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Fearless frackles

Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyThe well-trained musicians in the Steve Kimock Band create melody and rhythm with the flick of their wrists. They perform at 8150 tonight.
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Long accepted in the music world as one of the best improvisational guitarists of the day, Kimock is joined by a star-studded cast. The band reads like a who’s who list: drummer Rodney Holmes (Santana, Wayne Shorter), bassist Alphonso Johnson (Santana, Jazz is Dead) and guitarist Mitch Stein (David Sanborn, Mino Cinelu). Kimock himself has collaborated with Jerry Garcia, Warren Haynes, Merl Saunders, The Other Ones, Phil and Friends, Trey Anastasio and Pete Sears.The band’s musical journey is a twisty turny road, packed with side streets, blind alleys and hole-in-the-wall gems. Something invites exploration – a jazz riff, an electronic fervor, a thumping rock beat, a vicious slide melody – and off they go, as a group. It happens on stage and off.As for Kimock, definitely the bandleader, he never puts his guitars down. Whether they’re vintage or modern strings, he’s always crafting and re-working his style.”The process that allows me to come up with the the music is still the same, so to me it looks the same,” he said. “But others think it has changed a lot.”His concerts highlight the very attribute that he’s become famous for: on-stage improvisation.”I was unable to describe my music before,” he said. “I still am.”When pressed, he describes it as a frackle, a scientific term that refers to a larger entity made up of smaller, repeating patterns. He’s quick to point out he’s not alone up there.”Much to my delight, I get a lot of help,” he said. “We’ve been doing it this way together for so long.””We’ve got such fantastic musical energy together,” he added.According to critics, that’s what the shows are all about.Kimock is a self-taught guitarist whose initial performances at the age of 12 were influenced by his folk-singing Aunt Dotti and guitar-playing cousin Kenny.In the ’70s, he moved to the Bay Area with the Goodman Brothers and began developing his style in earnest. Shortly before he died, Jerry Garcia referred to Kimock as his “favorite unknown guitar player.”He’s not so unknown lately. Steve Kimock Band sold out four consecutive shows at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.Holmes started pounding on the drums in the junior band in fourth grade, and by the time he hit high school he knew he’d become a professional drummer. He joined the Santana Band for their 1993 tour with Bob Dylan, and kept close ties with band members, though he eventually left for some jazz opportunities. He returned for 1997 through 2000, and he can be heard on the hit single “Smooth” with Santana and Rob Thomas.The son of a classical pianist and jazz trumpeter, Stein grew up in a music-friendly house. By 15, he was studying with studio great Allen Hanlon in New York, playing primarily rock though fully versed in the jazz and classical genres. To date, he has frequented the contemporary jazz circuit with David Sanborn and Tania Maria.Johnson is an internationally acclaimed bassist and Chapman Stick artist. He, too, played on the Santana tour with Bob Dylan, and he received a Grammy nomination for “Best R&B Instrumental” as well as an Oscar nomination for a first film score.Steve Kimock Band will be performing tonight at 8150 in Vail at 10. Tickets will go quickly, so buy early. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information on the group, visit http://www.stevekimockband.com or call 8150 at 479-0607.Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.


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