Monday, May 22, 2017
Introducing bluZ (the band)..a musical collaboration with an interesting story
bluZ is a musical collaboration with a super cool origin story. Daniel Levanti is originally from Connecticut and growing up was fortunate to be always surrounded by music and musicians. Most of his family were musical in some way and every celebration was an excuse to pull out the guitars.
Eventually attending Berklee in Boston, he studied jazz and songwriting, while taking every chance he could to travel abroad, inclining him toward a definite desire to live in a culture that was unknown and unpredictable.
After spending three nights in Prague on a trip from Germany, the stark difference in appearance of the Czech countryside in contrast to the orderliness of its neighbors to the West was immediately attractive. There was a free mindedness in the landscape itself, and the silver chord of the Bohemian spirit stretched a refreshingly safe distance above any strictness of tradition or expectation.
Two years later he found himself with a guitar, a backpack, and a room in a shared house. After only a few months he would meet his first long time collaborator, Jeffrey Marshall, who like himself had just landed on Prague's shores from America, not knowing a soul and ready to begin anew.
Together they formed the band, "Supercool" (see, we told you this bio is super cool). At Supercool's first concert there was one extraordinary woman in the audience. A painter of rare talent, but also a linguist and an actress. Katia and Daniel married two years later, and she introduced Daniel and Jeffrey to many of the luminaries of the Czech art world.
Through their artistic network, they met Vašek Polansky. Supercool needed a drummer and Vašek was the perfect man. Though he spoke little English at the time, he faked it so well that Jeffrey and Daniel thought he was just incredibly Zen. When the conversation went to the extremes, Vašek's expression remained calm and unchanged.
They quickly recorded their first album together, then took it to Nashville and released it on Dave Pomeroy's label, "Earwave Records". At this point Daniel, Katia and Jeffrey began spending more time in the USA, and Vašek had begun playing with Iva Frůlingova. As circumstances dictated, Jeffrey and Daniel drifted apart geographically for several years, eventually regrouping in 2008 to record their second album back in Prague, this time with David Koller on drums, and produced by Tapani Rauha from Finland. That album took 3 years to finish, but was finally released on Championship Music in 2011.
The years that followed saw Daniel play in a number of different bands, but most importantly was "Sidestreets", which he and Vašek formed together, releasing an album in 2013, "Conversations". Meanwhile Vašek formed his band "On Air", releasing an album of their own, and Daniel still regularly appears as a guest with them when he's in Prague.
In late 2015 Daniel and Katia drove to Washington D.C. to celebrate the release of Daniel's book of poetry, "Where No Wind Can Move the Sand". They stayed a few nights with Katia's cousin Anastasia Rurikov Simes (http://www.rurikov-simes.com/) and her husband Dmitri. One evening they were introduced to Jay Z. (not THAT Jay Z., a different person who is WAY less famous).
After dinner Jay asked Daniel if he would be able to write some music to a lyric he'd written. Jay sent it immediately after, and Daniel agreed to give it a shot. This was November and Daniel and Katia were heading back to Prague soon for the next six months, so he asked Vašek if he would be interested in recording the song "Blue Blue Ruin", which had still not been written, once he got there. Luckily Vašek had the time, and after two days of working it out, they had the music for the song finished. By April they sent the recorded song off to Jay. He liked what he heard so he continued sending them lyrics.
One year later the bluZ debut album was a reality.
Listen to snippets of the album HERE: http://www.bluzmusic.com/music/
Stream and download the first single Blue Blue Ruin on iTunes HERE
Marty's review: I have listened to 2 tracks from their debut album where bluZ have captured the essence of blues music and show the influence it has on their music. Club Blue is a laid back style traditional Mississippi blues number with some nice acoustic and electric guitar work and Blue Blue Ruin is in a more contemporary style blues-rock with a very bluesy saxophone touch towards the end.