Tag Archives: Island Head Musicians

Review of Island Head Live at The Falcon!

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Billy Messinetti and Don Harris (together they produce and do arrangements for Island Head)

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Andy Bassford of Island Head

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Jeff Ganz of Island Head

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Don Harris of Island Head

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Timmy Cappello (sax player vocalist of Island Head)

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David Frank (madman on the B3) of Island Head

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David Frank, Dave O’Donnell (Punky Reggae Party mix engineer), Billy Messinetti

Thank you to all who came out to see Island Head at The Falcon!  What a fantastic night, so much fun!!  Special thanks to Island Head’s keyboard player, David Frank.  David flew in from LA to do this gig because he just loves playing the music with this group of amazing players.

The band opened the night with classic Jamaican instrumentals from the Studio One collection called “Tunnel One” by legendary reggae sax player, Tommy McCook and “Darker Shade of Black” by Soul Vendors. The latter is actually an excerpt from The Beatles song “Norwegian Wood”.

When Sax player/vocalist Timmy Cappello introduced the band’s version of “Baby I Need Your Loving” by The Four Tops he said; “We have such a symbiotic relationship with Jamaican reggae musicians and artists.  They write songs, we make them our own.  We write songs and they give that grace and that thrust with a whole new feel”.

One of the highlights of the band’s set was their version of “Freedom” by Richie Havens. The groove was kind of a Soca/Reggae thing which had the whole crowd on their feet.  Don and Timmy took advantage of their wireless clip-on microphones and were dancing with the audience and played amazing solos.

Keyboard player David Frank’s band, The System had a big hit called “Don’t Disturb This Groove”. Island Head did a version with a groove called “”Rockers” that was originated by the legendary drummer/bassist duo Sly & Robbie. “Rockers” is kind of a half-time feel with the bass drum playing quarter notes (4 on the floor).

Of course, the band played most of the songs from their album “Punky Reggae Party” that has been heard on reggae radio especially SiriusXM “The Joint” channel 42.  They closed the set with a furious version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” that featured an energetic funky drum solo by Billy. The crowd would not let the band leave so quickly and demanded an encore.

The encores included the classic “House of The Rising Sun” done Island Head reggae style. The final song took the audience by surprise as the band ripped into a cool reggae version of “Kiss” by Prince. There was not one person left sitting!

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Island Head is an important project to Reggae

SiriusXM Radio program director for the reggae station The Joint, Pat McKay said; “Island Head is an important project to reggae. It’s always great to have substantive, high art. This work contributes to reggae’s growth. Reminds others of what it really is and what is still possible. I feel so especially blessed to share this brilliant work with our audience.”

Relix Review of “Punky Reggae Party”

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Hearing reggae songs sans vocals is always an interesting experience.  But, without words to draw listeners in, interesting can’t always equal good, especially if the band lacks chemistry and forgets the cardinal rule; Riddim first. Thankfully, New York-based band Island Head gets the vibe right with Punky Reggae Party, featuring mostly a choice selection of Bob Marley covers.  Blessed with a seasoned line-up of reggae and R&B vets, including drummer Billy Messinetti, keyboardist David Frank, and guitarists Andy Bassford and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung, the band digs into classics as the title track, “I Shot The Sheriff” and the original laid-back jam “Reggae Island”.  The band frequently flexes their muscles a bit on solos, but their vocal-like quality feels tasteful and natural – always rocking steady and never forgetting to keep the party going.  James Haag – Relix Magazine

Island Head Live at The Falcon video

Watch the video highlights from one of our live shows: https://youtu.be/W_HGeF5uv3A

Island Head Live at the Falcon

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Island Head Live at The Falcon

Island Head played to a packed SRO crowd at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY this past Saturday night. The band featured Timmy Cappello on sax and lead vocals, Andy Bassford as well as reggae legend Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung on guitars, bandleader Billy Messinetti on drums, Jeff Ganz on bass, James K. Smith on trumpet (subbing for Don Harris) and Mitch Margold on keyboards (subbing for David Frank).  Both James and Mitch have played with Island Head before so the reggae groove had the right pulse!

The band played their versions of classic Bob Marley songs as performed on their album “Punky Reggae Party” as heard on SiriusXM radio The Joint.   Other songs performed included “Baby I Need Your Loving” by The Four Tops, “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan and the classic “House of The Rising Sun”.

They surprised the audience with two new songs to the set. “Take Me To The River” was done uptempo to almost a ska beat.  One of the most interesting arrangements was the band’s rendition of Richie Haven’s Woodstock classic “Freedom” to a soca-like groove. Timmy tore the house down with these two songs.  Whew!!

Check back here at IslandHeadReggae.com for information about getting a copy of the live recording of the show.

Island Head Reggae Band

HEAR WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT ISLAND HEAD

“One of the 25 Best Reggae Albums of 2013” – Midnight Raver Blog

ISLAND HEAD ALBUM GIF

“What a piece of art!”  DJ Paulo Matos Host of “Reggae Portugal”

“Island Head is an important project to reggae. It’s always great to have substantive, high art.  This work contributes to reggae’s growth. Reminds others of what it really is and what is still possible.  I feel so especially blessed to share this brilliant work with our audience.”  – Pat McKay, SiriusXM program director for “The Joint”

“Inspired concept, great playing and a real feel for the music makes Island Head’s ‘Punky Reggae Party’ a top quality, excellent release highly recommended to strengthen the heart and soothe the soul. A winner!” – Chuck Foster, Reggae Grammy Screening Committee/Host of “Reggae Central” on KPFK-LA

“Island Head musicians tastefully demonstrate that a fresh perspective can still be brought to Bob Marley music.” – Dermot Hussey, Legendary Jamaican Radio Personality

“Island Head are one of the few bands that have an original take on the music, Hipreggaejazzrockvibe.” – Cableman Dan, “Reggae & World Rhythms” on WNTI-FM

These musicians can play…they feel this music. It has a jazzy vibe to it. The strength of the songs, the talent of these musicians, and the organic connection they share with each other, keeps this album standing strong inna Babylon!” – Ras Michael, Midnight Raver

Island Head brings life to authentic reggae. No fluff, just great music.” – Chef Chrissy, Famous Jamaican Chef/Restaurateur/Reggae Connoisseur (hosted live Island Head show)

ISLAND HEAD musicians are:

Andy Bassford: guitar     Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung: guitar     Timmy Cappello: sax

David Frank: keyboards   Don Harris: trumpet   Billy Messinetti: drums   Neil Jason: bass

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Classic Reggae Performance

Island Head performed this past week for a mostly Jamaican audience in New York.  They played extended versions of the entire “Punky Reggae Party” album along with some classic reggae music.  Besides the Bob Marley covers the band usually does they jammed on tracks from a Studio One album entitled “Downbeat The Ruler”.  The band selected “Darker Than Black” and “Swing Easy” by Soul Vendors, “Tunnel One”by Tommy McCook and “Heavy Rock” from Sound Dimension.  The musicians took these grooves to new highs with guitar, keyboard, sax and trumpet solos.

This was the first gig where the Island Head musicians added some vocal songs to their set.  Saxophonist Timmy Cappello displayed his vocal abilities on the classics “I Shall Be Released” (Bob Dylan) and “Baby I Need Your Loving” both covered by The Heptones.  But, the vocal performance that brought the house down was Cappello’s version of “House of The Rising Sun”.

Island Head keyboardist, David Frank had a number one hit with his band The System called “Don’t Disturb This Groove”.  The audience instantly recognized the signature keyboard riff of their reggae version.

The band’s live show is constantly evolving.  Stay tuned for upcoming Island Head band performances.

Click the links below to see videos from the band’s performance at The Cutting Room in New York City.

“So Much Trouble In The World”

“Burnin’ and Lootin'”

“I Shot The Sheriff”