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Michael Nordberg Live Delectables Fourth

October 15, 2016
Delectables Restaurant & Catering
(520) 844-9289
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533 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ, United States, 85705

Michael Nordberg Live Delectables Fourth

A Lucky Man

Michael P. Nordberg keeps busy with numerous bands and gigs

by Gene Armstrong

Over the last 20-plus years, local journeyman musician Michael P. Nordberg has played punk, garage rock, jazz, rockabilly, blues, country, funk, old-time rock ‘n’ roll and polkas with dozens of groups.

“There’s no way I can count how many bands I’ve played in or projects I was with,” said Nordberg recently over brunch at a downtown bistro.

Although he grew up in Tucson, he lived for a decade in New York City, playing with the late Sam Taylor’s blues band and countless other combos. “We would play funky songs from the ’70s, a lot of that Latin rock-disco style, boogaloo, a lot of reggae. There is no kind of music I wouldn’t play.”

Born in Kansas 42 years ago, Nordberg moved with his family to San Diego when he was 7. They came to Tucson when he was 14. He started playing music in the school band at Santa Rita High School.

He started as a drummer, and still plays percussion to this day, as well as bass, guitar, vibes and kazoo.

“In school, there were, like, four people who wanted to play drums, one person who played flute, and one person who played trombone. That was the band. All year, we went through each song in the book of John Philip Sousa marches.”

That experience laid the foundation for Nordberg’s life in music, including his experiences in jazz and funk, he said.

“Everybody’s heard those Sousa marches since they were born, but I just really liked it. They’re totally constructed like a jazz song. They have their A section, B section, bridge—the whole thing. Then you start listening to James Brown, and he’s calling out the bridge. And it all makes sense.”

He also found inspiration in the Santa Rita record library, listening for hours to vinyl LPs by Dizzy Gillespie, Muddy Waters, Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, the Marsalis brothers and Herbie Hancock. “At the same time, I was into AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.”

The next year, he joined the school jazz band as drummer. Soon, he was playing with other musicians outside of school. “First, we started playing some heavy rock, and then punk rock, and on and on. It was a process of defining who I was, depending on what band I was in at the time.”

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