The Motet Grooves at the Colorado Music Hall
By Colleen Vivori

Although already extremely popular just a few hours away, The Motet was barely a blip on the radar screen here in Colorado Springs. After their show on the 14th at the Colorado Music Hall, however, I think the radar has definitely zeroed in on the Boulder-based band. The Motet opened up to a near packed house and it wasn't long before people were tuned in and grooving to the eclectic beats of the cubanafrojazzfunk mesh of danceable fun. The band opened up for G. Love & Special Sauce and gained the attention of a whole new group of fans.

The original lineup was formed on Halloween of 1998, but the band has been a revolving door for new musicians and new sounds ever since that night. In fact, the Music Hall show was the first night for their new bassist, Paul McDaniel of Colorado Springs. The band includes five other members, which are founding member Dave Watts on drums, Scott Messersmith on percussion, Mike Tiernan on guitar, Jans Ingebar on vocals/percussions and Greg Raymond on keyboards.

According to Watts, the name of the band was actually formed because he was tired of constantly changing the signs from quartet to quintet to sextet, so he just decided to go with Motet to rather encapsulate however many members he happened to be jamming with at the time. Watts thought he had made up the word but apparently motet is a type of song dating back to the 13th century.

The Motet is playing a Halloween show this year in Boulder at the Fox Theater, and when I asked Tiernan if the band had any special plans, he hinted at a Herbie Hancock set. The band will most likely also play a lot of original music since they already have two albums under their belts: Breathe and Play. The thing to note about this band is their big melting pot of sound that emanates from the stage. Each member brings their own taste and sounds to form the very interesting and unique music of The Motet.

The three percussionists studied Cuban music, which gives the band that flavor, and Ingebar lived in Africa and spices up the band with that sound. I asked both Tiernan and McDaniel what sound they personally brought to the band, and Tiernan replied blues, jazz and funk while McDaniel hoped to bring to the band a grooving hip-hop bass line. All the members have such varied tastes, yet they bring their sound together to form a really talented and fun sort of fusion that is uniquely their own.

G-Love was just one of many bands that The Motet has shared the stage with; some of their favorite acts they have played with have been Garaj Mahal, Living Daylights, String Cheese Incident, The Slip, Los Van Van and Habib Kotie. I am sure as their popularity increases and time passes, they will play with a number more of talented musicians. The Motet not only puts on a show that is tight musically, but one that is also a lot of fun and danceable. Make sure you check these guys out whether it is at their Halloween show or the next time they grace us with a Colorado Springs show.

[Published on: 10/8/01]

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