Brotherhood Of Groove
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Brotherhood Of Groove

Band R&B Funk


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The best kept secret in music


"Brotherhood of Groove: Groove of the Month"

New Orleans has long been known as fertile grounds for a plethora of musical acts making a name for themselves through late-night Mardi Gras parties and Jazz Fest funk fests. The Crescent City, home to American jazz and its freaky cousin funk, has spurned countless talented acts over the years, from booty shaking pioneers The Meters right on through this month's New Groove of the Month, Brotherhood of Groove. With an insatiable Deep South flare and a ripping guitarist-singer-songwriter in Brandon Tarricone, BOG is true tribute to the Bayou's flavorful funk and soul.

Formed in 2001 while Tarricone was finishing his jazz degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, BOG has steadily risen from the Bayou lowlands and onto the national scene, helped in part by a constant, coast to coast touring schedule and several celebrated players. With a now solidified line-up that includes Stewart McKinsey on 8 and 10-string bass, Jon Massing on drums and a powerful horn section led by Geoff Vidal, Sam Kininger and former James Brown saxophonist Jeff Watkins, they are equipped to bring the funk.

Over the last four years, the band has had multiple "big cats," as Tarricone would say, join in the mix, such as Watkins (member of the James Brown Band for the last 13 years), John Stewart (The Motet), Michael Ray (Phish, Sun Ra), John Ellis (Charlie Hunter Quartet), Dave Grippo (Giant Country Horns, Phish) and countless others. In doing so, Tarricone and his Brotherhood of Groove collective have evolved from jazzy New Orleans band to a funked-out, high energy celebration.

Brotherhood of Groove is the brainchild of Boston native Tarricone, who made the move to New Orleans eight years ago to attend Loyola on scholarship to study under jazz greats like Johnny Vidacovich (one of Stanton Moore's drum teachers as well). Getting his musical start on the saxophone, he began at an early age and progressed to a steady repertoire that included heavy doses Grateful Dead and Phish tunes with, "no understanding of guitar beyond some Bob Dylan chords," said Tarricone.

"The first guitarist I ever studied with was John Scoffield. I'd had my eyes opened to jazz through him, and of course it opened the doors and allowed me to get my foot in," continued Tarricone.

After a few years at Loyola-where Tarricone laughingly admitted that he was the worst musician in the whole class to start-he formed the band in his senior year and soon Tarricone was playing the teacher. From the start, the band was focused on more jazz-based textures, sticking with the traditional song structures and strict compositional styles. It was how he'd been taught and where Tarricone and his Loyola classmates were at musically at the time. But it would only be a matter of time before the BOG began to develop their own sound.

"All those original compositions I wrote in college were a reflection of studying jazz in school," Tarricone said. "I was concentrating on the rules and regulations as far as what I was studying in school.

"But then I was lucky enough to get Michael Ray and John Ellis to get into my energy and work ethic. From then on, I would try to hire heavy weights to play this stuff-they were my teachers," he continued.

Soon enough, Tarricone and his band would be playing five nights a week in small clubs in New Orleans for little or no money, but a reputation would begin to take hold. Musicians and fans alike would begin to take note of the young, funky guitar player and soon it became time to depart the Bayou and tour the country. As Tarricone would admit, "you can't stay in New Orleans and be successful."

Gradually, Tarricone would incorporate additional heavy hitters that frequented the New Orleans jazz-funk scene and get as many great musicians involved in the Brotherhood of Groove as he could. He would soon record and play with such respected and well-known players as Sam Kininger (Soulive, Lettuce), Michael Tucker (Pat Metheny), Eric Traub (Dr. John), Steve Bernstein (Sex Mob), Marco Benevento (Benevento-Russo Duo) and Ivan Neville (The Meters). It became almost commonplace for any of these musicians to periodically join the mix, as would Michael Ray, John Ellis and countless others. Through his incessant hard work and musical prowess, Tarricone developed quite a name for himself in New Orleans and beyond, and through it he became someone everyone wanted to play with.

Over the last four years, BOG has acquired a much grittier, funk flavored rock appeal then at the time of its inception. In that short time, they've transformed from your run-of-the-mill jazzy New Orleans groove to a high-powered, guitar-driven soulful funk that crosses The Meters sultry smoothness with the power of Warren Haynes' guitar tone and the color of James Brown's horn section. Tarricone, widely regarded as one of the premier guitar players on the scene, is oozing with creativity, from his complex compositions to his soulful vocals and ear-challenging arrang -

"Things That Go Funk In the Night"

From the old-school masters like The Meters to today’s brash kids like Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, it seems as if the Crescent City of New Orleans has an endless supply of talented funksters.

Brotherhood Of Groove

Case in point: guitarist Brandon Tarricone and his revolving door band of musicians that go by the name Brotherhood of Groove. Grabbing the New Orleans funk spirit by the horns and steering it toward serious electric jazz is no easy feat but Tarricone and his cohorts pull it off in a stylish way that recalls the heyday of jazz-funk in the 70s.

Brotherhood of Groove will return to the High Country next Thursday, September 30, for a show at Café Portofino in Boone. The music starts around 10:30 p.m.

Brotherhood of Groove will bring with them a new album titled BOG Style. The album features six new Tarricone compositions plus three classic funk tunes including the Michael Pellera’s “New Orleans Mambo,” a timeless tribute to the dances of Mardi Gras.

All of the new tunes on BOG Style feature the amazing horn playing of Tarricone’s rotating roster of musical partners including saxophonists Geoff Vidal, Jeff Watkins, Sam Kininger, Henley Douglas Jr., and trumpet player Steve Bernstein. The album also features appearances by Ivan Neville on organ, clavinet and vocals, Uganda Roberts on congos, and Christina Machado on vocals. The core of the band remains Tarricone on guitar, Stewart McKinsey on bass and Jon Massing on drums.

“We recorded this album during the few weeks of New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2004 during which time we were able to collaborate with some great players,” said Tarricone. “Jeff Watkins has taken the time to get this record really happening sonically, not only as a producer but as a player. His knowledge of horn arranging from all his years with James Brown has found the perfect space in my compositions.”

One of the best new Tarricone compositions on the album is the Halloween ready “Green Zombies.” With guitar inspired by Frank Zappa and flute from Ian Anderson, the song is a terrific tribute to all things that go funk in the night.

Although not all of the performers who appear on BOG Style will appear in concert in Boone, Tarricone always gathers a core group of talented musicians for his live performances.

Jeff Eason - The Mountain Times (Boone, NC)

"Brotherhood Of Groove Awards"

2002 Offbeat Magazine Music Award Winner, Best Emerging Funk/Soul/R&B/Soul Band in New Orleans Offbeat Magazine, New Orleans


BOG debut album “Pocket Full of Funk” was voted in the “Top 10 Louisiana Albums of 2002” Scott Jordan, Gambit Weekly, 12/31/02


Guitarist Brandon Tarricone was voted in the “Top 10 Guitarists of 2001” by the Jambase reader poll.


Nominated for Best Funk Band in New Orleans, alongside Galactic, and Papa Grows Funk at the Big Easy Awards. Gambit Weekly


“This band has great tunes and huge creative energy. I would put this band on any festival stage anywhere in the world and have full confidence in the performance” Michael Ray


“Brandon Tarricone rages the wooded fret board of his lavish Heritage hollow-body as if he needs to wake the world. As a matter of fact he often reaches this level of virtuosity throughout his performance…”

2002 Jazz fest All-stars..: Karl Denson, Skerik, Mike Dillon, Brandon Tarricone, Charlie Hunter, Fareed Haque, Warren Haynes, Josh Roseman, Brian Haas, Les Claypool, Stanton Moore.”
Brian Getz, Jambase 7/25/02


BOG fuses the “harmonic and melodic aspects of jazz with the groovy, danceable elements of funk, and the soulful vocals and energy of a New Orleans Brass Band…..This band brings energy into clubs that goes way beyond most forms of music today.”


First Annual Three Saints Award for Best Performance in Cotati, CA. 2002


"New And Improved Groove"

Hailing from Uptown New Orleans, the Brotherhood of Groove collective has taken the heat of the Bayou out on the road. Midway thru a sweaty summer tour B.O.G. has been torching the West with a revamped lineup, and is releasing a blazing hot new record BOG Style. The first leg of the summer run, a Northwestern swing through mountain towns and West Coast cities, has been scorching jazz and jam fans alike. The updated BOG is oiled and running smoothly on all crunk cylinders.

"I started the BOG here in New Orleans in 2001," says Tarricone. "I wrote about ten tunes in that first year and we went into the studio for the first album. It was a little more jazzy since I was just finishing my degree in jazz at Loyola, where I studied with all kinds of heavy cats like Johnny V (Vidacovich)."

BOG, in its infancy, developed a penchant for relentless touring, sometimes approaching 100 shows in a calendar year. As the reputation grew, so did the writing, and in turn, the playing. Tarricone was constantly toying with the lineup, tweaking it to his satisfaction as the material became more engaging. Brandon encountered more and more styles and situations that he could adapt to his BOG project.

"We started touring heavily for the next two years, and I changed the lineup quite often. Everyone we have had in the band has been a solid player, but as I move on and organize more cats into the Brotherhood of Groove, our shit just keeps getting deeper and deeper. On this last tour we did we had many people tell us every night that we were the best band that had come through town that whole year."

While having a blast on tour, Tarricone began to look at his art differently, and in turn began to hear it differently as well. This called for new material, new cats to play it, and maybe somebody else's ideas mixed into the stew, in terms of arranging and producing as well as playing and writing.

"As we toured heavier and heavier I started writing more, and different types of tunes as well. I started writing rock tunes, and New Orleans street beat tunes, straight funk tunes, acoustic tunes, etc... I have had all of these different influences in my life, and they have started to really come out in my writing. For example in the past I have seen a lot of Phish shows--that has influenced me, but then two weeks later I might be second lining in a new Orleans parade for two weeks of Mardi Gras, and that has influenced me. I also have studied Scofield's style, and Grant Green's style, and Trey's style, and all of these other cats pretty closely, so that has been a big influence in my writing and playing."

Touring as an acoustic folk duo (Front Porch) during some BOG downtime last winter certainly opened Tarricone's eyes and ears to different aspects of performing, listening, and most importantly, singing. Lead vocals were uncharted territory for the most part--when it comes to the Brotherhood blueprint, Brandon has really stepped up his throat game on the new record and recent tour.

"Part of me really wants to display the Axl Rose/Robert Plant/Frank Sinatra showmanship vibe that only a true front man can bring. It brings a level of excitement and sensuality to the material," adds Tarricone.

Tarricone decided that after the most successful and fulfilling tour of their short career, he should bring this lineup into the studio over Jazzfest to capture the vibe and lay down these newer tracks. The recording of BOG Style was truly a learning experience for the bandleader, and a huge jump forward for the project. He found a producer and collaborator (Jeff Watkins) with whom he has developed a wonderful working relationship, as well as solidified the new B.O.G. lineup. He also lured many jam and jazz stars to come contribute to the new record.

"The Brotherhood of Groove is constantly retooling, as the music develops and more and more great musicians get involved. Part of the whole idea behind the Brotherhood is that it is an ever-developing group, which will bring in heavier and heavier cats to play the music, as I write and develop it. The band rehearses a lot, with whatever the lineup is, so that tours are always super tight, horn sections are amazingly precise, and the rhythm section has huge groove pocket," he explains.

Besides bandleader, composer, arranger, guitarist, and vocalist Brandon "Marlin Brando" Tarricone, the group's main collaborator is saxophonist Jeff Watkins (James Brown Band, 15 years). Watkins produced the BOG Style sessions with Tarricone, and also played sax on four tunes. He tours with B.O.G. frequently and has helped get the horn arrangements even tighter than the James Brown Band (so he says!).

"I had just moved to New Orleans, and was psyched up about the wealth of talent to discover and work with," recounts Watkins. "My friend Rod Glaubman met Brandon while I was on tour with JB, and played me B.O.G.'s first project. I was impressed with the writing and playing, and was looking f -


Studio Albums Include:

2004 Release, "BOG Style" with tracks composed and arranged by Brandon Tarricone. Recorded by Brandon Tarricone (guitar and vocals), Jeff Watkins (tenor sax), Geoff Vidal (tenor Sax), Sam Kininger (Alto Sax), Jon Massing (drums) and Stewart Mckinsey (bass). "BOG Style" also features artists Ivan Neville from the Neville Brothers (organ), Marco Benevnento from the Duo (organ), Christina Machado (vocals) , Steve Bernstein from Sex Mob and Sting (trumpet), Henley Douglas Jr. from Boston Horns (tenor sax), Uganda Roberts from Dr. John (percusion), Michael Pellera (piano) and Brian Jordan from Karl Denson's Tiny Universe (guitar).

2001 Release, "Pocket Full of Funk" with tracks composed and arranged by Brandon Tarricone. Recorded by Brandon Tarricone (guitar), Michael Ray from Kool and the Gang and Sun Ra (trumpet), John Ellis from Charlie Hunter quartet (tenor sax), Michael Pellera (piano), Alan Broome (bass), John Stonbley (bass), and Dan Caro (drums).


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Brotherhood of Groove is a high-energy band that has elevated the New Orleans Funk sound to new and exciting levels of creative complexity. The BOG’s unique style fuses soulful New Orleans brass band vocals with old school funk, rock, reggae, and modern and traditional jazz. In just four years, the BOG has developed a complex and sensational repertoire that has generated a loyal national fan base. Their albums, Pocket Full of Funk and BOG Style, the extensive list of collaborating master musicians, and the band’s full time coast-to-coast touring have all contributed to their well-deserved success.
Rarely in the music world has a bandleader arrived on the scene as talented and focused as guitarist/singer/songwriter Brandon Tarricone. Voted among the top ten guitarists by the 2001 Jambase reader’s poll, Tarricone’s creative songwriting and arrangements have attracted some of the country’s best musicians eager to collaborate with him. His complex harmonic chord work, virtuoso fingering and soulful touch—combined with his intense on-stage energy—make people rise-up and dance for hours.
During the past year, the band has brought in Producer/Sax player Jeff Watkins, known as lead Tenor for the James Brown Band for 14 years, to tighten the sound to the point of perfection. The Rhythm section is led by veteran heavy weight Rob Watson (bass, Tupac, Joe Walker and many other) driving groove, combined with Jon Massing’s masterful New Orleans style drumming, all of which makes even tame audiences rise and dance. A celebrated horn section led by Geoff Vidal and Sam Kininger (Soulive) includes several saxophones, as well as flute, to create a diverse symphonic jazz sound.
The Brotherhood’s communal musicianship has allowed the band to collaborate with and incorporate a number of amazing players into their performances during every tour, throughout the U.S. The Brotherhood’s unique sound has been enhanced by horn masters: Martin Fierro (Jerry Garcia band, Sly and the Family Stone), Michael Ray (trumpet, Phish/Sun Ra/Kool and the Gang), John Ellis (sax, Charlie Hunter Quartet), Dave Grippo (sax, Trey Anastasio Band, Phish), Henley Douglas, Jr. (sax, Heavy Metal Horns/Boston Horns), Michael Tucker (sax, Pat Metheny, Head Shaft), Eric Traub (sax, Dr. John), Jason Thor (trombone, Brian Setzer), John Stewart (sax, The Motet) are just a few of the chosen ones who rotate within the Brotherhood’s horn section.
The band has maintained balance by recording their first album, Pocket Full of Funk, at Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, with mastering by Mark Wilder (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock) at Sony Studios, New York. Released in January 2002, Pocket Full of Funk was voted among the top ten albums of 2002 by Gambit Weekly (January, 2003) and garnered many great reviews across the country.
The newest album, BOG Style features an amazing horn section with Jeff Watkins (James Brown Band), Sam Kininger (Soulive), Geoff Vidal, Steve Bernstein (Sex Mob), Henley Douglas Jr, (Boston Horns), and guests Ivan Neville (Neville Brothers), and Marco Benevento (the Duo) among others. Just released, BOG Style has taken the Brotherhood to yet another level of musicianship and foretells the band’s likely success as one of the next, major national touring acts. So, join the Brotherhood experience now.