CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Performance Monday, May 9, 2011 | 8 PM

Quintessential James Taylor and his Band

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
James Taylor and his legendary band perform his greatest hits at Carnegie Hall.

Performers

  • Andrea Zonn, Vocals and Fiddle
  • Arnold McCuller, Vocals
  • Chad Wackerman, Drums
  • David Lasley, Vocals
  • James Taylor, Guitar and Vocals
  • Jimmy Johnson, Electric Bass
  • Kate Markowitz, Vocals
  • Larry Goldings, Piano, Organ, and Keyboards
  • Lou Marini, Jr., Horns
  • Luis Conte, Percussion
  • Michael Landau, Electric Guitars
  • Walt Fowler, Horns

Program

    James Taylor

Bios

  • Andrea Zonn

    The oldest child in a musical family, Andrea Zonn began to study the violin at age 5. She started fiddling at 10 and traveled the contest circuit throughout her native Illinois. At age 15, she began studies at the University of Illinois; two years later, she transferred to Nashville's Vanderbilt University, during which time she won numerous classical violin competitions and was awarded a fellowship to the Aspen Music Festival. That same year, Zonn won the National Fiddle Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Her voice and fiddle have graced recordings by Vince Gill, Linda Ronstadt, Ann Savoy, Keb' Mo', George Jones, T Bone Burnett, Neil Diamond, Paul Brady, Amy Grant, Mickey Newbury, Tim O'Brien, Alison Krauss, Sam Bush, Darrell Scott, and countless others. Zonn has toured with many artists, including Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Tony Trischka, Trisha Yearwood, Alison Brown, Jerry Douglas, and currently James Taylor. She has been featured in such publications as Maverick, Dirty Linen, Bluegrass Now, and Billboard, in addition to being heard on radio broadcasts of the Grand Ole Opry, A Prairie Home Companion, and WoodSong's Old-Time Radio Hour.

    Zonn's own music is a finely crafted blend of these influences and others, including her deep classical roots. Her 2003 debut release, Love Goes On, was met with critical acclaim, and the Country Music Critics' Poll named her one of 2003's Top 10 New Acts.
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  • Arnold McCuller

    At some point in your life you have heard Arnold McCuller's rich and distinctive vocals that have captured the hearts and ears of many well-respected musicians and fans alike. He has been a longtime featured vocalist with some of the best recording artists around, including Phil Collins and James Taylor.

    McCuller is acknowledged as one of the most expressive vocalists in the business. Whether performing solo or singing backup, his show-stopping live performances regularly bring audiences to their feet. He has been one of the music industry's most popular session singers, collaborating with such artists as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler, Brenda Russell, Lionel Ritchie, Dave Koz, Billy Idol, Lyle Lovett, and Beck. He has toured with Lovett, Collins, and Raitt, in addition to Melissa Manchester and Linda Ronstadt's tour with Aaron Neville.

    McCuller's solo recordings include A Part of Me That's You (co-produced with David Benoit), Exception to the Rule (with his longtime friend Dana Walden), You Can't Go Back (co-produced with Bill Cantos and Greg Porée), and his favorite Live at the Baked Potato. McCuller's latest recording, Sabor, is a Latin-jazz project-his first all-original effort, but clearly not his last.

    An appearance on Saturday Night Live led to a phone call from James Taylor. Little did they realize that 30 years later, they would still be performing and recording together.
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  • Chad Wackerman

    A phenomenally skilled jazz and rock drummer, Chad Wackerman's professional career began in 1978 with the Bill Watrous band. Since then, he has amassed a remarkable body of work that includes a seven-year association with Frank Zappa, with whom he toured the US and Europe and recorded 26 albums, including the London Symphony recordings.

    Wackerman has recorded eight albums and toured with guitar legend Allan Holdsworth, performed on Barbra Steisand's One Voice album, and recorded and toured with artists as diverse as Steve Vai, Andy Summers, Men at Work, Ed Mann, Albert Lee, Colin Hay, Banned from Utopia, Dweezil Zappa, and Terry Bozzio. He has also toured with James Taylor, John Patitucci, Joe Sample, and the World Drummers Ensemble.

    As a band leader and composer, Wackerman has four critically acclaimed CDs: Forty Reasons, The View, Scream, and Legs Eleven. His brand new DVD release is titled Chad Wackerman Trio: Hits Live. He has also written music for the television series The Dennis Miller Show, as well as composing music for Allan Holdsworth's Secrets, Wardenclyffe Tower, and The Sixteen Men of Tain CDs.
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  • David Lasley

    David Lasley is a singer, songwriter, and background vocalist who has had a prolific career that spans more than three decades. He is perhaps best-known for the hundreds of songs he has written for such artists as Anita Baker, Maxine Nightingale, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Dusty Springfield, Crystal Gayle, Natalie Cole, Jermaine Jackson, Phoebe Snow, Herb Alpert, Rita Coolidge, Patti Austin, Dionne Warwick, Al Green, The Oak Ridge Boys, and many others. A backup singer with James Taylor since 1977, Lasley has also performed with Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Buffett, Joni Mitchell, Ringo Starr, Cher, Chaka Khan, and Teddy Pendergrass, in addition to touring with Todd Rundgren, Melissa Manchester, and Bonnie Raitt. His solo albums include Back to Blue-Eyed Soul, Expectations of Love, Missin' Twenty Grand, Raindance, and Soldiers on the Moon.

    Named one of the music industry's top-five falsetto singers by Esquire magazine, Lasley was born in Michigan. His first group, The Utopias, included his sister Julie and was patterned after the "girl groups" of the time. In 1970, he joined the cast of Hair, initially performing with the Detroit company. He left the show in 1972, moving to New York City to appear in the Broadway musical Dude and several Off-Broadway productions. He also formed his own group, Rosie, which released two recordings. Lasley has since emerged as one of the busiest and most successful backup singers in the business.
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  • James Taylor

    In March 2011, James Taylor was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barak Obama in a ceremony at the White House. The medal is the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence recognizing "outstanding achievements and support of the arts."

    Taylor's music embodies the art of songwriting in its most fundamental form. He has been at it for decades, transforming introspective meditations into lyrics, melodies, and harmonies that comfort and reassure the listener with the sense that these sometimes painful, sometimes celebratory moments are a part of life shared by us all. In 1971, Taylor was featured on the cover of Time magazine, heralded as the harbinger of the singer-songwriter era. Today, this quintessential singer-songwriter has seen that era cross over into the 21st century.

    As a recording and touring artist, Taylor has set a precedent and blazed a path to which countless young musicians have aspired. His warm baritone is among the most recognized voices in popular music and his guitar-playing has established its own standard.

    Taylor has sold more than 50 million albums throughout his career, beginning in 1968 when he was signed to The Beatles' Apple Records.

    His songs have had a profound influence on both songwriters and music lovers of all generations and from all walks of life: "Fire and Rain," "Country Road," "Something in the Way She Moves," "Mexico," "Shower the People," "Your Smiling Face," "Carolina In My Mind," "Sweet Baby James," "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," "You Can Close Your Eyes," "Walking Man," "Never Die Young," "Shed a Little Light," "Copperline," "Caroline I See You," and many more.

    Throughout his long career, Taylor has earned 40 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards and five Grammy Awards for a catalog that runs from Sweet Baby James (1970) to Hourglass (1997) and October Road (2002). His first Greatest Hits album earned the Recording Industry Association of America's elite Diamond Award, given for sales in excess of 10 million units in the US. For his artistic accomplishments, Taylor was honored with the 1998 Century Award, Billboard magazine's highest accolade, bestowed for distinguished creative achievement.

    Taylor released Sweet Baby James in 1970. It went triple-platinum and spawned his first Top 10 hit, the intensely personal "Fire and Rain." The following year saw the release of another million-seller, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, with the No. 1 single "You've Got a Friend," written by his longtime friend Carole King. The recording won a Grammy Award in 1971 for Best Pop Male Vocal. In 1972, Taylor scored another gold album with One Man Dog, followed up in 1973 with Walking Man.

    The album Gorilla (1975) included two more major chart entries: "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" and "Mexico." Following his final Warner Brothers recording, In the Pocket, Taylor moved on to Columbia Records and released a string of critically praised and commercially successful albums: JT, his 1977 double-platinum Columbia debut; Flag (1979); Dad Loves His Work (1981); That's Why I'm Here (1985); Never Die Young (1988); New Moon Shine (1991); the double-disc Live album (1993); Hourglass (1998), garnering Taylor his first Grammy Award for Best Pop Album; and October Road (2002)-all certified platinum.

    The year 2000 saw Taylor's induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences selected him as its MusiCares Person of the Year in 2006, and his One Man Band (2007) was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special in 2008. Taylor's 2008 release, Covers, was nominated for two Grammy Awards and lead to the aptly titled follow-up, Other Covers.

    In May 2010, Taylor released the Live at the Troubadour CD/DVD of his November 2007 live performance with Carole King at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles. Their subsequent Troubadour Reunion tour was one of the most successful concert tours of the decade. Most recently, Morgan Neville's acclaimed documentary, Troubadours: The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter was nominated for the Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was recently broadcast on PBS as part of its prestigious American Masters series.

    Taylor has received honorary doctorates of music from Williams College and the Berklee School of Music. Raised in North Carolina, he now lives in western Massachusetts with his wife Caroline and their sons Henry and Rufus.
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  • Jimmy Johnson

    Jimmy Johnson hails from Minneapolis, where he grew up in a rich musical environment. His father was a member of the Minnesota Orchestra bass section for 47 seasons, his mother was a piano teacher and accompanist, and his brother Gordon is also a professional bassist. Johnson relocated to Los Angeles in 1980. When he is not recording and traveling with James Taylor, he is a studio musician, playing electric bass. He can be heard on recordings by Dori Caymmi, Ray Charles, Billy Childs, Eddie Daniels, Flim & the BB's, Stan Getz, Allan Holdsworth, Kenny Loggins, Henry Mancini, Sérgio Mendes, Randy Newman, Aaron Neville, K. T. Oslin, Rod Stewart, and many others.
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  • Kate Markowitz

    A second-generation native of Los Angeles, Kate Markowitz has recorded and toured worldwide as a backup vocalist with James Taylor since 1990. She has also toured extensively and recorded with Shawn Colvin and k.d. lang., and was included on the James Taylor / Carole King Troubadour Reunion tour in 2010. When not on tour, Markowitz works as a session singer, recording with such artists as Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman, Walter Becker, Don Henley, Billy Joel, Cher, Diana Ross, Graham Nash, Warren Zevon, Dori Caymmi, Raul Malo, to name a few.

    While making her living as a vocalist-for-hire, Markowitz has always been a songwriter, both on her own and in collaboration with others. In the early 1990s, she had the surreal experience of having a platinum-selling number-one single in Germany, originally a jingle she sang for Bacardi rum. She declined a subsequent international record deal, becoming discouraged by the push for commercially driven, non-personal music. This encouraged her to pursue songwriting, which led to the release of her debut CD, Map of the World, in 2003 on Compass Records.

    Markowitz's musical influences include all of the artists with whom she has worked, the Brazilian music and jazz her film-composer father played around the house, and a wide range of eclectic artists from every genre.
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  • Larry Goldings

    With his signature Hammond organ style and versatility on many keyboards, Boston-native Larry Goldings has traversed not only the wide spectrum of jazz (where he is perhaps best known), but also the worlds of funk, pop, and alternative music. In high demand as a sideman, Goldings's sound can be heard on scores of albums by artists in virtually every musical genre. In recent years, his distinctive playing has graced the albums of Norah Jones, Solomon Burke, Tracy Chapman, Melody Gardot, Herbie Hancock, Christina Aguilera, and John Mayer. As a leader, he has released 13 albums, many of which feature his longtime organ trio with Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart. In 2007, Goldings received a Grammy nomination in the Best Jazz Album category for Trio Beyond-Saudades, along with John Scofield and Jack DeJohnette.

    Over the years, Goldings has been closely associated with artists such as Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, Maceo Parker, Madeleine Peyroux, and James Taylor, whose retrospective DVD/CD One Man Band represented the culmination of a two-year worldwide tour, with Goldings as Taylor's sole accompanist-his "one man band."

    In the past decade, Goldings has become increasingly known as a composer, arranger, and producer. His songs have been recorded by Michael Brecker, Jim Hall, Jane Monheit, John Scofield, Curtis Stigers, Sia, and Toots Thielemans, among others. Goldings's film and television credits include NBC's The Office, and the movies Proof and Funny People.

    Current projects include his recent album, When Larry Met Harry, featuring legendary saxophonist Harry Allen. In late May, Goldings releases a solo piano record, In My Room, that includes original music and songs by iconic artists such as Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell, and The Beatles.
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  • Lou Marini Jr.

    Often referred to as an "unsung jazz hero," platinum recording artist Lou Marini Jr. is the seasoned soul and adept multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer, educator, and producer credited with inspiring the origins of a fan-following cult across multiple genres of music.

    The New York-based Marini is famed for his chameleon-like adaptability to imagine and perform inventive ideas in jazz, rock, blues, and classical music. He has performed with The Woody Herman Orchestra; Doc Severinsen; Blood, Sweat and Tears; The Band; Levon Helm & the RCO All-Stars; Dr. John; Frank Zappa; Maureen McGovern; Lew Soloff Quintet; Eric Clapton; Red House; and Magic City Jazz Orchestra. He has toured four times each with James Taylor's Band of Legends and the John Tropea Band.

    Celebrated artists with whom he has recorded include Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, B. B. King, Luther Vandross, Lou Reed, Brecker Brothers, Donald Fagen, Eddie Palmieri, Jimmy Buffett, and Steely Dan. He has also performed with other notable musicians, including Smokey Robinson, José Carreras, Lou Rawls, The Supremes, Four Tops, Sting, and Tina Turner. Today, Marini's singular, expressive voice achieves virtuosity in his first collaborative recording with Misha Segal, The Blue Lou & Misha Project: Highly Classified.

    It is Marini's seven-year association as an original Saturday Night Live band member that led to his role as "Blue Lou" in John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd's classic movie The Blues Brothers. He is also well-recognized for his saxophone solos at the open and close of SNL episodes, and as the golden pharaoh in Steve Martin's "King Tut" sketch.
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  • Luis Conte

    Luis Conte's genius stems from his ability to integrate the powerful rhythms of his native Cuba with the American necessities of American pop music. His long and varied career has included numerous Hollywood film scores and successful albums with Madonna, Ray Charles, Phil Collins, Santana, Shakira, Jackson Browne, Sergio Mendes, Cachao, and many others.

    Conte spent the first 15 years of his life soaking up the rich musical heritage of Cuban son and Carnival. While immersed in the music of his native Cuba, he also developed a passion for rock 'n' roll, R&B, jazz, and The Beatles.

    Looking for freedom, Conte emigrated to Madrid, Spain. Soon after, he had the opportunity to move to Hollywood, where he attended Hollywood High School and played guitar in numerous rock bands. After high school, Conte met John Monteallegre, who reunited him with Cuban drums at LA City College. He became intensely interested in drumming and took every opportunity to play and to learn, drawing his inspiration from a deep source of rhythm absorbed during his youth in Cuba.

    Conte has since become one of the most respected and recorded percussionists in the world. He is a Grammy-winning recording artist with seven solo albums to his name. His latest, En Casa de Luis, was released in March.
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  • Michael Landau

    Michael Landau was performing in LA clubs by the age of 16, before joining Boz Scaggs for a world tour three years later. By age 20, he began focusing on session work, including collaborations with Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, B. B. King, James Taylor, Ray Charles, and Rod Stewart.

    In 1989, Landau released his first solo album, Tales from the Bulge, an instrumental record that included performances with Wayne Shorter, Steve Tavaglione, Vinnie Colaiuta, Carlos Vega, Steve Lukather, and Jimmy Johnson. Two years later, Landau formed the band Burning Water four discs of original material, in addition to touring Japan and the US. It was also around this time that he started to record and tour with James Taylor.

    In 1993, Landau won the Reader's Poll for Best Studio Guitarist in Guitar Player magazine. The following year, he formed The Raging Honkies with his brother Teddy and Abe Laboriel Jr. They released two discs and toured Europe and the US. His recent solo releases have included Live 2000, the studio album The Star Spangled Banner, and The Michael Landau Group Live.

    Landau currently tours and performs with his own group and a new band that he formed with Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip, and Gary Novak called Renegade Creation. He can also be seen live with Hazey Jane, Kirk Fletcher, The Jazz Ministry, Stolen Fish, Michelle Branch, and James Taylor.
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  • Walt Fowler

    Originally from Salt Lake City, Walt Fowler was born into a legendary musical family led by his father, renowned jazz educator Dr. William L. Fowler. He kicked off his professional career as a trumpet player at the age of 19 when he joined Frank Zappa & The Mothers in 1974. In 1975, Walt and his brothers (Bruce, Steve, Tom, and Ed) formed The Fowler Brothers Band, releasing two jazz albums to critical acclaim. Following their release, Walt's musical career continued to escalate, as he toured with prominent artists such as Billy Cobham, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Ray Charles, Buddy Rich, George Benson, and Diana Ross.

    In the mid-1990s, Fowler began orchestrating major motion-picture soundtracks. He is credited as an orchestrator and/or a featured soloist on such blockbuster films as The Lion King, Backdraft, Gladiator, Shrek, Ocean's Twelve, Ocean's Thirteen, The Bourne Supremacy, The DaVinci Code, the three Pirates of the Caribbean films, The Good Shepherd, Transformers, The Simpsons Movie, The Dark Knight, and Angels & Demons, to name a few.

    In addition to orchestrating, Fowler has recently been performing with James Taylor since joining his band in 2001 for the Pullover tour. He has also performed and/or recorded with an illustrious list of artists that includes James Brown, Roberta Flack, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Yazawa, The Doors, Edgar Winter, The Manhattan Transfer, Fishbone, Paula Abdul, Billy Childs, Banned from Utopia, Toto, Andy Summers, Allan Holdsworth, and Poe.
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Audio

“Shed a Little Light”
James Taylor
Sony

Perspectives: James Taylor

I was hugely flattered to be asked to host a Perspectives series and to create a celebration of Carnegie Hall’s 120th birthday. We have been working up to this for the last two years. Carnegie Hall offered and we jumped right in.

Carnegie Hall is the top theater in the top town. It is an icon for performing artists, its very name means success. The first time I played here, in 1970, was the first time I was ever in the Hall I had been hearing about since I was a child. From the moment I walked in the door, it lived up to my expectations and to my imagination.

As part of this Perspectives, we are planning a series of four different concerts, starting with an all-star Gala on April 12. We continue with a Roots evening on April 20, focusing on the music I listened to growing up. In Guitar Conversations on May 6, I talk about guitar playing in general and my own style in particular—and get to play with a couple of my favorite guitarists. On May 9, we wrap up our short season in the spotlight with a program modestly titled Quintessential James Taylor, in which my band and I play what we consider our very best songs and attempt to live up to the honor Carnegie Hall has bestowed on me by inviting me to organize this series.

Carnegie Hall is the sort of venue that focuses a performer’s attention. Everyone who plays here wants to be at his very best. The world recognizes this as one of the great venues for classical music, but it is important to remember that folk music got played here, too. Blues, swing, R&B, and jazz were performed here. Rock ‘n’ roll got played here. Strauss, Gershwin, Sinatra, and The Beatles have all stood on this stage.

No series of concerts can summarize all the great music that Carnegie Hall has seen in its first 12 decades. What we can do is take a few evenings to be grateful for all the wonderful performers who have passed through, and hope to add a couple of appropriate links to the ongoing chain.

—James Taylor

Visit carnegiehall.org/JamesTaylor for more information.

Program Notes
James Taylor's Perspectives series is made possible, in part, by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.
This performance is part of The Originals.

Part of