After presenting some of the most well-received shows of JazzFest 2002, San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room Presents (the promotions arm of the Boom Boom Room) is about to bring another set of late-night entertainment to the Big Easy during the weekend of April 26th to 28th.

Unlike with other “superjams,” BBRP has not assembled some random cast of musicians for a night of “jamming,” but has carefully and thoughtfully linked the new breed of groove musicians with their forbearers (the pioneers) in the jazz-groove genre.

Many of these upcoming BBRP JazzFest shows were prompted by the overwhelming eagerness of the musicians themselves to be involved. Powered by their desire to experience first-hand the roots of their own musical styles and talents, the “new guard” of funk-jazz players is honored to collaborate with the legendary musicians that inspired them in their own musical careers, and will be joining with the undisputed 1970s-era master originators of the jazz-funk groove genre itself!

The cream of two generations of groove masters is what you can expect to witness this year at BBRP JazzFest events, comin’ together for the first time ever and geared up to play those downright nasty beats and lay down the funkiest of heavy dance-charged booty grooves!

BBRP is committed to being the bridge between the roots of American music and the new movements happening in today’s festivals and clubs, and wherever music is performed. The result is BBRP’s JazzFest 2003 April roster of “sick-in-the-pocket music events” in New Orleans!

Boom Boom Room Presents:
Giant Boom Boom Boogalo

Date: Saturday, April 26th - late night show
Venue: Howlin' Wolf | New Orleans
Times: 2:00am ‘til dawn
Tickets: $20 adv |

Elgin Park (guitar; Greyboy Allstars)
Chris Stillwell (bass; Greyboy Allstars)
Melvin Sparks (guitar; Lou Donaldson)
Bobby Watley (Hammond B3; Funk, Inc.)
Donald Harrison (sax; Headhunters)
Joe Russo (drums; Robert Walter's 20th Congress)
Plus: DJ Zeph and special guests

Elgin Park and Chris Stillwell are certainly well known to each other as members of the Greyboy Allstars, a band that many critics and fans say was ahead of its time. Dedicated to the groove-jazz spirit in Greyboy, these musicians return to share a stage with the master groove smith and acid-jazz originator, guitarist Melvin Sparks.

Melvin is a longtime Blue Note and Prestige session player and Lou Donaldson alumni, perhaps the most inspiring and soul-energizing guitar chops on this planet or any other! He is soul-jazzy and funky to the core. In the same vein, Bobby Watley, father of the influential early ‘70s soul-jazz group Funk, Inc. (which inspired many of today’s soul-jazz super-groups, and most certainly inspired the musicians joining him on this gig) is perhaps the most “under-the-radar” player in this collaboration. He is a master of the Hammond B3 who has only this year re-surfaced onto the live music scene to join this BBRP gig at JazzFest. After disappearing for nearly 20 years, he’s back! This is a huge reason not to miss this show. He is absolutely genius! The grooves that Bobby Watley builds on the Hammond B3 organ are the stuff of legend. Galactic, Greyboy Allstars, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe all credit Bobby Watley’s Funk, Inc. for inspiration and influence. “Kool Is Back” and “Bowlegs” are two tunes of Bobby’s many signature grooves that are covered by these new generation supergroups.

Saxophonist Donald Harrison is one of the most influential modern jazz players of his generation, yet he remains inextricably tied to his New Orleans roots. While still considered an uptown NY player, the roots of his playing remain solidly in the art of improvisation, and this commitment shined through in his late night jams at last year’s festival with the likes of Idris Muhammad and Charlie Hunter. In other words, Donald is all about the whole of music rather than its parts: "You don't EXclude, you INclude, because jazz wouldn't be here if people didn't include.” This show promises this and much more.

Rounding out the lineup and holding down the second line is New Yorker Joe Russo. Although the youngest of the crew, Joe has already become one of the most highly respected musicians in the jamband and New York soul-jazz scene. He is the hot new drummer for Robert Walter's 20th Congress. However, his own Marco Benevento & Joe Russo duo is even more talked about and has become one of the trademarks of NY’s famed jazz-fusion club The Knitting Factory.

Boom Boom Room Presents:
Super King Size Boogie

Date: Sunday, April 27th
Venue: Blue Nile | New Orleans
Times: 9:00pm - 4:00am+
Tickets: $12 adv |

Will Bernard (guitar; TJ Kirk, Motherbug, 20th Congress)
Joe Russo (drums; Robert Walter’s 20th Congress)
Marco Benevento (Hammond B-3)
OM Trio
Plus: DJ Zeph and special guests

This show truly represents a blend of styles as well as a mix of coastal aspirations. Leading this show will be Berkeley guitarist extraordinaire Will Bernard. Well known and highly regarded by Bay Area fusion fans from the period of his collaboration with Charlie Hunter in the now defunct (but still talked about) acid-jazz group T.J. Kirk, Will Bernard is widely recognized from coast to coast as one of the best guitarists and innovators out there. After last summer’s scintillating performances with the likes of Trey Anastasio and Galactic, Will Bernard is the buzz on the circuit. Most recently, Will joined Robert Walter’s 20th Congress in its current configuration, along with drummer Joe Russo. Needless to say, the 20th Congress never sounded better. Last year’s sold-out BBRP smokin’ boogaloo show at the Blue Nile featured Will Bernard along with Idris Muhammad, Charlie Hunter, Donald Harrison and Melvin Sparks. Touted as “the freshest and most downright nasty funk played at fest 2002” (James Bailey, Offbeat), this show gave New Orleans its first taste of Will Bernard. Will followed up that show with his sensational midweek BBRP performance at the Maple Leaf Bar with a New Orleans debut of his own band, Motherbug.

So look out people, ‘cause Will Bernard is returning to New Orleans to light up the Blue Nile’s stage once again at this year’s spectacular BBRP Sunday night event: Super King Size Boogie. Joining him to throw-down the boogie will be the Benevento & Russo Duo appearing for the first time together in the Big Easy. The power duo is no stranger to Will Bernard, for when he’s in New York City Will Bernard utilizes the formidable skills of Russo and Benevento in his East Coast band called Otherbug (the alternate to his West Coast Motherbug). This will be JazzFest-ers best chance to get to see all this talent up close and personal.

By Earhart
Co-billing on this event is the fast rising, high-energy jazz-fusion rock trio, OM Trio. As JamBase describes the band, “(they) approach jazz with an underlying traditional base that develops with overtones of rock, funk and jungle. The showmanship of these three musicians, and their tightness and ability to play off each other, is a sight to see.” With a brand new CD release entitled Global Positioning Record, OM Trio is tearing it up across the country on a tour that leads them directly to the Big Easy, and to this show at the Blue Nile. They are undoubtedly the hottest unit to come out of San Francisco in years and quickly becoming the most talked about touring band on the scene. Says Jazztimes, "Bands like OM Trio are now the front line of jazz for young audiences." -

This event is sure to deliver extremely fiery performances in sets from each band. Additionally, there will be a third set as an outrageous finale featuring all the players from both bands collaborating together on stage with some special guests in what will decidedly be a Super King Size Boogie.

Boom Boom Room Presents:
Southern Frequinox

Date: Monday, April 28th
Venue: Howlin’ Wolf | New Orleans
Times: 9:00pm - 4:30am
Tickets: $20 adv |

Headlining is:
The Frequinox
Robert Walter (B-3; Greyboy Allstars, 20th Congress)
Stanton Moore (drums; Galactic)
Robert Mercurio (bass; Galactic)
Will Bernard (guitar; 20th Congress, TJ Kirk)
Donald Harrison (sax; Headhunters)
With musical guests Circus Acts plus DJ Zeph and special guests

Opening this evening’s event are two stellar acts:

Malachy Papers, a Seattle based trio featuring:
Mike Dillon (vibes and percussion; Critters Buggin, Garage A Trois)
Mark Southerland (sax and samples)
Brad Houser (bass; New Bohemians, Critters Buggin)

Critters Vidacovich, featuring:
Skerik (sax; Critters Buggin)
Johnny Vidacovich (drums; Astral Project)
Mike Dillon (vibes and percussion; Critters Buggin, Garage A Trois)
Brad Houser (bass; New Bohemians, Critters Buggin)

This Monday night extravaganza will be a musical and visual marathon – a fitting bookend to close the long first weekend of JazzFest festivities!

This show will be the culmination of BBR’s many years of experience in the business, an event to mirror the successful Frequinox thrown in SF where the likes of Papa Grows Funk, the brass-erotic Extra-Action Marching Band, and the Triple-Threat DJs enthralled the participants and left many others scratching their head in disbelief! The Big Weird will descend upon the Big Easy!

While all of these musicians are well known in their own right both in New Orleans and on a national level, never before has there been such a grouping of these players on one ticket.

The Malachy Papers have long been rumored on the internet. But in New Orleans on April 28th, the myth will play at the Howlin’ Wolf. They will be closely followed by Critters Vidocovich, a serious gumbo with local flavor Johnny "Drums" Vidacovich, the New Orleans' presiding king of beats, a stellar and funky jazz drummer whose own band, Astral Project, garners the esteem of jazz aficionados and musicians everywhere. He’ll be backed by the Pacific Northwest sound from the core members of Critters Buggin: Mike Dillon on vibes (a member of the jazz-funk super group Garage A Trois and a well known participant in many Galactic gigs); Brad Houser on bass (the founder of the New Bohemians, later renamed Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians); and of course the psychedelic sax-man Skerik (a creature well known to late night enthusiasts).

The main course headliner act for this event will be served up raw just after the midnight hour! The Frequinox will hit the stage around this time for their first of two huge sets of music. The Frequinox is a band! It is a supergroup of musicians being brought together for the first time ever to headline at this Boom Boom Room Presents event. The grouping of the musicians that form The Frequinox band was born of the concept that in combining the “best of the best” from the West Coast and New Orleans finest soul-jazz boogaloo bands, we’d form a super group so damn funky and exceptional that it would be the cause of an out-and-out, general freak-out for the lucky audience that witnesses it!

Demanded by the fans and the musicians themselves, the Frequinox band is Galactic’s famed rhythm section of Robert Mercurio and Stanton Moore, joined by keys wizard Robert Walter and guitar great Will Bernard along, with New Orleans saxiest Donald Harrison for two huge sets of funky-ass music!

And don’t be surprised to witness many special guests that will jump in to groove hard with this super group! After all, this is a Boom Boom Room Presents event in New Orleans and it is affectionately being called: The Southern Frequinox!

[Published on: 4/25/03]

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