Parallel 23 (P23) is an all-original quartet from San Francisco playing TIMBA FUNK.
The Sound: Herbie Hancock's Cuban Headhunters... Medeski, Martin, and Wood with a percussionist... Los Van Van's rhythm section jamming out...The Meters at a rumba in Havana...
P23 focuses on live group chemistry über-alles with Afro-Caribbean folkloric beats, experimental jazz harmonies, funky Latin grooves, electronic textures, and soulful melodic hooks. Intricately arranged compositions transform into entirely free group improvisations - the quartet does not hesitate to takes chances in its constant musical exploration. This energy generated on stage is inspiring steadily growing audiences to booty shaking ecstasy on the dance floor.
The Band: When Jason Moen (keyboards), Colin Douglas (drums), Sam Bevan (bass), and Matt Lucas (percussion) formed Parallel 23 in 2005, they had already been playing together in different bands for over 5 years.
As successful freelance musicians, the four saw an opportunity to craft a new sound culled from their varied experiences in the San Francisco Bay scene. Collectively, they have performed everything from rock (New York Dolls, Slash), bluegrass (Dave Grisman), jazz (Roswell Rudd, Bjorkestra), salsa (QBA, Fito Reinoso), and blues (Zakiya Hooker) to Afro-Cuban folkloric music (Michael Spiro, Olorun).
In 2005, they recorded their debut EP self-titled "P23", and their much anticipated first full length CD is scheduled for a late 2006 release. Nearly 20,000 fans have already taken a listen to pre-release tracks on MySpace!
The Road: In 2006, P23 toured the Western U.S. playing clubs like Temple Bar (LA), Trilogy (Boulder), Elbo Room (SF), Green Room (Reno), Moe's Alley (Santa Cruz), Winston's (San Diego) and Boom Boom Room (SF), as well as festivals (SF Summer Music Conference, Denver Int. Film Festival). In 2007, P23 will begin its journey to the rest of the U.S., Europe, and beyond.
Collaboration: P23 invites different guest artists to almost every show. The eclectic cast of characters includes DJs (DJ Platurn- Oakland Faders), rappers (Panama), soul singers (Hazel Miller- Big Head Todd and the Monsters), Cuban soneros (Erick Bareria), horns (Evan Francis, Marcus Stevens- Spaceheater, Marcus Shelby Orchestra), bass (Kai Eckhardt- Garaj Mahal, John McLaughlin), and even hip hop dance companies (Mo' Rocks Crew).
"P23 Live" CD Reviews
World Music Connection
San Francisco-based Parallel 23 is comprised of just four guys: Sam Bevan on bass, Colin Douglas on drums, Matt Lucas on percussion and Jason Moen on keyboards. There's guest artists handling turntables, sax and Latino rapping in a few spots on this live recording, but even the tracks with only the core quartet are so intricate and full of sound that you'd swear there's more than just eight hands and the credited instruments at work.
These cats play their way through a mixture of jazz, funk and Afro-Cuban grooves that's heavy on expert chops and light on waste. They go into some trippy, almost psychedelic passages here and there (made more surreal by audience sounds off in the distance) without letting anything gimmicky intrude or allowing the consistently clean live mix to get sloppy.
From the freewheeling opener "Cloud Over Jobu" to the Jamaican inflections of the concluding "Mali Dub," Parallel 23 keep it tight, jolt the tunes with occasional surprise twists and treat the crowd (this was recorded at the Elbo Room in the band's hometown) to an evening of deeply felt fusion that makes you wish you'd been there. Recommended.
Santa Barbara Independent
"Fun Cuban Funk with an Indie Twist"
Think hipsters dancing like hippies. Think jazz snobs dancing salsa. Think stumbling upon some dimly lit bar in Barcelona, filled with people in summer clothes laughing and grooving freely, and you have some idea of what to expect from San Francisco's up-and-coming Parallel 23, whose eclectic sound is probably most accurately described as Latin funk. Collectively well versed in Afro-Caribbean folkloric music, jazz, blues, and rock, drummer Colin Douglas, bassist Sam Bevan, percussionist Matt Lucas, and keyboardist Jason Moen have been boldly experimenting with merging their diverse sounds since 2005.
Their debut LP Parallel 23 Live is certain to geographically and numerically expand the quartet's already impressive San Francisco fan base, and has helped land the group gigs throughout the Western U.S., including a dynamic Santa Barbara appearance at Frameworks recently. Recorded live at the Elbo Room in the Mission last summer, the album creatively incorporates the laughter and chatter of happily lubricated partygoers to help set the mood. Although this is decidedly upbeat dance music, the booty shaking drum beats occasionally take the backstage, allowing the keyboard and bass to mellow into trippy melodies more befitting laying back and watching the stars. Enlivened with guest saxophonists, DJs, and rappers, Parallel 23 Live is a testament to the quartet's technical skill as individuals and improvisational audacity as a group.
Let's hope Santa Barbara is due for another P23 pit stop sometime soon.