Friday, January 13, 2012

NYC Hit Squad Kick Off 2012

Location: The Iridium on Broadway ... via Memphis, New Orleans, New Jersey and ... Ireland?

A night with the NYC Hit Squad is always a riot. Bottom line, this is a group of super-talented musicians who all have/had pretty incredible day jobs and come together a few times a year to jam on some of their favorite tunes.

My sense is that they don't rehearse and just basically go on instinct. And, regardless of Ricky Byrd's tongue-in-cheek comment "we've been together six years now and haven't gotten any better" they always sound pretty damn good.

Their regular slew of great songs -- Soothe Me, Route 66, CC Rider, Tell the Truth (Who's Been Fooling You), Unchain My Heart, etc. -- was nicely implemented by a few that I hadn't heard them do before (I think) ... such as The Weight, You're My Girl/I Don't Want to Discuss It and a fabulous song by the late Howard Tate, Get It While You Can.

As always, Christine Ohlman's "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" captivated the crowd. And in this season of award shows, she once again wins for Best Earrings of The Year. The woman has a style like no other. I'm very much looking forward to her show next Saturday night at the Stanhope House.

Jeff Kazee did his usual fun version of Van Morrison's Domino, this time highlighted by a perfectly apropos snippet of We're Having A Party in the middle ... amusing given that just about everybody on the stage has performed with the Asbury Jukes at some point in their career. He also had a nice turn singing "Delta Lady" by Leon Russell (made famous by Joe Cocker.) Fantastic keys throughout the show, not a surprise.

Always a bit casual and loose, there was a hilarious "stump the Dude" moment with Ricky calling out nationalities with trombonist Neal Pawley coming up with musical quips on the spot. Kudos Neal. Well done.

Hmmm...oh, and every time I looked at Muddy Shews, I kept thinking he was wearing a vintage Jon Bon Jovi t-shirt ... #justsaying

p.s. in actuality, it was Keith Richards. Sorry. My bad. LOL

It was a fun night with great music, friends and a bit of wackiness. I definitely concur with Ken Dashow, radio dj (yes, they still exist!) for Q104.3 here in the city ... thumbs up.

I ended the evening with a little extra New Orleans style by stopping for a quick bite at one of my regular NYC hangs, Delta Grill. The place usually has some great music coming out of the sound system and something with andouille sausage coming out of the kitchen. *sigh*

(insert shameless plug)
... and if you're ever in the REAL New Orleans, stop by family's place, Buffa's, located just off the French Quarter. Get my Uncle Chuck's Bratwurst Jambalaya. Wisconsin meets New Orleans. LOL

Anyhoo, a few more images...