‘Expect to dance a lot’ in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Eugene, Ore.-based Reeble Jar has been jamming the Pacific Northwest for five years, and now they’re headed to Colorado’s Vail Valley for two gigs.
They do pretty well in their hometown, said James Green, the band’s saxophone player. But this summer, the band – whose members use words like jazz, funk, trance, tribal, dance, blues and breakbeats to describe their music – decided to spread its sound a little farther.
Last week, they filled the 17-year-old Chevrolet van they bought for $500 with gear and started driving.
“There’s a pretty good scene (in Oregon), there’s lots of good groups out of there,” Green said. “It’s good to get out of some of these towns, though. We have to share our music around the country.”
The two-and-a-half month tour – one of the biggest of Reeble Jar’s career – will take the band as far as Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And they’ll stop in the Vail Valley for back-to-back gigs at the Samana Lounge an Avondale on their way.
The first time Scott Stoughton, who runs Samana, heard Reeble Jar was after the group called him out of the blue. They were putting together their tour, were going to be in the area and were looking for dates, he said.
It’s not the easiest way to get a gig, Stoughton said.
“Usually somebody turns me onto a band,” he said.
Stoughton booked Reeble Jar for both Vail Valley gigs after listening to the group.
“I liked their sound. I’d compare it to Greyboy (All Stars),” he said. “It’s energetic, horn-driven funk. It’s something I haven’t seen in the valley for a while. Funk used to come around the valley a lot.”
In addition to Green on saxophone, Reeble Jar is made up of Mauricio Nassar on drums, Josh Coffey on keyboard, Joey Hepner on bass and Sean Ponder on Guitar.
The five were in their van on the way to a gig in Flagstaff, Ariz. last week. They sounded like they were having fun. Green had his cell phone on speaker so, if they wanted, everyone could answer questions about the band.
“We’re all in the van, it’s pretty comfy,” Green said. “We’ve got the laptop so we can watch movies.”
“Where’d the band name come from,” I asked.
“Everyone wants to know,” Green said. “It should remain a mystery.”
“Mommy Reeble Jar and daddy Reeble Jar got together and then there was baby Reeble Jar,” one of the other band members said.
“We don’t really know,” Green said.
Confusing. But whether or not they know anything about their band name doesn’t seem to have anything to do with their music. They know plenty about that. Some of the guys have been playing together for almost 10 years. The group, in its current form, started to take shape about five years ago when Green brought his horn to a party the rest of the guys were playing.
Their sound has been evolving ever since, Green said. His bandmates are some of his biggest influences, he said.
“We really benefit from playing a lot together,” he said. “We’re getting really tight.”
Rehearsing three or four times a week doesn’t hurt, either.
“We rehearse a lot and improvise a lot,” Green said. “We explore our personal limits.”
The group writes songs together and does it in part through improvisation.
“Some of the jams we’ve been doing have formed into really good tunes,” Green said. “Playing every night it just gets tighter and tighter.”
Someone comes up with a rhythm a beat or a melody, then they build on it and try and meld it together. It’s easy to know when they’ve come up with a good song, Green said.
“The ones that make you shake your pants it’s so good,” he said of the band’s best tunes. “The ones that make you really happy.”
They don’t let their music get too abstract, though, and sometimes even incorporate a few cover tunes into their set lists. Reeble Jar has played tunes by James Brown, Pink Floyd, INXS, Ween, Jimi Hendrix, Dire Straits, Def Leppard and Peter Gabriel.
But regardless of the song they’re playing, expect to dance, Green said.
“Expect to dance a lot,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun, we try and make it about the crowd.”
Eugene resident Keb Burch has seen Reeble Jar considers himself a “dedicated fan and follower of Reeble Jar.” He’s hopped on a plane to see them before.
“Their music makes you feel good and groove,” Burch said. “You don’t have to know how to dance, the music moves your body for you.”
Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or email@example.com.
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