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Ugly Elephant -- "Ugly Elephant"

In 2008 a jazz-meets-funk instrumental band called Ugly Elephant formed after a conversation between musicians at Austin's Eeyore's Birthday Party. The five piece band has been playing around town at venues like Ruta Maya, Headhunters, and Red Eyed Fly. On Thursday August 5 they will be heading into their three-night at three-venue CD release party.

I'm not really a jazz enthusiast. My knowledge of jazz is pretty much confined to The Cosby Show and the times I wander into the Elephant Room. That is to say, I enjoy the genre, but I'm not the guy who can pick apart a freestyle jam. I do appreciate the collective sound it produces. I'm a dabbler.

Ugly Elephant's debut self-titled CD is something I could truly get into. I'd call it "accessible jazz." It's more jam band music that happens when musicians who truly have an extreme knowledge of their instruments and craft get together and let loose.

The first track, "Africa" kicks in with a nice baseline before the wa-wa guitar and horn fills it out. "Dorkus Rex" features my favorite moment on this CD when it breaks the freeform jam to play about 30 seconds of a 1960s sock-hop groove. "Whole Lotta Nasty" features a killer guitar jam. The final track, "The Metal Song" comes in full force, but then pulls back into a flute and keyboard driven track that would make Ray Manzarek smile.

If you're into fun free-form funk and jazz fusion you'll dig Ugly Elephant. The band is made up of Dave "DJ" Johnson (drums), Chris Hart (guitar), Tim Girardot (keys), Austin Simmons (bass) and Mitch Quintanilla (saxophone).

The CD Release weekend begins Thursday August 5 when at 10pm they'll have a listening party at Nomad. Friday they'll play Headhunters and Saturday Ruta Maya is where they'll be. See more on their MySpace Page

Sean Claes - INsite Magazine
August 2010, pg. 16

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