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Front of a great shirt!

Front of a great shirt!

…….continued from Night  1 of Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl (04.23.10)

Before I knew it, my head had hit the pillow in my bed the night before and just like that, my feet were back to hitting the pavement to the Brooklyn Bowl.  The NY Funk Live group was gathering tonight to make sure the dance floor was packed and the energy was high.  Such a genuinely good group of people.  I encourage all funk friendly followers to look into the group and see if it’s for you.  A fellow funksters shirt caught my eye and made me giggle. I hope you get a kick out of it also.

Back of a great shirt!

Back of a great shirt!

It was the second night of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at the Brooklyn Bowl.  I was arriving a bit early to meet my buddy who was going to introduce me to just the best damn falafel I have ever eaten.  The place is called Oasis and it is right at the L train Bedford stop, first stop into Brooklyn from Manhattan.  Oh my goodness, it was just so good! Not oily, the extras: the red cabbage, the pickles, the hot sauce, were all so different yet all worked so well together.  SICK! And it was $3.50.  No lie, it is now what I plan on eating every time I head to the Brooklyn Bowl now. Yup! Yup! Light yet filling and $3.50…Word!

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

We arrived again before 9pm and there is only a slight line at the ID check this time. Once inside, it’s right to the front, makin’ my way to my regular spot to lay down my things.  A few buddies are already marking their territories at the front of the stage.  After chatting with them, I turn around to get my little notebook out and there is a NYC condom laying on my purse.  I look to the guys elevated above me in the bowling section and they just smile with their smirky grins and raise their glasses.  Seriously?  Looks like someone else was marking his territory.  I place the love token in my purse and turned around to the men in the joint that had some class…my friends 🙂

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

I was not on point for this show.  Because I was so focused during the first show, I felt like I wanted to just melt my face off and dance tonight.  This review won’t be nearly as long as Night I.  I seemed to focus more on taking pictures then notes.  Karl and his Universe took the stage around 9:45pm this time.  Hell of a lot earlier then the previous night of an hour later.  Right into a full out saxophone rage from Karl Denson.  I am not sure if they really played The Bridge or not.  I don’t recall that song being played but the set list says otherwise…  Either way, the first song was a HUGE rage fest and a great way to open.  EVERYONE was focused, attentive and dancing.  The stage was set up as follows, from left to right:

David Veith (keyboards)

Chris Littlefield (trumpet)

John Staten (drums)

Karl Denson (saxophone/flute)

Chris Stillwell (bass)

Brian Jordan (guitar)

Chris Littlefield & David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Littlefield & David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

The first song I recall is Kool Is Back.  I love this song.  The horn bring you right in with a catchy tune.  Karl picked up the tambourine and everything got really funky.  Brian gave us a guitar solo created off of his rift that is the background of the song.    The banging of the cowbell, John Staten just ripping apart the drums.  He was always inserting extra smack downs in the lulls of the other instruments which I appreciate.    This song reminded me of a 60’s game show for some reason.  Again, I think that if each of these artists had a band of their own, I would go see them all.  This song is so full of yummy jazz flute I can’t stand it.  FAST jazz flute.  Karl’s fingers were moving so fast and he was bouncing to the rhythm of his fingers.  My friend SCREAMS his monstrous scream in recognition of the slaughter that is taking place with the flute.  And Karl KILLS it.  Both horns are picked back up and they blast out the ending with Brian leading the way with the funky rift.

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

At this point, Karl’s horn insanity is taking down to a medium slow growl, a really jazzy sound emits and the song changes.  Galaxy!! “On a rocket ship /No time to wait /I just want to gravitate!” sings Karl.  They hit the lyrics pretty hard in this song, little play from the instruments.  At least for a little bit!  We got some interpretive jazz sax from Karl and people screamed.  The drums got louder and Karl got faster.  My friend tapped me on the shoulder to hand me some love.  We danced around.  I heard the tambourine.   As I look at my notes, I see where my friend wrote PEACE + LOVE = FUNK!!  I think he might be on to something. 🙂  So, there is a part in this song where they kind of let the slow, low, minimalist movement take over and not much happens.  He lost me.  I started thinking of a friends who weren’t there and and texted them pictures.  It was just a really jammy sloooow background for some chatting to commence for a few good measures.  But the nice part about these lulls, they pick up fast and just intensify and makes your head EXPLODE.  Yeah, Karl knew what he was doing.  And no pun intended but SPAAAACE!!!  I couldn’t figure out where some of the sounds were coming from, finally figuring out the horn sounds were coming from the keys? Shoot, I still may be wrong. I was loosing my mind waiting for the song to explode in my face.  My notes mention something about there being wasted time pickin’ and that is because I just wanted Brian to rip my face off with his fingers on the guitar.    He stands there with such a darling smile on his face and its like he is busting to blow out the guitar but he doesn’t.  Honestly, I can’t tell who I want to hear more. Who did I come to see?  They were all so great. “Outta Sight, Outta Sight” sings Karl twice.  Honestly, this Tiny Rager was in the middle of a Tiny Universe but I was entirely in my own world.

David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

YES!!  YES!!!  YES!!  I heard the Reggae beat, the dance in my legs shifted immediately.  It moved up to my hips and the salsa vibe was pumping.  Might Rebel was serve up so nicely.  I longed for Debrissa McKinney’s voice immediately as she sings with them on their latest album, Brother’s Keeper.  This is easily one of my top five KDTU songs.  JUST LOVE THIS SONG! Gypsy rage!  Russ ask to borrow a lighter, confusing me because he doesn’t smoke, and holds it in the air swaying it back and forth. We giggle.  It was definitely a moment for that.  Karl looked directly at him, because you just cant miss this guy standing out with his red hair and giant stature holding a lit lighter, and with a beaming smile, nods in recognition of the act.  Russ adds some reggae beats with his mouth in the crowd and its hilarious.  It fits.  This is such a different song from the others being played that night.  It was so very Reggae and it was a nice change.  All the musicians soloed and just killed it.  Coming together at the end, it was just a pure hippie rage in depth.  Very heady and it was over just like that.

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Shake It Out was next and it was the same as the night previously. I just set everything out and shook it out.  No notes, no recollection of anything fantastic happening.  Just dancing machine!  Hands in the air, spinning, knocking into my pal who was trying to contain himself but I could see in his eyes that he wanted to freaking flip out 🙂 Ah, reservation, I know you not.

And honestly, the set list said “Elephant” was next but it wasn’t. It made it’s way into the second set.  New York City was to rage the closer. And I mean RAGE!  It was a slow start at first and then it was a shit show of EXPLOSIVE funk all over that stage.  The ending of that set was one of the most intense endings of a set I have seen since Bowlive.  It was off the charts funky fantastic.  The energy was palpable, the place was packed.  And with that, they walked off the stage.  It was time to rage the bench and discuss…I was so high from all the goodness of that night that my vision was literally like a rippling pond at one point. Out of control. Damn, what a closer.

Set I: The Bridge, Kool Is Back, Galaxy, Mighty Rebel, Shake It Out, New York City

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

For the first time,we were not allowed outside of the front to walk around, smoke, get some fresh air .  We were confined to an area outside the front door, slightly herded. I am still wondering what that was all about.  After the insanity of amazingness that was Bowlive, these Karl Denson shows were definitely some of the the most amazing/fun shows I have seen at the Brooklyn Bowl to date.  Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe has a ridiculously ginormous amounts of soul.  It’s endless, full of funk, jazz, blues, and rage.  A GREAT team.

RAGE!

RAGE!

At this point, I just have my dancing shoes on and am not thinking of much else.  Steamed Water was awesome and I danced so very hard during that song.  David Veith really stood out on the keys during this set.  I had been hearing what I thought was a flute all weekend and it was his sound.  I don’t know if it was where I was standing.  But he always sounded like a flute.  I remember thinking that at that point I would just be happy to have the horns surrounding me on all side just blowing my head off.  I was so needy for them it was ridiculous.  I remember distinctly wanting crawl inside one of the horns and live in it.  Definitely out of control.

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Trampled Underfoot, a Led Zepplin Cover, was “all about the love.”  Brian  worked his magic on the guitar once again. I just love his smile.  Chris Littlefield in tempo with the shaker as Karls on the mic, for like 7 measures, a lot of time on the cowbell.  I remember specifically texting that to a friend haha.  But again Karl ransacked the stage with his horn and the biggest cheer of the night came blasting out of the crowd.  I mean how do you not scream when guitars are jamming, horns are IN YOUR FACE NASTY, the drummer is basically on his feet, breaking his bloody sticks in half with each beat.  The crowd goes ape shit and Karl extends his arm in recognition of the cheer – the place erupts once again.  Back on the cowbell, Karl mentions his anniversary again. So special, it made my heart yearn.  “I cant stop talking about love,” says Karl.  How very special.  Another dance in unison between Chris Littlefield and Karl.

John Staten @ THe Brooklyn Bowl

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

And the shit just kept hitting the fan.  Karl blew me away in The Grunt. I know I am talking about him a lot but he was the main reason I went to the show.  How many time can I say he blew that horn, raged that horn, he was was awesome.  He brought a little jazz back into the otherwise funky song.  A few blats of improve was nice, a 3 minute jazz solo, real nice.   I remember there was chanting at one point, “NYC, NYC NYC!!!”  I completely spaced out for a while dancing around my little area, it had gotten a bit tight up front at this point, some odd photographers were bouncing around. I don’t know if they changed songs or were in the same one but we got a taste of Brian’s funky guitar and that cute smile.  Wearing a vest over a white shirt with jeans, he was lookin’ adorable that night.  Everyone looked sharp!  God, I love good music. “Make some noise in here,” shout’s Karl.  The venue screams in unison.  There were sooooo many people there compared to the night before.  It was shocking. Where had they all been Friday night?  I was very glad they were there. I wanted Karl and his Tiny Universe to know how much NYC loves them:)

Karl Denson and Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson and Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

An introduction to the next song, still unsure of the name.  Karl says, “Everything we do is for the ladies!  Am I right?”  Everyone screamed.  “You know it, they know it…..but just this once, we got a little something for the fellas.  This song is for the fellas.”  There is a little instrument banter and he continues, “Why are you scared?  You know there is always someone out there uglier then you so don’t be afraid, do it – go after it – you have nothing to fear but fear itself”  The song was beautiful.  For some reason, I have “Animal Kingdom” in my notes??  And that I wanted more flute. I was becoming oblivious. Perhaps the song was Groove On, I think it was, the set list says so but I still can’t recall.  See, this is why I have to write the set list down as the show progresses or I just forget everything.

Karl Denson & Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson & Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Elephant was DEFINITELY next with Karl on the shaker and Chris Littlefield on the cowbell.  See, lots of time spent on these funny side instruments, but it was all part of the sound 🙂 What a great song. So heavy, so funky. The title evokes visions of elephants walking in a pack as soon as the tune begins.  Brian lays down the melody of the tune with his strings and Karl laces it out on the flute. Yes, a heady, herdy elephant song with flute!   There was major mouth action this time as he purposefully added in the sounds from his mouth as he blow the flute.  The sound emitted takes on an entirely different texture when the artists allow their mouth sounds to dominate the sounds of the instruments they are playing.  Some folks don’t care for it, but I do!!

Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Here we got our first and only guest treat for the evening. Out walks this lovely female, in a black vest, black tee, black jeans, and boots that looks liked they were broken in years ago, the “oh so comfortable” kind.  Jessica Lurie, a female saxophone player currently transplanted from Seattle to Brooklyn was the special guest for the evening.  I bet she played with Skerik all the time while in Seattle. I would love to see that duo.  SHE RAGED IT!!   I actually would have liked to have seen her perform more but he song didn’t allow for it as Karl was on his sax having to lead the herd through the song.    At one point both saxophone payers were not playing, but instead using the shakers and graters to back up Brian on the guitar.  I wanted more from Lurie. I was intrigued. She is definitely on my radar and I hope to see her again soon!  Karl belts a solo on the flute and Jessica is on various percussion instruments. She definitely didn’t just stand there, which was great.  At the end, they were all on the horns, everyone was jamming but not melting our faces. I was longing for that energy from the last song of the first set.  And then Brian’s guitar was crying as Karl interjected with hoots and yelps reminiscent of tribal banter, spiritual chanting if you will.  HE SCREAMS! And the energy rose, oh so high.  Russ screamed back, completely overcome with emotion from the song, he just couldn’t help it.  Karl stomped this herd into the ground with Lurie at the end. Brian brought the funk and it was just killer.  And then everyone exits the stage except for John Staten who has picked up the song, and taken it as his own…it was his time to shine! Enjoy the video! I personally like Karl’s little jig at the end of the clip!  RAGE JOHN RAGE!

Might Mouse was slated on the set list but they choose to rage another.  At this point a fan had come up to Karl and shouted something, He said, “OK! SO then we will play that song next for you, Happy Birthday!”  So kind, so genuine Such a good man, on top of being a good musician.    Soul Drifting would be the song of choice and it was full of just more funk and fun. David Veith mouthing the “sounds” he was making on the keys.  I was so focused on the horns and the guitars that I lost track of the keys and for that I apologize.  The keys were light, shifty, breezy.  Everyone was smiling. Karl places the mouth piece on his sax again and it creates the low growl.  “I feel like talking tonight.” says Karl.  He doesn’t talk so much as he gives us such a pretty jazzy flute, like a humming birds wings, his fingers were flying.  I closed my eyes as the song willed me to.  It was such a slow jam at first and then he screamed so soulfully, so fast.  Brian picked up his pace and just let loose on the strings, Karl picks up percussion instruments, I danced so hard I fell over.  Yup!  Just fell over…I was out of my mind, as were the people surrounding me; the people up front, paying attention to the slaughter that was taking place.  “Thank you New York!  Thank You New York,” screams Karl to the beat of the song.  And that feeling of dread that floods over you when you know a show is ending immediately flooded in.  Had two nights of Karl Denson really just come and gone just like that?  Perhaps for many, if not most people, they can just go home having enjoyed the night, being able to move forward and immediately think of things on their to do lists the following day….moving forward.  Not me, I get stuck in the moments and I truly dislike being pulled out of them.  I truly is an addiction.  It makes me tankful for these opportunities to write for yall, and for myself, to relive the memories and have a record of them.  It allows me to release and move forward like the “regular” folks 🙂

Karl Denson and Jessica Lurie @ The Broooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson and Jessica Lurie @ The Broooklyn Bowl

The stage was empty, no one moved, and everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs.  Of course, we all wanted more.  Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe to the the stage of the Brooklyn Bowl one more time that weekend and gave us a hell of an encore: Bougainvillea! Of and older CD, The D Stands for Diesel, Karl says, I got an old skool song for ya.”  The flute goes right into it, light, jammy guitar, interesting sounds with the keys. I was really too busy dancing to worry about much else.  Then the flute is put down and replaced by the saxophone.  Jessica Lurie came out and joined the session.  “I’ll sing you a song all night long,” shout’s Karl.  And the horns ended the evening blasting into the night and off the stage.  You know how I said this wouldn’t be a long review? I lied 🙂  It was too good to summarize.  And  when this review completed….it’s off to the next adventure 🙂 because I have just released!!! 🙂

Set II: Steamed Water, Trampled Under Foot (Led Zeppelin Cover), The Grunt, Groove On, Elephants, Soul Drifting, Bougainvillea

Download: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Live at Brooklyn Bowl (04.23.10)

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Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

There are certain artists, that when you say their name, you expect everyone in the vicinity to know that name.  You expect them to register your statement with a big bright smile on their face in recognition of the greatness of said name that just escaped your lips.  When I say Karl Denson, I immediately expect people to raise their heads, their glasses, and their hearts in salute to THE MAN who can manipulate a saxophone with the best of the best.  Often times, this doesn’t happen! Many of the greatest artists on the scene are, for lack of a better word, hidden, for those of us willing to seek them out.

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

On the other hand, if I were to say Lenny Kravitz, everyone would know that name.  He is plastered all over the radio and TV and I don’t ever turn those contraptions on.  What is a radio again?  But, saying Lenny Kravitz‘s name, it would register, even with the most uneducated of music lovers.  What a lot of people do not know is that Karl Denson was in Lenny Kravitz‘s band years ago and where his fame grew.  Now, not to knock him by any means, but I have and never will go to a Lenny Kravitz concert.  Karl on the other hand…I will NEVER EVER EVER miss a Karl Denson show.  This past weekend at the Brooklyn Bowl, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe brought THE HOUSE DOWN with funky goodness two nights in a row.  I honestly, don’t know where to being…

<3

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

I arrived at the venue with my friend. We thought we were running late but there was not even a line at the ID check and it was already past 9pm. OK?  Again, my point being made that people don’t know good music when it come and hits them in the face.   But no worries, the slow start gave us plenty of time to talk with friends, maneuver to the front and lay down our belongings, setting up for the rager that was about to take place.  Standing around a little while longer, still nothing so we took a trip outside.  While hanging out in the fresh air, a taxi pulls up and chills by the stage door.  My friend and I continue our conversation and see Pete Shapiro, owner of the Brooklyn Bowl and in my opinion, probably the luckiest man on earth, come out talking to a roadie.  “I have to pay the taxi,” he says, as Karl Denson steps out of the taxi and into view.  “Hi Karl,” I say, “JAM CRUUUUISE!”  He turns and smiles 🙂 My friend and I quickly turn away to make our way inside because NOW the show can commence!

I am at the Brooklyn Bowl so often, it seems funny to have to describe it in every review.  All I am going to say this time is that it is the coolest venue in all of New York City.  Hands down. Period.  End of story.  Get your fannys there as soon as you can.  Members of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe took the stage sometime between 10:10pm and 10:30pm. OK, right up front, I am telling you this is a long review, even for my standards…the show was three hours of straight raging funk from one of my favorite artists…it’s a doozie and worth the read!  🙂  The stage was set up as follows, from left to right:

David Veith (keyboards)

Chris Littlefield (trumpet)

John Staten (drums)

Karl Denson (saxophone/flute)

Chris Stillwell (bass)

Brian Jordan (guitar)

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Oh man, what a line up.  Karl has put together a talented group of musicians who all deserve to be fronting their own bands.  I just truly love every single player in this group and I don’t say that often.  Karl came out in a jacket and slacks, Brian Jordan began strumming his guitar, Karl picked up the microphone and immediately blasted into Sister Jane. And at that point there was “nothing going on but a FUNKY SONG!!” Good lord!  He just slammed right into it.  The horns went at it.  He beckoned us to warm up our pipes and join the song.  There was shouts into the audience and we returned them.  “Ahh, Yaa, Yeah, Yoooo!!”  Karl fiercely laced into his saxophone, screaming at us with that blessed thing then throwing it down to pick up the tambourine.  First song into the night and I almost broke into tears!

Disclaimer:  If you truly read my blog, it becomes VERY CLEAR I am 11o% OBSESSED with Jam Cruise right off the bat!  Karl Denson is one of the few artists to have been blessed to be on all 8 of the cruises, in the various projects he works with.  He sounds threw me right back on to the boat and I got choked up for the first time of many that weekend.  I wish I could pass this happiness around in a bottle for yall to drink from.  I really do.  It would be priceless but I wouldn’t charge yall anyway 🙂

My fav shot of the night: Karl Denson

My fav shot of the night: Karl Denson

Karl adjusts his jacket as they move into Funky Song!  The horns blast off and the guitar picks it up.  A much more musically, specifically horn,  driven song then the lyrically charged songs that would follow throughout the night.  These are my favorite.  Just blow those horns.  There is some banter with the audience on Karl’s part.  Chris Littlefield gave us a hot trumpet solo and they move along into Family Tree.  Karl and Chris plugged their left ears as they sang their harmonies over each other.  Brian Jordan raged his guitar for this song and then it was David Veith showing us what he can do with his nimble fingers. For the first time, Karl places a contraption over his mouth piece, there is feedback before we hear this lovely sound coming from his horn. How does one describe the sound…a funky deep muffled sound. Karl picked up the flute and sang “just like the leaves of the family tree!!”  The song dipped into fingers into some nasty feisty jazz and Karl showed us his talents through the horn, ending with the screaming blast of Littlefield’s trumpet.

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Time for some interaction with the crowd.  Karl screams, “Happy spring!  The flowers are blooming.  I got my 1st artichoke the other day.”  He continued to talk about how he had left the plant in the ground after he thought he had killed it the previous season.  “Good thing I did, cause I got this artichoke!”  Right into The Clap, Jordan’s guitar beckoned us to dance with some help from the drums.  Karl joined in and then it was all about the “Soul Clap, Soul Clap,” as the venue joined together in unison, clapping, smiling, dancing.  All the while, Brian’s guitar gave us the prettiest melody amongst the horns sporadic honking.

With a menacing, funky assault from the horns, Grenadiers followed.  Karl Denson just brought his raging funky talent to the forefront for this solo. It was the grandest of the first set for sure.  The kind of solo that just stops you dead in your dancing tracks with your mouth hanging open.  SO MUCH TALENT!  Karl’s yummy muscles were bulging out of his as he brought it back to the dark, deep bassy on a tin can.  At this point, I am dancing around in the front row, trying to maintain my composure to take notes, and this guy gets all close to me.  Then a little closer.  And finally sticks his face in the side of my head and bolts away.  I turned around, confused.  “OMG!!,” he says.  “We thought your earrings were really giant gauges in your ear.  And we thought, HOLY SHIT! That is dedication!”  Oh people, if you could only see the earrings he was talking about.  And oh people, if you could understand how funny I would look with gauged ears that big.  Sorry, but its disgusting, eww! I can see why they were so intent on figuring it out or not!  Karl ended the song beating on a tin can and I was left smiling from another fun show interaction.

Chris Stillwell @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Stillwell @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Can You Feel It was led in by some lovely humming, the “oohs” and “ahhs.”  Karl on the sax and the keys sounded like a flute.  I felt like the keys sound like the flute a lot of the time throughout the weekend.  Karl, with sweat dripping off his brow, gave us a jazz infused solo as Littlefield shook the shaker.  His eyes popped open with the blasts of the horn and he was bouncing all over.  The sound changed drastically with the bass leading the way.  Chris Stillwell is a monster, a technical genius.  My friend would later say:

“Stillwell is the consummate professional. As well as he is known, he’s still underrated. I don’t think there is a band or style of music he couldn’t fill in with on five minutes notice if needed.”

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

I agree 110%, I just wish I could have heard the bass a little louder for the position I was dancing in.  Karl breaks out the cheese grater with scratcher?? Haha.  They just had an arsenal of side toys to play with and make sounds, Karl almost always changing up the beat of his respective instrument throughout each measure.  And whenever they were done with their items, be it a water bottle or percussion instrument, they would throw it to the ground before picking up their horns! “Everybody on the street wants to make the night complete.” I was wanting more horns.  I look over and see my beautiful friend in the crowd.  She was new to Karl Denson as of that night and with her eyes closed, she was swaying and smiling.  I smiled wide as I knew she was soaking it all in.  I imagined what she must be feeling in the moment.  Hearing new music, especially new AMAZING music that you end up LOVING, is just the greatest swelling of a feeling.  It’s the establishment of a whole new relationship in your life.  For me, it’s religious.  “Let’s sing a little bit! It’s good for your soul,” shout’s Karl.  The crowd’s response was weak.  Karl places his hands behind his ears and the crowd peeks!  “Very nicely done NYC!” he says and that was the end of that.

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Easily one of my top 10 favorite Karl song’s, Shake It Out makes you feel like you are straight up in church about to fall into the isle shaking like a crazy person.  There is not a lot of horn play during this song.  Littlefield with the tambourine and Karl with the shaker, they started to dance together and pretty soon, in unison, they danced out a funky little beat together across the stage.  The crowd loved it!  Brian raged through at the forefront of the song.  John Staten gave us a short but sweet drummer’s rage to close it out.

After this song, all my notes and memories get jumbled cause I had just danced all the blood out of my brain to my legs to try to keep up.  I think the last song of the set played was Brother’s Keeper, from their new CD “Brother’s Keeper.” Very little horn action and lots of lyrics in the beginning, somewhat making me long for Grey Boy Allstars…overall less lyrics.  But Karl did grab the flute for this one which is always beautiful.  John Staten gave us another MASSIVE drummer solo while Brian and the David laid out the background rhythm.  There was another slight unison dance between Karl and Littlefield.  Karl fitted the sound modifier over his mouth piece and closed out the set screaming his sax/guitar at the tops of its….lungs? I swelled up for the second time that night.  And now it was time for some fresh air with friends to discuss 🙂

NYC 04-23-10

Set 1

  1. Sister Jane
  2. Funky Song
  3. Family Tree
  4. The Clap
  5. Grenadiers
  6. Can You Feel It
  7. Shake It Out
  8. Brother’s

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Stillwell and Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Stillwell and Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

This was a great night of music, but I also meet some great music lovin fools who I feel will become wonderful additions to my life.  Tiny Universe took the stage for the second set and it was a full steam ahead blast of energy.  I am a little fuzzy at this point because I had to make my way through everyone and make a few pit stops before getting back to the stage.  I heard Oranges playing and knew I was missing the beginning. Bad Karen! But fun adventures are half the fun of live shows 🙂  As I made my way through the crowd, I realized that the venue was a lot more empty then I thought it would be, but by GOD it was full of energy. People were raging.  It was wonderful 🙂

Karl Denson @ the Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ the Brooklyn Bowl

With the shake of his tambourine, Soul Shifting & S&G would be the first song of the second set I would see.  FUNK, FUNK, FUUUUNK.  Say it with me now!  A lovely guitar by Brian Jordan with jaaazzzy horns.  I mean, the the Funk strings and drums clearly stood out, the Jazz horns clearly stood out yet they were so tight that it was just one insane song.  So good!  Emotional for the third time that night.  The keys were holding it down throughout the funky beat. Brian Jordan moved his hands up the neck of his guitar to create his desired sound! Ahh!  I can clearly hear the bass.  It was definitely louder second set, perhaps it wasn’t my location after all.   There was a beautiful moment between the drums and the flute. And odd lovely combination. They go to end the song in a blast. Not one, not two, but three.  Karl changes instruments, and then Blast! Blast. Now he was done. Sometimes, it’s just impossible to end a song 🙂

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl smiles and that trademark beard moves with his face.  The keys light up the stage and to me, again, sound like a flute is being played.  Slowly up the scale he ran his fingers and the horns jumped in at the top. Explosions would be next.   This song is always so damn fierce.  FIERCE.  I started to pick the band apart, focusing on them individually. Littlefield pick up his water bottle and shakes it into the microphone, I tried desperately to hear it, but alas…  it was a funky dance party at this point and they chose to slow it down.  It got VERY low and VERY slow.  A lot of drag on the notes with a stormy echo of the guitar.  My notes say: “Trippy ass shit right here, man!” I was happy:) THEN FREAKING SMACK YOU IN YOUR FACE FANTASTIC RAGE!!!  Chris SLAMMED his drums, the horns screamed, the strings raged and the keys sang as they brought some FUNKY jazz flying to our ears and people SCREAMED!!!  Everyone was taken off guard!

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Brian Jordan comes out and is on the synthesizer while Chris Stillwell moves to the guitar.  I got so very happy because I was finally able to hear Stillwell in all his glory. Damn man.  His face never changes, he sometimes looks half asleep…he makes it looks effortless.  Karl talks about April 20th having just come and gone.  It had been his 20th anniversary.  MAJOR Happy Anniversary Karl!!  It was time for some songs off the new album.  Where It Counts brought some sick synthesizer funk!!  I mean…come on! Just go get the cd, immediately.  Chris Stillwell was SHINING!!  This song had a rock infused vibe to it.  “Sometimes you have to act like a fool!” sings Karl.  Karl starts talking about Bruce Lee and Coltrane and I lose track of what is going on.  Just out of my mind with energy.  The bass of the synth was so intense that I could hardly dance. It shook my legs so severely I just stood there and let the music quite literally massage me.  Karl announced that they were recording that night.  The venue screamed in unison.

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Cosmopolitan was next.  I think.  They didn’t go by their set list and these songs were new.  Karl and Chris funked their horns in unison for a while.  I mean what can I say.  It was just rage after rage after rage  after rage and I didn’t want to think anymore. I didn’t want to take notes any more. I didn’t want to worry about set lists or anything. I just wanted to dance. Down went the pen, down went the camera and a few feet away from me down went someone’s beer…and they just left it.  It made it’s way all the way to me before I finally went and got some napkins to get the mess that was making its way to the speakers and wires the entire time.  Frustrated, I let the music sweep over me and bring me back to my happy place.  The flute came in and out, the horns blasted….it was just one thing after another and it was so intense and full of funky energy. I think there was a song called Soul Satisfied in there?  There is just something about FUNK energy, am I right?  Different music has different energies for sure!  MMMMM, JAZZY FUNK!!!

We left the venue sweating ourt butts off.  We made it a few blocks away before crashing in our spot to recover.  For another 40 minutes we contemplated not moving from that spot and just waiting for the doors to open for the following nights performance.  It was that good.  We were that addicted.  Thank you Karl, Happy Anniversary and see ya again tomorrow 🙂

NYC 04-23-10

Set II

  1. Oranges
  2. S&G
  3. Soul Driftin
  4. Expressions
  5. Where It Counts
  6. Cosmopolitan
  7. Apparently or Soul Satisfied? (unsure)

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