The solar systems seemed to align last night as my favorite producer from Hip Stew Studios and I  discovered fantastic parking, fabulous friends and a stage full of ridiculously talented musicians at The Star Theater last night.  Joey Porter facilitated the 9th annual Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters tribute concert.

As a keyboardist, I feel compelled to convey my adoration for the mad skills of Joey. As his long hair sways to the beat, you can clearly see that every inch of Joey Porter’s body is saturated with music. He is a master at using the effects of his instruments to create an impeccable rendition of Herbie. And he makes it look easy.

Porter shared the stage with the happiest guitar player I’ve ever seen: Mr. Jay “Bird” Koder. He never stopped smiling – and if I played like him, I’d probably have a grin permanently glued to my face as well. The man must abound with modesty because, in my humble opinion, there weren’t nearly enough guitar solos in this show. He is amazing! As for the rest of the gang…

As to be expected by preceding reputation, Joshua Cliburn was truly spectacular on the saxophones. Portland was lucky to inherit this ridiculously talented musician (and karaoke rock star according to the word on the street) from California. And honestly, I don’t know what he’s like off stage, but I really appreciated his habit of sneaking off to the side when he wasn’t playing – I mean he was obviously completely present and brought his glorious aura back to the center of the stage at all the right times, but these little moments allowed us a better view of Mr. Melz’s mad drummin’ skills.

Reinhardt Melz held everything together on drums and continues to make Portland proud. His solos were great and his ability to maintain focus while exuding a vast array of intricate rhythms and techniques is breathtaking. I can’t imagine how much practicing this man has accumulated over the years in order to obtain his level of playing.

Not only a giant in stature but also in reputation, bass player, Dan Scollard, sported a mustache that very few men could pull off. His tasteful and carefully crafted playing demanded respect in some indescribable awe-inspiring manner. You just get the impression that this man is brilliant and doesn’t take any shit from anyone while remaining humbly loyal to those who earn his respect. I could be completely wrong, but his aura definitely exudes awesomeness.

Jans Ingber (who has a really interesting biography) was on percussion, back-up vocals and clever commentary duty in the front. He may hate me for this, but this man reminded me so much of Screech from Saved By The Bell that I instantly loved him. And, just to clarify, I am specifically referring to the character Screech and NOT Dustin Diamond who might have one of the worst child star reputations ever! But Ingber was funny and interactive, skilled with his tasteful additions and awesome with moose calls on the conga drums! And was it just me, or did he change his shirt during the break?

I always enjoy shows at the Star Theater – it’s just a cool venue with so many different options: sitting, dancing, balcony, or a break by the fire in the superfly outdoor area. It was a little disturbing to almost hit a man standing in the road on Burnside on the way there (and not moving…like traffic stopping commotion sort of situation) but one of the dancers in the audience made up for it by displaying choreographed techniques that can be compared to these guys. Make sure you get to at least 1:05 for the full experience!

It was really inspiring to see such an incredible group of musicians on stage, especially as we close in on Stoneface Honey‘s CD Release party at Sellwood Public House on November 17th! And since I usually include pictures but forgot to take any last night, here’s more info on my show! But back to Joey Porter and his brilliant tribute concerts: Next year is the 10th annual tribute concert. I have a feeling it will be an historic event you better not miss. Just sayin’!