Story and Photos By Matt SchwenkeOnce a part of the Greyboy Allstars with the talented keyboardist Robert Walter (who also has a solo gig), Karl Denson has taken his jazz background and performance experience and gone full-out funk. To resist moving some body part in rhythm during a Karl Denson's Tiny Universe show is both futile and ridiculous. Taking the stage at a crowded Luther's Blues, Denson belted out sax riffs from underneath a cowboy hat and lit up the crowd.
Unlike the typical cowboy, however, Denson did not do it all by his lonesome, but instead shot-up the place with the help of his band who were bearing drums, bass, guitar, keys and trumpet. The majority of the solos went to the quickhanded Denson on sax or flute and the equally quick David Veith on keys. Chris Littlefield provided some percussion along with solos on different horns throughout the night, and guitarist Brian Jordan, although more reserved than the previous show in Madison, had a cool hand when solos were directed his way. Filling out the posse of musicians were bassist Ron Johnson and drummer John Staten who held down the groove with the big guns at the back of the stage. The fire that emitted from these musicians was in perfect sync and kept the crowd's feet moving throughout the entire show.
The two-set show, which started rather late, finished strong and was engaging throughout. Whether the crowd preferred jazz, funk or blues, there is pieces of all of those styles in KDTU, and no matter what tune they play, there will always be plenty of chances for the audience to shake it. KDTU put electricity in the Madison air again, and at the end of the night the crowd was hootin' and hollerin' for more.
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