Vinyl brings jazz, retro-funk together
VAIL – Everything about Vinyl was about glorifying the past: They kept old-school, Meters-style music alive by playing tight funk-jazz. But after 11 years of keeping the crowd jumping, the Bay Area band needed a change.
“Vinyl has always been a retro funk stuff; our sound has been trying to harken back to the good old days of Fender guitars and hand percussion,” keyboardist Jonathan Korty said. “The Rondo Brothers took a modern spin on our sound. It sounds a little more contemporary as if a DJ had remixed and scratched us up. It ends up being a modern take on old-music.”
Vinyl enlisted up-and-coming hip-hop producers The Rondo Brothers at the behest of their producer Tony Mindel. The Rondo Brothers used samples from the band’s former collaborations with George Clinton keyboardist Bernie Worrell, who has served as a funky godfather to the band.”We got put on a tour with him seven years ago, where we opened for him, and he opened for us,” Korty said. “He was very much a kind of father figure and really took us under his wing. I have a lot fo respect and look up to him, and when he plays with us I just need to kick back and watch and learn.”Vinyl formed in Korty’s garage, and he named the band after the stacks and stacks of vintage records he collects. Core members Danny Cao (trumpet), Jeff Vaughan (bass), Bill Frates (guitar), Alexis Razon (drums) and Korty are joined by new players Aaron Saul on sax and Johnny Durkin on percussion.”It’s changed from really a garage band making music for our friends to slowly starting to play sold-out shows every week,” Korty said. “People danced a little longer and we got a little sweatier. We had a dub reggae period, which led to a jam band thing and people started thinking that we were one. If people are coming to our shows and the jam band thing is helping, then great, but we never considered ourselves a jam band.”Right now, Vinyl concentrates on their signature style: Keeping the crowd bouncing.”We like to play things that please the crowd and keep everybody in the room smiling,” Korty said. “We’re not millionaires – we just love playing music. It is about having a good time.”
Vinyl also plans to keep an eye on innovation; they’ve recently enlisted more Bay Area hip-hoppers to help push their funk vision forward.”We are always exploring new ways to get funky,” Korty said. “We have a couple rap crews we like to play with. Hip hop is a big part of funk, and we’re definitely into the ongoing innovation of funk.” Korty enjoys boiling down funk to its essential funkiness – it’s a goal he and his bandmembers share.”Funk is about spaciousness and a feeling – it’s not necessarily about playing fast or a lot,” Korty said. “It’s like reggae – a group effort. Just like a team we’re constantly passing the ball. People take solos, but they’re fairly understated, and we’re always ready to get back to the groove.”Vinyl has toured throughout Colorado for nine years, so they’re especially happy about their two-night residency at Samana.”We’ve been on tour with a lot of bands that want nothing to do with the mountain – we pride ourselves on being a part of the moutnain scene,” he said. “We love to get our snowboarding in. We will be looking for passes and looking forward to seeing everybody on the mountain.”