I recently went to another super jam evening, which has become so common in the jam community or “post-rock groove” scene as Relix magazine has just coined it. I keep being amazed by the variations of players and the creative improvisation of bands like The Mule, Oysterhead, Logic, The Word and the many “Friends” projects.

This time I was surprised to discover a whole new frontier-not just from the tone of the music itself- but I was turned onto some new artists too.

“This music changes the molecules of the brain and emanates a healing quality- a gift to humanity” says El Buho, who studied Latin jazz for years. “I feel that it is my duty and obligation to take this music into the listening world.”

I have known El Buho (Gary Gazaway) for many years and I always enjoy his incredible talent, his enchanting horn playing and his infectious, energizing stage presence. This time El Buho consisted of Mike Gordon on Bass (Phish), Jeff Sipe on drums (Aquarium Rescue Unit), Scott Murawski on guitar (Max Creek), and Peter Schmike on keys and Perry Osborne. This combination of players was so powerful; it sounded, looked and felt like they had been playing together for years.

El Buho played in studios and on the jazz circuit for so long that he brings a different perspective on harmonies and melodies through his horn, coupled with the jam oriented sensibilities and strength of the tight drums and ripping guitar, add Gordon’s booming bass style with a broad knowledge of jazzy rifts and – lift off.

Gordon and Muraski were locked into each other in a hypnotic give and take that sounded equally as divided as it did one finely fused resonance. My ears, at moments seemed to be attached to two different heads all together.

Sipe, then, is the glue and the brand is super. He is so tight and has the ability to take these guys on all sorts of excursions without leaving the stage. El Buho glides in and around until he seems to soar above the atmosphere inside the sound. I was telling a friends’ mother who was at the gig it really was music for people who are into all genres. Except maybe pop. My web designer Keith and I were talking about how Buho really does sound like Miles Davis from Bitches Brew, right before his electric period. I wish Davis had been able to play with this supporting cast.

I was also surprised to have various people ask me which one was Gordon. I guess I assume most everyone has been exposed to Phish. This made for an open mind to what the importance of perspective is from anyone’s view of the band.

I asked El Buho what he thought of his project after I overheard many fans tell him they hadn’t seen anything like it. I think he was both thrilled and surprised at the transformational outcome from a largely improvisational gig and said, “This music was designed to have a healthy quality, to push the mental facilities, its music to feel better, kind of like Hawaiian music.”

They are about to do it all again this weekend in New York at a benefit for Leftover Salmon’s banjo player, Mark Vann. Fitting too, given Vann’s current illness, The El Buho Project yearns to heal. "Jammin For Salmon" is at B.B. Kings, in New York City on November 18th 8pm-encore.

Annemarie Jacar
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 11/15/01]

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