A live studio performance of an unreleased new song by Eli Staples - "Fireside Story".  Beautifully recorded at Cue Studios by Sean Russell

 

 

Another installment from my live studio session with Nicki Gonzalez earlier this year.  If you missed it when we first posted it, check out our version of Alice in Chains' "Rooster" arranged by our guitarist Matvei Sigalov.  It's great.  

 

I'm honored to post a great series of live studio performances I was fortunate enough to be part of.  Vocalist Nicki Gonzalez does an amazing job of making these songs her own.  

 

First installment: 

Eli Staples in a live studio performance with Nicki Gonzalez, Hadrian Ferraud, Matvei Sigalov, and Lee Pearson.  "Titanium" by David Guetta

 

 

 

Hey everyone,

 I just did a great studio session with my old friend and all around fabulous musician Nicki Gonzalez.   We did a multiple camera shoot of the actual studio performances, which is not something I've done much of before and certainly not at this level of detail, with cameras on booms and stuff.  Also on the session was my good friend and great guitarist Matvei Sigalov, fantastic drummer Lee Pearson (currently with Spyro Gyra) and the awesome Hadrian Feraud, currently with Chick Corea's most recent project.  What a great band.   So you'll shortly see us doing our own, very HEAVILY arranged versions of "Titanium", "Sign Your Name", "Rooster" and "Shiver"... till then, here's a couple still shots from the session.  

So I was happy to be part of another show at Jammin' Java this past August, with a full band, performing some of my newest original songs.  Here's a couple of videos I just posted from that show, and there will be more on the video page shortly.

Thanks so much to those of you that came!

 

Here's "Kiss The Sun":

 

I got this very stirring paragraph from Todd Googins, a wonderful singer and all-around good human being, and I think it's the kind of thing I need to read every once in awhile, to keep myself going.  Certainly it makes what we as artists do sound noble, rather than being something one does instead of getting a real job.  I hope you find it helpful in your travels.

So, some of you may know that I have a band called The Source that does big parties and stuff...  It just so happens that there was a really BIG party a couple weeks ago, and along with Usher, Robin Thicke, and K'Jon, there was a band there called The Source. Coincidence?  Well, actually, no...

 

Not that there's too much to read about it, but it's here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2013/04/28/michael-jordan-yvette-prieto-wedding-palm-beach-jupiter/2119681/

 

And if any of you happened to catch Saturday Night Live's spoof on the event, there were NO coke-snorting jugglers.  I promise.

 

 

 

I've just released a short EP of four of my original songs.  It's a very sparse concept, solo piano and vocal, and I'm now beginning work on new songs with full band.  I hope you enjoy it, and if you're interested, I've included the complete text of my album notes below.  Please pick up the album on the front page of my site!

 

Album Notes

I've gone through many incarnations of this recording, basically because I worry too much about the details. Not details of recording, so much, but of melody, lyrics... what I think of as content stuff. I'm never quite sure if something is said just right or sung just right, or couldn't it just be a little better? In any case, it's important to let your songs out into the world, or they can never have a life of their own, so I decided at some point that this was good enough. 

 

I would just like to say that I am appalled by whomever had the bad taste to alter my carefully crafted image by adding an inappropriate obscene gesture, and I am notifying the proper authorities.  

 

 

Ok, actually I think this is awesome. 

 

On a Sunday night in January, my band and I were being led carefully through security and up the stairs of the National Building Museum in Washington DC, each worn step wide enough for a horse in the last century to walk comfortably. We were headlining together with Stevie Wonder, the two bands playing one of the official inaugural balls for Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America.  The President and the First Lady were in attendance, and they would be speaking on the same stage just minutes after we left it.   

 

 On the second floor I turned a corner on my way to our green room and was greeted by this sign:

 

 

 

I had an official pass with my picture on it, which always makes me feel a little bit more like a rock star, but it somehow hadn’t sunk in that I’d be seeing my band’s name, The Source, right next to Stevie’s.  

 

 

 

 

So, last month I decided finally to enter three of my songs in the 2012 International Songwriting Competition.  It's one of the biggest and most prestigious in the world, and the judges are quite impressive (to me, anyway).  Last year, the grand prize winner was Kimbra.  If you're not familiar with her, she was the female singer on Gotye's big hit "Somebody I Used To Know" (which, by the way, I am not ashamed to say that I love), and is a really impressive singer and songwriter.  So, tough competition.  I had to try it.  If you're curious about the competition itself, look at www.songwritingcompetition.com.  

Anyway, I entered three of my songs: Grand Theft Auto, Don't Know What I Was Looking For, and God And Man.  I actually went into the Peabody Conservatory recording studio to do piano and vocal versions of all those songs (and more), and I have to say, Ed Tetrault (head of the recording department up there) is a fabulous engineer who deserves even more recognition than he already has, and, wow.  I'm also so thankful to Karla Chisholm for directing me TO him,and then being so very kind as to produce the session for me...without her direction, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have come up with anything useful while I was there.  I'm way too self-critical on these things to get anything done on my own.  

Anyway, I'm including that performance of "God And Man" here, in case you're interested.  I think of this as my alt-gospel piece.  Sort of like sacred music for the devout agnostic.  That's the idea, anyway.  The song storyline starts with humanity being kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and is a monologue of mankind telling God, maybe a little petulantly, how it feels about the whole experience.  

Wish me luck.  I'll get the results in February, I believe.  Take a listen to this track.  It's not the final release version, but I thought I'd put it out there for those of you who are interested.  

God_And_Man_eli_staples.mp3  

 

This is an excerpt from my recent performance Sept 27th, 2012 in Fredericksburg, VA, hosted by the wonderful Brencore Entertainment.  It's me singing, playing piano, and left hand bass with Mark Prince on drums, Dan Leonard on guitar, and Eddie Baccus Jr on sax.  This was a big challenge for me to do all that stuff at once, and I had a great time doing it...  let me know what you think!

 

 

Here's a review from my show last week at Blues Alley with trumpeter Cindy Bradley.  

 

Cindy Bradley
Blues Alley
Washington, DC
Wed., Aug. 15, 2012, 10:00 pm

Again, the party was in full force at Washington, DC’s jazz hotspot Blues Alley on Aug. 15, this time courtesy of hot trumpeter Cindy Bradley.

Bradley, who wasted no time mesmerizing the audience with her soulful performance, was accompanied by a most competent and supportive band comprised of “Wah Wah” LaGrand on guitar, Eli Staples on keys, Dan Cipriano on sax, Hector Lopez on drums, and Ernie Donadelle on bass.

The majority of her explosive set  included tracks from her latest release, Unscripted, and she poured every ounce of her being into each and every tune as if she were performing it for the very first time. Actually, she was playing the tunes for the first time here at Blues Alley, a place she says had been on her bucket list for a while.  As humorous as she is talented, she elaborated by quipping that “I planned to play here before I kicked the bucket.”  Needless to say, the place broke up in laughter.

In addition to her own lively performance, Cipriano, Bradley’s new fiancé (as she proudly announced to us, by the way), was one ball of fire as he rocked, danced, and set the stage ablaze with his demonstration of his range and intensity on sax during many tunes.  I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see this guy launch a solo career in the future. His stage presence was immense and loaded with confidence.

Not to be bested, colorful keyboardist Eli Staples was as animated and displayed as much intensity and adeptness on keys, often interacting with the audience with facial expressions that indicated he was having his own little party there onstage.  Bradley pointed out that this was the first time she’d met him.  You would never have guessed it, considering that he had such a handle on her music that it seemed as though he’d been a fixture in her band for years.

Guitarist LaGrand was also in true form as he raced across his guitar’s fretboard effortlessly, making the instrument squeal, scream, and sing. How do you make an inanimate object feel emotion? Just ask LaGrand.  He apparently had the answer, as did Cipriano, Staples, and the rest of Bradley’s band that night.

Tunes and performances never to be forgotten included the rousing opening tune “Déjà Blue,” “Lifted,” (a track where she introduced her colorful hybrid instrument, the “Flumpet” a cross between the flugelhorn and the trumpet), “Swing Set” from her Bloom debut release, a tune she prefaced with the entertaining and inspiring story of her conquering a bully while in grade school in Buffalo, NY, “Footprints” “A New Day,” and the ever-popular Billboard –ranking track “Massive Transit,” among others, including her fired up finale, another from her Bloom album, “Curves Ahead.”  Not one of these tracks found a still person in the place. Heads bopped, feet tapped, fingers popped, and arms raised in approval as the lovely trumpeter and her cohorts proceeded to truly entertain.

Bradley is one of those powerful artists/ performers who hit the ground running with her debut release and was immediately embraced by the contemporary jazz community as one of its “favorite daughters.” Seeing her performance tonight only cemented what I’d suspected from listening to her music: She is a bona fide force with whom to reckon.  I am so fortunate to have witnessed first-hand this incredible show of pure talent, finesse, and character. Encore! Encore! – Ronald Jackson

I've just returned from England, and am so grateful to Deborah Bond and Third Logic for allowing me to be part of their first short tour of Europe.  The response was great!  And we're lucky enough to have had some great fans taking some live footage of our first show of the tour at London's famous Jazz Cafe.  Here's the video of our performance of the Chaka Khan classic 'Any Love'

 

If you've been thinking about coming to see me do a show sometime soon, this is going to be a great one.  I'll be appearing as part of my friend and partner Karla Chisholm's original project, and it's goood....  We'll have a full horn section, back up singers, and a set of her originals and a few selected beautiful covers that I'm already excited about.  

 

 

Who's coming to hang out with us tomorrow?


 

Karla Chisholm and Eli Staples live at Travinia 

 

Wednesday May 16th - 7-10 pm - Travinia Italian Kitchen - Leesburg, VA

 


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