Dave King Trucking Company, June 12, 2010, Live at the Artists’ Quarter

Posted on June 13, 2010 by

Dave King Trucking Company Live at the Artists’ Quarter, Saturday June 12th, 2010

Can you believe it, another band for drummer Dave King? The man obviously needs many creative outlets and the Trucking Company is more than valid.

The band consists of bassist Adam Linz of Fat Kid Wednesdays, Eric Fratzke of Happy Apple on guitar, Brandon Wozniak  of the Atlantis Quartet on saxophone, and of course, King, of Golden Valley is Now, Happy Apple, Bad Plus, Love Cars, Halloween Alaska, Gang Font and many, many more projects, as the drummer and a little strumming of the piano strings.

King opened the night as the band waited for their cue as he went back and forth from the keys to the strings on the piano, playing something that sounded like a descending flatted blues scale augmented with piano string plucks. The last pluck coincided perfectly with Fratzke’s entrance, sounding like King had recorded a tape loop of his last statement on the piano. The band found the groove and worked into a fusion piece called “April In Gary.” The second piece, “You Can’t Say a Poem In Concrete” was a much freer piece, still leaning a little toward fusion with Fratzke’s guitar showing more signs of Larry Coryell school than Grant Green or Wes Montgomery.

“Blue Candy” had a total self-absorbed intro but it all amazingly came together in a common theme that changed from tension to elation. I was beginning to understand the band.

The only planned cover of the night was Joe Lovano’s “Fort Worth,” with Linz very adept at carrying the solo bass intro much further than the original. King was obviously digging the groove and when Wozniak entered and wrapped himself around the minimal chord changes, the piece got bigger and it sounded like the hippest spy movie soundtrack to date.

Wozniak and Fratzke play well off each other, with Brandon being very economical in his phrasing and Fratzke being as wordy on the guitar as King is between songs. the number, “Church Clothes With Wallet Chain” was a great vehicle for Wozniak, saying a lot but yet leaving some great silent space.

The band closed the first set with “The Road Leads Home;” a piece, if you can imagine this incorporate the rhythms of the Tremelo’s “Here Comes My Baby,” lines from the Champs “Tequila” and then it’s all thrown into a free jazz blender.

The second set opened with a tasteful Fratzke guitar intro that King joined in progress with some Blakey-type rumble. The song evolved within the band and then was deconstructed again to just King and Fratzke playing chicken; each pushing the other toward destruction but never coming apart.

Of course the night contained the witty Dave King banter between songs, once acknowledging a Toby Keith restaurant in his neighborhood, another about his mythical course at DeVry University that lead to a one minute plow through Nirvana’s “Come As You Are,” and one monologue complaining about people naming their kids Braden. He preferred names like Julie & Steven, but not Stephen with the “ph” Unless it’s Stephen J. Cannell. I’m not sure how many folks picked up the “Rockford Files” reference. Another one of these rants lead to a flatted “Catholic-chant” of the “Happy Days” theme song, bringing another cover to the set.

The highlight of the second set was the number, “The Broad Side of a Silent Barn,” it went straight to my heart like a Cannonball Adderley song. Fratzke’s guitar work was on par in approach and sound to a Joe Zawinul keyboard riff. The song never went outside itself and showed the band had restraint.

It was a great show. The band was tight, you could see its vision and its future. Watch your local listings for more performances.

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