The Wonder of Intervision soulful jazz
CARBONDALE Like his fellow members in the soulful quintet Intervision, drummer Jon Barber is a fan of Stevie Wonder.In fact, the Wonder influence extends not just to the band’s music, but its name.The group came together at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Ore., where they played quite a bit of jazz, evident in every tune on both Intervision albums.We started jamming together and we decided weve got a good thing going, Barber said.In 2004, they decided on the name Intervision, which is a reflection of our collective musical influences, as well as a reference to one of their favorite albums, Wonders 1973 Grammy-winning LP Innervisions.Each member brings his own influences, but we all like Stevie Wonder, Barber affirmed.Lead singer Paul Creighton, too, has described the group as a collective, and says the groups name recognizes the members reliance on one another.That codependency has helped Intervision create a groove epidemic in their hometown of Portland, Ore., and become well known in the Northwest.Now, the band is aiming to take its soulful blend of jazz and pop to other parts of the country to see what other markets are out there, Barber said.On tour to promote their 2007 album, Shades of Neptune, theyll play shows in Denver, Boulder, Durango, and Carbondale during the bands first swing through Colorado. The group plays Steves Guitars in downtown Carbondale at 8 p.m. Sunday (admission is $10).Though the group is only just branching out from its home territory in the Northwest, its garnering comparisons to the likes of Wonder, Steely Dan and Jamiroquai.Lead singer Creightons sound invokes Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sting and the improvisational acuity of Kurt Elling.Honestly, thats an honor for us, Barber said. Especially for Paul to be compared with Stevie Wonder he knows how to channel that spirit. Thats exactly what were going for, so its a compliment.Amy Atkins, at the Boise Weekly, offered this assessment of Creightons vocal abilities: Creighton can sing in a low, bass tone one minute and an almost dog-whistle-high falsetto the next with seldom a crack and never a miss. Hes the poster boy for vocal control, with a prowess thats a combination of innate talent and practiced skill thats both lauded and envied.But there are also influences of Tom Petty, Stone Temple Pilots, and Dave Matthews sewn in by the rhythmic riffs of guitarist/vocalist Tony Stovin.Keyboardist Kit Taylor rounds out the three-vocal front and the bands noted three-part harmonies with his own twists of jazz and hip-hop, while bassist Mike Glidden and Barber lay down their signature, undulating groove.The music is eclectic but also flows well throughout the album. Songs range from the fast-paced jazz-influenced 10,000 Days, to the poppier All Im Thinkin About, to the reggae rhythms of Spare Time, and the sweet, soulful stylings of Wonder in Violet, showing just how tight these guys are both in craft and friendship.The thing for us is just making great music. Were not overly concerned about making a pop hit. The thing that keeps us going is writing good music and performing, Barber said.
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