Read more than 4400 articles & interviews, see phantastic pictures of Live shows & other snapshots




Taken from Prague Post (October 07, 2014)

Concert: Joe Bowie and XL Target at Agharta

Time to get serious and funky with influential trombone player

by Tony Ozuna

Joe Bowie and XL Target. Courtesy photo

Joe Bowie is an iconic jazz-funk-punk trombonist and vocalist best-known for his New York-based group Defunkt from the late 1970s till the present. XL Target meanwhile are Christy Doran, a veteran avant-garde jazz guitarist, and his younger brother KJ Dave, a funky-hip-hop drummer - both from Switzerland. As a trio, this group combines a youthful new jazz sound with a sharp political edge.

Joe Bowie and XL Target
Where: Agharta Jazz Centrum
When: Oct 17 at 9 p.m.

Joe Bowie, born 1953 in St. Louis, is a younger brother of the trombonist Lester Bowie (1941-99), who led the Chicago Art Ensemble and with this and other groups explored the merger of avant-garde jazz and pop music to sublime achievements. Joe Bowie recorded on some of Lester's seminal projects in this direction, in the early '70s, including the albums Fast Last! and Rope-a-Dope.

By the late '70s, however, he formed his own group, Defunkt, which was a pioneering merge of danceable jazz-funk and punk, or rather the New York version of No Wave, more than the modern hard-core sounds. In other words, Defunkt was a major influence on later groups from the 1980s like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fishbone as well as their own contemporaries like the Talking Heads.

As Bowie recalls, "I remember the RHCPs in the first Knitting Factory on Houston Street, they would stand in the front row of our concerts grooving and enjoying the music."

Defunkt never became a national sensation in the US, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers are millionaires, but this does not phase Bowie, and Defunkt is still active, mostly touring in Europe. Bowie also admits that he had his own influences. "It's natural that new bands borrow style and technique from bands that come before them. No band stands alone. I borrowed from James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Miles," he admits.

While Bowie first lived in Europe in 1971, in Paris with the Black Artists Group of St. Louis, he moved to Europe permanently in 2003 after Defunkt's Millenium tour in Europe to live with his wife, who he had met in 1994, in the Netherlands. Since he was constantly traveling between New York and Europe for the music, for over 30 years, he says, explaining the move, "It was difficult to manage a living in music in the US and at 50 years old, I wanted to give a new life a try where my music was most appreciated." These days, he lives contented in an old Dutch town, Gorinchem, in south Holland.

But there also seems to be a fiercer fire and passion to his music, in these times, which is more political with his current project involving the Doran Brothers aka XL Target. To complement the angular jazz-funk with guitar, drums, samples and programs courtesy of Christy and KJ Dave, Bowie says, "I add a dimension of melody, vocals and trombone with and without electronic effects. I write all lyrics exclusively for these songs and this group, and my lyrics throughout my career have always been conscious raising and I continue to expand on the situations in the world today."

A standout among their songs is "Feedback," reminiscent of the bold political declarations of Gil Scott Heron, from the 1970s-80s, where Bowie taunts the audience with political questions, then expects them to yell back at him in response.

"I offer another viewpoint of world issues to give young people some alternative views. It is important for musicians and artists to deliver a message of world consciousness to the audience. My words are direct and controversial but no less that the news we hear from the media today," he says.

Joe Bowie first played with KJ Dave, the drummer, in 1998, recording on "Dave Doran's Rhythm Voice" album, and since then Dave has wanted to work with Joe Bowie again. His four-years-older brother Christy, the guitarist explores open structures and improvisation to fill out the trio. Beyond the musicianship of these three, the concept of the band is to use modern computer music sounds, so Dave also produces and works all of the samples used.

"This is experimental and funk for the future," says Bowie. "I see that younger audiences have different distractions from the media in this age of Big Brother. Everything is processed and we are spoon fed culture, habits and even desires. This makes everyone the same and much easier to manipulate, than when I was young." Bowie's project with XL Target, meanwhile, tries to rebuke this state of affairs.

“My music and lyrics have evolved with so much time in the business,” he continues. “I am a minstrel delivering information about the lifestyle and conditions of the world. I have struggled to create my life and career in Europe after leaving the US and I've encountered many, many musical situations. And now, I'm trying to balance what I learn here, in the EU, with what I know from my past in the US to create something new, unique and a special sound,” he says.




Check out my latest Playlist

Get external player here


Latest News
  Last Update: 2024-04-17 23:47


News Selector