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Volume 91, Issue 28
Friday, October 17, 1997
One Step Beyond: on the road to jazz
Gazette File Photo
WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS TRIBE OF ZULU BUSHMEN SMILING ABOUT? One Step Beyond is coming to The Embassy tonight. Fellow tribesmen please leave your spears at the door.
By Carey Weinberg
Deep in the heart of central Ontario, a band called One Step Beyond was born. Through the jazzy beats recently recorded from the members' psyches onto the sophomore album and the Acid Jazz scene burgeoning everywhere, the septet sent themselves on the road.
What the road holds for OSB is nothing but an open highway of opportunity. What brought the band to the road was a musical vehicle of fun grunt-work, bassist Sandy Mamane says.
"When I started, I just wanted to gig my ass off and get good at what I was doing and that's what happened, so I'm kind of lucky," muses Sandy. In the real world, it has nothing to do with luck. A few years of hard work and dedication from seven musicians bangin' it out and boppin' 'til the joint cleared describes the boys' humble beginnings as the house band at one of Toronto's hip Queen Street clubs. Luck's got nothing to do with it.
OSB recently toured with jam-band, super-power, Moe through our swanky, stately neighbours to the south and out east where the band had nothin' but a party. OSB are amidst a tremendous streak of well-supported shows, which is difficult considering the band gets relatively no commercial airplay. College stations play them, so where does the fan base come from?
"I guess it's just word of mouth. What we tend to concentrate on is putting out a good record, but we treat the live element as its own entity," states Sandy. "I think what makes people supportive is they know even though they're coming to see the same band, it's not like we have a set routine," says Sandy, who keeps OSB's funkiness alive la his bass playing.
"We concentrate on trying to perform well every night and keeping it fresh. That's the real challenge in any job it doesn't matter if it's creative or not, if you get bored doing your thing you can tell." One Step Beyond is anything but boring. The band has a sound that'll enter your system through your earholes and through the floor making that groove-thing vibrate giving you relatively no choice but to dance.
Music enables people to express what words can not. This is a band devoid of the verbal, but expression and communication is everything. "It's like seven is one. You can react and play anything and someone will be there to either support you, or react to what you've done."
Betwixt the constant touring, OSB took some time to record the follow-up to their successful first CD. The second CD, quite possibly being released at tonight's gig, is full of new textures, a quality which follows the band like a faithful dog. "The writing got better in terms of composition. There's some really good grooves the soloists are getting better." One of the new songs entitled "Silvia and the Crow" has a mellifluously melodic guitar lead where guitarist Andy scats an intro deliciously backed by organist Jamie Shields.
I think of One Step Beyond into the depths of the tour traversing the coasts promoting themselves into the successes in the Acid Jazz kingdom. I think of One Step Beyond. I think of One Step Beyond.
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Copyright © The Gazette 1997