Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul
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Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul

Melbourne, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 1981 | INDIE

Melbourne, Australia | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1981
Band R&B Soul

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
01
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

May
11
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Kingston City Hall

Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia

Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia

Mar
30
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Feb
16
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Geelong Showgrounds

Victoria, Australia

Victoria, Australia

Dec
30
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Nov
24
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Oct
20
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Newmarket Hotel

Saint Kilda, Victoria, Australia

Saint Kilda, Victoria, Australia

Sep
01
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Jun
16
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

May
19
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Newmarket Hotel

Saint Kilda, Victoria, Australia

Saint Kilda, Victoria, Australia

May
05
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Village Green Hotel

Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia

Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia

Mar
17
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dec
31
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Aug
12
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Wheelers Hill Hotel

Wheelers Hill, Victoria, Australia

Wheelers Hill, Victoria, Australia

Apr
22
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Caulfield RSL - Flying Saucer Club

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

Mar
18
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Fast Eddies Poolroom & Bar

Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia

Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia

Feb
25
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Stage 1 - Town Square, Eltham

Eltham, Victoria, Australia

Eltham, Victoria, Australia

Feb
11
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dec
22
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Wheelers Hill Hotel

Wheelers Hill, Victoria, Australia

Wheelers Hill, Victoria, Australia

Oct
15
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Caulfield RSL - Flying Saucer Club

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

Sep
24
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Theatre Royal

Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia

Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia

Aug
05
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Lucky 13 Garage

Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia

Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia

May
14
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Bird's Basement

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Mar
06
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Caulfield RSL - Flying Saucer Club

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

Dec
19
Grand WaZoo - Kings of Soul @ Caulfield RSL - Flying Saucer Club

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia

Music

Press


“Come get your groove on with the unforgettable 13-piece band Grand WaZoo. Masters of soul and funk, these world-class performers blast through a range of classic dance hits, forgotten gems and some of their own infectious originals. Versatile across any style or genre, the multicultural lineup features members young and old, and appeals to all ages.“ E.Munro/L.Cooper - The Age Newspaper


GRAND WAZOO-
Soul Monster - Live ; 2007

I live and breathe the soul that flows through me when I listen to this cd. Thanks guys. I absolutely love it!
DJ Micky Jones Australia

Soul Monster-Live is nice and tight,good production too...kept forgetting it was live !!
DJ Dean Bristol, United Kingdom - Micky Jones & DJ Dean (online)


Come get your groove on with the unforgettable 13-piece band Grand WaZoo. Masters of soul and funk, these world-class performers blast through a range of classic dance hits, forgotten gems and some of their own infectious originals. Versatile across any style or genre, the multicultural lineup features members young and old, and appeals to all ages. (2013) - The Age / Shortlist


Now based mainly in America, Merritt took the stage at The Rainbow on Sunday night in front of local soul band The Grand Wazoo (whose members in the past have included Kate Ceberano). This band has been a fixture at the pub for more years than most people care to remember and draws strong crowds every week with their repertoire of soul. It is somewhat like a black music jukebox and an ideal foil for the veteran singer's voice.

Merritt opened his bracket with the classic 'Fannie Mae' and then sang his biggest hit of the '60s, 'Western Union Man', before adding 'Can't Turn You Loose', Otis Redding's 'Try A Little Tenderness' and an interesting version of Steely Dan's 'Dirty Work'......Brian Wise. 2001

- Rhythms


Twilight descends on Fitzroy. The cosy public bar of the Rainbow Hotel vibrates to the classic soul of Grand Wazoo.... Soul music is passionate and sexy and cuts to the heart of the human experience....
Soul is emotional, melodic and sophisticated, with its roots in the American South and gospel, and its lurking within the rock and jazz-oriented crevices of Melbourne....
On Sundays its hard to find a piece of floor for your feet as the 15 piece Grand Wazoo bring down the house...
Lesley Sharon Rosenthal (1999) - EG The Age


Twilight descends on Fitzroy. The cosy public bar of the Rainbow Hotel vibrates to the classic soul of Grand Wazoo.... Soul music is passionate and sexy and cuts to the heart of the human experience....
Soul is emotional, melodic and sophisticated, with its roots in the American South and gospel, and its lurking within the rock and jazz-oriented crevices of Melbourne....
On Sundays its hard to find a piece of floor for your feet as the 15 piece Grand Wazoo bring down the house...
Lesley Sharon Rosenthal (1999) - EG The Age


If the Blues Brothers 2000 movie didn't satisfy your soul fix, Melbourne's 15 piece GRAND WAZOO- perform meticulous versions of soul classics. ...They helped launch Kate Ceberano's career.
See them at the Ritz tonight and Rainbow on Sunday.
1998. Patrick Donovan - The Age


If the Blues Brothers 2000 movie didn't satisfy your soul fix, Melbourne's 15 piece GRAND WAZOO- perform meticulous versions of soul classics. ...They helped launch Kate Ceberano's career.
See them at the Ritz tonight and Rainbow on Sunday.
1998. Patrick Donovan - The Age


For the last 10 years The Grand Wazoo has been entertaining the crowd at the Rainbow Hotel with the sort of soul-funk review only a 14+ piece band can provide.
Formed in 1981 by frontman, John Montesante, the Wazoo play classic tracks, as well as from their own library. It's an amazing show and the pilgrimage should be made at least once in your lifetime.
(2007) Mark Wilkins - Herald Sun


For the last 10 years The Grand Wazoo has been entertaining the crowd at the Rainbow Hotel with the sort of soul-funk review only a 14+ piece band can provide.
Formed in 1981 by frontman, John Montesante, the Wazoo play classic tracks, as well as from their own library. It's an amazing show and the pilgrimage should be made at least once in your lifetime.
(2007) Mark Wilkins - Herald Sun


For the past 25 years, John Montesante has played at least one gig a week with soul band, Grand Wazoo.
Montesante, a musician and arranger, began the group in 1981 ...The size of the band has ranged between 12-18 members, and past and present players are celebrating Grand Wazoo's 25th birthday with a bash at their Sunday gig... (2006)

- Herald Sun


For the past 25 years, John Montesante has played at least one gig a week with soul band, Grand Wazoo.
Montesante, a musician and arranger, began the group in 1981 ...The size of the band has ranged between 12-18 members, and past and present players are celebrating Grand Wazoo's 25th birthday with a bash at their Sunday gig... (2006)

- Herald Sun


Legendary Kings of Soul, Grand Wazoo- Australia's finest and longest running outfit presenting Afro-American soul music, will perform its entertaining Soul Legends Revue at the revamped Manchester Lane this Friday at 10pm and there on a three weekly rotation basis afterwards. Not to be missed! (Music News : 2004) - Inpress Magazine


We have a very special treat in store this Sunday for fans of Soul Music.
Melbourne soul giants, The Grand Wazoo, are celebrating the tenth anniversary of their famous Sunday residency at Fitzroy's Rainbow Hotel.
Sundays at the Rainbow have become an institution for Melbourne music hounds of all stripes, and to celebrate, the band will be recording a live album this Sunday ...and you are all invited as their special guests.
(2007) Matthew Frederick - The Age Gig Guide.


Legendary Kings of Soul, Grand Wazoo- Australia's finest and longest running outfit presenting Afro-American soul music, will perform its entertaining Soul Legends Revue at the revamped Manchester Lane this Friday at 10pm and there on a three weekly rotation basis afterwards. Not to be missed! (Music News : 2004) - Inpress Magazine


The local legend that is the Grand Wazoo experience just added another chapter to their impressive book. They are the proclaimed Kings of Soul, the 14 piece band was founded in 1981 by arranger-musician John Montesante, who remains leader today. Featuring 4 vocalists, 6 horns and 4 rhythm players and a repertoire exceeding 300 Black Soul & Rhythm & Blues tunes, the outfit has performed thousands of live gigs since its inception. ...Celebrating 10 years of weekly Sunday Soul Sessions at Melbourne's Rainbow Hotel, Grand Wazoo recorded that gig live before an audience, with only one take of each tune. The band invited singer Jeff Duff ( a former Kush band colleague of John Montesante) to join the line-up that day, and perform 2 songs on the album. Well this Sunday sees them return to the Rainbow Hotel to launch the album; they will also be doing a late show at The Espy, as well as an early bird show for those who can't wait, at The Spot tonight... ( end 2007) Mark Wilkins - Herald-Sun


...The Rainbow has always been the beating pulse of Australia's scene and has hosted everyone from international superstars to upstart bands.....some of Melbourne's finest musicians are determined to give the venue fitting farewell.
The action starts this Sunday as the Grand Wazoo launch their latest album 'Soul Monster-Live'. Recorded live at the Rainbow itself, this is a smoking slab of white-hot soul performed by some of Australia's most talented musicians...
(2007) Matthew Frederick - The Age Gig Guide.


The local legend that is the Grand Wazoo experience just added another chapter to their impressive book. They are the proclaimed Kings of Soul, the 14 piece band was founded in 1981 by arranger-musician John Montesante, who remains leader today. Featuring 4 vocalists, 6 horns and 4 rhythm players and a repertoire exceeding 300 Black Soul & Rhythm & Blues tunes, the outfit has performed thousands of live gigs since its inception. ...Celebrating 10 years of weekly Sunday Soul Sessions at Melbourne's Rainbow Hotel, Grand Wazoo recorded that gig live before an audience, with only one take of each tune. The band invited singer Jeff Duff ( a former Kush band colleague of John Montesante) to join the line-up that day, and perform 2 songs on the album. Well this Sunday sees them return to the Rainbow Hotel to launch the album; they will also be doing a late show at The Espy, as well as an early bird show for those who can't wait, at The Spot tonight... ( end 2007) Mark Wilkins - Herald-Sun


Quoting Mr. Gil Askey:
25 years Musical Director at Motown Records, USA

“Thank you for letting me hear your wonderful band; I am still riding on a big high. Your band is so “hot” that when I woke up today, I couldn’t go back to sleep thinking about that great band. I really enjoyed your music Man and great charts too. You’ve been writing your butt off....and what a Horn Section! Man, they work as hard as the guys did with James Brown. I can’t wait until next time. Thank you again!” Dec 2009

- Online


Discography

1985: LP-Vinyl: "GW:Reverend Blues & The Blues Messengers"
1998: Studio CD : "Grand WaZoo-Band of 1000 Dances"
2002: Live Concert CD/DVD: "Max Merritt's 40th Anniversary Concert", backed by Grand WaZoo-Kings of Soul
2005: Tribute CD: "Grand WaZoo & The Legendary King of Soul, Alvie Lee Johns Jnr" (RIP)
2008: Live Gig Album: "Grand WaZoo:Soul Monster-Live". Historic one-take "live" recording on 10 year anniversary of band's weekly Sunday Soul Sessions @ the Rainbow Hotel.
Grand WaZoo is planning a new album in late 2016 to celebrate 35 years of ongoing performance.

ps Occasionally we post clips of the band on YouTube on:
http://www.youtube.com/soulnjazz555

Photos

Bio

GRAND WAZOO are Australia's legendary 13 piece Soul kings, with an unsurpassed record for presenting the most authentic and entertaining classic Black Soul Music experience since 1981- performing favourite songs, rare gems and band tunes in the same 'brassy blaster' style.

The Founder-Band Leader:
JOHN MONTESANTE began his professional career as a jazz musician, who diversified into other genres to engender regular work. Exploring Black Soul Music, he loved the high energy and emotion of the music, and felt Australian music-lovers would share his passion. Prior to forming GRAND WAZOO in 1981, he had worked as a professional musician and arranger for 13 years, appearing with many stellar bands like  JR Madison, Barry Veith Big Band, Kush, Dutch Tilders Blues Train, Tinsley Waterhouse Band, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, as well as in stage bands and TV orchestras.

The Band:
GRAND WAZOO
became revered for Montesante's Soul arrangements, the permanent 6 piece Horn Section and the band's vibrant energy - with the outfit becoming a rite of passage for many of the finest artists in Australia. John was quickly regarded as an Ambassador of Soul, as he pioneered the artform in the southern hemisphere - and most groups that followed in the Soul genre, took their inspiration from this mighty band. However none sustained the uncompromising dedication to authentic Black Soul Music, which is what sets Grand WaZoo apart. Nobody does it better.

GRAND WAZOO is a top sight-reading band too and has backed or supported International and Australian artists, including: Wilson Pickett Band, Sam + Dave, Venetta Fields, Al Martino, Leo Sayer, Ross Wilson, Anthony Callea, Jon Stevens, Rhonda Burchmore, Tim Campbell, Mahalia Barnes, Ian Stenlake, Jeff Duff, Marcia Hines, Hollywood Brown, Reg Livermore, Peter Cupples, Hot Chocolate, Lisa Edwards, Renee Geyer, Normie Rowe, Kate Ceberano, Jackie Love, Max Merritt, Todd McKenney, Bobby Valentine, Joe Camilleri and many others. Any artist with their own charts may be backed by the band. After working with Montesante in Australia during the 1980s, US Soul duo, Sam + Dave invited him to become their arranger and MD, but his commitment to the Australian scene made that impossible at the time.

The Band's live media appearances have included many regular TV spots on GMA (Good Morning Australia), Hey Hey It's Saturday, Midday Show, Denise, Don Lane Show,The Footy Show and several 'live' radio shows.

Not only does Grand WaZoo sound amazing, with its big brassy presence, but looks like a Soul outfit should, presenting a harmonious, multi-generational and multi-racial line up - with wide appeal to all age groups. The band always works at full strength, due to the orchestrations and because it values all its artists. It showcases at least 3 of its stellar pool of singers at any gig, who work together in various combos, presenting the finest Soul voices in Australia. Grand WaZoo is available to work local, interstate and international.

The Gigs:

GRAND WAZOO has a  repertoire of 310 superbly arranged and composed  tunes.

The band's Soul Extravaganza pays tribute to all the Black Soul artists of the 1960s and 1970s from Ray Charles to Motown, from James Brown to Aretha Franklin, from Al Green to Prince, from Tina Turner to Etta James and many others. The band may also focus on particular artists within its repertoire upon request,

The band's Soul Divas Show delivers the iconic and popular tunes of the great Female Soul artists of the era, and goes down a treat.  Both these shows are ideal for dancing. The band also has many ballads available, should clients prefer a listening, seated event.

Grand WaZoo generally presents 2 x one hour sets with an interval, although there is some flexibility for special events, functions, festivals and media.

The extensive repertoire and talent base means the band performs for all events: Private Functions, Major Events, Outdoor Stages, Concerts, Parties, Nightclubs, Venues, Live Media, Corporate, Conference, Awards Nights, Festivals and as Show Band. Grand WaZoo performs a live public showcase from time to time, so if a client wants to see the band prior to booking, it is worthwhile to go along.

The band's quality and longevity takes it to the higher end of the entertainment market, where it is the BAND OF CHOICE when Superb Music and Unrivalled Entertainment Value is required. You've seen the rest. Come back to the BEST!





Band Members