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MP3 The Legendary Waldo Weathers - Love Groove
R&B, Soul, Smooth Jazz & Funk, mixing up influences from Barry White to Grover Washington to Snoop Dogg
11 MP3 Songs
URBAN/R&B: Contemporary urban, JAZZ: Smooth Jazz
Sax man shares gig tales
By Ron Wynn, [email protected]://www.tradebit.com
February 20, 2004
Waldo Weathers may be Nashville''s greatest unrecognized saxophonist. He''s certainly the only player who can say he was a star soloist and ensemble contributor for both James Brown (12 years) and Charlie Pride (10 years). Getting there
Waldo Weathers plays Saturday at Café 123, 123 12th Ave. N., at 10:30 p.m.
Weathers, whose new album Love Groove (Funkmasters) will be commercially available in about two weeks, is heading a quartet set Saturday night at Café 123. Weathers describes his style as "playing straight from the heart, like a Jerry Butler on sax," and said his approach places more emphasis on soul than technique.
"I love hardcore jazz and straight-ahead players, but that''s not really what I do," Weathers said. "In my experience, there are many great jazz players who will play the same way on any type of gig. They''re not really able to play anything simple. I try to make listeners feel like they''re almost going to church when they hear me play. There''s a lot of blues and soul in my music."
Though he downplays his prowess, Weathers is both an acclaimed soloist and above-average vocalist. He''s a master at working within a groove, fitting his big sound into an arrangement and still finding a way to make a distinct impression and memorable statement. Weathers has been back in Nashville since 1987, returning here from Dallas, where he spent about six years. But inevitably, conversation swings to his days with Brown and Pride, two American music legends whom Weathers describes as being "about as different as night and day."
"James Brown was straight up a control freak. He would punish you. I can remember going to Augusta and doing eight-hour rehearsals for two weeks straight. Brown might do a sound check that was almost as grueling as a concert. It took me a while to figure him out and get to the point where I could deal with the way he acted and give him what he wanted.
"Pride just wanted things to sound right. He was much easier to work with, because he''d just listen and say, ''That''s what I want, just do that.'' But they were both great musicians; they did share that."
Interestingly, Weathers said he didn''t have to make that much of an adjustment from backing Pride to backing Brown. He''ll be heading a quartet for his Café 123 date, but usually heads a sextet for most engagements. However, he''s most excited about an upcoming Japanese tour in April with veteran James Brown band members Clyde Stubblefield, Jabbo Starks and Fred Wesley.
"We''re going out the last two weeks of April and it''s being billed as The Funkmasters featuring Fred Wesley and Waldo Weathers," he said. "It''s probably the biggest deal I''ve had for a while, and it will be some great exposure for both me and the band members. People tend to forget about how many great musicians played with James Brown. These type of gigs help them remember."
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