John McLaughlin to make guest appearance with Aquarium Rescue Unit

An all-star concert celebrating the 30th anniversary of Paul Reed Smith Guitars will host a pair unprecedented firsts, when legendary guitarist, composer, and bandleader John McLaughlin appears as a special guest with Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit at what will be the premier performance by the band’s reunited lineup of Hampton, guitarist Jimmy Herring, bassist Oteil Burbridge, drummer Jeff Sipe, and keyboardist Matt Slocum. The impending collaboration is the culmination of a longstanding mutual admiration that has emerged between Herring and McLaughlin – both of whom endorse Paul Reed Smith instruments – beginning with the immense influence McLaughlin’s pioneering work with Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra had on Herring as he was developing his own signature guitar style. (more…)

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Awakening the Aquarium Rescue Unit

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit did something they had yet to do since forming 26 years ago: They rehearsed. “Or whatever this is,” the Colonel said, waving his hand over the empty expanse of Athen’s Georgia Theatre.

Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit
Photo: Andy Tennille

The feeling was certainly more akin to a family reunion as frontman Hampton, bassist Oteil Burbridge, guitarist Jimmy Herring, and drummer Jeff Sipe re-entered collective orbit for the first time since a benefit show at this same locale in 2011. As gear was unpacked, conversations grew increasingly littered with inside references and shared memories, familiarity and warmth the evidence of the endless hours this amalgam has spent on stage, in vans, and (when they could afford them) hotel rooms. (more…)

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Chazoids, lassos, and the blues: An interview with Col. Bruce Hampton

By Chyrisse Tabone, Tampa Correspondent

When I heard that Colonel Bruce Hampton (Ret.) and the Aquarium Recue Unit (ARU) were forming a reunion tour, my thought was, “Real musicians. Real music. Maybe people are finally tiring of Top-40, pre-packaged bubble-gum and the timing is great.” I thought the reunion might be part of the revival of “real music” which people are labeling as “retro sound.” Progressive rock and jam music is making a comeback as people appear to be tiring of soundbytes and repetitive choruses….

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