Galactic, Toots & the Maytals

Galactic

Toots & the Maytals

Nigel Hall Band

Sat, April 13, 2013

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Terminal 5

New York, NY

$30 advance / $40 day of show

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Galactic
Galactic
It's incredible that GALACTIC has never made a carnival album yet, but now it’s here.
To make CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS, the members of GALACTIC (Ben Ellman, harps and horns; Robert Mercurio, bass; Stanton Moore, drums and percussion; Jeff Raines, guitar; Rich Vogel, keyboards) draw on the skills, stamina, and funk they deploy in the all-night party of their annual Lundi Gras show that goes till sunrise and leads sleeplessly into Mardi Gras day.

GALACTIC was formed eighteen years ago in New Orleans, and they cut their teeth playing the biggest party in America: Mardi Gras, when the town shuts down entirely to celebrate. CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS is beyond a party record. It’s a carnival record that evokes the electric atmosphere of a whole city – make that, whole cities – vibrating together all on the same day, from New Orleans all down the hemisphere to the mighty megacarnivals of Brazil. Armed with a slew of carnival-ready guests from high-school students to 72-year-old AL “CARNIVAL TIME” JOHNSON (who remakes his all-time hit), GALACTIC whisks the listener around the neighborhoods to feel the Mardi Gras moment in all its variety of flavors.



CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS begins on a spiritual note, the way Mardi Gras does in the black community of New Orleans. On that morning, the most exciting experience you can have is to be present when the small groups of black men called Mardi Gras Indians perform their sacred street theater. Nobody embodies the spiritual side of Mardi Gras better than the Indians, whose tambourines and chants provide the fundament of New Orleans carnival music. These “gangs,” as they call them, organize around and protect the figure of their chief. The album’s keynote singer, WAR CHIEF JUAN PARDO, is, says Robert Mercurio, “one of the younger Chiefs out there, and he’s become one of the best voices of the new Chiefs. Pardo grew up listening to the singing of the older generation of Big Chiefs, points out Ben Ellman, and “he’s got a little Monk [Boudreaux], a little Bo Dollis, he’s neither uptown nor downtown.”

On “Karate,” says Ellman, the band was aiming to “capture the power” of one of the fundamental musical experiences of Mardi Gras: “a marching band passing by you.” The 40-piece KIPP RENAISSANCE HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BAND’s director arranged up GALACTIC’s demo, then the band rehearsed it until they had it all memorized. The kids poured their hearts into a solid performance, and, says Mercurio, “I think they were surprised” to hear how good they sounded on the playback.

Musical energy is everywhere at carnival time. “You hear the marching bands go by,” says Mercurio, moving us through a Mardi Gras day, “and then you hear a lot of hiphop.” There hasn’t been a Mardi Gras for twenty years that hasn’t had a banging track by beatmaker / rapper MANNIE FRESH sounding wherever you go. “You can’t talk about New Orleans hiphop without talking about MANNIE FRESH,” says Ellman. His beats have powered literally tens of millions of records, and he and GALACTIC have been talking for years about doing something together. On “Move Fast,” he’s together with multiplatinum gravel-voiced rapper MYSTIKAL, who is, says Ellman, “somebody we’ve wanted to collaborate with forever. It was a coup for us.”

Out in the streets of New Orleans, you might well hear a funky kind of samba, reaching southward toward the other end of the hemispheric carnival zone. There has for the last twenty-five years been a smoking Brazilian drum troupe in town: CASA SAMBA, formed at Mardi Gras in 1986. They’re old friends of GALACTIC’s from their early days at Frenchmen Street’s Café Brasil, and the two groups joined forces for a new version of Carlinhos Brown’s “Magalenha,” previously a hit for Sérgio Mendes.

But the Brazilian influence on CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS goes beyond one song. “When we started this album, we all immersed ourselves in Brazilian music and let it get into our souls,” says Mercurio. The group contributed three Brazilian-flavored instrumentals, including “JuLou,” which riffs on an old Brazilian tune, though the name refers to the brass-funk Krewe of Julu, the “walking krewe” that Galactic members participate in on Mardi Gras morning. After creating the hard-driving track that became “O Côco da Galinha,” they decided it would be right for MOYSÉS MÁRQUEZ, from the São Paulo underground samba scene, who collaborated with them and composed the lyric.

If you were GALACTIC and you were making a carnival album, wouldn’t you want to play “Carnival Time,” the irrepressibly happy 1960 perennial from the legendary Cosimo Matassa studio? Nobody in New Orleans doesn’t know this song. The remake features a new performance in the unmistakable voice of the original singer, AL “CARNIVAL TIME” JOHNSON, who’s still active around town more than fifty years after he first gained Mardi Gras immortality.

The closing instrumental, “Ash Wednesday Sunrise,” evokes the edginess of the post-party feeling. The group writes, “There is the tension you feel on that morning -- one of being worn out from all of the festivities and one of elation that you made it through another year.”

But, as New Orleanians know, there’s always another carnival to look forward to, and GALACTIC will be there, playing till dawn and then going to breakfast before parading.

***
GALACTIC is a collaborative band with a unique format. It’s a stable quintet that plays together with high musicianship. They’ve been together so long they’re telepathic. But though the band hasn’t had a lead singer for years, neither is it purely an instrumental group. GALACTIC is part of a diverse community of musicians, and in their own studio, with Mercurio and Ellman producing, they have the luxury of experimenting. So on their albums, they do something that’s unusual in rock but not so controversial an idea in, say, hiphop: they create something that’s a little like a revue, a virtual show featuring different vocalists (mostly from New Orleans) and instrumental soloists each taking their turn on stage in the GALACTIC sound universe.

Mostly the band creates new material in collaboration with its many guests, though they occasionally rework a classic. Despite the appearance of various platinum names on GALACTIC albums, they especially like to work with artists who are still underground. If you listen to CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS together with the two previous studio albums (YA-KA-MAY and FROM THE CORNER TO THE BLOCK), you’ll hear the most complete cross-section of what’s happening in contemporary New Orleans anywhere – all of it tight and radio-ready.

Despite the electronics and studio technology, GALACTIC’s albums are very much band records. Mercurio explained the GALACTIC process, which starts out with the beat: “The way we write music,” he says, “we come up with a demo, or a basic track, and then we collectively decide how we’re gonna finish it.” The result is a hard-grooving sequence of tight beats across a range of styles that glides from one surprise to the next.

What pulls all the diverse artists on CARNIVALE ELECTRICOS together into a coherent album is that one way or another, it’s all funk. GALACTIC is, always was, and always will be a funk band. Whatever genre of music anyone in New Orleans is doing, from Mardi Gras Indians to rock bands to hardcore rappers, it’s all funk at the bottom, because funk is the common musical language, the lingua franca of New Orleans music. Even zydeco can be funky -- and if you don’t believe it, check out “Voyage Ton Flag,” the album’s evocation of Cajun Mardi Gras, in which Mamou Playboy STEVE RILEY meets up with a sampled Clifton Chenier inside the GALACTIC funk machine.
Toots & the Maytals
Toots & the Maytals
Toots Hibbert is one of the great voices of Jamaica; a legend whose career spans every development in Jamaican music, from ska through rock-steady to reggae. Toots and the Maytals have helped to chart the course of Jamaican music with unrivaled delivery and dynamism, setting new standards of excellence, and becoming the most enduring of all Jamaica's groups.

Born in Maypen in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica - the youngest of seven children - Toots began singing in the church choir at the age of seven. He left home in his teens to go to Kingston where he met Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Matthias and formed the original Maytals in 1962. They were also sometimes recorded as the Vikings.

The Maytals began their career at Studio One, the headquarters of Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd, in Kingston, Jamaica. The group's debut release, HALLELUJAH, was an immediate hit throughout the island, and featured a mix of Jamaican rhythms and gospel vocal influence that would mark much of the Maytals music. Further successes followed, including I'LL NEVER GROW OLD and JUST GOT TO BE ME, each one building a reputation for the Maytals and their energetic straight-from-church style of singing and their "spiritual" ska beat.

Despite the initial successes, the group soon left Coxsone and linked up with another legendary figure in the Jamaican music business, Prince Buster, the number one sound system operator on the island. The Buster-produced Maytals singles were popular successes in Jamaica and England, where this new type of "ska" music became a sensation in dancehalls. The relationship between Buster and The Maytals produced some of the best records from the original ska era, including DOG WAR, aka BROADWAY JUNGLE.

In 1966, the Maytals began to work with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires and won the first Jamaican Festival Song Competition with the song BAM BAM. The Maytals were poised for stardom, but just as their fortune seemed set, Toots was arrested for possession of marijuana and was incarcerated for 18 months, despite his plea of innocence.

The Maytals returned with a vengeance in 1968, recording with famed producer Leslie Kong. The era of ska was ending, giving way to the more complex sounds of Reggae evolving from Kong's Beverleys Label. Although these years of post-independence marked a more violent era of Jamaica's history, Toots and the Maytals were far closer to soul and gospel influences than many of the "revolutionary" young artistes of the late 60's. Nevertheless, the Maytals first single in two years, 54-46 (THAT'S MY NUMBER), combined the story of Toots' arrest with a powerful downbeat to create one of the greatest rock steady/reggae singles of all time.

As rock steady became reggae (and the Maytals single DO THE REGGAY was the first published use of the word), the Maytals consolidated their position as leaders in Jamaican music. They recorded the hit MONKEY MAN and the classic SWEET AND DANDY which won the 1969 Festival Song Competition and was featured, along with their dance-floor smash, PRESSURE DROP, on the soundtrack to THE HARDER THEY COME, one of the great reggae albums of all time.

The Beverley's label folded, however, with the passing of Leslie Kong in 1971. The Maytals turned again to Byron Lee and his Dynamic Sounds, and again won the Festival Song prize in 1972 for POMP AND PRIDE. They released their first album for Dynamic, FUNKY KINGSTON in 1973-- a masterful album in every respect and one that helped bolster the group's international audience- now considered a classic staple for any reggae collection. In 1975 Toots and the Maytals signed a worldwide recording contract with Island Records. The following year the group hit the British singles charts with REGGAE GOT SOUL, the title track to their new album. They also toured America, Europe and Britain. The REGGAE GOT SOUL album was a superb showcase for Toots' soulful vocals embellished by fine musicianship from a cosmopolitan studio band that included such talents as Steve Winwood, Eddie Quansah, Dudu Pukwana, Rico Rodriguez and Tommy McCook.

Constant touring showed audiences what Jamaicans had known for over a decade - that Toots and the Maytals were simply one of the greatest live acts in the world. Their popularity increased throughout the 70's with such popular releases as PASS THE PIPE (1978), IN THE DARK (1979), JUST LIKE THAT (1980), KNOCK OUT (1982). IN THE DARK, which included the songs TIME TOUGH and TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS was internationally acclaimed, and BEAUTIFUL WOMAN from the KNOCKOUT album was an international hit. The world's audiences were able to hear Toots and the Maytals fuse reggae, soul, gospel and even country, into a dynamic original combination.

On September 29, 1980, Toots and The Maytals made history when the band played at London's Hammersmith Palais. Less than 24 hours later, a live album from that show was on sale in record stores throughout Britain. It was the fastest live album in recording history and, according to some critics, TOOTS LIVE ranks alongside Bob Marley Live At The Lyceum, James Brown At The Apollo and Otis Redding in Europe as one of the finest live records ever made. After disbanding the Maytals in the early 80's, Toots began recording with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The combination produced SPIRITUAL HEALING -- a chart success around the world, even reaching number one in South Africa and another hit, PEACE PERFECT PEACE. The popular and critically acclaimed TOOTS IN MEMPHIS (1988) followed, featuring Toots covering Stax classics in his own inimitable way.

Toots reformed the Maytals and picked up the touring pace again in the early 90's. The group released RECOUP (1997), and the Grammy-nominated SKAFATHER (1998) - featuring new re- cuts of older material with a few new tracks included. Toots and the Maytals have been nominated three times for Grammy Awards – the other nominations were for TOOTS IN MEMPHIS and TOOTS LIVE. The Maytals also hold the record for the largest number of number one hits in Jamaica, with 31 to their credit. They are the only Jamaican group that has both sides of one of their records become number one on both Hit Parades (DADDY and IT'S YOU).

The 2002 release, WORLD IS TURNING, on Toots' own D & F label, was the first album of all new material to be released in two decades. The album contains songs that were works in progress over a long period between 1973 and 2002, and features refreshing originals with a wide variety of styles and influences, including rocksteady, reggae roots, funky r&b, rave disco, and gospel. The 15-song album includes only one re-cut, a hot new version of the roots-reggae FEEL FREE, with a brilliant cameo from the Messenger, Luciano.

The latest album, TRUE LOVE, finds Toots and the Maytals revisiting some of the band's most classic works with a host of musical friends onboard - Keith Richards, Shaggy and Rahzel, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Beck, Ben Harper, No Doubt, Marcia Griffiths, Ken Boothe, Ryan Adams, Bootsy Collins and the Roots, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Terry Hall and the Skatalites and Trey Anastasio – for delightful fresh-ear journey through Toots' musical history. Add in the surprise tracks- Willie Nelson and Toots groovin' on Willie's STILL IS STILL MOVIN TO ME, Rachel Yamagata pleading on the newer BLAME ON ME and Bunny Wailer's vocal comradery on the never-before released TAKE A TRIP for an unparalleled reggae joy ride.

Indeed Toots and the Maytals artistry spans every phase of Jamaican music's evolution, earning him the reputation as one of Jamaica's most consistent and inspired performers, and one of the greatest reggae/r&b singers of all time. Generations of fans – old and new- are discovering that Toots and the Maytals were - and are - masters of reggae and the live performance. The combination of great reggae rhythms, heartfelt vocals, and soulful gospel influence remains potent and powerful --probably the most cohesive mix of reggae and soul music ever, and still going strong.
Nigel Hall Band
Nigel Hall Band
Nigel Hall is an honest, humble guardian of soul music. When asked about himself, Nigel reflects, "I'm just someone who lives, eats, drinks music." This ethic becomes clear when Nigel takes the stage. A mainstay on the Portland, ME scene, Nigel has recently toured with the funk powerhouse Lettuce. His energetic vocals add yet another layer of sonic depth and energy to the all star cast. Nigel is also an established keyboardist, currently working in the studio with Chapter 2, featuring Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch, and Louis Kato.

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Venue Information:
Terminal 5
610 W 56th St
New York, NY, 10019
http://www.terminal5nyc.com/