Earliest Known Footage of Joe Russo Resurfaces With Fat Mama In 1996

first_imgDrummer extraordinaire Sir Joe Russo and a choice assembly of musicians will congregate to re-imagine the music of Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales’s seminal 1971 album Hooteroll at The Capitol Theatre, in Port Chester, NY this weekend. The April 7 engagement is being billed as “Hooteroll? + Plus”. Russo reached back to his legendary, original Boulder, CO band Fat Mama for members Erik Deutsch (keyboards), Jonathan Goldberger (guitar), and Kevin Kendrick (vibraphone/percussion) to make the core of the group. Russo also recruited Darkside’s Dave Harrington (bass), Antibalas’ Stuart Bogie (reeds/flute), and Jordan McLean (trumpet) to perform Garcia and Wales’ revered jazz-jam record. In addition to unveiling their version of the LP in full, the initial event announcement teased of “other like-minded compositions.” Photo: Michael Weintrob I remember when, as a senior in high school in Cherry Hill, NJ, my older pal Ross Kaufman brought Fat Mama’s debut CD Mammatus back from CU Boulder, over a holiday break. Within a few spins, our squad was transfixed! Much as we found Grant Green by way of The Greyboy Allstars, I would navigate my way to Agharta, On the Corner, and Sextant through Fat Mama. Mammatus was our introduction to the band and the man himself, Sir Joe Russo. The fearless conglomerate evolved over time, from a Herbie Hancock-influenced style to a very textural, shoegaze electro-rage that incorporated much of what was to come, from contemporary behemoths like Radiohead, to the most niche, indie, avant-garde artists imaginable. Their musical fabric was sewn with exploratory sonic adventuring from Kendrick’s then-revolutionary turntablism, vibes and electronics, amid Miles-esque brass leads from the duo of Brett Joseph (tenor saxophone) and Jon Gray (trumpet and trombone). The focused team told mystical and melodic tales atop Russo’s lyrical, jazzy, breakbeat drumming and freewheeling bass gymnastics. For five years, Fat Mama redefined what was possible for our burgeoning scene, purveyors and surveyors on the never-ending search for new land.Former Relix Magazine Assistant Editor Wayan Zoey, who went to high school in Potomac, MD with Deutsch and bassist Jonti Siman, had this to say in reflection of the mighty Fat Mama:“Despite the Herbie Hancock reference in their name, Fat Mama was really the Miles Davis of the jamband universe. While clearly drawing from the jazz tradition, they managed to incorporate elements of nearly every other style of music that exists in the world, spinning them out in wholly original masterpieces of structured improvisation. Their decades-old recordings would still be considered ahead of their time if they came out today.”Read the ALLMusic Fat Mama band bio from the legendary Jesse Jarnow hereWith the approaching Hooteroll event, I found myself going on a Russo rabbit-hole all over the Internet. Beyond the usual mining of rare Benevento/Russo Duo recordings, I unearthed the above video, a barely-viewed Boulder performance from Fat Mama in 1996, clipped from Fat Mama: The Movie, directed by Goldberger’s brother Julian Goldberger. This is apparently the earliest known footage of Sir Joe Russo that circulates.We reached out to keyboardist Deutsch for some clarification: “It’s a medley… ‘Love the Life You Love’ by Kool and the Gang into ‘Camel Job’ by Jonathan Goldberger.”For good measure, because Live For Live Music loves you, bows at the throne of Sir Joe Russo, and mostly to illustrate just how far and wide Fat Mama’s sound and steez would extrapolate over the years, here’s “Knucklehead” from their 1999 live album Loadstar 8.1, and then their unique take on “Upon This Rock,” (a Joe Farrell song sampled by Erykah Badu, MF Doom, Pete Rock, RASCO, Common and more) from their 9/11/11 Brooklyn Bowl reunion.center_img Words: B.Getzlast_img

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