David Maxwell’s Maximum Blues: official Conversations In Blue CD Release Party
April 29, 2011
David Maxwell’s Maximum Blues: official Conversations In Blue CD Release Party. Featuring David Maxwell (keys), Troy Gonyea (guitar), Marty Ballou (bass) and Per Hanson (drums). Friday, April 29, 7:30 pm & 10 pm. Tickets: $20 per show. Regattabar at the Charles Hotel, One Bennett Street, Cambridge. For tickets and information: 617-395-7757 or http://www.getshowtix.com/regattabar/index.shtml.
David Maxwell first saw his muse the late great Otis Spann perform with Muddy Waters in Paris in 1963 and then in Cambridge at Club 47 in 1966. By the late 60’s, Maxwell and Spann (1930-1970) had become friends and their musical relationship was established.
Since Spann’s death in 1970, Maxwell has been identified with Spann’s post-WW II blues piano playing. To a large degree, Maxwell and Spann continue to have a strong musical connection that now stretches over nearly half a century. In his new recording entitled Conversations In Blue, Maxwell collaborates with Spann in a remarkable way using original tracks from the 1960 Candid Records recording Otis Spann Is The Blues. The original Spann sessions were produced by Nat Hentoff, writer, music critic, and civil rights activist, who also worked as Candid’s A&R director.
According to Maxwell, “Discovering and connecting to Otis Spann in my early twenties changed the course of my musical direction. When Richard Connolly asked me what I thought about doing a new recording based on ‘Otis Spann Is The Blues’ — the 1960 Candid record Alan Wilson and I first listened to nearly fifty years ago — I wondered how I could possibly improve upon Spann’s masterful performances. I have my own slant on things. Some of that is informed by my own jazz and world music tastes and predilections. But there’s something about playing blues and feeling deeply rooted in that music that seems to be natural to me — natural in the sense that I was truly able to express myself after hearing Spann and my musical direction was transformed. When we recorded ‘Conversations In Blue,’ I wanted to have musical conversations with the person whose music has transformed me. I wanted to create a new way of looking at his music and at my music.”
“David Maxwell plays with fire and soul.
He keeps the spirit of Otis Spann alive.”
“David Maxwell and Otis Spann are
the baddest two piano players I know.”
The great Pinetop Perkins recently passed on March 21st in Austin, Texas at the age of 97. Presumably, Perkins outlived all his relatives – but he certainly left behind a musical legacy to those who continue to hold a deep love and respect for the man and his music.
“The great blues pianist Pinetop Perkins is no longer with us. I am so grateful that he lived as long as he did; he brought so much joy to so many people through his playing and singing. To me, he was a lifelong ‘blues father’" mentor and dear friend. What's interesting is that Pinetop died on Otis Spann's birthday. Otis initially provided me the inspiration and spark to play the blues.
It was Pinetop, who lived some 41 years beyond Otis, who really showed me over the years what it was all about --- the turn of a melodic phrase, the gift of simplicity, the way to express with space and breadth, the sweetness and overall mellow quality of a slow blues,
the way to vary one's touch to get that special lilt or emphasis, and most of all, how to ‘dig in’ with ‘grease’ and reach the core of what we call Deep Blues. Pinetop, I can see you now, just the way you did over all those years, turn to me while I was intently studying your fingers at a gig, and flash me a special twinkle in your eye indicating ‘watch this.’ Thank you, Mr. Perkins. for opening up so many hearts, mine included.” (David Maxwell, March 2011)
David Maxwell has amassed an enormous resume throughout the years playing piano with some of the greatest and well- known musicians in the blues. He plays many styles of blues, jazz and improvised music, but he is best known for his soulful virtuosity and unmatched ability to reach the heart of post-war Chicago Blues. Through his work, he has gained the respect of artists, critics and fans and has established a reputation as one of the finest blues pianists alive.
Over the last decade, Maxwell has received a Grammy Award (James Cotton’s “Deep In The Blues”) and over a half dozen Grammy and national Blues Music Award nominations for albums to which he has contributed, along with seven Blues Music Award nominations for Pinetop Piano Player of the Year. He has played with many of the greats including tours with Freddie King, Bonnie Raitt, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rodgers, Charley Musselwhite, Johnny Adams and Ronnie Earl; and gigs with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Levon Helm, Jimmy Witherspoon, Lowell Fulsom, Junior Wells and many others. He has been involved in well over fifty recording sessions and can be found playing keys on many blues albums that have been released over the last 25 years. Maxwell backed up Keith Richards and Eric Clapton for Hubert Sumlin's CD, "About Them Shoes" released in 2005.
Maxwell’s most recent recognitions:
-- 2010 Blues Music Award "Acoustic Album of the Year" for "You Got To Move" (with Louisiana Red), performed and produced by David Maxwell;
-- 2010 Blues Music Award nomination "Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year";
-- 2008 and 2009 Boston Music Awards "Best Blues Act";
-- 2007 and 2008 Blues Audience "Outstanding Keyboard Player".
Maxwell's music was used in the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" and in the TV series "Touched By An Angel". He has performed on "Late Night With Conan O' Brien" and is on several videos playing with Freddie King in the early 70's (Rounder). Maxwell's first CD as a leader "Maximum Blues Piano" (1997 Tonecool) received high critical acclaim. His new album, "Max Attack" (2005 95North Records), features guests James Cotton, Kim Wilson, Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Hubert Sumlin and Pinetop Perkins.
Maxwell is often compared to the great blues pianist Otis Spann (of the Muddy Waters band), for his ability to resurrect the spirit and sound of the master of post-war Chicago Blues Piano. But Maxwell is no mere imitation. He has created a style and sound uniquely his own. His diverse experience, technical virtuosity, sense of timing and rhythm, and ability to complement other band members has earned Maxwell a reputation as one of the finest blues pianists alive. David Maxwell was featured on "On Point," hosted by Anthony Brooks. Give it a listen at http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/04/20060420_b_main.asp. For more information on David Maxwell go to http://www.davidmaxwell.com, www.myspace.com/maximummaxwellmusic and www.facebook.com/pages/David-Maxwell/29039162267.
"Dave has always been one of the
most amazing piano players I've ever heard."
"I don't think anybody could be tighter playing the blues on the piano
than David Maxwell. He plays the blues like it should be played.
He plays the low-down, dirty, funky blues. He's got it all together."
(John Lee Hooker)
For the Conversations In Blue official CD Release Party, Maxwell will be joined by Troy Gonyea on guitar (www.troygonyea.com, Booker T, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, among others), Marty Ballou (Duke Robillard, Cheryl Wheeler, among others) and Per Hanson on drums (Ronnie Earl, James Cotton, among others).