Greyboy Allstars return to Vail for free concert |

Greyboy Allstars return to Vail for free concert

Greyboy Allstars close Spring Back to Vail on Sunday.
Special to the Daily |

If You Go ...

What: The Greyboy Allstars perform at Spring Back to Vail.

When: 4 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Solaris in Vail Village.

Cost: Free.

More information: Go to

The Greyboy Allstars came together more than two decades ago as someone else’s idea.

They’ve stayed together because it’s their idea.

The San Diego-based quintet started making raucous, funk-leaning music in 1994 as part of an album release party.

They’re still at it and will perform today for Spring Back to Vail’s final concert, which is being held immediately following World Pond Skimming Championships.

The songsters remain the same

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The group’s huge sound comes from keyboardist Robert Walter, saxophonist Karl Denson and guitarist Elgin Park.

Once upon a time, the Greyboy Allstars cut their teeth as part of a loosely defined acid jazz/jam band circuit.

They have outlasted most of their contemporaries, because they like each other and the music they make. They don’t chase trends; they chase music.

Their fans cycle in and out, discovering and rediscovering their music.

“We’ve had a lot of fans come into the scene and then had to move on with their lives … which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just what happens when people get responsibilities, especially caring for other humans, over that amount of time,” Park said.

20 year years of fun

It was 1994 when the individual band members were asked to perform at a record release party for “Freestylin,” by San Diego’s DJ Greyboy, who was famous for spinning ’70s soul and funk.

The guys liked what they were doing and decided to do it some more. Right out of the gate, The Greyboy Allstars starting playing weekly at San Diego’s Green Circle, weekends at San Francisco’s Elbo Room and touring Europe. They released “West Coast Boogaloo,” and were on their way.

The lineup remains about the same now as it was then. Denson on horns and vocals, Walter on keyboards, Park on guitars and vocals and Chris Stillwell on bass. Original drummer Zak Najor passed the baton to Aaron Redfield, an old friend of the band and frequent collaborator.

Their fourth and latest album, “Inland Emperor,” came together because they wanted it to in 2013.

They recorded it live during a handful of sessions at Elgin Park’s studio in Glendale, Calif.

“What we do in one week would take me two months to do in any other situation,” Denson said.

The thing is, the 12 tracks sound like they had been road tested for months.

The band’s members work on all kinds of outside projects. They get back together, and the music is like old friends walking back into a room and saying, “Now, as I was saying.”

“In the ’90s, we put out an album every two years, but we just don’t tour as much now,” Park said in an interview with Chicago website, Lists that Actually Matter. “If we do 100-200 shows in a year, we’ll make more music; if we only do 30-40 shows in a year, the music can stay fresh. Realize that when we walk away, we all make music with other people, so under the Greyboy moniker…it’s, ‘what can we do to keep it fresh?’”

They play everything from festivals to 40-person rooms.

“We want people to feel what it is like to be in a small room with us, like when we started,” Park said. “We’re really not trying to hit tons of big spots, we’d rather play a 40-person venue, four nights in a row, than just one big huge auditorium night. I want to hear the actual drumset, not just through my earpiece.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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