Music » Critics' Picks

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

Thursday, October 7; Mississippi Nights


If you eat more than a gram of pot in, say, a brownie before a Karl Denson's Tiny Universe show, you will become proof of the age-old warning: Don't chow more than a gram at a time unless your goals lie in waxing comatose the rest of the night. Four years ago, some of us learned that lesson the hard way and watched as Denson and his Tiny Universe wore the shoe leather out from under a St. Louis crowd while we sat watching in a water-sipping glaze. True, the music transported us to other worlds in our mind, but the point of Karl Denson's ten-minute opus fusions of jazz, funk and soul is not to make you think hard, it's to make you dance hard.

Karl Denson brings the funk once again to St. Louis, powered by his shiny silver flute and lungs that just won't quit. Denson is a flute evangelist of sorts, converting his instrument from fussy to funky and making true believers out of his audiences. His songs perch quietly at first as he slowly builds them, until they rise and stretch into sweat-fueled funk marathons. Best leave those brownies at home if you want to keep up. During a trip through the Tiny Universe, the bassline is the only thing in the room that will pump harder than your heart.

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