Jefferson Waful Talks Directing Umphrey’s McGee Doc ‘Reel To Real,’ Phish Mexico & More

first_imgUmphrey’s McGee just released their documentary film, Reel To Real, online. The film is a look back on the band’s history, using rare footage, recordings, and journal entries to create a nostalgic video that was originally created for a unique performance for some of their most hardcore fans this past January. What started out as a small project took on special meaning, as the project grew into this full length telling of the band’s path towards making their dreams come true.Reel To Real takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride through the career of Umphrey’s McGee, starting out as a green group of college kids chasing their rock star fantasies and taking us into Umphrey’s present as Progressive Rock gods. The documentary touches on some emotional moments, and certainly shows a private side of Umphrey’s McGee. Specifically, the documentary spends a lot of time focused on the Umphrey’s relationship with former drummer Mike Mirro, his difficult departure, and their subsequent re-birth after Kris Myers joined the band. That portion of the film is emotional, and the band does a good job delivering their honest feelings about the subject. This heavy material is offset by excellent stories about the band on the road, showing us the creation of their famed “Jimmy Stewart” improv segments, an explanation of the genesis of their infamous Halloween mash-up tradition, and lots of excellent footage, specifically a segment later in the film where the band rips it up at Abbey Road Studios during the recording of their The London Session record.This film is a treat for anyone who ever wanted to peak behind the curtain of an up-and-coming band, and gives the viewer an idea of just how difficult it can be to “make it” in the music business.  Certainly, if you are an Umphrey’s fan, you’ll love this film and the stories it tells; who knew that “Miss Tinkles’ Overture” was about keyboardist (and good sport) Joel Cummins accidentally peeing on his pillow in the back of their van?Reel To Real was directed by the band’s beloved lighting designer Jefferson Waful.  While Waful joined the band in 2008, about halfway through their story, he shows a keen eye in Reel To Real, plucking iconic moments from throughout the band’s career and setting their story up with a flowing narrative, turning the rise of Umphrey’s McGee into a real story with complex emotions.Mr. Waful was kind enough to sit down with L4LM to talk Reel To Real and more, see below for the full Q&A!L4LM: The band is so lucky to have so much footage, recorded material, and journals from their past.  Was it a deliberate decision on their part to archive as many moments as they could?JW- A little bit of both.  I wasn’t working for the band in those early days, between 2001-2008.  I think it was just a function of the technology of the time, which now seems a little out of date, but at the time having handheld camcorders was popular, and an easy way to document things. I don’t think they envisioned any specific use, but knew that archiving those moments could be useful one day.L4LM- It must have been difficult sifting through all of this footage and so many years worth of stories.  With so much to choose from, how did you decide which of their stories were the most important to include in the film?JW- The project started with [Umphrey’s Manager] Kevin Browning and Brian Walsh weeding through all this footage.  Kevin had an idea of what the important footage was and what clips would work.  For example, he immediately knew that the “Miss Tinkle’s” footage was perfect for this project, it jumped out because the story was funny and the song was important to the band and to their fans. Anyway, when they first presented the footage to me, it was about 2 Terabytes worth of content.  I took one look at that and it just seemed like an insane amount of footage, so Kevin and I had a discussion mid October, and I asked him if he could go back and whittle some of the footage down since he has the details and the memories that I don’t have from those early years.  So he went back and catalogued everything for me and that made sorting through the content a lot easier.  They made it very easy to go through the folders they’d created and find specific clips.Since they weren’t consciously filming a documentary at the time, it was frustrating that some of the footage was too short or not perfect.  I’d find a clip that might seem perfect, but then the recording would stop after only a few seconds, and that was certainly frustrating, because for the purpose of telling a story I’d have to present clips that were long enough from a narrative perspective.  I ended up sorting by time so I would only look at shots more than 10 seconds long; I wanted to be sure all the clips I used were good story telling devices.  It was definitely a challenge, and very time consuming.  All the credit to Kevin and Brian to whittle down that pile of footage at the beginning.  Not to say that I didn’t go back and look at the raw footage, I definitely stayed up until sunrise and beyond some nights looking for some very specific shots.L4LM- It seems like quite the undertaking,JW- One shot I’m particularly proud of finding is of Brendan opening the back lounge window of the bus, the scene where he screams at the sunrise, and it’s probably my favorite shot of the whole movie.  It encapsulates the experience of being a young band on the road, and I believe that clip is from the first night they ever had a tour bus, so they were so excited to be on the road living their dream.  Even though that clip is only 3 seconds long, it tells that story so perfectly.  That’s one of those shots I never would’ve found if I hadn’t dug through the catalog of footage for hours on end.It was a long process, but worth it to find clips like that.L4LM- You began working with Umphrey’s McGee in late 2008.  What was it like to join these best friends in the middle of their journey and what has your experience been joining such a tight-knit group?JW- They were and have been very welcoming.  I knew them because I had worked for moe., and they do Summercamp together with Umphrey’s every year.  So we did those festivals together and had been on tour together a bit.  I’d interviewed them a bit and I used to manage a band called Uncle Sammy that toured with them as well, and we were the same age, so we felt like peers.  They were very welcoming and made me feel right at home when I joined the team.  There was an instant chemistry with their playing style and improvisation and my style of lighting design. I definitely had an idea of how I’d light the band, having been around them so much, and it came kind of effortlessly because I wasn’t around for so much of it.L4LM- Was it fun telling the stories behind some of Umphrey’s most iconic songs, like Miss Tinkle’s Overture and Plunger?  Are there any other songs with interesting back stories that didn’t make the film?JW- Not really, not anything that significant.  I was really proud of that Plunger scene, even if it is really short.  The story acts as a narrative device, with the song bridging what was going on with the band at that time to the next chapter of their lives, and it moves the film to it’s next chapter simultaneously. We just happened to have the footage of them recording the song, and happened to have the footage of their “Storytellers” performance, and together it acted as a great plot device.  I had heard that song hundreds of times and never knew that’s what that song was about.  I’m so busy concentrating on the lights that I don’t listen much to the lyrics anyway, but I was surprised to learn the lyrics in this song, and just goes to show you the insight and meaning in some of their song writing.L4LM- To hear the band members talk about Mike Mirro leaving the band, it’s clear that moment in their history was very difficult for everyone involved.  You could tell they all still had complex feelings about it.  Was it difficult to cover that part of their story?JW- It definitely was the most sensitive topic, but also the most interesting topic, as far as a story telling device.  Without conflict you don’t have much of a story.  I didn’t want this to come off like a puff piece or promo, since I am a salaried employee of the band in the end, so from a journalistic standpoint I wanted to bend over backwards to make it seem like an unbiased telling of their real story.  I wanted to let the interviews tell the story of what we wanted to include, and in the end they didn’t ask me to take anything out of the film, band or management didn’t make any changes.  It was one hundred percent honest and it came across that way.  Part of the point of this project was to show the real side of their stories, and that’s why we decided to call the film “Reel to Real”.  Having the word “Real” in the title set the tone for the whole film.L4LM- Was there anything else in Umphrey’s story that you wish you could haveve included in the film, but got left on the cutting room floor?JW- There were hundreds and hundreds of hours of footage and so much that was great that I wish I could have included, but in the end didn’t fit the overall flow of the film.  We wanted it to be an hour or less, because the original vision of this film was to create a video the length of one set of Umphrey’s music. The whole point was for this video to be set 1 and a traditional set of UM music as set 2 for this special show we did on January 1st in Denver.  As we were editing the film, it became more of a documentary, but it still needed to fit in as a first set for this.  I credit a lot of my friends for giving me a lot of advice, specifically Clayton Halsey, and also Steve Brandano from The Howard Stern show.  They watched it with me and told me to cut the film from 75 minutes to 60 minutes.  In this ADD-era of the Internet we wanted to keep the flow moving pretty quickly, so I went back and found the weakest 15 minutes and cut them out.  The things that got cut were the things that were not essential to the chronology of the band and the Mike Mirro plot and all the other things that we had mapped out for the story.  There were countless fun and funny scenes that were great footage, but just didn’t move the story and were, in the end, unnecessary.L4LM- Will we see any more Umphrey’s McGee classic footage released in the future?JW- I would think that at some point we’ll see more of it, there’s certainly a lot more footage and we keep shooting more footage.  We have no specific plans today to release any more footage, but I love doing it and we’re certainly an organization that likes to interact with our core fans, so I can envision us continuing to do more projects like this one.L4LM- Do you have any other special projects that you can talk about that you’re currently working on?JW- At the moment, no. I just finished editing the final version of “Reel to Reel” four days ago, so it feels great to have zero things hanging over my head as far as film projects.  I’m happy to take a little breather, since I started working on this project way back in August of 2015.L4LM- Switching gears, I know you recently got to work with Chris Kuroda as part of Phish’s run in Mexico. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?JW- I could talk about Phish Mexico for hours, and it was definitely one of the highlights of my life, without a doubt.  I remember walking home from the Saturday show, and I made a pact with myself to never complain about anything again.  I got to work with my favorite band and my biggest influence while lighting up the ocean, and it happened the same week that the original version of Reel to Real was finished, which was quite serendipitous. Thanks to Umphrey’s, Phish, CID Entertainment, and Chris I got to accomplish two of my lifelong dreams in such a short period of time, so complaining about anything just seemed a little ridiculous…but I could go on about the TSA lines at LaGuardia Airport!last_img read more

Peach Fest Finalizes Lineup With Gov’t Mule And Dozens Of Artist Additions

first_imgThe Peach Music Festival wowed jam fans with a great initial lineup announcement several months ago, and today the festival has revealed their final lineup for this year’s event. Taking place from August 11-14 at Montage Mountain near Scranton, PA, the headliners for the event remain unchanged: Trey Anastasio Band, Gregg Allman, The String Cheese Incident, and a collaborative Gregg Allman Incident set.The new lineup features some work from Warren Haynes, who will not only bring Gov’t Mule to the festival but will also play a “Wake Up With Warren” solo set to get things rockin’ in the morning. Further additions include Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Blackberry Smoke, Toots & the Maytals, Railroad Earth, Dark Star Orchestra (2 sets), Twiddle, Cabinet, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Pimps of Joytime, American Babies, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Aqueous, Consider the Source, The Magic Beans, and so many more!Check out the full finalized lineup below, and head to the Peach Fest website for details.last_img read more

Phish Shares Pro-Shot Footage Of Their Crazy 22-Minute ‘Chalk Dust Torture’

first_imgLast night, Phish completed the third show of their semi-annual Independence Day Weekend run at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. The shows offered no shortage of highlights, including new songs, tour debuts, beloved covers, and deep jams on unexpected songs, but the undoubted centerpiece of the weekend was the monster 22+ minute “Chalk Dust Torture” from Friday evening’s performance, featuring tight, spacey improvisation and even some instrument rotating–with Trey hitting the marimba lumina and Mike taking a turn on the keys. The band has released official pro-shot video of the stellar jam for all of us to enjoy.Set aside 22 minutes, pull up a chair, plug in your headphones, turn up the volume, and give this a spin–you’ll be glad that you did:Phish’s 2016 Summer Tour continues this Wednesday with a relatively (compared to the rest of the tour) intimate show at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, ME.last_img read more

Pimps of Joytime Release Official Video For ‘Dance Cardia’ Before First-Ever Red Rocks Appearance

first_imgWith their first appearance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre set for this Thursday, July 14th, opening for Galactic, Brooklyn’s Pimps of Joytime have released an official video for the track “Dance Cardia”, which lead singer and guitarist Brian J co-wrote with Rubblebucket‘s Alex Toth. The video features Brian J aka “The Hustler” preparing for an epic match of Jenga, versus childhood foil “The People’s Champ”. The track appears on the group’s latest album Jukestone Paradise.Pimps Of Joytime Bring Their ‘Janxta Funk’ To The Aggie In Colorado [Video]The group has been on a recent run in Colorado, which culminates with their first-ever appearance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, with both Galactic and BoomBox. Brian J discussed the honor of playing the venue (which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year), “Colorado has been real good to us over the past 6 years. There seems to be a genuine appreciation for what we do out here….It’s a privilege to be invited to play the amazing Red Rocks Amphitheater and we have our fans to thank for it.”Pimps of Joytime Tour Dates:7/13 Telluride, CO – Sunset Concert Series7/14 Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater 7/15 Avon, CO – Agave7/16 Snowmass Village, CO – Deaf Camp Benefit Summer Festival7/28 Asbury Park, NJ – Jams on the Sand7/29-30 Floyd, VA – Floydfest7/31 Lancaster, PA – Long’s Park Amphitheater8/6 Bedford, PA – Wills Mountain Festival8/11 Scranton, PA – Peach Music Festival9/16 Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom *9/18 Felton, CA – Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival10/22 Rohnert Park, CA – Funkendank Oktoberfest ^* with Greyboy Allstars^ with Galactic, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and The Dixie Giantslast_img read more

Yonder Mountain String Band Announces Extensive Fall Tour Dates

first_imgYonder Mountain String Band have announced their Fall Tour dates. Starting on October 5th at the WorkPlay Theatre in Birmingham, AL, the jam-grass outfit will hit venues such as The 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, The Ardmore Music Hall in Philadelphia, PA, First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN, and The Higher Ground in Burlington, VT before wrapping things up at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE on October 20th. The band will be supported by Fruition, Billy Strings, and Pert Near Sandstone on select dates throughout the run.See below for full details on all of the upcoming Yonder Mountain String Band fall tour dates.October 5th – Birmingham, AL – Workplay TheaterOctober 6th – Augusta, GA – Jessye Norman AmphitheateOctober 7th – Corolla, NC – Mustang Music FestivalOctober 8th – Charlotte, NC – US National Whitewater CenterOctober 9th – Boone, NC – Appalachian State LegendsOcotober 12th – Roanoke, VA – Jefferson CenterOctober 13th – Morgantown, WV – Mainstage MorgantownOctober 14th – Charlottesville, VA – The Jefferson TheaterOctober 15th – Washington, DC – 9:30 ClubOctober 16th – Ardmore, PA – The Ardmore Music HallOctober 19th-20th – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn BowlOctober 21st – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock ClubOctober 22 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground BallroomOctober 23 – Portland, ME – Port City Music HallOctober 26 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark.October 27 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall BallroomOctober 28th – Minneapolis, MN – First AvenueOctober 29th – Chicago, IL – House of Blues ChicagoOctober 30th – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Roomlast_img read more

TAUK Announces Extensive Fall Tour Dates Including NOLA Rager With Naughty Professor

first_imgBeloved jammers TAUK continue to take the country by storm! The group has announced an extensive second leg of their fall tour, coming on in support of their new album Sir Nebula, which is due out on September 16th. The band had previously revealed a first tour leg taking them from coast to coast, and round two sees the band hitting hot spots throughout the Southern and Northeastern United States as well.Among that exciting tour schedule is a performance at The Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, coming on November 12th. Presented by Live for Live Music, this New Orleans show will feature support from Naughty Professor, merging some great local funk with the progressive offerings of TAUK’s instrumental fusion. Tickets for this exciting performance can be found here!The full tour announcement can be seen below, and you can catch the band’s full tour schedule in the artwork posted below. New Sir Nebula TAUK Tour Dates10/15/16 – TBD11/9/16 – Three Links – Dallas, TX11/10/16 – The Parish – Austin, TX11/11/16 – Last Concert Cafe – Houston, TX11/12/16 – The Howlin’ Wolf – New Orleans, LA (Presented by Live for Live Music) ^11/13/16 – Duling Hall – Jackson, MS11/15/16 – 1904 Music Hall – Jacksonville, FL11/16/16 – The Social – Orlando, FL11/17/16 – Crowbar – Tampa, FL11/18/16 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA11/19/16 – New Mountain Theatre – Asheville, NC11/30/16 – Charleston Pour House – Charleston, SC12/1/16 – The Broadberry – Richmond, VA12/2/16 – Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD %12/3/16 – Chameleon Club – Lancaster, PA %12/7/16 – The Westcott Theater – Syracuse, NY %12/8/16 – Putnam Den – Saratoga Springs, NY12/9/16 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT12/10/16 – The Outer Space (Ballroom) – Hamden, CT ^ with Naughty Professor% with Consider the Source[Photo credit: Dylan Langille]last_img read more

Snarky Puppy, Dopapod, Kung Fu Members To Join Roosevelt Collier For Brooklyn Comes Alive

first_imgRoosevelt “The Dr.” Collier is bringing his southern-bred grooves to Brooklyn Comes Alive! The pedal steel guitar player will lead bassist Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Rob Compa (Dopapod), Eli Winderman (Dopapod), and Adrian Tramontano (Kung Fu) through a game-changing mix of covers that is not-to-be-missed.Brought up in the “sacred steel” tradition of the House of God Church, Roosevelt built his reputation alongside his uncles and cousins in The Lee Boys, known for their spirited, soul-shaking live performances. Seated front and center, “The Dr.” leaves an indelible mark on listeners, flooring audiences with his lightning-fast slide work on the pedal steel. Having shared many stages with legendary acts like the Allman Brothers, String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s McGee, and so many more, Collier is ready to step in front of any crowd and consistently deliver a jaw-dropping performance.The Roosevelt Collier New York Get Down promises funk, soul, blues, and rock and roll. With these five incredible players sharing a stage, there’s no telling what’s in store.Set for October 22, 2016, the second annual event will span three of Brooklyn’s most popular venues — Brooklyn Bowl, The Hall at MP, and Music Hall of Williamsburg — all within a 10 minute walking radius. Tickets to the event grants you access to all three venues, and can be found here. More information can be found on the event’s website.So far, BCA has officially announced the following supergroup formations:The All Brothers Band: Oteil Burbridge, Kofi Burbridge, Neal Evans, Alan Evans[Br]eaking [Bi]scuits: Adam Deitch, Borahm Lee, Marc Brownstein, Aron MagnerReed Mathis’s Electric BeethovenJoe Russo, Scott Metzger, Robert Walter, & Andy HessDRKWAV: John Medeski, Adam Deitch, & SkerikEarth, Wind and PowerJason Hann’s RhythmatronixA Tribute To J DillaStay tuned for more lineup announcements over the coming weeks! In the meantime, see if you can guess what Brooklyn Comes Alive might be in store from the following artist list:Brooklyn Comes Alive Artist Full Lineup:Joe Russo (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead)Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers/Dead & Company)Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits)Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits)John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood)Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident)Adam Deitch (Lettuce/Break Science)Robert Walter (Greyboy Allstars/Mike Gordon)Scott Metzger (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead)Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band)Alan Evans (Soulive)Neal Evans (Soulive)Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce)Jesus Coomes (Lettuce)Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce)Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce)Roosevelt CollierMichael League (Snarky Puppy)SkerikTodd Stoops (RAQ)Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green)Borahm Lee (Break Science)Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band)James Casey (Trey Anastasio Band)Chris Bullock (Snarky Puppy)Nikki Glaspie (The Nth Power)Nick Cassarino (The Nth Power)Nate Edgar (The Nth Power)Courtney J’Mell Smith (The Nth Power)Manic Focus (special guests)Will Bernard (Stanton Moore Trio)Tim Palmieri (Kung Fu)Jay Lane (Primus/RatDog)Rob Compa (Dopapod)Eli Winderman (Dopapod)Adrian Tramontano (Kung Fu)Holly BowlingBrasstracksFareed Haque (Garaj Mahal)Cochrane McMillan (Tea Leaf Green)Andy Hess (Gov’t Mule/The Black Crowes)Dan Edinburg (The Stepkids)Jen Durkin (Deep Banana Blackout)Johnny Durkin (Deep Banana Blackout)Rob Marscher (Matisyahu)Rob Somerville (Kung Fu)Benny Rietveld (Santana)Samora Pinderhughes (Emily King, Branford Marsalis)Raul PinedaFarnell NewtonDanny SadownickBrandon “Taz” Niederauer (Artist-At-Large)Showcase Sets:RIPEOrgan Freemanlast_img read more

Bob Weir Welcomes Members Of The National For “Campfire Tour” Opener [Watch]

first_imgBob Weir kicked off his Campfire Tour last night in San Rafael, California. The show, which took place at Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, featured a hodgepodge of fan-favorite Dead songs, as well as several tracks from his recently-released album Blue Mountain. The show kicked off with the Grateful Dead guitarist delivering a solo acoustic rendition of the album’s title track, before the band, which features Steve Kimock, brothers and members of The National Bryan and Scott Devendorf, Jon Shaw, and the album’s producer Josh Kaufman, took the stage for the remainder of the show.Set one focused on mostly material from the new album, with “Only a River”, “Lay My Lily down”, “Whatever Happened to Rose”, and more leading the charge, before the band busted out the Dead’s “He’s Gone”. “He’s Gone” was followed by the appropriately titled “Gonesville”, making for a great pairing of tunes while bringing the set to a close.Set two featured a much heavier variety of Grateful Dead material, opening with a rocking “Althea”, before the band launched into a great version of “Me and My Uncle”. What followed was a show-closing sequence that started with “Playing in the Band”, transitioned into “The Other One”, followed by “Looks Like Rain”, and finally a reprise of “Playing In The Band” that brought the house down.The encore featured another Blue Mountain track with “Ki-Yi Bossie”, before the band brought things to a close with great versions of Merle Haggard‘s “Mama Tried” and the emotional “Ripple”.Weir returns to the stage tonight in Oakland, CA at the Fox Theatre. Check out a few fan-shot videos from the great first night of Bob Weir’s Blue Mountain tour below. See below for a full setlist as well!Watch Bob Weir perform a solo acoustic rendition of “Blue Mountain”.Watch Bob Weir perform a solo acoustic rendition of “The Other One”.Watch Bob Weir perform a solo acoustic rendition of “Ripple”.Bob Weir | Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium | San Rafael, California | 10/7/206Set 1: Blue Mountain, Only a River, Lay Me Lily Down, Whatever Happened to Rose, Ghost Towns, Gallop on the Run, He’s Gone, Gonesville.Set 2: Althea, Me and My Uncle, Playing in the Band, The Other One, Look Like Rain, Playing in the Band repriseEncore: Ki-Yi Bossie, Mama Tried, RippleBob Weir Blue Mountain Campfire TourSan Rafael, CAMarin County Civic CenterOctober 7, 2016Oakland, CAFox Theatre OaklandOctober 8, 2016Los Angeles, CAThe WilternOctober 10, 2016Upper Darby, PAThe Tower TheatreOctober 12, 2016Brooklyn, NYThe Kings TheatreOctober 14-15, 2016Port Chester, NYThe Capitol TheatreOctober 16, 2016Nashville, TNRyman AuditoriumOctober 19, 2016last_img read more

Circles Around The Sun To Play Third-Ever Live Show, With Railroad Earth

first_imgChris Robinson Brotherhood guitarist Neal Casal‘s Circles Around The Sun project had added another date to their schedule. The group has announced it will play Railroad Earth‘s Horn o’ Plenty Getaway at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25th and 26th).As you may or may not know, Casal, joined by fellow CRB brethren keyboardist Adam MacDougall, drummer Mark Levy and bassist Dan Horne, created the setbreak music for the Grateful Dead‘s Fare Thee Well shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field last summer. With plenty of positive feedback after the Dead shows, it prompted the group to release Interludes For The Dead in proper album format.After playing their first official live performance at Lockn’ recently, the group announced a show at Brooklyn Bowl on Nov. 23rd.Tickets for RRE’s Plenty O’ Horn Getaway can be purchased here. [via Jambase]last_img read more

Borahm Lee Shares His Love For J Dilla Ahead Of Brooklyn Comes Alive Tribute Jam

first_img“We are going to present a showcase of his music, and the philosophies behind his music.” Borahm LeeLed by Break Science’s Borahm Lee, the J Dilla tribute at Brooklyn Comes Alive will explore the annals of a man who is considered among the greatest producers in hip-hop history. The session will include a nuclear-equipped squad well versed in the school of Dilla dawg. Collaborators include drummer Adam Deitch (Lettuce/Break Science), guitarist Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce), bassist Nate Edgar (The Nth Power), bassist Stu Brooks (Matisyahu, 50 Cent, Pretty Lights), Maurice Brown (Tedeschi Trucks Band) and Chauncey Yearwood (High & Might Brass Band). Visionary hip-hop producer J Dilla did not find huge mainstream success during his brief time on Earth. Yet in the decade since his death, Dilla has come to represent a major influence on hip-hop and electronic music’s DNA. His apex was in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when he created mind-bending music that sounded insanely original, and employed studio tactics that didn’t seem possible. Dilla teased with textures and perfected drum tones. He reimagined the art of the sample, making it malleable instead of rigid. He also blessed the culture with an emotional quotient inside of the bombastic boom bap, a structure that had informed the golden era of hip hop. Dilla broke the mold and stepped into the future.“In the spirit of dub greats like Lee Scratch Perry, and King Tubby, Dilla put the music upfront, so it could carry itself without the rapper, the music itself was potent enough on it’s own. His music can make you go in to a trance, like the dub styles.  It’s so modular, heady, and psychedelic too. There is a hypnotizing quality. But the beats are hard!” Borahm LeeDilla’s imprint is felt far beyond hip-hop: In recent years, the artist formerly known as Jay Dee has left a long shadow over modern jazz and funk. He’s never belonged to the jam band community per se, but since his passing in 2006 from a rare blood disease, his legacy has helped this scene incorporate elements of hip hop and electronica, such as Portland, Maine’s Jaw Gems, or Break Science, Lee’s future-music duo with drummer/producer wunderkind Adam Deitch.“The man is a movement, he was completely ahead of his time, even more so posthumously. He made so much music, even though he lived such a short life. It’s crazy, yet it’s so tragic. A lot of other legendary artists died far too young too, like Jimi Hendrix or Charlie Parker. I put Dilla right there in that category of artists.” Borahm LeeSo what sets Dilla apart? Why has his creativity, artistic vision and virtuosity proved so captivating to the jam band crowd?For one, Dilla was a sort of human musical encyclopedia. In his studio, he stored and collected thousands of vinyl records, many of them jazz and funk, into specific sections and kept them alphabetized so that he could cue up the perfect sample right when the inspiration struck. He didn’t just rely on his gigantic record collection, either. He was always ready to pick up a guitar or a bass, or sit down behind the drum kit, or tickle on some chords on the keyboard. This type of dedication to minutia, and multi-instrumentalism speaks to the jamband community.Dilla would manically mine clips from albums just for the timbre of a single note, or the crackling textures of vinyl, or the boom-bap of a kick/snare hit. There was Dilla’s approach to lacing up the rhythms of those legendary drumbeats. Many beat-makers use a method known as quantizing, which lets you perfectly subdivide electric drum-machine sounds into positions within a measure. The pattern can repeat itself, known as a “loop.” Dilla instead most often chose to play beats on a drum machine, creating them by hand in real time. That offered him a chance to color his beats and rhythms with a signature drunken monkey style: jazzy, grooving, laid back and landing just behind the beat.“His whole philosophy, from the sounds of his drums, to the rhythmic theories, to the placement and dissection of samples, he did so much to influence the musicians of his day, and especially today. Look at bands like Lettuce or producers like Taylor McFerrin, who’s one of my favorites, and of course a Flying Lotus too. His influence spreads like Bob Marley’s did to reggae music, changes people’s perspective from hip-hop to electronic, and in between, the people know J Dilla.“One can only imagine what this super group of hip-hop and electronic players will cook up for this next installment of Borahm Lee’s tribute to J Dilla, coming up at Brooklyn Comes Alive.Check out three of Borahm Lee’s favorite Dilla deep cuts, below.last_img read more