Wednesday's are the funkiest night of the week, and House Of Vibe All Stars celebrate it. Last night they turned it out with Chali 2na and rocked the place til closing. Chali will be sitting in with the band again in January.
If you're at Harvelle's tonight to usher in the new year, have the greatest time of your life!!
Ryan Cross, Brandon Coleman and Gene Coye host the hottest jam on the West side aka SoulFunk. It's always different, and it's always funky. This past session included guest players Jes Selane on guitar, Maiya Sykes on vocals, Urie Norris on keys and Frank Abraham on bass.
Every Monday at Harvelle's, Kirk Fletcher plays the blues, and James Gadson joins him on drums, bringing his OG funk beats. Kirk's core group also consists of Paulie Cerra on sax/vox, Bobby Tsukamoto on bass and Luke Miller on keys.
They throw down, they wail, they let it lay and they bring it all back home.
Jessie Payo's natural whiskey soaked vocal quality is ridiculously soulful, exuding hapiness and hippiness, and alternately delivering beautiful controlled moving ballads to king rockers (including ones by influential artists such as Black Crowes, Betty Davis and Bill Withers). Johnny Stachela slings his axe with rock 'n' roll force that brings modern blues rock guitar to new heights. Sitting in towards the end of the night, Amanda Watkins of Miss Willie Brown did what she does best, and brought it like a rock star!!
Thursday brought out local super group Grillin' Bunnyz. The Venice based quintet features Brian Allen on bass, Kris Hawkins on guitar, Luke Miller on keys and the dynamic Emily on vocals. They traversed the funk songbook, including the best of Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan with a heap of Aretha and a sprinkle of Marvin Gaye and Funkadelic
Recently, Harvelle's released a CD of live performances by some of it's most popular acts who play at the Westside blues bar. "Soul Of A Man" by Jessie Payo is the last track on the CD and also the most devastating. It burns through the speakers and sends shivers down the spine.
In person, it's pretty much the same except you have the dazzling visual of Jessie herself. A rare beauty with long dark hair and stage prescence to spare, she is electric, mind-blowing and rocks the house to it's core.
Jessie Payo is here Friday night.
Tonight: Get your bunnyz fix.
The return of Grillin' Bunnyz.
From fun to funky, the Grillin' Bunnyz handle both ends of the spectrum.
There's nothing that sucks more than being broke around the holidays, and when you're working hard, it's like adding insult to injury. At Harvelle's the Tuesday night SoulFunk is a veritable church visit, one and all testifying. Blues and jazz and people playing to their hearts content, is a sure way to escape the bleakness of the situation. So I'm gonna be polite and comb my hair and be gracious this season and white knuckle it into 2010, where the future is.
OK. So this past Tuesday.... Ryan Cross brought his crew through. Keith Eaddy on bass, Dennis Hamm on keys and Gene Coye on drums. Featured singers Nicole and Tina sang some Xmas classics and some R&B and blues in tandem and solo.
I hung out with guitarist Tom McNalley and chanteuse Hilary Van Lier throughout the night, and left broke - but slightly more enthused about life. A special shout out to Marcas Johnson, a keyboardist that sat in and a cool guy that I've recently gotten to know a bit.
This incredible organ playing funkmaster took over and unleashed his wild blues and R&B into the night. The video below showcase singer blues legend Barbara Ivy, but wait until Deacon plays his organ solo a little more than mid-way through the clip.
Singer John Piazza has been honing his R&B skills on Tuesday nights, playing before the House Of Vibe All Stars (of which he is also a member). Stop in and check him out live. His music will make your night better.
House Of Vibe All Stars dominate the stage every Wednesday at Harvelle's here in Santa Monica, so it was a surprise to see the reggae band Divine Crime (led by Miss Amee Jana) set it off this past Wednesday.
House Of Vibe/Westside Tribe member John Piazza followed with a set of his super smooth r&b. John served double duty, filling in for some of the members of HOV who are currently on tour in Europe with Chali 2na.
2009 is rapidly coming to an end... a couple more weeks, and it's 2010. While I'm stating the obvious, let's take a look at this weekend at Harvelle's:
Friday December 4: Dennis Jones Band returns for another rockin' set chock full of blues and soul. Non-stop dancing is required all night long. Showtime is 9:45 cover is $10
Saturday December 5: Kenny Neal returns to Harvelle's direct from the swamps of Baton Rouge Louisiana. Kenny's legendary sound will keep you moving all the way to 2am! Show is at 10pm, cover is $12
Sunday December 6: Harvelle's proudly presents another installment of The Toledo Show, LA's longest running burlesque show. Soul, Jazz, and Funk are the soundtrack to the dancing 'dames' that will take over the room and surround you with their sultry presence. LA staple DJ Vicious Lee spins one hot set between the shows. Show is at 9:30 and cover is $10.
The first Thursday of the month, some of L.A.'s up and coming singer/songwriters gather in mutual admiration and pure celebration. Harvelle's hosts this night, produced by Koffeehouse Music Productions and SpinPR.
Halloween was a three day long event. It was a month ago, but I've finally edited the photos. Presented here - Halloween at Harvelle's, including the Sassy Minx, Miss Willie Brown, the Toledo Show and the Back To The Future Time Machine.
The long running Toledo Show is every Sunday night at Harvelle's. This soul-funk burlesque cabaret stars the charismatic Toledo Diamond as ring leader to the Dames, the band and the emotions of the audience.
Leroy Powell brought his southern-fried self to Harvelle's Friday night. Leroy is a hell of a singer and played lead guitar alone and in tandem with Johnny Stachela creating a most Jagger/Richards-esque combo.
Bjorn Fleuren (bass) and Iahji Hampden (drums) are too of the most in-demand players in town; I seem to run into them all the time at jazz and funk gigs. They evidently never played before with Leroy, but to watch these guys git it raw provided an awesome night of real rock 'n' roll.
My night started off with Coq Au Vin. Two days before Thanksgiving and she wanted to prepare Coq Au Vin. And who can say no to Coq Au Vin? Seriously.
Good food is a ripe aphrodisiac for haughty musical exploration, and as luck would have it, my favorite eclectrician, Ryan Cross, was holding court with his cast of players including Zane Musa, James Allen, Robert Miller and Mr Brandon Coleman.
Pictured top: Tom McNalley accompanies featured vocalist Mayia Sykes in what was one of the best musical performances I have seen in a while, at Harvelle's or anywhere. Detroit native Tom is an accomplished guitarist with a passion for Haitian music and
culture. Mayia Sykes continues to surprise and delight audiences around the world, and to experience her in an intimate setting like Harvelle's is beautiful and rapturous.
So we're gonna have a good time before she gets on that airplane. The soundtrack? The harmonica blues of Gary Allegretto. Blues can be lonely, especially the train-like wail of the harmonica, but in the right hands, it also can make you want to drink and dance and smile. Mr. Allegretto has those hands. Check 'em out on MySpace.
Friday night... we celebrate.
We party and imbibe and have fun.
Then I'll put her in a taxi, she'll catch the red-eye, and I'll hang some more and stay out until it's late enough to go home.
Harvelle's - est. 1931 - still going strong as THE showcase spot for the blues and jazz on the Westside; it's a true love thang when it comes to the blues - be it from the windy city, the deep South, or the San Fernando Valley.
Thursday it's my main man - J.T. Ross - The Harmonica Boss - bringing his So-Cal-by-way-of-Chicago style to 4th and Broadway. Gear up and groove simultaneously, J.T. will have the room rockin' and the dance floor packed. Gonna be a great time!
Friday - the return of Gary Allegretto
Saturday - the Meters Experience feat. Leo Nocentelli
Kirk Fletcher's gang of blues musicians including drummer James Gadson came full force and kicked the week off for me. Drinking Blue Moon and O.J. the funk was all around. Here's a few pix of the night.
Still recovering from a Harvelle's filled 3 day weekend!
There was little chance to rest between Friday's Miss Willie Brown show, Saturday's Sassy Minx Halloween party and the Sunday special haunted version of Toledo Show. The Back To The Future DeLorean Time Machine was a great photo op for all the patrons.
Harvelle's haunted weekend continues as The Toledo Show strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger...
That's a bit of an overstatement, but Harvelle's may or may not be haunted by the ghosts of those beautiful men and women who willingly traded their souls for the ability to play the blues. The club's been around since 1931, so it's a possibility....
Toledo and his Show are new jack ghosts. They're still alive of course, but this is their haunt... their stage... they own the night.
Burlesque troupe Sassy Minx guarantee it's gonna be a *sexy* hallow's eve. Harvelle's is known for it's standing room only Halloween parties. This year's should be off-the-hook. In addition to the Sassy Minx, there will be vodka served in skulls and a costume contest.
1ST PRIZE - VEGAS VACATION, 2ND PRIZE - CARMEN ELECTRA DANCE POLE and 3RD PRIZE - BOTTLE OF SPIRITS COURTESY OF HARVELLES other giveaways include Sassy Minx shirts (I want one!!!), Cirque du Soleil soundtracks and dance classes.
Prior to the show, from 7pm — 8pm there will be a pole dance class at the club.
Trina Lance, the president of Heart & Pole will be teaching. Bring your cameras, have your photo taken on the world famous Harvelle's stage, kick off the evening early, come down and have some fun.
Halloween Weekend is upon us, and Harvelle's is planning an entire weekend around the scariest holiday of them all.
Tonight - Friday, the return of Miss Willie Brown. If you haven't experienced Venice's own sassy country rocker girls and their fierce Stax-style back-up band, then you need to. It's well worth the price of admission to have your spirits raised and to have a sweaty good time to kick it all off. MK and the Gentlemen open the show. Costumes are encouraged!
Saturday - Halloween proper - is all about the Minx! Sassy Minx, the world famous So Cal based burlesque troupe bring their sex-o-licious bumping and grinding to a whole new level. Costume contest, Crystal skulls filled with Vodka, and the best looking crowd on the West side!
Sunday, it's the Toledo Show! If ya don't know bout the Toledo Show, ya better ask somebody or Google it or something... (fyi - it's easily the most exciting and original show around).
Alright everyone! I am getting out of my comfort zone and mixing it up! Expect some funk expect some silliness. If you have not heard Soul Funk hold it down and break it off a little something saucy for ya, you are in for a treat!!!! I am delighted to be sharing the night with such fine ass musicians.
So come one, come all, and spend a little time... won't ya?
Tonight he hosts Soul Funk - the weekly gathering of some of the brightest and best players in L.A. Every Tuesday Ryan brings 'em through and puts 'em on. Tonight Amber Ojeda is featured, but you never know who might drop by. Recently Byron Miller, Esperanza Spalding, Jose Espinoza and Wally Ali have sat in.
For those unfamiliar with Gino, he has a moving blues voice and passionate guitar style that touches everyone. To classify him is difficult. He brings blues from the streets of New Orleans and Chicago to the urban metropolitan area of Los Angeles, with a twist; creating “Urban Blues”. If Pearl Jam and Parliament had a baby that grew up at B.B. King’s house on Bourbon Street……...This is what you would get.
Gino, who often tours with blues genius Jonny Lang, will throw down in high style, kicking off the weekend... and there is a 'strong possibility' that Mr Lang himself will be sitting in.
SoulFunk! - Ryan Cross, Gene Coye and Brandon Coleman. Three incredible musicians who mix it up - jazz, soul, funk, r&b... There's always top-notch surprise guests and a plethora of vocal and instrumental talent.
Tonight's featured performers : Octavius Terry and Karma.
Previous sessions have included (top to bottom) Judith Hill, Nikki Grier, Chris Pierce and Lisa Foreman .
The awkwardly named, but undeniably funky Stedapol C.C. Watt made their Harvelle's debut last week, and blew me away with their super-soul. Stronger than most, tenderer than tender, the three-piece group know how to get a party started!!!
Check out the video of their song "Jonnybeat", performed at Harvelle's last Wednesday (10/07/09). It's merely a sample of what the groove-oriented trio let loose. The rest of the heartfelt set of original tunes were reminiscent of Stax and Motown era hook-happy songs. The lineup is Rodney Gardiner (vox, guitars), Jonny Brill (bass) and Rob Brill (drums).
Harvelle's hosts The Boneshakers tonight. Experience Randy Jacobs - he tears, rips and shreds - one of my absolute favorite all time guitarists! Sweet Pea Atkinson (Was (Not Was), Lyle Lovett) handles vocals. Combustible forces making sweet soul and nasty funk all night long! A party in the making - this could be the hottest show in town.
A funky good time is guaranteed when J.T. Ross is in the building.
Harp blowing, soulful singing, J.T. wears the crown of harmonica king in lands near and far. Never underestimate the power of blues. It not only moves, it re-moves; blues has the power to heal, so if you got ailments or other conditions, such as being parched, boogie-less or without a date, consider Harvelle's your church and get saved.
Ryan Cross and Soulfunk are hardly strangers around these parts. The West side home to L.A.'s coolest jazz cat, it is with major enthusiasm and elation that brings this one all home. Let's not forget Mr.'s Coye and Coleman (drums, keys respectively) and the plethora of talent available to Mr. Cross.
Tonight's guests include Octavius Terry, DJ Vicious Lee and Karma.
James Gadson is one of the greatest drummers of all time.
Perhaps a bit too obsequiously, I call the man Mr Gadson, but then again, he is on records by everyone from Marvin Gaye to Dyke & The Blazers. He's been sampled by Public Enemy, NWA, some of the hardest core rappers out there, so you've definitely heard him play!
Check out his laid back seriously groooved playing on What's Going On or Bill Wither's "Use Me" (below). James -- err--- Mr. Gadson is due all respect and then some. His awesome career is as unique as it is long.
A true living legend, he plays every Monday night at Harvelle's with Kirk Fletcher.
Dennis Jones is a cowboy bluesman weilding a six shooter and a swagger that makes the ladies swoon, and the men turn green with envy.
The dude is money.
His sensational guitar work coupled with a ton of heavy soul is tempered by his casual good-time approach to his shows. But like a cowboy, D.J. is a loner; stalwart, and on completion of his mission, a silent disappearance into the night.
His mission? To rock, roll, dance, imbibe, get nasty, get funky, give you the blues - then remove 'em - and take everyone in the house along for the ride.
Once again, Koffeehouse welcomes some of LA’s most talented emerging artists and bands, including two new bands this month.
The rock bands Hypnogaja (11PM) and Thick as Thieves (Midnight) will play stripped down acoustic sets to round out the night that features Koffeehouse favorite Shawn Hlookoff with special guest and world renowned cellist Tina Guo (9PM) and a encore set by Peter Goetz (10PM).
Doors open at 7PM with an open mic/jam session from7:15PM – 9PM and free pizza courtesy of Joe’s Pizza!
Entry for open mic artists is free if you arrive before 8PM; sign-ups for the open mic are on a first come first serve basis (we already have 10 artists).
The effervescent vocalist with the multi-octave range and soul to spare... yes, *that* Maiya Sykes. Maiya has been here and wowed the crowd with her performance as part of Ryan Cross' Soul Funk Tuesday night residency and I'm sure is up to the task of eliciting a grand reaction again.
See what's up with these purveyors of funk, jazz, latin and r&b - Brandon Coleman (keys, vox) and Gene Coye (drums)- with Ryan Cross holding the whole thing down on the stand-up bass. In addition to Ms. Sykes, there is never a shortage of some of the brightest and best players who stop by and join in. It's always a memorable evening.
A night of soul and funk and jazz; any major dude will tell you it's the spot on a Southern California Tuesday night. Ignore the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air, and cruise down a balmy Santa Ana wind-fueled P.C.H. with the top down towards the beach. Right near the "World Famous" Santa Monica Pier, a stones throw from Venice Beach and at least 15 degrees cooler than the rest of Los Angeles, Harvelle's is the place to be.
My dating life is less than stellar, and if it weren't for the blues, i would feel so alone, but to hear the pain and anguish of a crying Stratocaster, eases my sick soul every once in a while. This blog keeps me in the club. It's become some kind of daily anti-depressant alive with the sounds of jazz, blues, r&b, funk, country, swing and many other genres.
Let's just say it:
Café R&B are the cure for the blues. Loud, raucous, heart-pounding, lead singer Roach, fronts an arm-flailing, non-stop good time. And the boys in the band... they just plain kick ass!
Miss Willie Brown is something to see. Amanda (rt) and Kasey (lft) - the two front women of the band - are hash-slingin', boot-wearing, queens of the rodeo - IF the rodeo was held on Venice beach. And just like a lil' bit of sand in your country, these women do things musically that you wouldn't expect. Their country-western music rocks, swings, swoons, soothes and makes you feel proud to be an American, - and implicitly - they know how to have a party.
For a good time on a Thursday night, come hang out in a dark bar that's not "corporate" or "expensive" or "empty"; Miss Willie Brown will be here so stop on by, and say "howdy".
The incredible collaboration known as House Of Vibe All Stars is on tonight (as they are every Wednesday) at Harvelle's. You never know who might show up and sit in with Brew and the All Star crew, but tonight Chali 2na of Jurasic 5 will be what's good.
Special shout-out to Deploi and Jon Swift of the Westside Tribe, these hip-hop heads are stone cold rhymin' - you gotta hear these cats spit.