This Friday will be the release of John Roberts’ debut album Soul y Pimienta at the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company. Since John’s arrival in Billings, MT in July of two-thousand thirteen he has helped to strengthen the momentum of the blossoming music and arts scene in Billings. More than just a hired gun from L.A., where he spent sixteen years as a freelance and studio musician, John brings a professionalism to the town as a band leader and educator that I have not seen in the time I have lived in Billings (2002). John instantly inspired the darkened music program at MSU-Billings by getting kids interested in performing outside of the academic situation, going out to see and enjoy live music, and performing in combos. John also created a successful jazz festival three years ago on MSU-Billings’ campus, unifying many schools around the state and bringing in fantastic guest artists.
On a personal note, John has given me an outlet to learn and play Cuban and African music as well as providing me with a steady job with his band John Roberts y Pan Blanco. I have always wanted to learn and play this style, so for me this is a real treat.
It has been fun to get to know John over the years and I have learned a lot about music and what a good band leader looks like. I am quite pleased to be on John’s first release with my friends and other fine musicians. His album is done very professionally and creatively under the focus of blending Cuban, African, and American styles of music with musicians from Cuba, Africa, Argentine, Puerto Rico, L.A., and Montana. We are all trying to raise the bar and John certainly sets it high with his album and band. I know you won’t regret getting out and dancing this Friday at the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. as well as taking a copy ofSoul y Pimienta home with you. 6-8:00. 7$