The Greg Mayo Band
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The Greg Mayo Band

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Pop Funk

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May
13
The Greg Mayo Band @ The Bitter End

New York City, New York, USA

New York City, New York, USA

Sep
05
The Greg Mayo Band @ StroudFest

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Sep
04
The Greg Mayo Band @ Sarah Street Grill

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

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If your band repeatedly draws comparisons to the likes of Curtis Mayfield, The Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder — and by tired music-scribe extension, Jamiroquai — you can be relatively sure that you are doing something right. However, you might also be burdened by unreasonably high expectations. But if that weight bothers The Greg Mayo Band, they aren’t letting on. Rather, they embrace the standards implicit in those connections. Rooted in soul but well-schooled in jazz, the septet delivers a high-octane live show grounded in a deep reverence for the legends who came before them. Catch them Wednesday, July 30, at Red Square. - Seven Days, Vermont's Independent Voice


All songs on this 12-track CD are produced and written by Greg Mayo with the exception of Tracks 2 & 6 (co-written with Erik White) and Track 9 co-written by Chris Anderson. Following on from reviewing The Greg Mayo And The Groove’s EP in 2006, I was eager to hear their debut, full length CD with the group now known under their new name of “The Greg Mayo Band.”

Title track “Universal Communication,” a short instrumental, gently glides you in to the album continuing with the second song “Love And Evolution,” with love lasting a lifetime. After a lovely change in tempo we hear third track “Love The Way,” with its tiny helping of Hip-Hop lyrics courtesy of Erik White, tastefully done and a welcome addition to the album. “Take Me Back” (to when I loved you) is next, then on to the mellow starting, mind-opening track “Still Going On” with trumpet solo and soulful lyrics. Fast tempo and funky “Get Down” sets the feet moving in this up-tempo dance track. On to “Another Kind” speaking of a love one has never felt before (universal communication), a love nobody understands then track 8 “Leave It Alone.” Slowly, we move on to the bluesy groove “Waiting For You” where you can hear Greg’s fine vocals. “Follow” is next with the lyrics “I’m gunna walk on water ‘till I learn to fly away” and on to “I Don’t Know” which appears to fade, then re-emerges to wind us (and the CD) down with the wonderfully slow and heartfelt final song “Now I Know Better.”

The Greg Mayo band consists of Greg Mayo on keys and vocals, Erik White on guitar and vocals, Chris Anderson on bass and vocals, Kenny Shaw on drums, Matt Abatelli on tenor sax, John Liotta on alto and bari sax and Kenny Warren on trumpet. I’m sure we will be hearing much more from these high level and skilled, well-trained vocalists and musicians. The CD has solo moments from the instrumentalists and good lyrics. Greg Mayo may have lost the Groove from their name, but not from their music, they are rhythmically together in a funky, jazzy and soulful blend. The Greg Mayo Band, in their recording infancy is sounding good; with more variety and a smidgen of raw and gutsy passion, I feel they can do even better. I wish Greg and his band huge success with their funky debut CD. Well recommended. - Justsoul.net


This EP makes you want to hear more, recorded and produced by Greg Mayo himself. You can tell this is not just a band, but a group of fine musicians who have studied and love their music & want you, the listener, to enjoy it too. If you like Funk with a slither of Jazz and a whole handful of Soulful Rock (with a psychedelic edge), you will love it. Energised musicians who know their music, a classic sound with a fresh twist of youthful spiciness. Feel good, upbeat Rock is fed to you from Greg Mayo & the Groove.

From the first track ‘Get It Goin’ - it does just that - gets you going for the rest of the EP. Makes you want to dance and turn up the Funk. James Brown would be proud of these boys.

Supposedly likened to the Police - not my scene at all, but I like this band, so if the Police ‘aint your thing, don’t be put off. Greg has a good Jazzy/Rock voice and his lyrics weave easily around you. I especially enjoyed the track ‘Inside Your Mind’ - beautiful. You get the feel Greg is enjoying singing this & his band respond to his call. This is an observational, honest song, which draws you into the lyrics. There’s an inspiring horn section in ‘Maybe’ and the Funky guitar sounds in ‘6 days’, rest well on your pallet, enticing you to taste more. Finishing with ‘The Flow,’ drumming those sweet percussion sounds inside you. This is a wonderfully written EP with fun loving lines, catchy choruses and Soulful/Funky/Rock rhythms, giving you an energy release to revitalise your inner being. - Justsoul.net


Readers, I’ve really found some amazing talent to share with you this time...
The Greg Mayo Band is a 7-piece funk band, originating in New York City that has been performing together for about a year and a half. Its members come from all over that area – Brooklyn, Queens, and West Chester – but their main home base is in the West Village, most specifically at a nightclub called The Bitter End.
Lead singer and keyboardist Greg Mayo says that the group is greatly influenced by the tunes of Motown. Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder are all musicians the band looks up to, which is quite apparent in their music.
I know most bands don’t like to be compared to any other bands, but I’m going to do it here. The Greg Mayo Band is what you might end up with if you put Stevie Wonder, Jason Mraz, Marvin Gaye, and Maroon 5 in a big musical blender and pressed “smoothie.”
They take bits and pieces from each, as well as adding their own spin, to create a new sound that is much like old school jazz/funk/soul with a bit of a pop overtone. Their gig last weekend at Sarah Street Grill not only paid tribute to the famous musical legends through a few cover songs, but also included a sound in their original songs that was very much reminiscent of the Motown style.
The first aspect of the music that stuck out was the beat, which I would indefinitely describe as groovalicious, and then of course, came the vocals. Mayo’s voice is beautiful – something that is a real rarity in today’s music. He sings with such quality that it seems as he’s been performing for audiences his whole life.
The same can be said for the band. They all seem to have an affinity for creating music together, which gives them the ability to create such likeable music. Each band member looked like he was having fun, especially bassist Chris Anderson, who was a-hoppin’ and a-boppin’ (a term I have dubbed here for funk’s sake). That really is a key quality to winning over an audience. If the band is having fun, then the audience will, too.
I couldn’t help but take note to the fact that most of the bar-goers were turned towards the band, giving them their full attention instead of chatting with friends. Of course, bars are a place for socializing, and the fact that the Greg Mayo Band has enough presence to make conversation stop says a lot about their ability to have a large fan base. Looking down the row of bar stools, heads were bobbing along with the beat, releasing smiles and good vibes all through the bar.
Innovations in digital sound recording have enabled the band to record their latest CD, entitled “Universal Communication,” completely by themselves. Dealing with producers can often be more of a hassle for new bands with their own original sound. More often than not, producers want to alter or change their sound completely in order to make it marketable towards the public. By making their own CD, the Grey Mayo Band is able to market the music they aimed to create in the first place, as well as sound professional while they do it.
My only qualm about the CD is that it doesn’t give the band as much credit as they deserve. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the CD, but seeing them live was a much more memorable experience. Mayo’s voice, along with the other instruments, sounded so much more raw and filled with energy.
With this kind of music (funk and soul, that is), the more untreated, the better. The tracks on the CD seemed to lose some of that quality compared to the wonderful show this band put on. Perhaps a live album should be the next step for this group.
The band tours mostly in the northeastern part of the United States, in cities such as Boston, Burlington, and yes, even Stroudsburg, where they have shows once every two months at Sarah Street Grill. Mayo says that the band always comes back to the well known bar and restaurant because it was one of the first places that gave them a chance to play when they were first starting out.
The group will be returning to Sarah Street Grill on November 7, and also again on November 26. Their gigs start at 10:00 P.M. For more information on the Greg Mayo Band, please visit them on the web at myspace.com/gregmayo or at gregmayo.net.

- The Stroud Courier


8/24: Greg Mayo & The Groove @ The Bitter End, NYC
Throughout this awesome stint as a wanna be music journalist (by far one of the best summer’s to date…thank you again Billboard), us bloggers have had the privilege of seeing (and hearing) some of the greatest live acts on today’s concert circuit. Wanting to hit up as many big names as possible, it’s easy to forget that some of the best live music is often that which is yet to be discovered by major record labels and concert promoters. Before my days of befriending security guards and unfairly weaseling my way in front of thousands of other screaming fans (being 5’ does have it’s advantages), my favorite Friday or Saturday nights were spent roaming (ok, stumbling) through NYC’s own Greenwich Village in search of some great live music. So, with no official Billboard assignment on the schedule for the week, I pouted long enough to convince my hubby (who’s been the ultimate co-concert trooper this summer) to go on a hunt for live music with me…after his rather sweaty softball game and before his post-game shower…like I said…trooper. As it's always bustling downtown on Friday night, we ventured back to Bleecker Street in the hopes of finding at least one blog-worthy band. Not so tough when you've got the Bitter End in your backyard! Oh how times have changed! Sipping Shiraz instead of guzzling G & T’s and replacing otherwise unmentioned hand held objects with pen and paper (gotta keep it clean for the ‘rents), we strategically positioned ourselves front and center in no other than “New York’s Oldest Rock Club”…The Bitter End www.bitterend.com. If it was good enough for the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder (just to name a few), then it’s good enough for this Mobile Beat Blogger. If legends like that got started there, and now I’m reporting from there…hmmmmm…could this be the start of…ok, I digress (and clearly daydream). The Bitter End, with its intimate nightclub ambiance and red brick walls, is not only a NYC Landmark (literally…it earned the title on 7/23/92) but a cornerstone in the world of American music at large.

We had no idea what type of music we were about to hear…not knowing a thing about any of the acts on the evening’s line up, it was a virtual crap shoot. The big man at the door said Greg Mayo & The Goove www.gregmayo.net were good…what other credentials does a band (or potential concert goer) need, really. Let me set the record straight by assuring you this is not a group of college buddies banging on drums and guitars straight out of a jam session in mom’s garage. With their front man and lead vocalist (obviously Greg Mayo) on keyboards, 2 sax men, a bassist and guitar player, a drummer and a hit-whatever-makes-noise percussionist spread out across the small stage, I could tell before they even started that these guys were no joke…legit musicians who were going to prove to be well-skilled and talented in their respective crafts. After hearing just the first song, “Ain’t it the Truth,” it was obvious that my friend at the door was on the money with his reco…and would have been justified in charging us way more than a mere $10 entry fee.

Listed second on the night’s roster of about 5 acts definitely doesn’t leave time for a band to ease into their set…starting off slowly and escalating into an all out musical frenzy before departing. But obviously Greg Mayo & The Groove, playing the Bitter End at least once a month, don’t need me to tell them that. The band hit us right off the bat with an all instrumental song that saw alto sax and bass solos (c/o John Liotta and Chris Anderson) setting the mood for a funky, jazzy, soulful night of tunes. This first number allowed each player to show off his stuff with brief solos, but kept bringing them all back together on what was a really catchy hook, proving not only their individual talents, but their tightness as a band as well.


“Get it Going” introduced us to Greg Mayo’s smooth vocals and catchy lyrics, as well as to the harmonizing backup vocals of guitarist Erik White. It was pretty impossible not to bounce in our seats along to the beats…and not wish we knew the words to sing along. My “family and friends” envy kicked in (as usual) when I saw some lip syncers dancing on the side of the stage. Mayo definitely knows how to sprinkle his songs with the perfect amount catchy lyrics so as to generate enough pop appeal without sacrificing the band’s more jazz/soul foundation.

“Still Going On” and “The Flow” proved, without a doubt, that the white man does have rhythm…or at least some of us do. Scanning the stage, I wouldn’t think that the tall, long-legged, four-eyed (I say that with the utmost endearment, as I think I’ve been sporting spectacles since birth) red head seated unassumingly in the back would be the funky one in the bunch…but alas, I sat at my table corrected, ashamed of my prejudgments and in awe of how many percussion instruments Ryan Vaughn could play at once. This guy totally funked up the back beat, whether it be by slamming on a slap box, shaking a tambourine, banging on a cowbell or doing all three at the same time! He was awesome!

“Waiting for You” was a soulful, ballad-esque song that really let Greg Mayo show off his powerful, even and emotionally charged voice (he’s got the whole eyes squeezed shut during the belting out moments thing down pat). It was the first song of the night where I felt his lead vocals took center stage over the instruments…that is until White tore it up with a really bluesy guitar solo that perfectly complemented Mayo’s despondent lyrics about love.

“Take Me Back” was placed perfectly in the set list. Not letting us lose too much steam from the previous slower tune (perhaps the only one of the night, actually), the band fully rocked out on this harder, more drum-driven number. Tons of jazz inspired solos from every player filled the song right up until the end when the guys once again finished it off on the same, solid note. If I had any gripe with the band, it would be that I wanted to see them go a little crazier with their jams. The guys’ talents weren’t in question…they were good…really good…and it was obvious they not only loved music, but loved to bring music to their listeners. But amid their smiles and jams, I was anxious to see and hear them loosen up a little, play out of the comfort zone of what seemed to be well-rehearsed improvs. In a nutshell, they were almost too good! Too tightly in sync with one another. I couldn’t help but think that maybe Greg Mayo & The Groove were getting too big for this famous yet familiar Bitter End stage and were in need of some more space and freedom to accomodate their huge sound and abilities.

“I Don’t Know” was a really upbeat, well harmonized tune that definitely got me singing along to the catchy chorus by the end, not to mention clapping along to the beat with the rest of the newfound fans in the audience. “Inside Your Mind,” had a kind of New Orleans-y feel that really showcased the band’s soulful/bluesy side. Heavy on the keyboard, drums and saxes, it was hard to shake images of Maceo Parker or even Stevie Wonder. For a bunch of early 20 something guys clad in well-worn in jeans and T’s, they were (as my other frequent concert companion Yael so eloquently put it) “totally pulling off a funky/jazzy/r&b sound.” Mayo again proved to be a stellar and quite comfortable front man, singing rather than screaming his lyrics with just enough power to express himself not at the expense of the great musicians on stage with him.

The guys brought up a guest sax man on “Follow” that got the room howling, and they finished their set with “Maybe” that gave a real feel for their sense of rhythm and over all musicianship. Every great band needs a signature cover, and Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” might just be it for Greg Mayo & The Groove. Not crossing the line over to a cheesy, karaoke rendition, the guys did a great job with funking up this classic. And it was very cool to hear a little more fire in Mayo’s voice as he belted out the vocals.

Any GOOD band or musician sounds better live, right? So of course at the end of the night, impressed and completely pleased with what we just heard, we had to show our support and buy some $5 CDs. But, as we walked out, we laughed about how “so different” (otherwise read as: worse) these “random” live bands can sound the next day when you listen to their studio cuts. Putting Greg Mayo & The Groove to the test, we popped their 5 track disc (extended play) into the CD changer for our drive home…and I haven’t taken it out yet. - Billboard Blog


Discography

February 2006 - Debut EP entitled (extended play)
April 2008 - Full length album 'Universal Communication'

Photos

Bio

The Greg Mayo Band has been compared affectionately to Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, and even The Roots. Based in soul but schooled in jazz, this group is exactly where they want to be. Formed in 2006 through the musical kinship of Greg Mayo (keyboards, lead vocals) and Matt Abatelli (tenor sax), The Greg Mayo Band is now beginning to really pound the pavement.

All accomplished musicians, members of the band have studied music at either The Hartt School of Music, or at SUNY Purchase, or both. The entire horn section - Kenny Warren (trumpet), John Liotta (alto/bari sax) and Matt Abatelli – have played alongside such jazz greats as Jackie Mclean and John Faddis. Led by Greg Mayo, the rhythm section includes Chris Anderson (bass), and Erik White (guitar, backing vocals) and Kenny Shaw (drums).

Within the past two years, the band has played shows far and wide, dashing across the Northeast, stretching as far south as Baltimore. Opening for artists as diverse and respected as Amos Lee, Busta Rhymes, and the Addison Groove Project, their loyal and ever-growing fan base spans all age groups and geographical areas. Storming the gates of many college campuses, the band have played at Gettysburg, Dartmouth, and Hartford’s Trinity College, to name a few. Their pop-infused sounds have also filled clubs like The Knitting Factory and The Lion’s Den in New York, all the way up to Nectar’s in Burlington, VT. They now fulfill a monthly residency at the legendary Bitter End, in New York's Greenwich Village.

Their debut album, Universal Communication (released 2008) has received rave reviews. Using bits and pieces from artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Jamiroquai, The Greg Mayo Band comes at you with a fresh twist on a classic sound.