Reconsider Baby', based on what I learned from that experience. Some music critics and scholars theorized that I had crafted the song by combining blues with hip-hop and Latin music. I don't suppose that they have ever heard much Iranian sheep herding music. I still have that album... it's one of my most treasured possessions.

How did you come to refer to your music as "Bluez"? Is this to differentiate your music from the music created by the "record industry"?

Yes, it is...I have studied many types of music, including jazz, country, rock, funk, R&B, punk, new wave or whatever, and I wanted to incorporate some of the elements from all of these styles into my original music.

I didn't want to use the standard term "blues" because I realized the to the youth audience blues equals old. I didn't want to align myself with the "old blues guy" stereotype because this music anything but that.

There is no mention of the mule or the cotton or the tractor on this project. Those are issues of today's audiences grandparents. While most blues music is focused on the past...this is music for the 21st century. And while most blues music is written by men for men, many of my songs are directed to the female listener. They address some of the social concerns and romantic intricacies of modern-day urban existence. This music is something new and different and delivers social commentaries and messages that the urban audience can relate to.

Also, by creating my own musical terminology it causes the search engines of the internet to "learn" that word and associate it with me. So that if you type Billy Jones Bluez into your computer the search engines will bring up lots of information about my music.

Try it.

How long have you worked to infuse an urban element into your music? How has it been received by your audience?

I never intentionally set out to "urbanize" my music. I just wanted to learn everything that I could about my craft and how to please the audience that was in front of me that day. It was just natural evolution. The reception has been overwhelmingly positive from the general public... not so much by the blues purists.

Can we hear more of this influence on this latest CD of yours, than on your previous?

Definitely on the "my Hometown" cd. On previous releases you can hear hints of the influence, but I had to "dumb it down" a little in order to appease the label owners and record songs that were a little more predictable in order to get them to release the recordings. However, when I met Jan Mittendorp and signed with Black and Tan records, part of our agreement was that I would have complete artistic freedom; I would write the music the way that I thought it should be... If it wasn't too "artistic" to release, then Black and Tan would release it. This has been my most popular recording ever! Although my "Prime Suspect for the Blues" cd did well, there's no comparison to the response that "my Hometown" is receiving.

Presently a number of Black artists are working to merge Blues music with Hip-hop. This would include artists such as Billy Branch, Russ Greene, Chris Thomas-King, among others. In fact, R L Burnside even did his take on this cross-infusion of the Blues, which was met with mixed reviews. Do you see your music going in this direction?

What these artists understand... and the reviewers and "experts" probably don't, is this:
Hip-Hop has evolved from blues and is very much a part of it.... Hip-Hop is the blues of today.
If you analyze the greatest hip-hop songs of all time, like "The Message" by Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five, or "How Do You Want It?" by Tu Pac Shakur ...(which is based on the hook from "Body Heat" by Quincy Jones),'s easy to hear that these songs are pure blues with African/Jamaican bass lines and drum beats. Of course, the stories that these songs tell are undeniable blues themes that reach deep into the heart of the African American experience. I love a little "gangsta" in my blues.

Do you agree with the assertion that the white artist has been more closely bound by tradition, whereas the Black artist has always been more progressive in their approach to the music, looking for the "next big thing"? This, perhaps, can be seen more in Jazz than in Blues.

Are these attempts at cross-infusion done more for the music, or is it being done for the rewards that the urban artist seems to be enjoying, the "bling"?

Definitely for the music. I don't think that it has very much to do with the "bling".... little if anything.
Of course any artist wants to be well compensated for their work... I certainly do.

But the battle between the blues purist and the blues artist has gone on long before now. The artist wants to be artistic and create and innovate.... the purist doesn't want anything to change. No new instruments, no synthesizers, no drum machines, no new nothing. If Muddy didn't do it... it's wrong.

But when Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters switched from acoustic to electric guitar the purists said that they were ruining the art-form. Look at all the great classics that were created because they ignored the "experts". I have concluded that the purists are just a handful old guys who's opinions don't really matter.

What the artist is trying to do is stretch the boundaries of the music and infuse elements that will appeal to a contemporary audience and to bring something new and relevant to the table.

However, if the "experts" want to tell the artist what the song should sound like before it is written, there probably won't be much "bling" forthcoming. They won't sell many to people who buy cd's today. If an artist can reach the public and they love the music, then the "bling" will be just a pleasant side-effect.

As far as the musicians that are bound by tradition, I don't think that they are so much bound by tradition as maybe lacking in imagination and a working knowledge of modern beats and rhythmic patterns.

In order to compete effectively in the music business you have to stay on top of current events. That means that you have to have an understanding of contemporary musical styles and trends.

I remember reading in a biography of Elvis that no matter where he was he was always listening to the radio in order to monitor musical trends and to hear what his competitors were doing. And he was Elvis!

Music is about constantly learning. Some guys don't like to put out that extra effort to stay on top of it. They want to play the same old stuff that they already know and pass it off as "keeping the music alive". Many of them are taking the safe road of mimicking artist of the past and sticking to a pre-determined formula or constantly re-recording old songs for an old audience instead of reaching out to draw in a new audience. Kinda like a boxer "laying on the ropes" and making easy money and waiting for the bell.

There's nothing wrong with that, I know many who make a decent living doing it... for a long time I did it. But now I think have something that I want to say, and I want my music to appeal to a mass audience.

Is this image (the rewards) a creation of the "corporate entertainment business"?

No, it is not... it's a creation of the hip-hop industry and the age of music video. It is an expression of what the young black audiences wants to see. What they want to be.

One of the biggest obstacles to selling blues music to young blacks is that the blues industry projects the images of poverty and ignorance and servitude as part of it's selling points, and young black people overwhelmingly reject that picture.
There is an overseer mentality to the whole scene.
If you have ever had to be poor then you probably wouldn't want to buy products that imply poverty.

Young black people want their heroes to be successful, tech savvy, dress well, have money and nice cars. Not so much "workin' for the man" and "moseyin' on down da road." The blues industry needs a major image make-over in order to connect with young black America.

Do you feel that these urban images as it is depicted in Hip-Hop more closely reflect the Black condition as it exists today?

Yes... black people have worked hard to escape that lifestyle and better their condition.The other images have nothing to do with this century.

Do you feel that the urbanization of Blues music is an effective way of reaching a younger market? To what market are you ultimately hoping to appeal?

Definitely... it's the only way to reach the younger market.

I want my music to appeal to everyone. That's what seems to be happening. The stories that I tell on this cd are true and universal. People across all genres are embracing the music

Mmere Dane Group Live at The Spot Underground on January 14, 2015
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2015

Mmere Dane Group Live at The Spot Underground on January 14, 2015

From their facebook page.

Musicians- Riley Stockwell- Guitar, Marcus Monteiro- Sax, Sam Kurzontkowski- Double Bass, Tim Lee- Drumset, Ben Paulding- Percussion
Genre: Groove Based Jazz/World Music
Hometown: Holliston, MA

Footwear - Starts with horns and percussion. Imitation from guitar. A kind of a hard bop head in time. Bass joins with a repetitive part in 4 and improvisation begins with a sax solo. Bass solo. Percussion answering bass while drums stay on a groove. Sax joins on end of solo with echo effect on. Guitar solo. Hanging notes with reverse envelope interspersed with picked lines and occasional harmonies. The same melodic fragment at the end of the solo. Now the guitar plays the head. Drums fills and ends with guitar echoes.

The bulk of the song is modal over a two bar pattern. Inventive improvisation keeps this interesting. The group works together well answering each others ideas.

Life Of The Mind - Spacey intro. Free jazz influenced jam band. Percussive guitar part episode then into a groove like a latin clave. Guitar and sax play the head. In 7. And then 8. Improvisation over this 7 then 8 pattern held together by the bass. Guitar solo with tasteful wa wa. Kind of like funk played in time. Rhythmic episode and then the sax solo. Now the drummer is holding the beat with bass out. Guitar interlude on the head. Drum solo with the guitar holding the rhythm. Back to head. Guitar first and then with sax. A melodic variation and then with harmonies. Ends with a little fade.

Again a nice arrangement with a real head and a very short improvisational form. Using 7 then 8 time during the improv parts forces inventiveness and makes their sound different than a funk band.

West End Strut - Starts on the head. Again in time. Quickly into guitar solo before the time becomes obvious. Sax solo. Guitar chords supporting the solo. Echoes of fusion. Bebop sax solo. Head interlude. Guitar solo playing notes. I think the time is 4-2-4-4-2. Simple yet difficult to count. Catchy once you get it. Guitar moves out of notes into extended timbre then back to notes with some soaring. Signals the end of his solo with the head. Now the guitar plays some bebop figures in a solo extension. And the head. Drum solo with rhythnmic background from percussion, bass and guitar. Out on the head.

Again a short unusual pattern. This time it persists throughout the piece.

The Green Dragon - Very melodic intro. Then a 4 bar 3/4 pattern. Surprisingly complex with a latin tinge. Guitar solo. Sometimes the time shifts to 4 and 2. A melodic figure signals the bass. Guitar and sax play head over bass. The melodic fragment starts the sax solo. Time continues to shift relying on the bass pattern for definition. Drums soloing behind the sax solo. Now they are working together rhythmically. Ends on this rhythmic high point.

An original by Riley Stockwell that sounds more like late 20th century jazz then funk/jam jazz. I get the feeling that this is a very simple arrangement with a lot of room for variation from performance to performance.

Five Of Swords - Strong feel of five but hard to count. Extended head/intro and then guitar solo playing lines against the complex bass pattern. Ok, I'm counting this in 10. But more like 4-2-2-2 than 5-5. After the solo the guitar plays with the bass and there is a drum feature. What further complicates the 10 beat rhythm is that it starts on 2. Ends on this riff over drums.

This band is obviously into playing in time but they manage to do this with substantial variation and considerable groove.

Morning Talks - This original by Sam Kurzontkowski is very much in the fusion vein. Melodic extended head followed by a bass solo. Spacey guitar high ringing chords at the end of the bass solo and then sax and guitar call and response. Really sweet. No definite duration on the parts, sometimes trading bars and sometimes extended phrases with occasional overlapping counterpoint. Segues into a nice guitar figure and then melodic harmony between the sax and guitar building to a strong motif. The melodic harmony repeats but goes to bass to end.

This 9 minute song held my attention with no problem whatsoever.

Keoka - Another Riley Stockwell original. Extended melodic head. Guitar solo. Short bebop/blues figures. Gestures stacked on top of each other. A fusion interlude and then sax. Much sparser overall and very powerful becoming percussive with stacatto and heavily accented phrasing. Post bop. Strong performance. Guitar repeating some of the sax phrasing. Both guitar and sax. Hard to tell who's soaring and who's vamping. Fusion interlude. Great ensemble work. Drums under head on the way out. Sudden stop.

They just keep getting better.

These young musicians write great songs but they also cover other 21st century jazz composers showing that they are deep into contemporary jazz literature. I love listening to live recordings at the Live Music Archive but this recording really made me want to see their show.

Oscar Peterson Plays Jerome Kern
Posted on Sunday March 15, 2015

Oscar Peterson Plays Jerome Kern

A Fine Romance
Can't Help Lovin Dat Man
I Won't Dance
Long Ago and Far Away
Lovely To Look At
Ol' Man River
Pick Yourself Up
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
The Song Is You
The Way You Look Tonight

The Jonesboro Public Library subscribes to the Freegal program for it's patrons. Freegal allows card holders to download or stream music from their computer. The library offered is large and varied but not real strong on contemporary jazz. They do, however offer many great Oscar Peterson albums so I have been downloading them. Downloading six songs a week it only took me two weeks to get this Jerome Kern anthology. When I put them in my media player they came up in alphabetical order so probably not the way they were intended to be listened to.

According to Dr. Ken Carroll, Director of Jazz Studies at ASU, Oscar Peterson is the best jazz pianist in the history of jazz. His virtuosity is astounding and he can play anything from jazz to blues to boogie woogie to classical. So I was amazed to hear his simple, straightforward renditions of these Jerome Kern standards. He keeps his virtuosity well hidden until he plays "Ol' Man River". Not to say that there's anything wrong with his arrangements. Not a note out of place and not an extra note. Then on "Pick Yourself Up" he really lets loose with amazing streams of notes interspresed with what could be single finger melody lines.

With "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" he is back to the same sound that he had on the first six songs but with some ornamentation. As he continues through the piece the playing gets simpler and simpler and sounds better and better.

"The Song Is You" is uptempo and he starts off cooking but contrary to "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" he doubles down and gets amazing for a while before coming back to the melody to close.

On "The Way You Look Tonight" He chords through the melody on the head giving his bass player some room to play. Then he solos once around keeping it pretty restrained. He comes back to chords on the way out and the drummer and the bass player get some space to work out.

He takes some liberties with "Yesterdays" on the intro repeating themes in different octaves with full keyboard runs in between. When he comes to the song the melody dominates but still with substantial fills. Only when he gets to the end of the piece do we get the simple straightforward arrangement that characterize this album.

I love listening to virtuoso pianists playing great jazz, especially standards. But displays of virtuosity turn me off. I'm here for the song, not the pianist. On this album Oscar Peterson presents Jerome Kern's standards in a way anyone can enjoy.

ProleteR - Rookie
Posted on Monday March 09, 2015

ProleteR - Rookie
Listen or free download here -

By The River - Lifted stylistically from 1920s jazz complete with tight female vocal part and improvised horn counterpoint. There is just a dab of 21st century mixed in so a 1920s jazz aficianado might notice. A little bit of vocal processing or sung vocal processing at the end.

No Place I Can Go - Gershwinesque. Drum machine like beat brings the hiphop. The female vocal is a little bit lower and darker and not always on top. The drums are just enough out of style that I find them distracting but I don't think a hiphop listener would even notice.

Not Afraid - Djangoesque. With a DJ and some spoken word as a short interlude before piano takes the melody. The most hiphop influence so far. Soaring female vocal in the background. Piano solo. Freddie Green comping on guitar. Spoken parts like found music. Another DJ interlude brings us back to the vocalist still in the background. Very short form repeated with contemporary interludes.

Throw It Back - Glenn Miller sound. Rapper over the thirties jazz orchestra. Clarinet solo. Again the drums are a little bit out of style compared to the orchestra. Again a repeated short form.

Inna - Impressionist. Clarinet and woodwinds. Hiphop beat and finger snapping. DJ scratching the vocals. Processed sounding female vocals. Some harmony between the DJ and the vocalist. Ends electronic sounding.

My Melancholy Baby - Very pronounced drumming takes us out of another early jazz sound. Trombone and trumpet exchange improv parts. Tight female vocals are very twenties. Hiphop meets Preservation Hall.

Stereosun - Disco hop. Scratching. 8 bar form repeated. Like an intro played over and over. Then a lighter texture on the same form. Picking back up to the opening sound. Processed female vocals. Rapping in the background. Drum solo. Hand drums and kit or machine.

Throw It Back (instrumental) - 8 bar form becomes very repetitive without the hip hop enhancements. The piano is pretty interesting and then back into the intro part with sax enhancement. Clarinet. Brass. You begin to hunger for the vocalist and you get a little bit at the end of the form a few times. What a tease.

Seven songs ranging from 2:30 to 4:00 minutes makes for a 25:30 quick listen. ProleteR is a gifted composer and arranger who has absorbed historic jazz styles and uses them well in a hiphop environment. I like it.

Weather Report - Live in Offenbach - September 28, 1978
Posted on Sunday February 22, 2015

This is my listening assignment so it's not really structured like a review. Still, for your perusal. The music beats my writing hands down.

Weather Report - Live in Offenbach - September 28, 1978

- Joe Zawinul (keyboards)
- Wanye Shorter (tenor and soprano saxophone)
- Jaco Pastorius (electric bass)
- Peter Erkskine (drums)


01. Black Market
02. Scarlet Woman
03. Young and Fine
04. The Pursuit of the Woman with the Feathered Hat
05. A Remark You Made
06. River People
07. Thanks for the Memories
08. Dolores / Portrait of Tracy / Third Stone from the Sun
09. Mr. Gone
10. In a Silent Way
11. Waterfall
12. Teen Town
13. I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good / The Midnight Sun Will Never Set On You
14. Birdland
15. Introductions
16. Fred & Jack
17. Elegant People
18. Badia

Previously unreleased recordings from pioneering fusion band Weather Report playing live in the 1970s

Black Market

Starts with laughing or cawing. Electric keyboard solo with comping. Bass and sax then with keys. A head part. Sound like sax multiphonics or the keyboard could be harmonizing. Simple repetitive part. Free jazz sax solo with just sax and drums. Bass and keys back and we're back on the repeating head. Great single line solo from Zawinul on organ/synth. Bass solo with harmonies. Everyone playing short bursts. Out.

This is great playing and every part of it is experimental except for the overall arrangement which is kind of definitely solos and ensemble work. They do, however improvise throughout even during the ensemble work and they don't hesitate to enter on someone else's solo. The most powerful part was the minimalist sax and drums solo. So free.

Scarlet Woman

Starts on keys. Kind of a flute sound. Vocal countdown and thunder. Countdown electronicized somehow. Drums. A motif on bass and keys. Bluesy and then some scale excerpts. Wayne shorter on soprano sax. Spacey solo keyboard work. The return of the motif on bass. Keys answering with melodic improvisation. Again the scale excerpts with soprano sax and it ends.

A keyboard feature with a very small skeleton. Quite experimental really. and listenable throughout.

Young And Fine

Short intro and the tenor on the head. This is a Weather Report classic. Instantly recognizable. The head repeats modulated down. Free jazz sax solo over drums bass and keys modal accompaniment. The head short version. Keyboard solo. vi-ii-V-I accompaniment. Sax and keys on outtro.

Extremely good work on a concise version of a great song.

The Pursuit of the Woman with the Feathered Hat

Arpegiatted piano intro. Blues riff on bass. Melody on soprano sax. Zawinul is cueing a change. Drum fill and then funk bass. R&B bassed modal jazz. Whoa oh oh vocals. Jaco and Joe. Shorter improvising on soprano sax.

Generally speaking not enough harmonic content for my taste but they do pull it off.

A Remark You Made

Acoustic piano intro. A real song with a change. Tenor sax on the melody. A sparse keyboard interlude. Back to sax. Jaco playing the melody on bass. Keys and sax trading melodic lines. This is a classic jazz ballad sound presented in a different way. Bass repeating a melodic fragment. Out on sparse keys improv.

This is a Joe Zawinul song and as far as I'm concerned it's all the way there. The album "Heavy Weather" started with two Zawinul compositions, "Birdland" and "A Remark You Made". This is a very successful jazz album commercially as well as artistically.

Weather Report is an outstanding band for their writing, performance, and innovation. This particular lineup with Jaco on bass is one of the best bands in jazz history. Hearing a live show like this brings that out. The studio recordings are great but sometimes we all need another take on things and live is live. It's the unpredictability of live music that makes it so compelling.

This is the first 40 minutes of a 2 hour concert. The whole concert is on YouTube. Recommended.

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Ruthie Foster Live at WHYY-FM Studio on 2017-04-25
Posted on Saturday April 29, 2017

"Radio Times" WHYY-FM Studio, Philadelphia, PA 01 intro / talk 02 What Are You Listening To? 03 talk 04 Up Above My Head 05 talk / outro.

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Mustashat Live at Bobby O'Breins on 2017-03-11
Posted on Saturday April 29, 2017

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Southern Culture On The Skids Live at Reggie's 42nd St Tavern on 2017-03-09
Posted on Saturday April 29, 2017

Southern Culture On The Skids March 9th 2017 Reggie's 42nd St Tavern Wilmington NC Source: Zoom H2n>WAV Lineage: WAV>Wave Lab LE 7>TLH>FLAC Set List Freak Flag Voodoo Cadillac Skullbucket Nitty Gritty 69 El Camino Too Much Pork For Just One Fork House Of Bamboo Rumors Of Surf Bone Dry Dirt Dirt Road....

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The Good Kind Live at Owsley's Golden Road on 2017-04-08
Posted on Saturday April 29, 2017

The Good Kind 2017-04-08 Owsley's Golden Road (outside), Boulder, CO Source: FOB + Stage  ~ Set I ~   01. Man Smart, Woman Smarter 02. That's What Love Will Make You Do 03. They Love Each Other 04. On Broadway 05....

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Acid Mothers Temple Live at The Rockwell on 2017-04-26
Posted on Saturday April 29, 2017

Set 1: 01 Intro > 02 Anthem of the Inner Space 03 The Wizard 04 Flying Teapot > 05 Disco Pink Lady Lemonade > 06 White Summer Song 07 Nanique ANother Dimension > 08 Cometary Orbital Drive.

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Mr. Blotto Live at The Emporium Arcade Bar on 2017-04-27
Posted on Saturday April 29, 2017


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Polyrhythmics Live at Nectar Lounge on 2017-04-21
Posted on Saturday April 29, 2017

Nurple Compound 49 Angry Porker > Chingador Labrador Marshmallow Man Fair-weather Fiends Lord Of The Fries Vodka For My Goat Goldie’s Road The Itis > Cactus Blossom Spider Wolf Star Gazer Percussion Au Jus I Believe In Love.

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Dave Alvin Live at World Cafe Live on 2017-04-26
Posted on Friday April 28, 2017

Harlan County Line Jubilee Train Southern Flood Blues Little Honey > Who Do You Love? Johnny Ace Is Dead Long White Cadillac Abilene Come And Get Your Love Shenandoah Ashgrove Dry River 4th of July E Open Up the Back Door # Marie, Marie Band Intros > So Long Baby,Goodbye  # w/ Sarah Borges - vocals.

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Cycles Live at The Fox Theatre on 2017-04-27
Posted on Friday April 28, 2017

Cycles | 2017-04-27 | The Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO One Set : The House, Music For Free, Vacation, Get Up Out Of Your Head[1], Be Yourself, The Key > Sunday Night, The Ruminator, Twilight, The Call, Chapanga, The Aloe Parade > Fire, The Store, The Changer Links: Band : Cycles (

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Col. Bruce Hampton Live at The Vista on 2017-04-27
Posted on Friday April 28, 2017

Colonel Bruce Hampton & The Madrid Express 2017-04-27 The Vista Decatur, GA Source:  AKG C451E w/ CK1 > Sound Devices MixPre-D > Tascam DR-680 MKII @ 2496 > SDXC Transfer: SDXC > Samplitude Pro X3 (Build 35) > TLH v2.7.0 (flac8, ffp) > Foobar2000 v1.3.10 (Live Show Tagger) Location: ROC, 10' high, ....

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