The City Champs are the latest in a long lineage of Memphis musicians to grab the mantle of funky, soul-jazz instrumentals pioneered by acts like Booker T & the MGs, Willie Mitchell and The Bar-Kays. Their debut album, The Safecracker features 7 prime cuts of Stax, Hi Records and Blue Note-inspired soul-jazz and funk, produced and engineered by Memphis producer and film composer, Scott Bomar (the Bo-Keys, “Hustle & Flow” & “Soul Men”) at his Electraphonic Recording studio.
February finds The City Champs hitting the road with their friends and neighbors, The North Mississippi All-Stars for a national tour!
The City Champs are led by guitarist, Joe Restivo, who also penned the original material on the album. Joe is one of the premier R&B/Jazz guitarists in Memphis and holds a BFA in Jazz Studies from the prestigious New School in New York City, where he studied with jazz greats Jack Wilkins, Junior Mance, Cecil Bridgewater, and Phil Markowitz. Organist Al Gamble hails from the Muscle Shoals, Alabama region, and has performed live and on recordings with such notables as Rufus Thomas, Syl Johnson, Alex Chilton, and the Memphis Horns. Drummer George Sluppick is a native Memphian who has spent most of his life on the road performing live and recording with many notables, including Albert King, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Melvin Sparks, Ruthie Foster and JJ Grey and MOFRO. The sessions were tracked and mixed entirely on analog tape—Bomar used his Scully 1” 8-track machine, which was the same model used at Stax, Muscle Shoals Sound, and Chip’s Moman’s American Studio. Mastered straight off analog tapes, directly to disc by mastering engineer Larry Nix on the same equipment he used daily at Stax Records.
THE CITY CHAMPS w/ THE NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALL-STARS
2/04 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
2/05 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom
2/06 – Chicago, IL – Cubby Bear
2/08 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
2/10 – Breckenridge, CO – Three20South
2/11 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up
2/12 – Ft. Collins, CO – Aggie Theatre
2/17 – Starkville, MS – Rick’s Cafe 02/18 – Oxford, MS – The Lyric
2/19 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
2/20 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
2/21 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre
2/24 – State College, PA – State Theatre
2/25 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live
2/26 – New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
2/27 – Falls Church, VA – State Theatre
2/28 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle