Bringing ‘funky groove of acid jazz,’ Greyboy Allstars deliver

Karl Denson performs with The Greyboy Allstars Feb. 29, 2020, at the Crystal Bay Casino.
Larry Sabo / Tahoe Onstage

When the Greyboy Allstars arrived onstage at Crystal Bay Club on Saturday night, the mood was mellow. At age 63, Karl Denson seemed ageless. “Tahoe, how ya feeling?”  he wondered.

The Greyboy Allstars are some of the most highly respected players on the funk-jazz scene. They are Denson (master saxophonist), Robert Walter (keyboards), Micheal Andrews, aka Elgin Park, (guitarist), Chris  Stillwell (bassist), and Aaron Redfield (drums).

The band’s members get around. There’s Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and he’s also the tenor saxophone player for the Rolling Stones. Robert Walter’s band is the 20th Congress and he also is the bassist for Mike Gordon’s band when Phish is not on tour. Park is among the most sought-after Hollywood composers for television and  movies. Stillwell and Redfield are part of the rhythm sections for several bands.

The Allstars opened with “What Happened to TV,” along with “Back in the Game” and “V Neck Sweater.” The crowd enjoyed this mellow, jazzy and bluesy sound, dancing to the music.

Chuck Tanner from Kings Beach called this band a “funky groove of acid jazz.” He has seen Denson play many times and said he  always has a great experience. They closed with “Sportscaster” and “Right On” as everyone left with a great feeling, wanting more music.

The Maxwell Friedman Group opened the near-packed night in the Crown Room.

Maxwell Friedman, 16, has a innovative talent on the  keyboard, and he is living proof that some musicians are just “born with it.” His enthusiastic keyboard playing and tunes already are becoming legendary industry wide.

He is already one of the youngest keyboard players endorsed by Hammond Organ Co., and has shared the stage with many great musical talents, and performed at numerous festivals.

His band consisted of Friedman playing different keyboards, Connor Streeter on drums, Lee Taylor on a six-string bass, and “Brother Gabe” Johnson on guitar. Together, they delivered an inspired neo-jazz funk soul fusion.

They opened with “Dominga,” Friedman’s expert, quick and nimble fingers on the keys were amazing to experience. Brother Gabe thinks “Maxwell could be the next Chick Corea.” He definitely has an amazing future ahead of him.

Friedman closed with “Windjammer,” and left some wondering where he will be in five years.

-Marcia Schultz

Micheal Andrews, aka Elgin Park

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Tahoe Onstage is an online entertainment and sports magazine covering Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Reno, the Carson Valley and June Lake.

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