Funk and Jazz collide.
Meadowlark Jivin’ started spreading its musical wings in 1997 when they recorded the first tracks that would end up on their 2000 release: ‘Have You Ever Seen Meadowlark Jivin’?” The band’s sound is a melting pot cooked up with a healthy helping of old school Nawlins funk, a dash of Steely Dan, a splash of roots reggae, a cup of hip-hop and a few tablespoons of Memphis soul. Founder Brian Hull has been the band’s principal songwriter since its beginnings. Hull began writing funky and soulful compositions in the early 1990's when he formed the band Ezra's Poundcake with Bill Elder, aka Leo Black of The Dynamites Featuring Charles Walker. Meadowlark Jivin has released three discs “Have You Ever Seen Meadowlark Jivin” (2000) and “It’s the Groove” (2003) and their third disc “Soul Connection,” released in 2013.
Initially Hull collaborated with drummer/vocalist Audree Dillard and bassist Jim Abraham to lay down the unmistakeable groove that would become the band’s trademark. Next on the agenda was building a horn section made up of saxophonist Tony Exum Jr. and trumpeter Kirk Knuffke. Their first disc assembled some of the finest soul and jazz musicians in Colorado to create a sound that combined jazzy poetics with a sound that defied narrow labels. Among the musicians on board were Hammond organ master Walt Jenkins, elder statesmen of Colorado funk. Jazz trumpeter Hugh Ragin also added his elegant touch to the Meadowlark sound.
Meadowlark’s second disc, “It’s the Groove”, released in 2003, featured a new line up and covered more terrain musically. If the album’s first track ‘Fresh’ comes across with the funky sound Meadowlark fans had grown accustomed to, “The King of Jive Talking” pushed the envelope with jazzier vibes and unexpected twists and turns. Chris Beers, of Sound Rabbit fame, took over as drummer on the disc. Despite Dillard’s exit from center stage she was far from absent. Her background vocals, rapping and percussion were ever present.
In 2013 Meadowlark released their long awaited third disc “Soul Connection.” The disc is their most ambitious recording yet. Recorded at NFA Studios in Denver and produced by bassist Jim Abraham and Hull, the album mixes old school funk, reggae, Latin jazz, blues, and a healthy dose of experimental forays into uncharted territory. Stay tuned, meadowlark is still on the wing. Have you ever seen a Meadowlark Jive?