Aki Kumar

Live from the Sonoma Tavern Stage (indoors)

Aki Kumar

Saturday, July 15, 2017

8:00 pm

HopMonk Tavern - Sonoma

Sonoma, CA


Aki Kumar
Aki Kumar
"His treatment of Charles Brown’s “Driftin’ Blues” was sublime and leaves one contemplating just how good this ‘cat’ will get. Check out his newest project “Don’t Hold Back” recorded at Kid Anderson’s Greaseland Studio. It’s chick-full of tasty covers and several vintage-infused originals; the CD hasn’t been out of my rotation for the last month."
Ken Tritz, Blues Monday Monthly Magazine, Aug 2015

"(Kumar) is a powerful, stylish vocalist who delivers his lyrics without a hint of accent, and his attack would be well received in the smoky bars of Chicago’s West Side, where the music originated … Definitely one of the best new artist new releases of 2014. It’s a little late for Christmas, but pick up a copy of “Don’t Hold Back” today. You deserve it."
Marty Gunther, Blues Blast Magazine, Jan 2015

"Aki is not a good – but a master harmonica player whose energetic style is situated where Little Walter and West Coast blues cross their lines."
Franky Bruneel, Back To The Roots Magazine (Belgium), Dec 2014

"A superb harmonica player with a muscular vocal style... blessed with a mesmerizing command of vintage Chicago blues .... one of the finest Chi-Town blues albums it has been my pleasure to hear in a while ....Kumar is a real talent and if you love Chicago blues then this is a set you can't ignore."
Mick Rainsford, Blues in Britain Magazine, Dec 2014

"On Mumbai Express, a lively track, Kumar shows how versatile he’s on the harmonica .. Don’t Hold Backdeserves a place in any blues fan’s collection."
Sanjoy Narayan | Hindustan Times Brunch (India's most-widely read English language magazine)

"Just a fine, fine effort, fully realized, and blues-wailing. Run, don't walk to get it." - CLICK HERE for the full review.
Joseph Jordan, Vice President, The Golden Gate Blues Society

"...old school blues at its finest by way of India. And the lad has soul to spare."
Dan Aykroyd aka Elwood Blues

"Born in Mumbai and long based in San Jose, California, 34-year-old harmonica blower Akarsha “Aki” Kumar made his initial mark with Tip of the Top, a sadly short-lived trio in which he shared lead vocals with guitarist Jon Lawton. Now he’s out on his own with a killer CD of mostly Chicago-style blues on which he surrounds himself with some of the strongest blues players in Northern California. They include guitarists Lawton, Kid Andersen (who co-produced the sessions with Kumar), Johnny “Cat” Soubrand, and Rusty Zinn, pianist Bob Welsh, bassist Vance Ehlers, drummer June Core, and tenor saxophonist Frank Ramos.

Kumar is a strong, versatile harmonica player who draws on styles from Little Walter’s to Jimmy Reed’s, and when he sings, in robust low-tenor tones, he nails every line with near-perfect enunciation. His choice of vintage tunes to cover is inspired, avoiding the common in favor of less-often-heard material such as Walter’s Blue Baby, Reed’s She Don’t Want Me No More, Snooky Pryor’s Judgement Day, Hank Ballard’s Hoochie Coochie Coo, Billy “The Kid” Emerson’s I’ll Get You, Too, Memphis Slim’s Wish Me Well, and the Slim Harpo instrumental Buzzin’. The most familiar song in the set, Drifting Blues, which has almost always been rendered as a slow blues since Charles Brown recorded it that way with Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers in 1945, is instead delivered up-tempo by Kumar and company in a Rollin’ and Tumblin’ manner.

Three original Kumar tunes—Don’t Hold Back, Let Me Get Closer, and the Mystery Train–derived Mumbai Express—stand up well alongside the older material. He closes out the 13-track set with a Bollywood pop song titled Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh (A Strange Story). Unfortunately, only those fluent in Hindi (or wishing to Google the English translation) will understand the story, but it sure is an interesting way to end such a terrific album."
Lee Hildebrand | Living Blues Magazine Issue #232

"One of my favorite tracks on the release, Drifting Blues, has an almost John lee Hooker like drive to it. With essentially no bridge, this track is a full blown train rolling down the tracks.... Very nice!"
Bman's Blues Report

"Being a big fan of West Coast of blues I can really appreciate this kind of music played right, especially when harmonica is involved. Your album brings all those elements crucial for a good West Coast blues records. The music swings and rolls, with a strong blues foundation and some amazing playing. Great singing and harp playing shine throughout, but I am also impressed with the number and the quality of guests that grace the LP. Rusty Zinn (who these days only plays reggae, how did you managed to get him to play the blues???), Kid Andersen, Johnny Soubrand – fantastic musicians that round out a beautiful record. A prove that the blues is strong all over the world. Congratulations! It will be my pleasure to play this music on the air."
Przemek Draheim | www.blues.pl/draheim
Venue Information:
HopMonk Tavern - Sonoma
691 Broadway
Sonoma, CA, 95476