Jeff Sipe brings his trio to Martin’s Downtown on Saturday night. Read the full story and get show details.
Here’s one from the personal anecdote file: I went to Nashville, Tenn., more than 20 years ago to audition for a band. I didn’t get the gig, but I got something better, something that keeps inspiring me.
Before the audition, I walked into a Tower Records store to look around. I heard something that amazed me, something that for one of the few times in my life drew me right up to the counter to ask, “What is that? And can I get a copy?”
The record was “Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit,” and there was nothing about it that I didn’t like. I still listen to it today. It combined seamlessly elements of rock, jazz, bluegrass, Afro-Cuban and psychedelic music, played by absolute instrumental monsters. I heard the band live three times, and it never sounded the same as the record. Often, it sounded better.
I have followed the careers of the players on that record – Hampton, guitarist Jimmy Herring, bassist Oteil Burbridge, mandolinist Matt Mundy, percussionist Count M’Butu and drummer Jeff Sipe (Chuck Leavell, the guest keyboardist on that record, is a member of The Allman Brothers Band and the Rolling Stones).
As a drummer, though, the player I most identified with was Sipe, aka Apt. Q-258. His drumming was so energetic, in the pocket and sympathetic, with dynamic control and a wild streak. His improvisational skills were – and are – phenomenal.