Rick Keene Music Scene – New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers

Volume 1 from Roots Super Group Set for Release
September 4 on Stony Plain Records

Stony Plain Records announces a September 4 release date for the first volume of music from roots “super group,” New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers: Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus, the late Jim Dickinson, and North Mississippi Allstars members Luther Dickinson and Cody Dickinson.

Recorded at the Zebra Ranch Recording Studio in Coldwater, Mississippi, the 10 blues-drenched tracks of sublime roots music on New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Volume 1 will be followed in the spring of 2021 by Volume 2.

Pre-order the album here

The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers originated back in November 2007, when musician brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson sat down for a guitar jam with ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers leader Jimbo Mathus, along with blues greats Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart and the late Memphis pianist, producer and all around musical stylist Jim Dickinson, gathered for a roots music extravaganza recording under the group name of the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers.

New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Volume 1 Track Listing

1.  Blues Why You Worry Me (featuring Charlie Musselwhite)

2.  Pony Blues (featuring Alvin Youngblood Hart)

3.  Night Time (featuring Jimbo Mathus)

4.  Come on Down to My House (featuring Jim Dickinson)

5.  K.C. Moan (featuring Charlie Musselwhite)

6.  Let’s Work Together (featuring Jim Dickinson)

7.  Shake It and Break It (featuring Jimbo Mathus)

8.  Stone Free (featuring Alvin Youngblood Hart)

9.  Stop and Listen Blues (featuring Alvin Youngblood Hart)

10.  Strange Land (featuring Charlie Musselwhite) 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Jordan Officer Delivers Blues, Jazz and Country the Proper Way

Jordan Officer is schooled.

Many people play guitar. Many people write songs. Few study the history of music as profoundly as Jordan Officer.

Jordan Officer came into his own opening up for George Thorogood. It was a double bill at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The Montreal crowd – stunned by Jordan Officer and his band’s groundbreaking set.

Please listen below to my interview with Jordan Officer about his three new albums. Country, Jazz and The Blues. Three genres which make up Jordan Officer.

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Rick Keene Music Scene – 2018 Year in Review Part Four

The music kept coming.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival got underway and this year was a great mix for fans of all genres.

July

Gary Petersen – the original drummer for The Guess Who (and a man who started drumming before Rock n Roll’s heyday) took some time out to chat about his career and the future of The Guess Who. Petersen has never stopped playing for the band (he owns the name) and along with his mates; the first brand new Guess Who album in twenty years  hit the shelves in September. An educational chat for sure.

Lonesome George Thorogood took time to chat following the release of his first ever solo album (Party Of One) and previous to his show at The Montreal Jazz Festival and Trois Rivieres en Blues.

The word legend is tossed about too easily these days but not in George’s case.  He started his career busking and within three years opened for Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones.

Not too shabby.

Sometimes the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Mary -Lynn Doroschuk just happens to be the daughter of Stefan Doroschuk (Men Without Hats). Mary-Lynn has a new band called Wave 21. A Country -Alt unit filled with catchy tunes and classy riffs. A Montreal group to keep your ears on. A Montreal band that will only get bigger.

Joan Jett graced Place Bell along with Tesla and Styx.

Jett as powerful as ever with Punky licks and attitude while Tesla catered to the more Heavy minded fans in attendance. Styx – making their fourth appearance in Quebec in the past seven years commanded even more respect than before. They were hot and the night lasted longer than any Grand Illusion.

Beth Hart

If Beth Hart stayed home and sang lullabies to her kids, the world would be a much sadder place.

Hart and her trio were in Montreal for The Jazz Festival and Beth stole the hearts of everyone. Telling stories of her very dysfunctional upbringing between soaring vocals and soft balladry – Place des Arts was on the verge of a collective hanky giveaway.

On this planet – no female singer can reach into their souls so deep and raise the roof so high within a song. Multiply that by fifteen tunes and see how tired you are from a Beth Hart show.

Boz Scaggs

Boz was here as part of The Jazz Festival and what a surprise musician he turned out to be. Unless you were / are a huge fan or came from a certain decade, Boz (to the general music world) was a two hit wonder. Like many musicians from the 70s and even the 80s, the limelight and success don’t go hand in hand. Boz has more talent playing, singing and producing/ arranging than about 75% of those with hits before or since. Put that in your hat and smoke it.

Jordan Officer opened up for George Thorogood at Place des Arts as part of The Jazz Festival and blew the roof off the joint. Officer has turned the corner in his Blues comeback and had George’s Destroyers shaking in their boots. Trois Rivieres is Jordan’s latest record and it will be considered the turning point in a soon too be mammoth career.

Ranee Lee

Easily the concert of the year in Montreal. 

Lee’s husband / musical mentor Richard passed away the morning of her Jazz Festival show and for most artists – the plug would have been pulled. Not only did Ranee perform, she outperformed any of the numerous award winning shows she had done before. Emotions were high (the crowd knew of the circumstances) yet Ranee used the emotion to grow stronger with each song. The concert will go down as one of  the greatest  in Montreal music history.

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Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Dr. Lonnie Smith; Doin’ Only What He Can Do

The word legendary. Tossed around like a flea – bit peanut monkey sometimes.

In the case of Dr. Lonnie Smith – it is he who is tossing the primate around …

Commencing his career in the late fifties alongside George Benson – Smith used his knowledge as a multi-instrumentalist and student of Jazz, Blues, Gospel and R&B to rise to the top of the Jazz world as master of the Hammond B3 organ.

Dr. Lonnie Smith has been the most sought after player in the Jazz world for over four decades and at Le Gesu as part of The Jazz festival, the good doctor and his trio showed why.

Jonathan Kreisberg and Jonathan Blake are both powerhouses in their own right. Trading unique craftsmanship with each other with Smith holding back to let them shine. If not for Smith’s ‘ jolt you from the seats’ playing – Kresiberg and Blake almost legendary themselves. Blake especially on the drums, combining fierceness and finesse – power and purring to go with a genius’ work.

Some Jazz leaders are perfectionists by birth. Not allowing others to breathe within a song as their visions are superior to others in their own advanced minds. Dr. Lonnie Smith is a genius as he paints with his ‘paint box’ in front of him yet he allows his trio to paint with him. He is the teacher yet his lessons are by participation and not by dissociation. Guiding – yes. Ruling with a steel hand – indefinably no.

What some have done for their instruments ( Hendrix on guitar) in the public eye – Smith has done for the Hammond B3 organ in not only the Jazz world, the music world period.

They don’t give the NEC Jazz Award to just anyone after all.

Visit Dr. Lonnie Smith here !

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Beth Hart’s Dynamite Show Steals the Jazz Festival

There are so many female vocalists on the planet. Great ones, good ones, average ones and yes – bad ones.

Beth Hart is in a class all by herself.

Think of the soul of Joss Stone. The power and rawness of Janis Joplin. The sweetness and velour of Adele. The danger of Amy Winehouse. Add the above together and Beth Hart is the sum of all their parts.

At Theatre Maisonneuve as part of The Jazz Festival – Hart displayed emotion and honesty. She wears her life on her sleeve and tells the tales between songs. It has not been an easy life for Hart and self admitting (on stage last night) – she takes medication to ‘make her less crazy’. That part of her personality is what propels the talent.Her demons shine through via pain, love and anger. Her vocals are the vehicle as she rides away from her very own highway to Hell.

Love Gangster, Your Heart Is as Black as Night ( Melody Gardot), Chocolate Jesus ( Tom Waits), Good as It Gets and I’ll Take Care of You. Just a few of the tunes which Hart uses as her very own ‘Morgan Freeman’. Narration through art and poignant lyrics which make hairs stand on end through Hart’s effortless singing and the band’s tight stops and starts. At one moment – a casual fan can hate Hart for her brash ‘barroom’ chat and ‘honky tonk woman’ appearance. In less than a second later – the same fans fall in love as Hart’s tenderness arises like the sun from the eastern shore.

Drummer Bill Ransom, Bassist Bob Marinelli and guitarist Jon Nichols back Hart with so much perception. A compliment to Hart’s sometimes ‘all over the place’ chatter and forgetfulness (the set-list).

Marinelli appears like a young Sam Elliot. Stoically keeping both time and Hart on track within the battery of himself and Ransom. Nichols supplies the chords and screeching solos when called upon. Amy Winehouse had The Dap Kings to make her shine. Beth Hart has her band to make her the star. That’s their job and they do it more than well.

Following an eighteen song set with odes to her Mom in a very powerful Mama This One’s for You and an effervescent Leave the Light On – emotions circulating the theater were on high alert. Hart won everyone over with her simple recipe. Truth through song and truth through words. If anyone in attendance did not want to bring Hart home to take care of her, they were not human …

Visit Beth Hart here !

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Ranee Lee Delivers A Performance For The Ages Despite Sadness

Ranee Lee has endured some tough gigs in her time yet nothing like the one last night at L’Astral.

 

Earlier in the day – Lee’s husband Richard Ring ( Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Ed Thigpen, Ray Brown, Michel LeGrand, Oliver Jones ) passed away following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Ring was not only her husband but her longtime guitar player and mentor. Emotions were high yet as they say; the show must go on. Richard would have wanted it that way …

Ranee ( a member of the Order of Canada, a Juno Award winner, an actress and teacher) took the stage with true professionalism. From the very start – a song was in her heart and the love for the material on her sequined sleeves.

The Dark Divas was the theme as Ranee both educated and displayed the talents of all the legendary African-American women who inspired Ranee as a young woman. Billy, Sarah, Dinah, Pearl and Ella to name a few. A who is who of American female musical history portrayed through a concept written and conceived by Ranee herself.

Andre Menard ( the co-founder of the Montreal Jazz Festival) introduced Lee and gave the audience a heads up on the morning’s events (perhaps for when Lee was not able to carry out a great performance or maybe not continue at all). If that was the case – Ranee disappointed any of those in attendance who thought the grief would be too much. In Ranee’s mind and soul, seated right beside her, was her husband.

Theatrically, joyfully and triumphantly – Lee hypnotized the crowd with vocal depth, power and control. Lee was no longer a Grandmother. She was that young woman from Brooklyn with stars in her eyes. The young woman raised by a musical single Mom who taught Ranee piano under the stairs. The young woman who Richard Ring believed in so much.

As the night weaved through classic after classic. As the night steered through the magical musicianship of Ranee’s band, everyone kept waiting for the moment or the song which would cause Lee to break. That one memory shared between two people which would evoke emotions too strong to stop the sadness from coming. It never came in the form of an outburst. Inside – who knows yet Lee did not show she was struggling. Joy and her obvious love for both the tunes and her late husband was all that came across. In the end the crowd stood. The punters well aware of what they saw from an artist so pure and so strong.

On such a sad day – music and the togetherness brought on by the Dark Divas’ songbook turned a ‘normal’ performance into brilliance. A not-so-normal day into a historical Jazz Festival moment.

With Richard Ring high above on guitar …

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Review – Boz Scaggs Redefines His ‘Public’ Image

Admit it. Lido Shuffle is all you know …

Boz Scaggs is that type of artist.

The masses think that if an artist is outta sight – outta mind, they must be dead or their career is. True fans know – artists such as Scaggs do not care about hits.

William RoyceBozScaggs – is known for vocals with The Steve Miller Band. he is also known for Lido Shuffle and Lowdown, both of which were from his critically acclaimed album Silk Degrees (released 1976). The 1970s were very kind to Scaggs and that decade is what brought many people to Theatre Maisonneuve during the Montreal Jazz Festival.

What Scaggs and his formidable band did bring was intense and tight. aside from the aforementioned ‘hits’ – Scaggs et al were a highly professional unit led by the voice of an angel. At seventy-four years young, Scaggs can sing better than most people half his age.

Jojo (1980) led things off and in no time – the punters were standing at attention as the reality of a musical night hit like a ton of piano keys. Drowning in the Sea of Love, It’s Over and Gone Baby Gone set the table for a tune that established the groove that most bands strive for live. The Feeling Is Gone – a Bobby Bland cover saw Scaggs and his mates hit that ‘small club’ feeling. The sold out crowd picked up on it immediately and as they say; the rest of the night was ‘gravy’.

Scaggs knows music as his tutelage with The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section dictates as well as having the future members of Toto play on his album Silk Degrees. Those acquired skills and knowledge shine through live as Scaggs not only holds court on vocals – his guitar playing with just the right space; a pleasure to witness. Scaggs’ knowledge also dictates to let his band play their parts with freedom and respect.

Cadillac Walk – the Moon Martin cover, led the crowd into familiar territory as Lido Shuffle and Lowdown played out hard and with appreciation by all. The show ended with the ‘we know you will be back applause and that is when the music took over from the hits.

What Can I Say, Somebody Loan Me a Dime ( Fenton Robinson) and Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell gave the BAND and Boz the room (and joy) to say thanks to both the fans and the history of where they came from. The latter giving proof that Rock n Roll once ruled the world and that swing was a big part of it.

Visit Boz Here !

Rick Keene Music Scene; Jazz Festival Interview – Jordan Officer Blows the Roof Off Place des Arts !

Jordan Officer is a groundbreaking artist. Kinda …

Groundbreaking in a way that combines his talent with old school tools and old school sounds.

You see – Jordan is a scholar. A student of where music comes from. Blending Dick Dale with Joe Bonamassa. Bob Wills with Stevie Ray Vaughn. Guitar with the fiddle. All elements of music that make music what it is today in all genres.

Please listen below as Jordan discusses his ‘roof shattering ‘ show at Place des Arts as part of The Jazz Festival. A show that should place Officer into the music stratosphere.

Jordan? What’s up?

Visit Jordan Here !

 

 

Rick Keene Music Scene – Music To Do The Sunday Crossword Puzzle

What to do on a Sunday?

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Open the curtains, make a cup of coffee, grab the paper and do the Sunday Crossword Puzzle.

It is – a no brainer!

Oh – don’t forget to listen to some great tunes! Right here on Rick Keene Music Scene !

Thanks !

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Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

Visit Procure Here !

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Happening with Jazz All Year Round Series and in Montreal !

As usual …

Lots coming in Montreal !

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The Jazz All Year Round Series is in full flight, Evenko has their usual fine acts and the Holiday season approaches with concerts, shows and fund raising efforts.

Please listen below to some of the upcoming events, some great tunes and information to help the less fortunate and the sick.

Thanks for listening! Talk soon …

 

Visit Rocky Dawuni Here !

Listen to my Interview with Rocky Here!

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Check out Bands for Baskets Here!

 

Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

Visit Procure Here !

 

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Reggae ‘Superstar in Waiting’ Rocky Dawuni ‘Kills’ Montreal !

Bob Marley would be proud

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Over the years, many Reggae ( Marley) – influenced singers and musicians have come and gone. Some, like Peter Tosh, have had successful careers cut tragically short. Most, have a few hits (or none) and fade into obscurity.

Ghana native Rocky Dawuni does not fit into the above category.

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Dawuni has that ‘ je ne sais quoi …’ . That something special which separates the Adeles of the world from the rest of the female singers. Rocky Dawuni is … that special. 

Dawuni was in Montreal last week as part of the Mundial Montreal Festival supporting his 2015 brilliant album;  ‘Branches from the Same Tree’. His concert at Petit Campus a reflection of the energy which is so eloquently produced within this landmark album.

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Smiles and infectious grooves via a delicous and contagious melange of Afro-roots and reggae-based melodies were omnipresent at his very first ‘historic’ Montreal appearance. The ‘poet’ from Ghana, a prancing preacher relaying his wisdom with fiery energy and conviction into a capacity audience filled with bright eyes.

Dawuni is a natural born showman with timely messages for the world within the tunes of a Saint. Dawuni combined these rare talents within each song. He climbed the peak of Mont Royal and sent his vibes brilliantly over the valleys of the pilgrims.

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Dawuni’s backing band, are Rocky’s ‘tribe’. The foot soldiers for a General. Tight, rhythmic – ‘on edge’.

Drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards echoed his latest single ‘African Thriller’ ( part of Branches from the Same Tree) with a influence of African music, traditional music, reggae and eclectic global sounds. Blues, Country-Blues, Rock and roll and everything in between fused together to sculpt a show-stopping tune high in ‘Highlife’  – a genre that originated in Ghana.

Dawuni  is involved with UNICEF, the UN Global Fund and other organizations, and has been named one of Africa’s Top 10 global stars.

All this keeps his lyrics fresh, poignant and cutting edge.

 Dawuni splits his time between the U.S. and Ghana and visits Rwanda, twenty years after the genocide there killed up to a million people. As a guest of the Kigali genocide museum, Rwanda’s ministry of culture, and the NGO Aegis Trust (which promotes post-genocide peace building), Dawuni delivers messages of peace in reality and through his music. In Montreal, that peaceful vibe was present within the most piercing guitar solo or ‘angry’ lyric.

Dawuni displayed urgency, thoughtfulness and humanity at Petit Campus. Empowerment and positivity, knowledge rather than ‘lyrics’.

Now – it’s time for the rest of the world to listen to Rocky Dawuni also !

Listen then sing along. It’s a human thing.

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Visit Rocky Here !

Listen to my Interview with Rocky Here!

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Check out Bands for Baskets Here!

 

Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

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Bands for Baskets and A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer

 Have you ever starved at Christmas?

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Most people in the West Island receive over a thousand dollars in presents at Christmas in the form of jewelry, gifts and trips. Most people in the West Island don’t realize that over a thousand food baskets are given out at Christmas.

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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men. One in eight men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.

Prostate cancer is a disease where some prostate cells have lost normal control of growth and division. They no longer function as healthy cells.

A cancerous prostate cell has the following features:
•    Uncontrolled growth
•    Abnormal structure
•    The ability to move to other parts of the body (invasiveness).

It is important to note that not all clusters of cells growing in a mass are cancerous, and that a prostate with an irregular shape is not necessarily cancerous either. It is advisable to ask your doctor what it may be.

Prostate cancer can be slow-growing and some men who develop prostate cancer may live many years without ever having the cancer detected. It is important to get screened regularly so that if you do develop prostate cancer, the appropriate action can be taken. A significant proportion of prostate cancers, if untreated, may have serious consequences.

Please listen below to a pair of very important fundraisers for two growing concerns in Montreal and Canada.

 

Check out Bands for Baskets Here!

Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

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Ask Dave the Bartender – What does Randy Rhoads’ Mom and Michael Jackson Have in Common?

It is not easy being married. Ask any bartender !

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Dave … the Bartender, has heard everything. Drunken confessions, slurred slander and lies and innuendo. All from his Mom !

Please listen below as Dave the Bartender answers your musical questions.

 

 

Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

 

 

 

Steve Hackett – The ‘Genesis’ of His New Album Wolflight. Complete Interview.

Steve Hackett is better known as the lead guitarist with Genesis.

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Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford.

Legends …

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 Following his departure from Genesis after the album Wind and Wuthering was released, Steve Hackett has continued his musical prowess and education.

Adept in Classical, Blues and really – every style of music, Steve Hackett is a true writer, composer and player.

A LEGEND …

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Please listen below to Part One of my interview with Steve as he speaks of his new album Wolflight. Stay tuned for Part Two as the possibility of any Genesis reunion is discussed.

Steve ?

 

 

Visit Steve Hackett Here !

 

Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

 

 

 

The Who’s Masterpiece Tommy – In Montreal! Live !

Chances are – a music fan in the 1970’s was profoundly affected by The Who’s album Tommy.

It is simple. Nothing like this came before or after. It was and remains a ‘film’ within a soundtrack. A coffee table to a book in the mind.

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In the Wings Promotions brings Tommy to Montreal in a form which Pete Townsend can be proud. A musical which is truer than the film version which remains bizarre in so many ways

Please listen below as Noelle Hannibal discusses her musical Tommy which takes place on November 19th, 20th and 21st at Rialto Hall.

Noelle??

Visit In the Wings Productions Here !

 

 

Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

 

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Rick Keene Music Scene Presents – Music To Do the Sunday Crossword …

Get out of bed, rub your eyes, make some coffee and sit down.

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There is nothing like doing the Sunday Crossword puzzle on what is, foremost –  a day of rest. What could be better than coffee and a challenging Crossword Puzzle?

Coffee, Crossword and great tunes!

Please listen below to the best music you will ever hear on a Sunday.

Thanks for listening ! Talk soon …

 

Buy Tickets for A Magical Musical Evening to Combat Prostate Cancer Here !

 

 

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Rocky Dawuni Climbs Closer to Sainthood Through Music and Humanitarian Work.

It is not every day you encounter a Saint …

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Rocky Dawuni is quickly approaching ‘saintdom’ as he continues adding humanity causes to his long list of good deeds. Whether conspiring with the likes of U2’s Bono via The United Nations or ensuring people around the globe ‘cook clean’, Rocky walks the talk of his musical messages.

Please listen below as Rocky explains his messages and his ambitious undertakings. Rocky will be in Montreal at Cafe Campus on the 18th of November.

Rocky?

 

Please Visit Rocky Here!

 

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Officer to Rocky – What’s Coming in Montreal and A Taste of Ted Tevan

Spring is in the Montreal air in November! Nothing could be better for a series of upcoming shows in and around Montreal.

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Fresh from a stop in his native land of Ghana – a musician who is part of the UN will stop by on Rick Keene Music Scene as well as in concert in Montreal. Just one of many great shows and interviews coming up!

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Please listen below to what’s happening in Montreal in the coming weeks. Courtesy of Dundees in Ste Anne de Bellevue!

 

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Jordan Officer – Nothing but ‘Blue Skies’ Ahead

Jordan Officer has a little tenderness …

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A self discovery the thirty-eight year old guitarist made during the writing and recording of his latest album Blue Skies. His second solo album following a very successful career with Susie Arioli.

Please listen below to Jordan speak of his new album and his long and varied list of musical influences.

Jordan?

Please Visit Jordan Here!

 

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Montreal International Jazz Festival Preview 2014; Susie Arioli

It was a voice she never knew she had. Far more talented than imagined.

Susie Arioli took that voice and traveled far. For the most part – Jordan Officer accompanied her on a musical voyage filled with wonder, excitement and satisfaction.

Whether it be playing at Place des Arts or on stage in Paris, France – Susie is having a blast as a working, travelling ( struggling?) singer.

Please listen to part one of my interview as Susie talks about her humble beginnings as well as her friend and former guitarist Jordan Officer.

Susie? What’s shaking …?

 

See Susie at The Jazz Festival

 

Buy tickets for Strangers in the Night Here!

 

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Montreal International Jazz Festival 2014 – Preview; Jordan Officer

Jordan Officer has come full circle

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He started his musical life with a love for the Blues. Following a very successful career working with Jazz crooner Susie Arioli; the guitarist has decided to start anew. A return to his roots.

Please listen as Jordan talks about his upcoming Jazz Festival shows as well as his feelings about the Blues. He is a little more settled knowing his album is being accepted by a lot of Blues fans.

Accepted by a lot of music fans.

Jordan …?

 

Please visit Jordan Here!

 

Montreal International Jazz Festival

 

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Buy Tickets for Strangers in the Night Here!

 

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5:15pm!

What’s New in Canadian Music?

A little preview of some great tunes from some great Canadian artists.

Please listen below to samples off some recent Canadian albums. Thanks for listening!

Stay tuned for some more great interviews including Ruth Pointer from

The Pointer Sisters!

 

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Jordan Officer; Free For a While …

Jordan Officer has got the blues.That’s a good thing!

Following a career that has seen him be the producer, arranger and guitar player within the Suzie Arioli Band – Jordan has returned to his first love; The Blues …

Off he went to New York City where – in two days, he recorded what may be the best Blues album to come from a Montrealer in quite some time.

Here’s Jordan to explain …

Please find out all the tour dates and information pertaining to Jordan right here!

Top Ten Concerts of 2012

It is unfair to list top ten shows since every artist or artists give their all each time they play. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad on any given night.

Here are the top ten shows which I enjoyed the most in 2012 …

10. Lee Mellor

Lee’s show was high energy and joined a love of country and old-fashioned rock n roll. Lyrically profound and an eye opener …

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9. Sagapool

Sagapool’s folk music a la Arcade Fire was outstanding! A great two hours filled with upbeat highs and  ‘ brought to tears’ ballads. A great group of musicians playing at  their peak ..

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8. Martha Wainwright

Wainwright’s music combined with an ‘ Am I on stage for real and this is not a rehearsal?’ attitude was both pleasing and a relief. No diva here even if she comes from music royalty …

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7. Colin James / Steve Hill

Colin may be stuck in the 80’s but he can still play guitar with the best of them. Opening act Steve Hill set the bar very high and James almost reached it. Combined – the two artists provided a great evening for the blues …

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6. Cecile Doo – Kingue

Cecile’s show is filled with integrity and great guitar playing . A true player whose  talent remains unscathed by pretentiousness. Her rythym section is nothing to sneeze at either …

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5.  Gilberto Gil

The seventy year old man provided an evening filled with warmth. Warmth through his music and his attitude. An incredible backing band had everyone standing up and dancing for most part of the show …

Photo courtesy of Anne Achan

4. Susie Arioli

Susie’s show of Jazz standards was  impeccable and fun. A great sing a long if you did not want to interrupt one of the true great Montreal vocalists. Combined with Jordan Officer – the long-standing musical relationship came to an end on a high note at Place des Arts

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3. Steve Hill ( Club Soda)

Mr. Hill wowed the sold out crowd with his one man show. This man can do things with a guitar that Keith Richards can only dream off …

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2. Jonas and the Massive Attraction

Club Soda probably has not recovered from the energetic set that Jonas and his mates provided. It started upbeat and never stopped – not even for one minute. Enjoy the music or not – a truly professional band who deserve all they get …

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1. Zachary Richard

M. Richard has done this for a very long time. His environmental conscience  shone through in his new songs and when he dove into his Cajun/ Zydeco roots – nobody at the show could have remained seated. A great story-teller, a funny guy and a true musician sending the right message…

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***Honorable mentions

David Usher

The Hi – Fins

Jesse Cook

Brie Nielson

Carolyn Fe

Related articles

Top Ten Interviews of 2012

I am continuing the top ten interviews I conducted in 2012 …

So far …

10. Lee Mellor

9.Jason Rockman

8. Susie Arioli

7. Cecile Doo Kingue

6. Roger Walls

Roger Walls is a walking Jazz encyclopedia. Is it any wonder …?

Walls has been around playing his horns for thirty plus years. If he has not played alongside the likes of Tony Bennett, then he played for the likes of Ella Fitzgerald. A genuine good guy from a different time ..

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https://keenemusic.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/roger-walls-showcases-his-new-cd-midnight-ride/

5. Randy Bowen ( See Spot Run )

Randy is the nicest guy you will ever meet. A class act and a gentleman. We met over a cup of coffee and Randy went into detail about every aspect of See Spot Run’s career – and then some …

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https://keenemusic.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/see-spot-sit-but-not-for-long/

Please stay tuned for the rest of the list and my TOP TEN CONCERTS of 2012!

Top Ten Interviews of 2012

Starting yesterday – I began to count off my top ten interviews in the past year. I continue with the next two …

So far …

10. Lee Mellor

9. Jason Rockman

8. Susie Arioli

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I spoke to Susie over the phone the night before her performance at Place des Arts. Having never spoken to her or listened to her music regularly – I had no idea what to expect. Judging by her photos, I assumed she would be a bit of a prude. Boy was I surprised …

Miss Arioli was the polar opposite. Down to earth, witty,clever,unassuming with a few swear words tossed into the mix. Arioli is eager to learn and to philosophize over anything. My interview ended so far away from Susie’s band and music, it’s a wonder I wrote anything at all on the subject. Susie is what I always imagined what talking to Janis Joplin would be like.

https://keenemusic.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/susie-arioli-changes-are-standard/

7. Cecile Doo Kingue

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I met Cecile downtown on the terrace of Grumpys Pub. She was getting set to debut her cd the next night at Le Petit Campus. She spoke from her heart about her life. Her struggles with alcohol, her sexuality,  her demons and where they came from. She and me both almost coming to tears on occasion. The following evening she went on stage and performed such an emotionally charged show. An amazing woman and a great listener as well.

https://keenemusic.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/racism-puts-a-chill-in-the-air/

Susie Arioli; Concert Review

Sometimes, poems are written in the dark …

Thoughts and feelings piercing the blackness like a knife profound with emotion. Last night at Place Des Arts – Susie Arioli and her excellent group of musicians delivered lines on a platter spun with golden oldies.

The patrons or as the English say; the punters – recipients of a catalog smitten by the Great America Songbook. Who says Valentine’s day must be celebrated on the 14th of February …?

The songs chosen by Miss Arioli, tunes which placed feminine heads upon manly shoulders – sheer diamonds in a jewelry jukebox. Arioli’s voice, a female version of Mel Torme. Smoother than a velvety fog hovering above a city begging for raindrops of nostalgia.

The first half of the show complimented by My Funny Valentine. A song written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Following a half dozen ‘warm-ups’, Arioli and her backing musicians – appeared to hit stride with the tune which was originally penned for Babes In Arms on April 14, 1937. Arioli’s voice almost mesmerizing in it’s roller coaster indentations.

As he has done for seven discs – guitarist Jordan Officer complimenting the original classic with his clever arrangements and Charlie Christianlike riffs. It is obvious how Arioli and Officer hooked up once upon a time at a Stephen Barry Blues Band jam. A mutual understanding of  songs like ‘Husbands and Wives’, ‘Pennies from Heaven’ and ‘Here’s to the Losers’.

It is difficult to mess up a dinner table set by musicians such as Bill  Gossage (Bass), Cameron Wallace ( Tenor Sax) and Tony Albino on drums. A trio not just primed to fill in empty spaces of a musical scale, primed to headline on their very own if needed. Wallace providing sounds following a childhood education of Clarence (The Big Man ) Clemons. Sultry? Soothing?Ambitious ? All the above.

The song of the evening – “Mother Earth’, originally penned by Memphis Slim. In a show which emphasized Jazz, Officer’s guitar rock – like and menacing while Gossage ( on the stand-up bass), a rock in a weighted down rhythm section complete with Albino’s metronome motions. That is when Miss Arioli was not keeping time with a snare of her own. A pleasant addition to an act void of over – the – top antics …

Miss Susie did not appear in a giant egg a la Gaga. Arioli does not require the bells and whistles. Her vocal chords sounding the charge in a warning of standards to come.

What did come to the surprise of many, were a pair of  Christmas songs. A back-to-back duo fastened to the back end of a two hour show like sleighbells on the Grinch’s back. ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Blue Christmas” – adding a splash of warmth to the most cynical, watered – down enemy of the holiday season. Scrooge was chased out quickly by Arioli’s renditions of the wintery classics …

Another surprise to a non-fan, the presence of trilingual chatter. French, English and Fr – anglais; shattering any preconceived notions that Arioli’s songbook would be under scrutiny from any race or group of people. Add that to the song; ‘Un Jour de Difference’, a musical score penned by Maria Greve and made famous by Lys Gauty – a flicker of Paris candlelight embracing a Montreal crowd huddled together on a cool November evening.

Sometimes, poems are read in the dark …

Susie Arioli; Changes are Standard

Jazz crooner Susie Arioli did not plan on being a singer…

Art – or rather drawing, was her thing. In fact , she even enrolled in a four year Fine Arts program at Dawson College in Montreal. Something she did not finish because it was too confining for her free – spirited ways.

‘It is a lot of work being an artist.” Says Susie. ” There are a lot of things, tedious things involved in the process. It is not like singing where you just show up, sit down and open your mouth and sing. I’m not lazy but I guess my personalty suits what I am doing …”

Arioli has been doing the   ‘singing thing’ on and off since her late teens and early twenties. Starting from singing at any hotel / club which had a piano. Something Susie says was quite common in Montreal in the eighties.

” I would go from place to place looking for bars with pianos and sing. Thinking the whole time how great I was. When you are young, you have no idea just how good you are not. It takes an experience to humble you a bit …” Says Arioli.

Susie’s experience of being humbled took place as she took the stage and realized the reverb box was missing during a gig in a big hotel. Arioli  does not care who you are – without that tool, any voice will not sound very good.

” I was singing top forties stuff with a sprinkling of jazz.” Explains Susie. ” When you are doing other people’s songs, you must try to produce them accurately. Without the reverb box, I went through a painfully educational experience. Even Madonna would not sound good without it. I’m not saying she can’t sing, she would not sound as good. Everyone uses it …”

Arioli, following her humbling lessons, truly discovered her talent working with the Stephen Barry Blues band.  An experience which she holds dear to her heart. It was the first time she worked with true professionals. She followed their jams which sometimes took place at community centers. Her older sister and her getting right into the experience as the pair designed posters for the band.

“They were true gentlemen. I was not thrown into a situation where I was singled out with catcalls or something. They were so nice and they helped me to take my ‘ heart-pounding anxiety’ and harness it into something meaningful.”

The rest, they say –  is history…

Susie Arioli along with her arranger / guitarist Jordan Officer, have combined for seven albums and have traveled all over the world performing Jazz standards for an ever growing fan base. Her big break came when she was asked to open for Ray Charles’s show in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts in 1988. An opportunity which opened the door for a singer whose voice has been compared to a young Ella Fitzgerald – before the iconic singer became known for scat.

” Ella, Sarah Vaughn and a young Billy Holiday are the singers which influenced me the most.” Says the Toronto – born, Montreal – raised Arioli. ” I grew up listening to them  along with Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. My parents were kinda beatniks. They were very cool. My Dad was Italian and used to wear those wife beater shirts and he was a very hairy man. Looking back – I think he must have really stood out …” Laughs Susie.

Susie also holds Brazilian singers in high esteem. Mostly because they sing with their mouths close to the microphone. In doing so – a low, deep in bass sound is parlayed to an audience. Something which Arioli admires.

The late guitarist Jeff Healey is another person the singer admires. Susie had the opportunity to sing with Jeff on her ‘Pennies from Heaven’ CD in 2002.

” Jeff was a great guy. He had this amazing collection of 78 records and the cool thing was – he could tell you which song it was by feeling the grooves. There was no brail. He would pick one up, run his fingers on the grooves and tell you what song it was. A truly amazing thing.”

Jordan Officer, Susie’s partner in crime since the beginning, is another person who Arioli holds high as far as his talent goes. Officer, the arranger of practically every song on Susie’s collection of seven  CDs –  is on his way out.

” Sometimes, a comfortable place can be creatively restrictive. ” Admits Susie. ” I think it has become that way. Not just for me but for Jordan as well. He needs to grow and so do I. He won’ t be completely out of the picture, he just won’t be my main guy anymore.” She continues. ” I have my own identity and so does he. We have both been living in this beautiful cocoon. It is too comfortable and too easy. Sometimes we need new challenges.”

Arioli is in the process of  ‘auditioning’ four guitarists for her next album ( a tentative Autumn release) and at least one of them is a big name. A name which Arioli would rather keep secret for now.

For now, including a show at Place des Arts on Thursday November 22, Officer and Arioli will be together on stage along with other band members Bill Gossage ( Bass), Cameron Wallace ( Tenor Sax) and Tony Albino on drums. They will be performing a list of songs from Arioli’s newest CD; All the Way, as well as a couple of Christmas tunes. The rest of the show will contain songs from the Great American songbook. Some staples of Arioli’s choices will be included because of audience appreciation.

” I just read an interview with Tony Bennett. After all these years, he still subtracts or adds songs by the way they are received during a performance. As a performer, you’d be stupid not to.” Says Arioli. ” The audience is the consumer. You must ( or should ) perform what they are paying for. If not – how long can you be a supplier for?”

Some changes are standard …

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Show starts at 8pm at Salle Wilfrid- Pelletier Thursday 8pm

Stay tuned for a review.