What happens when a group of top studio musicians get together in their free time? A unique mixture of sophisticated composition, passionate improvisation, scathing social commentary and biting humor, BANDZILLA play furious funk, sleazy soul, punk jazz and heartfelt ballads. Led by acclaimed composer/arranger/guitarist Richard Niles, the 25-piece jazz-fusion orchestra was originally formed in the studio to play on the seminal Grace Jones track ‘Slave To The Rhythm’. Since then, Niles & BANDZILLA have performed and recorded with Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, James Brown, Kylie Minogue, Mariah Carey, Pet Shop Boys, Michael McDonald, Cher and Tina Turner.
Says Richard, “When I formed BANDZILLA, I used the hottest young studio players in London, a band of ‘monsters’: BANDZILLA. We were featured as the house band on a British TV series and released our first album, “Blue Movies” to great critical acclaim. As well as being the ‘go to’ band for some of the biggest artists in the world, we toured with our own music, but eventually it became too impractical to take such a big unit on the road. However, a couple of years ago my friend John Thirkell (who had played trumpet in Bandzilla) called and suggested we do another album. And so, here we are. Bandzilla rises!!!”
Multi-Grammy winner Pat Metheny has called Richard Niles “one of the best composer/arrangers around and a truly exciting musical force.” For his jazz work with Metheny, Bob James, John Patitucci, Martin Taylor, Billy Cobham, Jane Monheit and Bob Mintzer, and his work on over 40 pop hits, Sound on Sound called Niles “the most versatile man in modern music.”
The new album, “BANDZILLA RISES!!!” is an unparalleled musical event - music that defies definition performed by artists beyond category.
Co-producer/trumpet player John Thirkell played with the Buddy Rich and Gil Evans Orchestras as well as on 23 UK & US No.1 records with Artists such as Jamiroquai, Level 42, Tina Turner, Phil Collins and Bruno Mars. Other sublime soloists include Nigel Hitchcock (Tom Jones, Incognito, Mark Knopfler), Mark Nightingale (Clark Terry, John Dankworth) and Steve Hamilton (Billy Cobham, Tommy Smith). Drummer Ian Palmer is the nephew of Carl Palmer (ELP) and has performed with Michael Brecker and Don Grolnick.
Says Richard, “I have worked in many styles - from pop with McCartney, to jazz with Metheny, rock with Michael McDonald and funk with James Brown - and the album reflects this. My songs are driven from the lyrics which might be social commentary, romantic reflections or fantasy stories, using humor to express serious ideas. This is not a traditional jazz record. My artistic imperative is to express myself freely, helped by some of the most brilliant musicians and singers on earth.”
A stellar line up of singers includes Leo Sayer (16 top 10 hits), jazz icon Randy Brecker (The Brecker Brothers), Lamont Dozier Jr. (son of the Motown hit-maker), Daisy Chute (from million-selling vocal group All Angels), Kim Chandler (ace studio singer and vocal coach), Brazilian jazz star Clarice Assad and Polish chanteuse Julia Suzanna Sokolowska. Niles also sings some of his own surprising lyrics.