'Playing Stages' captures the variety of Blues and Jazz styles developed by the Paul Speidel Band by performing locally for many years. It was recorded entirely live from September 2007--September 2008, at three of their regular haunts: Ryles, one of Boston's premiere Jazz Clubs; the Kinsale, a downtown Irish Pub where the Paul Speidel Band anchors the Friday Night Blues rotation every month; and the Attic, known for years as a local stop on the Roots-Rock/Jam Band circuit. The band sought to reflect the range of moods and energy created, both on stage and in the audience, as they interacted with different crowds experiencing the music on different nights in a variety of venues. 'Playing Stages' consists of all original material by Speidel, and was developed over years of working live shows on the Boston music scene. Some of the CD's music was freshly arranged as the recordings were being made, and some of it dated back through the formative years of the group's history to the early 90s. Then, as now, many "Roots" oriented players had one foot in the Blues tradition and one foot in Jazz, learning the standards and the vocabulary of both. When the Paul Speidel Band first emerged, Stevie Ray Vaughan was a major inspirational figure in the cycle of Blues interest, and one side of their music reflects this hard-driving, electric sound of Chicago & Texas Blues. When the "Retro Swing" craze of the late 90s brought jump music to the fore, musicians got people dancing at their shows again by putting a little pop into the backbeat. Added to this, club dancers tend to respond best to Funky R&B interpretations--and, along with some Rock & Roll thrown in, the Paul Speidel Band's live show mix evolved into a balanced blend of musical materials and styles. From the Playing Stages liner notes: Working bands often pride themselves on their ability to "play the room", and it's true that you never know if you'll have a full house or outnumber the audience at a given show. On one night, it might be hard-driving Blues grooves that go over well, and on another it might be "cool" Jazz, or up-tempo Rock and R&B that hits the mood of the room. This CD was recorded under a variety of circumstances over the course of a year, and hopefully gives a sense of the "vibe" on each night represented. There were lots of takes omitted, some for musical reasons, some for technical reasons, but that's the true beauty of music-it really only exists in the moment it is made. --------------- 'Many bands pride themselves on their live performances and an ability to relate to audiences ranging from small cafes to theatre engagements. Paul Speidel Band's "Playing Stages (Live, Vol. 2)" captures a year in the life of this mostly Blues-oriented band moving from club to club throughout the Boston area. PSB's sound is mostly spare and instrumental. Don't look for a lot of window dressing in the form of horns or fancy percussion. But if you appreciate Blues Guitar, you'll be stimulated by this band. Native Chicagoan Speidel developed his Blues from listening to Electric Blues. His mother, a classically-trained pianist, forbade access to Rock-n-Roll as a child, but he'd sneak a listen whenever the opportunity presented itself. Starting out in his own band at the tender age of 12, he sought to emulate such local heroes as Son Seals and Lonnie Brooks. Visit him at: PaulSpeidelBand.com' -Rick Foster (The Sun Chronicle) 2/15/10 "Paul Speidel may have built up a good name for himself in the local music scene in Boston, but Europe he is still an unknown. He has performing regularly in Boston since 1983, as a guitarist (and sometime bass player). Though he often appears as a Solo Jazz Guitarist, most of his performances are with his own band, The Paul Speidel Band. This is the line-up which appears on his newest album, Playing Stages. Besides Speidel, the band consists of Brendan Byrnes on Drums and Steve Skop on Bass. As the title suggests, this CD was recorded completely live during various performances over the period of one year. That Speidel plays technically perfect is logical given his years of study (Masters degree in Music). The CD contains nine songs-all penned by Speidel. The songs on this CD are a combination of Blues, Jazz and Rock music. Appropriately, the opening track, "Cranky", is a pretty solid up-tempo number in which Speidel let's his Blues influences be heard. The next highlight is the rag "Chicken Train". Speidel then gets on to some more Jazz-tinged Rock songs like "Silver Sax" and "Just For Kicks". In the next-to-last tune, "School Band Breakout", Speidel returns again to his Blues roots. And the finale, "Just in Time" features bassist Skop--who incidentally, like drummer Byrnes, is very technically gifted. Here he proves that the Bass is also capable of creating a beautiful solo. The CD is entirely instrumental, but the band plays different styles, so it's never boring. And, the whole performance is very cleanly played. Are you a fan of guitarists like Jan Akkerman? Then you should definitely also go and listen to Paul Speidel" -Ruud Monde (Rootstime)
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