Rick Estrin and The Nightcats
Rick Estrin has been playing harmonica since the '60s, has won a WC Handy Award for Best Blues Song of the Year ('My Next Ex-Wife'), and has written songs recorded by Koko Taylor, Robert Cray, Little Milton, and John Hammond. Rick Estrin & The Night Cats deliver a powerful performance of hot west coast jump blues infused with hip jazz, rolling retro-rock riffs and sizzling guitar solos.
Estrin ranks among the very best harp players, singers and songwriters in the blues world today. His work on the reeds is deep in the tradition of harmonica masters Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter Jacobs, while at the same time pushing that tradition forward. The Associated Press called his harp playing "endlessly impressive."
One day back in 1970, a 20-year old Rick Estrin had the opportunity to play harmonica with Muddy Waters and his band at the Sutherland Hotel on 47th and Drexel on Chicago's South Side. During the break, Muddy called Estrin over, shook his finger in his face, and shouted, "You outta sight, boy! You got that sound, boy! You play like a man, boy!"
A San Francisco native, Estrin got his first harmonica at age 15, and by age 18 was proficient enough to begin sitting in at black clubs around the city. Eventually he formed his band Little Charlie & The Nightcats with together with Little Charlie Baty. For three decades, the band barnstormed around the globe, honing their skills and entertaining countless people. Now called Rick Estrin & The Nightcats they bring their raucous, rocking blues to fans both old and new.
The band's debut album, Twisted, while still swinging the blues, is a harmonica-driven, rocking, guitar-fueled rave-up. Featuring 14 songs (including 10 Estrin originals, two by Kid Andersen, one by Hansen, and a superb band-created instrumental), Twisted showcases Rick's seemingly effortless command of the harmonica, his streetwise vocals and his remarkable original songs.
In addition to his harmonica and vocal skills, Rick Estrin is a songwriter of unparalleled talent. Critics have compared him to Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan and Willie Dixon. Blues Revue declared, "Estrin has created some of the finest blues songs of any artist on the planet. His carefully wrought lyrics penetrate human weakness with the precision of a boxer, though more often than not, he chooses to leave you laughing after the blow's been struck."
Band member J. Hansen joined The Nightcats in 2002. He began his musical career drumming with Dixieland bands and played traditional jazz with classic jazz multi-instrumentalist Clint Baker. While studying music in college, J. began working in local Bay Area blues bands and writing songs for his own R&B/funk band, Verso.
Bass player Lorenzo Farrell studied classical piano and made the switch from piano to acoustic bass after he discovered jazz. He played with a variety of Bay Area blues and jazz bands and was recruited into The Nightcats in 2003.
Chris "Kid" Andersen was born in Norway and by 18 was backing all the American blues stars who came through Norway, including Homesick James, Nappy Brown and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. After moving to California at age 20, he joined blues harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite's band in 2004 before playing guitar with Rick Estrin & The Nightcats.
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Point Arena, CA 95468
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