Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DATES ADDED TO CALENDAR!!!

Last Friday the band and I had one of the best nights so far playing at Toad in Cambridge! The house was packed all night long and there was nary a moment when there weren't people grooving to the beat. It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to coming back and performing again at Toad on Friday November 14th. Be sure to mark your calendars and come on down; it's always a blast over there and you really don't want to miss out!

I am hoping that by that time my new single I am working on, the duet with Lydia Harrell called "Beautiful Stranger" will be ready to go and there will be download cards on hand. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information about that.

We we were supposed to go back and perform at Brodie's Seaport Cafe in Salem in November as well, but due to a scheduling conflict we had to move the date to Saturday December 27th. I am hoping that even though this is just a couple of days after Christmas that people will still be in a festive enough mood to come on out and shake their groove thang at this funky little spot in the Witch City.

To recap: you can catch us November 14th at Toad in Porter Square Cambridge, December 12th at The Back Page in Lowell (another super fun venue!) and December 27th at Brodie's Seaport Cafe in Salem, MA. As always you can always check out where the band and I will be right here at www.bigbenhillman.com!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

QUICK & DIRTY UPDATE

If you haven't figured it out by now, my band and I will no longer be affiliated with the jam session at The Safe. It's disappointing because I was looking forward to having a weekly residency at a local club, but upon further reflection I decided to give it up.

The main reason is that I am choosing to spend more of my time and energy right now on writing and recording. It's been a very busy and active summer, and the band and I have gotten to play some really cool shows. In the upcoming months we will still play, but not as often. So if you get a chance to come check us out live you should definitely jump on it, as it might be a while before you will be able to see us again.

I have been very fortunate to meet a really talented young engineer named Tim Phillips who has been helping me to record and mix the absolutely massive backlog of material I have composed over the last few years. It's hard to believe that it's nearly seven years since I put out something new; I think there was a time when I kind of fell off and had to find my voice again artistically. Now I am back and better than ever with a new sound and a fresh voice and I cannot wait to share my music with the world!

Not wanting to give too much away too soon, I will say that my next single release I have planned will be a duet with a very talented singer from the Boston area named Lydia Harrell. I have known Lydia for years, ever since the old Royal Family used to shows with her former band Hiptonic at places like the old Sky Bar in Somerville (gosh, do you remember that place?) However it is only very recently that Lydia and I have had the opportunity to actually work together on anything, having carved out a regular night at In A Pig's Eye in Salem, MA on the third Thursday of each month. Along with another old friend of mine and Royal Fam alum Yahuba Garcia, "LH3" as we are known throws down a funky mix or jazz, blues and random pop tunes.

Lydia Harrell and I at the studio.
Please keep your gaze focused here to bigbenhillman.com for updates on all my shows, recordings and releases - some very exciting stuff soon to come! As for the jam session at The Safe, I have been told that the torch has been passed down to some very talented young lions - you should go check them out and show your support if you get a chance.

You can check out my band at Toad in Porter Square Cambridge on Friday September 19th. Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Last night's JAM at THE SAFE

We were very pleased to see how many people came out on what may have been the RAINIEST night of the year to hang out and JAM OUT with us at THE SAFE in LOWELL, MA last night. Everyone really had a good time and there were definitely a few memorable musical moments.

Jam Session at The Safe in Lowell, MA on August 13, 2014 (photo by Barbra DesLauriers.)
I want to personally thank everyone who came out to show support, and I especially want to thank my friend D-TENSION for inviting us to perform at this really cool new venue.

As previously stated, there will be no jam session next week August 20th as old school HIP HOP legend KURTIS BLOW will be performing. We will resume the jam session on WEDNESDAY AUGUST 27th. Again I want to encourage all musicians to come on down and bring their instruments and help make this the HOTTEST JAM SESSION ever to hit the Bay State!

Before I go, one last reminder that you can check out the band THIS FRIDAY up in SALEM MA at BRODIE'S SEAPORT CAFE at 9 PM. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

FUNK PAINTING [BIG BEN REDUX]

So you all might remember back in March I made a blog post about a drawing that my friend Carol Barenberg was working on that was inspired by my tune "Friday Night." Carol likes to make time-lapsed videos that chronicle the creative process she goes through in making her artwork, often setting them to music.

Well she has posted another video, this time its for a painting she has created, and she chose to feature an "oldie" of mine from back in 2007 - the song "Look At Me" featuring my old buddy Meyer Statham.

video


Check it out, enjoy, leave a comment and pass it on to your friends.

Before I go, just a quick reminder that you can check out THE FUNK/JAZZ JAM SESSION tonight at THE SAFE in LOWELL MA, and you can also see us play at BRODIE'S SEAPORT CAFE in SALEM MA on FRIDAY the 15th. Stay FUNKY, people!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

JAM SESSION at THE SAFE in LOWELL

Hey all! Just a quick and dirty blog post to let you all know about something I'm very excited about: the band and I have ourselves a weekly residency at a new/old venue in Lowell called The Last Safe and Deposit.

Anyone who was involved in the Lowell music scene back in the late 1980s and early 90s will remember "The Safe" as it was called by loyal patrons as being a hot spot for live music. Local legendary hip hop artist and producer D-TENSION has worked hard to bring back The Safe, and he asked lil ol ME to host a weekly JAZZ/FUNK JAM SESSION on WEDNESDAY NIGHTS, beginning THIS WEDNESDAY AUGUST 13th at 8 PM.



For the first hour, my TRIO ("COWBOY" BEN ALMAN on BASS, and "SUPERFREAK" ZEKE MARTIN on DRUMS) will jam out and do our thing, then after that we will have musicians sign up and take to the stage with us to throw down on your favorite funkified jazz standards.

I would like to cordially invite each and every one of you to come down and hang with us, wether you want to bring your axe and sit in or just chill and check out the grooves. Either way its sure to be a funky good time for all!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BIG BEN RETURNS to JOE SENT ME in WALTHAM

Well folks, summertime is here and along with it comes some super fun shows at some super fun venues!

I am very pleased to announce the band and I will be returning to JOE SENT ME in Waltham, MA this coming FRIDAY JUNE 6th at 9 PM. Last time we were there it was a whole lot of fun, and we really want to make this show extra special! We need you all to come out and show your love for the FUNK, so I hope to see you all there!

Live at The Back Page in Lowell with Big Ben on keys and lead vocals, Jodee Frawlee on guitar, Erick Cifuentes on drums and Vaughn Brathwaite on bass (photo by Ann Marie Hannisian)

Special guest with me this friday include my good friend JODEE FRAWLEE on guitar, and on drums will be a young man originally from Texas named Bryson - who is actually a really talented vocalist who just happens to be pretty nasty on the drum kit too.

 Other recent happenings: we had a couple of really great shows recently at THE BACK PAGE in Lowell as well as SONNY WALKER'S in Roxbury. Both of these gigs gave me the opportunity to work with a super funky bassist names Vaughn Brathwaite. Vaughn is originally from New York and spends most of his time playing gospel music as the music director of a church, but he sure can lay down some funk and soul when he wants to - and we're glad to welcome him into the family.

Big Ben live at Sonny Walkers in Roxbury with Zeke Martin on drums, Vaughn Brathwaite on bass and Eric Vincent on guitar (photo by Lydia Harrell)


 Stay tuned for lots more FUNKY shows and things happening this summer... We will be back at TOAD in Porter Square, Cambridge on June 13th, and once again you can catch us THIS FRIDAY JUNE 6th at JOE SENT ME in WALTHAM, MA.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

UPDATES for SPRING and SUMMER SHOWS

I've recently booked a whole bunch of dates for the band, and thought I would take a quick moment to share them with you here. 

We just recently played another fun show over at Toad in Porter Square, and as it happens that is the place where our next show is going down on Friday May 9th. We hope to continue appearing there at this Cambridge mainstay for good music on the 2nd Friday of each month; you can also catch us over there at Toad on Friday June 13th. 

BIG BEN and the band at TOAD on 11April2014. l-r: Ben Alman on bass, Noah Matlsberger on guitar, Zeke Martin on drums and Big Ben Hillman on keyboards and vocals.


On Friday May 16th starting at 9 PM we will finally be making our long-awaited return to The Back Page in Lowell. I'm thrilled to have a new bassist working with us that evening, a talented young man by the name of Vaughn Brathwaite. 

Wrapping up the month of May you can check us out in Roxbury at a special place known as Sonny Walker's (formerly the C&S Tavern.) It's always a very spirited event when we play there, and if you haven't caught a show there yet you really ought to come check it out. It's something not to be missed! 

We've had the good fortune to play a couple of shows now at both the Cambridge and Waltham locations of a venue called Joe Sent Me, and on Friday June 6th we will be returning to the Waltham location for another fun filled evening. 

It's been a while since I've been back to New York City, but on Friday June 27th the band and I will be making our triumphant return to the one and only Shrine World Music Venue in Harlem. This will be our 2nd time in the headlining slot over there, and we really hope that all of our extended New York friends and family will come to show their love! 

Lastly I want to mention a new spot for us altogether: a fabulous spot up in Salem, MA called Brodie's Seaport Cafe. We will be making our funky debut over there on the evening of Independence Day, Friday July 4th! We're hoping that this will be a really fun night and we really want to see all of you there. We will also be appearing there on Friday August 15th. 

Lots of great shows to choose from, we hope you'll come to all or as many as you can. Of course there will be many more shows to come, and you can always get the latest news and updates on all upcoming events right here at www.bigbenhillman.com! 
Check out the latest BIG BEN gigs here: