Legendary guitarist Chris Newland and his virtuoso sidekick on Blues Harp, Paul Pacifico, have been playing Blues together for almost 10 years. Their music very much reflects their love of the swamp and down right dirty grooves.
They met through their involvement with The AllStars Collective, an organisation of world-renowned session musicians, based in London.
When Paul got up with the band and played harmonica at one of their Christmas parties, Chris grabbed him by the shoulder and uttered the now immortal words ‘Hey, screw these guys, let’s form a Blues band and go play some dives!’. They quickly recruited Blues veteran Richard Simmons on keyboards and started to bed down the band’s sound.
What began as a fun side-project has gathered momentum, a fine selection of foot-thumping songs and some seriously hot musicians from the ranks of The AllStars.
Paul Pacifico remembers, ‘Things got a little more serious when we were asked to do a Blues gig for Save the Children at the Roundhouse, and we got to collaborate with James Cotton, Dr John, Ronnie Wood, KT Tunstall and other artists. We had been indulging our passion for Blues as a side project, but that’s when we started to talk about taking things to the next level and maybe even making an album’.
The result is their debut release One More Party, which brings together the core 5-piece band, including Winston Blisset on bass and Tony Mason on drums. Added to that is a carnival of friends from across the world of music, including a guest vocal by the one and only Jocelyn Brown.
Paul Pacifico (Harmonica)
Paul grew up in Soho and worked in finance for almost a decade before pursuing a career in the music industry. He set up The AllStars Collective in 2003 and works with a number of artists, brands and charities. He sits on the board of the Featured Artists Coalition, which represents musicians from across the industry. As a harmonica player, Paul has performed with a variety of artists including Marcella Detroit, Alfie Boe, Ronnie Wood, Maceo Parker and James Cotton.
Chris Newland (Lead Vocal / Guitar)
From Massachusetts in the USA, Chris is a highly experienced professional guitarist. After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, he immediately became a busy touring and recording guitarist, moving to the UK in 1992. He has worked with Soca/Calypso artist Arrow, featuring on his massive hit Hot Hot Hot, as well as Sister Sledge, Odyssey, Mick Ronson and Felix Pappalardi. Other artists Chris has worked with include Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, Bonnie Tyler and Melanie C.
Richard Simmons (Keyboards)
Having spent a lifetime between the South London Blues scene and the clubs of the French Quarter, Richard Simmons’ musical roots are deeply embedded in New Orleans
and Blues. He is Musical Director for New Orleans musical ambassador Lillian Boutte and has performed with Peter Green, Eddie Floyd and Hamish Stuart of The Average White Band.
Winston Blisset (Bass)
Originally from South East London, Winston’s playing has been heard by most people on the planet, having appeared on numerous pop hits. His regular gig these days, when not playing with Pacifico Blues, is touring with Massive Attack. Over the years, Winston has performed and recorded with Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, Cher, Lionel Ritchie, Rod Stewart, Boy George and Phil Collins.
Tony Mason (Drums)
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Tony began playing steel drums in his uncle’s steel drum band. He then moved to New York City to study at the Drummer’s Collective, and stayed there for four years. During this time, Tony took lessons with a number of drum ‘masters’ including Lenny White, Kenwood Dennard, Peter Erskine, Tommy Campbell and the late Frank Marlabe. Tony moved back to London in 1986 and became a professional drummer. He has worked with a wide array of artists including Eddy Grant, Ronny Jordan, Martin Taylor, Matt Bianco and Mary J. Blige.