Jazz in a church? Linda and the Jazz Monsters are ready

by DGO Web Administrator

Great music towns showcase musicians that get around from band to band, genre to genre. An “open relationship,” where you can play with whom you want and when you want and whatever genre you feel like playing. It bolsters the “scene” chock-full of badasses and up-and-coming badasses with a diverse palette that suits their ears and their various desires of what they want to play, resulting in plenty of musicians that hold it down as permanent members in established bands while playing with other various groups or musicians when the need fits. Some of these relationships may have come about from serendipitous situations, while others may be more formal. Either way, it makes for a hardy dose of music.

Some of the players that practice the open relationship idea of music make up Linda and the Jazz Monsters. A true super-group, its members, which include Linda Baker on vocals and flute, Evan Suiter on bass, Clay Lowder on drums, Ryan McCurry and Jack Maynes on keyboards, and Chris Ross on trumpet, also do time in the Durango Funk All-Stars, High Rollers, Sky Pilot, Afrobeatniks, Missy and the Bluetones, and The Chills. I’m sure a few other bands these people play in have been left out.Many of its members have come out of the highly touted music department at Fort Lewis College, and most members also teach at Stillwater Music.

Linda and the Jazz Monsters will perform Friday, Nov. 10, at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durango.

The venue is an open-minded church, and just because it’s a church doesn’t make this a religious event, as it is sometimes used as a hall for musical performance. There should be more churches doubling as music venues; there’s usually good sound systems and, perhaps, because it is a church, it will cut down on the percentage of degenerates, or the people who, like a drunken speed-freak on acid with a the rude inability to recognize when they are holding someone’s conversation hostage, feel the need to babble incessantly while the band is playing. You’re in a church, the band is on, shut up.

Linda and the Jazz Monsters formed three years ago, a band put together to play house concerts in Dolores. The players are all seasoned musicians, a loose outfit adept at familiar jazz from all eras while zipping through swing, Latin, Afro-Cuban, and funk. There’s also some loose improvisation.

Jazz may not be showcased as much as other genres in Durango, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some musicians capable of playing it right. This band features musicians that are all students and teachers of the genre, playing the original hipster party music; it’s safe to say that this is a chance for a bunch of dedicated-to-the-genre musicians to rip through some straight-up jazz (and then some) in a more formal setting far from resembling a bar gig.

“Durango certainly appears to have a plethora of musical seams and jazz seams well suited to this liberal-perspective town,” said show organizer Bob Griffith. “Good music is good music. And jazz is good music.”

“This town is blessed with a concentration of high-level musicians like no other town this size. Many are jazz players, but most are versed at many styles, which is what it takes to make a living,” said Jazz Monsters drummer Clay Lowder. “We always wish for more jazz gigs. It’s special when you can bring together musicians and an audience that is there for the music. It doesn’t happen often. When it does, we love it.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected].


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