Volume 93, Issue 96

Thursday, March 30, 2000


Donoghue hosts literary event

Robinson serves up a comedy smorgasbord

Talking acid jazz One Step Beyond

Talking acid jazz One Step Beyond

©Gazette file photo

By Aaron St. John
Gazette Staff

Acid jazz legends One Step Beyond are sure of one thing – they don't want to be rock stars.

"We don't want to do the pop band thing," says bassist Sandy Mamane. "We don't want to work within one genre and write about the same cliché topics. We just love to play and want to play whatever we feel like. We don't want to be tied down to any one style. It's all about having a good time."

The band formed seven years ago in Toronto and have become something of a fixture in the mega-city's club scene, regularly playing at shows around the city. They've also managed to expose the entire continent to their unique blend of R&B and jazz, with tours of Canada and the United States generating a great deal of acclaim.

Mamane explains the group's origins were something of an accident. "We just started playing together, just jamming and we managed to get a weekly residency. It's just built from there."

The members of One Step Beyond are all phenomenally talented musicians, capable of shifting gears at the drop of hat. Their live shows are nothing short of inspirational – long, sweaty affairs in which the band dole out generous helpings of funk.

The group's desire to focus on making soulful music and ignore the business aspect of the industry is obvious when the story behind the group's name is related. "We had been playing this one club for a while, filling the place every night and we didn't have a name yet. The owner said we needed to have one, so he could put something on the sign outside. We hadn't thought that far ahead, so I just picked One Step Beyond and it sort of stuck."

Although the band has gone through some lineup changes over the years, they've managed to continue their single-minded pursuit of music and recorded a self-titled album, which was released in 1997. According to Mamane, One Step Beyond is planning to record a new album soon and have discussed the new directions they would like to take.

When asked why the group took so long to return to the studio, Mamane says their various members have been working on other projects. "I play with a group called Jazz Pharmacy, one of the guys plays with Ivana Santilli and another one plays with Esthero, so we've all been kind of busy. We haven't really been focusing on One Step Beyond lately, but we're starting to get back into it," he says.

As for whether or not he can foresee a time when the side projects will take over completely, Mamane proclaims a definite answer. "One Step Beyond is our baby, our first love. We'll always be around."

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