Otis Taylor’s 2015 Trance Blues Jam Festival
- When: November 7, 2015 Time: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
- Where: eTOWN HALL / 1535 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302
- Cost: $20-$65 See ticket link for price information
Otis Taylor's 2015 Trance Blues Jam Festival at eTown Hall
Grand Jam: 7pm-10pm
Want to play with a legend? Join international blues artist Otis Taylor in his home town of Boulder, Colorado—the city nestled between the mountains and reality—for the extraordinary Trance Blues Jam Festival. Unlike traditional music festivals where the audience is mostly passive, you are the rock star at the Trance Blues Jam Festival (TBJF). TBJF encourages and inspires people to be active participants. The point is to create music together. Led by Taylor’s infectious mastery, fed by his band’s passion, and wed with your musical expression, the trance jam is where you get to live your musical dreams.
The TBJF is designed for players of all types, all ages, and all ability levels to join in. It’s all about creating music together, not someone showing how well they can shred the guitar. It doesn’t matter what you play. Last year’s festival included vocalists, guitars, harmonicas, oboes, banjos, flutes, cellos, drums, violins, recorders, tambourines, maracas, mandolins and more.
The festival kicks off with a professional jam on Saturday, November 7, 2015, with workshops during the day leading up to the Grand Jam in the evening. Fans and spectators are welcome at all events (with the purchase of a ticket, of course!).
Workshop Attendees must be accompanied by an adult if under 18.
Final Performance is All Ages.
The 2015 Trance Blues Jam Festival's featured artists are:
With Otis Taylor, it’s best to expect the unexpected. While his music, an amalgamation of roots styles in their rawest form, discusses heavyweight issues like murder, homelessness, tyranny, and injustice, his personal style is lighthearted. “I’m good at dark, but I’m not a particularly unhappy person,” he says. “I’d just like to make enough money to buy a Porsche.”
Part of Taylor’s appeal is his contrasting character traits. But it is precisely this element of surprise that makes him one of the most compelling artists to emerge in recent years. In fact, Guitar Player magazine writes, “Otis Taylor is arguably the most relevant blues artist of our time.” Whether it’s his unique instrumentation (he fancies banjo and cello), or it’s the sudden sound of a female vocal, or a seemingly upbeat optimistic song takes a turn for the forlorn, what remains consistent is poignant storytelling based in truth and history. Taylor’s latest release, Contraband, was selected as the 2012 Blues Album of the Year by Downbeat Magazine.
Otis Mark Taylor was born in Chicago in 1948. After his uncle was shot to death, his family moved to Denver where an adolescent’s interest in blues and folk was cultivated. Both his parents were big music fans; “I was raised with jazz musicians,” Taylor relates. “My dad worked for the railroad and knew a lot of jazz people. He was a socialist and real bebopper.” His mother, Sarah, a tough as nails woman with liberal leanings, had a penchant for Etta James and Pat Boone. Young Otis spent time at the Denver Folklore Center where he bought his first instrument, a banjo. He used to play it while riding his unicycle to high school. The Folklore Center was also the place where he first heard Mississippi John Hurt and country blues. He learned to play guitar and harmonica and by his mid-teens, he formed his first groups’ the Butterscotch Fire Department Blues Band and later the Otis Taylor Blues Band. He ventured overseas to London where he performed for a brief time until he returned to the U.S. in the late 60s. His next project became the T&O Short Line with legendary Deep Purple singer/guitarist Tommy Bolin. Stints with the 4-Nikators and Zephyr followed before he decided to take a hiatus from the music business in 1977.
If Taylor ‘s first two recordings cast a spell on the music world, listeners were officially entranced by White African (2001, NorthernBlues Music), his most direct and personal statement about the experiences of African-Americans. With this disc Taylor was officially blazing a trail. He earned four W.C. Handy nominations and won the award for “Best New Artist Debut.” White African was barely in record stores when he began writing the songs that would comprise Respect The Dead. Released in 2002, it made him a contender for two Handys in 2003; “Best Acoustic Artist” and “Contemporary Blues Album.” With the following record, Truth Is Not Fiction, Taylor took a decidedly electric, almost psychedelic path forging a sound which he describes as “trance-blues.” Music critics were indeed captivated as the disc received lavish praise from USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR and a nod from the Downbeat Critics Poll for “Blues Album of the Year.”
He quickly followed up Truth with Double V, which marked his entrance as a producer and a collaboration with his daughter Cassie, who sings and plays bass. The album scored him a Downbeat Critics Poll win for an unheard-of second consecutive year, while Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Blender, and CNN all gave their thumbs-up. But perhaps the most meaningful accolade came from Living Blues Reader’s Poll, which awarded Taylor (along with Etta James) with the “Best Blues Entertainer” title in 2004.
And if the brilliant songwriting and the haunting voice weren’t enough to turn the heads of audiences and critics alike, Taylor has also proven his instrumental chops with three Blues Music Awards nominations (2005, 2006banjo category.
Tony Trischka (United States Artists Friends Fellow-2012) is considered to be the consummate banjo artist and perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. For more than 45 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians with the many voices he has brought to the instrument. A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka’s interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie and the MTA” in 1963. Two years later, he joined the Down City Ramblers, where he remained through 1971. That year, Trischka made his recording debut on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking; at the same time, he was also a member of America’s premier sports-rock band Country Granola. In 1973, he began a three-year stint with Breakfast Special. Between 1974 and 1975, he recorded two solo albums, Bluegrass Light and Heartlands. After one more solo album in 1976, Banjoland, he went on to become musical leader for the Broadway show The Robber Bridegroom. Trischka toured with the show in 1978, the year he also played with the Monroe Doctrine.
At age 26, Cassie Taylor is already a veteran musician. She’s spent a decade playing bass and singing on stage and in the studio with her father, modern-day blues innovator Otis Taylor. And now, with the May 7, 2013 release of her new album Out of My Mind on Yellow Dog Records, Cassie stakes her own claim as an artist of intelligence, power and soul.
The album finds Taylor defining her own creative identity within a dozen songs that balance passion, grace and humor with a broad embrace of sounds and musical styles consistently steeped in the blues. From Delta bedrock to the fringes of electronica to the driving spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, Taylor draws on all of her influences — which span centuries, continents and cultures — to create indelible stories like the edgy and compelling two-part drama “Ol’ Mama Dean” and the celebration of life and love “Forgiveness,” which struts over a blithe Crescent City beat. Organ, trumpet, tuba and even Theremin make cameo appearances in the mix alongside the core bass, drums and guitar sound of her trio, all supporting a voice that’s angelic, haunting, raw and full-blooded.
“I like to think I see things differently,” says Taylor, who will tour behind the album this spring. “The blues is the basis of all American music and of everything that I do. It’s a tradition, passed down from generation to generation. Some people say I’m not blues enough, but I’m a 26-year-old woman with very light skin living in the 21st century. Had Muddy Waters grown up when I did perhaps his music would sound a lot like mine. When Memphis Minnie was coming up they didn’t have electronic music or rock ‘n’ roll, and it was impossible to buy West African psychedelic rock records. I listen to everything from old blues to punk to drum ‘n’ bass to my father’s music, and it’s all become part of me.” Comfortably at home on the runway — Taylor’s stunning looks have also earned her work as a model in magazine spreads and at fashion shows — and in the studio, she was at the helm for every step of Out of My Mind: producing, arranging, performing on vocals, bass, organ, piano and Theremin, and even financing the sessions.
“I believe we’re unfolding in the most extraordinary way.” So go the words to “Extraordinary”, a song on Gravity and Faith, the 2008 studio album from Chicago-based singer-songwriter and fiddler Anne Harris. While the lyric may be referring to a shift in global consciousness, the words couldn’t ring more true for the artist herself, especially over the past year or so.
With the release of Gravity and Faith, Harris delivered her strongest, most compelling work to date, her voice exuding a revealing honesty, clarity and deep-rooted strength and her fiddle playing at its most emotionally engaging. ConcertLiveWire.com said the record “boasts a carefully crafted blend of violin-infused pop/rock arrangements, the occasional folk flavoring and introspective lyricism” while the Illinois Entertainer said her work is “brimming with socially conscious, and at times, intensely personal lyrics as memorable as thought-provoking.”
Fresh on the heels of Gravity and Faith, Harris released another record in 2008, Live at the Acorn Theater, a project which was born of converging desires to create a live record and revisit some of her earlier songs.
Such a period of intense focus on her own music made it all the more refreshing when her creativity as an instrumentalist became increasingly in demand. Before the year was out Harris would find herself as a guest violinist with psychedelic 70’s legend Jefferson Starship and touring regularly with world renown trance-blues innovator, Otis Taylor, having appeared with the latter at the 2009 Blues Music Awards in Memphis (where Taylor won “Instrumentalist of the Year, Banjo”), Chicago Blues Festival, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Jazz Aspen Snowmass and the Telluride Blues Festival. Anne finds performing other people’s music to be an exciting opportunity for in-the-moment creativity and discovery and the experience ultimately influences her own writing, leading her into new territory.
Between tour dates with Taylor, Harris has been performing with her band, writing, evolving and working on what’s next. No less than you’d expect from an artist who’s clearly unfolding in the most extraordinary way.
Paul and Jessica Rogalski are the owners of Mojo’s Music Academy in Longmont Colorado. This couple has been teaching musicians of all ages since 2007 in various ways. Paul heads the electric bass department while Jessica takes care of the vocal department. They both teach private lessons on a daily basis, honing the skills of upcoming musicians and making sure their on the proper path.
Jessica teaches a Vocal Performance class for adults every month which concludes with a performance and the end of their 4 weeks of training. During the summer months they both coach a Rock Band Camp for teenagers. Students learn to play as a group and perform 6 songs by the end of a 5 day week on the big stage.
Paul is also Co- founder of the Rocky Mountain Bass Slam now in its 6th year. A day to celebrate the bass in its many different styles and scenarios. A full day of performances by local and national bass players.
Paul and Jessica are also the founders of local R&B band Mojomama. This band has been on the Colorado music scene since 2004 and has 3 original full length Cds available.
Jessica had the honor to sing with Susan Tedeschi and her band at the Snowy Range Music festival in 2009.
Paul and Jessica will bring their experience and knowledge from perfuming, composing and teaching music to the workshop for the weekend.
Larry Thompson is a highly acclaimed drummer in great demand as a performing and recording artist. He has worked in many different genres of music including the blues with John Mayal, John Lee Hooker and Elvin Bishop, heavy rock with Tommy Bolin, Wall of Windows and Body House, live radio and televisions shows like eTown on National Public Radio, classical shows with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the CSSO featuring Steve Barta and Wind machine with the National Repertory Orchestra. He has also toured with folk artists like Glen Yarbrough and the Limelighters, rock artists like Iain Matthews, and performed with jazz artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Valentine and Robin Ford to name a few.
Widely known for pioneering composition for prepared guitar, Janet Feder has been featured on numerous recordings, radio programs, and film scores including the internationally acclaimed solo album Songs With Words and compilations The $100 Guitar Project (Bridge, 2013), I Never Meta Guitar (Clean Feed, 2010) and 156 Strings (Cuneiform, 2002). 2015 greets her latest solo album T H I S C L O S E.
Previously serving Naropa University (2000-10), Janet currently lectures at University of Colorado (Boulder & Colorado Springs). Touring and teaching internationally, she has also performed and collaborated with a diverse landscape of renowned musicians including Paolo Angeli, Nels Cline, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Darwin Grosse, Ron Miles, Tatsuya Nakatani, Pauline Oliveros, Jane Rigler, Elliott Sharp among others.
Janet co-curates the international new media festival MediaLive, is an artistic associate of square product theatre, and serves the board of Supporters Of Children (501c3).
Todd Edmunds is a bassist and sousaphonist from Augusta, Georgia. He has performed in a wide variety of musical situations. His exposure to the blues circuit came as a five year stint of virtually non-stop touring as the bassist for Jason Ricci & New Blood. Todd is a life long student of music with a foundation in jazz. As the unofficial house bassist for the Boulder Outlook Hotel, Todd has anchored both blues and jazz shows and is a crowd favorite.
Taylor Scott is a roots musician whose heart is overflowing with the passion to make soulful music. Influenced heavily by blues, soul, funk, gospel, and jazz, Taylor’s singing, playing, and writing tells his story.
“The way he approaches music, it’s not something he’s imitating. It’s something that comes from within him,” says Dave Beegle, world renowned guitarist, composer, and producer.
Truth is an important component in Scott’s music.
“When I was younger, 15 or 16, I was making decent money singing and playing blues tunes, Muddy Waters and all that,” says Scott. “I absolutely love that music, but through my own heart and some life-changing discussions with friends and mentors, I realized ‘Hey I didn’t live what those guys did, that’s not my story. I’m up there telling somebody else’s stories.’ So I started telling my own, and that has made all the difference.”
Being influenced by so much great music has allowed Taylor to “put it all in the mixing bowl,” and create his own sound. His first solo record, an EP called “Soul Satisfaction,” is dripping with the influences of R&B/soul, gospel, funk, and blues.
“There’s way too much beautiful music out there to section myself into one very specific genre,” Taylor states, “great music is great music.”
Live performing is something Taylor Scott is very comfortable with. He began performing live around age 14, and has worked at it ever since. As the former leader of Taylor Scott & Another Kind of Magick, successful Rocky Mountain region blues band and finalists at the 2012 International Blues Challenge, he has a lot of performing hours under his belt. Playing clubs and festivals all over North America has kept him at home with the stage and the crowd.
“On stage he plays with a striking mix of intensity and control…his suit is drenched in sweat well before the halfway mark of his set.” His live performances are filled with the same passion as every other aspect of his music.
As a guitar player, a singer, a song writer, and a live performer, Taylor Scott puts his heart and soul into all things music.
“Music has made my life so much more rich and meaningful it’s impossible to explain. I just hope to share that with as many people as I can.”
Alissa Chesis is a bassist and vocalist from Denver. She has participated in the Pinetop Perkins Masterclass Workshop in Clarksdale, MS. She has been fortunate to attend past Trance Blues festivals and is honored to be playing this year.
Most recently awarded Best Blues Singer by Colorado Blues Society 2014
Singing since age 2 and professionally for over 35 years. A singer, song writer, educator and nationally know recording artist. In addition to teaching at The Music Lesson Place, Rex also teaches at Golden Music Center. He is a member of the Colorado Blues Society and Blues in the Schools educator for over 12 years.
Co creator of Afrossippi Blues with Dan Treanor & African Wind Band. Band leader & lead vocalist of Rex Peoples & Factr Band. Teaching method is: Not just another scale… Fun useable techniques you can apply right away. Voice from the inside out… Music is an emotion. Breathing, ear training, pitch training, preparation for performing on stage. And much, much more.