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KGB Tune Dossier
KGB Tune Dossier Vol. 2
Where we've been
"As their music changes in character from tune to tune, the dancing changes with it, alternating among smooth and pulsatile, calm and passionate, whimsical and profound... However, no matter how wild or imaginative their music becomes, it comes back from the edge just in time to support you when you need it, and their steady, driving beat is always there, inexorably pulling your feet across the floor." -- Mike Richardson
"I'd follow them over hot coals!" -- Sharon Gavin
No security clearances are required to enjoy Seattle's KGB. With fiddle, mandolin, guitar and piano, KGB creates subversive music, lulling the unwary with traditional New England contradance tunes, then jumping off into Balkan modalities, tango riffs and bluesy jigs. Claude slides from growling grooves to impossible high notes on the fiddle. Dave creates percussive energy and dazzling riffs on anything with strings. Julie explores the emotional range of the keyboard from majestic to down and dirty.
Claude Ginsburg's violin melts, swings, growls, soars. He infuses KGB's music with passion, rhythm, hitting notes high on the fingerboard with power and sweetness. Claude deftly inserts elements of Klezmer, Latin American, jazz fusion and French Romantic music into New England fiddle tunes, while years of contradance playing keeps his music connected to the dancers.
Dave Bartley strikes sparks with his wicked mandolin, driving guitar and lush cittern. He glides from melody to harmony to rhythm to counterpoint, throwing in rock riffs, cross-rhythms, classical motifs and Eastern tonalities. Dave has a more long-winded biography here.
From beater pianos to concert grands, Julie King fully exploits the percussive range of seven octaves. Her piano style is driving, richly chordal, providing KGB's music with emotional tension. Julie has been the rhythmic backbone in numerous bands for over 15 years. Waiting for Snow, one of her superb waltzes, is included in The Waltz Book II. The recently published Waltz Book III contains two more of her waltzes, Flathead Lake and Call It a Night.
Before Dave joined them in 1993 to form KGB, Claude and Julie toured Great Britain and New England and recorded Contra and Blue.
These people really smoke. Wilder even than Pigs Eye Landing ... this trio managed to generate as much energy as I've ever seen at Lovely Lane--as much as the Pigs, or Swallowtail, and more than Wild Asparagus brings to Baltimore.
They even know how to match and fit tunes to the dances being called, a skill very few other bands exhibit (or even seem to care much about.) They knocked the socks off all of us tonight. Wow. - Kiran Wagle
People continue to comment on how great you were at the [Cambridge, MA] VFW dance. That crowd responded to you more than I have ever seen or heard of them respond to anyone, EVER. - David Kaynor
They rocked the house. Cambridge hasn't seen anything like this since.. Well, I can't say, since other than last week (which I didn't attend), the last 6 dances have been phenomenal in terms of lineup, and this was clearly the crowning glory[...] these guys were .. Tremendous. I'll admit I was skeptical in the beginning, until that fiddler started doing weird things, and the mandolin player started doing weirder things, and well.. It went from there, as you know, because you heard them twice in a row! we had 7 lines...
I swear to god, at one point I was sure I was having an orgasm, and at many others, I felt I was wasting the music by contradancing to it.. But I bought the cd, so now I can do anything I like to it ;-). (anonymous, forwarded by Kiran Wagle)
It was an amazing dance-adrenaline-high-whooping evening, and I am grateful that I attended and that you folks played. - Melissa Weisshaus
"First let me tell you how very much I enjoyed the KGB concert at the Friends Center last Sunday night. Tres magnifique! Seeing the sheer numbers of instruments, the quick switchoffs between them, their exotic appearance, their unusual uses (Julie's foray into the "guts" of the piano, Claude's picking of the fiddle strings) was a delight! This visual element (which included your smirks, winks, one-liners, and grins) was exactly the finishing touch my KGB listening experience needed. Thanks for such a great evening!" - Kelley Knickerbocker