1/24/2011: Send-off Party For the International Blues Challenge. The Houston Blues Society hosted a concert with us at Houston's House of Blues just before we took off for Memphis. Naturally, the piano mysteriously caught fire just as we were ending our show. 1/24/2011: Curtain Call for the Houston Winners! When we finished our House of Blues concert, the Houston Blues Society presented us with our trophy for winning the Regional blues competition on October 17 that qualified us to represent Houston in Memphis. (To see all our trophies, go to the Trophy Case.) Photo: James Nagel 2/3/2011: First Round of the IBC! We lucked out and drew B. B. King's club on Beale Street as our first round venue in the International Blues Challenge. We played the first two nights in this club, to two different sets of judges, and when the smoke cleared, they sent us on to the semi-finals! Photo: James Nagel 2/4/2011: Semi-Finals of the IBC! The next round was a good news/ bad news situation: The good news: we played at the Hard Rock Cafe, which has a beautiful stage and great sound system. The bad news? We had to play first, at 5:20 in the afternoon to a very sparse crowd composed of loyal and vocal Houstonians who made the trip to Memphis, and the other bands waiting their turn to play. In spite of an exciting performance on our part, a band from Chicago was selected in this round; they went on to win Third Place overall in the contest. Still, we made the most of our first venture on to the National Blues Scene!
7/18/2009: Our Biggest Fans Followed Us to Italy! When we played at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, two of our biggest fans, Patti and Greg Bourland from Houston (pictured just left of Ezra) scheduled their vacation to Italy to watch us. They showed up every day and had a blast hangin' with the band.
7/18/2009: We Couldn't Bring a Piano To Italy! Our festival appearances in Europe are one of the rare places where you might see Ezra on a digital keyboard. Some of the festival stages furnished a real grand piano, but this one where we played almost every day didn't. That doesn't stop Mike from delivering some smokin' guitar as usual!
8/3/2008: Flying Home from Ecuador After a hugely successful concert in Guayaquil at the "From New Orleans with Love" Festival, the band is ready to get on the plane back to Miami. Little did we know we would be pulled off the plane after mechanical problems were uncovered, and wouldn't leave the country for another 12 hours! (Photo by Rodney Goodwin)
6/16/2007: Could We Top Last Year's Saxtravaganza? Yes, we could! It was the 20th Anniversary of the band, so we just brought in everybody we could find that used to play, and put them all on at the same time. The Howling Coyote's walls flexed from the impact of a wall of horn sound, but the crowd loved it. Up there with Ezra, from left, is Mike and Joe Gavito on guitars; Scott Krchnak, Damon, and Kelly Dean on sax; and, on the back row, Nancy on trombone, Jennifer Neel, Derek Sonnier, and Rachelle Akpanumoh on trumpets. And Bret is back there on the drums holding it all together as usual. (Photo by Matt Woods)
Lyle Brought these guys in from Nashville. His church in Klein, Texas (Trinity Lutheran) where he grew up, and went to school as well, was having a fund drive to build a new sanctuary, so Lyle put so this ensemble together to add a little punch to the services that day. Next to Lyle is his fiancee April. On the other side of him is his percussionist James Gilmer. At the top of the picture is his Sound Engineer John. Everybody else is the group of Gospel Singers flown in from Nashville who helped him put on a stunning display of emotional music only he is capable of presenting. Oh yeah, and that's the little ole piano player from Bellaire in front.
After the Church Service with Lyle Lovett we took a moment to give my mother a souvenir photo before heading out to Lyle's favorite little restaurant around the corner for lunch with the preacher. (Photo by James Gilmer)
Kinky Kame Kalling! ( er...calling) and who were we to turn down an old friend, plus a chance to appear at Fitzgerald's, the site of the very first Ezra Charles appearance ever! We made him promise to use us for his inaugural ball in Austin. (Hey, stranger things have happened.) (Photo by Philip Pavlich)
The Mojo Mama's Casual Concert Series every Tuesday featured my son Jake on drums every other week. I'm very particular about drummers, and I won't play with just anybody, but this cat has it together. Unfortunately, Mojo Mama's closed, but we took our act to M.D. Anderson Clinic's Rotary House facility the first Wednesday of every month, where we have played for cancer patients and their families for the last four years. Jake's a lot bigger now! (Photo by Sharif Jadidi)
If you bought a CD at a show this year, you've met Ezra's mama Virginia! She sold her home in Beaumont where she'd lived for 55 years in August of 2005 (just weeks before Hurricane Rita!) and moved to Bellaire to be near her grandkids. Known to them and the band members as "Baba," she's a real trip. Just try to walk by the merchandizing table without her grabbing you and selling you a CD! (Photo by Robert Allred Photography)
The Texas Crab Festival at Crystal Beach has been a regular event for Ezra Charles and The Works ever since we released "Bolivar Ferry" in 1994 and immortalized the town. Up until this year. In 2007, a new band selection committee decided not to include us in the lineup after twelve years in a row, which is perfectly understandable. Not to some of our fans! About a dozen of them showed up in specially-made hats that read "WHERE'S EZRA?" The next year we were back! (Photo by Stan.)
Yee-Haw! It's Rodeo Time! The San Antonio Rodeo, that is. Every year the nice folks at Gruene Hall sponsor a tent where they present some of their favorite bands, and we were honored for the second year in a row to represent the Hall at their showcase. (Photo by Matt Woods.)
One of the perks of playing the VIP Grand Opening of the new Austin City Hall in 2004 was hanging with the Mayor of Austin, Texas, The Honorable Will Winn. Turns out he already knew us- we played his wedding reception! Will and his lovely wife Ann Elizabeth celebrated theirs at the River Oaks Country Club back in 1993. And what a great name for a politician- it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy! See you in the White House, Will! (Photo by David Combs)
The Superbowl weekend Main Event concert was the most technically sophisticated show we've ever played, right down to the Diamond Vision screens and live video coverage. (Photo by Rachel Martinez)
Did you think we'd play our biggest concert ever without lighting the piano on fire at the end? No way! (Photo by Rachel Martinez)
Thanksgiving Day parade 2004 in Houston found the band co-headlining with the fat man. When you're on the float with Santa, you can count on a lot of cheers from the crowd as you go by. We like to think some of them were for the band. (Photo by Mark Campbell)
Photo by Eric Thompson
The concert May 20 at Crawfest 2000 in Dallas was tragically marred when Ezra's piano mysteriously burst into flames during the last song. The band has reportedly put together a blue-ribbon panel of experts on spontaneous combustion to study this ever-more serious problem.
Photo by Eric Thompson
Our appearance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on stage in The Hideout in 2001
ranks among the biggest events we've ever played. 5000 cowboy hats jumpin' to the boogie!
Photo by Eric Thompson
Superb concert sound and lighting at the Rodeo made this a really impressive performance.
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