Elson's AJ Weekend in L.A.

Elson Trinidad (elson@westworld.com)
Tue, 19 Mar 1996 03:10:18 -0800 (PST)

A couple bandmates from JIBE and myself spent a good amount of Friday night
checking out the AJ scene here in the City of Angels. We found out that
Friday night is THE night. Here's what we saw:

Friday, 9:00 p.m. LunaPark: GOIN' PUBLIC

GOIN' PUBLIC is a local contemporary jazz band whose repertoire runs the
gamut from acid jazz to funk to cool jazz to (eesh, dare I say it?)
The band is made up of older cats, all over 30 I'm sure, though the
drummer might be a youngin. The sound is polished, not raw, but they did
pull a few real phonkay numbers here and there. The sextet (Sax, keys,
guitar, bass, drums, percussion) is led by the sax player, who happens to
be my band's sax player's teacher.

10:45: Butterflow

At the same venue about half an hour after Goin' Public left the stage,
Butterflow started to groove. This septet (lead vocal, alto/flute, tenor,
baritone sax, electric standup bass, drums, keys), led by Kevin Williams
(former co-lead singer of the Solsonics) lives up to its name. The band
starts out their set, in the Solsonics tradition, by jamming along to the
house background music until they carry the sound all by themselves.
In addition, fellow 'sonics member Derrick Davis led the sax section with
his bad-ass flute and alto playing. The most memorable number in their
first set was a song called "Westside," which has the typical L.A. funk
flow rhythm, coupled with the perfect sliding standup bass line and a
cool synth wash by their keyboard player. What a sound; Butterflow
manages to sound retro, modern and futurisitc all at the same time.
Williams' cool low tenor vocals rounded it out, and as my bandmate and a
mini-review in the _LA Weekly_ testified, "He definitely knows his
Stevie [Wonder] and Marvin [Gaye]."
Their set was cut short by an unexpected bass amp failure, but for some
reason the song didn't sound too bad when it lacked the bassline.

12:15 midnight - Moguls in Hollywood: Mesh of Minds

If you're in L.A. and you haven't been to Moguls on Friday nights, you're
missing the party. Their acid jazz club, The Internationalist kicks every
Fri. night with two bands and DJs spinning. We walked in just prior to
the second band's second set, and whoa...

The scene here is obviously different: and underground vibe with a
20-something, multiracial crowd. From the first one, Mesh of Minds
slammed hard for the next hour and a half, basically just
spontaneously jamming the funk while the vocalists evoked lyrics of
popular funk and pop songs, such as impromptu altered renditions of George
Duke's "Dance," The Blackbyrds' "Rock Creek Park" and Billy Preston's "Will it
go Round in Circles". They even jammed on latin and reggae tunes, even
evoking Blondie's "The Tide is High". (Oh yeah, on saxophone was the
ubiquitous Jim Akimoto (formerly of the Solsonics (yes, they are everywhere)). During
what they supposedly said was their last number, the band broke into a bluesy groove and did a cover of
TLC's "Waterfalls," only stopping a few seconds later, doing a subtle
diss of TLC and singing the songs "original lyrics", re-starting and
this time singing "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your adverbs here..." (from
"Schoolhouse Rock") to the same groove. Whoa...

Their rhythm section was all that and more. Their drummer was Mr. Nonstop
Groove Machine, smart with his consisten hi-hat openings, consistent 2s
and 4s and simple drum fills to keep the crowd bumpin' and groove movin'. He even did a
DJ-style cut-transform on the 1, occasionally randomly not playing on the first beat of the bar.
Their bassist played simple but ultrafunky fingerstyle lines, and seemed
to have the most fun being on stage (not that the other members didn't
have fun, though!)

Even after that, the jam just did NOT relent. The crowd was ON THE FLOOR,
and they even had someone jump in and play bass, beginnning with a solo,
then suddenly breaking out into the "Barney Miller" theme. Crazay!
A few grooves later, they had a guest MC doing freestyle. The only
problem with this band is that they don't really know how to write
original material (the ones that they did were sort of eh...) but boy do
they know how to move a crowd. A must-see. All my props to them. They do
not perform concerts. They throw an onstage party. And everyone's invited.

L.A. jazzers, THE place to be on Friday night is The Internationalist at
Moguls (on Schrader, just south of Hollywood Blvd) in Hollywood. See ya

For more LA Acid Jazz events, check out:

Elson Trinidad, Los Angeles, CA
Don't worry, this .sig will get better...