Hammond B3 Blowout!
Wil Blades and Scott Amendola conjure various sonic deities though only a duo. Their live shows have been generating a buzz around the Bay Area. The two got their start as a group when Scott had the vision of performing Duke Ellington’s “Far East Suite” in duo with Wil. While quite a daunting task translating a suite (originally written for a big band) into duo, the Hammond Organ had previously been used in the 1940s and 1950s to emulate the sound of big bands. With Wil’s knowledge of this tradition and Scott’s desire to push boundaries, they were able to pull it off in an explorative, yet cohesive manner. The duo continues to perform the Ellington suite in their live performances, while also developing their original material. In performance, Amendola and Blades cover everything from avant-garde to funk, bebop to rock, sometimes within one song.
In June 2015, at Duende in Oakland, Calif., they set up shop for two nights and recorded in front of a live audience. The resulting release, Greatest Hits, was released in September 2016 and features versions of both Scott and Wil’s original compositions.
Blades, a native Chicagoan, has become the San Francisco Bay Area’s first call organist and is rapidly gaining momentum throughout the world. For the last three years, he has been named in the DownBeat critics poll under “Rising Star” for organ. Wil has kept the traditional sounds of Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, and “Groove” Holmes alive, while creating a more personal, modern sound. Wil has performed and recorded with John Lee Hooker, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Joe Louis Walker, Don Braden, Donald Harrison, Karl Denson, Will Bernard, Charlie Hunter, Stanton Moore, Betty Joplin, Eddie Marshall, Herbie Lewis, and many others.
An organizer by nature, Jersey native Scott Amendola has become a creative nexus for a community of musicians stretching from Los Angeles and Seattle to Chicago and New York. Amendola's inspiration stems from such stylistic influences as African music, jazz, blues, spirituals, rock, and the avant-garde. Scott has never been satisfied with just being a masterful drummer, he has spent his career pushing music in new directions. Scott has toured, recorded, or performed with Bill Frisell, Dave Liebman, John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Jacky Terrasson, Larry Goldings, Jeff Parker, Madeleine Peyroux, Sex Mob, Wayne Horvitz, Johnny Griffin, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Pat Martino, Nels Cline, Peter Apfelbaum, Jim Campilongo, Ben Goldberg, Mark Turner, Michael Franti, Phil Lesh and others, and has toured extensively throughout Europe, North America, and Australia.