LIVE: Sam Kininger Band Blasts Through Rain and Cold to Heat Up Putnam Place 1/25/2020
Sax player Sam Kininger from the band Lettuce brought his own band to Putnam Place on Saturday, January 25th. Their hot funky sound seared through the haze, warming up the night and sending audience members grooving through the venue. The large funk band billed as The Sam Kininger Band, created a wall of complex sound that played to their strengths.
What’s most impressive, though, about the band was their ability to sustain a high voltage energy, supported by Sam’s great breath control and band members’ talent.
Sam took the stage after the gritty rock/funk band Hartley’s Encore who, if you haven’t caught them before, could easily steal away the night for you. Hartley’s Encore is memorable for its tight, intact sound; the band could pick up pace and volume without ever losing one another, nicely held together by Luke Malamood on keys and vocals, and a strong drum kit team of Mike Gilet and Andrae Surgic.
Sam joined Hartley’s Encore mid-set, but later would come out clad in sunglasses while wetting his reed, walking around the stage with meaningful presence prior to leading the first downbeat from his own band.
The music showcased Kininger’s technique on the sax, which was as impressive as his well trained ability to control his breathing. His strengths on sax, though, weren’t the only highlights. Kininger shared plenty of the spotlight with fellow bandmates Amy Bellamy on keys, Aaron Bellamy on bass, Peter MacLean (who tours with Maceo Parker) and the primary guitarist is Jeff Lockhart, who is a funk guitar teacher at Berkley. The second guitarist was Mike Wooten, who is a longtime friend of Jeff Lockhart who lives in Albany and often comes and plays with the band when they come through the area. The show also included a surprise appearance by Floodwood‘s mandolin player, Jason Barady.
Amy Bellamy (not Bowler – though her maiden name was Bowles). In case you wanted to include the others, the drummer is Peter MacLean (who tours with Maceo Parker) and the primary guitarist is Jeff Lockhart, who is a funk guitar teacher at Berkley. The second guitarist is Mike Wooten, who is a longtime friend of Jeff Lockhart lives in Albany and often comes and plays with the band when they come through the area.
All stars in their own right, Sam Kininger’s Band had the crowd grooving hard beyond the usual sway back and forth, making fans happy they faced the rainy cold January night for some hot funky jazz.