The Greyboy Allstars

The Greyboy Allstars

When The Greyboy Allstars first formed two decades ago they were nothing short of groundbreaking. They have influenced an entire generation of bands playing improvisational music in a funk format. Meanwhile, they have outlasted most of their contemporaries, because they have continued to enjoy working together and have honed the essence of their collaboration – also refining their chops while busy with their highly successful individual musical endeavors – without ever chasing trends. Throughout, they
have continued to operate completely independently, slightly under the radar, with no major label support or radio airplay, while attracting thousands to legendary shows in cities across the country.

On Inland Emperor, The Greyboy Allstars’ fourth studio album to date, one hears the benefits that accrue when a group of exceptional players with a wide variety of tastes and musical experiences continue to collaborate for 20 years. The cornerstones of The Greyboy Allstars sound remain the same: funk, soul and jazz; or, looked at another way, rhythm and spontaneity. Without attempting to recreate them, the band has drawn upon elements of many genres: old soundtracks, psychedelic garage rock, ‘80s dance music, ‘70s FM soft rock and Tropicalia, to name a few. As a result, Inland Emperor has the vibe of a mixtape whose tracks are united by an emphasis upon rhythm.

The Greyboy Allstars came together in 1994, when the individual members were asked to perform at a record release party for the landmark acid jazz and club staple “Freestylin,”
by San Diego’s DJ Greyboy, who was famous for spinning `70s soul and funk. The guys so enjoyed playing together that they decided to continue on as a band. Right out of the box, The Greyboy Allstars starting playing weekly at San Diego’s now defunct Green Circle, weekends at San Francisco’s Elbo Room and various clubs throughout Europe. By playing danceable boogaloo music within the soul jazz genre, they became a national and international phenomenon. The lineup of the band remains nearly the same as it did on their breakthrough, West Coast Boogaloo: Denson on horns and vocals, Robert Walter on keyboards, Elgin Park (aka Michael Andrews) on guitars and vocals, and Chris Stillwell on bass. Original drummer Zak Najor has passed the baton on to Aaron Redfield, an old friend of the band and frequent collaborator. While DJ is no longer a member of the band, he remains a central figure in their artistic output, having introduced the band to many of the records that inspire their sound, produced their first album and appeared on 2007’s What Happened to Television?

At this point, the band’s members are as well known for their non-Allstars projects as for their work with the band. The individual members have gone to score film and television shows, work with platinum artists and bands both on the road and in the studio, and head their own highly regarded solo projects.

Even for these now well-seasoned musicians, the catalytic force that takes hold when they collaborate with each other seems to pleasantly surprise them. For Inland Emperor,
they worked out the arrangements during the recording, which took place live over just a few sessions at Elgin Park’s studio in Glendale, CA. Denson says of this accelerated pace of creation, “We do in one week would take me two months to do in any other situation.” Amazingly, the 12 tracks comprising the album, mostly written by groupings of the band’s members, are seamless performances, and sound as if they’d been rehearsed
and road-tested for months.

Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Mickey Petralia (Beck, Peaches, Eels, Flight of the Conchords) mixed the tracks, expertly capturing the energy and collaborative joy inherent in the recording.

Inland Emperor follows the critically acclaimed What Happened to Television?, which prompted The Los Angeles Times to write, “The [music of] this talented collective feels so cozy and organic you never want to leave its inviting groove.”

This spring and summer, audiences across the country will have opportunities to experience The Greyboy Allstars’ music in its ideal format: live. Given the likelihood that the chance won’t come again soon, these are shows not to miss.

Alan Evans Trio

Co-founder, writer and drummer of Soulive for over 15 years, Alan Evans proudly presents his newest creation the Alan Evans Trio; an inspiring and fresh organ trio lineup. Enlisting the support of good friends and talented players Danny Mayer on guitar (On the Spot Trio), and Beau Sasser (Melvin Sparks, Akashic Record) the trio's sound proves hard driving and groovin' with dark funky rhythms and blues lick solos. Alan Evans Trio opens a window into another side - an emotional introspection, as dark as it is powerful. Their passionate progressions emanate an electrified, smoky, 70s-era CTI Records zeitgeist.

Together as the Alan Evans Trio, Alan, Danny and Beau share an energetic on-stage chemistry, a love for album recording, and taking their music out on the road. Armed with an abundance of newly inspired songs, Alan is taking the band on tour across the US, Japan and Europe in support of their debut album Drop Hop, released in April 2012, and now available on vinyl or digitally via iTunes and Amazon.

Mention the name Alan Evans to a room full of music lovers, and you will get a consensus nod at one of the most celebrated and tenacious drummers in the jazz, funk, and soul scene. A producer, recording engineer, guitarist, percussionist, vocalist and writer, Alan's repertoire of skills have been perfected with more than a decade of dedication.

"I've known for a long time what my purpose is this time around. All I want to do is try to make people happy with what makes me and my family happy... Music," says Alan about his new trio project.

For Alan, the idea of Alan Evans Trio hatched soon after he transitioned from Playonbrother Studios in Hatfield, MA to his own home recording studio. Alan then enlisted the ingenious talent of both Danny Mayer and Beau Sasser for the project.

Alan had met Danny Mayer first as a Soulive fan, but then connected on a musical level when his band, On the Spot Trio (OTS), came out to Playonbrother Studios to record their first album, with Alan at the helm as producer. Alan had played gigs with Beau Sasser for some time, and had a great deal of respect for Beau's masterful proficiency on the organ, and knowledge of the history behind the instrument.

Alan muses of Alan Evans Trio's beginnings, "This is when it all started to come together for me. Danny was straight killin' it, playing guitar exactly the way I would. I knew that Danny and Beau together would be scary." Danny and Beau both consented to a recording session with one another. Alan set up the mastering date, began thinking about a release date, tour, and even began designing the website and logo.

Passionate and inspired, Alan cranked out Drop Hop in a couple of days. He recorded bass, drums, guitar and then emailed Beau and Danny the tune of the day to learn for the session. "It was all coming together so well, I could hear the entire album in my head. I can honestly say, this is the first album I've ever recorded that came out exactly the way I dreamed it."

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