Toussaint and The China Band

Toussaint and The China Band

BandR&BFunk

Through a highly scientific method of high energy performance of classic tracks from Marley to Jackson, with flavorful originals taboot, Toussaint has found the secret to eternal youth. The best part is that the band has a good time doing it and you'll have a good time hearing it too

Biography

In the fall of 2004 drummer Bill Carbone spent a month in Shanghai China as part of The Hennessy XO Jazz festival. He noticed that the people had a love of Western music, in particular good singers. Upon returning to the states Bill formed a group around talented singer and friend Toussaint Liberator with the intention of bringing the group to Shanghai. The band had immediate success in Boston, landing what would become a popular weekly gig at Noir in Cambridge MA, but the plans to travel to China did not come to fruition. Several weeks into the Noir gig a friend sarcastically pronounced them “Toussaint and The China Band,” and so they were named. Since then the group has performed all over the Northeast and has just returned from a Department of Defense sponsored “Armed Forces Entertainment” tour that took them to Puerto Rico, Honduras, Ecuador, Cuba and The Bahamas. Unfortunately the Cambridge Police cancelled the weekly Noir gig due to its frequent forays into over-capacity!

While the band itself is just over a year old, the members of the group have had a musical relationship for years. Bill Carbone (drums, Miracle Orchestra, Dead Cat Bounce, Suspect) and Johnny Trama (guitar, Trama Unit, Rockett Band) came up together. The pair toured under the tutelage of organ master and B.B. King alum Ron Levy and in Peter Prince’s Moon Boot Lover. They’ve also been performing with organist Paul Wolstencroft (Melvin Sparks, Jiggle, Chad) for the better part of a decade, playing jazz, reggae and blues. Bassist Nate Edgar (Jiggle, Knockout) joined the group while Paul was out on tour with Melvin Sparks and hasn’t left yet! As The China Band they draw upon their various influences without being scattered, offering Toussaint a roots platter of reggae, funk and soul grooves with which to do his thing. For his part, Toussaint is a living songbook, mixing cover songs and originals seamlessly. Toussaint’s sister Ebony also sings with the group, adding soulful backups and an occasional lead.

Toussaint, the son of a Baptist preacher and a devoted Gospel singer, spent most of his youth in the church. Along with his mother and three siblings, Toussaint sang as the church’s choir while his father preached. By Toussaint’s seventh birthday, he and Ebony had traveled the majority of the Mid-West states performing his joyful Gospel music.

As Toussaint grew so did his singing style. In college he led the Gospel Revelations at Earlham College Choir in Richmond, IN. During college Toussaint also ventured out of the church and into smoky dive bars where he began to sing the blues and old-school R&B tunes. Although he was on a great musical path in college, a poor decision and an unfortunate event ended Toussaint's college band days, leaving him a college dropout, a soon-to-be-father, and a determined musician.

Many months later, a regrouped and determined man left for the city of Boston and its musical opportunities. Once settled in Boston Toussaint co-founded Red Pill whose raw and rootsy Hip Hop and Reggae sounds instantly made waves. Liberator’s open-mindedness and positive vibe have brought him in contact with an unfathomable array of musicians. Superstars such as Burning Spear, Me’Shell Ndegeocello and Ivan Neville have all asked Toussaint to join them onstage. Toussaint has also sung with leading Pop musicians Wyclef Jean, Usher and Chinablac. Hip Hop artists such as Talib Kweli, Common, The Skitzofreniks, Mr. Lif, Edan, Reks and Akrobatik have all invited Toussaint to either record or perform alongside them. He has also performed with Reggae artists such as Damien Marley and III Kings and Funksters Soulive and Sam Kinnenger.

Discography

Toussaint and The China Band
Red Pill live V1 and V2
Toussaint and The China Band "Love The Almighty" recording is underway!

Set List

The band has a weekly gig in Boston and the setlist tends to vary based upon the size and energy of the crowd. The band has more than enough material to play 3 sets - the first weekly gig they had was actually four sets with the first being "loungy" and the rest getting progressively funkier over the course of the evening.

The band knows an infinite amount of reggae tunes by artists such as Bob Marley and Toots. The group also frequently will lay down a classic reggae groove and let Toussaint sing originals or a combination of original and cover on it - think "mixtape" style where the lyrics from one song land on the music from another.

In addition to the group’s many originals, here are a sampling of its covers:

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley
Lively Up Yourself - Marley
Roots, Rock, Reggae - Marley
Waiting in Vain - Marley
Three Little Birds - Marley
Small Axe - Marley
Bend Down Low - Marley
Stir it up - Marley
Soul Shakedown Party – Marley

Oh Carolina – Shaggy/Pr