Playing this summer: Murder City Players
Murder City Players formed in 1983, at a time when Jamaican musical influences such as reggae, ska and rock steady were at their peak in both England and the United States. Featuring the dual lead vocals of St. Louisan Mark Condelliere (aka Tony Rome) and Jamaican-born “Prince Phillip” McKenzie, the band soon gained a strong following for their exciting, rhythmically driving live performances.
Featuring guitar, bass, keyboards and drums plus a three-piece horn section backing Condelliere and Prince Philip, Murder City Players had the firepower to handle the music of Jamaican legends like the Melodians, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, BM&W, Prince Buster and Bob Marley and the Wailers.
MCP soon began backing touring Jamaican bands such as the Itals, and also began building a strong repertoire of original compositions – documented on recordings such as "Enter the Musical Arena, and "Power Struggle."
This Thursday, June 28, Murder City Players will be featured at Grace Hill's Whitaker Urban Evening Series, performing a special tribute to the music of Bob Marley.
Here’s some more background Murder City Players – provided by Danny Kombrink – bass player for the band, and also the group’s booking agent.
HOME: I live in Benton Park.
AGE: The band has been around for 28 years.
INSTRUMENTS: Tony Rome and Prince Phillip are on vocals, Danny Kombrink-bass, Dave Jafari plays drums, Terry Getz is on guitar, Grady Breidenbach plays keys, The horn section features Reggie Morrow on trumpet, Brian Coughlin on trombone and Mike Powers on sax. I play bass.
HOBBIES: I like biking, trying to long board, reading, traveling, dining out and continuing my quest to find the best pizza!
LAST CONCERT: The last concert I attended was a show by The Pinstripes in Cincinnati. These guys are an up-and-coming young band that has a style similar to ours. Like us, they have a deep appreciation for early Jamaican music.
LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: I would say our latest accomplishment would be completing our new single "The World Is A Flame."
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO: We take a very traditional approach to Jamaican music, trying to give our audience an accurate feel of first-wave ska, rock steady and early reggae in a live setting. I don't know of too many bands that are still doing that today. Keeping this music alive is what really keeps us going. You won't catch us playing third-wave ska, but you may hear our version of an early soul song here or there.
QUOTE: Here’s my favorite: "What you think about you bring about."
I am a big believer in positive thinking. My drummer gives me a hard time for not being realistic, but I think that's OK!
For more info on Murder City Players, and the band’s upcoming performance schedule, go to the group’s Facebook page:
Grace Hill’s Whitaker Urban Evening Series
Every Thursday Evening from mid-June through July 19, Grace Hill Settlement House, Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Centers Inc. and the Whitaker Foundation combine to produce a concert series at St. Louis Place Park at Rauschenbach Avenue and St. Louis Avenue, 2120 St. Louis 63106).
The music runs from 7-9 p.m. at the park; food and beverages are available, and the entertainment for kids ranges from face painters and balloon sculptors to the chance to create art at the Imagination Station.
Children’s activities close at 8:30, and lawn chairs or blankets are recommended.
Upcoming concerts in the series include:
Kim Massie – July 5
Fanfare – July 12
Arvell & Co. – July 19
Call 314-539-9500 more information and updates.