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United Dope Front to get funky over break

Jazz, trip-hop, a DJ and soul equal tight grooves

The latest CD from United Dope Front, Constant Elevation, is a tight mesh of jazz, trip-hop and other varying musical elements.

According to a press release, the eight-piece ensemble's style draws from 1970s funk influences such as Miles Davis, Eddie Harris and the Headhunters.

The Denver, Colo.-based band skillfully layers keyboarding, guitar, percussion, saxophone and a DJ's turntable into a fluid mix of musical bliss.

"We're all . into soul, hip-hop, jazz and funk," saxophonist Ben Senterfit said. "We all have pretty serious knowledge of the history of American music."

It doesn't take much listening to figure out that these guys know what they're doing and how to groove.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about UDF is its ability to mimic a synthesized sound using live instruments. Keyboardist Andrew Diamond sets the '70s-style tone, guitarist Javier Gonzales and bassist William Yale bring in the funk, Senterfit pumps up the jazz and DJ Timbuk brings it all together with his dope beats and occasional samples from random 1960s movies.

"We're emulating a trip-hop or a jungle feel, trying to recreate that with a live band," Senterfit said. "DJ Timbuk is a fantastic scratcher, but he's also a conceptualist . he integrates into the band as a musician, as opposed to some guy on two turntables going `Wikky-wikky-wik.'"

Though Constant Elevation is a great CD to kick back and jam to, UDF has a unique sound that might only be appreciated live. It isn't every band that can be so musically in control yet still rock the party like these guys can.

UDF will make its Albuquerque debut this Saturday at the Golden West Saloon, 764-2624. You can also catch the group Friday in Taos, N.M., at El Taose§o, (505) 758-4142. Both shows start at 9 p.m., tickets are $7 at the door and they are 21-and-over events.

So, kick off spring break in style and go move your bodies while the funked-out melodies of UDF expand the room.

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