What are the Blues, musically speaking?
One definition is: A style of music is usually distinguished by a strong 4/4 rhythm, flatted thirds and sevenths, a 12-bar structure, and lyrics in a three-line stanza in which the second line repeats the first: “The blues is an expression of anger against shame and humiliation” (B.B. King). I say, “It’s just cool”
What is Funk, musically speaking?
One definition is: A type of popular music combining elements of jazz, blues, soul and characterized by syncopated rhythm and a heavy, repetitive bassline. I say it’s Funky.
I recently caught Tommy Z at Funk N Waffles in Syracuse and man did he hit the definition of Funk and Blues. His band is a perfect mix of great musicians that gave us great blues and funk all night. Funk N Waffles is a great venue for Blues and Funk. It’s not a large venue so you don’t get lost in a crowd. It’s small enough you almost become part of the band, tapping, dancing or thigh slapping to the beat. You don’t have to be loud to perform great music.
Each instrument fits into each song perfectly. You start out with a subtle drum beat, bring in a smooth rolling bass line and in this case, you have two sisters, Keyboards and Guitar, battling for your attention all night. Both with their own specific “attributes” we all can enjoy.
Every song is a mini show in itself, spotlighting every musician on stage with a mini solo, this is when you see them shine. No longer is Tee Spoon just a back beat of the song, he is a powerful blues percussionist. Dave is not just a subtle background groove but a Funky Rhythm expert. Tee Spoon and Bassist Dave Herr shuffle us from sister to sister all evening. Keyboardist Tom Scime sets the Ivory’s on fire, moving from one end to the other not missing any note. We don’t hear specific notes, we hear a feeling that reaches everybody in its own way. Tommy Z tops the night off, I love hearing him play guitar. Nothing moves me more then a Blues riff that goes from quite to screamin’ and singing, Tommy kills it and not in a bad way. I had the worst time keep my camera steady while filming, so sorry for the bad videos but you should have been there to see them play in person. Watching Tommy Z you can hear the influences of Classic Rock to Funk to Blues. This is one of the best shows I have seen in a while. He played some tunes off “Blizzard of Blues” CD, Tommy is a world class writer. I would love to see him and his band back for The Syracuse Blues fest this summer!