Katy Gaughn - Djesben - New Deal - January 2011 © Gabe Jones

New Deal Cafe
Greenbelt MD
January 29, 2011

Review: Tony Beers
Photography: Gabe Jones Photography
Videos: Djesben

Greetings, all music fans.

Djesben, (jazz band in Javanese) with their unique and beautiful sound, rocked a packed house Satrday night at The New Deal Café a little gem in Greenbelt, MD.

Their eclectic jazz meets folk, meets bossa nova, meetsimprovisational bliss, can also melt suddenly into a very pretty “Norwegian Wood” (Beatles), before landing itself squarely and unapologetically in the middle of a Grateful Dead jam that you’d never see coming!

In fact, center stage on percussion, including congas, cymbal and chimes, is Katy Gaughan, (wife of Furthur’s lead guitar and vocalist John Kadlicek), and she is simply gifted, folks!

With layers of rhythm woven around Topher Dunne’s exquisite melodic tones on his Chapman Stick (a ten-string tappinginstrument with the range of a piano) along with Christian Crowley’s Appalachian dulcimer, Chapman Stick and haunting vocals that harken one back to a young Brian Ferry,  Katy will take you, without permission, effortlessly into a world of a thousand beats, ornamental trills and chimes, all landing perfectly, clearly, each distinguishable from the other like a soft rain — while her thumping congas deliver a rock inside you that you just can’t help dancing to!

If that’s not enough, for a real treat, Katy’s husband John, with the hands and ear of a musical journeyman, sits in with the trio as he did last night on the violin – his first instrument picked up at age 8 — when he’s not on the road with Furthur.

With Katy’s infectious smile and exuberance and John’s humble, unassuming grace, it’s easy to see how the good energy that follows this couple is as strong as it is endearing.  Admittedly, biased as I am, I love seeing John play with “the boys” like he did a few weeks ago in Madison Square Garden, singing the sweetest “Morning Dew” I’ve heard in years, but these are people with whom you could just as easily share a quiet dinner, or go for an evening walk and talk of small things.

Together with their band mates last night, there was no question:  Djesben oozes a personality of cool, without airs.  The line between audience and musician becomes invisible, or at least blurred, creating an intimacy, an easiness thatI recognize from another band that we all know and love.

Bold?  Perhaps, but it’s easy to see from the audience that the people on stage, and their collective little jewel, Djesben, are not only touched by brilliance, but from the smiles on their faces you can see that they are genuine. They would easily switch places and dance all night with us if we were game for as long as we were willing.

Djesben is playing a select couple of shows in February, with special guests playing with them:
Feb 11th at Fireflies Del Ray in Alexandria, VA
Feb. 12th  Busboys and Poets with the Akoma Drummers to benefit Drumming Up From Poverty
Check their website for more details: www.djesben.com
Be there or be square!

Djesben w/John Kadlecik – “Norwegian Wood”

New Deal
Greenbelt MD
January 29, 2011

Charmed Life
Oye Como Va
Norwegian Wood
Solitary Woman
Big Sur
All Along the Watchtower
Miss Curvaceous
Sapphire Silence