World of Slick Music
This time i´m about to inform you of group who existed in the 1980:s called Koinonia. Maybe you wonder what kind of name that is, not a word to use in everyday language for sure! The name is a ancient greek word that comes from the Bible and means “intimate fellowship”.
No doubt they were pioneers beeing on of the first Christian bands playing primary instrumental jazz. They were not so famous as a band thou some members are/were home in U.S. but in Scandinavia and West Europe they performed for sell-out-crowds!
Picture shows the first line-up of the band and how their first album looked like. Back row left to right John Phillips , Bill Maxwell, Harlan Rogers, Dean Parks. Front row left to right: Abraham Laboriel, Alex Acuna, Hadley Hockensmith.
First line up consisted of Abrham Laboriel, electric bass, Bill Maxwell, drums/percussion, Dean Parks, guitar, Alex Acuna, drums/percussion, Hadley Hockensmith, guitar, John Phillips, woodwinds, Harlan Rogers, keyboards. Alex was the drummer in pioneer fusion band called “Weather Report” in the mid 70:s so he was already an establsihed musician. Abe was also an already established session player.
In 1981 saxophone/flute/clarinet virtuso Justo Almario replaced John Phillips and later Dean Parks left as well since he didn´t want to travel. Now with Justo and minus Dean this is the “classic” line up.
Drummer Chester Thompson joined in 1987 to replace Alex on a tour but wasn´t really a member of the band. Then in 1988 Lou Pardini, vocals and keyboards, joined the band but now even Alex was gone from band. Personally i don’t the last album that much, not the same sound and feeling more mainstream rather than fusion.
Picture taken from the German tv show “Ohne Filter” (Without Filter) in 1986 with Lou Pardini on keyboards and vocals. Best album is their first one “More Than A Feelin”.
I mentioned that Dean Parks left but not the business he became a session player and played as such one on the last album the band did. What kind of music did they play, it was mix of slick jazz-funk/fusion, latin with some influence and vibes of gospel!
Picture showing their last album released in 1991.
Not many band matches this description i think or am i wrong here? If you know some other please let me know ok?! Shortly after the last album, in 1991, the band were disbanded. During the 80:s, as i already mentioned, they played a lot in Europe and Scandinavia. On youtube you can find videos where they are playing with swedish pianist Per-Erik Hallin whom i’ve written about earlier. Some great stuff for sure and bonus video nr 1.
This band disbanded as friends since many of them have played or still play together in different constellations/connections. Just a few lines of what the band are up to today, Abraham has made 2 albums in his own name on besides beeing a seesion master and playing with new band Open Hands, which Justo played and one together with Justo. He have made 11 albums in his own name including the one with Abe.
Bill still plays the drums but not so much outside the christian music world and is also a producer and has won 8 grammys! Since all members are christians no surprise they’ve all worked with different christians artists/musicians.
Abe, Bill, Justo and their long time buddy arranger/composer/sessionman Greg Mathieson are the band Open Hands, picture above.
Alex has his own trio, picture below, and toures a lot in Scandinavia, Europe as well in the U.S.. In the early 90:s he released a solo album mostly in a latin style.
And on the picture below we see the solo album of Alex Acuna.
Dean still beeing a top notch session guitarist in L.A. What happend to John i haven´t managed to find out. Hadley has been the guitarist for Neil Diamond the last 25 years and Harlan is still in the business but mostly working within the business of chuch music thou he has not been able to play so much the last years due to some fingers injury.
Lou made 2 albums on his own in the late 90:s and have also worked with Motown icon/legend Smokey Robinson. Nowadays he´s busy touring with classic/legendary group Chicago. So is it totally impossible for a reunion to take place? Not if you’d ask Harlan who some time ago wrote on his Facebook page that he had got the lust and inspiration of playing again and told Hadley, Justo and Bill onFacebook.
Thou he says that it’s up to Abe and Bill to call the shots if it will happens or not. However the band did a unofficial reunion recently when they played with gospel group The Winans on the memorial/refuneral service of the grandpa of gospel Andrae Crouch. Bonus video number 2 below!! The classic line up + Lou Pardini!