Heritage Blues Orchestra - And Still I Rise

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The Heritage Blues Orchestra ontleent de naam aan de invloeden van de muzikale geschiedenis van het zuiden van Amerika. Met work songs, spirituals, bezwerende gospel stemmen en de ritmes van de delta blues en Mississippi hill country. Gedreven door drie stemmen, twee gitaren en een vijfkoppige blazerssectie: tuba, trompet, trombone, saxofoon en de ‘Mississippi saxophone’ aka harmonica. Met de toevoeging van New Orleans-stijl blazers brengt The Heritage Blues Orchestra een nieuwe dimensie aan country blues.

Raisin’ Music proudly announces the debut release of HERITAGE BLUES ORCHESTRA’s “AND STILL I RISE” on FEBRUARY 28, 2012.

Produced by Grammy-nominated producer Larry Skoller, recorded by Jim Caruana at Excello Recording Studio, Brooklyn, NY and mixed and mastered by Blaise Barton at JoyRide Studios in Chicago, IL, HERITAGE BLUES ORCHESTRA’s “AND STILL I RISE” features Bill Sims Jr. (vocals/electric and acoustic guitars/handclaps), Chaney Sims (vocals/handclaps) and Junior Mack (vocals/electric and slide guitars/dobro), Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith (drums/percussion), Vincent Bucher (harmonica) and Matthew Skoller (harmonica solo on “Big-Legged Woman”) with Bruno Wilhelm (horn arrangements/tenor saxophone, Kenny Rampton (1st trumpet), Steve Wiseman (2nd trumpet) and Clark Gayton (trombone/sousaphone/tuba).

From the first of the twelve tracks on their debut album “AND STILL I RISE”, Junior Mack’s propulsive rendition of Son House’s “Clarksdale Moan”, Heritage Blues Orchestra unapologetically stomps onto the scene and digs in with both heels—taking us from Bill Sims’ hard-shuffling version of the immortal Muddy Waters classic, “Catfish Blues” to the solemn dirge of Chaney Sims’ interpretation of Leadbelly’s, “Go Down Hannah” to magnificent three-part harmonies against a slippery slide guitar in their head-nodding version of “Get Right Church.”

From the grit of low-down country and urban blues to the bold brass of New Orleans; from the hand-clapping, hustle and bustle of gospel to fiery postmodern, jazz-infused horn arrangements; from the haunting cries of work songs to pulsating drums that reach back to the roots of it all— “AND STILL I RISE” is an inspiring testament to the enduring power and boundless beauty of African-American music.

Bill and Junior bring decades of depth to the Heritage Blues Orchestra; Bill’s blues and Junior’s blues and gospel have lit the path for a whole new generation of young players and singers in New York City. One such prized pupil: Bill’s daughter Chaney, who holds this history close to her heart, pours powerful emotion into everything from work songs and spirituals to soul, blues and R&B.

The group is driven by the powerful rhythms of drummer Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith; it is buttressed by the churning, precise and percussive rhythms of harmonica virtuoso, Vincent Bucher; and ablaze with some of New York City’s heaviest horn players who have worked with everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Sting and Springsteen. Heritage Blues Orchestra also boasts contributions from Bruno Wilhelm, the group’s highly esteemed tenor saxophonist and horn arranger. Wilhelm is influenced by an extensive palette of jazz styles. Whether with ethereal musings or hard-hitting section work, his arrangements punctuate every song.

Nowhere is the breadth of Heritage Blues Orchestra’s vision and reach better evidenced than on the album’s closing piece, “Hard Times”. This song, in 3 movements, demonstrates it all: the traditional call-and-response between a lone voice and guitar; a bewitching horn composition peppered with Miles Davis’ “In A Silent Way”; and a final transition to a roof-raising funk jam that leaps out and shoves you onto the dance floor.

Heritage Blues Orchestra is an inspiring testament to the enduring power and possibilities of African-American music. It drives us down Highway 49 from Clarksdale to New Orleans, journeys across the Middle Passage, takes us from chain gangs and juke joints, to orchestra pits and church pews, and even to back porches.

Listen to this debut album by the Heritage Blues Orchestra, and you’ll recognize this group as something breathtakingly new even as they honor old African-American musical traditions. How can something so deeply rooted in the past still seem so adventurous—even audacious?

With HERITAGE BLUES ORCHESTRA’s “AND STILL I RISE”, what begins as a loving celebration of tradition gives rise to an exhilarating new adventure in music.

Chaney Sims: vocals, handclaps
Bill Sims, Jr.: vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, handclaps
Junior Mack: vocals, electric and electric slide guitars, dobro
Vincent Bucher: harmonica
Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith: drums and percussion
Matthew Skoller: harmonica solo on “Big-Legged Woman”

Bruno Wilhelm: horn arrangements, tenor saxophone
Kenny Rampton: 1st trumpet
Steve Wiseman: 2nd trumpet
Clark Gayton: trombone, sousaphone, tuba

Heritage Blues Orchestra – And Still I Rise
Format: CD / Label: Raisin’ Music / Release Date: 28 february 2012

Clarksdale Moan;
C-Line Woman;
Big Legged Woman;
Catfish Blues;
Go Down Hannah;
Get Right Church;
Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down;
Going Uptown;
In The Morning;
Levee Camp Holler;
Chilly Jordan;
Hard Times

For more information, visit www.heritagebluesorchestra.com

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