Scott Law and Code Green | Connecticut Yankee | San Francisco, CA | 03.29.03

San Francisco’s best kept secret for emerging improv bands, the Connecticut Yankee, was once again host for an evening of toasts and jam with a real up and coming new band, Scott Law and Code Green. A balmy spring Friday evening found friends and fans of this assemblage enjoying the outdoor beer garden and grooving to the guitar driven melodies of Scott Law’s compositions.

The bulk of the night’s music belonged to Scott, but it commenced with a snaking melodic composition called "Skunk," written and delivered by Chris Haugen of Jambay, one of the West Coast’s original ‘90s era jam units. Chris and Scott, along with Code Green’s rhythm section, Dennis Smith and Dale Roda, are connected in their musical support of the legendary Jerry Garcia Band keyboard whiz Melvin Seals.

These rock ‘n’ roll family lines are even more intertwined, as Scott and B3 maestro Dave Pelliciarro share musical routes in the Seattle band Tough Mama, and Australian sax man Damien Aitken also toured with Scott for several years in the Northwest’s beloved Hanuman Collective. So it’s clear that this sextet has a deep pedigree of collective experience in improvisational groove making.

Scott Law put the assemblage through its paces with one great, catchy song after another, laden with hooks, riffs and grooves that kept the band busy feeding off each other. Scott has contributed to more than seven full-length recordings so he has a prolific catalogue to draw from, and this evening’s showcase featured music both old and new. Toward the late part of the first set and most of the second, evidence of the band’s skill to move bodies became obvious with the Yankee’s floor getting livelier as the night wore on.

Scott wailed through numerous and lengthy idea-laden solos with tone and intensity that penetrated the audience with excitement. Chris Haugen countered with rippling melodic phrases on six-string electric and double neck lap steel. Damien Aitken brought the room temperature up several notches with each of his breaks, with Dave Pelliciaro’s stage-dominating B3 organ stabbing and piercing, swirling and swelling around the melodies. These soloists showed how capable they were of extrapolating melodic ideas over a five or six minute solo break.

The case with so many bands these days is just how derivative their material is. But Scott’s compositions have hooks and grooves that seem fresh, but with a booty shaking familiarity courtesy of the Smith/Roda rhythm section.

Scott’s music has attracted a steadily increasing fan base, from his initial Tough Mama days though Hanuman, Melvin Seals and his own growing body of live and recorded work. This new project appears to have the material, skills and potential to tour and attract new fans to the fold of Scott’s well-penned songs and the player’s he’s surrounded himself with. In the words of keyboardist "Mighty" Dave Pelliciaro, "I've known Scott and played with him since April '86. The love is huge, the chemistry is huge and he is a fine musician that spanks the guitar like a big, big dog. This band continues his tradition of growth and versatility."

Scott Law will be appearing in April with Melvin Seals Melting Pot, the Hanuman Collective, the Scott Law Band and at several solo acoustic shows, all of which will take place in the Pacific Northwest.

Scott Law
Dave Pelliciarro
Damien Aitken
Chris Haugen
Melvin Seals Melting Pot

Set I
Cold Duck Time
Find Something Good
Let The Pieces Fall
Carry The Stone
Ground Score
Caught Up & Carried Away
Southern Honk >
Bound To Roam

Set II
Tell Me Why
When It All Comes Down
I Was Alright
Breathin' Water
Later On

Words and Photos by: Ted Silverman
JamBase | Bay Area
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[Published on: 4/1/03]

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