Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1095

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Ron Artis II: Blue Note Club, New York City 16/2/20

Ron Artis II: Blue Note, New York City 16/2/20 @bluesandsoul.com
Ron Artis II: Blue Note, New York City 16/2/20 @bluesandsoul.com Ron Artis II: Blue Note, New York City 16/2/20 @bluesandsoul.com Ron Artis II: Blue Note, New York City 16/2/20 @bluesandsoul.com Ron Artis II: Blue Note, New York City 16/2/20 @bluesandsoul.com

Hawaiian soul and blues artist Ron Artis II played the late show at Manhattan’s Blue Note Club, three days before appearing with Buddy Guy and Derek Trucks at a star-studded concert in tribute to BB King.

Artis debuted at this musical mecca with two fellow Hawaiians, Ernie Ecraela Jr on bass and Dave Han on drums. Han was making his debut with Artis on this first date of an extensive US tour to promote his new album. “Soul Street” has a good variety of material on it and includes “Carry Me Along” which would not be out of place on an Eric Bibb album.

Artis began his show with three cracking numbers, including “Searching For Answers” which had him strutting his stuff and scat singing along to his guitar solo à la George Benson.

Guest guitarist Dave Mann, sporting a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and also originating from Hawaii, guested on several numbers, including the slow blues “What Kind Of People” from the new album - a song about “giving an example to the future generation”.

Artis took two solo numbers in the middle of the set, “Julia” dedicated to his wife and new song “Problems” which had a fast rapping section.

He invited drummer Domo Branch “a new friend I made about a month ago when we both played together at a festival” onstage for “a funky jam, he doesn’t know what we are going to play”. When Artis put down his guitar Branch stopped playing. “Keep the grove going,” said Artis as he moved over to the piano where he produced a sublime couple of minutes of impromptu jazz piano. He later told an audience member that piano was his 1st instrument.

Artis held the Blue Note night owls, the gig didn’t start until 1:00 a.m., transfixed and closed with the appropriately entitled “Before You Go”.

With a voice from heaven, a cross between Eric Bibb and Al Jarreau, a fluid guitar style, oft strumming frenetically with no plectrum, the supremely talented Artis is a joy to experience. He told Blues & Soul after his set that he is due in the UK this summer, including a festival performance. Ron Artis II is a name to watch out for.

PHOTOS: CHAZ BROOKS
Words CHAZ BROOKS

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