Monday, January 12, 2015

Brian Auger, Hammond organ legend, signs to Freestyle Records

Freestyle Records has announced the signing of legendary, world-renowned, award winning organist and pianist Brian Auger.

Spring 2015 will see the release of 'Back To The Beginning - The Brian Auger Anthology': a 24 track compilation covering 50 years of his amazing career, followed by 'Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - Live In Los Angeles' - featuring Alex Ligertwood, is planned for late summer, in time for two forthcoming European tours (#1: July through August & #2: October through November).
Brian's professional career first made headlines in 1963 when he won the #1 position in the Melody Maker's Jazz Piano Readers' Poll. As a prodigious jazz pianist, Brian had already amassed an amazing amount of experience in the London scene. In 1965, after hearing jazz organist Jimmy Smith's music, Brian began his love affair with the mighty Hammond Organ. Naturally, he totally mastered the instrument, and then went on to break new ground on the organ – using it as his primary tool as a pioneer of jazz-fusion.

Lauded and loved by everybody from Herbie Hancock to Mose Allison, from the Brand New Heavies to The Beastie Boys, his music has been sampled by Mos Def, Common, Air and Kid Loco, plus his original compositions covered by Sarah Vaughan and The Main Ingredient.

Brian's career has spanned genres, continents, decades and his ground breaking, genre-defying bands like the mid 60s mod super group The Steampacket (with a young Rod Stewart), The Trinity with the ultimate groovy 60s chick, vocalist Julie Driscoll, and of course Brian Auger's Oblivion Express – the band whose alumni reads like a 'who's who' of amazing musicians (including guitarist Jim Mullen, drummer Steve Ferrone). This group created musical history with its particular brand of soulful fusion, when the 'Closer To It' album did the previously unimaginable and broke into the Billboard Jazz, Rock and R&B charts simultaneously in 1973!

Accolades and awards have continued to accumulate throughout his career, hitting the Top 5 of the UK Pop Charts in 1968 with the jazzed up version of Bob Dylan's 'This Wheel’s On Fire', which got Brian and vocalist Julie Driscoll onto Top Of The Pops, receiving multiple Grammy nominations – the last one as recently as 2007. In the same year, Brian was awarded a 'Certificate of Special Recognition' by the US Congress for his contribution to the American art form of Jazz. It's easier to list the musical legends he hasn't played with, but a quick glance of his many collaborations includes names such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Van Morrison, Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix.

Freestyle A&R man, Greg Boraman, first met Brian during a trip to California in 1994, and immediately struck up a friendship based upon Hammond organ maintenance tips and quoting lines from The Goons: “Signing Brian to Freestyle is a personal and professional high point. Brian’s influence on music is epic, his blistering keyboard skills leave people speechless (as do his shirts!) and the chance to release new recordings and some of his classic tracks from his illustrious career is exciting and an honour.”

Of this brand new partnership Brian stated: “I am so happy to be working with Freestyle Records. They understand my music, and know how to market it… this all feels most agreeable. Meanwhile, I shall sing their praises from the Horse troughs of Edgware to the Yak-Laundering Sheds of Novosibirsk!”

"Brian Auger is one of the best B3 artists I have ever heard in my life. He is a tremendous talent with a wonderfully warm and compassionate personality, a combination that is hard to beat. He deserves all the accolades." - Herbie Hancock

"The ferocious energy in Brian Auger's explosive playing is far greater than virtually any other Hammondist dead or alive. His dynamic, driving live shows take this energy through the roof time after time and are a hot ticket all over the world. He has matured but not mellowed. Focused and visceral, his pioneering style has set a bench mark that few have got anywhere near." - James Taylor, The James Taylor Quartet

"Brian Auger is not only responsible for my music education over the the years, encompassing jazz, blues, folk, psychedelia, soul and more in a way that few have managed to, he's also part of that rare breed of musician whose touch and playing you instantly recognise; the mark of a true great" - The Reflex

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