Lady That Digs the Blues
Big Al Jano & The Blues Mafia is not your 'normal' blues band, one with the obligatory strong front man or woman and an inhomogeneous assortment of back-up musicians. Quite the contrary, the boss of this well-dressed mob creates a 'mini-blues revue' by giving each of his musical henchmen equal time at center stage. Big Al believes that this keeps the show moving and the ear candy stimulating. First, there's Butch 'Doo-Wop' Cooper, Capo of Drums and Big Al's partner in rhythm section crimes for more than a quarter of a century. Cooper handles the vocals on the gritty delta-type blues and the R&B songs. He is also an excellent writer of songs with great hook lines and melodies that probably stem from his interest in 1950's Doo-Wop music. His first com- mercially released tune was nationally charted (Record World, Jan 1,1977) and became a dance favorite in Japan. Daniel Summers, the newest member of the group was 'discovered' by chance in the non-musical environment of a suburban Super Bowl party. After a brief conversation during the game Big Al had a gut feeling that Summers might be the conventional style blues player he needed to create the unique sound he had envisioned. He invited him to come out and jam with the Blues Mafia at a local club without any knowledge of his expertise. Within three weeks, Daniel Summers became the Capo of Traditional Guitar, for the group. He is a true aficionado of old style playing techniques and vintage instruments. To recreate the pure sounds of the past, he doesn't use any electronic effects when playing his vintage guitars. Daniel also handles vocals for blues, blues-rock and traditional 'jump' and swing tunes, which are popular again. Rockin' Rick Ware, Capo of Contemporary Guitar, is next. The combination of Ware's dissimilar guitar tone and playing style with that of Summers is the wild card in the musical deck that creates The Blues Mafia's unique sound. Although out of the box for the blues traditionalist, most will agree the blend- ing of Rick's sound on stage with the tones of the 'pure' guitar is truly amazing and unlike anything else they've ever heard. No one believed such a contrast of playing styles and tones would work together, but Big Al stuck to his guns until it gelled. SPECIAL BIO NOTE: Keith' Foots' Andersen, Capo of Keyboards, is added to the blues gang when a specific piano or organ sound is needed. 'Foots', one of the original members of the Blues Mafia, is now a working alumnus. He appears with the band as an occasional hired gun for special shows, concerts and studio work. Currently working with Sammy Blue, another blues artist on Hottrax Records, 'Foots' is always welcome to sit in with his former music colleagues. Big Al also encourages Andersen to front the group since he has a powerful blues voice. The patriarch and driving force behind this organized blues mob is Big Al Jano. Al started playing blues when it was regularly programmed on all the black radio stations in the South! Considering himself a blues bassist first and foremost, he also writes and performs tunes in the almost forgotten comedic blues and satirical vein of Bullmoose Jackson, Spike Jones and Louis Jordan. During the AIDS epidemic scare in the mid-1980's, his tune 'The Condom Man' was a cult hit on almost every college campus in the USA. Interviewed on New York radio after headlining a controversial show in the East Village, he was pursued back to Atlanta and photographed by People Magazine for an article that the senior editor deep-sixed for 'political correctness'.