Lil Jay & the Cardsharks
Jason 'Lil Jay' Ladanye started playing piano and guitar at age seven. Even at such a young age, he became interested in blues and jazz styles. Influenced by guitar players like B.B. King and Albert King, and keyboard players like Reese Wynans and Lee Michaels, Jason developed a unique aggressive style of playing. When Jason was fifteen, he joined his first touring band, Ernie Williams and the Wildcats. Jason worked with Ernie for four years with frequent trips to New York City, Chicago and Boston. While working with Ernie, he recorded one live and three studio albums. It was during this period he first became recognized on the upstate New York music scene. He also spent some time playing with the Capital Region's Tom Healey Band, with whom he still occasionally appears. When he turned nineteen, he teamed up with Houston guitarist Vince Converse to record One Step Ahead, produced by Eddie Kramer, former producer and engineer of Led Zepplin and Jimi Hendrix. After relocating to New Orleans, Jason toured nationally with Vince for over a year. Jay has toured with the Grammy-nominated, W.C. Handy Award-winner, Shemekia Copeland for four years. He plays opposite legendary producer, Dr. John, on Copeland's third CD, Talking to Strangers, released in 2003. While on the road, Jay frequently would share bills with legendary guitar players. It was only a matter of time before he could duplicate the styles of these masters. Jason has studied the styles of T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and Michael Bloomfield. He has toured with Al Green, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Vaughan, Tab Benoit, Elvin Bishop, Scott Holt, Mason Casey, Arthur Neilson and many more legendary players. He has recorded with Leslie West, of the band Mountain. The exposure to these players has given Jay an education that couldn't be taught in any college. Now, Jay has his own band, Lil Jay & the Cardsharks. He's released his debut CD, called appropriately, Lil Jay & the Cardsharks. It offers eight of Jay's funky original tunes that feature his incredible piano, organ and guitar playing. With the release of this CD, he steps out front, adding vocalist (and songwriter and bandleader) to his already formidable resume as consummate sideman. Lil Jay & the Cardsharks was recorded in 2004 at Arabellum Studio in Colonie, New York, and features Steve Aldi on bass and Andy Hearn on drums. Making guest appearances are Arthur Neilson, guitarist for Cindy Lauper and Shemekia Copeland, on upright bass and Charlie Vatalaro on sax. With the release of Lil Jay & the Cardsharks, Jason is revealing, and fulfilling, the depth of his talent. Remember the name: Jason Ladanye. You'll be hearing more from him.