Spin Doctors drummer Aaron Comess is no stranger to playing music in New York City. The band was a staple of the New York scene from the late 80’s through the 90’s, playing regular gigs at The Wetlands and various other clubs around the city. The group would eventually hit it big with the songs “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” off their 1991 debut studio album, Pocket Full of Kryptonite. With the band still touring regularly, Comess has kept rather busy on his own, releasing several solo albums while both recording and touring with artists such as Joan Osborne, James Maddock, Rachael Yamagata, the New York Electric Piano, German rock icon Marius Westenrhagen, his own Air Conditioned Gypsies, and many more.
The drummer, who resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and also has his own recording studio (His House – Innsbruck) nearby, is set to celebrate his new solo album, Sculptures (out this Friday, March 16th – iTunes), along with his 50th birthday on April 23rd with two performances at NYC’s Blue Note Jazz Club (get tickets here – 8:00pm Show / 10:30pm Show).
Aaron Comess – “Sculptures”
The Spin Doctors came up at the same time as Blues Traveler (John Popper and the Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron were in a group together prior to their respective new bands being formed) as well as Phish, Widespread Panic, and Col. Bruce Hampton‘s Aquarium Rescue Unit, heading out with the bands on the first-ever H.O.R.D.E. Tour in 1992, largely credited as a pivotal event in the formation of the modern jam scene. The Spin Doctors eventually went on to play a major set at Woodstock ’94. The group took a brief break from 2000-2001, mainly due to Barron suffering from an acute form of vocal cord paralysis, but returned with the original lineup for the closing of the Wetlands in late 2001, and will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this Fall.
An interesting music fact for you funk fans out there: New Orleans legend Ivan Neville was touring with the group on keys in the late 90’s, and had to take over lead vocals for a few shows with Barron out before the band decided to take the break. Between the Doctors’ 30th, his own 50th, and the release of his new solo endeavor, Comess shows no signs of slowing down. The Blue Note shows will be a testament to that success, with an incredible cast of musicians and special guests joining him for the celebration.
The band assembled for these shows will primarily consist of the core group of musicians that assisted Comess in recording the album including keyboardist/singer Oli Rockberger (Carly Simon, John Mayer, Levon Helm) and Samchillian synthesizer inventor/keyboardist Leon Gruenbaum, described by Comess as the “secret weapon” on Sculptures. Joining the trio will be guitarist and long-time collaborator Teddy Kumpel (Feist, Nine Inch Nails, David Grisman), Richard Hammond (Joan Osborne, Angelique Kidjo) and jazz saxophonist Keith Loftis, whom Aaron went to the arts magnet high school with in Dallas, TX , along with various other guests.
“My good friends Joan Osborne and James Maddock will be special guests,” continues Comess, “both of whom I have worked closely with for many years now on many recordings and live shows.”
Aaron Comess Quintet – Rockwood Music Hall – 7/24/17:
[via Teddy Kumpel]
While discussing the album, with its eclectic stylings and atmospheric approach to sound and rhythm, Comess explains some of his inspirations: “I’m a big fan of guitar players and do most of my writing on acoustic….Bill Frisell and Daniel Lanois have had a massive influence on my music. I’ve been using different tunings lately, and while spending three weeks in Berlin last year I was stuck on one in particular. I came up with a bunch of song ideas, one of which became ‘Berlin.’”
Sculptures is set for a March 16th release, and the proper celebration at Blue Note Jazz Club on April 23rd is going to be one of those “I wish I knew about that” nights in New York City that doesn’t come around every day. This is going to be a jam session out of the old-school playbook that we highly recommend you attend.
Tickets for Aaron Comess’ 50th Birthday / Sculptures Album Release Party on Tuesday, April 23rd are currently on-sale and can be purchased here. Sculptures is out this Friday, March 16th, and can be ordered on iTunes.