Michael Whalen – Michael Whalen & The Fire Brigade

Labels:Ropeadope Records
Number of Tracks:2
Total Time:00:09:01
From the Album:Michael Whalen & The Fire Brigade
Formats:Jazz,Smooth Jazz
Available Date & Time: Feb 20 2019 13:25:00 EST
Impact Date: Feb 20 2019 00:00:00

Michael Whalen grew up in Washington DC at a hot time for music of all varieties. Jazz of the fusion variety, Punk, and Go-go all factored into the scene, and Michael was an energetic young man with open ears. School was not his thing, he had already been creating music in the basement before he hit the seemingly sterile educational environment, so it wasn’t long before he was off to New York to intern at a major agency. Immediately in synch with the fast pace of writing for commercials, film, and TV, Michael flourished and moved straight into the limelight as a prolific composer. In his career he has written over 750 TV and Film scores – perhaps the most ubiquitous is the Good Morning America theme song – and he’s taken home two Emmy Awards for his work. Michael Whalen already has a successful career as a musician, with 31 solo and and soundtrack recordings to his credit.

One would think this is enough, that he owns his lane and should damn well stick to it. But that would not be very Michael Whalen. As a 14 year old boy he heard Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, and Herbie Hancock and the fire behind their creations. He vowed that he would make that Jazz fusion album one day, and that day has arrived. Recruiting the best – Michael League, Vinnie Colaiuta, Bob Magnuson – Whalen hit the studio to celebrate Jazz and Funk (and Go-Go), with an ear on keeping the melodies and not getting lost in the virtuosity.

Michael Whalen & The Fire Brigade’s self titled album is ready for prime time on March 1, 2018. A boy and his dream never forgotten. Let’s celebrate, shall we?
“Go-Go Bird”
“Go Go” music was invented in Washington DC in the late 60s or early 70s influenced by African rhythms, R&B and funk. The distinctive groove can be heard everywhere in downtown DC and Anacostia  through open car windows and shops along Martin Luther King, jr Avenue. As a white teenager living in the suburbs, I had never heard anything like the call and response percussion and funky songs placed on top of the groove. In the Summer of 1982, I had an opportunity to sit-in with Chuck Brown (the “godfather” of Go Go) after he saw me play at a local music store. I have waited nearly 40 years to do a song that was Go-Go inspired… “Go-Go Bird” is hooky, funky, groovy Go Go at its infectious best. 
“Benny’s Brooklyn Blues”
Inspired by my love of the melodic jazz of Steely Dan, Jeff Lorber and Bob James, this groovy song was born from a jam session and then took on a life of its own. Not all jazz needs “burning” solos or hysterical playing. Sometimes, it's the disciplined approach which moves a song forward and lets the song explode its melody all over you. Thats “Benny”… 🙂
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