Retro Transit Authority | Late Arrival

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United States - California - LA

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Rock: Jam-band Rock: Funk Rock Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Late Arrival

by Retro Transit Authority

Jazz- infused, funky jam rock, bubbling over with organ and spiced with echoes of Galactic, Soulive and Phish. Zesty, back-talking, sassy attitude rock.
Genre: Rock: Jam-band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. ill Fittin Shoes
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3:40 $0.99
2. Benny
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4:19 $0.99
3. Hollywood Bowl
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4:21 $0.99
4. Grandma Betty
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5:07 $0.99
5. Morning Haze
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5:21 $0.99
6. B.R.A.M.
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7:02 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Jeff Champlin and Valerie Taylor began playing together in the year of 1998. Coming from completely different backgrounds, they struggled to find a style that would fit them both individually and as a group. This meant that all initial attempts to play together cohesively were like a weird prog-rock mix of blues and classical music. But what is creativity if not discovering new things and broadening your horizons? No matter how many times their stylistic views clashed, they kept coming back for more. Jeff and Val found that if they opened up to the other's interests, they could not only learn from each other, but they could create something new. And oftentimes the best ideas are derived from initially tense situations. People say you don't appreciate a thing until you have fought for it, and in this case, Jeff and Val learned to truly appreciate the music they were making through an intense, yet ultimately rewarding, battle of wills.

Who would have thought Pittsburgh could produce anything worthwhile except for the Steelers? Just kidding. Rich Kaylor came into the loft (Blue Ribbon Studios) in November of 2000 with towels wrapped around his drums in place of drum cases and a beat-up CD of his old band. Within minutes both Jeff and Val knew they had found someone special; there was an instant musical connection. When he left that day, they turned to each other and said, "That's our drummer." In addition to his background in rock, punk, and metal, Rich brought a decidedly urban, old skool hip-hop sound into the mix. This led to the beginning of the band's new sound - NeoRetro.

The Album "Late Arrival" was recorded at Blue Ribbon Studios in August of 2003 and subsequently released in June of 2004. The recording features the original line-up and Warren Kaye on bass guitar.


to write a review / Dave Terpeny, Editor

“Screw ‘high on life,’ I’m high on Retro Transit Authority”
By Dave Terpeny, KyndMusic Editor

If you could see me right now, man, I’m grinning from ear to ear. I feel good and I mean gggooooooddd. I’ve got a great buzz on man and I haven’t touched any substance, legal or not. Do you want to know my secret?

Well, I’ll tell you anyhow. Screw the “high on life” cliché. I’m high on some fat juicy riffs, funky beats and smoking vocals. You see, I’m listening to Jeff Champlin (guitar/vocals), Valerie Taylor (Keys/Vocals), and Rich Kaylor (drums) with a nod to Warren Kaye on bass. Who you ask? The Retro Transit Authority that’s who.

Refusing to mess around, these three (four) lay down an amazingly rich and textured old school flavor with Champlin’s brawny and lush guitar riffs and Taylor’s sinfully luxurious keys. Add to that the husky vocals of Champlin, the provocative voice of Taylor, and the intriguingly modern funk of Kaylor’s rhythm and, well, damn, I don’t know what you have but I like it.

Every song on this EP is instantly recognizable but new, like an eagerly awaited album from your favorite band, which they will become after one listen. These guys (and gal) can write, play, sing and rock your world. So, to be really cheesy, get on board with the Retro Transit Authority, you’ll really enjoy the ride. Man, I know I am. / Mark Lush, Editor

Guaranteed to satisfy the Funk Junkie
Musicianship – 9 out of 10
For my money, you just can’t get enough of a funky groove. On Late Arrival, the band’s newest release, Retro Transit Authority provides enough funk to satisfy, and then some!

The regular trio of Jeff Champlin (guitar/vocals), Valerie Taylor (keys/vocals) and Rich Kaylor (drums), joined by Warren Kaye on bass, show that they have musical wisdom beyond their years! They lay out tunes built upon the strength of their rhythm section, and filled out by the cool guitar work and oh-so-mellow sounds of the Hammond organ. Most jam bands have more members, and aren’t as full-sounding; when I saw that RTA was only a three-piece band (+ one), I was floored! This is a band with a lot of power, and a lot of Soul! I really like them!

Songwriting – 8 out of 10
I don’t think that RTA’s songs are necessarily good because the members set out to be good songwriters; I think that their songs are good because of their natural musical abilities! Honestly, I think a lot of Jam Bands probably function in a similar fashion; their songs are born out of extended jam sessions, where small seeds of ideas blossom into fully developed songs. By no means do I think that makes this band less entertaining, or less talented! I just think it’s a different way of seeing things. I like the band’s songs, and I’ enjoyed each one!

Sound Quality/Professionalism – 9 out of 10
Much credit goes to Retro Transit Authority and Kent Verderico for creating a great-sounding album! Late Arrival has a very full sounding bottom end, with great clarity on the instrument and vocal parts. Very little tweaking was needed on my part to adjust the equalization when I sat down to listen; the album just sounds good! I think I was most impressed with the recorded sound of the drums and the keyboards; these instruments often suffer from too little or too much attention, and on Late Arrival, they sound excellent! From beginning to end, this is a great sounding album, and RTA should be very proud!

Packaging – 8 out of 10
The packaging concept, artwork, and logo design for Late Arrival all look fantastic! I also liked the information that was included with the liner notes; however, there weren’t any lyrics included in the CD or on their web site. That fact was a bit disappointing, because I really wanted to read the lyrics to songs like (Grandma Betty) and (B.R.A.M)! If the lyrics exist in written form, please see if it’s possible to post them somewhere! That small improvement would have made a big difference with me. I’m a music geek, so I may not represent the population at large. Still, it’s cool to have info to read while you’re listening!

Favorite Tracks
Hollywood Bowl
Grandma Betty

Overall Rating – 8.5 out of 10
I may be overstating the fact, but I think that Retro Transit Authority is one of the best Jam Bands I’ve heard! I like the ‘less-is-more’ approach to the music that they have taken on Late Arrival; the grooves they produce are nice and tasty all on their own, without a lot of studio tricks or extra performers. RTA, quite simply, is an efficient, highly-talented group of musicians that are probably responsible for a lot of good times, and a lot of incredibly funky tunes!

If you live to hear great Jam Bands, I definitely recommend that you check out Retro Transit Authority! Their music is guaranteed to satisfy the Funk Junkie that lurks in the heart of true music fans!

Mark Lush,, 2/17/05

Blue Edge Magazine

The RTA, recently popped out a funky, fresh EP, featuring alternating leads from the axe of Jeff Champlin and the organ of Valerie Taylor. Champlin sings some double-dosed pop-blues lyrics. "Hollywood Bowl" and "Morning Haze are rocking anthems. The hidden track, lucky No. 7, "Valerie" goes punk in a raging Violent Femmes kind of way when drummer Rich Kaylor and guest bassist Warren Kaye wind it up tight. / Wayne Stadler

This band is one of those bands that you put on at a summer afternon bar-b-que, drink your face off and get your "groove thing" on with some chickie on the back lawn!

Funky, groovy and well delivered is the best way to describe RTA. I liked them way back when I featured them as Band of the Month and things haven't changed.

Great musicianship, great dynamics and some of these songs remind me of soundtracks to some old 70's movies. A couple of spots this band reminds me of a band from the early 90's that I loved called Soulhat, especially on the track "Benny", really bluesy with a good gritty vocal.

All I can say is go to their website, get yourself a copy, throw a big ass party and groove!!