Jeff Coffin, saxophonist of the Dave Matthews Band and his own Mu’Tet, and fellow Jeff Babko, keyboardist for James Taylor, Mark Guiliana’s LA Beat Music and nightly on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, had made a trio record with super drummer Vinnie Colaiuta back in 2005 called Mondo Trio (AbstractLogix). This “musicians’ favorite” begged for a follow up recording, but this time Babko wanted to try something different. The relocation of Steely Dan drummer Keith Carlock to Nashville, Coffin’s hometown, triggered the idea of doing a project there. However, this time Babko wanted to expand the band “to take the edge of my left hand bass duties”, he says.
Inspired by reading guitarist Pat Martino’s biography, Babko looked back to Martino’s 1976 Starbright album for inspiration. That record’s bassist, Will Lee (Late Show w/ David Letterman, The Fab Faux, Brecker Brothers) seemed like a perfect fit for this new unexplored project. With the inspiration of Martino as a backdrop, Babko thought it now was important to bring in a guitarist. The remarkable Nir Felder, which NPR called “the next big jazz guitarist”, was the first and only choice. The Band Of Other Brothers was born.
Engineer Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Warren Zevon) brought the band to Nashville’s legendary Blackbird Studios, one of the top recording studios in the world. Coffin, Babko, and Felder each brought new material, specifically written for this “supergroup”. Felder’s tune, “Babko” is a challenging melody with a fiery section for exciting improvisation. Babko’s “Heartlandia” is an evocative roots based vehicle for Coffin’s full bodied saxophone sound. And Coffin’s “Miss Fancy Pants,” a radio favorite, lets the Band Of Other Brothers get funky.
“The collective energy of this band is a product of 5 guys with a ton of passion and each his own current experience and influence,” says Babko. Is it a jam band, a jazz band, a fusion band, or an instrumental psychedelic band? That’s for the audience to decide.
During the time off from each of their busy touring, recording and television schedules, the Band Of Other Brothers convenes and sparks fly. CITY OF CRANES, the group’s debut recording, is available on Ear Up! Records.
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Nir Felder, Keith Carlock, Will Lee, Jeff Babko, Jeff Coffin