Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down" feat. Members of The Motet, Leftover Salmon & Big Gigantic 5.15.14
The Fox Theatre
Words By J. Picard
Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)
Colorado loves "super jams." This is evident by the plethora of mixing and matching that occurs on the Front Range and the copious amount of Coloradans that flock to Jam Cruise on an annual basis. With this notion in mind, the conversation began between myself and Roosevelt Collier about a Colorado run. When it came to bringing the funk, Joey Porter (Keys), Garrett Sayers (Bass) and Dave Watts (Drums) of The Motet received the first calls. Rounding out the line-up would only truly require one more member and for that role, we reached the opposite direction into the bluegrass realm for Any Thorn (Banjo) of Leftover Salmon. From that point, phone calls went out to potential guests. With the ease of the line-up assembly, we thought guests would be no issue. As the run of shows approached, guest after potential guest informed us that they were on the road, in the studio and/or unavailable. As the dates grew nearer, so too did the anticipation, with folks sharing the events all over Facebook and gearing up for what would inevitably be one hell of a weekend in Boulder and Denver!
The night prior to the run we picked up Roosevelt from the airport and made our way to a restaurant for some late night grub. With our bellies full we returned to our house and began to talk "strategy." My girlfriend, Carly Marthis, brought up the fact that Lettuce was playing Red Rocks that Saturday, to which Roosevelt and I looked at each other dumbfounded. Of all of the potential guests that could join Roosevelt, how could we have overlooked Lettuce? The following morning Roosevelt made a call to Dave Watts to let him know that the plan would be that they would not have a plan, to which Dave seemed receptive and excited. Shortly to follow, Roosevelt sent out "threatening" messages to his band letting them know that he was coming for them, then messages to his possible guests confirming their participation. A quick visit to Red Rocks translated to Roosevelt shifting focus to playing Red Rocks, before re-centering on the evening show at the Fox Theatre.
The Other Black, a large funk ensemble, hit the stage to warm up the crowd. Backstage, Roosevelt and his bandmates went over a few licks and discussed possible songs to play. The realization that there had been no rehearsal and really no discussion of approach other than "letting it happen," hit me. This was going to be interesting.
Roosevelt Collier Live at Fox Theatre on May 15, 2014.
The "band" took the stage and following the introduction of his friends, Roosevelt's "Colorado Get Down" began! "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" came first with ripping instrumentation and screaming steel! Andy took over on banjo, transforming the whole musical conversation with fast-paced picking, before Joey stepped up on the keys. The weekend was only one song deep and the energy was through the roof when Roosevelt threw a solo to Garrett to chew up spit out before the song came to a close. Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away" came next to the surprise of the quickly filling venue. Andy and Joey hurled notes back and forth before Rosie returned to the forefront of the jam and took on Andy. One of Joey's selections followed with Joey tearing apart his keyboard with fury and funk. After the extended jam, Roosevelt took a second to give a shout out to Jam Cruise for their support of the show. "Higher Ground" came next with LaDamien Massey on vocals. For having to walk-on with limited rehearsal and structure, LaDamien nailed it! The first set came to a close with roaring applause.
The second set began with Joey Porter leading the charge with wailing organ work, before Andy took over on the electric banjo reciprocating with a barrage of notes. With the next song came Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic to the stage to get down on the action! I find Big G to be most enjoyable in a funk/jazz super jam setting and they did not disapoint! "Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody" came next with Dominic Lalli remaining on stage and the return of LaDamien on vocals. The instrumentation during the jam was almost overwhelming, with the front line throwing solos at one another leading into a massive peak that resolved to vocals. The next jam found its place before Roosevelt brought it to a hault to re-group before a full charge with Rosie calling out members of the band to step up. That sort of on-the-spot calling out yeilded incredible musical results. Solo by solo the "band" powered through twenty plus minutes of ripping jam, before Roosevelt called me out on stage for an unexpecteded round of applause for my involvement in the assembly of the project and tour. I was humbled and taken aback as the second set came to a close. As the evening turned to morning, and as the 1:00 hour came, Rosie and friends returned to the stage to appease the demanding crowd! A fifteen minute version of Jaco Pastorius' "The Chicken" closed the evening with consistent mind-bending shredding. Garrett "The Incredible Hulk" Sayers took one last bass solo for good measure before the evening's close.
"And that was only night one," I thought to myself. If they had this sort of chemistry and jamability in the first show, what would night two and three sound like? It was a great feeling to see a band that we created do so well on its first play, which happened to be on a weekday in Boulder when most of CU was out for the summer session. The full potential of the project began to dawn on me...
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