The East Side Band

December 2000By Comments

You could drive by Austin’s East Side Lounge a dozen times without noticing it’s nondescript exterior, yet faithful hordes find their way to this tiny juke joint when the house band takes the stage. The East Side Band plays an all but forgotten style of rhythm and blues: sweet, soulful, and unhurried. Full of fat, at-home grooves and rooted in the horn-driven Malaco and Stax Memphis sound, the group exudes a timeless appeal. Saxophonist Larry D.C. Williams and guitarist Clarence Pierce trade leads over a hunkered-down rhythm section with remarkable dexterity. It’s a tribute to their unsung talent that Martin Banks, a jazz star with a Dexter Gordon-Booker Ervin-Ray Charles résumé to prove it, often seems content to take a back seat. Rarely is a band so comfortable in its own skin. With little grandstanding, the no-frills music is dedicated to one cause: a good time. If the tempos or tunings occasionally wander, no one on the packed dance floor really gives a damn. Neither will you.

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