Monday, May 18, 2015


Once again we had another really good show at Toad in Cambridge this past Friday night. In fact it may have been our most successful engagement over there yet. We had a really great crowd full of enthusiastic funk fans who came to get down, and get down they did!

Big Ben and the band rocking out and doing their thing at Toad on Friday May 15, 2015 (l-r: Eric Vincent on guitar, Frank Watkosky on upright electric bass and Big Ben on keyboards and vocals. Not pictured: Erick Cifuentes on drums.) Photo by Barbra DesLauriers.

This was the first time I had Frank Watkoski playing bass with me. Frank and I play together in a wedding band, along with Eric Vincent the guitarist who most often plays with me. A lot of people were pretty fascinated by the electric upright bass that Frank was playing (pictured above.) It's an unusual instrument to be sure, but it sounded funky as all get out and Frank  can really play the heck outa that thing!

Along with Frank and Eric we had a good friend on drums who plays with us every now and again, Erick Cifuentes. The rhythm section was tight and really laid down some heavy grooves!

Another first of the evening was the performance of a new tune of mine called "Let's Get Crazy." I gotta say that I think it went over with the audience pretty well. It's an upbeat dance number, and it really seemed to get people up on their feet. I am planning to make this song be the first song on my new album, coming out soon!

So as it happens, this was the last show we will play at Toad for a few months to come due to some scheduling issues. I am hoping that we will be able to get back in there for September, and by that time we will be celebrating the official release of the forthcoming album, which is entitled The Friday Night Consortium. Keep checking back here for details!

I will be doing a little trio gig in a couple of weeks on Sunday May 31st at a Cape Verdean restaurant in Boston called Restaurant Laura. They have really good Cape Verdean food there, and the atmosphere is really nice. If you have a chance, please come check us out.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

SHOWS, SHOWS, all types of SHOWS....

So we just came off a little run of some cool gigs around town. If you missed it, here is some of what went on...

At the end of March we played yet again over at Brodie's Seaport in Salem, MA. I really like this joint, and there are few places on earth that have a cool laid back party vibe like Salem. Things started off a little slow and easy that night, but before the evening was through we had everybody up on their feet and dancing - which is exactly what we aim to do at all times!

Big Ben chillin' outside Brodie's Seaport Cafe in Salem, MA.

If you live in the Salem are and you're thinking right now, "Damn, I missed Big Ben at Brodie's!" worry not: we'll be back there on July 24th and August 21st.

Fast forward to April the 17th, we had another successful engagement at Toad in Cambridge, one of our most favorite places to jam. We had a good crowd full of some old familiar friendly faces, and we made some new friends as well. We also had the one and only Wayne Jones sitting in with us on guitar (our usual guitarist Eric was away on a trip to Ireland.)

Our good friend Jean Marie stopped through to hang with us that night, and she took some awesome photos that really seemed to capture the mood of the event:

toad, funk, soul, live music, gig, Boston, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Big Ben
Big Ben and Zeke Martin funkin' it up at Toad on April 17, 2015 (photo by Jeanmarie Milona Martin)

Wayne Jones, Big Ben, funk, soul, live music, Toad, Boston, gig, groove, party, light up glasses
Our special guest for the evening, guitar virtuoso Wayne Jones (photo by Jeanmarie Milona Martin)

funk, soul, groove, jazz, smooth jazz, sexy, guitar, drums, live music, Boston, Massachusetts
Wayne Jones and Zeke Martin lay down the groove at Toad in Cambridge, MA on April 17, 2015 (photo by Jeanmarie Milona Martin.)

funk, soul, groove, singing, keyboards, afro
Big Ben singing some soul music at Toad in Cambridge, MA on April 17, 2015 (photo by Jeanmarie Milona Martin)

One week later we made our way up to my old stomping grounds of Lowell, MA to lay down the groove at The Back Page. I really love playing The Back Page, and they really seem to like us over there. Again, things got off to a bit of a slow start, but it wasn't long before we had some folks up out of their seats and getting down with us to the funky grooves.

saxophone, drums, bass, keyboards, vocals, funk, soul, groove, get down, Mill City, Christmas Lights, Brickwall, Jazz
Big Ben throwing down the funk at The Backpage in Lowell, MA. l-r: Chuck Langford on Sax, Zeke Martin on Drums, "Cowboy" Ben Alman on Bass, Big Ben Hillman on Keyboards and Vocals. (Photo by Robyn Alman)

We were honored to have yet another special guest sitting in with us that evening, Saxophonist Chuck Langford. Chuck and I go way back, and it's always a special treat to have come in and play with us.

As is the usual over there at Back Page on Friday nights, WCAP radio was in the house broadcasting the show live over the air. They even took the time to interview the fellas and I during our set break. At some point I might actually post a recording of the show and the interview (thanks to Jay Whiting from the "Night Scene" show for doing such a good job with the broadcast and for sending me the audio recording.) If I can actually make the time to sit and edit down the two very long audio files I will be sure to post it right here at for you all to check out.

We'll be back up there at Backpage on Friday August 7th. Be sure to mark your calendars so you can check it out; even if you can't be there in person, you can always listen to us over the airwaves on AM 980 WCAP, or on their web site at

Click here for the WCAP web site!
Just last night I played another groovy show over at Sonny Walker's in Roxbury. It had been quite a while since the last time we played over there, so it was really great to be back! We had a really warm reception from the folks over there, and of course the grooves were righteous - including an impromptu rendition of "Stand By Me" in memoriam to the recently departed soul legend Ben E King.

Eric Vincent on Guitar, Zeke Martin on Drums and Vaughn Brathwaite on Bass at Sonny Walkers in Boston on Friday May 1, 2015. (You can see my elbow in the corner!)
Sitting in with us on bass and vocals for the evening was Vaughn Brathwaite, a very talented individual who we are very fortunate to know and have come play with us. Also, fresh back from Ireland is guitarist Eric Vincent. He told us a story about how he was suspended upside down to kiss a blarney stone while he was over there - well, I don't know if he got the "gift of the gab" or not, but he sure did rip it up on that guitar all night long!

We'll be back at Sonny Walker's on July 31st and October 30th. Be sure to come on by and say hello  to Andrea Walker the owner. It's a great place full of friendly folks and there's always good music happening there.

So after all of that I know that you're just dying to know when you can catch the band next - right? We'll you're in luck, you will be able to see us very soon! We're playing on FRIDAY MAY 15th at TOAD. We hope to see you all there!