Terry Hanck Band
Fall Dance (2008), Calgary International Blues Festival (2012)
“Terry Hanck is the funkiest, sexiest, most prolific and talented singer/songwriter/musician on the earth. He has to be Jr. Walker’s bastard child.” Tracy Nelson
To borrow from the title of one of the dozen original tunes on his fifth CD, Terry Hanck has got his shit totally together – as a saxophonist, singer, bandleader, and songwriter.
Anyone who’s followed the tall tenor man (ten years with Elvin Bishop) knows that Hanck is one of the most formidable saxophonists in the blues and soul business. He has a virile tone and attack and an uncanny command of upper-register notes never meant to be played on the Selmer Mark VI he’s long favored. Unlike many early R&B honkers who hit squealing notes of indefinite pitch by biting down on their reeds, Hanck can climb to true pitches an octave above the instrument’s intended register through the use of tricky fingering, much as his main tenor hero, the late, great Jr. Walker, once had. And Hanck’s big tone and ability to sustain notes can be traced in part to the breath control he developed during his lifelong passion for free-diving. For most of his adult life, Hanck has lived near the ocean, for years near Santa Cruz and now currently a block from the beach on Singer Island, Florida, where the warm water is ideal for surfing and diving.
Blowing the horn has contributed to making Hanck a commanding singer. “It helps the diaphragm and control” he says. Check his effortlessly and soulfully gospel-derived melismas on such songs as the swamp-tinged “My Last Teardrop” and the Memphis-styled “Good Kind of Lovin.’”
Hanck’s current rhythm section consists of guitarist Johnny “Cat” Soubrand, bassist Michael “Fly” Brooks, and drummer Butch Cousins. Hanck’s former guitarist, Chris “Kid” Andersen (Charlie Musselwhite, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats), also solos on many selections, plays rhythm & bass, and contributed his all-around wizardry in producing the disc. Elvin Bishop lends his signature touch to two numbers, and Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin blows baritone sax on two others. Also making guest appearances are keyboardists Jimmy Pugh and Bob Welsh. Tracy Nelson adds harmony vocals to “Good Kind of Loving.” Nelson sang Hanck’s “Quicksand” (with Hanck himself on tenor) for the 2005 movie Forty Shades of Blue starring Rip Torn.
Hanck has long been writing songs, but Always is the first CD on which he penned every one of them. “Stylistically,” he says of his songs, “my time frame goes from, like, the early ‘50s to the early ‘70s.” From the instrumental title track, inspired in part by Ben Webster’s 1951 recordings with Johnny Otis, to the Motor City boogaloo sounds of “Stingy,” the Twist-imbued “Deep Fried Twinkies,” the Rolling Stones-like treatment of “Quicksand,” and, of course, the blues, Hanck cuts a wide stylistic swath.
– Lee Hildebrand, contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and Living Blues Magazine.
Johnny "Cat" Soubrand
A Northern California favorite for many years, Johnny the Cat is a familiar figure with his gorgeous gold-topped Gibson Les Paul slung over his shoulder. In the past, he has played with harp man Mark Hummel. He has been with Terry Hanck for over three years.
Electric bass man Tim Wagar has been an integral part of the Bay Area music scene since 1974;
working with blues and soul greats such as Lavern Baker, Lowell Fulson, Otis Rush, Bo Diddley, Jimmy McCracklin, James Cotton, Floyd Dixon, Robert Lockwood Jr. and many more. He's toured throughout the US, Japan, and Europe, and recorded numerous projects including Taj Mahal's “Shakin’ a Tailfeather” and Howard Tate “Live."
Born in the Bay Area, he and his brother, bassist Richard Cousins( Robert Cray) grew up in Tacoma, Washington. Butch has worked with Robert Cray, Curtis Salgado, Terry Robb, Chris Cain,
Frankie Lee and Bobby Murray. Butch has been drumming for Terrry Hanck for over eight years.