GRAND CENTRAL BAND

 

GRAND CENTRAL BAND


The Grand Central Band was an Auckland-based soul/funk/blues band formed in 1997 by Jazz Singer Chris Melville. The band moved through several different line-ups, and over the years employed and guested around 70 different musicians and celebrities. The band's regular performance at the Grand Central Bar in Ponsonby, Auckland, extended to 17 years, earning them a reputation as an 'institution' and a 'go-to gig' for other musicians and music students. The Grand Central Band released their first album Cook Street Sessions (Rhythmworks) in 2000, produced by Eddie Rayner, and had favourable reviews. The album sold out. The band then self-produced their second album Brightest Star (Rhythmworks) and again had some excellent national reviews. This was also a sellout album. They disbanded in August 2014.

It was black dance music in the 70’s, Jamiroquai picked it up in the 90’s as retro, and in Aotearoa (since 1998) the Grand Central Band (named after the Auckland bar they performed in) have taken this brand of booty-shakin’, groovy soul-funk music to new levels. Junior Turua’s electric bass takes on a life of its own on this record…damn! Accompanying are singer/songwriter Chris Melville, keyboardist Alan Brown, drummer Josh Sorenson and guitarists Joel Haines and Dixon Nacey. This is an enormously cohesive unit, with a take-no-prisoners, all-for-one stance… and loads of attitude. Recorded at MAINZ music school in Auckland, ‘Brightest Star’ is a tour-de-force of beautifully crafted, funky dance music of the highest calibre. I see big things for this group on the international scene. Git on down with yo’ bad self, and check out the Grand Central Band right away – Melville’s got a brand new bag!
— Review in NZ Musician Magazine by Peter Dent for Brightest Star
Well, if you’re into cool, soul, funk, jazzy grooves, this impressive debut album will blow yer socks off! The band features some of NZ’s finest muso’s: Chris Melville, who wrote most of the tunes, is on vocals. He has cool, soul sounding vocals and does some very impressive scat solos. Then there’s the Hammond C3 and Wurlitzer player, Alan Brown, who is just simply amazing and plays bass function as well on the Hammond. He also wrote one of the tracks on the album. Drummer Tony Hopkins just simply grooves throughout the whole album. There are no slouches in the guitar department either, with wicked soloing from Neil Watson and Dixon Nacey. Joel Haines also features on one track. Then there’s the who’s who of sax players with Godfrey de Grut (Lounghead), Brian Smith (Mr Moonlight Sax) and Tim Hopkins featuring on a few tracks. The album is produced by the very talented Split Enzer, Eddie Rayner. Basically this album is just a cool, soul, funk, toe-tapping album. So... do yourself a favour and buy it!
— Review by Real Groove Magazine for Cook Street Sessions