We got connected to the Tomas Doncker Band through his recent performances with Gregory Porter, but actually, his music has been part of the airwave all along. Released in 2014, the title track explodes with a Howlin' Wolf scream and then simmers down to grab your attention with an organ harp background vocals gone gospel to blues tension. Doncker is breathy and serious in his message and performance. The blues are a background that float across the landscape, which is a subtle effect. When the lead guitars come in, though, they hold nothing back and totally rock it out. "Can't Say No" is a fun funky rant that invites you in and keeps you hoppin'. Tomas Doncker has a southern swagger, despite his NYC placement on the map here. "The New Day" seems to be a storied ballad of Eastern seaboard life and a tribute to the folks who work real hard in the day to day life, living in faith and strength, wherever they can get it. Here we are blessed with Doncker's wisdom and witness.
"Hellfighter of Harlem" brings soul and funk to the scene in an honor of the heroes fighting overseas. Here, a Hendrix like distortion mixes with traditional Marvin Gaye/Curtis Mayfield political soul, to propel the values from the struggles of the past into the future. "At This Midnight Hour" is a slow blues ballad of ambivalent separation. What I love about this whole record is that Doncker brings every song local both personally and globally. He mentions the Hudson, and all the places along the way in many of the songs and discusses the experiences of oppression in culture directly. "Little Blue Room" is a fun romp down Manhattan's streets, straight down Broadway into the heart of China town. Hanging chords over low toned organ and high top cymbals keep the track, and the listener, on it's edge. And isn't that just like New York City? "Coney Island" is a breezy summer day through the historic tourist icon, you can almost taste the cotton candy and see Doncker free as the little child he stories among the lemonade kissed harp that sends the sweet melody out over the ferris wheels. "That Horse" shows off Doncker's grit and grasp of his love of Delta blues, as he updates his version of it lyrically, but keeps the symbolism and bottle neckin' of the past masters. Pay a visit to his prior album "The Howlin' Wolf Project". "Ground Zero" is in your face with reflections and assertions to think about, as we still grieve the fall of the Twin Towers and all its implications. "Fun City" measures the tempo, the tone and the lyrics to establish a groove that is smooth as glass. Doncker invites reminiscence, stay with him, because the fade out brings you right to the streets of NYC with the sounds of beeping cars, alarms and thick urban breezes to seep into your senses.
PRESS RELEASE on Big Apple Blues:
What happens when a legendary Blues man teams up with a legendary poet? Music History!
The long-awaited new album from Blues Maestro Tomás Doncker and Pulitzer prize-winning poet Yusef komunyakaa is here.
Big Apple Blues is a searing, inspiring, jaw-dropping trip through the American Black Experience. The Tomás Doncker Band has reached a new high water mark here, burning with a soul-piercing intensity. This journey through Black America may make you cry, shout, and smile. it'll certainly make you glad to be alive in a time when these two men came together to write this lyrical masterpiece, and a superlative band of passionate players was there to do it justice!
Bluesman, No-Wave/Funk Pioneer, creator of Global Soul, In-demand Producer, Impresario, and Founder of True Groove Records - Tomás Doncker has been living for the music and playing his heart out for over four decades, working with people as diverse as Madonna, Sean Lennon, James Chance, Bootsy Collins, Bonnie Raitt, Ivan Neville, Bill Laswell, Bobby Caldwell, Sadao Watanabe, Meshell Ndegeocello, Prince Charles Alexander, Yoko Ono, The Itals, Adam Rudolph, Steel Pulse, Marla Mase, Mahmoud Ahmed, legendary theatre director Alfred Preisser and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa to name a few.