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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians. Show all posts

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Jimmy Vivino & the Black Italians on "Conan"!
Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians will appear on the "Conan" television show on Tuesday, January 28th.   They will perform "Maggie's Farm," the Bob Dylan-penned song that appears on their Blind Pig album 13 Live.
Vivino is the Music Director and leader of the house band for Conan O'Brien's show on TBS, Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band.  The Black Italians were originally formed twenty years ago around a residency at the legendary Downtime Music Bar in New York City.  They soon attracted local and national touring musicians to their shows eager to participate in impromptu jams of what Vivino describes as "Third World blues with New Orleans swagger."  Vivino jokingly dubbed the communal group of musicians of various ethnicities "The Black Italians," which he says was really "about being soulful cats."  
Last year he got the band back together for a live recorded concert at Levon Helm's beautiful barn studio in Woodstock NY.  Despite only playing sporadically over the years, and after just one rehearsal, the Black Italians immediately fell into a soulful, joyous groove, delighting the audience with a night of truly inspired music making.

The resulting album, 13 Live, garnered rave reviews from the critics:
"A record that celebrates impulsivity, virtuosity, and unbridled soul. Somewhere between the hottest Chicago jump blues, muscled garage rock, and a jazz-leaning rhumba, lies the sound of Jimmy Vivino's Black Italians - musical dexterity by way of pure, soul-digging inspiration." - Living Blues
"The entire album is chock full of impeccably recorded, juke-joint jumping R&B, soul and blues that'll make you salivate for the bygone era when all music sounded this good." - Elmore
"Vivino and company set fire to the barn's performance stage with their red hot playing. Vivino's voice is sterling throughout and equally matched in intensity and soul by Russell. In the meantime, the band is spot-on from song to song displaying blazing chops and world-class precision. " - Blues Music Magazine

Describing 13 Live just can't come close to capturing the brillance and sparkling beauty of the music. You've simply got to hear it, got to let this stuff into your soul, where it will live forever, and you will be a happier and better person for it." -Rambles
Joining guitarist Vivino for the appearance on "Conan" will be vocalist extraordinaire Catherine Russell and harmonica ace Felix Cabrera, both travelling from New York for the program.  Rounding out the Black Italians lineup that night will be Mike Merritt on bass, James Wormworth on drums, Jeff Young on keyboards, Vicki Randle on percussion, with special guest Leo Nocentelli of The Meters.

To see a video about the project, with samples of some of the wonderful songs, please click HERE.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Blind Pig Records artist: 13 Live - Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians - New release review

I just received the new release, 13 Live, from Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians and it's really strong. Opening with Fat Man, a new Orleans influenced blues track, Vivino and crew (Catherine Russell (vocals), Felix Cabrera (harp and vocals), Danny Louis ( Keys, trombone, and drums), Mike Merritt (bass), James Wormworth (drums), Mike Jacobson (conga, bass drum, percussion), Fred Walcott (timbales and percussion) and Justin Gulp drums) really lay down a nice groove. Of particular note are cool slide parts by Vivino, harp by Cabrera and piano by Louis. Soulful Dress, along the lines of High Heeled Sneakers, spotlights Russell on lead vocals and Vivino riffs off on guitar in fine rock style. Russell has a great voice and Cabrera and Louis really hold their own on this track. From A Buick 6 is really written like an early Dylan track and I really like it. Ultimately Vivino plays a frenzied solo over great drum rhythms keeping the crown moving. Fast Life Rider has an intricate lead guitar intro actually reminding me quite a bit of early Dregs music. The snares kick in giving the track a particular marching beat and Vivino takes the lead singing and playing guitar in tandem melody. Nice effect. Playing a fairly long and interesting guitar solo along with Wormworth on drums, the band is smokin. The band settles down for a slow blues/soul style track, Fool's Gold, featuring Russell on lead vocal. This is a real strong track that could easily find a lot of airplay. Louis plays some particularly cool organ on this track supporting very strong vocal efforts. Not to let you down, Vivino steps up and really rips it loose on guitar and then winds back down in tandem with Louis. A rock n roll track a'la Chuck berry, Heaven In A Pontiac, is just what's needed to to kick the recording back into high gear. Cabrera plays a monster harp solo on this track and the percussion is really visible as well. Vivino steps up again and plays some hot Berryesque riffs that are really cool. Animalism, opened by a funky bass riff by Merritt, takes the sound again to another stop sounding a lot like the sound of the early Jeff Beck Group but with a lot more African influence. This is a great track like you might expect on one of the great Brazilian or African releases. Very good choice. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, a song made popular by Traffic, is up next and the band creates a much more percussive feel but holds pretty true to the original. The addition of harp and irregular guitar attack on this track also sets it apart from the otherwise British track. James Brown's What Do I Have To Do again features Russell and she's definitely up to the task of taking this JB track. Maintaining a fast paced JB's sound but with the addition of harp, this track really moves. I always like trombone on blues tracks and Louis does a great job of finite articulation on such a fast paced solo. Jump back! Yeah, Vivino steps up with a blistering solo on this track as well. This had to be a great show to see live. I reworked version of Dylan's Maggie's Farm is up next and it has a real gospel feel with a cha cha beat. Very cool thinking, making for a real danceable track with great vocals. This also gives the band a super opportunity to stretch out instrumentally. Song For Levon has the characteristics of a Randy Newman track. It is very well written and melodic... primarily vocal and keys. It is surprisingly very strong. The release wraps with an old Band track, Shape I'm In. I've always liked the Band and this is a great track. Vivino hasn't altered the bacic arrangement much but with overlayed vocals and different instrumental mix this track is very fresh. This is a really nice outing for Vivino who spends a lot of his time as band leader on Conan O'Briens show. It is a lot of fun and musically quite entertaining.

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