Dan Liptak’s APEX Ensemble
From the grooves of Snarky Puppy and the great San Francisco Bay 60’s Funk, to the great arrangements of the San Francisco Jazz Collective Stevie Wonder Project, Originals of Vermonters Brian Boyes and Rob Morse, to originals from the jazz/funk/rock masters Freddie Hubbard, SF Jazz Collective, Snarky Puppy and Rick Hirsch, APEX represents the pinnacle of Instrumental music. Blending the lines between funk, rock, fusion, jazz and even chamber music, APEX is is unique blend and mixture of music as diverse and the musicians performing.
Featuring an all star line up of the best non-traditional musicians Vermont has to offer who’ve played with groups such as the Big Bang Bhangra Brass Band, TURNmusic, Saturn People’s Sound Collective, Movement of the People, The Renegade Groove, Too Hot To Handle, Afinque, Kat Wright’s Soul Band, Vermont Jazz Ensemble, The Vermont Symphony Orchestra amongst others. 10 piece APEX is a horn driven musical experience sure to invigorate your mind, body and soul.
Dan Liptak – Tenor saxophone/Soprano saxophone
Evan Crandell – Alto saxophone/Flute
Tom Cate – Bari saxophone/Bass Clarinet
Brian Boyes– Trumpet
Matt Avery – Trombone
Matt Harpster – Guitar
Ira Friedman – Piano and keyboards
Pat Markley – Bass
Nic Cannizzaro – Percussion
Andy Gagnon – Percussion
Lloyd Dugger – Vocalist
Shannon Dugger – Vocalist
Stefanie Weigand – Vocalist
SOUNDBITES – DAN BOLLES, SEVEN DAYS
“New band alert! Welcome to the fray, Apex. Led by local saxophonist Dan Liptak, the 10-person ensemble features members from several notable outfits, including Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band, Saturn People’s Sound Collective, the Grippo Funk Band and Afinque, to name a few. According to a recent press release, the group trades in the “grooves of Snarky Puppy” and hearkens to the heydays of 1960s Bay Area funk, blending “funk, rock, fusion, jazz and even chamber music.” Interesting, no? They’ll be at Positive Pie 2 in Montpelier this Friday, December 13.”
LIVECULTURE – JORDAN ADAMS, SEVEN DAYS
In case you missed it last winter, Vermont’s APEX Ensemble are reconvening to perform their selected interpretations from Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life. The band previously performed their selections at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in February, 2016. Now the troupe is headed to ArtsRiot in Burlington, on Saturday, November 19.
APEX are a 10-piece, horn-heavy ensemble, stacked with experienced Vermont-based jazz, funk and rock musicians. For this performance, their ranks rise to 13.
At the band’s core, or perhaps its apex, is multi-instrumentalist Dan Liptak, who also performs with TURNmusic, among other projects. A graduate of the Hartt School conservatory in Connecticut, Liptak describes APEX Ensemble’s take on jazz as being a rambunctious cousin of contemporary classical music.
“It’s not your grandfather’s swing band on a Sunday afternoon,” Liptak explains in a recent interview at Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex. “It’s more complex harmonically and tonally. It’s not easy listening. It’s kind of a melting pot of jazz, classical, funk, rock and world music, as opposed to big band jazz.”
Adapting Songs for APEX was a massive undertaking. Vocalist Lloyd Dugger was tasked with identifying which tracks to include and setting the key for each song. From their, the instrumentalists arranged their own parts before putting it all together.
“We’re not just covering the album note for note,” says Liptak. “We’re putting our own feel on it.”
Liptak notes that APEX do not perform any original music. When possible, he and his bandmates looks to local composers for material, such as James Harvey. At their nearly sold-out performance at Spruce Peak, Liptak says that audience members reacted more positively to their Wonder interpretations than their other works, the latter of which can often be sonically challenging.
APEX’s cup runneth over with local talent, and features Evan Cradell (Too Hot to Handle, Renegade Groove), Brian Boyes (Viperhouse, TURNmusic), Matt Avery (Grippo Funk Band, Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band), Tom Cate (the Saturn People’s Sound Collective, Vermont Jazz Ensemble), Ira Friedman (Jennifer Hartswick Band, Dave Keller Band), Nicola Cannizzaro (Carlos Santana, Miami Sound Machine), Andy Gagnon (the Collin Craig Continuum, the Bad Sky), Pat Markley (P’tit Trio), Matt Harpster (the Bohemian Blues Quartet, Nadir Trio), Lloyd Dugger (the Chad Hollister Band, the Big Bang Bhangra Brass Band), Stefanie Weigland (TURNmusic, the Vermont Philharmonic) and Shannon Dugger (Lyric Theatre, Stowe Theatre Guild) — and these are just a fraction of the bands and artists with whom these musicians have played.
12.7.13 – PRIVATE PARTY
12.13.13 – POSITIVE PIE, MONTPELIER VT
2.8.14 – CLUB METRONOME, BURLINGTON VT
5.10.14 – POSITIVE PIE, MONTPELIER VT
6.6.14 – Club Metronome, Burlington VT
APEX RESIDENCY, BURLINGTON VT
1.2 – APEX. Radio Bean. Burlington VT
1.9 – APEX. Radio Bean. Burlington VT
1.16 – APEX. Radio Bean. Burlington VT
1.23 – APEX. Radio Bean. Burlington VT
1.30 – APEX. Radio Bean. Burlington VT
5.8 – Two Brothers Tavern. Middlebury VT
6.5 – Radio Bean – Burlington Discover Jazz Fest
7.24 – Axels Alley. Waterbury VT, curated by TURNmusic
8.28 – Radio Bean 11:30 PM Burlington VT
2.20.16 – Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center
Join Dan Liptak’s APEX Ensemble on Saturday February 20th for a special concert featuring the latest in jazz/funk/rock instrumental music, followed by a special arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life,” featuring guest vocalist Lloyd Dugger.
7.22 – APEX in the Alley, Waterbury VT – MORE INFO SOON!
6.4 – Leunigs, Burlington VT
11.19 ARTS RIOT
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