Fraser / Live Music: Brian Jordan Trio lays down the funk
January 30, 2009
When it comes to the Brian Jordan Trio, three is not a crowd but a comfortable fit.
This is the second year for the band, brought together through the talents of Brian Jordan (guitar/vocals), Fraser’s own Andy Irvine (bass), and Dan Luehring (drums). Each has an extensive background of touring, personal accomplishments and world-wide notoriety. Together, they have performed around 30 shows a year.
Jordan is said to show complete command of his guitar with the trio. He is best known for his seven-plus years “laying down the funk” for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (on hiatus). Most recently, he performed for a series of shows with Particle and has joined Irvine for several On the One shows as guest guitarist. He also performs regularly with art rock band Banyan, has toured with Grammy award-winning singer Lauryn Hill, and is working on a solo album.
He is the band’s frontman and studied classical, jazz and composition in college. Jordan has shared stages around the world with music legends like James Brown and The Allman Brothers Band. A show with the Dave Mathews Band at Madison Square Garden, Jordan said, was “insane” and a career highlight. He said Brown came out and played “Sex Machine” and game him the first guitar solo.
Irvine is best known for his driving grooves and song-writing skills. He is a touring member of the San Diego-based funk/soul group On the One. Since joining up with them in May of 2007, he has been busy logging more than 250 shows touring throughout the United States. Irvine’s history also includes national touring with such groups as Giant People and founding the south Florida “futuristic groove trio” Beanstalk. He has contributed solid bass work to 29 albums with world-wide artists throughout his 25-year career.
Shortly after Luehring got his first guitar, a Harmony electric, the aspiring musician turned on the amp and solo tunes for a group of friends.
“What happened in the next three seconds,” he said, “changed my life.” During a sweet riff, a string snapped and inspired him to trade in his pick for a pair of drumsticks.
Jordan saw him play during some “shadow sessions,” liked his hip-hop sensibility, and said Luehring is a “major part of what I’m trying to bring to the band.” The drummer, a bike mechanic who has been playing mostly with Denver bands, said it has been a great learning experience. Working with the trio, he said, has also given him a “glimpse of how I want to be living my life.”
With skilled improvisation the group is like the jazz base it works from. Brian Jordan Trio’s sound is best described as a highly energized blend of funk, rock, jazz, and electronica ” with some creative wiggle room. Jordan said they are “always evolving” and Luehring and their new material have brought in new energy.
Noted influences include James Brown, Prince, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, P-Funk, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Sly Stone, the Beatles, and “on and on and on.”
Irvine said the band has been writing new material and that they “always got new stuff” for their shows. Jordan estimates there will be about five new tunes on Friday’s set list.