By Susan Whitesell
It’s not only delicious food and wine that you will enjoy at the upcoming Slow Food Festival on June 21st. While you nosh and sip, you will also delight in great music by talented artists Denny James and leehowardsmusicaluniverse. Chill to Denny James’ soft rock with country flavor and R&B influences and groove to leehowardsmusicaluniverse – a mix of world music and classic tunes from the rock, jazz and Brazilian songbook.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Denny James grew up with a blues and R&B background.He first picked up a guitar when he was 12 years old and by the age of 15, he was playing professionally in local clubs. Denny and his brother, who played bass, worked professionally with Lindell Hill of Stax Records for several years. For 8 years in the 70’s and 80’s, Denny played with D. James, R. Keith and Gagen, an acoustic trio, who toured the Midwest and South. After that, Denny performed solo and contract gigs, playing guitar and bass for various bands. The last 10 years Denny has performed as an acoustic solo act.
Denny describes his sound as “A mixed bag of easy listening and soft rock with some country flavor and R&B influences.”
Denny describes his sound as “A mixed bag of easy listening and soft rock with some country flavor and R&B influences.” Denny’s two albums, She’s Gone and Holy Man with a Gun, can be found online on iTunes, cdbaby.com and Amazon.com. You can hear Denny play locally at Memo’s At The Point and (of course) at the Slow Food Festival on June 21st.
leehoward, bassist, composer, sound designer, singer and producer hails from the dairy country of Connecticut via the high deserts of New Mexico, and most recently the Bay Area, has been making eclectic world music in the Bay Area since 1994. lee’s great new band is playing throughout northern California.
“I call it the Musical Universe ‘cause that’s what it is – a galaxy of music/songs and sounds from musicians who bring over 50 years of musical experience collectively to the table. It’s a worldly, textured music we’re creating,”
“I call it the Musical Universe ‘cause that’s what it is – a galaxy of music/songs and sounds from musicians who bring over 50 years of musical experience collectively to the table. It’s a worldly, textured music we’re creating,” lee said. “Y’know, it’s funny, but this started out as a platform to get my songs for the new album videotaped and recorded. But the band kept sounding so good, we kept getting more and more shows, more and more fans,” he added. “We kept adding songs that we love playing- digging into the archive of great songs from over the years,” he added. “John and I really love Brazilian and Afro Cuban music, Chris brings his bluesy jazz background, sax player Kevin Galloway brings his beautiful tone and soloing, and violinist Trevor Lloyd’s experience is steeped in country, classical music and progressive rock. We’ve devised a set of music from an era that doesn’t get heard from much these days, jazzy pop from the mid 60’s, but also some Sting, Jean luc Ponty, Horace Silver, Depeche Mode, Miles Davis, Herb Alpert, Burt Bacharach, even some ZZtop, and Talking Heads”, beautiful melodies placed over beat happy rhythms.” lee goes on to say.
lee loves the idea of the band being paired with a Slow Food event. He says with a grin, “Our Music pairs well with the Slow Food Movement and Slow Food Festival because our music is hand made, slow brewed, nutritious and satisfying. Come by and say hello.”
His new album ‘leehowardsmusicaluniverse – The ReMastered Sessions 2014’ out now on Cyberia Records, is a remix of some of his best music from over the past decade, re-recorded with the new band. The album can be found on itunes.com, cdbaby.com Amazon.com, and on his website www.leehowardsmusicaluniverse.net.
You can hear the band play at the Slow Food Festival on June 21st.
Tickets for the Slow Food Festival are $25.00 and are available from the Slow Food Rio Vista web site at http://www.slowfoodriovista.org, online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/620291 or in town at Books Rio V, This N That, Pets 4 All, Galleria Bra Room and Brand You.
The Slow Food Festival is still in need of volunteers, such as wine pourers, to help at the event. Contact Tom Surh at 374-5282 to volunteer or Janith Norman at 374-6118 for information about being a vendor or event sponsor.