I was in the car, well, almost, all set to drive to St. Pete for the Rowdies’ game. Like an addicted fool, I checked the Facebook one more time, and there it was. The message.
“Are you going to hear Matt and Trevor? They’re playing with Juanjamon.” BAM! Just like that, my plans turned on a dime. I knew that The Juanjamon Band was playing at Captain Larry’s way the heck out in far-flung Spring Hill, but I just wasn’t thinking straight, obviously. I needed that cattle prod.
My four favorite funky soul bands anywhere? That would be Dumpstaphunk, Monophonics, Orgōne and… The Juanjamon Band. There is only one reason you doubt me. YOU haven’t seen The Juanjamon Band… yet.
Meesta Juanjamon is the entertaining multi-instrumentalist for years with CopE. He sings and plays bass, keyboards, tenor sax and his new toy, the EWI. And he has surrounded himself with four great players who fit this genre perfectly. Dre Mack is a superb guitar slinger who can funk and rock and… Who said a funk band can’t play rock?
Michael Garrie was a former drummer for CopE whose broad grin and propulsive style are perfect for this band, not to mention his years of working with Juanjamon. Matt is Matt Giancola, and Trevor is Trevor McDannel. They perform in a great jamtronica trio called Future Vintage (that message was from Anna, Matt’s wife and general pot-stirrer).
I found my way out to Captain Larry’s, where many of the Hometeam crowd had already gathered. Many were camping – or sleeping in cars. It was a beautiful if humid night under the stars. Sadly, once again I missed my friend Jon Demeter and his Endless Flow bandmates; they had played earlier.
The soundcheck song sounded just fine to me. Juanjamon did band intros as they began the “official” set, and the song worked its way into “Get a Job,” the Greyboy All-Stars tune that the band just nails. Second song… wait for it…
“Knockin’ Boots!” Well, I think that’s what it’s called. I keep thinking it’s “Who’s That?” since that is the main refrain. Who cares? It was brilliant! Juanjamon blew a great tenor solo, then switched to the EWI for another round. At that point, Mack just destroyed it on guitar.
Meanwhile, Giancola was all over his keyboards: electric piano, clavinet and synthesizers. And McDannel had a superb evening start to finish. This was magic. The jam gave way to “(She’s Got a Real Nice) Booty,” and that led into a tremendous cover of “Cosmic Slop.” Somewhere before the song “Mr. Juanjamon,” Giancola slipped in a few Tom-Tom Club quotes, which made me smile even wider.
Then the stage was rushed, and Russ Bowers, King of Orange Blossom Jam and sound man extraordinaire, grabbed the guitar, Demeter took the bass, and somebody commandeered the drum kit for a fun outing. Let me throw in here that the sound engineer had an excellent night, getting perfect balance and volume. Kudos!
Then it was time for more of that deep, dank funk with “Hey Dog,” which eventually jammed into “May We Funk You? (Night of the Thumpasaurus Peoples).” This was just magical. After a reggae workout on “Get Up, Stand Up,” another funk jam emerged as curfew came and went. Giancola had played his electric piano a lot this evening, but this was his best solo shot of the night, including my favorite Herbie Hancock trills. Juanjamon’s tenor solo was straight out of the Grover Washington playbook. Everybody was on the one.
I need to check Facebook more often. And earlier!
Great to see Megan, Beatrice, Russ, Winston, Cody and all of the Hometeam folks there!
Photos courtesy of Anna Giancola (the good ones). The others are mine.