A newly formed lineup of seasoned players - The KingmiXers - jump out of the gate with their new CD, “Riding With Mr. Blues”. Gary Preston’s fiery harmonica and soulful vocals are capped off by the tasty guitar stylings and vocals of David Schade, all the while supported by Anita Bonkowski’s deep rhythmic grooves on bass and drums. The natural ease with which the trio performs is a testament to their musicality.
“Seriously good music... Jazzy Blues and much more, at its very very best ... I am very pleased to give it my highest rating of 5 ***** ” John Vermilyea, Blues Underground Network
"Wow, this is some CD! I listen to a lot of CDs in the course of selecting material for my program, I've got to tell you this is one of the best I've listened to in a very long time. I have marked every track for airplay most of them 4 star on my rating system (1-4 stars). I look forward to playing your CD on BluesBeat for many weeks to come." Geoff Pegler, BluesBeat Radio, Australia
"Southern Train" with its great opening harmonica from Gary Preston, and the way he keeps the harp going throughout is a great track...Listen to how effectively he evokes a train to appreciate his technical playing ... throughout the album, guitarist Schade ... is very impressive ... let me say something about Anita Bonkowski. There are plenty of female pianists in jazz and blues, fewer female bassists, and as for drummers - this is a rarity. But when you hear Anita play all of these instruments, as the principal rhythmic engine of the trio, I just want to take my hat off.” Leonid Auskern, Jazz-Quadrat, Belarus
All seasoned players, Gary Preston, Anita Bonkowski and David Schade present a mosaic of blues styles, from West Coast to Chicago to New Orleans.
“You can hear echoes of Chicago blues, Delta blues and jump blues,... blues-rock.... Riding With Mr. Blues is a good illustration of how diverse this wonderful music can be, especially if it is masterfully played.” Leonid Auskern, Jazz-Quadrat, Belarus
After forming the duo “Preston & Bonkowski” in 2005, Gary and Anita’s music has taken them far and wide - from playing at home in Canada to clubs and festivals across North America and Europe. They have been featured on radio, television, and mainstage at festivals like the Calgary International Blues Festival, Vancouver Island MusicFest, Islands Folk Festival and Du Maurier International Jazzfest. Now with David Schade completing the trio, the sound and chemistry hits a musical home run. The KingmiXers are upbeat, energetic and full of variety, and the recording has cemented a beautiful musical relationship among the three musicians.
Performances include The Belgian Beer Festival, The Filberg Festival, Vancouver Island MusicFest, CBC Saturday Night Blues, Hornby Island Blues Workshop, CBC Blues Odyssey, and five tours of Europe. They've shared the stage with many fine Canadian artists, including Carlos Del Junco, David Gogo. Tim Williams, Amos Garrett, David Vest, Big Dave McLean, Rick Fines, and Suzie Vinnick.
GARY PRESTON —a triple threat on vocals, harmonica and keyboards — Gary plays the blues with a strong personal style. He has performed from Toronto to Detroit to Vancouver, as well as in Europe and the Caribbean. Gary has been a regular headliner at the Yale Harmonica Blast, and instructor at the Hornby Island All Stars blues camp. He's also been featured in major festivals such as the Island MusicFest, Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Vancouver Island Blues Bash, Calgary International Blues Festival and the International Jazz Festival. Gary has also been heard nationally on CBC Radio, and has made numerous other appearances in recordings, jingles, television and radio. Over the years, Gary has shared the stage with Eric Burdon, James Cotton, Lee Oscar, Colin James, Dutch Mason, The Ray Charles Orchestra, Otis Rush, John Hammond, Mark DuFresne, and the late harmonica master, Junior Wells. It was Junior who, after hearing Gary play, pronounced him to be “Good…Damn good!”
ANITA BONKOWSKI has worked nationally and internationally as a drummer, bassist, composer and arranger. Since earning her Masters Degree in Music, she has been busy, playing in various blues bands, as well as having backed such bluesmen as Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, David Vest, David Gogo, and Bill Johnson. In addition to performing blues, Anita also freelances with jazz and R&B bands, musical theater, and show bands. Anita continues to compose and arrange, and her pieces can be heard on radio stations in Canada and the US. She has played numerous festivals and clubs across North America, Europe and the Caribbean. As a percussionist, Anita has backed performers such as Johnny Mathis, Englebert Humperdink, The Moody Blues, and recently she performed in the house band for the David Foster Miracle Concert, playing with musicians such as Sarah McLaughlin, Kenny G, Josh Groban, Ruben Studdard, and The Canadian Tenors.
DAVID SCHADE is a brilliant blues guitarist with a secret career in astronomy. After work at Cambridge University on the Hubble Space Telescope Medium Deep Survey project, David is now back on the West Coast playing the blues. His playing during the "Riding With Mr. Blues" recording project fit Gary and Anita's music so well that the result is this new group with new energy and a unique style.
Gary Preston - Vocals, Harmonica and Piano
Anita Bonkowski - Bass, Drums, Piano
David Schade - Guitar & Vocals
CD #PB103 - The KingmiXers - Riding With Mr. Blues - released 2012. Chock full of great harp, great guitar, great tunes.
CD #PB102 - Bright Lights - Preston & Bonkowski - released 2008. The second great collection of bluesy originals and covers from Preston & Bonkowski.
CD #PB101 - Satisfy Somebody - Preston & Bonkowski - released 2006. Seven originals, and seven covers with blues, New Orleans styles, and a bit of jazz.
Seriously good music... Jazzy Blues and much more, at its very very best
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"Riding With Mr. Blues" is one of those nice rare albums in which you really don't know what is arou..."Riding With Mr. Blues" is one of those nice rare albums in which you really don't know what is around the next corner ... a nice treat among many on this album was track 2, "Southern Train" with its great opening Harmonica from Gary Preston ... great track...
One really got a truly intimate feeling with all aspects of the music and singing coming through loud and clear, whether it be Gary's harmonica, piano, and keys, Anita faithfully holding the beat on bass, drums, and piano, or David's super sweet guitar work. Mix that in with great vocals and you have got yourself a sweet way to spend the better part of a nearly an hour.
I am impressed with "Riding With Mr. Blues" and I am also very pleased to give it my highest rating of 5*****.
Seriously good music... Jazzy Blues and much more, at its very very best...
John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
'Riding with Mr. Blues ' is a great ride down the blues highway
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' The KingmiXers' play a fine mix of traditional Chicago blues, boogie and swing/jump. Singer Gary ...' The KingmiXers' play a fine mix of traditional Chicago blues, boogie and swing/jump.
Singer Gary Preston plays harmonica as an artist who never exaggerates but subtly hits all the nuances; multi-instrumentalist Anita Bonkowski accompanies on bass, drums , and piano ... David Schade tops it all off with elegant and fluent guitar playing.
Gary Preston and Anita Bonkowski ... have been on many festival stages both in America and in Europe. During their many tours in Belgium, they have wowed crowds with their song 'Belgian Beer Boogie', written by Preston ... On the title track, a jazzy narrative ballad, Gary seems to refer to his complex relationship with the blues. His voice leans towards fifties jazz with a personal touch given to the songs.
The two instrumentals hit a more jazzy mood, as with the playful ' Jump The Q ' with a sublime solo bass break, and the pleasant 'Creepin' that would not be out of place in a film of ' The Pink Panther ' or Jacques Tati. The up-beat ' Feel Like Loving ' and ' Gotta Good Woman ' set your feet to dancing and the final track ' Living Easy ' has a Gospel feel ...
The album places itself in that list of laid-back blues jazz in which Mose Allison, Duke Robillard and Junior Wells belong. The 'KingmiXers' are natural talents, and 'Riding with Mr. Blues ' is a great ride down the blues highway. Their combination of harmonica blues and swing jazz invites re-listening.
Riding With Mr. Blues - Wow, this is some CD!
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"... Wow, this is some CD! I listen to a lot of CDs in the course of selecting material for my progr..."... Wow, this is some CD! I listen to a lot of CDs in the course of selecting material for my program, I've got to tell you this is one of the best I've listened to in a very long time. I have marked every track for airplay most of them 4star on my rating system (1-4 stars). I look forward to playing your CD on BluesBeat for many weeks to come."
Geoff Pegler, BluesBeat Radio, Australia
One heck of a formidable duo
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"...they create one heck of a formidable duo. GARY & ANITA are to this arena what Fred & Ginger, Bog..."...they create one heck of a formidable duo. GARY & ANITA are to this arena what Fred & Ginger, Bogart & Bacall, Burns & Allen and Lucy & Desi were to theirs...GARY's harp is equal to, if not better than, any of those other cats that constantly make everyone's top five harmonica player lists."
PETER "BLEWZZMAN" LAURO, mary4music
my highest rating
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Fresh, clean, and dynamic ... a thoroughly enjoyable CD ... my highest rating of 5 Stars. John Verm...Fresh, clean, and dynamic ... a thoroughly enjoyable CD ... my highest rating of 5 Stars.
John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network - Canada)
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"What these two engage in ... is more than just appealing.... the timeless standard "Georgia On My M..."What these two engage in ... is more than just appealing.... the timeless standard "Georgia On My Mind" ... really swings, and demonstrates why Preston is known as an experienced pianist and harpist ..."
BLUES NEWS Magazine (Germany)
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"... exceptional blues style ... great feeling for authenticity ... blues lovers cannot ignore this ..."... exceptional blues style ... great feeling for authenticity ... blues lovers cannot ignore this CD!"
I like it!
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"I like it! the grooves are right on the money ... You two are a swingin' little duo. You should se..."I like it! the grooves are right on the money ...
You two are a swingin' little duo. You should sell a lot of these, and get
a lot of gigs with it."
David Vest, Trillium recording artist
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"Whether you want cool, cool jazz... or heart rending, heart pumping, down-home blues. This duo ha..."Whether you want cool, cool jazz... or heart rending, heart pumping,
down-home blues. This duo has it all here for you.
Very much worth a listen! Fab!"
BLUESARTSTUDIO.COM - Brian Harman (Vienna)
Most full length gigs are 3 sets long, each set lasting about one hour; festival gigs vary - usually from 45 to 60 minutes.
Material includes originals, and blues by artists such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Ray Charles, Memphis Slim, even a bit of Tom Waits.
Sample cover tunes:
Bright Lights Big City - Jimmy Reed
Bye Bye Bird - Sonny Boy Williamson
Walking Blues - Robert Johnson
Atlanta Moan - Barbecue Bob
Jockey Full Of Bourbon - Tom Waits
Roll Em Pete - Joe Turner & Pete Johnson
Seven Nights To Rock - Moon Mullican
Lonesome - Memphis Slim
Drive Granny Drive - Rev. Billy C. Wirtz