In the weeks leading up to the Houston Press Music Awards showcase on Sunday, August 4, Rocks Off will be profiling a handful of performers each day, mostly in their own words - part of the best top-to-bottum lineup the showcase has ever had, in our humble opinion. See the showcase schedule and ticket information at HPMusicAwards.com, and watch Twitter (@hprocksoff) every day until the showcase for your chance to win tickets.
To which member(s) are we speaking? Nick Cooper, Pete Sullivan, Al Bear.
What are you nominated for? Best Jazz.
Please list all of your regular band members and what instruments they play. Chris Howard, percussion; Theo Bijarro, bass; Jason Jackson, alto sax, Pete Sullivan, bari sax; Doug Falk, trumpet; Nick Cooper, drums; Harry Sheppard, vibes; Al Bear, guitar,
And frequent collaborators:
Marcos Melchor, sax; Subhendu Chakraborty, tablas; Nadja Burns, harp; Nelson Mills III, trumpet; Al Pagliuso, percussion; Nick Gonzales, tuba; Cory Wilson, sax; Dan Cooper, bass; Bob Chadwick, flute; Phindisela Mkhatshwa; percussion; Doyle Odom, guitar; Pelayo Parlade, piano; Jeremy Nuncio, keys; Henry Darragh, trombone.
Describe your band in four to seven words. Soundtrack for the revolution, quinceañeras, office parties.
Who is your single biggest musical influence and why? Our influences are many, so there isn't one we could name. Charles Mingus, Fela, Sun Ra, JB's, Skatalites, Hendrix, Coltrane, Miles, Ethiopiques, Steel Pulse, Harry Sheppard, Little Joe Washington, John Scofield, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
What recordings (if any) do you have readily available? The Rising Tide Sinks All, Our Lady of Eternal Sunny Delight, Aerial Bombardment, Klezmer Musicians Against the Wall (compilation), and The Freedom Fence.
Have you ever been HPMA-nominated before? When and what for? Best CD, Best Song, Best Jazz (2012); Best Jazz (2011); Best Jazz (2010); Best Jazz, Best Drummer (2009); Best Jazz (2008); Best CD by Local Musicians (2004); Best Jazz (2003); Best Jazz (2002); Best Jazz (2001); Best Jazz, Best Funk, Best Drummer (1999); Best Jazz, Best Unsigned Band (1998).
Where and how often do you perform (publicly) around Houston? About twice a week: AvantGarden (Mondays), Fitzgerald's, Continental, Super Happy Fun Land, Notsuoh, Dan Electro's, Mango's, Last Organic Outpost, Summer Fest, iFest,White Linen Nights, Cottonwood, Bohemeo's, various street protests, Last Organic Outpost, Mennonite Church, Peace Camp Houston, The Orange Show, Last Concert Café, Art Crawl, 420 Fest, Vinal Edge, Cactus Music, MECA, White Swan, Food Not Bombs, the Mink.
What is the next step for your band? We are currently recording Freedom of Movement, an all-breakdancing CD being executive-produced by Havikoro, the local breakdancing crew. Free Radicals and Havikoro have been working together for years. We played for breakdancing events and they have come to breakdance at our shows.
Now, we have decided to do a project together to put live music out for break-dancers around the world. We also are doing more and more with the two musical projects we launched, Bateria Terceira Costa (plays samba batucada music) and Free Rads 2nd Line (plays New Orleans brass-band music).
Finish this sentence: "Houston music is..." Responsible for six deaths and 23 serious injuries each year.
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