By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Something jazzy this way comes Friday night at Tobacco Road. Fort Lauderdale's Lights Down Low offers a breezy vibe, a stylistic combination of Spiro Gyra and Pat Metheny. The band has hit The Road before, playing upstairs, and keyboardist Chip Gardner had a great time. "The sound guy, Cosmo, is really good. We dug it. The place has a built-in audience, you know?"
The lads have a self-released album due out in '08, preliminary mixes of which are up on their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/lightsdlow). There's no title yet. "We're still tricking it out right now. All the editing and mixing is being done at a local studio, Stall 3."
The five-piece is held in place by the daring but vise-tight drumming of Mike Cupino, cofounder of the band alongside Gardner. The two have played together off and on for more than eight years. "Mike moved to the area for audio school — SAE — and I came down to record. After jamming around, we decided to start a band," Gardner says.
That very band is busily trying to carve a niche in the Lauderdale jazz scene, which Gardner thinks is a bit anemic. "There are a few places we like to play, but for the most part we travel north or south. We play Mangos on Las Olas Boulevard every Tuesday night. We also like Dive Bar and Alligator Alley."
LDL's list of influences is all over the map, with more than a few unexpected turns: "Curtis Mayfield, the Meters, Stevie Wonder, Grateful Dead, Chris Potter, Radiohead, Beastie Boys, Beck, and a bunch of obscure artists," says Gardner. Aside from Tobacco Road, the band has also played in Miami at Bullfrog Eatz, The District, and Jazid.