Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Breeze Kings Honor Genre with Standard Repertoire

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Breeze Kings Honor Genre with Standard Repertoire

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Faulkner, Shorelines correspondent

It wasn't a burning bush or a cross floating in the sky that ignited Carlos Capote's love of the blues. All it took was a ride in a friend's car.

"I was living in West Palm Beach and growing up in a land of pop radio," Capote said. "I remember all of those songs from the '80s and can sing along with them. When I was in high school, a friend of of mine was playing a tape of B.B. King in his car and I just went through the roof. I just thought it was the most soulful, honest music I'd ever heard."

While his blues education traces back to a humble beginning, Capote is now a fervent blues disciple, promoter and performer. He and his group, the Breeze Kings, bring their blues revival to Ragtime Tavern in Atlantic Beach Friday and Saturday.

The singer and harmonica player said he and his band, made up of guitarist Jim Ransone, bassist Dave Roth and drummer Mark Yarbrough, specialize in Chicago-style blues. It's the classic, electric-guitar punctuated sound that can be found on records from the Chess and Cobra labels. To honor their Southern roots, the band also plays tunes in the Delta Blues and Piedmont styles.

When Capote talks about the blues, his speech is peppered with phrases like "honoring the past," "paying tribute," or "respecting the form." The Breeze Kings don't sugar-coat the music or play the standard blues band repertoire. Capote said the band made a conscious decision to cut out the typical and unearth some deeper, more obscure blues tunes for the cover song portions of their sets.

"Blues is a long-standing art form, a classic art form and has a lot of tradition," Capote said. "As a musician, you want to do your own thing but I think it's very important that you respect and pay homage to the form and make sure you're doing it with a certain amount of integrity. That means really studying it, knowing it and being a student of it."

If they're students, then Capote and his band mates' classrooms are the hundreds of bars and festivals they play each year. They perform just about every weekend, either in their hometown of Atlanta or throughout the Southeast.

The lessons come from the obscure records of the blues men the band members so admire. Capote said his only obstacle to building a blues collection is his wallet. They've impressed some teachers, too; The Breeze Kings have built up a rapport with artists such as Tinsley Ellis and Sam Myers, who have offered them advice and praise.

"That's really the payback, when you can play with a man who's been playing blues for 50 years, and he tells you you're doing it right, and that he's happy to play with you," Capote said. "That's the kind of thing that really makes it for us, knowing we're being a part of this tradition and carrying it on in a way that it deserves. …

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