MEMBERS AND INSTRUMENTS:
Gary “Big G” Stanionis (leader, drums/percussion); Christopher “C-Note” Thomas (keys); Patrick Langford (sax/flute); Zach Rudulph (bass).
Herbie Hancock, the late era Miles Davis—but it’s in the same company as good beats, good vibes and just havin’ a total good time.
Takin’ it Back (Elemental Entertainment Productions, 2008)
Jazz-funk outfit Elements has been around for over three years and they’ve played their fair share of gigs. However, ask ’em which show takes the cake and founder/leader/drummer Gary “Big G” Stanionis will likely tell you it’s the one that features a recent birthday cake.
“We had the privilege to perform for a student of our sax player,” he starts. “It was his 16th birthday party and [it] was filled with the Alta Loma High School Jazz Band. They listened, danced and were inspired and, in turn, were such a huge influence and reminder of how important music is to me and to our future.”
And that’s just it—Stanionis understands that jazz isn’t just cobwebbed tunes dusted off by old folks for the consumption of, well, old folks. There’s a forward-thinking mentality that keeps the music Elements performs interesting, current and appealing across all age segments.
But, such broad reach seems to have been part of the plan since day one. “I wanted to take all my experiences—good and bad—and create a band and music that makes people feel good,” says Stanionis. “The people that know me know I love to smile and laugh, it’s healing. So I took all the elements of my life, my influences, my beliefs and that’s where Elements came from.”
So, where’s Elements headed? First, they’ll be found at their favorite gig spot, Mario’s Place in Riverside, this week. And they’re also working on preparing an album of totally original music, about which Stanionis is understandably excited.
“I have a group of guys that are the hardest working cats in the IE,” says Stanionis. “We have all grown so much from the opportunity of meeting and sharing our gifts with each other . . . It has become a way for us to grow musically; it has been an avenue for spiritual and emotional growth. It has challenged each and every one of us to go deep and investigate who we are as individuals and . . . share it with our audiences.” Young ears and mature listeners, you’re all welcome. (Waleed Rashidi)
Elements at Mario’s Place, 3646 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7755; www.mariosplace.com, Sat., May 2, 9pm