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Published: 2011/11/21
by Sam Robertson

Steve Kimock and Friends, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC – 11/4

Photo by Vernon Webb

Over the past thirty years, Steve Kimock has made a living playing with just about every musician imaginable, from past members of the Grateful Dead to jazz greats and funk pioneers. For a November 4th show at the Brooklyn Bowl, Steve called on a mix of old and new friends, including his longtime pal bassist Bobby Vega (Zero, KVHW), keyboardist Bernie Worrell (of Parliament/Funkadelic and Talking Heads fame), and drummer Wally Ingram (Stockholm Syndrome, David Lindley). Though the band has only played a handful of shows together before, Kimock and Vega have developed a telepathic communication over their 25 years of playing together, and they ensured that this show would be surprisingly tight considering the band as a whole has so little experience together.

Opening with the reggae-tinged “A New Africa,” the band ran through two sets of classic Kimock material from his days with Zero and KVHW. After Kimock and Worrell pushed the band into deep psychedelic exploration on “It’s Up To You,” Steve’s son, drummer John Morgan Kimock, and a horn section joined the band for the rest of the show. Though he is barely old enough to drink, John Morgan Kimock has been jamming with Vega, his father’s longtime bandmate, since he was old enough to walk.

The bolstered band jumped right into the explosively funky “You’re The One.” Kimock and Worrell traded scorching solos as the two drummers locked into a tight groove with Vega’s bassline. They then slammed into the dirty funk of Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman,” before seguing back into “You’re The One.” The band changed direction with the next song, moving into spacey jazz with “Tangled Hangars” which allowed the horn section of Peter Apfelbaum on saxophone and Steven Bernstein on trumpet to shine. Ripe with teases of John Coltrane’s “Acknowledgement” from A Love Supreme, Kimock, Worrell, Bernstein and Apfelbaum traded licks in a display of dizzying psychedelic weirdness that also hinted at the Grateful Dead’s “Spanish Jam.”

Surprisingly, Bernstein and Apfelbaum had never played with Kimock before, but they immediately took the band to soaring heights on “Tangled Hangars,” and made their presence felt even more in the second set. In the beginning of that set, Bernstein, who recently released an album featuring Bernie Worrell that pays tribute to Sly & The Family Stone, led the band into a Sly-influenced jam which featured teases of “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” and “Sing A Simple Song.” Bernstein continued to stand out, bending minds with his self-invented slide trumpet on a fiery version of Kimock’s “Long Form Part 4.” With curfew approaching, the band opted not to waste time with an encore break and instead closed the show out with a lengthy, transcendental performance of “Golden Road.” The song found Kimock moving over to lap steel guitar, as he weaved through the rhythm and horns, coaxing ethereal, heavenly noises from his guitar.

With so many musicians on stage, including some that had never even played with each other before, a show like this could have easily turned into a disorganized jam session. But anchored by the rhythm section of Wally Ingram, John Morgan Kimock and Vega, and with Steve directing the music on the fly with hand signals, the band managed to always stay on the same page while providing fresh, experimental takes on Kimock’s compositions.

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