Greyboy Allstars face unexpected hit |

Greyboy Allstars face unexpected hit

The Greyboy Allstars perform at 10 p.m. Thursday at Belly Up Aspen. (Stewart Oksenhorn/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN The Greyboy Allstars were born without a plan to be a band. In the early ’90s, DJ Greyboy, a legend on the San Diego club scene, wanted a band to play for the release party for his then-new CD; he asked saxophonist Karl Denson to assemble a unit that could get people shaking for that one night. But the groove was good enough that the quintet – keyboardist Robert Walter, drummer Zak Najor, guitarist Elgin Park and bassist Chris Stillwell – stuck together. As the Greyboy Allstars, the fivesome released three CDs, toured frequently and earned a reputation for reinvigorating the groove-jazz style, with a sound they called “West Coast boogaloo,” before they broke up in the late ’90s

Now, with the release of “What Happened to TV?” set for next week, the Greyboys again face what might be an unanticipated future. “What Happened to TV?” the first album from the band in nearly a decade, just might feature that most unexpected of things for a band that made its name with instrumental music – a genuine hit.”How Glad I Am,” a shot of old-school funk and soul, is catching a bit of fire. The song is relentlessly upbeat and catchy as hell. And it has something that few songs from Greyboy past included – vocals. On “How Glad I Am,” the Living Sisters – a trio of Inara George, Eleni Mandel and Becky Stark – contribute the ingredient of simple but memorable lyrics that gets a song on the radio. According to Erik Newson, the band’s manager (as well as talent buyer for Aspen’s Belly Up), the song has given the Greyboys a radio presence as they have never had before, getting onto the playlists of numerous radio stations.

It’s got to have the Greyboys thinking about keeping round two going indefinitely. The band is scheduled to tour through mid-May, a stretch that takes them across the country. The Greyboys, still featuring the original lineup, perform at Belly Up tonight.Over the past nine years, the Greyboys fell mostly by the wayside as band members pursued other projects: Denson formed Tiny Universe and also his KD3, a jazz project that appeared earlier this year at the Wheeler Opera House. Walter founded his 20th Congress; Park worked on film scores. Najor went to seminary. The Greyboys toured only sporadically, and only the most diehard fans held out hope for a reunion album.

Now, all they have to do is turn on the radio to get a shot of West Coast boogaloo.Tickets are $30 for the Greyboy Allstars. Doors open at 8 p.m. for a 10 p.m. show. Belly Up Aspen is at 450 S. Galena St.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is

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