Collective concept: funk on the move
Vail has long supported a steady stream of funksters in the valley, egging on the fat bass line that is tantamount to movement. No garage band endlessly meandering into mushy jams, Global Funk Council has taken the genre and made an art form. They play Half Moon Saloon in West Vail tonight at 10.
Anthony Smith (keys, vocals) was one of the original members and music director of Carlos Washington and the Giant People. When they created that project, he felt like he’d found “it.”
“I’ve spent a lot of years playing professionally, working on music and trying to be a better musician,” said Smith. “I didn’t feel there was necessarily a scene where good musicians were recognized for being good musicians. For a guy like me who went to music school and then spent time on so many projects just trying to get better, you start to wonder if there’s any creative outlet for you.”
The outlet ended up being Giant People; he wrote most of their material. A little more than a year ago, he split off from Giant People and created Global Funk Council. Building on some of the same ideas and themes, he’s tailored the group to be groove-oriented, danceable and musically interesting.
They’ve gotten the word out by tireless touring, and have just passed their 200-show mark for 2002. Moving from small clubs to theaters and festivals, they’re booking gigs with bigger names these days, such as Steve Kimock and Garaj Majal.
Smith isn’t the only one with an extensive list of experience. The rest of the group brings varying flavors of funk, jazz, and world music to the table. They are Seth Murphy (drums), Josh Suhrheinrich (guitar) and Jonathan Scoyanoff (bass), and they’ve all toured with large groups.
“I really believe in the concept of a band,” said Smith. “I think that a band is going to be more successful than “Joe and the So and Sos. A small group of people that stay together for years – that’s what I’m really striving for. That’s really where it’s at, the collective concept.”
Smith says he gets most excited about reaching people while he’s on stage. Though his language brings to mind a jazz musician, he’s more interested in the “average groover” than most. Instead of playing a cerebral mix of introverted music that focused on ideas, he’s opted for an accessible line of sound that will keep people dancing. He’s playing for the average listener.
“And I like relating to the other musicians I’m sharing the stage with, connecting to them,” he said. “Musically that’s the most important thing to me – creating something new every night spontaneously writing new songs right on the stage. That’s a scary place to occupy sometimes, because you might fail. You will fail sometimes. But your loyal fan base will appreciate your sense of adventure.”
Global Funk Council has recently released “Keep on Pushin’,” their first album. The mix of instrumentals and vocal tracks brings jazz, reggae and Latin to mind, while the catchy hooks have a pop sensibility. Though Smith has done most of the writing thus far, it’s evolving into more of a group effort. According to Smith, Scoyanoff composes pieces that are fairly unconventional, and he finds that exciting.
For more information on them, visit http://www.globalfunkcouncil.com or call Half Moon Saloon at 476-4314. Music begins at 10 p.m.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.