2007 Year In Review

2007 Year In Review

2007 went by at lightning speed but fortunately BRO was hard at work documenting some of its most exciting musical performances. This two-CD sampler promises to be more diverse than ever, featuring some truly obscure moments. Beginning at the extreme end of that spectrum, the first song is performed by a 60-person choir with a 12-piece backing band at the Eastbay Church of Religious Science. Going from this into realms of rock, jazz, funk and folk, a listening of BRO's 2007 Year in Review is a lesson in modern music culture.

The bread and butter of BRO's compilations are typically Bay Area darlings who are little-known to the rest of the world. Lebo & the Law fit this bill to a T. Their upbeat ditty, "Try," gets things going on a bouncy foot. Less polished outfits like The Ned Flanders Experience, comprised of 14-year olds, get equal opportunity to show their stuff. Here they storm through a garage-band style "Crazy Train." It's quite a contrast to the following track from Big Organ Trio. With the help of a funky guest guitarist, they tear through Jimmy Smith's "Root Down" with a vengeance. BRO's ability to bring out a studio element in a live
recording is here on full display.

BRO's dedication to seeking out the most interesting live music extends far outside the bounds of typical concert situations. A graduation reception at a private residence offers one of the compilation's highlights. Conjunto Rivira and his band present a beautiful Salsa excursion with all the elements aligned. Piano and percussion surround the listener, making you want to get up and dance. The Satisfied Allstars deliver some old school funk at a wedding reception. Their virtuoso guitarist lays down liquid jazz leads over a growling rhythm section. The fun continues with Banyan and its primal, acid jazz. Funky enough to dance to, but edgy enough for those who veer to the dark side.

Smokedaddies, with their ever-evolving personnel, launch Disc Two with a crisp, extended intro into Marshall Tucker Band's "Can't You See." The sound quality is superb as the band nails all the subtle dynamics with sweet keyboards, slide guitar and soulful vocals. Strong cover songs become a theme as Moonshine Still run through Beck's "Deborah." Hitting all the high notes, it arrives at a major climax with the help of guest guitarist, Dan Lebowitz. Another frequent guest musician on Bay area stages, Jordan Feinstein, goes on to inject a playful keyboard romp for Blue Turtle Seduction.

Pulling another obscure gem out of its hat, BRO somehow ended up at Albany High School’s spring concert production to catch a 15 year old singer putting on a vocal clinic for the ages. This is the kind of thing you'd never hear otherwise. The very next track brings an indie rock edge to the mix from Two Gallants. Passionate vocals and urgent instrumentation stamp this song with sincerity.

The latter part of the 2007 Year in Review is dripping with funk starting with The New Mastersounds, all the way from Leeds, UK. Once again, the sound quality is studio-worthy. Garaj Mahal pops up with a song from its set at the intimate Bobolink Festival. Karl Denson sits in on sax, giving a clear reminder as to why he’s a legend-in-the-making. Perhaps the most exciting song of all comes from a new group, Five Eyed Hand. Hot, sexy jamming is complimented by violin, bringing a gypsy flavor to the groove. This is deep stuff; ever more so thanks to the searing guest guitar of Garaj Mahal’s Fareed Haque. Cross-pollination, as they say, is big in the Bay Area. Look for notes distinguishing performances such as this which can be ordered from BRO in their entirety.

-Tyler Blue

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Disc 1

  1. East Bay Church Of Religious Science (7/14 - Black Expo 2007 - Oakland, CA)
    60 person choir with 12 piece backing band
  2. 420 Funk Mob (11/23 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    with members of Funkadelic & P-Funk All Stars
  3. Lebo & the Law (4/20 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    Dan Lebowitz of ALO side project
  4. The Ned Flanders Experience (11/11 - Ashkenaz -
    Berkeley, CA)
    Four 14 year old students from Bandworks Instruction Program
  5. Big Organ Trio (4/21 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    w/ Eddie Roberts from New Mastersounds on guitar
  6. Conjunto Rivira - (8/4 - Los Altos Hills, CA)
    Dr. Marissa Yanez PhD. graduation reception
  7. The Satisfied AllStars (9/28 - Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA)
    Jen and Jeff Correll wedding reception
  8. Banyan (4/13 - Red Devil Lounge - San Francisco, CA)
    Steven Perkins of Jane's Addiction side project
  9. Gazelle (8/25 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    Loop master Garrin Benfield with spoken word by Sam Flot
  10. On The One (9/13 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    From Southern California
  11. Meltone (6/2 - Connecticut Yankee - San Francisco, CA)
    The final show of the 2007 US tour, From Japan
  12. Al Howard and the K23 Orchestra (4/14 - Connecticut Yankee - San Francisco, CA)
    Jam-Hop band from San Diego

Disc 2

  1. Smokedaddies (10/17 - Blackthorn Tavern - San Francisco, CA)
    Weekly jam by some of SF music's finest
  2. Moonshine Still (3/17 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    w/ Dan Lebowitz of ALO on lap steel
  3. Blue Turtle Seduction (9/8 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA)
    w/ Jordan Feinstien of The RituaL on keys
  4. Albany High School (5/21 - Ashkenaz - Berkeley, CA)
    15 year old singer leading spring concert
  5. Two Gallants (10/26 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA)
    Childhood friends making music all over world
  6. The Newmastersounds (4/21 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    Super Funk jams from Leeds, UK
  7. Five Eyed Hand (10/20 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    w/ Fareed Haque of Garaj Mahal on guitar
  8. Garrin Benfield (2/2 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA)
    Covering a John Haitt song
  9. Garaj Mahal (5/26 - Bobolink Music Festival - Belden, CA)
    w/ Karl Denson of Grey Boy All Stars
  10. Izabella (7/14 - ARSpace - San Francisco, CA)
    Final ARSpace show
  11. Jerry Harrison & Friends (3/10 - 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA)
    From Talking Heads/ Tiffany Travalent benefit
  12. The RituaL (9/8 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA)
    1st Independent show