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MP3 Yves Jean Band - Rise Above Your Surroundings

A modern rock record with a unique touch of soul, world beat, and roots rock

12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ROCK: Roots Rock

Growing up in New York City neighborhoods such as the Bronx, Harlem, and Yonkers, one would hardly be concerned with rock music on a regular basis. Indeed, surviving a world populated by drugs, crime, and poverty becomes a number one priority. It was in this same environment that Yves Jean spent most of his childhood. A son of immigrants from the impoverished Caribbean island of Haiti, Yves Jean spent most of his younger years trying to avoid the temptations of inner city life. While attempting to escape this environment Jean began to see basketball as a way out. It wasn''t until age 17 that Jean picked up a bass in order to release some of his frustrations with the violent atmosphere of his neighborhoods. Little did he know that it was music, not sports that would consume more of his adult ambitions.

In 1997, after graduating the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown on a basketball scholarship, Yves decided to spend almost all of his personal savings and graduation money on a five song demo with drummer and soon to be co-founder Matt Vucic. Although the money for the demo was originally earmarked for a new car the recording sessions proved a better investment. It was during these sessions, that Matt and Yves formed a musical bond, which remains the foundation of the band to this day. The few hours spent in a recording studio in Cleveland, Ohio became a lifestyle that has lasted for six years and counting. After recording the demo and for the better part of the next three years, both Yves and Matt endured numerous line-up changes while playing in any Pittsburgh area venue.

In 1999, the band decided to enter the Graffiti rock challenge, a competition sponsored by local Pittsburgh radio stations and newspapers. The contest featured over 250 bands, with the audience deciding the winner. The band eventually won the contest creating a controversy over whether they were really a "rock" band because of their unique sound and style of writing. Regardless, the band pushed ahead and entered the studio to record what would become their debut album Been Many Days Empty. Recorded in Pittsburgh and released in 2000 the album showcased the same mix of styles that won them the Rock Challenge the previous winter. During the recording sessions keyboardist Kent English was brought in to record a few songs and wound up becoming a permanent member. After the album''s release, the band quickly sold 4,000 copies due in large part to their willingness to tour the Eastern U.S. to promote their sound and build a fan base. They played wherever they were asked; be it college campus, club, bar, festival, opening slot for a national act, or private functions.

The band''s near constant touring often led to its lineup to rotating on an all too regular basis. In order for Yves, Matt, and Kent to keep up the band''s pursuits, the additions of veteran percussionist Matt Montgomery, and 21-year-old guitarist Andrew Gartner were needed to fill out the band''s lineup. With everyone assembled, the band decided in late 2003 it was time to record the follow up release to their 1999 debut.

Released in 2004, and produced by Yves himself, Rise Above Your Surroundings showcases the band''s evolution from the first recordings in Cleveland to a more direct and concise sound. The band has returned to its roots in straight-forward rock without forgetting its foundations in other genres such as world beat, hip-hop, and soul. Rise Above Your Surroundings, and the bands commitment to mixing musical genres, ensures the bands loyal audiences will continue to grow.

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