Although Blast Off! is less than a year old as a band, its members have had it simmering in their minds for much longer. Drummer Bill Carbone felt the need to play jazz that had more soul and grit than much of the heady variety around town; Saxophonist Timo Shanko had a whole book full of tunes; Paul Wolstencroft had a left hand that wanted a workout holding down basslines on the organ and guitarist Steve Fell was looking for the right guys to bring his compositions to life. And thus, Blast Off! was born.
At first, Blast Off! sets were comprised mostly of organ jazz classics like funky Grant Green and Lonnie Smith tunes. The band quickly found its sound in Steve Fells Fela flavored original music and happily steered itself towards a path less traveled. Blast Off! can now do a whole evening of original music but also has a thick book of fun covers as well.
All of the bands members have busy schedules as sidemen in other groups but love Blast Off! and dedicate their time to it. Timo Shanko performs with Joe Morris, Fully Celebrated Orchestra, The Hot Tamale Brass Band and Skull Sessions (to name a few!), Bill Carbone with Dead Cat Bounce, Toussaint and the China Band, Mang Dub and Miracle Orchestra. Paul Wolstencroft has spent almost a decade tickling the ivories with Jiggle, as well as with Knockout and Steve Fell has performed with The Jazz Farmers and Round Midnight.
Two studio EPs, one upcoming full length album.
In addition to Blast Off's original music, here is a sampling of the cover songs performed:
Hot Barbecue Jack McDuff
Sookie Sookie Grant Green
I Cant Stand It James Brown
Scream Lonnie Smith
Let the Music Take Your Mind Grant Green
Play it Back Lonnie Smith
Get up and Get It Jackie Mittoo
Hot Tamale Jackie Mittoo
Low Rider - War
Riddim Man Ernest Ranglin
Capurange Gene Ammons
Una Mas Kenny Dorham
Tubby Gene Ammons
Myna Byrd Blues George Benson
Time To Remember Grant Green