Label promoting American roots music, bluegrass, blues, swing, jazz, and old-time music. Album downloads available here: http://store.payloadz.com/results/195845-patuxent-music
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We are excited to feature musician and author Stephen Wade to Deering Live this week. Stephen is a true scholar of American folk music, having written the c...
*** JUST RELEASED REISSUE ***
A real treasure from 1993, originally released on cassette, now revived for your merrymaking pleasure! The unbridled Washington, D.C. area ensemble Franklin, Harpe & Usilton set the acoustic blues and ragtime ablaze with their fun and exciting Hokum Blues. The Hokum blues are sly, drenched in mischief and sexual innuendo, good-time music with a strong dose of tongue-in-cheek street wit. Listen carefully to the words. It’s music with a story, just a little but funny, sometimes a little sad and even a little scary, but always deep. The fiery trio of Franklin, Harpe and Usilton swings like mad on this reissue packed with Piedmont and ragtime classics – old time acoustic blues of the 1930s. The revivalists trio made the classic old blues cool again – rough-hewn, edgy and raucous, focused on the exuberance of the song. Don’t let the clever songs distract you from the superb instrumentation. Both Rick Franklin and Neil Harpe are excellent alternating bass fingerpicking guitarists with the prowess to honor the best players of the golden era, covered here with virtuosic perfection. All that while keeping it loose and joyful.
This jolly trio of Franklin, Harpe & Usilton have managed to capture the gritty energy and the wild swinging punch of this roots music. Each of them are now aptly doing their own musical thing, but together they were the finest representatives of the culturally rich Maryland, Virginia, DC region. This fierce reissue proves it unequivocally.
Contributing writer to Living Blues magazine. Publisher of thecountyblues.com. Co-author with Phil Wiggins of Sweet Bitter Blues – Washington DC’s Homemade Blues
Mark Schatz-Mark Schatz was born April 23, 1955 into a musical family. He began his formal musical training with cello at age ten and later switched over to ...
June 13, 2021 Michael Stock interviews musician, recording artist, and writer Stephen Wade about "The Beautiful Music All Round Us".
***** NEW ALBUM *****
Mark Schatz was born April 23, 1955 into a musical family. He began his formal musical training with cello at age ten and later switched over to string bass. His first performance was in 1971 on electric bass in a high school rock band. Inspired by a love for folk and traditional music, he took up the guitar, mandolin, and clawhammer banjo. He received his Degree in Music Theory and Composition from Haverford College, and studied for a year at Berklee College of Music.
Twice named International Bluegrass Music Association’s Bass Player of the Year, Mark has toured and recorded with a stellar array of artists including Bela Fleck, Tony Rice, John Hartford, Tim O'Brien, acoustic innovators Nickel Creek, Claire Lynch, and Sarah Jarosz. Mark is the Musical Director for internationally acclaimed Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble which showcases other talents such as clawhammer banjo and Southern Appalachian clog dancing. This versatile multi-instrumentalist has two of his own solo recordings, Brand New Old Tyme Way and Steppin’ in the Boiler House on Rounder Records, which feature his own eclectic blend of original compositions on the banjo.
Grit & Polish, his most recent release with former Claire Lynch bandmate, Bryan McDowell, is a pared down burst of everything from old time to Bob Dylan, and there will be dates booked to support this project. Mark will also be touring in the fall of 2021 with his old friend and colleague, Bela Fleck, to support his new release, My Bluegrass Heart. His ongoing activities include recording, instructional camps, private instruction, and his own solo show, Mark Schatz-The Solo Concert!
Bryan McDowell is a person predictable only in his consistent excellence.
Fiddler, vocalist, and master of stringed instruments, his reputation is solidifying as a musician of great interest on the acoustic scene.
With his move to Nashville in 2013, Bryan grounded his career in a 4 year tenure with Claire Lynch. He has logged considerable time on the road with bluegrass notables Sierra Hull, Alison Brown, Ron Block, & Molly Tuttle, and shared the stage and studio with an ever-expanding list of legendary names from the realm of roots and acoustic music. The talents of the new master have made their way on to several recordings garnering IBMA awards, and one project receiving a Grammy nomination.
In 2018, he returned to his hometown of Asheville, NC. Choosing now to commit his time and efforts to training youth in the traditions of mountain music, he teaches full time on an array of stringed instruments. With humility and care, he passes on the legacy of his mentor and instructor, Arvil Freeman.
[Prior accolades worth mentioning are Bryan’s triple win - a sweep of the fiddle, mandolin, and guitar categories - at the National Flatpicking Championship in '09, and his 21 other instrument contest titles from '09 & '10.]
*** NEW ALBUM ***
Ahead of the Crowd
If you have John Colianni’s previous albums on Patuxent, you know from my liner notes that we go way back. In the notes to After Hours I relate how I first heard John perform in the final round of the first Thelonious Monk Piano Competition in 1987. What I didn’t mention was the earlier connection where my “day gig” intersected with my jazz life. Until I retired in 2013, I was a union representative with the American Federation of Government Employees working with locals at various federal agencies, one of which was the State Department. I don’t remember if it was during an administrative hearing or negotiations but during a break I got into a conversation with Carl Sosebee, the attorney representing the agency. I somehow steered the topic to my favorite subject, jazz. I told him that I did a radio show and taught jazz history at Georgetown and American universities, probably implying that I would rather devote my time to those activities than the somewhat contentious labor-management issue we were confronting. Carl sure brightened up and told me his brother-in-law was a jazz pianist and would be in a competition at the Smithsonian that was coming up. Carl is still with the government, currently senior counsel at the Peace Corp. He gets his musical satisfaction through his guitar.
The Thelonious Monk Piano Competition held at the Baird Auditorium of the Smithsonian Institution was a fascinating experience for those of us in the audience. The judges, including Sir Roland Hanna, Barry Harris and Hank Jones, insisted that there be no applause. It was weird sitting in silence when you wanted to applaud the marvelous performances you were listening to. John didn’t win first place, but he sure came close. When I introduced myself to him, I did so by saying I knew his brother-in-law Carl and, oh, by the way, I do a jazz radio show. It turns out he was familiar with me because he grew up in the Washington area before his family moved to New Jersey, and as a young teenager performed in such clubs as Pigfoot, One Step Down and Blues Alley. He was mentored by my friends John Malachi and Keter Betts in the 1970s.
By the time he participated in the Monk Competition, John had spent three years touring with Lionel Hampton. Our paths crossed in 1982 when Hamp performed at the Kennedy Center for George Wein’s Kool Jazz Festival and I was the MC. After the competition, he worked with Mel Torme for four years. In the early 2000s, his swinging piano accompanied the legendary guitarists Les Paul and Larry Coryell. In the liner notes for the Patuxent album On Target, Coryell said, ”John is not only ‘cool’ but he’s got energy to burn and chops that flair up into explosive note-clusters that boggle the mind.” He tagged him with the nickname “Johnny Chops.”
Those chops are certainly demonstrated on this album in the classic trio setting of his heroes Oscar Peterson and Hank Jones. John told me he would buy their albums as a kid and as a young twenty something pianist. in a highly competitive competition, Hank Jones was a judge. Not too much pressure, huh? A few years later John would become friends with Hank and drive him to the airport whenever he had a gig overseas. I wish I were in the back seat to overhear those conversations.
Accompanying John on bass is Boots Maleson who has worked with such jazz greats as Milt Jackson, Elvin Jones, Jaki Byard, Archie Shepp, Kenny Barron, Dexter Gordon and Benny Carter. The drummer is Bernard Linette. The native of Norfolk, Virginia, has performed with Little Jimmy Scott, Junior Cook, Cedar Walton, Abbey Lincoln and Freddy Cole.
Ahead of the Crowd is programmed as if it were a set in a club. It features a mix from the American popular song book, jazz classics, blues, some Colianni originals and a couple of R & B hits. Marvin Hamlisch’s One flows into One Mint Julip which leads into Count Basie’s One O’Clock Jump. It’s fascinating to contrast John’s Long Count with Billy Strayhorn’s Blood Count. There are two songs from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, I Got Plenty of Nothing and Bess, You Is My Woman. Boots has some tasty bass interaction with John on Spring Is Here. Check out what the trio does with Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.
With the COVID pandemic shutting down all the clubs and concert halls, it’s been a while since we got to see John perform in person. I, for one, I’m grateful to Tom Mindte and Patuxent Music for keeping John’s music available. And when you do get see him perform live, you’ll be able to take his music home with you on this CD. Hank Jones would have loved this album.
Rusty Hassan has been broadcasting jazz on the Washington airwaves for over fifty years. He can be currently heard on WPFW-FM. He has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society and has taught jazz history courses at Georgetown University and American University.
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