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The four-piece band BRAVE Monkey began as an experiment two years ago, but has gradually evolved into a constant presence around town.
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Guitarist Jason Caputo, drummer Clay Good, bass player Adrian Minne and saxophonist Doug Bridges play 9-11 p.m. every Thursday at Doc Water's Pub. This weekend, they return to the Alaskan Hotel & Bar for a Friday-Saturday 9 p.m.-close showcase. It's St. Patrick's Day weekend, and the band intends to mix in some Irish tunes, perhaps even some fiddling, with its usual mix of jazz, rock, blues, folk, country and post-modern fusion.
"We can play quiet, and we can tailor our sound to really a lot of different gigs," Good said. "We all have years and years under out belts, and we understand what gigging means. The Doc Water's gigs are great, as a musican, to play in a smoke-free bar. You're there all night, and you can have an enhanced musical conversation with each other. You can listen to each other, because you don't have to turn up too loud. At the Alaskan, we'll be raising it up a notch."
All four members of the band have sat in with or played with dozens of musicians around Juneau and Southeast Alaska. Good and Minne have been playing in different combinations together, mostly jazz, for more than 20 years. Bridges has played in big bands and jazz combos, but can often be found whenever a saxophone is needed. Caputo's most recent project was the rock/funk four-piece Dag Nabbit.
st. patrick's day music
who: brave monkey.
band members: jason caputo, guitar; clay good, drums; adrian minne, bass; doug bridges, saxophone.
playing: 9-11 thursdays, at doc water's pub; 9:30-close friday-saturday, march 17-18, at the alaskan hotel & bar.
other nightlife on st. patrick's day, friday, march 17:
doc water's pub, merchants wharf - spank the dog, rock-irish music, 9 p.m.-close friday, march 17
the hangar on the wharf, merchants wharf - mclaughlin family band, featuring the mclaughlins and the sayas, 9:30 p.m. friday, march 17.
the island pub, douglas - fire on mcginnis, bagpipe, guitar, fiddle, drums, bass and vocals, 9 p.m.-midnight
marlintini's, mendenhall valley - live music with the swingers. giveaways, drink specials and free corned beef and cabbage, festivities at 5 p.m., music begins at 9 p.m.
The band started a little over two years ago when Caputo jammed with Good and Minne, who were playing in a band called Psychedelic Sax. They jelled quickly, but it took a while to find time for a new musical project.
"When you're playing with bands, you may always like the band that you're playing in but it's not always what you're looking for," Good said. "And so you start making a list of the cats you like playing with the most, but the cats you like the most are gigging in other bands at the time. It's really hard to get the patterns lined up. This has been cosmic astronomy to get this ensemble together."
"I was in a great band before Dag Nabbit, and we found that everytime a song was picked, at least one person didn't like that song," Caputo said. "Sometimes no one lined the song. When it's Friday night, you just worked (a long) week, it's 2 in the morning and it's the last song, we couldn't come up with that one song. That's what I think is great about this band. Almost every tune that we pick at that 2 o'clock point, we're like, 'Yeah, we love that song.'"
BRAVE Monkey took its name, literally, from its need to be brave.
"It takes a lot of chutzpah, or bravery, to get out there and go into a place where you don't know what's going to be on the other end," Bridges said. "There's that in our music, but we also have music that really grooves. You can dance to it. You can move to it."
"A lot of bands say, 'When in doubt, play it safe,'" Caputo said. "For us, it's when in doubt, 'jump.' And there are some times where I don't feel brave enough, and I should be feeling braver."