Tuesday / October 21, 2008 / 7:30 p.m.
David Friend Recital Hall
921 Boylston Street
United States

FunkHouse kicks butt, but they also caress cheek. Their music is like being thrown out of a bar by a 350-pound bouncer and then waking to realize it was only a dream and your mother is lovingly waking you with a kiss. No, no,'s like having Mike Tyson, dressed in his finest evening gown, whispering sweet nothings in your ear, and then biting it off. They're the jazz equivalent of the iTunes visualizer. Or to put it another way: FunkHouse is an energetic blend of modern jazz, funk, blues, 20th-century classical, Indian classical, and European and American folk music, which create a funky, groove-oriented, fresh, and original sound. Although the band consists of the standard jazz trio instrumentation of piano, bass, and drums, the sound of the band is anything but standard. Fired by Berklee faculty member John Funkhouser's "explosive piano playing" (Boston Globe) and set in bold relief by his "exquisite, tight originals" (The Octopus, Champaign, IL), the band stretches the limits of traditional jazz forms. One piece in the band's working repertoire is over a half hour of continuous music. Funkhouser draws for inspiration on great composers of extended musical works from all genres, like Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa, Igor Stravinsky, and Phish leader Trey Anistasio. Smoothly integrating composed music with improvisation, "FunkHouse takes the listener on a ride through the gamut of emotional territories," (North Denver Tribune, Denver, CO), from wild, funky romps to sumptuous, Keith-Jarrett-inspired ballads to burning modern jazz. As renowned pianist Kenny Werner put it, the band is "definitely on to something special." The band has two CDs of original material to its credit: FunkHouse, released in 1998, and FunkHouse II, released in 2003, which includes two extended suites and three shorter compositions.