Band of Other Brothers
Band Of Other Brothers is truly an All-Star group of musicians who have covered the gamut musically having performed and/or recorded with Sting, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Dave Matthews Band, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, John Mayer, Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Toto, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Alicia Keyes, My Morning Jacket, Simon Phillips, Steven Tyler, JD Souther, Garth Brooks, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Robben Ford, Charles Lloyd, David Sanborn, Alanis Morrisette, Van Morrison, Baaba Maal, Sheryl Crow, Tim McGraw, Boz Scaggs, Diane Schuur, Tom Scott, Frank Ocean, Herbie Hancock, Willie Nelson, Jason Mraz, Carly Simon, Branford Marsalis, Frank Sinatra, Smokey Robinson, Phoebe Snow, Ronnie Spector, The Spinners, Spyro Gyra, Cat Stevens, Barbra Streisand, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jack DeJohnette, Greg Osby, Eric Harland, Meshell Ndegeocello, Cindy Blackman, and many, many more…
the players (L to R):
Nir Felder – Guitar / Will Lee – Electric Bass / Jeff Coffin – Saxophones, Woodwinds / Jeff Babko – Piano, Keyboards / Keith Carlock – Drums
about the band:
After a recorded trio encounter in 2005 known as MONDO TRIO (with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta), that became a musicians’ favorite, kindred spirits and fellow Jeffs, Babko and Coffin, knew they had to reconvene. When drummer Keith Carlock re-relocated to Nashville (where Coffin resides), it seemed to be the moment they had waited for. Carlock and Babko were touring Japan with guitarists Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather and decided to push though and find time in between Carlock’s touring with Steely Dan, Coffin’s touring with Dave Matthews Band and Babko’s moments off from the Jimmy Kimmel Live house band. Amazingly, they found a shared window, and when Babko asked Mondo Trio engineer Niko Bolas for Nashville studio recommendations, he replied, “Blackbird, and I’m engineering!” Not wanting to repeat the recorded trio format, Babko asked Will Lee if he’d even be interested to play bass (he was). Finally, Babko asked young guitar master and fellow coffee enthusiast Nir Felder if he had the same time window free, which he did. Band Of Other Brothers was born!
Inspired by Pat Martino’s life story and his “Starbright” album (featuring Will Lee), Babko composed material and enlisted Coffin and Felder to do the same, which provided a wealth of creative musical springboards. The backdrop of recording in Nashville and at the legendary Blackbird Studios also inspired a collective aesthetic, as did the muscle of Carlock’s drumming.
The Band Of Other Brothers, including sonic whiz Niko Bolas, has created an exciting and thoughtful collection of music and, as Babko says, “We hope to open listeners’ doors and windows to let in our musical wind. However, you may have to sweep up some debris afterwards.”
JEFF BABKO is a native of Southern California, and has remained on the west coast throughout his career. After graduating from the University of Miami’s distinguished Frost School of Music, Babko began touring, first internationally with Julio Iglesias, and then with legendary L.A. session supergroup Toto. Babko and then Toto drummer Simon Phillips collaborated on three albums, including the traditional jazz project they co-led, titled “Vantage Point” for Jazzline Records.
Television work began with Martin Short’s syndicated talk show in 1999/2000, and later on the Emmy award winning Wayne Brady daytime show. For the past 13+ years, most significantly, Babko has been the musical arranger, a composer, and house band member on ABC TV’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. Always keeping one foot dipped in comedy territory, Babko has been the touring musical director and accompanist for Martin Short since 2002, and also performs regularly with Short & Steve Martin, often accompanied by the bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers.
In 2010, Babko recorded (“100 Miles From Memphis”) and toured with pop superstar Sheryl Crow, including a filmed live set from the Pantages Theatre, which has been a televised mainstay since its release. Another ongoing touring and recording situation has been with James Taylor, and Babko can be heard on Taylor’s “Covers” record, including its single, “It’s Growing”. Other recent recording highlights include Jason Mraz’ “Love Is A Four Letter Word” and Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange”. Babko has also recorded with Willie Nelson, Shelby Lynne, Smokey Robinson, Alanis Morrisette and on movie scores like “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, “Superbad”, “Date Night”, “Get Hard”, and “Daddy’s Home”.
KEITH CARLOCK – Drums
KEITH CARLOCK is a professional drummer currently residing in New York City, NY & Nashville, TN.
He has recorded and/or toured with such musical luminaries as John Mayer, Sting, Steely Dan, James Taylor, TOTO, Christopher Cross, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Diana Ross, Faith Hill, The Blues Brothers Band, Mike Stern, Leni Stern, David Johansen and the Harry Smiths, Richard Bona, Chris Botti, Wayne Krantz, Rudder, Harry Belafonte, Oz Noy, Larry Carlton, Clay Aiken, Rascal Flatts, Paula Abdul, and Grover Washington, Jr, to name a few.
Keith was voted number 1 Pop drummer, #1 Fusion drummer, and #1 Best All-Around drummer in Modern Drummer’s 2009 Readers Poll!
Keith’s first ever instructional DVD is now out with Hudson Music! It’s entitled “Keith Carlock – The Big Picture: Phrasing, improvisation, Style & Technique”.
JEFF COFFIN – Saxophones, Electro-sax, Woodwinds
JEFF COFFIN is an internationally recognized saxophonist, bandleader, composer, educator and author who has been traveling the globe since the late 20th Century. He is a 3x Grammy Award winner from Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, and played with them from 1997-2010. In July 2008, Jeff began touring with Dave Matthews Band, and officially joined the group in 2009 following the tragic passing of founding member LeRoi Moore. When not on the road with Dave Matthews, Coffin fronts his own group, Jeff Coffin & the Mu’tet, teaches at Vanderbilt University, presents clinics around the world, and, in 2015, established the Nashville Jazz Composers Collective in Nashville, TN. In 2011 he started Ear Up Records as a place for new music and emerging, as well as, established artists.
As a studio musician, Coffin has played on hundreds of recordings and is regarded as one of the top players in his profession. As a heavily in-demand, and passionate, D’addario and Yamaha Clinician, Coffin has presented well over 300 music clinics around the world to students in the US, South Africa, Australia, South America, Europe, Canada and Mexico.
NIR FELDER has been called “the next big jazz guitarist” by NPR, hailed by the New York Times as a “whiz kid”, and dubbed “incredible” by the Montreal Gazette. Nir Felder is a new voice in jazz guitar. Growing up right outside New York City, Felder spent his youth playing in rock bands while learning about jazz at the local record store, inspired by icons from John Coltrane to voodoo chile Jimi Hendrix. After attending Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, Felder moved to New York City in 2006 and quickly became one of the city’s most highly sought after sideman, notching credits in bands led by Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington (with whom he recorded the Grammy-winning “Money Jungle”), Jack DeJohnette, Greg Osby, Eric Harland, Jose James, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Cindy Blackman and others. Felder’s critically acclaimed debut “Golden Age” (Sony/OKeh) has been called “absolutely beautiful” by The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “lyrical and lofty” by The New York Times, “mesmerizing” by The Boston Globe, “a melodic triumph” by the New York City Jazz Record, and “mind-boggling” by All About Jazz.
WILL LEE had a formal musical education at the University of Miami, where he studied French horn for a year and then switched to a bass major. After classes, he worked on bass fundamentals listening to not only the Beatles, but also Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Miller, The Rascals, Motown, Sly & the Family Stone, etc. He would put it all into practice six sets a night gigging with various local bands, including an innovative horn band called “Goldrush.”
The Will Lee reputation spread throughout the music world, and brought New York looking for him. Trumpeter Randy Brecker called Will out of class one day and invited him to NYC to audition for “Dreams”. In New York, Will’s career soared. He toured with B.J.Thomas, Horace Silver, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, The Brecker Brothers, and Herbie Mann. Gaining experience in the commercial field, Will found himself in high demand.
As a bassist and singer, he’s recorded with an extensive array of top performers including David Sanborn, Boz Scaggs, Diane Schuur, Tom Scott, Neil Sedaka, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Phoebe Snow, Ronnie Spector, The Spinners, Spyro Gyra, Ringo Starr, Steely Dan, Cat Stevens and Barbra Streisand — and taken from his discography, these are only some of the “S’s”!
In addition, Will played in the New York “24th Street Band” which had great success in Japan, giving him a solo artist career that yielded him a top 5 single. In 1994, his solo CD entitled “OH!” reached the #1 position on the “Jazz Beyond” chart there. His CD, “Love, Gratitude and Other Distractions” also reached #1 on the Jazz charts in Japan.
He has the distinction of having performed with all four Beatles, and with The CBS Orchestra has played in the house band at all the Rock ‘n Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremonies.
After 33 years playing on TV at the Ed Sullivan Theatre as the bassist with Paul Shaffer and the “CBS Orchestra” on the wildly popular “Late Show with David Letterman” where you could hear him playing, singing every night, he is now enjoying a his new found freedom, or more to the point his slightly lighter schedule, and so having more time to record and play live with a whole array of artists and musicians. In 2015 and 2016, Will performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Herbie Hancock, Peter Erskine & Vince Mendoza honoring Jaco Pastorius, live concerts with Lyle Lovett, The Bob Mintzer Big Band, Chad Smith & GE Smith in a power trio and David Garfield, along all his regular gigs with Oz Noy, The Bluebirds of Paradise and The Fab Faux.
NIKO BOLAS is one of the great engineers on the planet and has worked with the very top artists in music for decades. There are not many engineers in the world who are considered ‘part of the band’, but Niko is one who certainly qualifies. He has worked with musical greats from Neil Young, Herbie Hancock, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, KISS, Fiona Apple, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Robben Ford to Stan Getz, Warren Zevon, Toto, Santana, Barbara Streisand, The Jackson 5, and so many more. Niko has nearly done it all – and he’s not nearly done yet! In his own gentle way, he refused to let this recording be done without him and the band agreed wholeheartedly. ‘Neeks’ brought his incredible spirit, humor, energy, sardonic wit, and sonic expertise to the table. This recording would not be the same without him. The boys are hoping he knows how to drive a tour bus too! : )
Photos by Jeff Coffin, except group shot by Niko Bolas