Ask most rock 'n' roll musicians to name their greatest musical influences, and chances are The Beatles would top the list. Ask many of today's jazz musicians, and they too would probably say the Beatles. Enter jazz drummer Brian Melvin, a lifelong Beatles fan who has recorded three all-Beatles albums under the name Beatle Jazz. VOA's Doug Levine tells us about the most recent Beatle Jazz release, "With A Little Help From Our Friends."
It's a story heard time and time again. Watching The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, a young boy pressures his parents into buying him an electric guitar or a drum set so he too can play rock 'n' roll music. For Brian Melvin, who was eight years old when The Beatles made their American television debut, that dream came true.
When Brian Melvin saw just how much fun Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was having, Brian decided right then and there, in the living room of his parent's San Francisco home, that he wanted to play drums.
Making good on that promise, Melvin has played drums for everyone from Greg Allman to Jaco Pastorius. He also collaborated with pianist Dave Kikoski who shared Melvin's love for The Beatles. In 2000, they came up with the term Beatle Jazz for their first all-Beatles album, A Bite of the Apple. The album, with its fresh new arrangements of familiar Beatles tunes, was so well-received by both jazz and pop fans, the Beatle Jazz trio recorded Another Bite of the Apple.
That album also did well, leading to their latest Beatle Jazz release, With A Little Help From Our Friends.
The Beatle Jazz trio gets a little help on the album from guitarists Mike Stern and John Scofield, saxophonist Michael Brecker, and Michael's brother Randy on trumpet.