Charles Darden explores funk with new project called Gutbucket Grandeur

Billy WilliamsStevie WonderJimi HendrixThelonious MonkThe Rolling Stones (music group)

Hampton jazz singer Charles Darden recently sent me a message explaining that he's putting together a new band called Gutbucket Grandeur.

The group will focus on funk, soul and rock, he said.

"I had the idea to start a little funky band way back about 15 years ago when I first started performing ... and I'm finally getting around to it. I'm really excited about it especially with the players I have on board ... I wouldn't have even attempted this without the right people."

Darden explained he's building the band around Justin Kauflin, a jazz pianist who Sunday played as a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in Washington, D.C. Kauflin has also provided keyboards in Jae Sinnett's funk band House and Sinnett. 

"He's taken on this with real gusto, he's the nucleus," Darden wrote of Kauflin. "Then I called on two two great young drummers who I've use on my jazz stuff who also love Funk --Billy Williams and Corey Fonville, both of whom are frankly two of the hottest young drummers coming up on the jazz scene today, and not just here in Virginia."

He also enlisted Fuzz Band trumpet man Duane Smith trumpet player and guitarist Carlton Savage to play on select gigs.

"Our set list has mostly '70s funk, soul, rock, R&B," Darden wrote. He gave Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, The Meters, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, and Bill Withers as examples of what the band's setlist will contain.

"Even a couple of Beatles tunes," Darden wrote. "We'll all be writing for the band for future stuff. Just trying to get it going."

The band has played out about three or four times and will be on stage again Saturday, Sept. 24 at Five 01 City Grill in Virginia Beach.

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