Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hotel X Biography

Founded in 1992 by Tim Harding and Ron T. Curry as a setting to explore electric bass duets,  Hotel X was quickly joined by a host of Richmond, Virginia underground music scene veterans and released six albums on the L.A. based SST Records. SST Records was founded by members of the seminal punk rock group Black Flag and included in their catalog some of the great American underground groups such as Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Husker Du, Sonic Youth, Sound Garden, Universal Congress Of and Sacharine Trust.

    Hotel X toured regionally and nationally between 1992 and 1997, received reviews in Jazz Times, Washington Post, Option, The Wire and Alternative Press among others; was nominated for Best Jazz Group by NAIRD (National Association of Independent Record Distributors) 1996, and participated in the JVC Jazz Festival in NYC 1997. National Public Radio selected soundbites of several songs from the Hotel X cd "Engendered Species" for use between news stories during Morning Edition in 1994. Richmond Magazine awarded Hotel X with the Pollack Prize for Excellence in Arts in September of 2005.

    Between 1998 to the present Hotel X has been mining the musical wealth of  Africa and Latin America by using rhythmns and melodies inspired by traditional music and contemporary composers from those regions. The 2003 self produced/released seventh cd by Hotel X titled "Hymns for Children" marks the departure from the groups' earlier more electric, harmolodic adventures into the organic, world music inspired band of today.

    Tim Harding acts as the main composer of Hotel X. To date Mr. Harding has well over 60 original compostions. Most have been recorded and are available on Hotel X cd's.

    The 2006 James River Film Festival featured Hotel X performing a live original soundtrack to a Harold Lloyd film (The Eastern Westerner) from 1920. Gary Lucas performed his live soundtrack to some Surrealist short films, and then joined Hotel X for a set of their tunes.

    In the biography "Fela - the Life and Times of an African Musical Icon" by Yale professor Michael E. Veal, Hotel X gets a brief mention (alongside of the Art Ensemble of Chicago , Brandford Marsalis and Steve Turre ) on page 259 when the author talks about the broad influence of Fela Kuti's Afrobeat style. Anyone interested in African music and culture would love this book.

    The 1995 SST Records release by Hotel X "Uncommon Grounds" featured Bern Nix, guitarist of Ornette Coleman and Prime Time and accomplished soloist, as well as Greg Ginn of Black Flag. These were truly uncommon grounds being tread upon...

   In 1994 Hotel X contributed an original composition, "One Way Street" (released on the cd 'Ladders' in 1995), to the trailer of the film "Hands of Fate" by Chris Quinn which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. Chris Quinn's documentary film "God Grew Tired of Us" is the 2006 winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance.

    Hotel X has shared the stage with  Bern Nix (Ornette Coleman and Primetime), Greg Ginn (Black Flag), Balla Kouyate (Super Rail Band), Papa Susso (Gambian kora master),The Roots, Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart, Solo), Harvey Sorgen (Hot Tuna), Yellowman, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Ran Blake, Hasidic New Wave, Marc Ribot, Plunky Branch, Wayne Horvitz and Pigpen, Amy Denio, John Bradshaw and Bazooka, and Cheik Hamala Diabate just to name a few.

    Over the years some of our finer moments have been before audiences in assisted living centers and nursing homes as well as elementary schools. Good times were had by all!

    When Hotel X was first formed we had no idea how appropriate the name was- at the time of this writing (6-25-06) we have had at least 62 members "check in" to our guest book!

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