Aram Danesh and The Super Human Crew's
International Vision Shines On Their Debut Offering
Today, a new global pop sensibility is emerging, one that's concerned with universal community and breaking down musical barriers. Unlike the "world beat" movement of the '80s, this sensibility is not restricted by imaginary notions of authenticity. Its roots are the dancehalls and clubs of international cities like New York, Berlin and San Francisco and its omnivorous appetite for the groove - regardless of its country of origin - marks it as the most exciting musical development of the new century. With THE SPOT Aram Danesh and The Super Human Crew give notice that they're on the cutting edge of this new sound.
Danesh was born in pre-revolutionary Iran and spent his youth and young adult years in Switzerland and Germany before coming to the United States in 1984. He started playing piano and guitar at an early age and wherever he lived, he immersed himself in music. During his time in Europe, Danesh had the opportunity to play with Carlos Santana who brought him on stage with him at his gig at the Antibes Jazz Festival in 1993. Danesh also appeared with Ravi Coltrane at the Antibes Festival that same year.
"I've traveled the world and met people from all over," Danesh says. "They're all like family, except they happen to live in Tibet or Alaska. As a result of my travels, I have a world vision. In the past 20 years, rock'n'roll became a universal language. In today's world, hip-hop is becoming the language of youth. I want to blend those languages with the influences I've picked up in my life - Middle Eastern, Latin, Brazilian, jazz, reggae - and take it one step further. When I started working on THE SPOT my goal was a contemporary sound that's would be both commercial and innovative."
To fulfill his vision, Danesh enlisted the aid of producer/musicians Adam Berkowitz and Greg Reeves. "Greg is an incredible acoustic bass player and arranger; he really knows electronics. Adam is an engineer and arranger. The tunes I brought in [for THE SPOT] were skeletons - instrumental jazz pieces with a hip-hop, dance club feel to them. As we progressed I started meeting players and rappers with diverse cultural backgrounds and asked them to contribute. I met a Latin family that introduced me to the top Latin players in the Bay Area and the project's international flavor began to expand and take its own shape."
THE SPOT was assembled in the studio. After the basic tracks were laid down live by Danesh; guitar, Christian Boyd; keyboards, Sam Bevan; bass and Sean Nelson; drums the tunes were chopped up, textured and layered by an additional cast of characters who provide the project's international flavor. "As it evolved in the studio, it became a co-operative venture, with a lot of the musicians adding their own parts. I added four rappers, backing vocals with an R&B/Gospel flair, two old school Cuban singers, a DJ to play along like a percussionist and a Brazilian chanteuse for good measure. I didn't want THE SPOT to emulate anything I'd heard before. I wanted to make music that was more interesting, that had more of a musical edge, that stepped beyond the self imposed limits of most popular music."
Despite being assembled in the studio, THE SPOT has a "live" feel. Stand out tracks include: "I Did It" a jolt of gutbucket rock and roll blended with plenty of verbal hip-hop prestidigitation courtesy of Soulati and D. Wolf of Felonious, a perfect blend of rhythm and melody; "The Spot," a trans-Caribbean groove that bounces between reggae bass and guitar, Latin chord changes, hip-hop drum patterns and jazzy guitar and keyboard solos and Bebel Gilberto's "Mais Feliz," an acoustic jazz ballad with a back beat Brazilian rhythm tracked live at Laughing Tiger Studios, featuring a vocal by Aurea Fernandez. The Super Human Crew wanted to close the CD with a track that showcased the band without overdubs or studio polish.
"For me, music is an expression of love and spiritually," Danesh says. "When you get down to the core, there's only one voice coming from all humanity. I want to explore that voice in all its languages and play with all the unique phrasings, shadings, melodies and rhythms that come out of it."
INTRODUCING THE SUPER HUMAN CREW
Aram Danesh - producer, composer, guitarist, arranger, band leader
Adam "bagel" Berkowitz - producer, composer, arranger, engineer
Aurea Fernandez - singer - She fronts the band Nobody From Ipenema,
a Bay Area band playing traditional Brazilian music.
Christian Boyd - keyboards - Music director of various Gospel choirs in the Bay Area. He also plays with many Bay Area bands and musicians.
Graduated from the Berklee College of Music
DJ Raw B - Has played with Smashmouth and Brougham.
Won the Bay Guardian's Best DJ in the Day Area Award in 2001.
Gloria Rivera - singer - Born in Cuba, sang with Vince Welnick
(keyboard player for the Tubes and Grateful Dead)
Greg Reeves - Bass, electronics, producer, composer, arranger
Orlando Torriente - singer - Member of John Santos' Machete Ensemble
Ru Bradford - singer - A member of the a cappella group About Face and a lover of ragamuffin style
Sam Bevan - bass - Has played with David Grisman and The Sun Masons. Graduated from the Berklee College of Music.
Sean Michael Neslon - drums. - Played with Calvin Keys.
Graduated from the Berklee College of Music.
Soulati, D. Wolf, Verbal K. P. - rappers.
Members of the hip hop group Felonious
Skye Miles - back up vocals - sings in Beach Blanket Babylon.
She also fronts her own band
Tony Onorato - percussion - played with the band Vinyl.fluid, energized sound.