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The J.J. Diamond Band, (Jimso, Lauri Wilbur, Larry Gag, Rob DeSorbo, and Jim Taylor), is an energetic combination of blues, country, originals, rock, reggae, and swing. Their music is a mixture of soul and fun. Known for their beautiful vocal harmonies, the band has played at a variety of venues including festivals, benefits, cafes and house parties in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
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Jimso: Vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion, songwriter
“Jimso” is the nickname used by his German-American grandfather. Four decades later he learned it means “Uncle Jim” in Chinese. His parents filled his early childhood with music of classical, World War II era and Broadway composers.
His training began in church choirs, around 4-H campfires, school wind ensembles and two years of piano lessons. Starting in junior high school, Jimso absorbed many aspects of the eclectic contemporary popular music played by the Beatles, Beach Boys and “Motown” artists. To satisfy the need for portable accompaniment, he began playing guitar as a high school sophomore. College years brought his first chance to sing with a band. His friendship with Larry Gag opened a new world of Afro-American “roots” music best represented by the work of Taj Mahal throughout the 1970’s. A dozen years working as a sound, lighting and stage technician provided an understanding of performance production.
Jimso’s repertoire includes traditional jazz and swing written between the two World Wars, blues, pop/rock and country from the 1960’s onward, and reggae from the 1970’s. Taj Mahal set the example for “singing with soul,” that Jimso brings to every performance. After three decades of observation, he has currently returned to songwriting, and so includes some of his own original material in his performances. Jimso seeks to share with his audience his perception of musical expression being the breath of life. He says, “As we keep songs alive by singing, they do the same for us.”
Lauri’s earliest memories of the magic of music were singing harmonies with her mother while her grandfather played along on his harmonica. In high school she began performing solo. Over the years Lauri has performed in a variety of venues in Maine and Massachusetts and now in Connecticut with the J.J. Diamond Band. Her unique blend of folk, blues and rock influences brings a sweet and sassy twist to the band’s soulful, good time music. After moving to the “quiet corner” of Northeastern CT, she was pleasantly surprised at the eclectic music from the area and has been rock and rolling ever since. Her experiences with the J.J. Diamond Band have been both a lot of fun as well as professional growth.
Larry has been in love with the electric guitar since he was thirteen years old. His first instrument was a Japanese copy of a Fender Stratocaster which he traded in towards the real thing in 1967. This is still his favorite guitar to perform with. He recently acquired his other “dream guitar,” a Gibson Les Paul.
He began learning to play with his junior high and high school garage bands. He was lucky enough to enjoy many evenings at the Fillmore East studying Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Alvin Lee. Larry says, “Back in high school, Bill Graham of the Fillmore did a great job educating us white boys about the true blues players who inspired these English blues-based power bands. Albert King, BB King, a very young Buddy Guy, or Bobby Bland would frequently open for Hendrix, Zeppelin or Cream.”
In the ‘60s, Larry also fell in love with the tightly organized Paul Butterfield, BB King, and John Mayall blues bands. As a freshman at the University of Connecticut, he organized a blues/rock “horn” band. Jimso was the lead singer of this band. Larry says,”I had the privilege of backing up Jimso’s beautiful voice a few years later in the country rock/blues/reggae band called Mountain Fever.” Larry has played lead guitar in a variety of other bands over the years in various professional as well as fund-raising formats.
In 2004, Larry sat in at one of Jimso’s gigs. Things just clicked; Larry joined Jimso’s duo (Acoustic Rainbow); and eventually the trio became the JJ Diamond Band. In the band, Larry took the opportunity to rediscover and develop his vocal and song writing abilities. He also plays flute and acoustic slide.
Taj Mahal, Carlos Santana, Keb Mo’, Ray Charles and Buddy Guy remain some of his most loved inspirations. Larry describes his motivation for performing as “the search for that elusive groove: those times when each band member and the entire audience are all high on the music in that same wonderful place.”
Rob DeSorbo, 5-String Bass Guitarist, says, “My passion for music is only matched by my desire to play and understand it. I aspire to be more, and inspire others to play.”
Rob joined the J.J. Diamond Band in Fall, 2011. He is versatile and accomplished performing in many different musical genres and venues. He attended the Hartt School of Music, Hartford, CT. Rob began in the Connecticut music scene in the mid 70's. He started playing Rock and Blues, and grew into Jazz and Jazz Fusion. He’s also comfortable playing Top 40’s music.
Rob was in the Blue Mountain Band from 1971 – 1981. In this band, he played Rock / Blues, then Fusion and Jazz originals. He spent the next 30+ years recording and doing Live Shows, playing all styles. Bands that Rob has played in include: the East Street Band 1980-1983; Snake Bite (Southern Rock)1982-1984; Avalanche (Heavy Rock Originals) 1984-1986; Split Second (Covers / Blues Rock) 1984-1990; Gene Donaldson and the StingRays (R & B, Blues and Jazz)1990-2001; Troy T. Blues Band (Blues) 2000-2007, DeNovo and sit-in work with other bands on occasion from 2006 to present.
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