Super User

Super User

Friday, 14 March 2014 21:51

BOBBY DALL - PLAYING WITH POISON

For 30 plus years, bassist Bobby Dall has subsisted on a steady diet of Poison—but he’s doing just fine.

In fact, Poison is positively thriving. The pop-metal quartet still fills major venues worldwide. Often times sharing the stage with other great acts, including, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Kiss & Aerosmith. And Poison’s lineup is the same as when they rocked the world with such smash albums as “Look What the Cat Dragged In”, “Open Up and Say…Ahh!” and “Flesh & Blood”.

Dall, drummer Rikki Rocket, singer Bret Michaels, and guitarist Matthew Smith founded the band, initially called Paris, in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, while still in their teens. “We sold everything we owned, pooled our money, and packed up the ambulance we used as our equipment van,” recalls Dall. “It was New York or Los Angeles. New York was too easy to run home from. Los Angeles was a larger commitment, and the bands we looked up to were there— Quiet Riot, RATT, Mötley Crüe.”
Bassist Nathan East is one of the most acclaimed sidemen of all time. He’s accompanied Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Beyoncé, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Peter Gabriel, Frank Sinatra, Sting, Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, and many other leading lights of jazz, rock, pop, and R&B. He’s also a member of Fourplay, whose albums have topped the jazz charts for decades.

But only now, after 35 years of hit-making, has the Philly-born, L.A.-based bassist recorded an album under his own name. Nathan East is co-produced by Nathan and Chris Gero, founder of Yamaha Entertainment Group, the label behind the release. The partnership makes sense, given that East has been a Yamaha artist for nearly his entire career.

We caught up with Nathan in Nashville, where he was putting the finishing touches on the project, which combines instrumental tracks with vocal numbers featuring such guests as Stevie Wonder, Sarah Bareilles, and Michael McDonald.
Friday, 14 March 2014 21:40

SHIBEN BHATTACHARYA - MAKING CONNECTIONS

As singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson’s touring bassist for the past three years, Shiben Bhattacharya has performed in renowned venues across the country, appeared on major televised concerts and talk shows, and opened for stadium-sized artists like Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5. But he still remembers his earliest forays into music.

“I grew up in a very sports-oriented town in Texas,” he says, “and I thought if I went out for all the sports teams the girls would talk to me. But I wasn’t any good. Then I found my mom’s old Yamaha classical guitar in the closet and learned a few songs. And people responded a lot more to that. So I was like, ‘OK, this is much easier!’”

Bhattacharya began guitar lessons and started a high-school band. After a stint in art school, he moved to Austin and immersed himself in music. “I really dove into playing bass, mainly hip hop and salsa,” he says. “A friend and I ran this regular Wednesday night gig, kind of a Roots and Black Eyed Peas vibe. I met all these great rappers that would come through, and I ended up playing in a big salsa orchestra.”
Friday, 14 March 2014 21:34

JOSH GROBAN - THE ALL AROUND STAR

It’s been just 13 years since Josh Groban catapulted into fame with his self-titled debut album, but he’s already achieved a lifetime’s worth of success. With more than 25 million records sold to date, the Los Angeles native quickly became one of the world’s best-loved vocalists, merging pop, rock, and classical styles into his own inimitable sound. Josh recently spoke to us at the end of a yearlong tour supporting his sixth studio album, 2013’s All That Echoes, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. Even after performing more than 60 shows around the globe, the 32-year-old Groban was as gracious as ever— and looking forward to a new year of musical adventures.

You did so many shows this year, including a series of In the Round shows.

Yes—doing those In the Round shows was really exciting, and it was a great way to end the tour. It’s not an easy thing to do, and you need to have a very special connection with your audience. I feel like that’s something I’ve really developed with my fans over the past few years, as my shows have become a little bit looser, with a little bit more audience involvement. It provided a very spontaneous, creative atmosphere for myself and my band. Because suddenly they aren’t behind me anymore—they’re just as front-and-center as I am!
Friday, 14 March 2014 21:30

MARC COHN - THE STORY IN THE SONG

Listening to singer/songwriter Marc Cohn’s music is easy: You’re clearly in the hands of a master storyteller. From his self-titled, GRAMMY-winning 1991 debut—which featured the hit “Walking in Memphis”—to 2010’s Listening Booth: 1970, a collection of covers ranging from Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” to the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie,” Cohn’s distinctive voice and nuanced delivery capture and hold your attention until the last note fades away.

But for the teller of the tales, the process is a little more demanding.

“I feel like I’m constantly in the process of trying to start a new record,” Cohn says. “It really involves a lot of patience and absorption. Often I’m just waiting for the right frame to put a certain picture in. And I never know how or when that’s going to happen.”
Jazz drumming, with its loose, evolving rhythms, can sometimes seem a world apart from the samples and beats of hip hop. But when Mark Colenburg sits behind the kit, it’s easy to forget such distinctions.

The St. Louis native doesn’t just excel at both styles—he cross-pollinates them, blending virtuosic jazz technique with a deconstructed cut-and-paste approach influenced by hip hop beat makers. His credits include sessions with leading jazz players (Kenny Garrett, George Coleman, Chico Freeman, Kurt Rosenwinkel), R&B vocalists (Macy Gray, Lizz Wright, Lalah Hathaway), and hip hop’s innovators (Q-Tip, Common, Mos Def). And all those worlds collide when Colenberg gigs with the Robert Glasper Experiment, a jazz/R&B/hip hop fusion group currently riding high on their hit Black Radio 2 album.
For some artists, simply being onstage is a goal in itself. For others, like keyboardist David Appelbaum of Los Angeles-based alternative band The Mowgli’s, it’s a chance to help make the world a slightly better place.

“Most people on this planet don’t have the opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people who are wide-eyed and hoping to hear something positive,” Appelbaum says. “We’re all different people in the band, but our message is simply peace and love. We’re just trying to have fun, and put smiles on people’s faces, and create some positivity in a world that’s not always like that.”

The Mowgli’s infectious songs—like their hits “San Francisco” and “Say It, Just Say It”—feature gang vocals that invite participation and blur the lines between band and audience. The intent, David says, is to create an inclusive sound that doesn’t rely on a single star performer commanding the spotlight.
Friday, 14 March 2014 17:50

ROBERT GLASPER - WAKING UP JAZZ

Jazz pianist Robert Glasper couldn’t care less about conventional musical boundaries. With a career ranging from R&B sideman to music director for hip hop icon Mos Def to leader of his own jazz trio, Glasper commands a multitude of styles. But he’s found his greatest success with the Robert Glasper Experiment, a free-ranging exploration of the intersections between jazz, R&B, and hip hop.

On 2012’s GRAMMY-winning album Black Radio, Glasper enlisted an array of musical guests—including Erykah Badu, yasiin bey (formerly Mos Def), and Me’Shell Ndegéocello— to signal a soulful, edgy new take on jazz. And the broadcast continues with his recently released, chart-topping follow-up, Black Radio 2, which features such musical accomplices as Norah Jones, Jill Scott, Brandy, Snoop Dogg, and Macy Gray.

“I like jazz, but I also like a whole lot of other stuff,” Glasper says. “Since when do you have to only like one kind of music? I always knew that I loved mixing genres and making things jazzy, or making jazzy stuff have more of a hip hop or R&B edge. When you hear as much different music as I did growing up, it just becomes one thing.”
Saturday, 30 November 2013 14:54

BRETT TUGGLE - IN TUNE WITH FLEETWOOD MAC

Brett Tuggle has one of the most enviable sideman gigs in showbiz. As Fleetwood Mac’s touring keyboardist since 1997, his workday involves bringing some of rock’s best-loved songs to audiences around the world.

“When Christine McVie retired, everybody wondered if it would be the same,” Brett says. “Well, it’s really never going to be the same without her, but there are still a lot of chapters left in the book of Fleetwood Mac. Almost all the gigs are sold out, and at this point it transcends generations. The audience includes everyone from kids in their early 20s all the way up to people in their 70s!”
Friday, 22 November 2013 00:19

Letters from Chris Gero - Fall 2013

chris gero headshotThis year has been one of celebration and success for Yamaha. We have continued to grow the Yamaha Entertainment Group division, recognized some amazing new artists under our own thriving label, and celebrated the 125th anniversary of  Yamaha Corporation of America.  We pride ourselves on being a globally recognized brand for the past 125 years, but for the next 125 years, we hope to be known also as a proud supporter of our musicians and their fans.

We celebrated not only over a century of Yamaha, but also of Yamaha players, performers, and artists.  Our 2013 NAMM event at Disneyland’s Hyperion Theater hosted names Amy Grant, Chaka Kahn, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sarah McLachlan, Toto, and Elton John.  This all-star lineup was accompanied with a historical moment. Using the latest advances in Yamaha instrumental technology, Elton’s performance on the Yamaha Disklavier was reproduced through Yamaha’s DisklavierTV, powered by RemoteLive technology, along with a 75-piece orchestra.  This performance made its mark by streaming live over the Internet and simultaneously to remote Disklaviers at locations around the world.

Our history making doesn’t stop there!  We have continued to cultivate our artist relations and superior product quality to mold a new standard of Yamaha artists with a fan focus to accompany their amazing talent and music.  As mentioned in the previous issue, we have utilized our thoroughly modern recording and filming studio in Franklin, Tenn to not only record and distribute music, but also hone in on the artist’s fan base connection.

For the past few years, Yamaha Entertainment Group has championed the artist and supported the fan base by putting the public more in touch with our musicians than ever before.  We are using our unique relationship with our artists to team up with them in social media interaction, sweepstakes, and prize efforts.  We want to take the audience beyond the product visibility of an endorsement and immerse them in the next level of music that simple fandom cannot provide. Over the years we’ve provided opportunities to meet, win autographs from, and attend concerts for Colbie Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson, The Muppets, Jon McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Michael Bolton, Goo Goo Dolls, and more. We are currently working on sweepstakes for our fans with Lyle Lovett and Elton John, among other artists; so keep an eye on our Yamaha Entertainment Group Facebook page for announcements.

Through innovation within the artistic process, whether it is technological advances or furthering crowd connection, Yamaha continues to put the strong effort it has used in the past 125 years to champion the artist.  At Yamaha Entertainment Group, we are artists, we are music, we are Yamaha.

We look forward to continuing and building upon the success 2013 has brought us.  Visit us at www. YamahaEntertainmentGroup.com or engage with us on Facebook and Twitter. We love hearing from you, and we truly appreciate the support you’ve given for the past 125 years.

Kindest Regards,
Chris Gero

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