And now it’s time for funk |

And now it’s time for funk

Wren Wertin

Describing themselves as “powerful backbeats and soulful improvisation,” the group strives to create a groove euphoria without sacrificing content.

“It is music that gets the whole club dancing and listening – an antidote to monotonous repetition and meaningless jamming,” said Mike Ligouri, bandleader and keyboard player.

He is joined by horn player Clark Gibson, drummer Sherman Arnold and bassist Tom Sublett. They all have funk and jazz pedigrees.

“The point of this project is to have fun,” said Ligouri. “It’s a party band,

and you’re going to hear things you know, and it’s going to be funky. We have a few tricks up our scraggly sleeves to try to take things to new places, though.”

Arnold’s roots in the gospel church have infused his drumming with the spirit of music. He placed second in an open, national drumming competition in 1999 judged by kit legends Dennis Chambers and Dave Weckyl. He’s not afraid of taking a solo turn, and has earned a reputation for groove drumming.

Gibson, a rising young jazz horn player, has toured with the likes of Tommy Dorsey and performed with rocker Edgar Winter. He plays tenor and alto sax, as well as flute. He’s heavily influenced by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and funk master Maceo Parker.

Liguori finds his inspiration on keyboards from Bruce Hornsby, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock and many points between. After spending several years with Denver’s Buckner Funken Jazz – playing Saturday at The Saloon – he created Neonhead Lloyd. He has an ear for jazz, funk and rock, and gives himself an extra edge by continuing to study with jazz Grammy winner Chip Stevens

Sublett isn’t content simply being an experienced jazz and funk bassist. He gets dirty on the classical piano, too. A composer and arranger, he’s worked with the Cleo Parker Dance Ensemble and has performed with Phil Urso and Joe Bonner.

“This is going to be one hell of a funky weekend in Minturn, with the Neonhead band (today) and Rod Buckner’s band Saturday,” said Ligouri. “The entire Vail Valley will be eating hot butter on their breakfast toast, if you

know what I mean.”

Even if you don’t they’ll take you in. Things get started at 9 p.m. at Chili Willy’s in Minturn. Proceeds will go to the Minturn Community Fund.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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