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Published: 2001/07/20
by Bill Kuntz

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe- House of Blues, Orlando 7/17

FUNK..it ain't no Mickey Mouse bullshit.
Last night, Disney World was transformed into Karl Denson's Tiny Universe as
the House of Blues filled up with dancing funkateers. Karl's return to
Florida was a cool treat in the middle of Florida's steamy summer. The band
was on the stage as the curtains peeled back and we were treated to a wall
funk full of sound.

KDTU began the night with the title track from his new album Dance Lesson #2
People started grooving and the dance floor
began to fill. There were not as many people in the house as I had hoped
for, but keeping it positive, we had plenty of dancing space to get our
groove on. Dance lesson was followed by Good for Me/Good for you. This
song is quickly becoming one of my favorite KDTU songs, with the funky bass
line and the catchy lyrics. This song will have you singing and dancing in
the streets until dawn. Latin Snap was next on the list. This Latin
flavored tune featured a great trumpet and flute exchange between Andy
Cleaves and Karl. This wild exchange of licks worked the crowd into a
frenzy. Next came Family Tree, a song with deep meaning about how we are
each "reflections of the root", a song that says to me, show love, share
love, and in return, people will reflect love. This song has such a
positive message: treat others well and in return, they will also treat
others well, and I only hope that this song's message will be echoed around
the world. Next came Criminal Master Mind, followed by Front Money. These
two songs fit together appropriately. Front Money had the entire floor
shakin' their "money makers". Mike Dillon from Critters Buggin', was on percussions this evening. He brought a
whole new element to the song Front Money with his beautiful xylophone solo.
I could never imagine a xylophone solo in Front Money would fit so well.
Mike's furious hammering on the keys took the xylophone and turned it into a
funk instrument. This guy was unbelievable with his skill. Mike's stylings
were a GREAT addition to the Tiny Universe sound. The first set ended with
Karl lecturing the guys about their "mac". "Fellas, you got to walk up to
her and say…I ain't scared of you", he tells us. "You gotta go out there
and get your Groove On". Karl is right on! So many single pretty chicas
out there shakin' their thangs, and the fellas are all leaning against the
bar with a beer in hand. Quit drinkin' and get out on dat floor and impress
the ladies with your moves;)

After a short break at the House of Rules, and let it be known, the House of
Rules in Disney Land aren't to kind to our kind;), the Tiny Universe took to
the stage again. As the curtains opened Karl started ripping it up on the
sax. This sax solo flowed into Grunt and segued in to Mighty Mouse. When
you hear that funk wall of sound, you understand why these songs have been
favorites for years. How Fine Is That was the next tune played followed by
Satisfied. During satisfied Mike D. took the xylophone to the funkiest
level possible. This guy is incredible, his talents shine not only on his
xylophone solos, but his percussion work is just as magical. A new song
entitled S&G, written by KDTU keyboardist David Veith, followed. David's
skills were featured and proved that he is definitely one of the funkiest
fellas to ever walk his fingers across the ivory keys. Brian Jordan, with a
new solo album on the way, was in full effect all evening as well. His
fluidity on his instrument kept eyes watching all evening as his fingers
moved up and down the fret of his guitar. S&G ended and a jazzier song from
Karl's solo album Blackened Red Snapper began. I don't remember the title,
but this songs jazziness let the entire Universe display their traditional
jazz skills. Ron Johnson, always hidden in the back, was playing the stand
up bass. He was holding nothing back when his turn to shine came. Keeping
the groove, but walking his fingers up and down that tall bass, had people's
jaws on the floor. BBQ was next to be played. Eric Bolivar
on drums and Mike Dillon on percussions traded licks and took an extended
percussion solo. Heavy in afro beats, they had the crowd moving to the
tribal beats. This was unfortunately the end of the second set, but we were
soon treated to a four-song encore. Use Me Up was being screamed at the
band, and sadly Karl announced once again, "we ONLY play that song in
Georgia". Rise and Shine started the encore with a fiery solo from Brian
Jordan. This song is funky but slows in the middle offering space for a
nice soulful, melodic guitar solo. Brian Jordan did NOT disappoint. The
classic Power of Soul was next and had the crowd jumping and pumping their
fist in the air. The song Jan was next to be followed by the next tune OCB.
OCB lead into another percussion jam that ended the evening's music. Karl's
band sounds tighter than ever. Every time I see them I am more impressed
with their individual talents as well as their skills to get a crowd movin'.
Those of you awaiting Karl's arrival in Chicago will not be disappointed.
Chi-town shows are ALWAYS on, and with the heat of summer bearing down, you
can be assured this two night run will be hotter than ever.

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