I had the chance to see the Steve Weingart led Nu Alliance at the Baked Potato in North Hollywood, Ca. Weingart is a keyboard whiz and Steve Lukather's compadre in El Grupo. Nu Alliance is comprised of Weingart (k), Frank Gambale (g), Carlos Del Puerto (b) & Tom Brechtlein (d). The all intrumental set was a great night of groovin' sounds.
The opening number was "Like That" a Weingart song. There was some tasteful interplay between Weingart & Gambale. They both went at lightning speeds without getting in each others way. There was instant approval from the "Spud" crowd. "A Little Something" was a Gambale composition. Frank effortllessly sailed through this number. Del Puerto switched to upright bass as he went back & forth all night. Everyone got some time under the spotlight. Weingart even gave drummer Brechtlein a nodding approval to take his time to shine. Gambale continued to kick it into high gear. The song ended with a melting pot of all the talented players.
Next up was "Pursuit" the first of three straight Weingart songs. This was an even flowing number from start to finish. "Tone Poem #6" was a change of pace. This was an absolutely beautiful song that slowed the set down from a frenzy to calm. This song showed a very different side of Nu Alliance. Brechtlein switched to brushes to bring the speed & sound down even further.
"Asfew" was a roller coaster ride of great highs & lows. Special guest Ronnie Guttierez joined the quartet to add some very meaningful percussion sounds. This was an upbeat funky song. There were some very cool breaks where Gambale added some very flavorful licks to the head boppin' number. The roller coaster ride went from a very slow groove to a fast furor that started the crowd a rockin'. Guttierez went into machine gun mode at the height.
"Blue Miles" was a super groovin' number. This Chick Corea song was a perfect number to end an amazing night of music. I talked to Guttierez & he told me "I had a great time playing with these guys. Thanks for coming out." Gambale echoed his thoughts "It was real fun getting out to play tonight. I've been playing here for so long now. 25 or 30 years! This place has such a history to it!" Brechtlein said it was a fun night. It all came together. Weingart told me "I was really pleased with the crowd tonight. The crowds keep getting better & better. Los Angeles isn't the easiest place in the world to get people to come out. There was a lot of positive energy tonight. The guys really pulled it off it was great."
I talked to Steve further about the "brotherhood of "musos" that seem to bond very well together especially at the Baked Potato. He told me "Ya, it's pretty cool. Luke & I went with our wives to go see Simon Phillips play. I enjoy seeing my friends do well. I have an incredible amount of respect for the people I play with. I love going to see Jeff Babko play. It's kinda the 2000's version of old school New York. Back there in the 60's & 70's the legends would play a gig & then go back home & jam together & hang out. Guys like Dizzy Gilespie. There's a great admiration among everyone."
I talked to Weingart in depth about his work on the much anticipated new Steve Lukather solo CD. I asked Weingart about Lukes new CD and he said "It was really great. He kinda let me have my way. There was a really strong vibe with the music. It flowed. I like the freedom he lets me have. I think I played on three songs. It's been awhile since I've been in the studio with him. Is he back yet? I've got to call him. I'm dying to here the new songs. I played some organ & some synth pad stuff. I played on the Steely Dan song. Wow it was GREAT! It was really cool trading solos with Babko (Jeff Babko, Doves of Fire, Jimmy Kimmel Show, sessions). It's always fun with Luke. He's good people. He's a piece of work! It's ALWAYS a laugh with him! It is very easy to play with Luke in the studio. I've learned a lot playing with him. He taught me how important the vibe is. You don't have to always play everything perfectly note for note. As long as everyones got the same vibe.I really enjoy playing with him."
I contacted Luke about Weingart and here's what he had to say. "Steve Weingart, one of the best musicians I have ever met. He can do it ALL!!! He kills in all styles and a really nice guy I consider him a good friend. He played some GREAT stuff for me on my new solo record, a killer solo on a tune called "ICEBOUND" and some classic playing and fills on some other stuff. I had the honor of touring with Steve when we had a band together called "El Grupo" and toured Japan and Europe. World class on every level and I look forward to our next project together, and there will be many in the years to come."
Stevelukather.com, April 27th 2007