Parallel 23 (P23) is an all-original quartet from San Francisco playing what they describe as timba-funk...live group chemistry über-alles with Afro-Caribbean folkloric beats, experimental jazz harmonies, funky Latin grooves, electronic textures, and soulful melodic hooks. Intricately arranged compositions transform into entirely free group improvisations - the quartet does not hesitate to take chances in its constant musical exploration. This energy generated on stage is inspiring steadily growing audiences to booty shaking ecstasy on the dance floor.
The pulse of P23’s music is derived from the streets between the 23rd parallels, from the rumbas of Havana to the sambas of Rio de Janeiro. The sound? Imagine Herbie Hancock's Cuban Headhunters, Medeski, Martin, and Wood with a percussionist, Los Van Van's rhythm section jamming out, or The Meters at Carnaval in Brazil.
When Jason Moen (keyboards), Colin Douglas (drums), Sam Bevan (bass), and Matt Lucas (percussion) formed Parallel 23 in 2005, they had already been playing together in different bands for over 5 years.
As successful freelance musicians, the four saw an opportunity to craft a new sound culled from their varied experiences in the San Francisco Bay scene. Collectively, they have performed everything from rock (New York Dolls, Slash), bluegrass (Dave Grisman), jazz (Roswell Rudd, Jazz Mafia, Bjorkestra), salsa (QBA, Fito Reinoso), and blues (Zakiya Hooker) to Afro-Cuban folkloric music (Michael Spiro, Olorun).
In 2005, they recorded their debut EP self-titled "P23", and their much anticipated first full length CD is scheduled for a late 2006 release. Over 20,000 fans have already taken a listen to pre-release tracks on MySpace.
In 2006, P23 toured the Western U.S. playing clubs like Temple Bar (LA), Trilogy (Boulder), Elbo Room (SF), Green Room (Reno), Moe's Alley (Santa Cruz), Winston's (San Diego) and Boom Boom Room (SF), as well as festivals (SF Summer Music Conference, Denver Int. Film Festival). In 2007, P23 will begin its journey to the rest of the U.S., Europe, and beyond.
P23 invites different guest artists to almost every show. The eclectic cast of characters includes DJs (DJ Platurn- Oakland Faders), rappers (Panama), soul singers (Hazel Miller- Big Head Todd and the Monsters), Cuban soneros (Erick Bareria), horns (Evan Francis, Marcus Stevens- Spaceheater, Marcus Shelby Orchestra), bass (Kai Eckhardt- Garaj Mahal, John McLaughlin), and even hip hop dance companies (Mo' Rocks Crew).
After getting his masters degree from Stanford, keyboardist and composer Jason Moen (www.jasonmoen.com) spent years traveling to over 50 countries, with extended stays in Germany, Cuba, Brazil and Spain, where he studied and performed with local musicians. In 2000, he settled down in San Franciscos Mission District to soak in the sounds of the famous musical barrio and began to develop his own sound.
He quickly joined with drummer Colin Douglas, who had just arrived in the city after studying at the Manhattan School of Music, and began playing Cuban timba and salsa with Rumbache and Cubanacan. These dance orchestras quickly became two of San Franciscos most popular, regularly playing bands, at top SF clubs like the Elbo Room and Club Cocomo, and events such as the San Jose Jazz Festival.
Moen and Douglas now frequently play alongside master Cuban perfomers such as singer Fito Reinoso and percussionists Jesus Diaz, Sandy Perez, Orestes Vilato and Carlos Caro.
In 2001, Moen and Douglas began working with Grammy-winning producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Aerosmith) whenever he came to San Francisco. Every month or two, when they were called to do commercial and educational studio sessions with Jack, he would ask them to bring in something fresh and original. Over the next couple of years, Moen and Douglas began to develop and embrace their musical vision that of bringing the funky cubano-fied dance sounds they were playing almost nightly in salsa clubs to an audience beyond the Spanish speakers.
At this time, Douglas, also musical director of Olorun, an internationally touring afro-cuban folkloric dance troupe, tapped his partner, percussionist Matt Lucas to join the project. Lucas had just recently arrived from Boston and had quickly made his mark in the SF folkloric percussion scene, playing regularly with internationally renowned percussionists Michael Spiro and Jesus Diaz as well as with the Jazz Mafia. In 2003, with the guidance of Jack Douglas, this trio produced three tracks featuring BamBam, an Oakland soul-rock singing phenomenon. These tracks became the seeds for the idea of completing an entire CD under the name Parallel 23. But the band still needed one more member in order to take the show on the road
Bassist Sam Bevan (www.sambevan.com) arrived in SF after two years of touring with Dave Grisman Quintet and, with Moen, formed a successful jazz group in 2002, the Outbound Trio. The trio played regularly at local jazz clubs for two years, and also became jazz and soul singer Hazel Millers backup band during her trips to San Francisco. As Jason began focusing more of his efforts on P23, the trio disbanded and he invited Sam to join the new project. Sam, as a composer and performer, brings a modern, harmonically sophisticated element to the band. With his extensive jazz and jam band resume, he is one of the most in demand bass players in the SF Bay Area. His contributions to the P23 sound have been immense since the quartet began playing locally in early 2005.
"This band gets under your skin, with their infectious rhythm and melodies. Could be a whole new genre; Latin Jam. I love it." Jack Douglas