After his death in the later part of 2009, The Iridium Jazz Club began to offer tribute nights to the legendary Les Paul. These nights would find his own Les Paul Trio doing familiar numbers for the fans and tourist visitors to the venue and every so often another guitarist of some note would sit in and play along with them. This evening, former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde would try his hand at this kind of thing and you can learn more about it by clicking his logo below. We first ask that you continue down the page to see some other highlights that we paid attention to to make the experience a whole lot more interesting. You’ll also see photos that are only presented here as well. Carry on.
Artist: Zakk Wylde w/Les Paul Trio
Venue: Iridium Jazz Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Tom Doyle, Sonic Rebellion
Label: E1 Entertainment
Written By: Ken Pierce (copyright 2010) for PiercingMetal.com
In 2009 the music world lost the one and only Les Paul, a man who was truly the father of the electric guitar and his kind will probably never be seen again based on all of the wonderful accomplishments he made for the instrument and the recording industry as a whole. His name is adorned on thousands upon thousands of Les Paul guitars by Gibson and as expected he influenced generations of players with his fine string skills. He used to play regularly with his jazz trio at the Iridium Jazz Club and now after his passing the tradition continues in the form of “Les Paul Guitar Tribute Mondays” shows where a guitarist of popular note will come in and jam with the trio. Tonight was something very extraordinary as former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde would be on point to do his thing. Zakk is still the main man behind Black Label Society and it would be interesting to see what he did based on being a part of those two Metal titans for the length of his career. The way that these shows work out is that there are two sets, and that means two separate performances. We managed to get ourselves into the second set of the night and while a little later than I had wanted to dig into some music I agreed that this was probably still something super cool to be taking part in. It was an interesting day in music all around it would seem because Ozzy Osbourne had done a book signing earlier in the day while KISS rang the closing bell at the NYSE and based on the time we were in now, my guess is that the Cheap Trick show that was happening down at the Fillmore NY was just about completing.
Tom Doyle opened up the show and told the audience some amusing stories how he came to meet Les Paul and eventually end up working with him. It was amusing to hear this stuff and from the stories one came to feel that Mr. Paul must have been an amazing person to be friends with. Tom would only play about three songs and they ran like this with “Mr. Sandman”, “You Came To Me From Out Of Nowhere” & “High Strung” being delivered. He dedicated “High Strung” to Lou Pallo who was coming up to perform next. Lou was joined by bassist Nicki Parrott and John Colianni on piano and for those in the unaware all learned that they were indeed the Les Paul Trio. Lou said they were going to play a little bit before bringing out the main attraction and they very simply rocked. It was smooth, cool Jazz done by its experts and their set was begun by the rendition of “Lady Is A Tramp” a number that many might remember being done by ‘Ol Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra. “Makin’ Whoopee” was a pleasant rendition delivered next and an amusing addition came when Nicki said how “he never calls” and added to the mix that no twitter, facebook or text messages come either. This got a lot of laughs based on the fact that all of these mediums keep the world in almost constant contact. Nicki took the center stage to tell a story about how fun it is to lug such a giant bass around on the subways and into taxicabs and when she said how she answers the people about this, she simply sang about how she “loves big instruments”. My guess is that this was the title of the song. Either way it was rather cute. After their set Lou said how there was one more treat before Zakk and that would be the club’s bartender Andy who would play a couple of songs with his band Sonic Rebellion. I preferred their second number to the first one and now it was time for New Jersey to hit the room as Zakk Wylde walked onto the stage.
It’s important to note that this was probably the most unique crowd that I have been a part of in a long time as you had your well-dressed Jazz enthusiasts sitting amidst various “chapter” members of Zakk Wylde’s BLS contingent. If you are not a big fan of how Zakk does things you should know that the fans all call their hometown the particular “chapter” of Zakk’s fan base and they sport leather patches on their jackets which often confuses them with a motorcycle gang. Wylde walked out to some great applause and to many peoples pleasure was also joined by bassist JD which gave them more bang for the buck. He started us off by asking about what we were going to follow in Football now. Sadly, the NY Jets had ended their season the night before and would not be a part of the Superbowl as many had hoped. Oh well, there is always next year right? Zakk also told a couple of quick Ozzy Osbourne stories which went over well. These added to the overall personality of the evening which I liked quite a bit. One story found the Ozzman being told on how his music changed a fans life and when Ozzy thanked him, he was told how the album “Heaven and Hell” was incredible. Obviously that’s a Dio fronted Sabbath album. There was also a laugh from the crowd when the story about Ozzy being mistaken for Meat Loaf.
Zakk opened his performance with “Stormy Monday” which is as Blues fans know, a T-Bone Walker tune. He did a smoking rendition when it came to the leads and one could easily tell that Wylde was not here to do smooth Jazz this evening. He would be accompanied by Lou Porra and Colianni from the trio and while I would have found it interesting to see Nicki Parrott playing with them as well, she would not participate in this portion of the show. I did not catch the drummer’s name but he did also play with the Sonic Rebellion set from not too long ago in this evening’s fun. Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” came up next and just made me say “whew” at the technique that Zakk was displaying. One of the dude’s next to me said that the tune actually brought tears to his eyes and when I pressed him for more details he said that he had also downed several beers and smoked a little bit first so that might have had a little something to do with the effect. Ahhh Metalheads, what a boring place the world would be without our kind. Zakk continued on by doing a song by Leon Russell, “A Song For You” which I thought was superb and it appeared to be the case that Blues standards were the menu this evening.
Zakk looked great considering the recent reports of his health being at issue. Many will recall that he was in the hospital not too many months ago and lucky for everyone looks to be snapping back into action. I was surprised to see him drinking a beer but the mystery was cleared when he asked his roadie for another one of those “fuckler” beers. The beers that make you say “f**k” when you realize that there is no alcohol in them the musician said. He was also in great spirits and not only did he tell those amusing Ozzy stories but when there was an issue with feedback, he said that he thought his wife was yelling at him. The set moved along with the only Black Label song of the night in “The Blessed Hellride” which he explained the chords to Porra for. He also amused the crowd by telling them that this is how the BLS albums were made, off the cuff and not with months and months of post or pre-production. “F that” he said. “Voodoo Child” appeared to be the final number of the night but towards the end of the tune it morphed into “Sunshine Of Your Love” by Cream and when it was done, it was done. Having heard the guys near me talking, it seemed to be the exact same set as he had done for the 8pm show and then I was informed about how a generous part of the evening’s cash was going to be used for a charity.
We had mentioned that Ozzy Osbourne was in town to do a book signing for his “I Am Ozzy” tome earlier in the day and resultant of that there was a lot of chatter about the possibility of his showing up for the gig but sadly the Ozzman did not cometh. That might have been cool to be a part of and an amazing addition to the tale but oh well, this was still a very cool night. The Les Paul Tribute Mondays will continue on at The Iridium Jazz Club and I read how Living Colour’s Vernon Reid was going to be doing one next. Perhaps I will stop in and see how that goes. Zakk and the boys in BLS will be releasing their next album on E1 Entertainment and it will be their first since the 2006 “Shot To Hell” album that was on Roadrunner Records. Be sure to pick it up if you enjoy how they do things.
Zakk Wylde Set List:
1. Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker) – blazing
2. Little Wing (Hendrix) – whew,
3. A Song For You (Leon Russell)
4. Blessed Hellride (BLS)
5. Voodoo Child (Hendrix)
6. Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream)
little wing – voodoo child. onedude said he actully shed a tear during the first set but then admitted he had several beers and snuck a littl smoke beforehand. ahh metalhead what would the world be like without them.
rumor was high about ozzycomingbut he would not be present great time, great space. something realy differet.
Since this was my first time at The Iridium Jazz Club I had to say that I was rather intrigued about what the inside of the place looked like and if you go to a lot of shows like I am fortunate to do, the prospect of a new visual while enjoying music is intoxicating. The marquee was blazing and the venue sits comfortably between The Stardust Diner (which I used to love but have not been to in ages) and the Winter Garden Theatre (the former home of “Cats” and now “Mama Mia”). It was a great looking neon sign and once inside the main doors you headed downstairs to the club.
I have not seen one of these kind of signs in awhile, and loved how it called your attention to the evening’s festivities. Yes, the one and only Zakk Wylde would be sitting in with the Les Paul Trio tonight and offering up some tribute as only he can.
Wow so the legendary Allan Holdsworth, a Fusion & Progressive-Jazz Illuminati, is playing at the venue for four nights. That is surely bound to be cool but my Metal itinerary for the week will be a conflict in my attending any of these shows. Too bad, but perhaps sometime in the future I will get to finally see him in action.
Here’s the stage area of the Iridium Jazz Club. Seems spacious enough with the full piano up there and a reasonable sized drum kit to tool around on. As you might expect it is a seated venue and there are tables everywhere so you can chill out and enjoy some drinks, good eats and great Jazz. There is also a back bar but based on the crowd this evening I didn’t really explore around there with the camera.
Tom Doyle was actually our Soundman operator this evening and would indulge us with a few tunes as well. He began the fun by telling us a couple of stories about how he ended up meeting Les Paul and eventually began working with him. I guess he played about twenty minutes or so and among the tunes he treated us to were “Mr. Sandman” and “High Strung”. Doyle dedicated that final number to Lou Pallo who was coming out next. If you want to see more shots of his set you can do so by clicking HERE.
Lou Pallo was joined by two other musicians, the lovely Nicki Parrott on bass and vocals and the amazing John Colianni on piano. After the first song Lou informed those of us who might not have known that they were the Les Paul Trio,
Nicki has a beautiful voice and it added a sultry smoke to their rendition of “Making Whoopee” and she would even get a solo number called “I Love Big Instruments” which was a play on the gigantic bass she totes around with apparent ease. We have a number of other shots of the Les Paul Trio performing and you can enjoy them by clicking HERE.
After the trio had played a few numbers, Lou told us that we were in for an additional treat as the venue’s bartender Andy had a band of his own and would deliver a couple of songs for us.
Andy and his guys had a little bit of technical difficulty getting set up as their guitarist “Lefty” gave us a healthy dose of feedback. If the smooth Jazz had calmed us down, we were now fully back to Earth based on that ear shattering. They played two songs and it wasn’t really my thing, but I am very picky when it comes to my Hard Rock interests. I wish them well nonetheless and found it cool that the venue let them perform. Andy started off by saying “I made you all drinks” and that got a laugh. If you want to see more photos of Sonic Rebellion doing their thing you can click HERE. Now it was time to get down to business and bring out Zakk Wylde.
We snapped this shot of one of the folks in the crowd which we must admit was an interesting blend of Jazz fans and BLS fanatics. It was quite amusing to see the odd matching of suit and tie wearers amidst the black leather and bandana clad chapter members of Zakk Wylde’s “Doom Crew”. Casual fans should note that while this grouping of folks resemble a motorcycle crew, they are not one in real life even though the emblems bear a very Hell’s Angelish kind of view. This look seems to work out well for Zakk and his followers and if you go to a show that Black Label Society does you will be the odd person out if you don’t sport this kind of attire. Now it was time for the man himself to hit the stage.
Zakk arrived onstage and started us all off by telling a couple of funny Ozzy Osbourne stories and also asking what football team we were going to be supporting now that the NY Jets had ended their season. Wylde was joined by John DeServio from Black Label on the bass for this set of music which was a pleasant surprise. Zakk was sporting a whole lot of BLS stuff and if you like what you see and want it for yourself you can order as much as you deem necessary by hitting the merchandise section of his official site. Linked HERE for your convenience.
Zakk started the set off with a smoking rendition of T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday” and we cover the rest of the full concert part of the story on the main website. Remember that you can click the man’s logo at the top of the page to be brought to that. You can also click HERE and if you are not much of a fan of the details and just want to enjoy the photos those can be found right HERE.