Dragon Smoke ft. Robert Mercurio & Stanton Moore (Galactic), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Eric Lindell w/ Green Is Beautiful - a tribute to Blue Note guitarist Grant Green ft. Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds), Alan Evans (Soulive)

Dragon Smoke

Dragon Smoke is a band that formed as part of the New Orleans Jazz Fest tradition known as the “Superjam”. The “Superjam” idea is to put together a band of people who don’t normally play together and see what happens. With the dual vocals of Neville and Lindell, matched with the Galactic rhythm section, the band quickly realized, “We are on to something” and has played every Jazz Fest since it’s inception in 2003. This inception took place at the famed Dragon’s Den, hence the name of the band.

The music centers around Lindell’s blue eyed soul , Neville’s funk and R&B, and Galactic’s groove. Besides a few trips to the West Coast, this band has been strictly playing in New Orleans. With everyone in the band being a leader on their own, it is rare to get this band together. And when it does, it shows that these guys are really having FUN! From the interplay between the members, you would think that Dragon Smoke has been playing shows forever.

Dragon Smoke is looking towards the future, with plans to write and record an album and to do more touring outside of New Orleans and the Bay Area. So be on the lookout for the Smoke—IF YOU SEE SMOKE, YOU KNOW YOU WILL SEE FIRE!

Robert Mercurio

Robert Mercurio, along with Jeff Raines, grew up in the Washington D.C. area. Together, they played in a number of different local bands. When it was time to pick a college to attend, the city the school was in was more important than the school. They wanted to be in New Orleans. "We heard about the Meters and knew about the whole scene," Mercurio says. "We knew we wanted to play music but we also had to go to school." So Robert ended up at Tulane University (Raines at Loyola). But the real classes were conducted in the city's music clubs. On their first night in town, Mercurio and Raines went to Benny's, an after hours club where late night funk and blues went down. The club has now been closed down due to city officials declaring the club a neighborhood nuisance. "We fell in love with that scene." It was places like Benny's and Tipitina's that kept Mercurio in New Orleans during his tenure at Tulane, and is what keeps him there to this day!
"I remember when I was a freshman in college going to shows at Tipitina's that were totally packed and thinking to myself 'Maybe someday I'll play here.' Looking up at that Professor Longhair banner...imagining what it would look like from the stage, instead of from the audience. We never intended for [Galactic] to be this successful. I never thought I'd really be making a living off of music. But I can't say I'm not happy about it."

Stanton Moore

Born and raised in New Orleans, Stanton Moore is a dedicated drummer and performer especially connected to the city, its culture and collaborative spirit. Driven and inspired by the thriving music scene of his hometown which includes such greats as Professor Longhair, Doctor John and The Meters, Moore’s name is now mentioned amongst these Big Easy mainstays.

In the early ‘90s, Moore helped found the New Orleans-based essential funk band Galactic. Their first album, 1996’s widely acclaimed Coolin’ Off, led to an intense tour schedule of nearly 200 gigs a year for the next ten years. Building on their fan base by adding an esteemed list of all-star collaborations to the six albums that followed, Galactic continues to amass a worldwide audience via recording and touring globally.

Moore launched his solo career in 1998 aided by eight-string guitar virtuoso Charlie Hunter and saxophonist Skerik (Les Claypool, John Scofield, Roger Waters). The group recorded All Kooked Out! featuring a handful of local New Orleans musicians as well.

In the midst of these recording sessions yet another concept was taking shape. Outtakes turned into the first Garage a Trois release, Mysteryfunk(1999). In 2000 the trio, led by Moore behind the drum kit, was joined by percussionist Mike Dillon (Les Claypool, Ani DiFranco) and has since released three more albums – Emphasizer in 2003, Outre Mer in 2005 and Power Patriot in 2009.

Moore extended his solo discography with the release of Flyin’ the Koop (Verve/Blue Thumb) in 2001, and III (Telarc) in 2006. Following the latter Modern Drummer called Moore’s trademark sound “infectious, jazz-meets-Bonham, nouveau second-line.” Recorded at the legendary Preservation Hall in New Orleans, III featured organist Robert Walter (Greyboy Allstars, The Head Hunters) and guitarist Will Bernard (T.J. Kirk, Doctor Lonnie Smith) as the Stanton Moore Trio, with special guests Skerik and trombonist Mark Mullins (Galactic, Bonerama, Harry Connick, Jr., Better Than Ezra).

In 2008, Moore looked to continue his scaled back session crew with Walter and Bernard to record Emphasis! (on parenthesis). Says Moore, “When it came time to do another record, I had already known for a while that I wanted to build on the momentum of this band – three musicians who were becoming a unit unto themselves – and I wanted to get a little more adventurous with the music itself.”

In April 2010, Moore releases Groove Alchemy. The 12-track set is the culmination of Moore’s multimedia project that also includes an instructional book and DVD of the same name. All three facets of the project are designed to explore the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, and Zigaboo Modeliste – each of whom made their mark at different times throughout the 1960s as the engines driving James Brown’s and the Meters’ legendary rhythm sections – and in turn tracing their influences back to the rhythms coming out of New Orleans in the earlier part of the 20th century. Recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, NY, this project is the follow up to the widely acclaimed Take it to the Street DVD and book that focused specifically on New Orleans drumming styles.

Showing his outstanding versatility, Moore has appeared on Heavy Metal Grammy nominees Corrosion of Conformity’s In the Arms of God, Irma Thomas’ After the Rain (winning a grammy in the process), Robert Walter’s Super Heavy Organ, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Boots Riley’s (the Coup) Street Sweeper Social Club, Will Bernard's Blue Plate Special, Diane Birch’s Bible Belt, Alec Ounsworth’s (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) Mo Beauty and Joss Stone's Colour Me Free!. He continues to play dates globally with an ever-evolving cast of musicians including John Scofield; Karl Denson; George Porter, Jr., and Leo Nocentelli (of the Meters); Charlie Hunter; Warren Haynes; John Medeski and Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin and Wood); Donald Harrison Jr.; Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Robert Walter; the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to name a few.

With a bachelor’s degree in music and business from Loyola University, Moore stays involved in education by constantly giving clinics and teaching master classes and private lessons all over the world. He has been a contributing writer for Drum!, Modern Drummer, and DownBeat magazines. To date Moore has been featured on the covers of twelve drum publications worldwide. In 2005, he launched a signature line of cymbals with Bosphorus Cymbals and a signature drumstick with the Vic Firth stick company. In 2009, Moore developed his own drum company to introduce his signature titanium snare drum that he designed in conjunction with Ronn Dunnett. In 2010, Moore collaborated with Gretsch Drums to design and launch his new 4.5"x14" signature wood snare drum. In 2011, Moore and LP introduced the new signature pandeiro which was created to be used as an accessory piece for the drumset.

Deeply affected by Katrina and its aftermath, New Orleans’ native son was quick to lend a hand by spearheaded the Tipitina’s Music Workshop, free Sunday seminars that cater to children and a rotating cast of well-known professionals to promote the preservation of New Orleans music. He also set up the Staletta Fund, a scholarship started by he and his wife Aletta to help cover costs for aspiring students to attend jazz camps, auditions and further their education.

Moore stays active as a spokesperson for the Gulf Restoration Network and is a regular proponent of and player with the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. Additionally he serves on the board of directors for the Roots of Music, a free music education and academic mentoring program founded by Derrick Tabb, drummer for Rebirth Brass Band and recent nominee for CNN’s Heroes awards.

Ivan Neville

Ivan Neville began absorbing the musical attitude of his father Aaron Neville and uncles Art, Charles and Cyril from birth. Ivan's music honors and extends the Neville Family musical heritage, adding a distinctive new "level of Nevilles" that radiates from his roots and experiences. Ivan first joined the Neville Brothers in his mid-teens, then moved on to become a pivotal member of Keith Richards & The X-pensive Winos, Bonnie Raitt's Band, and The Spin Doctors. His extensive credits include recording and/or performing with The Rolling Stones, Robbie Robertson, Willie Nelson, Angie Stone, Jack Cassady, Gov't Mule, John Mayer, and numerous musical luminaries. Ivan is currently performing with The Neville Brothers in a global tour in support of the album he Co-Produced entitled Walking In The Shadow of Life. Ivan has recently jammed with the likes of The Black Crowes, Widespread Panic, Soulive, Galactic, North Mississippi AllStars, Gov't Mule, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Bob Weir's Ratdog, Funky Meters, The Allman Brothers, Trey Anastasio and Dave Matthews.

Eric Lindell

When Lindell was signed to Alligator for whom he made three records, some fell into the trap of conveniently dubbing him a bluesman. That’s only one of the styles this genre defying artist is adept at however, as throughout his twenty year recording career he’s touched on soul, country, doo-wop and authentic roots music too. This, his eighth album, continues that legacy. The respect that fellow players have for him is reflected in the guests he brings aboard for his albums. This one features the clean smooth electric guitar of his long-time cohort Anson Funderburgh (ten tracks) and the acoustic resonator guitar of newer friend Luther Dickinson (four tracks). Musicians just love playing with him as evidenced by the credits that list twenty musicians on this album, including Lindell, who is a quadruple threat as a songwriter, guitarist, singer and harp player.
The album photo of the blissfully content Eric and his wife Sarah is perfectly reflective of the loose, upbeat music that, like Van Morrison’s, seems easy to play but proves to be deceptively challenging to create. Lindell’s many short crisp tunes in the two-four minute range put the onus on the musicians to state their messages emphatically and quickly. Funderburgh, Dickinson, and several keyboardists do just that. You will hear Funderburgh stretch out on the five minute “She Thinks I Still Care” (a radical, swinging take on the George Jones tune). Funderburgh, Dickinson, and pianist Donny Sondal have some tight interplay in the funky “Indian Summer.” The funky, horn punctuated “Take Me Back” is the quintessential three minute radio tune. A full complement of horns and background vocalists drive a relatively obscure Merle Haggard cover, “Here in Frisco.” Similarly the live closer, “Bayou Country” with its resounding chorus, boasts a large ensemble while spotlighting Lindell’s own scintillating electric guitar.
Although he originally hails from California, Lindell’s soulful vocals are right there with other rootsy singers from Louisiana like Marc Broussard and Anders Osborne. The one blue-eyed soul singer that comes to mind most when listening to Lindell is Delbert McClinton. This disc is a welcome addition to his catalog. It’s been five years since West County Drifter, and, like most strong albums, has me reaching back for some of Eric’s previous releases.
When not on tour with his own band he plays with Dragon Smoke, the New Orleans supergroup he co-founded that includes Ivan Neville and Galactic’s Robert Mercurio and Stanton Moore. Lindell’s sets at the upcoming New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival have earned him legendary status. With this new material, he’ll surely be thrilling those audiences again. If you can’t get there, keep this disc handy and continue to check www.ericlindell.com for summer tour dates.

Eddie Roberts

Eddie started his music career proper in 1989 aged 18, having left his Welsh homeland to study Jazz at Leeds College of Music. More interested in live performing and getting his own thing going than in college work, he quickly rooted out the best players in town and set up his first band, The Jazz Mailmen, dedicated to playing the golden era of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. After transcribing all the parts and enforcing a dress code of Bop suits, he set about taking the UK Jazz Dance scene by storm. During this time British Hard Bop legend Tommy Chase asked him to relocate and join his band, but Eddie had other ideas...

Around 1991 Eddie's love for Grant Green inspired him to put a Hammond-based line up together. With the sound of Big John Patton, Lou Donaldson and Ivan Boogaloo, his band The Eddie Roberts Organisation toured UK and managed to get its first European dates at the 'Queen's Birthday Celebrations' in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The next step in 1993 was to downsize to a Hammond trio - this happened after meeting two guys who nailed it down more than the seven-piece that the Organisation had become. The Three Deuces were born. After a live album was released, (recorded at Leeds' legendary Jazz dance club The Yardbird Suite) great reviews ensured extensive touring opportunities: headlining Italy's Jazz festival in Bari with Greg Osby as well as many UK festivals, and the start of a regular slot at the Jazz Cafe, London. ?Down at Art?s? was playlisted on Jazz FM for most of 1996 - Art?s Caf� in central Leeds being the place where it all started and ran weekly for 3 years.

Other projects in tandem with the Deuces included Gaucho - inspired by Joe Henderson, Chico Hamilton, Gabo Szabo, Sam Rivers &c., comprising percussion, double bass, guitar, tenor sax & flute - and The Mastersounds with Simon Allen, Dan Brown and percussionist Sam Bell. In 1999 Eddie's focus shifted towards Deep Funk, and hence The New Mastersounds who started out performing a mix of Eddie?s quirky Meters-inspired funk ditties and covers of Jimmy McGriff and Grant Green tunes in clubs and bars around Leeds and Manchester. Soon after, the first 7" was released on Blow it Hard Records (?One Note Brown? is now a rare collectors' 45) they gigged at Jazz Cafe alongside Funk DJ & collector Keb Darge. This meeting proved to be a fruitful one - 3 singles and 1 album on Keb?s label Deep Funk Records earned them the dubious title 'Best Funk Band in the World at this Moment'. 2001/2002 saw some heavy international touring for the extended 8-piece band which featured Cleve Freckleton and The Haggis Horns. Late 2002, whilst various options for a second NMS album were being considered, Eddie's own Cooker Records teased fans with a couple of new 7" singles, as well as re-releasing the highly sought-after debut album.

Eddie's love for 60's Blue Note & Hard Bop, however, didn't waver despite the media hype of the Deep Funk scene, and after a conversation with Adrian Gibson (Booker & DJ at Jazz Cafe/Messin? Around) Eddie was commissioned to produce a Hard Bop track for the Jazz dancers to go on a 'Messin Around' compilation. Eddie had ulterior motives at this recording session - to record a number of 'old-school' tracks with re-arranging & remixing in mind. This project is called Roughneck (a term often used to describe Eddie?s dynamic guitar style) and over the course of 2003 the multi-tracks were fed into Eddie?s creaking mainframe. ?Diggin' Around?, the first 12", was released in February 2003 and a wave of positive responses hit Cooker's shores. ("Pure & genuine, double bass monster. Strong heavy Jazz elements. Very, very good!" said one Espen Horne).

In Spring 2003 Eddie was approached by UK DJ & producer Mr Scruff to play on his remix of the Ramsey Lewis classic ?Do What You Want? for the Verve Remixed series. Then in April the original New Mastersounds quartet (bass, drums, guitar, Hammond) took matters into their own hands and set up a dedicated label for the band, One Note Records, with drummer Simon Allen at the helm. The second NMS album, ?Be Yourself? was written, recorded and mixed over summer 2003 and released in the UK that October. A much broader project than the first album (which had been, to a degree, constrained by the demands of Keb Darge's Deep Funk dancefloor crowd) ?Be Yourself? reflects more truly the scope of Eddie's musical influences and experience, hence the title.

The proceeds from ?Be Yourself? were used to finance stage two of Eddie?s Roughneck project - the double vinyl LP and CD of Roughneck was released summer 2004 on One Note Records and licensed to P-Vine Records in Japan six months later. After that there were select live shows Jazz Festivals and clubs, one of which yielded the live album ?Roughneck: Live in Paris? (P-Vine 2005). The band - which features Gordon Kilroy on drums, Neil Innes on bass, Bill Laurance on piano, and guest performances from ex-NMS horn players Rob Lavers (sax) and Malcolm Strachan (trumpet) - was the obvious choice for Eddie?s 2006 recording project "Trenta". This album, released early 2007 on Salvo?s Records features Eddie?s instrumental arrangements of traditional Neopolitan songs. Eddie decided it was time to give the Americans a taste of Roughneck so he flew them over to perform at High Sierra Music Festival last summer, where fans lapped up the soulful jazzy sounds.

Also in 2007 Eddie paid his first visit to New Orleans, with The New Mastersounds. The band played three shows over the first weekend of Jazzfest, but while the others went home, Eddie stayed on for an extra week and found himself guesting with a host of jazz and funk artists at late-night shows around the city including Galactic, Papa Mali, Johnny Vidocavitch, Idris Muhammed, The Greyboy Allstars. Later that summer Eddie joined Stanton Moore?s trio for a festival gig, alongside keyboard wizard Robert Walter.

At time of writing Eddie has recently completed ?Plug & Play? the The New Mastersounds? fifth studio album, and has just been hired to produce an album for French funk/afrobeat outfit Shaolin Temple Defenders.

Never one to sit back and put his feet up, Eddie tells us that the follow-up to Roughneck ? provisionally entitled ?Volume 2? ? can be expected later this year, and will feature collaborations with vocalists Leigh Kenny and Rhianna Kenny, vocalists with stadium techno act Faithless.

Is that all?

Alan Evans

Drummer. Producer. Engineer. At his core, Alan Evans is an artist, doubling his talents as musician with his ear for quality and precision as a producer, recording, and mixing engineer. Sporting an impressive body of work, (with credits in front of and behind the mic) a slice of Alan's discography includes: Soulive, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Moonboot Lover, Lettuce, On The Spot Trio, Mark Sexton Band, and Alan Evans Trio.

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 two decades of dedication.

Alan has had his hand on the mixing boards for many years. Co-founder, writer and drummer of Soulive for over 15 years, Alan Evans produced, recorded, and mixed the majority of their work. Alan toured the world with Soulive, and has shared the stage with legends including Stevie Wonder,Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, John Scofield, and the list goes on!

Initially working from Playonbrother Studios in Hatfield, MA, Alan eventually transitioned to his own custom recording studio—one which he designed and built from scratch in his South Deerfield, Massachusetts home. Alan is the chief engineer and producer at the studio and consistently operates on a wide array of projects. The studio has become production headquarters for all Royal Family Records projects – a longstanding record label venture between Alan and Soulive. Alan also works out of one of his favorite studios, oApplehead Recordings in Woodstock, NY, for extensive engineering and production projects. For more information, visit http://appleheadrecording.com/

Alan grew up in Buffalo, NY in the 1980's. There were strong musical influences in Alan's life from the very beginning. To say that the Evans family is musical is to say that the Kennedy family has a proclivity for politics. The record player spun in the Evans household the way the TV blared in many other homes. Alan's father, Willie, and his older brother, Rod, played DJ and the assembly of vinyl they accrued was broad and vast. Miles Davis, Jimmy Smith, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Kool & the Gang, Jimmy Hendrix, the Headhunters – these were just some of the sounds emanating out of the Evans living room.

"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.

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