Tag Archives: Punky Reggae Party

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!

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

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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.

See Island Head live

Island Head will be performing songs from the album “Punky Reggae Party” which are unique instrumental versions of Bob Marley songs as well as the Island Head original, “Reggae Island”  The band also will play some classic Jamaican Studio One instrumentals.  Sax player Timmy Cappello will be singing some classic pop hits his own reggae style.

DATE: Thursday August 21, 2014           PLACE:  Treme     553 Main St, Islip, NY    WEBSITE LINK: TremeLink       Phone: (631) 277-2008

DATE: Friday August 22, 2014     PLACE: A Place 2 Go (Jamaican Restaurant)        273 North Ave, New Rochelle, NY          WEBSITE LINK:   AplaceWebLink     Phone: (914) 365-252

DATE:  Thursday August 28, 2014       PLACE: The Lackawaxen Inn     188 Scenic Drive, Lackawaxen, PA.       FACEBOOK LINK: Lack Inn FB    PHONE: 570-685-7061

 

ISLAND HEAD set list

  1. Burnin & Lootin
  2. Tunnel One*
  3. I Shall Be Released
  4. Swing Easy*
  5. Get Up Stand Up
  1. So Much Trouble in the World
  2. Wake Up & Live
  3. Heavy Rock*
  4. Don’t Disturb This Groove
  5. House of the Rising Sun
  6. Punky Reggae Party
  7. Reggae Island
  8. Baby I Need Your Loving
  9. Darker Shade of Black* (Norwegian Wood)
  10. I Shot The Sheriff

Island Head Welcomes All People All Music

This site has been visited by thousands of people from every corner of the globe.  That is a true testament to reggae music.  This music started by artists like Toots Hibbert that came from bands like The Skatalites and introduced to the world by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and The Wailers.

Island Head band want to do their part in carrying the torch.  All the musicians have had their share of doing recording sessions with computers and electronics.  The band wanted to make music kind of “old school” and have everyone in the same room at the same time in the recording process.  The interaction of the musicians is what makes this album so interesting.  They take some creative liberties and expand upon these songs written by Bob Marley, performed by The Wailers.

When you hear the wonderful saxophone solos by Tim Cappello, they were all done spontaneously, live, one take, no fixes or “punches”.  In the world of “perfect” music, this is unheard of.  I put “perfect” in quotes because the attempt is to make the music perfect and the result takes away the human imperfections.  These imperfections breathe life, heart and soul into the music.

The Island Head approach to these songs is to treat them with respect to the composer, the musicians and the reggae fans.  At the same time, the idea was to bring the sound up to date and bring in the aspect of improvisation as jazz artists do.  Reggae music has influenced rock, funk, hip hop, jazz and pop music.  Island Head musicians have all played music in these different genres.  Now, those genres are fused together to create Island Head’s own unique brand of reggae in the album “Punky Reggae Party”.

Hear the music here

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Island Head has been called: Island Head Musicians, Island Head Band, Island Head Reggae Band, Island Head instrumental reggae band, Island Head instrumental jazz band, Islandhead, islandheadband, islandheadreggae.  It is the same band known for doing great original reggae/jazz arrangements of Bob Marley cover songs that include I Shot The Sheriff, So Much Trouble in the World, Get Up Stand Up, Wake Up and Live, Burnin’ and Lootin’ and the title track to their album “Punky Reggae Party”‘.  The music can be heard on SiriusXM radio, College Radio Reggae shows, internet reggae radio stations and some terrestrial radio.  Please phone in requests to your favorite radio station.  Thank you for your support!

Island Head’s “Punky Reggae Party” Still Raging

by Midnight Raver Blog

So I just finished listening to the new Island Head album called ‘Punky Reggae Party.’  They were recently interviewed on Dermot Hussey’s show and I had to give them a listen.  Many thanks to Billy Messinetti of Island Head for getting me a copy of the album “with the quickness.”

The album “Punky Reggae Party” by Island Head is composed primarily of Bob Marley compositions. It is fundamentally reggae but, it is all instrumental with a unique approach. The melodies are shared by trumpet, sax, guitar and keyboard.

The first thing that struck me when I looked at the track listing was that they included some heavy Bob Marley and the Wailers tunes.  You expect to see a “One Love” or “Three Little Birds” when a band seeks to cover Marley songs.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they selected some of my favorite Marley tunes like “So Much Trouble In The World,” “Wake Up and Live,” “Punky Reggae Party,” and “Burnin’ and Lootin.’”  This should be interesting…Covering Marley is a daunting task.  No, let me rephrase that.  For seasoned musicians, covering Marley may not be that hard, however, pulling it off is a whole different story.  These songs carry a heavy vibe.  A vibe that each of us has carried with us for many years.  It is therefore very difficult to pull off playing these songs and having them sound, and feel, authentic.

The next thing that catches the eye is the names of the Island Head musicians.  The two guitarists are legendary reggae players – Andy Bassford (Toots & The Maytals) and Mikey ‘Mao’ Chung (Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru). Neil Jason (bass) was in John Lennon’s band and David Frank (keys) played on many hits such as “Sussudio” and “Higher Love”. Tim Cappello (sax) is famous from his years with Tina Turner and Don Harris (trumpet) played with the Allman Brothers, Tower of Power and Nile Rodgers & Chic.

According to Billy Messinetti percussionist “a passion for reggae and love for musicians interacting and jamming are why Island Head was created. The album was recorded live and allows the musicians a chance to step out, yet it is very listenable. It was mixed by Grammy award winning engineer/producer Dave O’Donnell at Germano Studios, NYC.”

I can tell you this.  These musicians can play.  They not only know the songs inside and out, they feel this music.  The authenticity of this album bled right through my Sennheisers, into my ears, and I felt these songs through and through.  This is no Delixx take on Marley.  It is different.  It has a jazzy vibe to it.  However, 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!

“So Much Trouble in the World” is currently in regular rotation on SiriusXM The Joint. Pat McKay, program director 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.”

The entire album has been featured in Jamaica on the show ‘Riffin’ by our good friend and legendary radio host Dermot Hussey and on a Philadelphia radio show “Sounds of the Caribbean.”

link to this article on Midnight Ravers blog