Guy Smiley Blues Exchange, Avogadros Number, Fort Collins, CO 4-30-02
This was to be the most random show so far for me this year. With Jazz Fest fully rolling, this was to be my only true show of the entire two weeks when this festival hogs my scene. This was to be my first time seeing this great band from Nashville, TN. With two saxes, keys, bass, guitar, and drums this band seemed to be almost too big for the small stage at Avo’s. The bar was pretty much a coffee shop that had a small stage that has brought in such bands as The Slip, when they were much smaller. The sad thing about this night was that there were only six people in the crowd to see one of the next jam band phenoms, and it gave me a really good reason to get my groove on to their beautiful music.
The stage was set and the band was cramped on stage to give us a beautiful night of music. A tune called "Nardis" from the new live disc opened up the show. This gave me the true vibe that the horns were the ones to look at. The tune went into a funky groove called “Sneaky,” which included incredible solos from saxaphonists Patrick Dolan and Chris West. The next true jam, and possibly the weirdest of the night, was the Average White Band’s classic “Pickin Up the Pieces.” The horns were incredible on this song as was the rhythm of the bass player, John Grant. Patrick and Chris were on for this beautiful version that made me feel like I was in the middle of “Boogie Nights.” The next three songs gave me a Vinyl type of groove of more Latin and funk. “No Butta>When it Was” was a beautiful mix of all the elements of a great jazz band. The horns mixed in with the drums and the bass and guitar/keys work by Graham Spice was phenomenal. The last song of the set had to be one of my favorites of the night. “Onoatapoeia” gave me the first true vibes from this Southeast foursome. The horns were again so tight with great solos by Patrick on baritone and Chris on tenor. This gave way, with a rum and coke, to make me yearn for a funked out second set.
The first two tunes of the second set got me going like I was in the Howlin’ Wolf digging down on the same vibes in the city of sin. “Some Skunk Funk” gave me the most grooves I have had since seeing Robert a couple of weeks back. The band really put out one hell of a sound. The horn section was the icing on the cake. These two sax and flute masters that looked younger than my age of 23 were the best part of the night. “10-4 Good Buddy” gave us a beautiful look at the guitar/keys work from Graham. “Confidential Attitude” gave us another great look at the brass. The last flawless jam of the evening was caused by my ignorance for calling out “Sweet Home Chicago” at every show. They treated me to “Mary A Little Lamb,” the great BB King classic, but in my heart was done best by Stevie Ray Vaughn. Alive Live was one of the first albums given to me by my father, who had a huge influence on my musical mind. They did a flawless job with Graham on guitar and the horns giving me that home court advantage that made me feel like I was at Buddy Guys Blues Legend. “Funky Stuff” closed the show and gave us a great feeling as the band set down and got going from the Fort.
This band is one of the unknown treasures in the scene. They have no electronics or hidden sounds that many of the bands produce. Their music was as good as being at Jazz Fest 30 years ago. The horns were perfect almost all night. The rest of the band followed the beautiful stylings of the horns and was the perfect backdrop of the night. For all those from Colorado that got to go to New Orleans, I say you missed one hell of a show. This band was tight beyond belief and made me a fan of going to see them many times again. So to those all that had to live the real life and not get to go to NO, please always check out the unlucky that can’t play down there. Sometimes you will find a true winner. See you all at Red Rocks in the summer... and see you on the flipside...
JamBase Colorado Correspondent
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