Black Bear Combo at the White House


Black Bear Combo at the White House

Black Bear Combo just performed at the White House for Halloween. What?!?!

Black Bear Combo and Antibalas at Lincoln Hall Tomorrow

Black Bear Combo opens for Antibalas tomorrow at Lincoln Hall. 9PM!

Check it out!

The Drastics are in the genius club now…what?!

The Drastics received a niced write-up for the brass fest this weekend at Martyrs! The Drastics will be dubbing out on Friday night.

The festival will also feature my other bands Lowdown Brass Band and Black Bear Combo on Saturday Night at Martyrs. That’s a whole lot of horns…

The full weekend line up is:

Friday Jan 13–The Drastics, Environmental Encroachment, B.S. Brass Band

Saturday Jan 14-Lowdown Brass Band, Four Star Brass Band, Sanctified Grumblers, Black Bear Combo

Article Link!!!!!!




Glancing at the two-day line-up for Martyrs’ Sousaphenia Festival, it doesn’t appear that more than a band or two is actually going to include a sousaphone amid its ranks. Chicago’s The Drastics haven’t made it a practice in the past, but that hasn’t affected their ability to consistently issue instrumental tracks marked by the influence of Jamaican studio geniuses as well as American soul music. First releasing a long-player in 2005 on Jump Up Records, “Premonition,” the ensemble showed up toward the end of the label’s busiest period and sounded like little in the imprint’s catalog. Chicago’s infatuation with Jamaican music reaches back to the 1980s with acts like Heavy Manners aping a 2-Tone vibe, which was clearly a style influenced as much by then-current pop and rock as it was Caribbean styles. The Drastics, well removed from the culture that helped create the Manners as well as the English Beat, remain a highly regarded if not tremendously well-known commodity. Pulling Dr. Ring Ding and King Django in as guest vocalists for their debut album says a great deal about the musical ability these players tote around. The guitar solo on “Waiting,” from the band’s album of the same name, would sound as natural in the middle of a slow psych workout as a jazz fusion track. It’s that sort of ambiguity that makes The Drastics such an understated act of genius. With Chris Merrill and Anthony Abbinanti holding down rhythm duties on bass and drums, respectively, the remaining players are gifted with the freedom to express whatever musical mode they feel necessary. Of course, minimal grooves beg for some aural experimentation, and in a live setting that might mean any number of things.  (Dave Cantor)

January 13 at Martyrs’, 3855 North Lincoln, (773)404-9494. 9pm. $10.

In The Heights

In The Heights National Tour 

Its been way too long since my last update but I’ve been busy!

I’m currently on tour with In The Heights, a Tony Award Winning Musical that combines salsa, hiphop, and r&b sounds to portray an incredible story that takes place in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The musicians, singers, dancers, and tech crew are all incredibly talented folks. Check it out when it’s in your city!

The new JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound record Want More was also just released under Bloodshot Records last week.  I am honored to have recorded horns on it with Chris Neal, Gerald Bailey, and Nate Lepine. The following review gives a nice shout-out to the horn section…

“Frontman Brooks brings genuine heat to his role as sweat-soaked soul shouter, especially on the maximum R&B of “Sister Ray Charles” and the strutting title track, which sounds like the MC5 jamming with Otis Redding’s horn section.”-– New York Metromix

JCBUS is currently on tour out west for the first time so make sure you stop by. No one puts on a better show! And you will dance! Check out their new video at AP Press.

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound’s Everything Will Be Fine

And If your in Chicago tonight check out Black Bear Combo opening for Omar Souleyman at the Empty Bottle! Chicago Reader Music Pick of the week!

And finally, Drastics show coming in December and a LowDown Brass Band Christmas Record…stay tuned for some holiday madness!


Black Bear Combo Record on the way! And some good music this weekend!

The Up-Beat Machine at Burrows Studio and Black Bear Headquarters!

The BBC is working on new tracks! Beware of the song in “24”.

Upcoming Shows This Weekend:

Friday September 16

Black Bear Combo-Subterranean-10PM

Monthly Balkan Dance Invasion

Saturday September 17

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound performs in Uptown!

Chase Park, 4701 N AshlandTomorrow Saturday September 17 at 8PM! And its Free!

Sunday September 18

Black Bear Combo-Lincoln Hall-8PM-World Music Fest

The BBC is opening for Yuri Yunakov!

Chicago Reader Write-up for the Show!