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Snowmass goes to the dark side

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

Courtesy photo
Bob Coulter |

If you go …

Return to Dark Side of the Moon

• 8:50-10 p.m. June 7

• Main stage, Snowmass Mammoth Fest

• Friday pass $35; two-day pass $80.

• Tickets at http://www.snowmassmammothfest.com

Lots of musicians like to cover Pink Floyd, but a particular set of artists who will headline the first night of the Snowmass Mammoth Fest are taking a unique approach to their rendition of “Dark Side of the Moon.”

The brainchild of Melvin Gibbs, formerly of the Rollins Band, “Return to Dark Side of the Moon” involves an all-star cast of musicians and celebrates the 40th anniversary of the landmark album. The artists are coming together to perform a jazzy, instrumental rendition of the album arranged by Gibbs.

Gibbs often works on projects like this and was looking for something new to do, something people wouldn’t expect from him or this group of artists.

“I just made a list of different projects and said, ‘OK, I could do this, this, this and this,’ and I put the first list away, and I thought about it, and I was in the bathroom, literally, and the idea of doing ‘Dark Side’ came to my mind,” Gibbs said. “I started laughing to myself, and I’m like, ‘OK, this will really work.’”

“Dark Side” was a very compact record for Pink Floyd, with short songs and concise lyrics, Gibbs said.

“I thought it would be interesting to put the jam-band aspect of what Pink Floyd did back into the music to see where it would take it,” Gibbs said. “And you know, I’m very happy with the way things have turned out. The band sounds really good, and we’re doing some really interesting things with the music.”

Gibbs said the performance, which has been done only once before in Paris, aims to balance the desires of people familiar with the album and people who just want to hear something different. Gibbs has written new sections for some songs and rearranged the vocals. The sound is more in line with what this set of musicians does, Gibbs said.

“So it’s similar to the record, but it’s not the same at all,” he said. “We’re definitely putting our stamp on this music.”

Those musicians include saxophonist Karl Denson, singers Corey Glover and Nona Hendryx, guitarist Dewayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight, keyboardist Bernie Worrell and drummer Sim Cain in addition to Gibbs on bass.

“The balancing act of this group is to have something that satisfies the people who are kind of used to the record and something that satisfies people who have no clue what the record means and just want to hear something that’s interesting,” Gibbs said. “We got a really good response the first time and hope that will continue.”

Because the album is fairly short, Gibbs said the group will likely add a song to the performance. In Paris, that was a remix of “Money.”

“I haven’t quite figured out what it’s going to be” at Mammoth Fest, Gibbs said.


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