Karl Denson is a man who flat out knows how to get down, and who always brings an uplifting vibe. Combine that with the supreme talents of the rest of the Greyboy Allstars, and you have a recipe for musical magic.
The Greyboy Allstars know how to kick off a tour on the right foot -- they don’t start in a boondocks town to get out the rust that they don’t want anyone in the big city to see. They know that the first show is key for establishing a proper vibe for the rest of a tour, which is why they kicked off a ten-date West Coast run with a Spring Equinox blowout in downtown Santa Cruz. Not quite as big as San Francisco’s Fillmore, the Catalyst still holds a decent-size crowd while maintaining an intimacy that makes it one of the Golden State’s premier venues. The Catalyst also serves tasty pizza until 2 a.m., a quality service for a venue known for late-night throw-downs. It was a perfect setting for stirring up the positive vibration of a spiritual spring cleaning. Saxman and band leader Karl Denson has spent the decade going back and forth between the seminal acid jazz of the Greyboy Allstars and the slightly more psychedelic rock attack of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. In either form, he’s a man who flat out knows how to get down, and who always brings an uplifting vibe. Combine that with the supreme talents of the rest of the Greyboy Allstars, and you have a recipe for musical magic. Maybe there was just a touch of rust, as the first song didn’t quite catch fire. But Denson and the boys rectified this in a major way with song number two, “Right On”, which caught a spark right out of the gate and created a flame that the band kept alive for the rest of the night. “Volcano” kept things burning, while “Still Waiting” introduced Denson on lead vocals for some bluesy funk about the girl who went away. Ace keyboardist Robert Walter led the way on the jam with some superb organ work, followed by sizzling solos from guitarist Elgin Park on his semi-hollow body guitar, and then Denson on sax.