The Freedom Riders Band

The Freedom Riders Band plays the southern soul music of the sixties, ?unbleached and unblemished?. The Freedom Riders Band is a nine piece southern soul revue which defines the classic Miami Funk. The Freedom Riders Band represents the 60?s Soul Music with an emphasis on artists like Sam & Dave, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding as well as original songs within the southern soul tradition. This ?R&B music ensemble? exists to give musical expression and honor to the creative wave of expression which came out of Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Stax Records in Memphis and Criteria Sound in Miami. This was an environment where musicians of all colors picked up instruments and created a music of hope, love and respect. In addition to the soul strutting lead vocals of Bradley Ditto, The Freedom Riders Band accompany both celebrity singers and new, emerging artists within the tradition. An anticipated compilation CD is available for preview on iTunes as of September 2008. The follow-up interview with the band members is scheduled to appear on the oldest ethnic radio station in the country WUNR-1600 AM with a follow up on the permanent-view podcast at archive.org Who are the band members? An experienced and eclectic group. The lineup for the band reads like a who?s who of the masters of southern funk and soul: * Art Wilson, Valve Trombone, Music Director. Art Wilson, Music Director, Arranger and composer for the Freedom Riders Band, knows southern soul music and Miami Funk. In fact, Art Wilson is one of the original architects of Soul Music. Serving as Music Director and Arranger for Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and Bobby ?Blue? Bland, Art invented and originated some of the horn lines and funky riffs that have defined the sound of southern soul music. During the original era of Soul Music (1961-1979), Art Wilson was at the very heart of the funky sounds coming out of Memphis, Muscle Shoals and Miami. Then, Art disappeared from the commercial music scene, preferring to settle down with his family in south Florida and producing Gospel music for various artists on his sacred music label, Grace Records. Now, the Freedom Riders Band is proud to announce the return of Art Wilson to southern soul music. If you?ve ever wondered how the funky horn lines and back beat rhythms of sixties? R&B would have evolved into the 21st century, well. . .Listen Up! The Miami Sound is back and it?s hotter than ever! * Bob North, Organ, Music Production. Bob North, Creator, Producer and Organist for the Freedom Riders Band, toured worldwide with classic blues artists like Howlin? Wolf and Albert King, as well as rock legend, Chuck Berry. Bob?s audio production skills were featured throughout the 90?s at the multi-million dollar Sound Techniques Studio in Boston with clients like Hill Holiday, Arnold Advertising and Saatchi & Saatchi. Bob North opened RN Production Services to provide sound design and live studio music production for 30-60 second TV commercials and Industrial Films. Facilities included a 32-track studio in Boston (next to Berklee School of Music) and offices in Manhattan. From 1990 through 2002, RN Production Services? clients included major ad agencies like Hill Holliday, Saatchi & Saatchi and Arnold. Working for indie music industry giant, Dutch East India Records, Bob produced chart topping groups like Opium Den and Reflecting Skin. During that period, Robert also worked as Associate Editor for the music ?zine, The Tattle-Tale Report, in Greenwich Village. After moving to South Beach, Florida, Bob worked as contributing writer for the Miami New Times and Street Miami as well as co-producer and remixer with DJ Ani Phearce, which included working on remixes of the songs of Carlos Santana. Today, Bob North divides his time between his activities as Musicians? Union Representative, Arranger and Composer for recording sessions in cities across the country and playing the sounds of the mighty Hammond B-3 organ for the soul band, the Freedom Riders Band. * ?Roach? Thompson, Guitar, Vocal. Warren ?Roach? Thompson?s cotton farm upbringing exposed him to an elder generation of Saturday night wine-drinking, box guitar-playing blues musicians. These weekly get-togethers, coupled with his exposure to musicians such as Chuck Berry, led him to a professional career in music. By age 17, Roach left home and started backing musicians like Aaron Neville, Brook Benton, Slim Harpo, Little Richard and Jimmy Reed. Then Roach began working with a group called The Kinfolk and began cutting records. He gained additional experience in the recording studio with a group called The Notorious Miami Band. It was with this group that the song ?Kill That Roach? was penned and recorded, permanently giving the nickname ?Roach? to its author. By 1986, Roach had formed the Roach Thompson Blues Band. The new band entered a south Florida Blues contest and landed first place. This led to the band winning the W.C. Handy - B. B. King Lucille award. Then he won the Jammy award for the Best Blues Band and Best Line Performance two years in a row. The awards continued, including the Black Music Awards and the Rock Blues Awards. As lead guitarist for the Freedom Riders Band, Roach represents a true journeyman of the blues guitar. Roach?s inventive and genuine presentation of the blues has gained a large and dedicated following for this creative and talented artist. His adept guitar style honors the traditions of Albert King and Jimmy Reed while his original artistry puts the ?Roach? stamp of authenticity on his diabolical lead work. * Reed (Man?s Son) Roberts, Bass. Reed (Man?s Son) Roberts began his musical career in Millen, Georgia playing Gospel in church. Gospel music also took him away from Millen when he joined the famous Dixie Hummingbirds, and later the Smiling Jubilees which took him to South Florida. In the ?60?s, he landed a studio job with Tone Distributors, later to become T K Studios (K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Betty Wright, etc.) As part of the Jimmy Bullhorn Group, he backed all the traveling R&B acts that came to Miami (Lloyd Price, Johnny Taylor, Gary ?US? Bonds, Solomon Burke, Rufus Thomas, De De Sharp to name a few). In the ?80?s, Reed toured Europe and Mexico as a member of the world famous Platters. The ?90?s brought him back to Miami to be a founding member of SoBe Blues and to work for several years backing local blues man, Roach Thompson. As Bass Man for the Freedom Riders Band, Reed represents the true Miami Funk. His knowledge and dexterity in pushing the classic funky bass lines of southern soul music to the dance floor make this ?Man?s Son? the cornerstone of the rhythm section. * ?Big Apple? Wayne, Drums. ?Big Apple? Wayne Douthett has seen 40 years in the music industry working as an accomplished musician on drums and trumpet. He has performed professionally with Bobby Humphrey, Whitney Houston and The Escorts. Wayne also performed in the off Broadway Musical ?Sacha?, written and directed and produced by Philip Michael Thomas (Miami Vice). The ?Big Apple? earned his nickname by performing at many major venues in New York City including The Apollo Theater, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Felt Forum and Windows of the World at the World Trade Center. After moving to Miami, Wayne earned a BA in Music and Videography from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale. Examples of Douthett?s work appeared in the internationally known Modern Drummer magazine, as well as the CD ?Healing Intentions? by Jazz Guitarist Darryl Dobson. Wayne also worked as head music and sound technician for Harry Belafonte and Freddy Jackson. Currently, the ?Big Apple? works as General Manager at Music Arts Enterprises (M.A.E.) of Ft. Lauderdale and serves as President of Blacksheep Productions, Inc. When he?s not pounding out funky rhythms for The Freedom Riders Band, Wayne can be heard performing at the Flamingo Road Church in south Florida, playing with other prominent musicians. * Les Blachut, Piano, Vibraphone, Steel-pans, Sound Design. Les Blachut is a Performing & Recording Artist, Multi-Instrumentalist; Keyboards, Mallet Percussion, Vibraphone, Marimba, Steel-Pans, Arranger, Composer, Mobile & Studio Recording Engineer, Music Teacher, Private Instructor, Music Competition Judge, Radio Program Producer. Les Blachut is a South Florida-based versatile musician experienced in jazz improvisation, ethnic music world-wide, experimental collaborations, fusion of contrasting styles, and skilled in many music-related fields of expertise such as: music production, engineering, broadcasting, audio equipment and computer technology. Les Blachut started his music career in South-Western Poland, city of Katowice, graduating from the only music school in the country that allowed study and performance of musical styles other than classical. Shortly after graduation, Les Blachut toured Western Europe, USA, Canada, and Caribbean Islands supporting various musical acts. Les Blachut came to Boston in 1989 and entered Berklee College of Music where he studied with John LaPorta, Gary Burton, Ed Saindon, and Wayne Ward, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a dual major in Music Performance and Music Education. Les Blachut also attended selected classes at the International Academy of Arts & Science and pioneered the application of on-line music technology with Apple Computer, Co. Les Blachut employment history includes WUNR-AM Radio, Billboard and US Songwriting Competitions, Berklee College Library, Silesia University Theater, Turtle Lane Playhouse, Broward Community College, Miami School of Audio Engineering, Piano Showcase Inc., Disneyworld Entertainment Group, Brampton Symphony Orchestra, Miami World Percussion Orchestra, International Musicians in Space, Microtonal Society, St. Jude School and Church, St. George Church, St. Coleman Church, International Art Aid Mission, Liturgical Music Organization. Les has toured and recorded with The Ink Spots, Basia and The Gypsy Heart. Les Blachut is an active member of the Musicians? Union AFM Local 655, a frequent recipient of the MPTF grant (Music Performance Trust Fund,) participant in many recording sessions and experimental forums, producer of emerging artists? music as well as of his own, notably: 2004 composer showcase "The Music of Les Blachut" and 2005 BBR label release "The Jampoles? featuring various vocalists of the Caribbean Islands. As pianist and sound designer for the Freedom Riders Band, Les brings a wealth of production experience and expertise to the mix. * Vaughn Tooley, Trumpet Vaughn?s musical odyssey began in Jacksonville, Florida where as a teenage trumpeter in the 1960?s he played with local acts and touring artists such as Spider Turner, Denise LaSalle, Jackie Moore, and Arthur Conley to name a few. During a break from college, he traveled to Detroit with The Musketeers to play with the incredible vocalist and showman Jackie Wilson. That venue attracted several prominent Motown artists who were in awe of Jackie Wilson?s energy and led to an electrifying impromptu jam session with Stevie Wonder on drums and vocals. Two months later Vaughn relocated to Miami intending to work a year and return to college. His first gig on the Miami scene was with the red hot Freddie Scott and the Kinfolk band that featured a hard driving rhythm section, and much to his delight, a four piece scorching horn section!!! With college now on the back burner, Vaughn began session work at the Tone Recording Studio with Steve Alaimo and artists that included Betty Wright, Little Beaver, Clarence Reid, Dave Prater (of Sam & Dave fame), and We The People. Before a hiatus of more than 30 years from working seriously in the music industry, Vaughn played with the beautiful and uniquely talented Phyllis Hyman, super groups: The Stylistics, The Spinners, and The Temptations, Timmy Thomas, and the angelically soulful songstress Denice Williams. Two years ago Vaughn was pleased and excited to run into Roach Thompson who was working on a fundraiser CD project featuring saxophonist Jeff Zavak with the legendary producer and distributor Henry Stone and Chocolate Perry. Vaughn played on some of the tracks, his first studio work in many years, and also a reunion of sorts with Roach, Lattimore, and Henry Stone. He is ecstatic to be back in the mix now with the Freedom Riders Band, a seasoned collaboration with deep roots in the history of soul music, and with long-time band mates of more than 30 years, guitarist Roach Thompson (The Kinfolk) and Reed Roberts (We The People). * Johnnie O. Riles Sr., Saxophone Johnnie O. Riles Sr. began his musical career in 1964, playing the flute-a-phone in the Junior High School band under the tutelage of Dr. Alfred Pinkston, Renowned musical director, graduate of Florida A&M University. Noted members of his graduating class were Cannon Ball and Nat Adderley. Dr. Pinkston?s influence created a burning desire in Johnnie to continue his musical education. Upon entering High School he played in the marching, concert, and jazz band. While playing in the jazz band his life was influence by another musical giant. Cubby Jackson, world renowned musical director. Cubby?s son Duffy Jackson went on to play drums with the Count Bassie Band. After graduating High School, Riles attended College at Tuskegee Institute, playing in the marching and jazz band on a music scholarship. At this time his musical education was influenced by another great, Keith Jarrett, one of the great solo pianists on the concert circuit today. Johnnie Riles? musical career started (in junior high school) with the organization of a 10 piece band by the concert band director for a performance at Dillard High School in Ft. Lauderdale. The members of the band stayed together after school and called itself, ?The Psycho?s?. Soon they began performing in local night clubs. The members of the band were not legal age to attend night clubs so they were required to have a chaperone and had to remain in the dressing room of the clubs during breaks. This band performed at all of the top night club?s in south Florida and appeared on shows with many stars such as Timmy Thomas and Betty Wright to name a few. Upon graduation the members of the band went their separate ways. While attending college at Tuskegee Institute, Johnnie organized the band ?Turning Point to help supplement his income. The band became well known on campus and on many occasions performed with The Commodores. Over a span of 35 years, Johnnie?s musical career has been extensive. In addition to building two recording studios with Freedom Riders Music Director, Art Wilson, Riles has had the pleasure to work with an array of famous musicians. His credits include The Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone, Chaka Khan, Sam & Dave, Joey Gilmore, Little Beaver and many more. In south Florida, Johnnie Riles is recognized as the band leader of the local favorites, Blues Therapy & Jazz. As a long time exponent of the ?Miami Sound?, Riles brings his funky, growling sax to The Freedom Riders horn section. As Wilson Pickett said, ?You got me feelin? alright!? * Bradley Ditto, Lead Vocals Contemporary singer, songwriter and musical showman Bradley Ditto has a penchant for fervent songs tinged with social commentary ? like his most recent CD, ?I?m Awake?. Western Europe is playing ?I?m Awake? and 45 digital servers have made it available worldwide. In 2001, DItto signed an exclusive representation agreement with nationally recognized entertainment attorney Allen Jacobi, in Miami. ?Ditto is a ?one of a kind? talent, reminiscent of Bob Dylan,? said Jacobi, who at this time was also president of Pyramid Records, a Warner distributed label. ?Bradley is an original all the way; yet, at the same time, he has the comfortable and familiar feel of an old friend.? ?This is a guy who has ?slipped through the media cracks? and should be on the national charts,? said Jacobi, who also works with greats like Joe Walsh, Robert Palmer and the Doobie Brothers. ?Hopefully, we can change that!? Ditto has also played with and been noticed by some of the top names in the music business. Tiran Porter, former bass player with the Doobie Brothers, said, "I've played with Bradley often since his first album, and I'm on his third one. The next time he needs a bass player, I'm in," said Porter. Ditto's first album, ?Check Me Out,? was produced in 1987 by David Briggs and Tim Mulligan (Neil Young's record producers), but was never picked up by a major label. It features English piano wizard Nicky Hopkins, bassist Michael Been, drummer Scott Musick of the Call, Gene Barnholt of Lacy J. Dalton Gang, percussionist Joe Lala, the horns of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, and the vocal arrangements of David Blumberg. Ditto always returns to Nashville, where he?s a featured artist at the well-known Blue Bird Caf?, where he has the support of Rich Cua, President of Nashville's UCA Records. "Bradley is a polished singer and an inspired songwriter," said Cua, a bassist formerly with The Outlaws. ?Bradley is a cross between Cat Stevens and Roxy's Brian Ferry, or reminiscent of Gordon Lightfoot; yet, his well-structured arrangements and productions are distinctly different.? "Bradley has a flawless command of his music and his instrument, said Gary Mandell, former producer of McCabe's Variety Night shows and the man behind Boulevard Music, LA?s newest music venue. ?He's a high energy performer, and his lively interaction with the audience makes for a great show.? For booking contact Art Wilson at: 954-609-6847 bluesbandinc@bellsouth.com www.bluesband.net

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