THE WORKINGMAN’S ROCK & BLUES BAND
The Workingman's Band's founder and bassist, Rick Maida, brought guitarist Tom Yates into his band 2006 when they met at the Acton Jazz Cafe blues jam sessions where Tom worked with the host band. They began performing as a duo hosting an open mic night exploring their common musical repertoire ranging from the 1960's country, rock, pop, country and blues. Later they formed a rock and blues trio with drummer Mike Avery, who also performs with the Rick in the Workingman's Jazz Band. They worked together monthly for six years at the Colonial Inn of Concord, MA.
Rick's experience spans 45 years of working with bands covering diverse styles of folk, rock, jazz and blues at venues ranging from local dances and night clubs, to regional concerts and festivals. He began performing in 1964, switching from guitar to bass to join a high school rock band. They were influenced by the British Invasion bands led by the Beatles as well as John Mayall's Blues Breakers.
Rick's favorite 60's rock bass players, Jack Bruce of Cream and Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane, inspired his interest in improvised music and opened his ears to jazz music. That led him to play upright bass and study jazz in workshops and private lessons led by teachers from Berklee College. He played in a New Orleans jazz band for a few years until he began jamming with musicians who fused jazz and rock styles with whom he formed the Workingman's Jazz Band in 1984. Now he has come full circle to again play vintage music from the Woodstock Era with his Workingman's Rock & Blues Band, with whom he recently produced a tribute concert to the Woodstock Festival.
Tom Yates was born in Houston, Texas and now makes his home in Stow, MA. After studying guitar and piano at the Berklee College of Music he dropped out to play top 40 music. He played on numerous Boston-area recording sessions, including projects with Ric Ocasek, Ben Orr and Greg Hawkes (The Cars), Warren Leslie, Sam Houston Andrews (Big Brother and The Holding Company), local country legend John Lincoln Wright. After touring with the Estes Boys in the '70's, Tom played with Fair, Yates and Betschart, a trio performing an eclectic mix of pop, folk and art rock music to standing-room only crowds.
He won the Guitar Center's 2007 King of the Blues competition in the Northeast Region. He has performed with saxophonist Charles Neville (Neville Brothers Band) and New Orleans vocalist Henri Smith. Tom was the lead guitarist and vocalist with the Paisley Project, a 60's & 70's pop, psychedelic rock, and Motown band. In his collection of vintage and custom guitars Tom selects a '63 Strat and a '68 Les Paul Custom as his favorites. Tom gets inspiration from the work of Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Danny Gatton, Lenny Breau, Johnny Winter, Buckethead, Eric Clapton, David Lyndley, Les Paul, Peter Green, and Chet Atkins.
Drummer Michael Avery began his musical career simply enough in the mid-sixties with a drum set and a dream of a profession playing Blues and Jazz. Adding focus, attitude, and hard work, he put together a life in music that allowed him to grow and mature as a player, and at the same time, explore the many facets of American Roots music.
His performance credits include such legends as Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thornton, Big Walter Horton, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. His experience and sensitivity have led him to apply his abilities in a myriad of musical situations that include motion picture soundtracks, symphony orchestras, small groups and solo dance accompaniment.
His clear fresh approach to the instrument, impeccable good taste, and winning attitude are hallmarks of his artistry and commitment. Throughout four decades as a professional musician, he has always found time to pursue his first love, the music that he grew up with - the Blues and Jazz of the fifties and early sixties.
THE WORKINGMAN’S JAZZ BAND
The Workingman's Jazz Band was formed in 1984 by bassist Rick Maida to share his love of classic acoustic jazz music. The band's repertoire covers popular music from the Great American Songbook that have become the standard jazz repertoire - songs from the 1920's to the 1960's, including big band swing, Broadway, Dixieland, New Orleans Jazz, Bebop, and Bossa-Nova. The players that Rick brings together in his band are all experienced professional musicians who know how to entertain. The band could be an instrumental trio or could include a singer, saxophonist, guitarist and pianist as required for the occasion.
Rick was inspired by the music of jazz bassists Charles Mingus and Ray Brown during the late 1960's while listening to late-night underground radio. He switched from playing electric bass in rock bands to upright bass with jazz bands in the 1970's. After studying jazz performance in workshops and private lessons with teachers from Berklee College, he joined a traditional New Orleans style jazz band.
Then he jammed with musicians who fused jazz and rock styles and formed a group called Two-Finger Snap which performed in the Worcester area. In 1984 he formed the Workingman's Jazz Band to perform classic jazz standards, working with singers and instrumentalists drawn from a roster of talented Boston area musicians. The band hosted a weekly jazz jam session at Concord's Colonial Inn, which developed into a residency as the house band every weekend for twenty years. Some of the many renown guest performers with the band included the Grammy Award winning saxophonist Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers Band, pianist Harvey Diamond (Sheila Jordan accompanist), trumpeter Barry Ries of the Joe Lovano Nonet, and many vocalists including Phyllis Fallon, Ron Murphy, Nicole Nelson, Henri Smith, and Toni Lynn Washington.
Phyllis Fallon's long career as a singer began with her family band. One of eight children, her first gig was the stuff of legend: Her sisters sang in a variety show at their church and Fallon was a last-minute replacement. She sang back-up vocals with Top-40-oriented variety shows because her voice “didn't fit into the Supremes,” she says. Fallon supported herself for several years, touring the region with a former child star and singing in a hard-rock band, but she quit because the loud volume hurt her ears. That led to her new musical home, jazz and blues.
“People tell me I sound like Billie Holiday, but I steal from all of them and put it together to get my own sound. That's what jazz singing is.”
She likes pre-'50s music, when songs had lyrics that meant something that you can still remember today. Fallon's musical inspiration comes from divas like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, and Billie Holiday. Several nights a week, she channels her musical idols singing with local big bands and jazz trios. Now, her colleagues come to her gigs, the students she encounters eagerly soak up her vast knowledge of jazz standards, and Fallon maintains an easy balance of work and play.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tad Hitchcock was raised in New England and came to Boston to pursue musical goals in 1975, making his first stop at Berklee College of Music. He graduated from Berklee with studies in Composition and Applied Music programs. Since that time he has worked steadily as guitar accompanist, bandleader, and vocalist. In 1988-89 he toured with the Artie Shaw Orchestra under the direction of Dick Johnson.
Tad has enjoyed playing clubs and concerts with reed players Billy Novick and Scott Hamilton, cornetist Ruby Braff, and trumpeter Herb Pomeroy. He is on the faculty at Winchester Community Music School, teaching classes in several instruments and coaching ensembles. He has also held teaching positions at University of Massachusetts at Lowell and the New England Conservatory Extension Division. His guitar sound is very direct, tasteful and unaffected by electronic effects, in the tradition of his favorite jazz guitarists: Wes Montgomery, Oscar Moore, Jim Hall, and Charlie Christian.
Drummer David Hurst, currently a member of the Indian Hill Music faculty was raised in Decatur, Georgia and moved Boston in 1986 to attend Berklee College of Music. While there he was exposed to Jazz music and gained performance experience with international students and faculty members.
His Berklee education lead to many musical collaborations and performances throughout New England. He has worked at top Jazz clubs, festivals, theaters and recording studios. As a free-lance drummer, he has developed a reputation for his versatility and knowledge of Swing and Latin music. He's equally valued in the music community as respected educator. His interest in and experience with New Orleans music lead him to study with the renowned drummer Vernell Fournier of the Ahmad Jamal Trio. Since hurricane Katrina scattered many New Orleans musicians around the country, David has had the opportunity to collaborate with Henri Smith and Charles Neville. David performs regularly in the area with the Henri Smith's New Orleans Friends & Flavours, the Workingman's Band and the New Black Eagle Jazz Band.