Whose Hat Is This? – Tim Lefebvre / Kebbi Williams / JJ Johnson / Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell

Heartcore Records presents “Whose Hat Is This?

Tim Lefebvre: Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass, Keys, Guitar
Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell: Drums, Percussion
JJ Johnson: Drums, Percussion
Kebbi Williams: Saxophone, Flute

From a serendipitous jam in Berlin to the sun-drenched plains of El Paso, Whose Hat is
This? has woven a sonic tapestry fueled by improvisation, flavor and unhindered talent.

Their story begins, fittingly, with a question. JJ Johnson, the band’s enigmatic drummer, found
himself staring at a ten gallon cowboy hat perched on a tom during a late-night jam
session at Berlin’s A-trane. “Whose Hat is This?” he called out, the question becoming
their moniker, an apt symbol for their embrace of the unplanned and the unexpected.

That night, two hours of untamed musical exploration unfolded, captured unknowingly
on tape. The raw energy, the fearless interplay, it begged to be shared. Thus, their self-
titled debut, a vinyl-only gem, was born.

KOKAYI was weaved into the fabric of their improvisations, leading to “Everything’s
Ok,” a second live album recorded at Baltimore’s 8×10 club. With KOKAYI on board,
the musical conversations came vocal as well, and the band’s East Coast tour
cemented their reputation as pioneers of sonic spontaneity.

Ponyboy, their debut studio album, released in April 2024 on Heartcore Records is a snapshot of their current journey, a testament
to the electrifying spark that ignites when musical minds collide without a map, an
homage to the days when the innocence of not knowing birthed innovations and a passion
for discovery.

Ponyboy

Tim Lefebvre: Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass, Keys, Guitar
Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell: Drums, Percussion
JJ Johnson: Drums, Percussion
Kebbi Williams: Saxophone, Flute

Feat.
Nataly Chernitsky: Piano on “Unnnnhhhh”
KOKAYI: Rap, vocals
Max Milner: Vocals

 

The Band:

Tim Lefebvre
Throughout his wide-ranging career, Tim Lefebvre has amassed a reputation for being one of the world’s most innovative bassists. The Foxboro-native’s creative playing style is an addictive blend of jazz improvisation, rock undertones, and electronic grooves that can be heard on his appearances on over 150 recordings, ranging from Grammy award-winning albums such as David Bowie’s Blackstar to the soundtracks of classic films such as The Departed. From 2013 to 2018, Lefebvre was the bassist of the dynamic blues rock ensemble Tedeschi Trucks Band, and he can be heard on their three most recent releases, Let Me Get By (2016), Live From The Fox Oakland (2017), and Signs (2019). Before joining the group, he worked with artists such as Wayne Krantz, Chris Botti, and Leni Stern. Now based in Los Angeles, Lefebvre is currently the bassist for numerous groups, most notably with improvisational free-jazz group Whose Hat Is This? and with his Blackstar bandmate Donny McCaslin. He has recently performed with Chris Potter, Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Empire of the Sun, Carole King, Ben Platt, Knower, and Matisyahu as well. Lefebvre is also the producer for a diverse range of projects, which includes singer-songwriter Rachel Eckroth’s album When It Falls (2018). Through all of these experiences over the past two decades, Lefebvre has constantly expanded his musical artistry, discovering new sounds for the bass guitar and influencing a generation of musicians along the way.

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Kebbi Williams
Grammy award-winning tenor saxophonist Kebbi Williams is one of contemporary music’s whirlwind improvisers. The imaginative multi-instrumentalist/ composer/producer/arranger/teacher resists categorization. His innovative sound dives, blends and jumpstarts all music genres. Kebbi bends it to his will with his robust, distinct blasts. His playing and compositions create a sound that is uniquely and undeniably his own. Avant-garde jazz, hip-hop, Afro-beat, gospel, electronica, classical and fiery rock are all loops that Kebbi interweaves with passion and edge.

The Atlanta native received both an undergraduate degree and Master’s in Jazz Studies from prestigious Howard University. At the age of 22, he won the Jazz Instrumental Soloist Category (college division) award from Downbeat Magazine. Kebbi launched his professional career as a much in demand studio and touring musician. Outkast, the legendary Donald Byrd, Cee-lo Green, Mos Def, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, Bilal, Oteil Burbridge, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Russell Gunn, Julie Dexter and iconic Betty Carter are among the elite musicians and vocalists who jumped off of Kebbi’s unique horn. He is also an original member and presently touring for the sixth year with the Tedeschi Trucks Band (with whom he won the Grammy in 2012 in the Blues Album category).

Kebbi Williams continues to do what he has always done: break down barriers and push the boundaries with both his music and vibrant social consciousness for his hometown and beyond.

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JJ Johnson
Growing up in Austin, TX, JJ was surrounded by a variety of music from the very beginning. He has worked with many notable artist and musicians including Charlie Sexton, Doyle Bramhall, Boz Scaggs and John Mayer — who he teamed up with in 2003 for a 7 year stint. JJ does a variety of recording work as well in between these ventures.

In 2010, The Tedeschi Trucks Band began assembling their all-star eleven-piece unit featuring Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. Laying down the groove for this amazing group remains JJ’s current focus today.

Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell
Tyler Greenwell is a professional drummer currently residing in Atlanta, GA. Since 2009 he has toured and recorded with the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Tyler has also performed and/or recorded with various other artists, including The Susan Tedeschi Band, Colonel Bruce Hampton, The Wood Brothers, Scrapomatic, Jimmy Herring, Geoff Acheson, and Shemekia Copeland. Before moving to Atlanta in 2006, Tyler lived in Pensacola, FL where he grew up and played in local and regional touring bands.

KOKAYI
Preeminent Improvisational Vocalist, Author, Producer, GRAMMY-nominated musician, and multi-disciplinary fine artist is a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow for Music Composition (the first emcee to be granted a Guggenheim for music composition), Halcyon Arts Fellow, and Nicholson Arts Fellow, has been a TEDxWDC presenter, speaking on “collaboration and the creative economy”.and has served as Artist in Residence at Music Meeting in Nijmegen, NL. He can be heard on over 60 titles spanning: Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock, and R&B. About his book “You Are Ketchup: and Other Fly Music Tales” (Globe Pequot) the Washington Post writes “written in a tone so conversational you can practically hear it in your ear, “You Are Ketchup” feels like a megadose of straight advice from a muso-mentor who’s been there. And, of course, Kokayi has been all over the place..”

Kokayi has taught and facilitated workshops at the School of Improvisational Music teaching vocal improvisation as it relates to Jazz and Hip Hop, at Monash (Melbourne, AU), Universidade Lusíada (Lisbon, PT), Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, and San Francisco State. He is a collaborator and mentor with the international arts program OneBeat and has worked as a freelance music emissary with the U.S. State Department. He is the Chief Ideator and co-curator of BeatsnBeans: a discussion series on creativity, coffee culture, and the re-imagining of creative spaces. Kokayi considers himself an emcee and performer first, no matter the medium, he allows his love for the lexicon of artistic language to control the narrative of creating and his love for the catharsis of performance to captivate his audiences across the globe. Kokayi continues to act as a music producer and performer currently touring with his own band as well as with Ambrose Akinmusire, Terri Lynne Carrington + Social Science, Whose Hat is This?, Ego Mondo, Nate Smith +Kinfolk, Quite Sane, Sanity, and with MacArthur Fellow Dafnis Prieto, while also serving as an Arts and Creative consultant for Interledger Foundation designing their FUTURE|Money arts-centered grants and projects around financial equity in the open payments and web3 space.

As a Recording Academy member, Kokayi served as Governor, Vice-President, President, and Trustee of the Washington DC Chapter of NARAS as well as Co-Chairing the National President’s Committee and National Planning and Governance Committee and serving as Board member of the National Producers and Engineers Committee and Awards and Nominations committees. An advocate for the indigenous music of DC he also helped facilitate the addition of go-go as a genre for the Regional Roots category allowing go-go music to be codified as a genre for the first time in Recording Academy history. Kokayi’s forthcoming eponymous album is currently in production with a planned release in Spring 2024.

Kokayi’s forthcoming eponymous album is currently in production with a planned release in Spring 2024. |

“My work is an amalgamation of his life experiences as filtered through, DC, Go-Go, and the African/African American cultural influences created and passed on throughout the African diaspora.”

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