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By Gary Wien

Kimon & the Prophets won the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation battle of the bands and recently competed in Memphis, TN along with 110 other bands at the International Blues Challenge. Comprised of veteran musicians who have long since paid their dues in the NYC club circuit and beyond, the members of the Prophets have been in numerous bands with national releases. Early on Kimon (pronounced kéy-mon) survived a long stint as guitarist and co-writer with an over-the-top, edgy NYC garage band called The Wilsons, later joining Hoboken NJ favorites Fear of Falling as guitarist, there gaining much experience in making albums and performing via touring in Europe and the U.S. He went on to form Psonica, signing with the now defunct Navarre Entertainment. They released their national debut effort, but disbanded soon after due to internal disagreements, at which point, Kimon went on in the following five years to release 4 critically acclaimed solo albums, methodically cultivating his own brand of protest blues, while simultaneously developing an incendiary guitar technique.

Touring around as Kimon & the Prophets with various members, in February of 2008 Kimon was joined by long time friend and musical conspirator Marc Gambino on bass and vocals, to begin the creation of a solid band lineup. Marc enjoyed much European success as a member of the rock band Concrete Jungle and later a six year stint with Asbury Park favorites Maybe Pete. Quickly solidifying their own melodic blend of blues, funk, 70’s rock, and hip-hop, joined by Jason Kronick on drums, they charted a musical homecoming back to their roots. had the chance to catch up with Kimon to see how the Memphis trip went and talk about the upcoming release.

Think back about a decade ago, would you have ever imagined yourself playing in something like the International Blues Challenge?
I had played at SXSW and CMJ before (well, way before), but I hadn’t heard of the IBC until I joined the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation about two and a half years ago. It’s a different vibe at the IBC than other conventions I’ve been to, everyone is a little older but much more down to earth. There are no promises of stardom, only reminders of why you started playing in the first place, meaning, you witness some unbelievable musicianship.

Winning the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues competitions was a pretty impressive feat. Were you confident the Prophets would do well or was it simply taking a shot and seeing how it went, at first?
This was only our second time competing, but we really worked hard rehearsing and gigging as much as possible leading up to the competition; I don’t know if we deserved to win, but we really tried our best to work out our set list, and how the songs worked together, which I think is what impressed upon the judges.

As the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation representative, you got to play a couple of shows at The Historic Daisy on Beale Street. What were those shows like?
We had a great time; it’s always hectic when you only have a couple of minutes of set up time, no musician ever gets used to that, but aside from that, the Historic Daisy was a beautiful room to play in and we got a very warm response. Some of the Jersey Shore jokes were even pretty funny!

Kimon & The Prophets plays rock and roll with a blues background. Were you up against similar bands or more traditional blues artists?
There were eight bands competing in our venue, they ranged from blues rock like us, to more of a Chicago sound, some jump blues, and even some southern rock flavors. All the bands in our venue were three piece bands, but somehow all very different.

How did you ever move from songs such as those on "Discorporated" to "Roadhouse Party"? Were you always a fan of the blues?
Long story, but here goes... My first guitar teacher was a blues fanatic, so the first things I learned were the 12 bar progressions, pentatonic scale, some turn-arounds, and I was off and running starting a blues band. Through the years I went through various phases all over the gamut as a songwriter that I think culminated with my political album Discorporated that you mentioned. But as a guitar player I was always rooted in Blues. A few years back I was spending a lot of time learning the craft of recording, but I had hit a plateau for quite a long time in terms of my guitar playing. So I went back to where I started and began taking blues and slide guitar lessons again with a guy called Poor Bob. That’s what got me back to roots music. Roadhouse Party was basically a first step, but with the upcoming album, I’m trying to connect the two, the protest music that I think I was doing pretty well, with the blues; I believe they are compatible, and hopefully it works and I can carve out a little niche for myself.

Do long-time fans of yours still come up to you (as I think I did once) and say, "I never knew you could play guitar like that"?
When I first started the blues band, yes, a couple people asked me where that came from, but I feel like I’m plateau-ing again; I had a regular guitar practice regimen going until we started making the new album, which took over all my time, now that it’s done, I feel the need to get back to the regular guitar practicing routine

What was the best part of the Memphis experience?
I think I met some of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met there.

Finally, when can fans expect the next record? And will it be more power-blues-rock or veer in a different direction?
The new album was pretty much done and ready to be released. There a few different vibes on the album that all work together really well, blues rock, some traditional shuffles, slow blues, some funk. But we couldn’t settle on a title. For the IBC, I also thought we needed one Texas Blues type number to round out our set, so I wrote a new one called Trenton Blues. It went over really well, so we decided to record it. The recording turned out so well that I think it will now be the lead off and title track. I think it was the missing piece and ties the whole album together. I also think when you’ll hear it, beyond the title, it will drive home that we are Jersey blues, if there is such a thing. You’ll know what I mean. Working towards an April 2011 release.

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Daniil Trifonov performs Schumann's Piano Concerto in NJSO debut
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Daniil Trifonov, Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto in his NJSO debut, January 25–27, in the final program of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Winter Festival, “Music Speaks.” Music Director Xian Zhang conducts the program, which also features Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra and the NJSO premiere of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Performances take place on January 25 at 8:00pm at NJPAC in Newark, January 26 at 8:00pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick and January 27 at 3:00pm at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
Audible and NJPAC Present "Jazz in the Key of Ellison"
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Audible have announced the first three national performance dates of “Jazz in the Key of Ellison,” celebrating the musical world of the esteemed African-American novelist, critic and scholar Ralph Ellison and his remarkable collection of jazz recordings.
Centenary Stage Presents Michael Davis and the New Wonders
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Centenary Stage Company’s annual January Thaw Music Festival returns to the Lackland Performing Arts Center featuring three musical guest artists throughout the month of January. The series launches on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 8:00pm in the Lackland Performing Arts Center with Michael Davis and the New Wonders.
Billy Joel to Celebrate 70th Birthday at MSG
(NEW YORK, NY) -- The Madison Square Garden Company announced that the 64th consecutive show by legendary musician and MSG franchise, Billy Joel, on Thursday, May 9, 2019 takes place on his 70th birthday! The  show will be Joel’s 110th all-time performance at The Garden.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Presents Motor City Live: A Motown Christmas
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City has extended Motor City Live: A Tribute to Motown through the month of December with a special Motor City Live: A Motown Christmas. Along with your favorite Motown classics, you’ll hear some Motor City versions of your favorite Holiday songs sprinkled in like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from The Temptations, Aretha Franklin’s “Winter Wonderland,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson’s “Jingle Bells” and much more.

Melissa Etheridge LIVE! at the State Theatre
The lobby of the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, is buzzing with activity this Friday, November 30, 2018 evening as rock music fans ready themselves for a special Holiday Show by singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge!
Join The Greater South Jersey Chorus For "A Winter's Night" (Or Afternoon)
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An Interview with Chip Davis Of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
You can experience the magic of the holidays — Steamroller-style — when Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis makes a tour stop this Thursday, December 6, 2018, at New Brunswick, NJ’s historic State Theatre.
Max Weinberg’s Jukebox LIVE! at the Grunin Center
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PHOTOS: Matt O'Ree Band at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Matt O'Ree Band returned to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, November 16 and photographer Estelle Massry of Coucou Photography was on hand to take some photos.  David Bryan from Bon Jovi was one of the special guests that night.

Event calendar
Saturday, Dec 15, 2018


DOWNSTREAM @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

LIFE OF AGONY/SICK OF IT ALL @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 6:30pm

JOHNNY O @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00pm

WEIRD SCIENCE @ Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00pm

The THE BAND Band @ Darress Theatre, Boonton - 8:00pm

Brian Fallon @ Crossroads (Garwood), Garwood - 8:00pm

KASHMIR THE LIVE LED ZEPPELIN SHOW @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

Holiday POPS! @ Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton - 3:00pm and 6:00pm

TAKING BACK SUNDAY @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

The Beat Tells @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm

The Metropolitan Opera: La Traviata @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 1:00pm


Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm and 7:00pm and 7:30pm

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 7:30pm

Peter Pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 7:30pm

A CHRISTMAS CAROL @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm


A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 8:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

A Charlie Brown Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

Hudson Theatre Works presents "And My True Love Gave To Me" @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 8:00pm


Louie Anderson @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


NEW JERSEY BALLET’S NUTCRACKER WITH NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 6:00pm

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre with special guest Sweet Honey In The Rock @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:30pm


Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in Concert Live to Film @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:30pm

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