Slow Poke at Home
Slow Poke features slide guitar virtuoso David Tronzo, saxophonist Michael Blake, bassist Tony Scherr and percussionist Kenny Wollesen. A few years back the foursome got together to record at Tony's house before Tronzo left for Holland. Their meeting on a summer afternoon in Brooklyn brought forth a CD, Slow Poke at Home. This colorful and casual documentation of friends playing music together caught the ear of songsmith Paul Simon and producer Lee Townsend. In 1998 Tronzo returned to NYC and soon after the band toured Canada's jazz festival circuit, playing to enthusiastic audiences in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Later that year the quartet spent a week in the German countryside recording their new CD entitled Redemption. Along with Scherr's arrangements of Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain and The Rolling Stones are original tunes by Blake and Tronzo. This disc continues a sublime journey into the slow and funky world of one of NYC's coolest bands.
Everyone knows David Tronzo simply as Tronzo for a reason. This guy was selected as one of Musician Magazine's 100 greatest guitar players of all time. His place as the pioneer of modern slide guitar is widely acknowledged, since his magical playing makes him able to accomplish things previously thought impossible on the instrument, exploring its full possibilities. Bill Milkowski wrote in Guitar World, "The first time I saw Tronzo my hair stood on end. Just the same way it did when I witnessed James Blood Ulmer in action." Tronzo Trio's CD Roots is available on Knitting Factory records. He has also recorded and played with Spanish Fly, John Hiatt, Paul Motian, The Lounge Lizards and David Sanborn.
Tony Scherr plays acoustic bass, electric bass, guitar and a bunch of other string instruments that are all over his living room. This multi-instrumentalist moved to NY in his 20's and honed his skills playing upright bass with both young lions and jazz greats. Tony still plays his upright bass but now it's more likely to be with Steven Bernstein's Sex Mob, Joey Baron's Killer Joey or in Bill Frisell's new trio. Tony is also active with his own writing projects and is recording a new CD. His guitar talents can be heard on the upcoming recordings of Slow Poke and on the latest independently released Chris Brown and Kate Fenner CD, Geronimo. Tony is also a member of the Lounge Lizards and the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Since the release of Slow Poke at Home his apartment has become a very popular recording studio.
Percussionist Kenny Wollesen is one of the greatest drummers playing today. He has played and recorded with Tom Waits, John Zorn, Marc Ribot, Sean Lennon and Ron Sexsmith. His choreographic pulses have their roots planted in the cities and swamps of American jazz and New Orleans music. Kenny's personal attitude and his unselfish, supportive swing has a life renewing joy to it. This makes him a favorite at the NY music space Tonic where his drumming with Slow Poke is legendary in the downtown scene. He's always in demand but Kenny still finds time on the road and at home to collect instruments. His Brooklyn museum contains a xylophone, bass marimba, vibraphone, hammond organ, bells, cymbals, drums of all kinds, keyboards and tons more stuff.
photo of band copyright © M.E. Smith