Soul of the Blues, July 6 2007

Oli Rockberger, who will be headlining the opening night of the 2007 Soul of the Blues Festival (curated by yours truly) later this month, played a fine solo set in Brooklyn at Biscuit BBQ last night on the club’s good old Knabe grand piano. Although it’s not the world’s greatest piano, I personally could sit and play it all day, because it’s the kind of piano I grew up with. I always assume piano makes like Knabe must all have gone out of business decades ago. But the Knabe brand, which started in 1837, is still made, though now it’s a part of Samick Musical Instruments, Ltd.

Trivia: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s concert on a Knabe piano officially opened Carnegie Hall.

Oli was followed by a smashing set from Boston’s Sam Hooper and his trio. Sam dazzled with his guitar, and his band (bassist Jordan Scanella and drummer Aine Fujioka) locked in and filled the tiny room with a monster sound. At times it almost felt like Jimi Hendrix was in the room, but Sam mixes rock with blues and soul and funk and pop, and does equal justice to them all.

Sam Hooper

You can hear some of Sam Hooper’s tracks at his website or his Myspace page.