The Jambando phenomenon arose in 2003 to showcase Orlando’s jamband exponents. I’m not sure anyone would have imagined that, 11 years on, there would be several Jambando events each year, with more than 90 bands having participating at least once, some many times and others practical every event.
Due to a conflicting event, I wasn’t able to get to the Plaza Theatre until 11 PM for this particular Jambando, and I knew it would be done by 12:30, but we all do the best we can. I was thrilled to see Dave Mann and funkUs doing exactly that. And it was a good thing that the stage at the Plaza was big enough to accommodate so many great musicians sitting in (well, standing, but anyway). I didn’t know everybody, but Clay Watson (trombone), Christian Ryan (alto sax), and Eugene Snowden (vocals extraordinaire) were among the parade. The funk was so deep you needed hip boots. It was great seeing the boys from Holey Miss Moley there, too (just one of the many sets I missed).
Ultimately, I was primed and ready to see Shak Nasti. They had been on hiatus for a while, and this, my 40th Shak Nasti show, was the first since the CD release party for “Jim Jackson” at Will’s (06.01.12). A note about my fascination with Shak Nasti.
When Linda and I got together in 2006, we shared many musical similarities, and her knowledge is amazing. She did not know a lot about jambands at the time, but she certainly schooled me on Little Feat, among others. I got to introduce her to lots of bands on our scene. Then she went to a show while I was out of town and came home raving about this quartet called Shak Nasti. She had the CD “From the Belly” autographed and everything! I saw them once in 2006 but then not again until 2009, and from then on we were regulars, making trips to Tanqueray’s for the Thursday night extravaganzas (you really need to check out the shows on archive.org), catching them at Bear Creek, seeing them numerous times with Bobby Lee Rodgers and with Roosevelt Collier and just generally everywhere we could.
Notice that I am about to use the word “favorite” and not the word “best.” My favorite rhythm section, anywhere, anytime, has to be Matt Lapham on bass and Rion Smith, drums. Smith is a polyrhythmic master who reminds me of Elvin Jones with extensive Blue Man Group experience. And Lapham is just… Lapham. I really don’t know how to describe him. He is just one sick puppy on the bass. Period.
Tim Turner is a triple threat as a songwriter, singer and guitar player. He has monster guitar chops, a voice that communicates the Shak Nasti vision (whatever that is) perfectly, a bagful of great songs (think “Middle of a Bubble”). That’s three. Linda saw the quartet with Kris Gruda, a founding member of Shak Nasti. Near as I can tell, they were all also in Florganism. So I am wondering, “Is this Florganism recording under a different name in a last ditch attempt to get their cruddy music on the radio?” (Sorry; couldn’t resist!)
Back to Jambando [finally!]. At 11:30, Lapham and Smith came on stage and took over bass and drum duties. The other musicians began to filter off stage as Turner walked on stage with another guitar player (I did not find out until halfway through the show that the “other” guy was Gruda! He blew me away – every bit a match for Turner on guitar. It made for an awesome hour of music. Watson and Ryan were again summoned onstage during the performance to do their respective things. I was so knocked out I really don’t remember much of the set list, but “Middle of a Bubble” truly stood out.
“Better late than never” was never more true for me than this night!