Honey Hush from Friskin' the Whiskers

Mercury News

"The Bay Area favorites sound mighty fine, indeed, as they fire up vintage New Orleans-style R&B/boogie. The new album is bursting with vim and vigor. Boasting Blackman's rollicking piano and cornet, plus Bing Nathan on bass, Larry Vann on drums, Ken "Snakebite" on bari sax and Nancy Wright on tenor sax. Wright sounds super saucy, singing on numbers like "You Can Have My Husband." Blackman's own bluesy voice rings out robustly on numerous numbers like "Roll With Me Baby." "Friskin'" is an instant party. You can't sit still when Blackman and company start ripping through tunes like "Shark Rattle and Roll," "Honey Hush" and "Sea Cruise." This band cooks with hot sauce. Known for their rousing live shows, they play a CD release party at Berkeley's Ashkenaz, April 2."

Paul Freeman
Mercury News
March 6, 2015

Mercury News

Getting Frisky with Macy Blackman & The Mighty Fines

"Macy Blackman, a Kensington resident for the past 13 years celebrates the release of his new album Friskin’ the Whiskers with his band The Mighty Fines at Ashkenaz 9 p.m. Thursday, April 2.

"A pianist, cornetist, and vocalist with a gruff, rhythmically assured delivery, Blackman is one of Northern California’s leading exponents of classic New Orleans R&B...As a bandleader, he’s as comfortable rockin’ Ellington and Gershwin as he is swingin’ Joe Turner and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson.

“I still love that King Oliver stuff, that traditional New Orleans polyphony, and I’m trying to get that into the R&B,” says Blackman, who draws liberally from the songs on the classic Louis Armstrong album Satch Plays Fats.

Featuring Blackman on piano, cornet and vocals, Nancy Wright on tenor saxophone and vocals, Ken “Snakebite” Jacobs on baritone saxophone and clarinet, bassist Bing Nathan, and the latest addition, veteran drummer Larry Vann, the Mighty Fines offer a singular take on the Crescent City continuum, combining the freewheeling polyphony of traditional jazz with the rolling grooves of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew.

Andrew Gilbert
March 27, 2015

Papa's Cool Blues from Don't You Just Know It

Downbeat Magazine Logo

"Pianist Macy Blackman's mission in life appears to be granting immediacy to 1950's New Orleans r&b songs and soul-blues items of similar vintage…Nancy Wright, the tenor player in his swinging band, takes over vocals for five selections."

Frank Hadley-John
Downbeat Magazine

Golden Gate Blues Society

"The pianist Macy Blackman, a long-time music educator and piano expert, has been an active performer since the 1960s, specializing in jazz and rhythm and blues, in particular the R&B music of New Orleans. He recently released his third album with his band The Mighty Fines. The 14 tracks on I Didn’t Want To Do It supply everything necessary for a rollicking good time except the partygoers.

The rock-solid Mighty Fines are Jack Dorsey or Adam Goodhue (drums), Bing Nathan (bass), Ken Jacobs (baritone saxophone–delicious!), and Nancy Wright (tenor saxophone, vocals), supporting Blackman (piano), whose singing is excellent and interesting. In contrast to the Mighty Fines’ lively and infectious music, Blackman’s vocal style is pretty far from excitable—not deliberate, exactly; languid perhaps comes closer. Although I have no sense that Blackman is trying to imitate the great Professor Longhair, and any similarity lies more in feeling and attitude than in sonic resemblance, his resonant timbre and playful, yet somehow grave, quality do recall Fess. That is no small asset for anyone singing Crescent City music...

That sense of fun is at the heart of what most of us think of when it comes to the R&B of New Orleans, and Macy Blackman and The Mighty Fines convey it perfectly. I Didn’t Want To Do It goes further, showing rarer aspects of New Orleans music: Saturday night and Sunday morning, romance and heartbreak, high seriousness and low clowning, all skillfully played and sung."

Tom Hyslop
Golden Gate Grooves, The Golden Gate Blues Society Newsletter
January 2014

Mercury News

"Macy Blackman’s piano playing is a treat for those who enjoy swampy, down home boogie-woogie. His new album, I Didn’t Want To Do It, takes a page from Dr. John’s playbook, featuring spirited New Orleans style boogie-woogie piano – but without the trippier side of the Dr. John experience.

Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Blackman did not have much exposure to the sounds of New Orleans. But in the mid-1970s, playing with drummer Charles “Hungry” Williams, Blackman was exposed to a new world of music that eventually led to an opportunity to meet and perform with Dr. John. Echoing piano legends like Fats Domino, Huey Smith and Dr. John, Blackman adopted a playing style that colors his music to this day.

Blackman lived in New York City until 2000, working as a performer, music instructor, and piano technician. He moved to the San Francisco Bay area to teach classes at the University of California Berkeley and also recharged his performing career. He recorded his first album with the Mighty Fines, 24 Hours a Day, in 2005. Their second album, You Just Don’t Know It, was released in 2011.

I Didn’t Want To Do It contains no originals, but it is a strong collection of covers and traditional tunes that is bound to tease a smile from the most relentless curmudgeon. Blackman’s own colorful vocals are complemented by the saucy lead vocals of Nancy Wright on several numbers. The Mighty Fines feature Ken “Snakebite” Jacobs, a Hurricane Katrina refugee, and Wright on saxophones, as well as Bing Nathan on bass and Jack Dorsey and Adam Goodhue on drums.

Bill Wilcox
November 29, 2013

The Aquarium Weekly

"We’re party-hoppin’ now ‘cause I Didn’t Want To Do It (MamaRu) by Macy Blackman & The Mighty Fines is a New Orleans fest fit to knock yourself out to. Macy’s a Delaware piano prodigy since age 12 who got hip fast to The Crescent City’s pleasures when he met drummer Hungry Williams in New York. Now, listening to this cat is like stepping into the Dew Drop Inn circa 1955. The material? How ‘bout Allen Toussaint, Brook Benton, Otis Redding, Etta James, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Ike & Tina Turner and Jackie Wilson? (Saxophonist Nancy Wright adds the female vocals.)"

Mike Greenblatt
The Aquarium Weekly
December 4, 2013

Second Saturday Salon

Awesome Recent Event

"March 10 was a rocking show with Macy Blackman and The Mighty Fines.

They are one of the hardest working bands we know, giggin' all over. We love Macy's growling voice and roadhouse style piano. Nancy Wright on sax and vocals has all the right stuff to shake the room. Check them out."

Second Saturday Salon
March 2012

Mercury News

"Dwight D. Eisenhower was serving his last year as president, and Gary U.S. Bonds was riding high with his first hit "New Orleans" when the pint-size 12-year-old Macy Blackman made his debut as a professional musician.

"Sure, it was just the synagogue across the street from his house, 'but a gig is a gig,' Blackman says. 'When you leave with more money than you came with, it's a gig.' Spoken like a lifelong working player...Steeped in the celebratory music of New Orleans, he turns each show into a joyous communion, a rollicking party to which everyone is welcome.

"His quintet, the Mighty Fines, offers a singular take on the Crescent City continuum, combining the freewheeling polyphony of traditional jazz with the rolling grooves of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew."

Andrew Gilbert
Mercury News
December 22, 2011

Mercury News

"Music sees him through. Since moving to the Bay Area from New York in 2000, vocalist/pianist/cornet player Macy Blackman has been a dynamic figure on the local scene.

"'I hate to sound corny, but it's all about commitment, knowing who you are, what you do and being committed to it. The good Lord gave me talent, and it behooves me to use it. If I do, everything will be all right. Always has been.'"

Paul Freeman
The Daily News
January 3, 2012

Le Cri du Coyote

Ce groupe californien, composé de Macy Blackman (vo, pno, cornet) né en 1948 à Wilmington, Delaware, des Newyorkais Jack Dorsey (bat) Bing Nathan (cbss), du Néo Orléanais Ken Snakebite Jacobs (sax baryton, clarinette) et de Nancy Wright (sax ténor, vo) a tout compris de la musique de la cité du Croissant. Un peu de ballades jazzy croonantes et plein de bon R’n’B néo-orléanais. Ils maîtrisent surtout très bien les styles de Huey Piano Smith et ses Clowns et de ce bon vieux Fats Domino, comme le montrent leurs reprises de Don‘t you just know it, Little chickee wah-wah, Hello my lover (de Ernie K-Doe) pour le premier et Ain‘t it good pour le deuxième, un régal pour les amateurs de ce genre de musique. Leurs reprises de Black drawers, Chicken shack boogie, Roadblock, Cold, cold, cold, I‘m blue et Certain girl ne sont pas mal non plus. Qu’il est bon d’entendre, de nouveau, ce genre de musique !

Five Star Revue by Bernard Boyat in Le Cri du Coyote N°103 - the French magazine on American Music
July 2011

Blues Blast Magazine

Inmenso álbum del cantante, cornetista y pianista Macy Blackman, en el que nos adentra por los fantásticos caminos y vericuetos del blues y del rhythm and blues de New Orleans. Son dieciséis magníficas piezas que no dejarán a nadie indiferente. Tanto Macy como los músicos que intervienen en este disco están simplemente magníficos, jugando y dominando perfectamente sus respectivos instrumentos. Una colosal fiesta llena de colorido, diversión y sorpresas múltiples, sorpresas se suceden una tras otra en cada canción que interpretan. La música fluye por sí misma de una manera espontánea y sustanciosa con un swing, un duende y una magia totalmente indescriptibles. Los músicos que intervienen, aparte del ya mencionado Macy Blackman, son Jack Dorsey batería, Bing Nathan bajo, coros y piano en el tema “Papa’s Cool Blues”, Ken Jacobs saxo barítono y clarinete, Nancy Wright saxo tenor y voces y Kit Robberson bajo en un corte. Un disco bien hecho, bien trabajado y muy bien interpretado. La producción destila buen gusto, sabiendo sacar el máximo partido a las mezclas y al sonido. MUY BUENO.

Splendid album of singer, cornet and piano player Macy Blackman, who drives us to the fantastic long and winding roads of blues and New Orleans rhythm and blues. Sixteen beautiful songs that will not leave anyone indifferent. Both Macy and the musicians involved in this record are simply superb, mastery playing their instruments. A big colorful party with lots of fun and many other surprises, that come in every song they play. The music flows by itself on a spontaneous way with an unbelievable magic swing. Besides Macy Blackman, the rest of the musicians involved are Jack Dorsey on drums, Bing Nathan bass, vocals and piano in the song "Papa's Cool Blues”, Ken Jacobs baritone sax and clarinet, Nancy Wright on tenor sax and vocals and Kit Robberson on bass in one song. A well done album, with an excellent work and a superb playing. Also mention a tasteful production with a perfect sound mix. GREAT.

La Hora del Blues, The Legendary Blues Radio Show in Barcelona
July 2011

Blues Blast Magazine

"Veteran pianist/working musician, music coach, piano tuner, musicologist and music teacher Macy Blackman has been intimately involved with New Orleans R&B ever since his teenage years playing in bands in Delaware and Philly, due, of course, to the ubiquitous influence of New Orleans R&B on the rock he played.

"This relationship only deepened after moving to New York City in 1966, where he befriended Charles “Hungry” Williams, a New Orleans drummer who’d played not only on every hit of Huey Lewis and the Clowns, but had also backed Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Earl King, “Clarence “Frogman” Henry, and many other Crescent City greats. Through Williams, Macy Blackman had even gotten a chance to play with Dr. John. So it’s only natural that Blackman and his band, the Mighty Fines, would want to do a CD that would be a tribute to this music, and would also honor his now-dead friend and teacher. Blackman and the Mighty Fines do just that, and do it with aplomb and pizzazz."

George "Blues Fin Tuna" Fish
Blues Blast Magazine
March 10, 2011 Issue

Golden Gate Blues Society

"The song list includes jump blues to get you dancin', some gumbo grooves to make you stroll, slow blues to put you in the mood, and the surprising 'Papa's Cool Blues', an instrumental that conjures up a smoky Bourbon Street club."

Ira Kart
The Golden Gate Blues Society Newsletter
Issue 8, January 2011

24 Hours a Day CD Cover

"Macy Blackman's new album Don't You Just Know It is 16 sides of rockin' jazz/blues excellence. Got a taste for some good blues? Click on a side of 'Chicken Shack'--open 24 hours a day."

Nick Piombino
fait accompli, spellbound speculations-time travel (poetry blog)