a review of 2010

I took a break at the end of December to look back on 2010
and suddenly realize its been an incredibly busy year with lots to be grateful for ... there were also a lot of lessons learned.

I think the biggest lesson I have learned in 2010 is something I have always known, don't be afraid to try. In fact don't try ... just set your goal and achieve it.


This year I discovered brand new audiences in cities and countries that I'd never seen before ... worked on new projects and toured the world playing and recording music ... presenting music workshops and collaborating with various artists every month of the year except December ... I had invites in December as well but decided to relax a bit and catch up with family.


Here is a brief overview of 2010 ...


JANUARY:

The new CD by Hamid Drake / Bindu "Reggaeology" was released featuring

Hamid Drake - drums & vocals

Jeff Parker - guitar

Jeff Albert - trombone

Jeb Bishop - trombone

Joshua Abrams - bass & guimbri

Napoleon, yours truly :) - beat box and vocals


We played our debut concert at the opening of Festival Sons D'Hiver in Paris, France on January 29 ...

then continued to Italy and Switzerland for the rest of the tour ... GREAT way to start the year ...

even got to hang out on the watery streets Venice and enjoyed my first Opera in Milano, Italy at Teatro alla Scala, we saw the classic "Don Giovanni" ...















































FEBRUARY:

A new CD was released by Lilea Narrative

http://www.facebook.com/pages/LILEA-NARRATIVE/92481312971


with 2 tracks featuring yours truly ......

"Be Kind" http://soundcloud.com/lilea-narrative/9-be-kind-feat-napoleon-maddox

"Transport" http://soundcloud.com/lilea-narrative/6-transport-feat-napoleon-maddox


The CD release concert was HOT !! it was held in Paris, France on February 11th ... see clip >>



Also in February ... ISWHAT?! made a maiden voyage to Spain in support of a rock band called The Fiery Furnaces ... we hit Barcelona, Madrid & Valencia ... after which we returned to France for 3 more dates .. that was a ground breaking tour for us !!


My favorite city was Madrid .. the show we had there was utterly incredible ... we were pleasantly surprised

to see fans waiting for our live show in a market we'd never played before.



MARCH:

Joined up with Sotto Voce, my great friends from NYC ... for a spring tour ...

led by the highly respected poet, saxophonist and songwriter, Roy Nathanson (worked w/ Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry & The Lounge Lizards)

with:

Curtis Fowlkes - trombone & vocals (worked w/ Charlie Haden, Sheryl Crow & Henry Threadgill)

Sam Bardfeld - violin & vocals (worked w/ Bruce Springsteen & Nancy Sinatra)

Tim Kiah - bass & vocals (worked w/ Lenny Kravitz & Boston Symphony Orchestra)

Napoleon Maddox - beatbox & vocals

http://www.myspace.com/roynathanson


We hit Austria, Germany & France ... ending the tour in Paris to play the opening concert of Festival Banlieues Bleues.


In March, I also taped a duet performance with the superb pianist Bojan Z for the television show Jazzed Out on Mezzo TV ...




APRIL:

ISWHAT?! had an amazing tour ... WOW !!!

At the end of the tour, we were stuck in Berlin for an extra day due to the volcanic ash from Iceland that floated across Europe ... it shut down airports and congested air traffic for days ...

**IT WAS PANDEMONIUM** ( voice of Dave Chappelle )



On this tour we did shows in the cities of Luxembourg, Bern, Angers, Sannois, Lille, Koln and Berlin with Arrested Development, Femi Kuti and Speech DeBelle ...

A lil ash don't stop no ISWHAT?! party cause a ISWHAT?! party don't stop .... boooouuyeeeee!!!! (voice of Flava Flav)


We even met the talented and sexy, Ohio bred, world famous drummer Cindy Blackman ... she was at the airport ... waiting to fly home after being stuck in Berlin an extra night due to the volcanic ash ...

It was nice to meet her !!! ooh la la la ...










MAY:

More ISWHAT?! concert and festival appearances, including a great hit in Brussells, Belgium on the Festival Nuits de Botaniques ...

This year this festival also hosted GIL SCOT HERON (who we met walking down the street ... that was beyond ill) the bad news is we missed the photo op :( ... regrets ...


Before the end of the ISWHAT?! tour ... I went to Morroco (my first time in AFRICA) ...

to join new friends for a special creation at Festival Mawazine, in the Royal city of Rabat ... (it's where the king's palace is)


The project was The Omar Sosa / Don Bigg creation:


Omar Sosa - piano & keys --- from Havana, CUBA

Don Bigg -MC & production --- from Casablanca, MORROCO

Leandro - alto saxophone --- from Havana, CUBA

Clotaire - guitar & oud --- from Montpelier, FRANCE

Childo - bass --- from MOZAMBIQUE

Mark Gilmore - drums & electronics --- from NYC

Maestro - DJ --- from Casablanca, MORROCO

Amine - MC --- from Casablanca, MORROCO

Marc Silver - videography --- from London, ENGLAND

NapoleonSolo (thats me .. LOL ) - beatbox --- from the NATI baby !!!


After 5 days of rehearsal with Omar Sosa & Don Bigg, I returned to France to complete the ISWHAT?! tour with a BANG ... we finished it off with a great gig in Vennelles, France with our friends O2zzen from Bordeaux ... http://www.reverbnation.com/o2zen


then back to Rabat, Morroco via Casablanca on Emirates Airlines ... niiioocce :)


The actual concert with Omar, Don and the crew was INCREDIBLE !!!

I had 3 features in the show,. you can see one in the video below at 4:21



Don Bigg & Omar Sosa Concert
Uploaded by DonBiggOfficial. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.



The next day I went to Paris to work with Festival Montreuil Jazz Pulsations ... did a couple days of workshops with bassist Michel Benita ( http://www.michelbenita.com )

Marc Nammour (of La Canaille - http://www.myspace.com/lacanaille )

and young musicians of the Conservatory of Montreuil ...


Followed by a special creation performed on Saturday with the legendary Archie Shepp, Tom McClung, Michel Benita, Simon Goubert & myself ... on Sunday afternoon we did a show performing what we prepared in the workshops ...


Both of these concerts took place at the Conservatory of Montreuil ... Great times with new and old comrades ...


JUNE:

Went to the town of Romeo & Juliet ... Verona, Italy to start the June/July tour with ISWHAT?! ... what a beautiful place ...

We played Carega, a wicked festival in the middle of the old town, between buildings ... in an area sort of like an old piazza ... we rocked for about 2000 folks ... and they loved it ... we sold a BUNCH of CDs that night !!!


The next night we were in Villeurbanne, France (near Lyon) ... at a festival on the same stage with BazBaz (from Paris) ... http://www.myspace.com/bazbazcamille

and THE BLK JKS (from South Africa) ... http://www.bluesroom.co.za/2002/pages/Bands/Black%20Jacks/default.htm ... it was a great line-up of innovative bands !!!

JULY:

The highlight of July was the shooting of the ISWHAT?! video "TROUBLE" ...

Many thanks to the friends and supporters of ISWHAT?! ... Anne Gueguen, Louis-Jean Gorry, Katherine Thomas, Edwige Hamblem, Mathieu Mastin, Jean-Louis Padis & STUDIO MANUEL CAM ...

this was a first class experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives !!!



***The saddest, darkest day of 2010 was July 4th, when on tour we found out that our friend and bass player Chris Walker passed away***

I was devastated ... :(

Friends Chris made while on tour with ISWHAT?! got together for a moment to honor him ...

We Love you and miss you Chris !!! Rest In Peace

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-21114-chris-walker-1968-2010.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


We finished the ISWHAT?! tour in the south-west country side ... in the mountains near Lourdes at a festival called JAZZ a LUZ ...

Brent aka Killa O (the bike junkie) was very tempted to jack a bike to join the Tour de France as they pedaled thru ...

After Sir Jac slapped him back to his senses ... here's the party that took place ...


IS WHAT Jazz à Luz from bbmp on Vimeo.


At the finish of the ISWHAT?! tour, I headed to Porquerolles in the Mediterranean, where I have participated in the festival there for the last 3 years ... http://www.jazzaporquerolles.org ...

GLORIOUS place ... I was invited to rock with The Archie Shepp & Marc Ribot Quartet this year and did a killer DJ set ...

No matter what country you're in, I think people will act a fool if they hear a DJ playing Bobby Womack, Asa and WuTang in the same set ... so much fun I'm sure its illegal somewhere !!!


July 15 ... back to Cincinnati ... home sweet home


July 17 ... attended the 2nd Annual, PMO Music Seminar ... http://www.facebook.com/pmomediagroup ... GREAT networking opportunity ... special thanks to the founders Marc & Michelle Clarke ...


July 22 - 25 ... FAMILY REUNION ... the first complete gathering of all my family since my father passed away in 2008 ... We returned to a family traditional and we are going to keep it alive ...


July 26th - live in Cincinnati on Fountain Square (in the middle of downtown) w/ Hamid Drake, Chris Comer and Bart Foster ... needless to say it was BEYOND FRESH !!!

Earlier in the day, we had the first recording session for the next ISWHAT?! album ...

For readers unfamiliar with Hamid ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamid_Drake ... he was also awarded drummer/percussionist of the year by DownBeat Magazine in 2010 ...


AUGUST:

We hosted our good friends the Bionicologists ... http://www.myspace.com/bionicologists ... from France in Cincinnati for a week ... a radio interview, 2 workshops and a live concert ...

Thanks to:

Elementz Hip-Hop Youth Center ... http://elementz.org

Jai All Day ... http://www.facebook.com/jaiallday

of CINCINNATI's Conscience ... http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=166860123328703

and

Special thanks to Paula Ashcraft / All Nighter Studio's ... http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Nighter-Recording-Studio/137206622966625?v=wall


Aug 25 - Back to Europe ... gigs in Saalfelden, Austria with Roy Nathanson & Sotto Voce ...

then in Sardegna, Italy with Hamid Drake & Bindu ... followed by meetings in London to prepare for the ISWHAT?! fall tour, workshops and release of BIG APPETITE in the UK.



SEPTEMBER:

The debut of my latest creation "muuuhahaha" (evil laugh) --> A RIOT CALLED NINA !!! at Jazz a La Villette ...

What a moment !!! A lot of work and passion made to manifest with the trust of Xavier (and the staff at Banlieues Bleues) ... Fred, Nico (the staff at Zutique Prod.)

and my team, A RIOT CALLED NINA:

Sophia Domancich - ( www.myspace.com/sophiadomancich )

and

the Boxettes ( http://www.myspace.com/boxettes ) >>>> Bella, Harriet, Alyusha, Yvette & Neo !!!
















Sept 23 ... ISWHAT?! kicks of the fall tour in Marseilles, France at the prestigious Festival Marsatac !!! http://www.marsatac.com/?Iswhat

Our concert was broadcasted live on French Radio all across the country ...

Other acts on the Fest were Anti-Pop Consortium, Talib Kweli, Tumi & the Volume, A Trak, Sage Francis, The Japanese PopStars and many other great artists ...

Special Thanks to Radio Nova >>> http://www.novaplanet.com

and

Radio Grenouille >>> http://www.grenouille888.org/dyn/spip.php?article2698



OCTOBER:

In the middle of the ISWHAT?! tour, I returned to the states for a special concert at Lincoln Center with Roy Nathanson & Sotto Voce ...

The sound system they chose to work with there was particularly challenging but in the end ...

the feedback we got from people in the audience, was

much more positive than the feedback that came from the speakers and monitors ... :P ... as Nelson of the Simpson's would say "HaHa"


I returned to Europe to finish the ISWHAT?! tour which took us to several new cities including: Hamburg, Germany ... Bristol, England & Newcastle, England ...

We closed out the tour in Bern, Switzerland to a very hyped crowd ... they were more than ready to dance by the time we hit the stage ...


Next up ... the Sotto Voce tour ...

Being on the road with Roy, Curtis, Sam & Tim can be like touring w/ a foolish mash-up of Groucho Marx, Redd Foxx, Monty Python & Mel Brooks ... ridiculous in the best way !!!


OH yes and we play music together too ... SMH

Great to know these cats ...

fortunately, we had some days off to hang out in Munich, Germany ... Saalzburg, Austria ...

Leer, Germany (show broadcasted on Radio Bremen) & Osnabruck, Germany ...

we even did some 9 pin bowling ... and nearly pet some sheep on the dike ... no lie !!!
























NOVEMBER:

The other BINDU dates in January, February & August with Hamid Drake and the Reggaeology Crew were incredible ... but the fall tour dates were outstanding to say the least ...


1st

we started at the Tampere Happening Festival ... in Finland ... a 2 hour drive from Helsinki ...

I got to check out the James Carter and John Medeski, Heaven on Earth Project ... with drummer, Lee Pearson & bassist, Ralphe Armstrong ...

I'd been waiting to see James Carter for years !!! He did not disappoint !!!


2nd

A night off in Milano, Italy ... had a meal so delicious, my mouth is watering as I write about it ... plus they forgot to give us the discount included with our hotel stay ... so they offered us some free Grappa ... I made it back to my hotel room without a single stagger ;)


3rd

We played a concert in Bolzano, Italy at Piccolo Teatro Carambolage ... just across the border from Austria. This room is nice to play because it's a intimate theater, acoustically designed for concerts ...


4th

The next morning we had to meet very early in the lobby for the drive to the airport in Innsbruck, Austria ... but driving thru the mountains, we encountered quite a snow fall ... so we had to slow down and drive carefully ... we arrived thinking we were about to miss our flight but somehow everything was cool ... *Gives Thanks* off to Vienna, Austria ...


5th

In Vienna ... I got to kick it with the homey, DJ e.kwality ... http://www.facebook.com/e.kwality ... he came out to the show with his girlfriend and another wild dude name Doc Wilhiem ... (SMH)

The show in Vienna was at Porgy & Bess .. it was my 4th concert at this venue ... I'd played there twice with ISWHAT?! and once with Sotto Voce ... one of my favorite venues ... http://www.porgy.at

6th

We head south ... FAR south to Sevilla, Spain ... with a evening off.

The hotel was fly like something from a 007 flick ... delicious food & excellent amenities ...

The concert in Sevilla was in a very nice theater and the stage & sound crew was 1st class ... a really good night ... but I swore to myself that night that I will never again drink espresso on the same day that I have a vocal performance ... my throat felt crazy through the whole concert, but Joshua, Hamid & the dynamite booking agent, Ludmilla, assured me that I still did OK ... so I relaxed and took it as a lesson well learned ...


7th

We had a 'RICH' day of travel as Vueling/IBERIA employees decided to show us their JohnBrownHinePARTS (ass) ....urghhhh @*&!^$%# these folks KNEW there was room on the plane, but insisted that the instruments go under the plane ... where they would certainly be destroyed ... Herve Sambe (the guitarist filling in for Jeff Parker) wisely decided to get off the plane and take his guitars ... cause these jerks were clearly not concerned that he needed the instruments to be playable when we arrived in Belgium ...

THERE IS MUCH MORE TO THIS STORY BUT YOU GET THE POINT ...

Vueling/Iberia sucks !!!

anyway ... we got to Genk, Belgium and Herve met us there in time for sound check ...

no problem ...


The crazy thing about this festival in Genk, Belgium is that it was in a Coal Refinery Factory that has been converted into a magnificent venue ... never seen anything quite like it ... a lot of the old machinery still decorates the place ...


























8th

The final date of the Bindu tour was in London, England ... in a rather swank restaurant called The Baltic. The first row of the audience was within arms reach ... they got a special treat due to the fact that Bindu was a well oiled machine by the end of the tour ...


Jeff Parker was able to join us for this last bang-out ... and at some point during the show, I even shared with the audience some tales about the mad foolishness we encountered during the tour ... we left it all on the stage !!!



DECEMBER:

Well ... I said I took December off ... I did kind of ... BUT ... there was so much to get into at home ...

I discovered new forms of online broadcasting via ...

http://napsoloforiswhat.podomatic.com AND http://blip.fm/napsolo ...

I also started recording with talented Cincinnati producers ...

2011 is looking great already ... shout out to:

Chieck Tidane Seck, La Canaille, Kontrax, Jai All Day, J. Osceola, JM Management, J Skillz, Nasheet Waits, Will Strickland, PMO, Young Ex, Rashon Murph, Red Eye Blue & Dwele ...



























---a few events to look forward to in 2011---

January 27 & 28 in Aix en Provence, France with Archie Shepp - workshops


February 15 - 19 in Tallinn, Estonia with Meelis Vind - live performance, scoring of a silent film


February 25 in Martinique, French Caribbean with Archie Shepp & Phat Jam - concert


March "TROUBLE" & "CAKE" from ISWHAT?! - Big Appetite & "TRANSPORT" from Lilea Narrative feat. NapoleonSolo will be used on a French TV series


March 12 - 20 in Paris, France with A RIOT CALLED NINA at Festival Banlieues Bleues - concerts & workshops


March 21 - 26 in Gateshead, England with Sotto Voce at The Gateshead International Jazz Festival - concerts & workshops


May 14 - 21 in Juneau, Alaska with Claire Daly & The Mary Joyce Project - concerts & workshops


Comments

Anne said…
You did aaaaaaaaall these things in one year ??? When did u sleep ?? Are u superman or what ?????

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