First, there was Delta Blues. Now, there is Data Blues, a band of keyboard jockeys from Gracenote. Harry Sumrall, Akif Ikram, Jeff Gianquinto, Jonathan Ruhe, Alma Galesic and their band, Blues Deluxe, will crank it up at DNA on Dec 12th.
Tell us about your band. How did you get started? How long have you been playing?
Forged in the crucible of the annual Gracenote Jams – in which the company generously rents out the New Parish in Oakland and invites all its workers to have a go – Blues Deluxe members gradually gravitated to each other’s common musical love (they have many), namely the blues. Which is to say, they share an affection for three-chords and The Truth.
Who are your major influences?
Blues Deluxe gets its kicks from a Route 66 of musical sources, from Muddy Waters and Motown, to Zep and ‘70s prog. One of us (guess who?) particularly likes Janis Joplin.
What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune in the music business?
“To the toppermost of the Poppermost,” the young Lennon told the young McCartney. We’d settle for generating a few new fans of Blues Deluxe – and The Blues itself – at our next gig.
What are your day jobs?
Alma Galesic (vocals): Senior Data Analyst
Akif Ikram (guitar): Senior Database Engineer
Jonathan Ruhe (drums): Music Data Editor
Jeff Giaquinto (bass): Classical Music Data Editor
Harry Sumrall (lead guitar): Manager, Classical Music Team
How does your music influence your work or vice versa?
Gracenote began as a music-based company and music still looms large in its mission. In our various gigs at the company, we take a pride and pleasure in knowing that we are providing music data to tens of millions of people around the world. That’s why making music for people – even tens of people in our case – is such a joy.
Why is music education important?
Some of us grew up in a time when music in schools was as important as the Three R’s. Others were denied that now-rare luxury. In both cases, we recognize the power of music – all music – to enrich and inspire all who are given the opportunity to behold it. Music is necessary… it’s elementary!
What was your own experience learning music as a kid? Who flipped that switch in your brain?
From seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan; to “the opening notes of ‘Detroit Rock City’ on my friend Bob’s copy of KISS Alive II”; and a dad who liked to sing around the house and fire up his “awesome reel-to-reel audio tape recorder”; Blues Deluxe’s musical moments come from all over the musical map.