The Greyboy Allstars at Brooklyn Bowl
When the Greyboy Allstars first formed, two decades ago next year, they were nothing short of groundbreaking. They have influenced an entire generation of bands playing improvisational music in a funk format. Meanwhile, they have outlasted most of their contemporaries, because they have continued to enjoy working together and have honed the essence of their collaboration – also refining their chops while busy with their highly successful individual musical endeavors – without ever chasing trends. Throughout, they have continued to operate completely independently, slightly under the radar, with no major label support or radio airplay, while attracting thousands to legendary shows in cities across the country.
The Greyboy Allstars came together in 1994, when the individual members were asked to perform at a record release party for the landmark acid jazz and club staple “Freestylin,” by San Diego’s DJ Greyboy, who was famous for spinning `70s soul and funk. The guys so enjoyed playing together that they decided to continue on as a band. Right out of the box, The Greyboy Allstars starting playing weekly at San Diego’s now defunct Green Circle, weekends at San Francisco’s Elbo Room and various clubs throughout Europe. By playing danceable boogaloo music within the soul jazz genre, they became a national and international phenomenon. The lineup of the band remains nearly the same as it did on their breakthrough, West Coast Boogaloo: Denson on horns and vocals, Robert Walter on keyboards, Elgin Park (aka Michael Andrews) on guitars and vocals, and Chris Stillwell on bass. Original drummer Zak Najor has passed the baton on to Aaron Redfield, an old friend of the band and frequent collaborator.