Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mykeljon- Ukrainian Doll

Mykeljon and Groovexpress ‘Ukrainian Doll’
Smooth & Soulful – Independently released 2014 by E-Type Records.

A collaborative music project formed in 2010 out of New Zealand, Los Angeles and Australia.  A group of experienced, well-seasoned players of a caliber found only in those at the top of their game.  The instrumentation of the group is similar to what you would have seen in 1960s New York, however, that is the backbone of their flavour with a fusion of unique, smooth West Coast USA-flavoured originals and inspired interpretations of standards from such jazz legends as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Wes Montgomery and George Benson.

Mykeljon Winckel
holds together the joint harmonic component with guitar.  Having studied music at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Australia, he graduated as a Tone Master with an Associate Diploma in Jazz. After some years playing the Australasian scene, it was on to Los Angeles, CA for several more years, performing with such talents as Pat Kelley, Ernest Tibbs, Isaac and Trinidad Sanchez, and Andy Suzuki. Totaling over 4,500 performances in his 30-year international professional career as an artist, arranger, composer and producer, the musical flame burns in Mykeljon ever-bright: “Working in the heart of jazz country, with guys like Pat Kelley, John Ferraro, the Sanchez brothers, Rickey Grundy, etc. was a very humbling experience, one that I never thought I would ever achieve. They are such great people to work with, as are Groovexpress,” says Mykeljon.

'Haggis' Maguiness plays the harmonicas; widely regarded as one of the best harmonica players in Australasia, he is equally competent on both diatonic and chromatic harps.  His style of playing is often referred to as unique, being a blend of blues, jazz, rock, funk and soul, with shades and tones of other styles blending in to the mix to create a melting pot of unique phrasing and musical ideas. Having started his musical life as a trumpet player, Haggis has always had a different approach to the instrument; “I’m not your typical blues harp player.” Once you’ve heard Haggis play, you know you’ve witnessed something special. “I just live to make my harp swing and I’m giving it my best for whomever is listening.” says Haggis.

Isaac Sanchez, drums and percussion - has had a pair of sticks in his hands since he was 11 years old where he began playing worship services in his dad's Pentecostal church. Eager to follow his Jazz leanings, Isaac has held the drum seat for many jazz ensembles as well as vocal jazz rhythm sections.  He has freelanced, playing with a variety of groups and/or independent artists. Since that Gospel music introduction he has been fortunate to study and play a variety of styles. To this day, authenticity of style continues to be his pursuit for every project he's asked to join.  After discovering the drums, he soon moved to hand percussion. Isaac recounts that one night in his late teens a Poncho Sanchez concert absolutely pushed him over the edge! He told himself that night, "I'VE GOT TO DO THAT!", even if all he did was play a cowbell in a band like Poncho's. Since then, he has been using his hands to create music with a variety of percussion instruments.  Although that first introduction to percussion was Latin Jazz, Isaac quickly applied himself to both its traditional and modern use.  Artist’s he has played and/or recorded with Raymond Gregory, Marcus Gerakos, Hector Hermosillo, Hanz Ives, Joel Johns, Crystal Lewis, Mickeal McCool, Emily Simonian, Gabriel Velasquez, Hilary Watson, Tyrone Wells, Steve Wiggins and of course Mykeljon

Bruce Kerr, plays Electric Bass, Fretless Electric Bass, Nylon String Guitar, Steel String Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar and Lap Steel Guitar in many styles.  Bruce has worked in bands and toured with Matt Monroe, Elaine Page, Tim Rice, Andy Stewart, Roger Whittaker, Michael Barrymore, Shirley Bassey, The Seattle Mens Choir, Bonnie Tyler, Leo Sayer, John Paul Young, Todd Rundgren, Roy Phillips (Peddlers), and  the Lass Vegas show “Songs in the Key of Motown”.  New Zealand artists include; Tina Cross, Suzy Lynch, Taisha, Jackie Clark, Ray Woolf, Ray Columbus, Billy T James, Sir Howard Morrison, The Yandell Sisters, Rob Guest, John Rowles, Tommy Adderly, Larry Morris, Suzanne Prentice, Frankie Stevens, Dame Malvina Major and Martin Winch.

Ernest Semu, playing piano, Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes. A graduate of Royal Schools and Trinity College, his career started at church, playing for services and choirs at 12 years of age. Out into the commercial world, he played with the Yandalls, Tina Cross, and Brent Brodie, to name a few.  Ernie went on to play with legendary band Cairo, releasing 3 singles under the CBS label – playing internationally for many years in Japan and Australia.  “Groovexpress really brings out lots of great grooves and flavours. There is a lot of talent right there, and each performance brings out more and more,” comments Ernest.

Robert Kyle, saxophone - has become known for his unique warm sound, melodic style, and his ability to harmoniously cross musical borders. His lyricism and passion are evident in whatever situation he finds himself, and he is fluid in many styles including Jazz, Blues, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, R & B and Classical. His performing and recording credits include work with Stevie Wonder, Michael Bolton, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Vince Gill, Jason Mraz, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King, Kenny Loggins, Brenda Russell, Lou Rawls, Della Reese, Seu Jorge, Googoosh, Cee-Lo Green, Chaka Khan, Babyface, Jessica Simpson, Billy Mitchell, Tony Guerrero and many more. He has been a featured soloist on hundreds of recordings, and has played for the Academy awards, the Emmy awards, The BET awards, The Nick & Jessica Variety Show, Lou Rawls cavalcade of stars, and many others..

 So, if you enjoy a solid groove that simply ‘jams’, then ‘Groovexpress’ is your flavor!  “The main thrust for this group is great songs, a great groove, and the cool 60s period, as that was such an influential time in the history of jazz.  However, this is been transposed by the contemporary West Coast USA fusion of Latin, rock, blues and Jazz. Within the 100% original repertoire, there are a number of tunes that will have your groove receptors pulsing! The combination of flavors that each instrument brings offers an exciting sound to work with that allows for plenty of improvisational scope,” says Mykeljon. 

Their new album ‘Ukrainian Doll’ is now released and available from;

All enquiries
Join us on FACEBOOK ‘groovexpress’

Track list
01 E Type Blues
02 Pretty Little Thang
03 Mi Bella Paola
04 No Way Home
05 I Say Praise
06 Ukrainian Doll
07 High Heels
08 Tell Me Why
09 Foxy Brown
10 You Are My Fantasy

All songs composed by Mykeljon except track 06 Ukrainian Doll Mykeljon and Haggis Derek McGuiness.  APRA AMCOS
Arranged, Produced, engineered and mixed Mykeljon
Released By E Type Records (Mykeljon’s independent label)

Musician Credits
Guitars and vocals - Mykeljon
Harmonicas - Haggis McGuiness
Bass - Bruce Kerr
Keyboards, organ - Ernie Semu
Drums and Percussion - Isaac Sanchez
Saxophones - Robert Kyle