Photos and Article By L. Paul Mann
More Photos at the bottom
Members of the original Sly and The Family Stone band brought their funky rock sounds to the Samala showroom at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Thursday night April 21st. The seven piece band features two of the original members, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Jerry Martini on saxophonee and Greg Errico on drums. The group also includes, Sylvette Phunne, the daughter of founding member Sly Stone and the bands original trumpet player Cynthia Robinson, who passed away last year.
The band formed in San Francisco during the 1967 ‘Summer of Love”, was a pioneering force in combining musical genres, including funk, soul, jazz and psychedelic rock. The band had the audience on their feet from the start of their show at the Samala showroom. Although Sly Stone has long sincere retired from the group, the band continues to delight their fans playing their large catalog of dance oriented pop music hits. As they walk the fine line between tribute act and pop veterans, they have developed an amazing répertoire from the golden era of psychedelic soul. The band played their funky dance anthems like Stand, Dance to the Music and Everyday People. But they also threw in some classic covers. Before playing a Prince song in tribute to his untimely death the day before, Martini described the bands interaction with the legendary performer. “We opened for Prince on a world tour that lasted nearly three years. He let us do a 45 minute set of our own music in the middle of his set. He was one of the most gracious and talented performers I ever met”.
Later on there was a great drum solo by Errico, showing his jazz rock roots. The veteran drummer even played drums for a short while, with the consummate jazz rock band, Weather Report.
Alex Davis takes on the daunting task of channeling the spirit of Sly Stone on vocals and keyboard, and even looks very much the part. Then the band played more classic tunes including “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “You Can Make It If You Try” and “Family Affair.” By that time anyone in the crowd who was not already dancing about, got up and rushed to the front of the stage.
After a quick break the band ended with a double encore of two of their most classic dance anthems, including the historic Woodstock masterpiece “I Want To Take You Higher” and the iconic “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).” It was an all out dance party at the Chumash Casino Resort.