Born: January 22, 1962 Primary Instrument: Guitar
They say, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.” Jimmy Herring is too modest to brag, but his guitar does a lot of the talkin’. And with the release of his first solo recording, Lifeboat, people are going to hear what Jimmy and his guitar have to say. Jimmy Herring is known for his limitless improvisations , long flowing phrases, and highly charged (and always very soulful) lead work. Lifeboat features Jimmy’s fiery guitar playing, and six Herring originals that showcase his stylistically diverse songwriting.
Jimmy Herring developed his reputation as a unique guitar player from years of performing and recording with top-tier musicians. After playing on the local scene of his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Jimmy attended and graduated from the Guitar Institute of Technology. In 1986, Jimmy moved to Atlanta, Georgia to teach at the Atlanta Institute of Music and quickly established himself. Herring still lives in Atlanta with his wife and two children.
In 1989, Jimmy joined singer and bandleader Col. Bruce Hampton and his group Aquarium Rescue Unit--a seminal jam band which mixed rock, free-jazz and bluegrass--and stayed until 1996. From 1998-99, nationwide exposure would come to Jimmy with the band Jazz Is Dead; which also featured drummer Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra), bassist Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report), and keyboardist T Lavitz (The Dregs). This group was known for playing jazz-fusion instrumental interpretations of classic songs by The Grateful Dead. Billy Cobham calls Jimmy Herring, “One of the best I have ever played with.”
Jimmy then played with The Allman Brothers Band for a summer tour in 2000. After the death of guitar great Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead’s bass player Phil Lesh continued to tour under the name Phil Lesh & Friends. Herring was a full-time member of this group from October 2000 to November 2005. In 2003 and 04 the surviving members of The Grateful Dead reunited and Herring was asked to fill the guitar chair.
Throughout this time, Jimmy Herring has continued to play in various side projects, notably Project Z with Jeff Sipe (drums) and Ricky Keller (bass). Lincoln Memorial, the second Project Z recording, was released in the fall of 2005. August 2006 found Jimmy taking over the guitar spot in the hugely popular jam band Widespread Panic; a gig that he continues to this present time.
With Lifeboat, Jimmy Herring is poised to move from sideman to the center of the stage. Lifeboat is a wide-ranging work. From foot stomping southern-flavored rockers; to modern bop and fusion; to a cover of the Wayne Shorter composition “Lost”; and melodic pieces full of subtlety and nuance; the music of Lifeboat allows Jimmy to express a full-range of emotions through his guitar.
Lifeboat will amaze people discovering Jimmy Herring for the first time…and surprise long-time fans as well.
1962: Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina
1975: Started playing guitar at age 13: first guitar was a Fender Bronco
1980: Attended Berklee College of Music Summer Session
1980: Graduated from high school
1984: 85: Attended Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood, California
1986: Moved to Atlanta to teach at Atlanta Institute of Music; meets drummer Jeff Sipe
1986-88: plays with musicians such as Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Sipe, who introduce him to Col. Bruce Hampton. Later meets and plays with Kofi Burbridge, Count Mbutu, and Matt Mundy.
1989: Asked to join Bruce, Oteil, and Jeff to form Aquarium Rescue Unit.
1989: 1995: Aquarium Rescue Unit with Col. Bruce Hampton.
1995: Col. Hampton leaves ARU. Singer Paul Henson joins.
1997: Frogwings with Butch Trucks, Derek Trucks, John Popper, Kofi Burbridge, Oteil Burbridge, Marc Quinones
1998-99 : Jazz Is Dead with Billy Cobham, Alphonso Johnson, T Lavitz. After Billy Cobham departed in 1999, Rod Morgenstein and Jeff Sipe took over the drum chair.
2000: Project Z with Ricky Keller and Jeff Sipe . Begins recording Project Z’s Debut Album
2000: January: Auditions for Phil Lesh and does Spring Tour
2000 with Phil Lesh and Friends
2000 May: joins Allman Brothers from May to late September for ABB Summer 2000 Tour
2000 October: becomes full time member of Phil Lesh and Friends
2002: (March) Recorded Project Z’s second album (to be released in Aug/ Sept. 2005)
2002 Fall: joins original members of the Grateful Dead when they reunite as the Other Ones
2003 and 2004: The Dead Summer Tours
2004 Fall: works on Mahavishnu (Meeting of the Spirits) and Miles Davis (Black Satin) Tribute Albums
2005: A short hiatus until going to play with The Codetalkers featuring Col. Bruce Hampton. Continues to play with Phil Lesh.
2006: Spring: Herring, Rodgers, Sipe, Fountain and Van Allen
2006: Summer: Herring, Rodgers, Sipe and Fountain
2006: Fall: Joins Widespread Panic for Fall Tour
2007: Continues to play with ARU, WSP and some close friends for now 2008: Release first solo album, Lifeboat, on Abstract Logix Records United States
Widespread Panic, Free Somehow (Widespread, 2008)
Project Z, Lincoln Memorial (Abstract Logix, 2005)
Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Calling (Innio, 2003)
Phil Lesh & Friends, There and Back Again (Columbia, 2002)
Project Z, Project Z (Terminus, 2001)
Jazz is Dead, Great Sky River (Zebra, 2001)
Gov't Mule, Live... With a Little Help From Our Friends (Capricorn, 1998)
The Derek Trucks Band, Out of the Madness (House of Blues, 1998)
T Lavitz, Gossip (Wild Cat, 1996)
Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit, Mirrors of Embarrassment (Capricorn, 1993)
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