Tune in to alchemy
VAIL – Once merely a vision in a promoter’s head, the synergetic all-star band Frequinox proves that the dark side of PR isn’t always so dark.The group came to life in 2003 at New Orlean’s Jazz Fest when a marketer organized a live jam session in the height of the supergroup craze, only this congress stayed on the bandwagon. Musical mavens Robert Walter, keyboardist of the 20th Congress; Stanton Moore, drummer for Galactic; Rob Mercurio, bassist for Galactic; Will Bernard, guitarist for TJ Kirk and Donald Harrison, saxophonist for the Headhunters, merge for their first Vail performance at 10 p.m. Saturday at 8150.But what gives Frequinox longevity where other supergroups crashed and burned.”We’re trying to take that concept and give it its own identity,” Walter said. “We write songs specifically for this group of people to allow it to be its own group.” The collection of band member’s impressive musical repertoires gives way to explosive jam sessions. They’re constantly dreaming up originals, as well as playing music of the band’s they came from.
“Everyone got excited about it, so we tried to do it whenever we could and it kind of turned into a band,” Walter said, fresh off the plane, on his way to Boulder with the rest of the band to kick off the tour. “It was just a great chemistry between the people in this group it worked instantly.”Avon resident Allan Dibben, who saw the band perform in Denver Thursday night, plans to attend Saturday’s show at 8150. Dibben, who played the piano growing up, was first turned on to Frequinox when he saw famed keyboardist Walter was in the lineup. When he saw the rest of the names, he knew the kind of jams they were capable of.”For years I toured and saw all kinds of jam band music, I’ve always been in to free-form jazz music – everything from Miles Davis to Herbie Hancock to jazz standards like John Coltrane and Charlie Parker,” Dibben said. “Knowing the background of these musicians, I don’t think a show could ever be completely repeated.” Frequinox encompasses Galactic’s famed rhythm section of Mercurio and Moore, who had joined Greyboy Allstars Hammond B3 and keys wizard Walter and 20th Congress/TJ Kirk guitarist extraordinaire Bernard in prior jam sessions. “Mecurio and Moore have played together for yeas, and they’ve worked out the kinks,” Walter said. “Me and Bernard have played together on and off for three years. We have sort of a shorthand – he sort of knows what I’m going to do and he knows what I’m going to do.”Saxophonist Donald Harrison of the Headhunters, who has been named one of the most influential modern jazz players of his generation, completes the funk, jazz fusion.
“He’s really the thing that makes us all excited to be in this,” Walter said. “He’s the most accomplished musician. We all have a lot of respect for him.”Band members attribute the group’s success not only to chemistry, but to the perpetual flow of ideas that rush in. Another benefit to collaborating with the best of the best, Walter said, is being able to focus on the music.”I love playing with all these guys. I’m just a member of the band so I just try and do my part, where as if it’s my own thing I’m trying to organize everything. It’s liberating in that way.” he said. It’s not a conceptual thing, it’s more just trying to play in a natural way.” The band hopes to record a studio album in the near future, but for now fans are compelled to catch the funk live.”It’s a lot of heavy funk, and of course it’s got a little bit of everyone’s flavor in it. We all like jazz and we all like old soul music and funk, and it’s somewhere in between,” Walter said. “This band is definitely something I’m really excited about. It just all comes together. I think it’s going to turn some heads, for sure.”
Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado