by Rusted Root's LIZ BERLIN
Available online and locally
"AudioBioGraphical" is the debut studio CD from Liz Berlin (of rusted root). The tracks on "AudioBioGraphical" find Liz front & center as a standout voice within an ever-changing palette of textures, instruments, loops & moods. Liz breaks new ground in this remarkable album moving effortlessly through & around genres. Along with writing and performing the tracks that make up "AudioBioGraphical ", Liz got her fingers dirty behind the scenes by participating in the engineering & production facets, sometimes wholly --sometimes a collaborative effort. Notable guest musicians grace this effort including Gary Shider of Parliament Funkadelic with his soulful vocal contribution to "Ask ". Soma Mestizo's Christianne Leach is featured on the first track "Love You" as well as Crisis Car's Frank Spadafora adding vocals to the serene yet disturbing "Souvenir," which also features New Invisible Joy's Mike Gaydos with his signature guitar landscape.
Core musicians on the album include Ford Thurston, Erik Cirelli and Chris Lohr (The Yards) on electric guitars with drummers Matt Vucic and Frank Marcello . Also, Megan Williams and Weldon Anderson fuse on violin and upright double bass. Mike Speranzo adds a solid variety of sounds and feels at times verging on hip-hop with his tasty guitar, bass, banjo and programming. Speranzo took the helm on the production of "Monster" and "Ask" along with Mr. Smalls' producer/engineer Larry Luther (Anti-Flag, 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas, Keller Williams, Ryan Adams). The stunning close of the album feature's Liz's twin sister, Katie Kelly , on the a cappella duet "Evening Prayer" that they have been performing together since the age of four.
Wino Riot is a band rooted in strong melodies and catchy hooks that are tied together by intricate vocal harmonies. Drawing upon classic influences such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd, to more contemporary artists like The Flaming Lips, Ween and The Good The Bad And The Queen, Wino Riot aims to create a unique take on psychedelic pop/rock. The group is comprised of David Barton (guitar, vocals), Doug Fitzsimmons (keyboards, vocals), Charles Kulbacki (guitar, vocals), Marc Martinka (drums, percussion), and Nick Michaels (bass).
With the release of their first full-length album - GyroFishChili - in June of 2004, Wino Riot started a string of live performances in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region gathering a loyal fan base along the way. After being featured on a 2005 Emerging Artists of Pittsburgh compilation, they developed a set of new material and started planning to record a new album. After a minor personnel change, the decision was made to scrap the new material and start writing a new album from the ground up. That decision led them to Mr. Small's Studios, located on the north side of Pittsburgh, to begin a new journey. Recording in a top-notch facility and working with noted engineer Larry Luther, Wino Riot developed their most creative and unique work to date.
The result is "The Zygote," thirteen songs by experienced musicians dealing with the ups, downs and questions of everyday existence. The album caught the attention of Mike Speranzo and Liz Berlin (co-owners of Mr. Small's) and led to Wino Riot and the new album being backed by their non-profit label, Creative.Life.Support records. Throughout the process, the support and guidance of Speranzo, Berlin and Luther led Wino Riot to where they are now, with their eyes and minds on the future and sharing their vision (or perspective) with anyone who wants to look inside.
"It's About Time"
These tracks find Jazzam exploring several differant areas of music and sound. It goes from tasty soul to latin to rock to funk and even dabbles into electronica all while maintaining a firm root in jazz. The catchy hooks of all the tunes on the record tie in to the concept and are truly all “About Time.”
Jazzam is a high energy- get the party started NOW- jazz/power-funk band. With modern and traditional influences ranging from Jazz, Funk, Soul, Rock, R&B and World Music every set has its own distinct flavor and its own unique pulsating intensity. By skillfully integrating short quotes of current and traditional cover songs into their tight jams and performing full covers that regularly knock audiences’ collective socks off, Jazzam relies heavily on highly composed original tunes while maintaining a close connection to a wide variety of audience favorites.
In a recent 2006 review of Jazzam's new album "It's About Time," the music editors at The Homegrown Music Network noted that, "Jazzam has something for everyone in their splendid sound. Rollicking bass lines, spirited guitar, keyboard, and horn solos, and intense vocals are just some of the building blocks of their texturally diverse music."
While maintaining a refined and subtle approach, Jazzam draws on the raw energy and power emitted from their frenzied, gyrating fans. Sending the energy back full force while creating an overflowing pool of dancable funk that pours out from the stage, the band immerses the crowd with hypnotic grooves and complex melodic harmonies, dragging them deeper and deeper into the music.
Whether audience members choose to stand dazed by the intermingling structures of sounds, or possesed by the music's siren call to shake your ass harder and harder- two things are certain- the dance floor will be bumping and in the end you'll be screaming for more.