From the band’s conception, The NYC Blues Devils have been creating a songwriting style all their own. They are old fashioned but edgy – unplugged and acoustic, but as big and exciting as any modern electric pop band. You hear the sounds of Chicago Blues, New Orleans Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Swing and Rockabilly. But, it always has that NYC Blues Devils sound.
Formed in New York City in 2002 by pianist Scott “The Doctor” Treibitz, harpist Randy Pratt and vocalist Danny Biondo, The NYC Blues Devils played the underground dive-bar scene before being accepted into some of New York’s hippest nightclubs. Their hard work paid off in 2003 when they landed a gig as the house band for Le Scandal Cabaret (formerly the notorious Blue Angel) which still runs every Saturday night at The Cutting Room. As a major part of the show, they have backed some of the country’s hottest Neo-Burlesque performers. They have also played Coney Island’s prestigious “Burlesque on the Beach” and the annual New York Burlesque Festival, as well as landing opening spots for legendary performers such as Bo Diddley, BB King, Willy "Mink" Deville and James Cotton, to name a few, at the BB King Blues Club and Grill in NY's Time Square.
In 2005 the band started introducing some great new players into the line-up. First to join was James Zollar ( Wynton Marsalis, Ray Charles ) who brings his encyclopedic knowledge of classic swing trumpet to the Devils. He quickly saw that the band should meet a trombone and tuba player friend of his, Clark Gayton ( Prince, Sting, Bruce Springsteen ), who brought his amazing multi-instrumental talents to the stage and studio. Last, but not least, drummer Ronnie Magri ( Little Richard ) joined and the NYCBD's swing has been kicking ever since. Ronnie played in New Orleans for almost a decade ( 1995 to 2005 ) and brings the experience of playing in the city where it all began to the NYC Blues Devils sound.
2006 has seen this line-up in the studio recording the NYC Blues Devils 1st full length CD, "Hell Yeah!". There are 18 cuts - 9 originals written in the many styles that have defined the band and 9 covers showing their taste in great american music and ability to play it. Danny's vocals are showcased throughout - from the searing performances on the opening originals "Girls" and the title song "Hell Yeah!", to the sensitive "Day After Day", or the old-fashioned send-ups of Louis Jordan's "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't ( My Baby ) and Cab Calloway's "Minnie The Moocher" - anybody can hear that this is a vocalist with a range and style to be reckoned with. Randy's harp playing screams on every cut - whether its blues licks on the great Bessie Smith classic "Me And My Gin", or quickly played melodies on the super fast paced original "Show & Tell", he shows that the harmonica can play more than just electric blues. Clark's tuba tethers almost every tune to the ground and his 'bone playing is stellar - just listen to the interaction between the two in the band's "Here I Go", or the Willie Dixon/Howlin' Wolf sleeper "You'll Be Mine" - from song to song he has brought his musical savvy and range to every tune. James' trumpet shines on every cut - check out the plunger horn arrangement on the Billie Holiday song "Me Myself & I", the screaming solo on the barroom style original "Black Cloud", or the fast paced licks on the original "Koo Koo Land". Ronnie's drums fill up every groove - from the virtuoso brush work on "Hell Yeah!" and "Show & Tell" to the 2nd line work on "Me And My Gin", he has the perfect feel for every style the band plays. The Doctor's piano rounds out the band's sound - from the stride left hand on the original "I Don't Love You", to the right hand arpeggios on Louis Armstrong's "Dream A Little Dream Of Me", or the pounding left hand walking bass of "Girls", he has brought back all the things the piano used to be able to do.
The album was mixed by Grammy award winner Jason Corsaro
( Madonna, Steve Winwood, Soundgarden ).