Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In case you were wondering...

Hey, it's been a while, but I'm still here. My personal music scene has changed quite a bit, so in case anyone is interested, I'll fill you in.

SFI is still playing, albeit not as much as we used to. The realities of a slow economy mean that most clubs that cater to our crowd have either cut back their live music budget or outright closed. So we're being highly selective of our bookings, preferring the private market rather than public shows as a full band, but still giving public performances in a different form. Jarrod Schell and I have been performing as a duo quite a bit lately and Jarrod is still doing his solo act so you can still catch the essence of SFI a couple times a month, and see the full band at select performances throughout the year.

The Matt Strand Group has landed a regular gig at L'Bistro - appearing on the third Thursday of every month. These shows coincide with their regular Thursday night jazz, and our shows, in particular, are configured as a jam session, where anyone with an instrument and a little jazz or blues flavor can participate. We're also doing plenty of weddings and corporate parties.

The Popejoy-Strand duo is playing the second Thursday of each month at Archives Coffee House (formerly Tabula). Playing with Dr. Popejoy is always fun and this gig, in particular, is challenging because it forces me to play left-hand bass independent of right-hand melody - something I'm not necessarily used to.

And finally, announcing my newest oldest project: About 10 years ago, I had a horn band called Fatlip (later renamed Groove Union), which lasted about 3 years, before it was torn asunder by transportation issues (half the band lived in Fargo).

Well, this type of band has been my dream since childhood and I simply can't go on without one. For a few years now, I've been assembling a group of musicians to play New Year's Eve at Sanders - an amalgamation of members of SFI plus a horn section. I've decided to make this a more regular group and take it public. If you like old-school funk and soul music, you need to check out Big Daddy Matt and the Heavy Rotation.

This group is incredibly fun to play with, but what I like most is our sheer musicianship - we've got some killer players: Myself on keyboards and vocals, Jarrod Schell on guitar and vocals, Steve Carriere plays bass, Austin Winger on drums, Amanda Nelson on sax and vocals, Cory Driscoll and Justin Uhlir on trumpets and providing the low-end of the horns: Ben Kinser on bari sax. We also have Robert Carter doing some lead vocals and if you haven't heard this guy sing, you need to get off your butts.

So you provide the party, we'll provide the groove: come out and you'll hear plenty of funky stuff like Earth Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, Wilson Pickett, and Marvin Gaye, plus we have the flexibility to play everything from rock and roll to country. We're playing at the Ralph for the Wisconsin series this weekend and, of course, at Sanders on New Year's Eve. See you there!