Tapping into the recent boom in British funk music, Row Z are a Liverpool based five piece with a taste for moody blues. Their new EP, ‘Green Penny’ is due June 9th and is currently one of the most eagerly awaited releases in the world of new UK Blues.
Led by the incredible Richard James Smith, the band specialise in sprawling jazz spiced funk tracks, full of intricate rhythms and virtuoso musical performance throughout.
For a taste, check out the EP’s lead single/title track ‘Green Penny’ – complete with a raw sound reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix:
Row Z first made a splash with Ska/Jazz single ‘Stalemate’ in 2006, released to universally good reviews and – improbably – a huge chart success in Germany.
Now though, this new material sees them hitting new heights with great crossover potential, pulling together their roots sensibilities with sound that is instantly accessible. It’s the kind of music that can (and has) turned small, impromptu gigs into full on dance parties, bringing in elements from breakdance to swing.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Richard James Smith comes with something of a reputation. After receiving Masterclasses from Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), Joan Armatrading, Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Yngwie Malmsteen and José Feliciano, Richard had the honour of being awarded his degree by Sir Paul McCartney; but this was just the start.
Since then, Richard has featured as a finalist in ‘Young Jazz Musician of the Year’ and ‘Acoustic Guitarist of the Year’, and featured on Oscar winner Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds To Mars track ‘Up in the Air’ (Remix). Fans include Jools Holland, who swapped numbers with Guitarist Richard after a performance for ITV.
However, Smith isn’t the only band member with pedigree. Drummer Jay Irving has toured with Tony Christie/The Christians, while Keyboard player John has toured with the Seahorses, John Squire, DJ Vadim, Cinematic Orchestra, and played and composed for Lily Allen hits ‘Smile’ and LDN. He also played on the acclaimed debut album from Corinne Bailey Rae.
Meanwhile, Alto sax player Alex Harris has performed for Richard Branson, Prince Charles and Kate Middleton, as well as numerous television shows, radio shows and short films including BBC’s Call the Midwife and BBC Radio London. He has also performed with Kevin Spacey at Ronnie Scott’s, London.
Row Z’s killer combination of skill and experience is what makes their music so brilliant and their EP so highly sought after. And when The Beatles’ first manager Allan Williams asks to book your band for parties after watching them at the Cavern Club, it’s clear you’re doing something right.
You can listen to the other two tracks from the ‘Green Penny’ EP here –
Blues for Buddah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6luu4Fon4k
Row Z Official website: http://www.rowz.net