GROOVING AGAINST HUNGER IN NYC

Velour Presents and Action Against Hunger continue the yearlong Groove Against Hunger benefit concert series on Monday, June 18, 2001 at Tribeca Blues. Featured performers include Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Krasno and Neal Evans of Soulive and Charles Haynes and Sam Kinninger of The Squad. Groove Against Hunger, a multi city, multi venue program utilizes live music performances to promote awareness about world hunger. Our goal is to unite performers and audiences to raise funds to benefit our programs in over forty countries while also raising awareness of the plight of 800 million people suffering from malnutrition when the world produces more than enough food to feed every human being.

Action Against Hunger, founded in France in 1979 in response to the Cambodian hunger crisis, has over 4000 workers in over 40 countries working to save lives and restore food security to populations victimized by (starvation as a weapon of) armed conflict. Entire populations are cut off from their food security in nearly every area of war – Kosovo, Sudan, and numerous other countries. The goal is not temporary relief, but a four pronged approach, integrating immediate nutritional relief, long-term restoration of the food supply through technology and training, health care and rehabilitation of water supplies and sanitation. The low operating costs of the organization demonstrate Program effectiveness - $0.91 of every dollar donated goes directly to field programs.

Targeting bands known for their do-it-yourself attitudes, constant cross country touring and rabid fan bases, Groove Against Hunger was born out of a notion that fans and artists were willing benefit concert participants. “What we hope to do, need to do, is take advantage of this growing groove-based phenomenon in live music and give something back," states program organizer Peter Costello. Jeff Krasno of Velour Presents agrees, “A grassroots, community-minded sensibility exists at the basis of this music, and it naturally follows that musicians and their fans would come together to support such a worthy cause.” Describing the genesis of the program, Peter states “While on the road working with Soulive, I met numerous people involved in all levels of the music industry. I soon realized that without fail, they demonstrated a willingness to get involved. This program has grown out of that willingness.”

Velour Presents boasts a long history of holding events which unite established jazz and groove artists such as John Scofield and Fred Wesley with the best of today’s young, hungry talent, such as Soulive. Adam Rosenberg and Aaron Stein, recently named co-presidents of Velour Presents, plan on taking that role to the next level, seeking to establish Velour Presents as the Superfly Productions of New York. “While we maintain our mission to put on shows by music fanatics for music fanatics, we now have the resources and opportunities to expand the breadth and scope of these events. Our energy and creativity coupled with the resources of Velour improves the product we can present to you in terms of musicians, venues, and audiences.”

The event’s lineup speaks volumes. Already an accomplished musician at the young age of 24, guitarist Eric Krasno possesses a deep arsenal of musical styles. Citing influences as diverse as George Benson and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Krasno successfully unites traditional jazz playing with elements of R&B, soul and hip-hop. A founding member of Soulive, Eric carries the torch of vital guitarists past as the next great soul groove player. Joined by his Soulive foil Neal Evans at this event, the two soloists lay down funky leads that have stunned audiences nationwide. Neal, this generation’s answer to Jimmy Smith, studied with Jacki Byard and has practically reinvented the Hammond B-3 organ. Giving the instrument its first real innovations since the heyday of jazz organ trios in the late 1950’s and ‘60’s, Neal’s left hand is one of the baddest bass players on the scene, while his right hand screams riot-inciting melodic lines. His energy and charisma make him a natural performer – but it is his playing that inspires a generation of young players to dust off those old Blue Note records and spend countless hours on E-Bay trying to track down a vintage Hammond.

Oteil Burbridge, a founding member of noted jam/groove outfit Aquarium Rescue Unit, assumed the role of bassist for the Allman Brothers Band in 1997. A superior player, Burbridge’s tremendous chops made the transition an easy one, and left the Brothers with the solid bottom end that they had come to rely on from such legends as Allan Woody and Barry Oakley. Finally, two up and coming young artists augment the aforementioned trio. Providing the backbone for Boston funksters The Squad, drummer Charles Haynes and alto saxophone player Sam Kinninger are rapidly attracting national attention. Both are monstrous players, capable of raising on stage energy to the boiling point. Haynes began his professional career at the age of 17, bringing his explosive drumming and soulful vocals on the road as a member of legendary Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval’s touring band. Kinninger appears on two Soulive Albums, Turn It Out and their Blue Note debut, Doin’ Something. A part time member of Soulive, Kinninger has also played with Dave Matthews Band on their recent tour. With this lineup, plus the potential for other amazing guests, attendees are sure to walk out of Tribeca Blues more than satisfied.

The show, a benefit for Action Against Hunger, occurs at Tribeca Blues, 16 Warren Street in New York, NY on Monday, June 18, 2001. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., and the band takes the stage at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20, available by emailing events@velourmusic.com with your name, email, phone, and number of tickets desired. Reservations will be held at the door. For more information, call (212) 766-8040, or check out www.velourmusic.com/events.html or www.grooveagainsthunger.org.

[Published on: 6/12/01]

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