Gabe Dixon Band
October 16, 2002
The End - Nashville, Tennessee

Every once in a while you’ll go to a show that is at a ridiculously small venue and see a band that is small but not for long. These shows come rarely but are always a treat to see because next time more people will love the band or artist because of the same reasons you do. Well on October 16, the Gabe Dixon Band played one of these shows in Nashville, Tennessee at a place called The End.

The Gabe Dixon Band from Miami, Florida only started three years ago and has quickly gone from nothing to a band with a major label deal, with their album On a Rolling Ball. The band consists of a jazz/rock/funk based quartet with drums, bass, piano and saxophone with a sound that resembles the vocals of Billy Joel and Paul McCartney, the groove of Ben Folds Five and funkiness of George Clinton. The band’s addicting live show of catchy songs and down right insane grooves have earned them the opportunity to open for bands such as the Allman Brothers Band, Dave Matthews Band, and O.A.R. and to play such festivals as Bonnaroo, moe. Down. and the Jeep Outside World Tour. With all these achievements only in the last year the band has really made its name as a well-respected live show.

I ventured to club called The End early to catch the opening acts and get a good seat for the show. Arriving so soon I caught the two local band opening: Weatherspoon and a promising young band named Taylor and The Free Dove Band. Taylor has the sound of Radiohead, Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen all mixed into one package that seems to have the ability to make it in the industry someday.

After both bands played their sets, the smoky room seemed to fill a little bit more with people. Eventually the Gabe Dixon Band casually strolled out and opened with the song “Everything’s Ok.” The first thing that that really caught my ears was the drumming ability of Jano Rix, along with his great name he can create a great pocket and groove as the backbone of the band. From the first beat the tightness and unique style of band was clear which really made it evident why they have played with so many respectable names.

The next song in the set was “More Then it Would Seem,” the opening track from On a Rolling Ball. The intro has the funk of Stevie Wonder but the energy and vocals of a Billy Joel song. Winston Harris, bass, added some crazy effects to his fretless to add even more funkiness to the song. Soon after they went into the tune “Expiration Date,” during this song Gabe played a killer solo that really showed his talent as a pianist. (Which is probably why Sir Paul McCartney himself asked him to play on his latest record.)

During the first few songs, I could tell the band was on the verge to jam out but seemed timid. But when they played the song “Narcissus” they held nothing back. The song lasted over ten minutes with a great ending jam bringing the chilled crowd to a standing ovation. I knew the band was good but I did not realize they were that good, the jam at the end of the song could have held ground with the best of them.

After the high intensity of “Narcissus” the band slowed it down with “Corner Cafe,” which was written in/about a coffee house in Nashville; during the song Chandler Webber, saxophone, played a great solo that brought the song to the peak and then fused into the band to stop suddenly and begin to sing a three part harmony while Gabe continued to sing the chorus. During the harmonies I was in awe of the creativeness and unexpected section in the song. I also realized how much depth and variety the band has live; their recent album, surprisingly, does not do the band justice to their live show.

A few song later Gabe tells the crowd how the band has spent a lot of time recently in Raleigh, North Carolina, and how they were surrounded in bluegrass music which led them to cover a bluegrass song called “Appalachia Dancing.” Harris exchanged his bass for a mandolin and the rest of the band just sang harmonies behind Gabe. I have never heard a more unique bluegrass cover ever. It really showed the musically ability of the band that they can take a traditional bluegrass song and play just piano and mandolin taking it to a totally direction and feel.

Next, Jano, drummer, and Winston, bass, left Gabe and Chandler on stage to play a duet on the song “Last Fool.” The slow love song showed off Gabe’s emotional voice and delicate piano playing while it also showed off Chandler’s ability to really belt out a great melodic saxophone solo. This song brought out the first real intimate moment of the night with the stripped down piece.

After the band played a new tune called “Underwater” and “Come Around” they ended the night with the song “Happy Women.” The song has the feel of a jazzy gospel piece where you can almost feel the Sunday morning choir in the back. The catchy chorus and smooth groove lead into a high intensity, tight jam. The impromptu section brought the highlights out of each player and capped the night on a high note. While the band left the stage they left with a standing ovation from the whole crowd.

The Gabe Dixon Band not only has the ability to put out a quality record but the ability to put on a quality live show too. The band’s tightness and catchy songs will defiantly thrust the band to high stardom and fame but the real only question is time. The only downfall to the band is that the songs are so catchy that they will attract fans that cannot appreciate the live show or music of the band. But even though they are destined to stardom this should not sway anyone to not go out and see the Gabe Dixon Band before it's too late. They are currently on tour with O.A.R. and Matt Nathanson, for tour and any other information visit

Steve Lee
JamBase | Nashville, TN
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[Published on: 10/21/02]

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