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Old-school sound at the Saloon

Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyBuckner Funken Jazz gets funky at the Saloon in Minturn tonight.
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Led by bassist/trumpeter Rod Buckner, who’s been laying down a fat bass line for decades, the outfit comes from Denver.”We take a lot of bebop and old-school jazz and combine it with Latin rhythms,” said keyboardist Mike Ligouri. “We’ll do some P. Funk stuff and groove versions of Miles Davis tunes. We basically look to create a party atmosphere, one of those groups all about energy and the chemistry between the musicians. Everyone has a let’s-make-this-fun attitude.”Ligouri was one of the original members of the group, but left to start his own project, Neonhead Lloyd. He often sits in with the group, and will be at tonight’s show.”You’re gonna get some jazz, some funk, blues, originals, some fun – a lot of fun,” said Buckner.But will there be dancing?”Oh girlfriend…,” he said in exasperation. “We play down a lot at Herb’s in Denver. We get it going on there. Plus a friend of ours sells delicious barbeque and hot links on the back patio. And it’s going on. We do pack the house.”Buckner’s playing lays down a solid backbeat of fluid thumping with an in-the-pocket groove. He cites his influences as Ted Duncan from Denver, Larry Graham of Graham Central Station, Victor Wooten of Bela Fleck and The Flecktones and Larry Dunn of Earth Wind & Fire. He’s joined on stage by Ligouri, guitarist Devon Kruzweil, horn man Clark Gibson, percussionist Bobby Hill and drummer Sherman Arnold.They’ve been busy selling their first album, “Late For School,” and are currently recording a second. They earned an opening spot for Maceo Parker. When Parker took the stage he asked the group, “Did you guys leave any funk for me?”It turns out there’s always plenty of funk to go around, especially from a group with some serious jazz experience. Gibson, the baby of the band, began playing the sax at age 12. How did he get into jazz?”That’s all you can do with the damn saxophone,” he said.His influences include Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Kurzweil, on the other hand, prefers Culture Club, Indigo Girls, Bananarama, Wham, Elton John and Conway Twitty. Things can get crazy when everyone let’s loose on their instruments.”It’s a new sound we’ve got, improv-based,” said Liguori. “We’re looking forward to continuing to grow our audience, continuing to play the music we love.”Buckner Funken Jazz plays as part of the Live! in Minturn series. All proceeds go to the Minturn Community Fund. No strangers to the cause, the group was the grand finale act for the spring series.”Alison (Kabel, the organizer of Live! in Minturn,) wanted us back because they liked us very much. And we liked Minturn,” said Buckner.Buckner Funken Jazz plays today at The Saloon in Minturn at 9 p.m.Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.


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