Saturday Night Otis and the Hurricanes Hit Fairfield’s Al’s Place December 2005
With this year’s onslaught of devastating hurricanes, it was our turn to get hit with one. And we did…with a good one.
Saturday night, Otis and the Hurricanes played Al’s Place in Fairfield — And they brought down the house. By moving the stage from the window to the sidewall, Al’s gave its patrons more dance room and a better venue for bands to be heard. So when Otis and the Hurricanes got up on the newly designed stage, they hit it like a Category 5!
Otis and the Hurricanes opened with a blazing rendition of “Cissy Strut.“ It only took a handful of notes before the entire place was in motion. Their special brand of get-up-and-dance, New Orleans Rhythm & Blues – Louisiana Rock & Roll — didn’t let up till the next day.
Guest guitarist Jim Schanck from the Mill River Band was invited on stage to play “T-Bone Shuffle.” There was also a surprise special guest appearance by Average White Band founder/ singer/ songwriter Alan Gorrie.
The energy and raw power that Gorrie generates with his voice is awe-inspiring. The soulful elegance he brought to “People Get Ready” was moving. Then with two beats of the drum, he seamlessly broke into “It’s Alright.” Again, making Saturday night at Al’s — way more then average.
So how is it that Otis and the Hurricanes can play with artists of this caliber?
That’s because everyone in the group are artists of that caliber. Everyone in Otis and the Hurricanes are veteran players who have a great understanding of music.
So what makes Otis and the Hurricanes so…so…well, so damn tight? Here’s the break down:
There’s Otis aka Chris Cross. Guitar and lead vocals. Chris played and recorded with Blue in the Face. Went on to raise a family, and now, fortunately for us, has come back to work. Watch Chris play, and you’re amazed how effortless he makes it seem. Listen to him, and hear the virtuoso of a man possessed. And, to his credit, during his solos, he never “overplays his welcome.” He leaves the audience always wanting more. Ask anyone in the business about Chris, and they’ll tell you what a great guitarist and bandleader he is. Chris has been on the road with Debbie Davies as well as opening for Tab Benoit, Average White Band, Buckwheat Zydeco, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Johnny Winter, James Montgomery and Roomful of Blues to name a few.
As soon as you hear “Smokin’ Joe” Najmy on keyboard/accordion and vocal, you know he’s the real deal. Joe has played with a ton of the best people. During a break– just name someone and he’s probably played with them.
Joe’s also recorded with Average White Band (yes, with the above mentioned Alan Gorrie), has opened up for Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal and Robert Cray and is believed to have rode up in an elevator with Dr. John.
Chris Bishop: A masterful bassist and vocalist. “CB” is worth the price of admission alone!! He’s recorded and toured with Robert Palmer and James Montgomery.
Rick Quintinal – A master of percussion and drummer extraordinaire. Rick is one of the “go to” guys in Fairfield County, toured with Malo and we groove deep with him onboard!
Doug Bernstein, tenor sax. Doug was musical director for Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave) and toured with the Mavericks as well. Just listen to him play and you gotta believe — his list is strong.
So there you have it. Otis and the Hurricanes’ power is in their experience as seasoned musicians who love to play music and get the house rockin’.
If you want to find out when and where they are playing next — get on their emailing list via this website or at: OtisMusic1@gmail.com