"And the Monkey says, 'Look ma...no vines.'"

by Jim Vanos

report filed 1/21/00 12:54 pm - My wife and I had just finished a tasty veggie burrito from Chipotles located on Poets Row here in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado. I kissed my 3 month old daughter Guinness and made trek to the 77 Landcruiser (Frankie) to whisk me off to my destination of music.

A science fiction writer once wrote about a character of his,owning a tavern in known space located on the tip of constellation Draco....the closest I have is a little funky tavern down off the constellation of E. Colfax Ave.. or to locals "The Fax". Quixote's "True Blue" establishment run by Jay and Phil Bianchi pulls in quite the music..that others in town would not bring in. There is a spot in Quixote's in the back corner against the bar beneath a print of Vanilla Fudge concert promo. I call it the "kind zone" due to the sound/visual advantages.

Upon this brisk Colorado evening, Wise Monkey Orchestra, a band introduced to me once by a close friend while in search of a ruthless couple of Left-Handed beer thieves located in Crested Butte, Colorado, were going to lay down some jams at Quixote's. The band has gone through some personnel changes and I for one needed to experience this change first ear. The band climbed up on stage around 10:30pm and immediately went into some mind bending/ear twisting funk. For a Wednesday the tavern was packed and shakin..

Marty Schwartz the new guitarist addition, expressed a Jeff "Skunk"Baxter meets Frank Zappa style of riff rippin shaker notes. Bruce Stodola, new drummer, played with power, speed and finesse w/o missing a step with bassist Chad Stewart. The band appeared more relaxed than i have ever scene. They layed down music across all CD/s and Allie Stewart's voice was raw/powerful as ever. She has impressed me the more I take ear to her. Keyboardest Sean Hart tickled my soul with awesome range of R &B/ funk/soul notes. Pipe blower/horn tooter extravenere A.G. (Andy Geib) has grown into Mr. Man w/ his style and power of horns..the whole band was ONE and expressed kind/happy affect.

Andy played in the University of Arizona marching band the same time period my wife/Final Four Basketball team/and I were in Tucson. We picked up conversation where we always leave off "Arizona dominates the pac-10 in hoops" Manager Reed Stewart an Arizona State man does not groove to our conversation. In talking further with Marty he feels blessed to be with the group. His friendship with Bruce, coupled with Bruce relationship with the band turned into twists of fate for Marty to incorporate his style and grace to the band...being only their 6th gig together Marty feels "as time with each other progress so will we..it is growing experience and a good thang."

Vince Lorenzo, percussionist from network band StirFried, is in town to promote and was itching to jump up with the Monkeys and jam...he was very impressed with their style..and cohesiveness. Reed and Vince chuckled about a "double bill" sometime.. both feel that network bands need to help each other out to promote kind music around the country. The first set was lengthy and intense, second set short but sweet. Allie expressed that the band was under the weather and her voice stressed. Could have fooled me,,they appeared energetic and tight. Goes to show the deadication they have to their craft.

The group will be heading east then south through the Carolinas (Boone,NC and Asheville, my personal favorites), Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia etc..then will be back in Denver at The Gothic Theatre...April Fools night...

In closing this group gets better with age and impress me every time i hear them...these monkeys don't need vines when they have kind strings to hang from...when in Denver stop into Quixote's True Blue..meet the Bianchi boyz have a pint and look for the long-hair in the Kind Zone.