The Royal Rhythmaires

Posted by Ingrid On August - 18 - 20104,629 views

The first time I heard The Royal Rhythmaires I instantly fell in love! This rhythm and blues band out of Fort Worth, Texas brings back the soulful sound of the 40’s and 50’s with a horn-infused power that really sets them apart. Focusing more on the music and less on technology they evoke such feeling that it is impossible not to be moved by them.

For those of you who may not know, The Royal Rhythmaires are Jai Malano( vocals),Christian Parkess(tenor- sax),Alex Hernandez( Bari Sax), Benny Scribner( piano),Ed Cannon( bass) and Robert Hamilton( drums). I was lucky enough to have a chat with all six members of the band recently and I found that their success as a group stems from a great love for what they do and a deep respect for each other’s individual talent.

You guys are amazing! Can you tell me about how you started working together?

Alex: Ed and I met through MySpace in early 2007, not long after that I had moved to Fort Worth from Los Angeles. We always talked about roots music but never got serious about forming a band until the end of 2009. I started putting ads in Craiglist for musicians. Benny had just been in Texas for two weeks when he replied to the ad. A few months later, I found Christian through another ad to find out he had only been in Texas about a week. We got Robert, a longtime friend of Ed’s, to play drums. The timing was perfect and the pieces fell together pretty easily. We did have to go through a few different singers but hit the jackpot when we found Jai. Her vocals fit the music perfectly and it’s been taking off ever since.

Your tunes pay real tribute to the music of the 40’s and 50’s. What aspect of that musical era has influenced you the most?

A  lot of the recordings back then were produced with so little knowledge of the science of recording. All they worried about was capturing the sound. Many times, a single microphone captured the frantic sound of a group of musicians just trying to get their sound on tape. That frantic enthusiasm that you hear in those old recordings is what drives us.

You’ve backed a lot of great artists in your time, do you have any favorites?

Ed: We have individually backed up many great artists- Wanda Jackson, Mack Stevens, Gene Summers, Big Jay McNeely, Joe Houston- but we all feel it has been such an honor to share the stage with all these great artists that we really can’t pick favorites. Not only did we get to produce music with them but any second spent with them is an opportunity to learn and there’s no one else better to learn from than the ones who started it all.

Christian: The raw visceral energy is missing in a lot of today’s music. The experience of performing this music is extremely therapeutic and a great release of energy for the musicians and listeners; especially the dancers!

You’ve done quite a lot of traveling both in the U.S. and out of the states. How has that influenced your sound?

Ed: We are all products of where we’ve been and the people we’ve played with. It becomes a part of your sound whether you realize it or not. As a group, everyone has something that they bring to the table; Christian’s time spent picking up jazz gigs in Europe; Benny’s time playing in the Washington scene; Alex’s time in the rockabilly/ R&B scene in Los Angeles, etc. It’s all in there somewhere in the Royal Rhythmaire’s sound.

Christian: The Gypsy musicians I was able to play with in Europe also possessed a very visceral, therapeutic element in their music, it was just manifested in a different manner. The music that they made had a different role in culture. It was less to make money and entertain, than to be a form of communication and interaction in a social setting. This party like, all inclusive experience is present in the Royal Rhythmaires shows. We want everyone to smile, laugh and dance, and have as much fun as we are having!

What would you say makes you stand out from other bands out there?

Alex: The intentional absence of guitar has forced us to focus on arrangements that are heavy on horns. This helps create that big R&B sound  but the most important aspect of the music is the singer. Jai’s powerhouse vocals and soulful blues singing is what really set us apart.

What can fans expect from the Royal Rhythmaires in the future?

Alex: We’ve just started getting out and about in the Fort Worth area and have been getting great feedback! We look forward to branching out and playing some of the weekend events as well as recording a CD early next year. For the most part, we want to have fun making music and get people dancing! That’s  the whole purpose of this music; soul singing, foot stomping, hand clapping, horm honking rhythm and blues!

Follow the Royal Rhythmaires on FB The Royal Rhythmaires | Facebook or check out their MySpace page The Royal Rhythmaires on MySpace Music – Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads

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