The Unity Quartet – 11/29/18

Performance Date: 11/29/18

Artist: The Unity Quartet

Song(s): “Sandu”,  “Bernie’s Tune” 

Full lineup:

  • Ben Reece – Tenor Saxophone
  • Austin Cebulske – Tenor Saxophone
  • Ryan Marquez – Organ
  • Demarius Hicks – Drums

One of the most consistently strong groups that has played The Dark Room is the Unity Quartet. The unique instrumentation is enough to perk up the ear, and the strength of the musicianship entices listeners back again and again.

Led by saxophonist Ben Reece, the quartet featured Austin Cebulske on tenor saxophone, Ryan Marquez on organ, and Demarius Hicks on drums, on this date. Each one of these guys can play up a storm, so having all their voices combined on the same bandstand made for some dynamic musical conversation!

One highlight was early in the set, during “Sandu”. Cebulske takes the first solo, and with Marquez providing a strong harmonic foundation, he eventually blasts off into a higher register, giving the whole band a sound reminiscent of the Saturday Night Live house band during the show’s closing credits. It’s an all out organ-drenched swingin’ soul jam!

The band is great at taking an old standard and updating it with modern, impenetrable rhythms and stylized phrasing. A good example from this set is “Bernie’s Tune.” The groove has a “sneaky” quality to it that is irresistible.

Hicks keeps it extra funky during his drum solo, and a nice exchange develops between Reece and the funky drummer, keeping things interesting, before the main theme of the song reemerges.

Watch the full performance here: https://youtu.be/9z0XT83O80Q