An Original CAST! Performance

I went up to Black-Eyed Sally’s in Hartford Saturday to catch an exciting and talented group of young musicians, Coryell Auger Sample Trio (CAST!). The group played two sets, providing a smokin’ blend of funky fusion, steeped in bebop, blues and rock via Venice, California, where the trio hales from.

All three have well-known fathers in the world of jazz-rock, but each stands clearly on his own as a proficient player and composer of note.

castGuitarist Julian Coryell is the son of jazz-rock pioneer and legend Larry Coryell, Karma Auger’s dad is Brian Auger, who played with Julie Driscoll and led the Trinity and Oblivion Express in the ’60s and ’70s, and Nicklas Sample is the son of Joe Sample, the keyboard player from L.A. based fusion band The Crusaders.

CAST! played material from their first album, Coolidge Returns, which they sell at live shows and on their web site, including Walk Of The Dragon, Rice Krispy Socrates, Nadine and Purple Panther, as well as tunes from an upcoming second album. The band cooked in the first set, but really opened up in the second with a slant more toward the rock end of things.

Each player displayed his virtuosity within the context of the band. Coryell mixes high doses of blues-inflected playing with flights of jazz lines that combine stunning technique with deep feeling. Auger lays down infectious funk grooves that create a solid foundation and augments them with brilliant latin-flavored to straight-ahead rock flourishes around his kit. And Sample is equally at home providing soulful funk, driving rock or matching Coryell on swift, doubled melodic lines.

I saw Karma play with Brian and his sister, Savannah, two years ago in the latest version of the Oblivion Express at Stage One in Fairfield for a night of extraordinary organ-fueled tunes, many classics from the Express repertoire. Brian Auger was in fine form that night playing with the fire, virtuosity and abandon he has always exhibited on his timeless jazz-funk compositions. Highly recommended when they make their way back to the East Coast. Check tour dates and a definitive collection of his work on his web site.

After playing a string of West Coast dates, CAST! has been on the East Coast for the past week and plays for one more week in Baltimore, Boston and New York before heading home.

In all, a wonderful night of music from three outstanding, rising stars.


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