The Xpress has been together since 2010 with a repertoire that is blues-based and also reaches into jazz and blues-rock.
Our first CD, entitled "Brothers From Other Mothers," will be released this summer. It features twelve original tunes from Harmonica Blu and one cover, Mystery Train. The songs cover a variety of topics -- from lost love to greedy businessmen, from substance abuse to taxation -- and a variety of musical styles from the deep wells of blues and jazz.
Blu has been playing harp for well over 40 years and mines modern and pre-WWII harp styles with big influences from jazz and American "folk" styles. He started out listening to harp players such as Sonny Terry and Doc Ross, and migrated to Little Walter, Paul Butterfield and others. He studied jazz improvisation as a vocalist in the renowned workshops of Barry Harris in New York City, and that greatly affected his playing concept on harp. His vocal influences range from Muddy Waters to Joe Williams of the Count Basie band. He has recently added alto sax to his musical arsenal and usually brings it out for a couple of tunes on our shows.
Dave Myre is a recently retired US Navy Commander whose last post was as an aeronautics professor at Annapolis. Over the years he has studied guitar with several teachers and has played in several bands. He has listened to and studied many of the great players of blues and rock. Although he has terrific "chops" and tone he never overplays, preferring to be tasteful and appropriate to each song. His star turn comes with his amazing guitar and vocal arrangement of All Along the Watchtower as well as on stellar solos on all our songs.
James "Cookie" Cooke has been playing bass for a lifetime, having started at the age of 12. After a career in the US Army he used the GI Bill to study music theory for two years. He can cover blues, jazz, rock, funk, country, Elvis - you name it! - with a deep rhythmic pocket. Always strong and appropriate, he powers the band like the engines on an ocean liner!
Drummer Randy Pittman has gigged with several rock and blues bands in the Annapolis area. He has been rock solid on our blues and blues-rock tunes and has grown into a jazz drummer on tunes like Miles Davis' All Blues and on some of Harmonica Blu's originals, such as Only For The Memories. His showpiece on our upcoming CD is probably Mystery Train with its tempo shifts and high-speed railroad journey.