Tag Archives: Robert Randolph

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Five Questions with Kamasi Washington

November 17th, 2017

Back in 2015, saxophonist extraordinaire Kamasi Washington (above, performing “Re Run” live in studio for KEXP FM) put out the aptly named triple album The Epic (stream it below) to universal acclaim—becoming one of the hottest jazz musicians on earth in the process. He’s since toured the world and then returned this past September with the impressive EP Harmony of Difference (stream it below). Now out on the road, crisscrossing America’s highways and byways, Washington, with pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph as a special guest, plays Terminal 5 next Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving. (Local favorites—and feisty live performers—Break Science open the show.) Last weekend, Washington (below, doing “The Next Step” live for Paste Studios) rang up The House List from Cleveland to answer Five Questions.

As a touring musician do you notice if your music is received any differently in New York city than it is elsewhere? I feel like the response has been pretty universal for me, but I’ve always gotten a lot of love in New York, which is a huge honor because you see everything there. And it humbles me every time. New York has an energy that’s unlike any place in the world. There’s just so much going on that you get supercharged.

Once material is recorded, does it stay that way permanently? Or as you play songs live do they continue to stretch and grow? They stretch and grow and change every night, basically. The recording is the version I heard in my head. It’s the definitive version, but live we do it different every time.

As a jazz musician, you appear at nontraditional venues and you’ve played huge festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo. Was this part of your plan all along to cross over? Or has it just been a natural progression of where your music’s taken you? It’s where my music naturally wants to live. It’s definitely rooted in jazz. It’s my foundation. But there’s lots of other kinds of music in there. And it doesn’t really fit into one box very well. We definitely still play jazz clubs, but it’s natural to jump to different kinds of clubs and audiences—different experiences, sitting down in one place and standing in another. It’s options: Every day do something different.

You’ve appeared on albums by Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels and, back in the day, Ryan Adams. Is that something you’re still looking to do? And now that you’ve made such a name for yourself is there any chance you’d look for some of them to appear on your albums? Yeah, man. I’m always open to adding people to my music and I still love working with other artists. But I’m enjoying focusing on my own music and collaborating with my friends. I always leave it up to the music. The music dictates to me what to do with it. If it feels like it needs this or that, I’ll try to get it. But I never try to force it.

For someone who’s never seen you perform before, how would you describe a live Kamasi Washington show? It’s different every time. I try to connect to the room and the vibe, a journey we all go on together. I hope what it feels like is very inclusive. The music connects us and we all push the night in the same direction. And by the end we’re all together in one place. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

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Get Ready for Bowlive IV: Eight Crazy Nights in Brooklyn

March 6th, 2013

The soul-funk trio Soulive—Alan Evans (drums), Neal Evans (Hammond B3) and Eric Krasno (guitar)—formed in the late ’90s and has been bringing its own bluesy, jammy brand of jazz, funk, classic rock and R&B to the dancing masses ever since. Krasno joined the brothers Evans for a recording session in Woodstock in 1999, which eventually became their first EP, Get Down! A host of studio albums, EPs and live discs followed, including 2010’s instrumental take on the Beatles, Rubber Soulive. But despite the trio’s recorded virtuosity, far and away the best way to experience these guys is live. Which works out great because with Bowlive IV beginning tomorrow, you’ve got eight chances to see them in person. That’s right: Soulive (above, in highlights of last year’s Bowlive) play Brooklyn Bowl eight times between now and 3/16.

And as always, there will be special guests galore, like Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on Thursday, Robert Randolph, Lee Fields and the Expressions, and Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds on Friday, Nigel Hall, DJ Logic and the Alecia Chakour Band on Saturday, a tribute to Stax Records with Booker T. Jones on 3/12Los Lobos frontman David Hidalgo and the London Souls on 3/13, George Porter Jr. and the Shady Horns on 3/14, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr. and the Shady Horns on 3/15, and the Alecia Shakour Band and the Shady Horns on 3/16. Plus, this is Bowlive, and the only way to know which unannounced special guests will show up is if you show up yourself.

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Come Shake It at the Royal Family Ball on Saturday Night

October 18th, 2012

New York City’s own Royal Family Records is having a party on Saturday night at Terminal 5, and you’re invited. Two of the label’s acts, funk-jazz trio Soulive and the band’s even funkier offshoot, Lettuce, will headline the show. But what’s a party without guests? And this fiesta’s guests are pretty special: sax legend Maceo Parker (perhaps best known for his work alongside James Brown in the ’60s and Parliament-Funkadelic in the ’70s), pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph and soulful singer Ledisi. It’ll be a night of tight funk, cool jazz, choice covers and great sit-ins. So do yourself a favor: Check out the video, above, to know what kind of music you can expect, and then come join the party. Just be prepared to get down.

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Such a Night

October 4th, 2012

Love for Levon: A Benefit to Save the Barn – Izod Center – October 3, 2012


Levon Helm is a towering figure in American music and the main reason a band, well the Band, that was actually four-fifths Canadian could be considered quintessentially American. After Helm was diagnosed with cancer, he began hosting Midnight Rambles at his home barn/studio—ridiculously intimate affairs filled with music that kept onlookers smiling for days. And despite Helm’s passing, it was clear that the barn and the Rambles would continue. But, of course, there are bills to pay. So last night at the Izod Center, a monumental group of performers—those who had worked with the Band, performed with Helm or appeared at one of those fabled Rambles—gathered to pay tribute to the musical icon and help raise money to finally pay off the barn.

There were far too many talented people involved to list everyone, but the night started with a bang as Warren Haynes, backed by the Dirt Farmer Band, did a rousing version of “The Shape I’m In” before Gregg Allman joined him for a riveting “Long Black Veil.” From there a cavalcade of stars, including Bruce Hornsby, Jorma Kaukonen, Marc Cohn, the Wallflowers and Allen Toussaint, appeared. Lucinda Williams said, “God bless, Levon Helm. His spirit lives on,” after concluding “Whispering Pines.” And then the fist set closed with John Hiatt and Mike Gordon doing a lively “Rag Mama Rag.”

And while that first set was particularly great, the second one was something special. Highlights included Ray LaMontagne and John Mayer on “Tears of Rage,” the Dierks Bentley–led “Chest Fever,” with Garth Hudson laying down the winding “Genetic Method” organ intro, and Larry Campbell eliciting a big crowd response to the “Drink all day, rock all night” line in “Tennessee Jed” as Mayer rode shotgun on guitar. Then somehow the ante got upped once again. First, a jammy “Up on Cripple Creek” with Joe Walsh and Robert Randolph (“Jersey boys are here,” proclaimed Walsh), and then the house band ceded the stage to My Morning Jacket.

The five-piece launched into “Ophelia,” with the crowd throatily singing along, and “It Makes No Difference” before bringing out Roger Waters and G.E. Smith for “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Of course all of this was just a lead up to the night’s inevitable conclusion, everyone onstage for “The Weight.” Longtime Levon Helm Band members Campbell, Teresa Williams and Amy Helm rightfully took the first verse, accompanied only by Campbell’s guitar. And then Mavis Staples sang, and then Allman and Haynes. And then Grace Potter, Eric Church, John Prine, Jim James and everyone else took turns trading verses across the stage, before turning to Waters, center stage, singing, “You know I’m a peaceful man,” with smiles everywhere. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the people in the crowd or those onstage. It was just one of those nights. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

Bowlive 2 Starts Tonight at Brooklyn Bowl

March 1st, 2011


Soulive—Alan Evans (drums), Neal Evans (Hammond B3) and Eric Krasno (guitar)—formed in the late ’90s and has been bringing its own bluesy, jammy brand of jazz, funk, classic rock and R&B to the dancing masses ever since. Krasno joined the brothers Evans for a recording session in Woodstock in 1999, which eventually became their first EP, Get Down! A host of discs has followed, including last year’s Rubber Soulive, which, as you can imagine, reinterpreted the Beatles. But despite the trio’s recorded virtuosity, far and away the best way to experience these guys is live. And on that note, you’re in luck because Bowlive 2 starts tonight. That’s right: Soulive (above, doing “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” with Nigel Hall) plays Brooklyn Bowl 10 times between now and 3/12. And as always, there will be special guests galore, like Maceo Parker and Lettuce (tonight), Bernie Worrell and Corey Glover (3/3), Robert Randolph (3/45), John Scofield, Ivan Neville and Kofi Burbridge (3/8), Neville, Burbridge and Oteil Burbridge (3/9), Karl Denson and Van Hunt (3/1011) and Matisyahu (3/12). So put on your dancing shoes or bowling shoes and prepare to get down.