For more than thirty-five years, Woody Allen and His New Orleans Jazz Band have been delighting audiences with a hot mix of New Orleans inspired music. The bands sound is firmly rooted in the music that Woody Allen has loved since his childhood and draws inspiration from such legendary artists as Sidney Bechet, George Lewis, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone and of course, Louis Armstrong.
Their repertoire consists of over 1200 songs and comprises a diverse collection of early 20th century popular tunes, hymns, spirituals, marches, blues and rags. In keeping with the spontaneous nature of the music every performance is an energetic collection of improvisationsthere is no play list, nor do the musicians know what song Allen, in collaboration with band director Eddy Davis, will call out next.
Beginning as informal jam sessions and then becoming regular concerts every Monday night, the band has performed for thousands of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world. For the last decade, the group has been regularly playing once a week at the Manhattan landmark hotel, The Carlyle. Allen even missed accepting an Academy Award for ( ) so as not to miss his Monday night gig.
In 1996, the band embarked on its first tour of Europe and was chronicled in the documentary film, "Wild Man Blues" and subsequent compact disc titled under the same. Since then, the band has returned to Europe on numerous occasions, most recently performing in Greece and Turkey.
This is the groups first multi-city tour of California and Florida and they are pleased to bring their brand of New Orleans jazz to American audiences.
Eddy Davis, Musical Director/Banjo
Eddy Davis is a masterful musician, singer and composer. He received his formal training at Purdue University, Chicago University and both the Cosmopolitan and Chicago Conservatories of Music. Mr. Davis has appeared on stage at most major concert venues throughout the world including: Paris' Olympia Theatre, London's Royal Festival Hall and New York's famed Carnegie Hall.
He has performed with a diverse roster of talents that include: Jabbo Smith, Turk Murphy, George Brunis, the original Dukes of Dixieland, Tom Waits, Leon Redbone, George Segal, Gene Krupa, Freddie Hubbard and Benny Goodman.
He can be seen in Mike Figgis' film One Night Stand and heard on many soundtracks including Fried Green Tomatoes where he is accompanying Patti LaBelle.
In his association with filmmaker Woody Allen, Mr. Davis has acted in and written original music for his productions and is musical director for The New Orleans Jazz Band (Allen featured on clarinet) that appears Monday evenings at New York City's Upper East Side supper club The Cafe Carlyle.
The New Orleans Jazz Band played a highly successful tour of Europe that spawned a film entitled Wild Man Blues. This film won honors at the Sundance and Venice film festivals. This band can be heard on a Music Masters CD entitled The Bunk Project and on a CD featuring selections from Wild Man Blues.
Whether as a creator, conductor, producer and/or director, Mr. Davis has been the innovative force behind such projects as: The New York Banjo Ensemble; the Jazz Leggs revue at Berlin, Germany's famed vaudeville house The Friedrichstadt Palast; Ill Music (The New York Society for the Preservation of Illegitimate Music), most known for their show The Best of Spike Jones; The Early Tin Pan Alley Orchestra, a seven piece salon orchestra performing The Roots and Branches of American Jazz; two seasons of the New York in Messina festival of Messina, Sicily; and the revival of the 1920's musical Whoopee.
As of the last several years Mr. Davis has settled into his writing. He composes book, music and lyrics for theater, string quartets and orchestral works. On occasion he sings his original songs in live performance.
He has also resurrected the old New York Jazz label which features young greats alongside the old masters of classic jazz. A new release on this label is a CD titled Eddy Davis, Woody Allen & Conal Fowkes with Strings. A performance of early jazz tunes with a string quartet.
In 2006, Eddy Davis was inducted into The National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame.
Complete information can be found on the website http://www.TheEddyDavis.com
Conal Fowkes, Piano
Conal Fowkes is a multi-talented pianist, double-bassist, vocalist, composer, arranger and teacher. His skills and expertise cover diverse fields of music from traditional jazz to swing and post-bop, from traditional Cuban Son to Salsa and Latin jazz, from classical to popular. He is at home as a soloist, in trios, small groups, big bands and as a vocal accompanist.
Born in Zambia and having spent most of his early childhood in Mexico, Conal moved to his father's hometown of Loughborough, England in 1971. His formal musical training began at the age of nine and continued studies gained him a place at the world-renowned Royal College of Music, London. During this time he also studied with legendary Cuban Maestro Chucho Valdez.
While completing four years of classical studies at the RCM he was entered in the International Wavendon Allmusic Competition where he was presented with the award for College Student Allmusician of the Year by HRH Princess Margaret.
He has performed in most of the premier concert halls and jazz venues throughout Europe with many leading musicians including; Cleo Laine, Johnny Dankworth, Nigel Kennedy, Stacey Kent, John R.T. Davies, George Chisholm, Roberto Pla, Patato Valdez, Alfredo Rodriguez, Adalberto Santiago, Henry Fiol and Jesus Alemani.
Since moving to NY in 1996, Conal has performed throughout the US at such notable venues as NY's Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Birdland, Town Hall, Lincoln Center, The Cajun, Cafe Carlyle, Rainbow Room, World Trade Center, Washington DC's Kennedy Center, and the Folly Theater in Kansas City.
He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Wycliff Gordon, Bob Wilber, Ray Santos Big Band, Johnny Pacheco, Paquito D'Rivera, Marion McPartland, The Manhattan Rhythm Kings, Mike Peters' New Yorkers and Bette Midler.
He has appeared on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and the Rosie O'Donnell Show. He can be heard and/or seen in the films Lipstick on Your Collar, Madame Suzatska, Ghost World, Finding Forester, and The Aviator and was featured soloist in the hit Broadway show, One Mo' Time.
Conal is also a member of the Woody Allen Jazz Band, the Eddy Davis' Wild Reeds and Wicked Rhythm, Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, Orange Kellin's New Orleans Serenaders, The Manhattan Ragtime Orchestra, award winning Cuban group Los Soneros De Oriente and performs regularly with movie star Danny Aiello.
He has many recordings to his name, including his most recent solo album Dizzy Fingers.
Simon Wettenhall, Trumpet
Born in Australia, Simon began music studies on the piano at the age of ten. After hearing a recording of Louis Armstrong, the trumpet assumed the central role in his musical life. Studies with two Australian masters of the orchestral trumpet soon followed, then the school military band, and at age fifteen, his first forays into the world of professional music playing the early music of New Orleans.
While attending art school in Australia, music performances in traditional Jazz and Blues combos at Jazz festivals, concerts and clubs reflected Simons growing interest in the early origins of Jazz.
Although contemporary jazz was available on recordings in Australia, there were few performing venues. As Simon became interested in these directions and sought to perform, the late sixties pop/rock scene proved the most fertile ground for exploring new musical ideas.
A trip to the United States in 1971 was a turning point. Constant performing playing and studying for one year with artists directly connected to the currents of contemporary mainstream jazz and earlier styles, provided inspiration for the continued pursuit of diverse musical directions within a Jazz context.
Returning to Australia for three years, Simon performed with and composed music for the group Niaggra, after which he moved permanently to the U.S., studied with Warne Marsh in Los Angeles for three years, then moved to New York where he now lives with his wife and family. Simons trumpet and vocals have been heard in major venues throughout the United States and Europe.
Jerry Zigmont, Trombone
A premier trombonist of the New Orleans style, Jerry began studying music at the age of 12. While growing up in Connecticut, he performed in a variety of marching bands, drum corps, jazz bands, brass quintets, classical orchestras, and later earned degrees in Performance and Music Education at the University Of Connecticut.
Beginning in the early 1980's, Zigmont "cut his teeth" playing club dates and concerts in regional jazz groups throughout New England. In 1987 he began an association with the celebrated British clarinetist, Sammy Rimington which resulted in a series of recordings and tours. Jerry's rousing style has been featured with many noted New Orleans jazz luminaries including Doc Cheatham, Percy Humphrey and Arvel Shaw .
For the last decade, Jerry Zigmont has been playing and touring with the Woody Allen New Orleans Jazz Band. His trombone playing is steeped in the classic New Orleans tradition, with its trademark raw power and "straight form the heart" approach. He is featured on the band soundtrack recording Wild Man Blues and has performed extensively with the group in Europe, South America, Turkey and Greece.
Jerry Zigmont plays a S.E. Shires trombone.
John Gill, Drums
John grew up in New York City, and began playing drums while still in grade school. He began listening to traditional jazz sounds in various Greenwich Village nightclubs in the late 1960's, and was soon playing in a Dixieland Band. In 1977 John was invited to join the jazz band of the legendary Turk Murphy out in San Francisco and stayed for ten years. Next was a long stint in New Orleans playing the dives along Bourbon Street, as well as more prestigious spots like Preservation Hall. John finally came home to New York and is thrilled to be playing with Woody and the band.
Greg Cohen, Bass
Greg Cohen was born in Los Angeles, California. He spent his primary years playing in garage bands with his brother, Danny Cohen. In high school he became interested in more varied musics. In1978 he began working with singer/songwriter/actor Tom Waits, a musical association the lasted well into the 90s. When he wasnt on the road with Waits, Cohen was playing with some of LAs finest like Victor Feldman, Conte Condoli, Teddy Edwards, Billy Higgins and Jack Sheldon.
In 1984 Cohen moved to New York, where he currently resides. Balancing his creative output among producing, composing, arranging and bass playing has always been an important part of Cohens process. He has written for theater, film and recordings and has arranged for some of todays finest artists (including Marisa Monte, David Byrne, Dagmar Krause, David Sanborn, Tom Waits and Gal Costa). His bass playing credits are extensive and include associations with artists such as Ornette Coleman, Kenny Davern, Elvis Costello, John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Willie Nelson, Bill Frisell, Norah Jones, Dave Douglas, Tricky, Jesse Harris, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, Woody Allen, Ken Peplowski, Joey Baron, Donovan, Crystal Gayle, Bob Dylan, Alan Watts, Lee Konitz, Richie Havens, Dino Saluzzi, Lou Reed, Odetta and Danny Barker. In August and September 2006 he succeeded Bill Frisell as musical director of the famed Century of Song series at the German arts festival. The performers included David Byrne, Holly Cole and Laurie Anderson who will perform with Greg Cohen and pianoman Steve Nieve.
Greg Cohen is well known for his brilliant knowledge about music and his humbleness.