StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Six from Karl Denson's Tiny Universe


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This week, let's check out some recent performances from saxophonist and vocalist Karl Denson, who with his band Tiny Universe is coming back to St. Louis next week for the first time since 2010 to perform on Saturday, December 10 at the Old Rock House.

That relatively long absence may be attributed in part to the fact that Denson, a California native who turns 60 at the end of this month, has been spending time since 2014 as the touring saxophonist with the Rolling Stones, a pretty choice sideman gig for any musician. Then again, Denson also is a member of the bands Greyboy All-Stars and Slightly Stoopid, both of which also have their own touring and recording schedules to be considered.

Long before the Stones, though, Denson played here a number of times in the 2000s, both at the now-defunct Finale in Clayton with a trio, and at several different venues with Tiny Universe, a six- (or now) seven-piece band that focuses on danceable, groove-oriented music.

That particular musical approach has made Denson and Tiny Universe a popular act on the jam band circuit, and thanks to the propensity of jam band fans to record their favorite acts (dating back to the many tapers who continue to trade audio of Grateful Dead shows), there are plenty of videos of Denson online.

Today's first two clips were recorded in September 2016 at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA. The song in the first clip up above is called “Fearless," and after the jump, it's “Satisfied."

Next are two songs Denson and company recorded in 2014 for the web series Jam in the Van, “My Baby Like to Boogaloo" and “Grenadiers".

The final two videos are full sets, from from a gig in January 2016 at Ardmore Music Hall, and, last but not least, from a tribute to Prince presented on Halloween night in 2015 (well before the Purple One's untimely death) at Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY.

For more about Denson and his gig with the Rolling Stones, see this interview he did last year with the San Diego Union-Tribune, and his brand-new interview with PRI's “Rolling Stones Radio Hour," which just came out on the first of this month and also discusses the current Tiny Universe tour.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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