Gary Lucas Live at the Monk Club Rome Italy with The Niro 12/27/19
photo copyright Mario Rimati
2019 was a very busy year for GARY LUCAS.
His new album with Italian singer The Niro, “The Complete Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas” (Esordisco), was just voted Best Album of 2019 in Classic Rock Magazine Italia.
Review from the Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter NYC 1/17/19:
THE NIRO Featuring GARY LUCAS / DAVIDE COMBUSTI / FRANCESCO ARPINO / et al – The Complete Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas Songbook (Esordisco 1902; Italy) The Niro features Gary Lucas on lead guitars, Davide Combusti on vocals, Francesco Arpino on keyboards, Phil Spalding on bass and Puccio Panettieri on drums. When Jeff Buckley came to NYC in early 1990’s, he was a relative unknown. He soon played at a historic memorial/tribute concert to his long-estranged father, Tim Buckley and wowed the audience due to amazing singing. Former Capt. Beefheart guitar great, Gary Lucas, began collaborating with Jeff Buckley, writing a dozen songs over a ten month period. Each song turned out to be something special. Young Mr. Buckley soon became the lead singer & rhythm guitarist in Mr. Lucas’s band Gods and Monsters, who got signed to Columbia Records. I caught that version of Gods and Monsters play at St. Ann’s in March of 1992 and they were extraordinary! Sadly, Mr. Buckley soon left the band to pursue a solo career, taking two of the songs for his first solo effort with “Grace” becoming the title song. In 1997, Mr. Buckley began work on his second solo effort, relocating to Memphis to record. In May of that year, Mr. Buckley decided to go swimming in the Mississippi River and soon drowned, ending his life at just 30. In 2002, an album called ’Songs to No One’ was released and included the songs that Buckley and Lucas had recorded as demos. And now, nearly three decades after they were written, Gary Lucas teams up with an Italian rock band known as The Niro to perform all 12 songs that he and Mr. Buckley had written together. This includes five songs which have never appeared on a legit release before now.
Although I recognize the names of 100’s of Italian musicians from jazz and progressive bands, old & new, I hadn’t heard of most of the musicians here. It turns out that their bassist, Phil Spalding, did play with GTR (w/ Steve Howe & Steve Hackett). This disc begins with the five unreleased songs, all of which are superb. The opening song is “No One Must Find You Here” and it begins with Mr. Lucas distinctive swirling guitars. The lead singer here, Davide Combusti, has a strong voice which is similar to Mr. Buckley’s yet it is still his own. And similar to Mr. Buckley’s voice, he sounds like he was influenced by Robert Plant when he sang for Led Zep. It is also you will either really love or not, I am indeed impressed. Both the songs and performances are inspired throughout. The first song ends with an impressive solo guitar section, which is a perfect conclusion to a great opening song. What makes this disc so special is the endlessly inventive guitar playing of Mr. Lucas, inserting nifty flourishes of electric & acoustic guitars with the sly sonic seasoning of the assorted effects that Lucas has long mastered. The feeling that I get when listening to this disc is that is sounds like the long lost album that Mr. Buckley and Mr. Lucas started in 1992 and never really finished. Jeff Buckley was a major player in his own right with many fans around the world. His career was cut short by his early death with just a handful of releases under his belt. Hopefully this great disc will be heard by some of his passionate fans since it is well worth hearing. Quite a marvelous effort from Gary Lucas and The Niro! – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Gary closed 2019 with 5 weeks on the road touring in Italy with The Niro and Francesco Arpino, and concerts and Masterclasses in France, Belgium, and Holland.
Interview and live performance with The Niro and Francesco Arpino on TGCom 24 Italian national television:
Interview with Gary Lucas in Italian Rolling Stone:
Lucas also performed concerts in Belgium and Holland with a variety of outstanding Dutch and Belgian vocalists and musicians, including the duo Portland,
and conducted three Guitar Masterclasses in France:
While in Normandy France he recorded a new EP with French/Moroccan singer Yass Body and producer David Konopnicki.
More 2019 highlights include the world premiere of Lucas’s new live solo guitar score for Erich Van Stroheim’s “The Wedding March” at la Cinematheque Francaise in Paris:
and a sold-out performance at the Sunset Jazz Club in Paris with special guests.
Gary’s live film projects were also to the fore in 2019, including his live score accompanying James Whale’s “Frankenstein" at the Chutzpah! Festival in Vancouver BC:
and his live score for George Melford’s Spanish “Dracula” at Cine Tonala in Mexico City, and the Teopanzolco Cultural Center in Cuernavaca Mexico:
He also performed at the Metrograph NYC with his live solo score accompanying Tod Browning’s “The Unholy Three”:
and Paul Wegener and Carl Boese’s “The Golem”:
as part of an ongoing retrospective of his live film scores curated by Jacob Perlin and Robert Melvin Rubin:
Lucas also performed his live score accompanying Luis Bunuel’s “El Angel Exterminador” in Bilbao Spain:
A Pick in El Correo:
and accompanied Wu Yonggang’s “The Goddess” with his original live score at the Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj Romania:
Podcast interview at TIFF with Gary Lucas on Fred.fm radio:
Lucas also performed his longtime Chinese pop project "The Edge of Heaven" with Feifei Yang and Jason Candler at the Museum of Chinese in America,
at Joe’s Pub NYC, and on the Joe’s Pub Outdoor Stage at the Make Music NY Festival, a global music event connecting 75 cities:
Upcoming Gary Lucas Shows include
GARY LUCAS & FRENZ at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater Wed. Feb. 19th at 7pm
featuring Ernie Brooks, Billy Ficca, Jason Candler, Feifei Yang, and direct from the UK vocalist Pierre Roxon
GARY LUCAS PLAYS THE GOLEM at the Cornell Cinema, Cornell University Ithaca NY Wed. March 4th at 7:15pm
performing to a newly restored print from the Royal Belgique Film Archive courtesy of Kino-Lorber
GARY LUCAS & FEIFEI YANG will celebrate the Lunar New Year and Chinese-American friendship with a performance at The Penn Club of NYC tba.
Check out Gary Lucas and Feifei Yang on the Weiwei Gao Show:
Part One: https://vimeo.com/254585582
Part Two: https://vimeo.com/255496312
and Live at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center for the Moon Festival: