The Greyboy Allstars debuted in 1993, at the Green Circle Bar, where DJ Greyboy was a DJ. The band's original incarnation included Lenny Kravitz's saxophonist Karl Denson (who also plays flute), guitarist Mike Andrews (Elgin Park), keyboardist Robert Walter, bassist Chris Stillwell, and drummer Zak Najor.
The group came after a successful earlier collaboration of Denson and DJ Greyboy on the Greyboy albums Home Cooking and Freestylin’, featuring Greyboy spinning tracks over the band's instrumentals. Specializing in acid jazz and '60s/'70s soul jazz, Denson has described the Greyboy Allstars as a boogaloo band.
In 1995, the Greyboy Allstars released their first album, West Coast Boogaloo, featuring support from James Brown trombonist and bandleader Fred Wesley, who has also worked with Count Basie and Parliament-Funkadelic, and has arranged for everyone from Ray Charles to Van Morrison.
Two years later, the GBA released their second studio album, A Town Called Earth, in addition to both Robert Walter and Karl Denson issuing solo albums. On both of these solo releases, Walter and Denson were backed by the remaining members of the GBA. Walter's album, titled Spirit of ’70, had additional support from Gary Bartz on alto sax, and Denson's The D Stands for Diesel featured vocalist Andy Bey.
The band released a concert album called Live in 1999. They were dormant for awhile, but began touring again, with most of the original members including DJ Greyboy. Drummer Zak Najor had been replaced by Aaron Redfield (who replaces Eric Kalb).
The band released What Happened to Television? on April 17, 2007, their first album in eight years. Drummer Zak Najor played on the studio recording, but did not go on the subsequent tour. He was replaced by former Deep Banana Blackout drummer Eric Kalb.
Former guitarist Mike Andrews (Elgin Park) helped score the film Donnie Darko, which included he and Gary Jules covering the Tears for Fears song “Mad World.”
On December 30, 2011, 68 year-old trombonist Fred Wesley (Count Basie, Parliament-Funkadelic, Ray Charles, Van Morrison) performed again with the Greyboys, with whom he recorded their debut album West Coast Boogaloo in 1995, at the Belly Up Tavern.
They played the 2012 Hangout Music Fest, held May 18 through 20 in Gulf Shores, Alabama, alongside current-and-former locals Tribal Seeds, Flogging Molly, Switchfoot, and Delta Spirit. Their song “V Neck Sweater,” from their What Happened to Television? full-length, appears on the 2013 SCI Fidelity Records 15th Anniversary Compilation Album..
During the 2020 pandemic, with almost no advance notice, the band dropped their fifth studio album, Como De Allstars, their first studio full-length in seven years. Their lineup at the time included saxophonist Karl Denson, guitarist Elgin Park, drummer Aaron Redfield, bassist Chris Stillwell, and keyboardist Robert Walter.
In summer 2021, the band announced a series of Soul Dream livestream specials featuring four performances (their first of 2021) of material from the soul and jazz ensemble's 30 year career. The series kicked off August 20 with A Town Called Earth, filmed in San Diego and taking its name from the band’s 1997 album, which was be performed in its entirety along with other tracks. The August 27 show, Prestigious, featured songs from artists on New York City’s famed Prestige Records label, including Gene Ammons, Gary Bartz, and Boogaloo Joe Jones. The September 3 edition, Como De Allstars, included a performance of their 2020 album of the same name, along with selections from their 1994 debut record West Coast Boogaloo and Robert Walter’s Spirit of 70. September 10, Get A Job, saw the Allstars playing a mix of covers by Jimi Hendrix, Lonnie Smith, Wynder K. Frog, and more.
In April 2022, Karl Denson (saxophone, flute), Elgin Park (guitars), Aaron Redfield (drums), Chris Stillwell (bass), and Robert Walter (keys) released the band's sixth studio full-length Get a Job: Music from the Original Broadcast Series Soul Dream, issued via the band's own Knowledge Room Recordings label. Their sixth studio album was tracked live in the studio during the band's 2021 Soul Dream livestream series on Nugs.net.
Songs covered include tracks by Gil Scott-Heron, Gene Ammons, Burt Bacharach, and others. The first single and video was for their cover of Mary Jane Hooper's "I've Got Reasons." The band supported the record with a 21-date "Get A Job" tour in support of the collection, kicking off March 9 in North Carolina and wrapping up April 30 in New Orleans. "We keep a running master list of around 70 tunes," says band keyboardist Robert Walter. "From those, I picked a mixture of tried-and-true live staples and songs that weren't always in common rotation. Usually, for gigs I propose a list and then the other members edit and tweak it. For the taping, we wanted each episode to have a theme: two of them focused on originals and the other two were covers: live favorites, and music that came out on Prestige Records. The tunes on this release are the best of the covers."
A new single dropped in March 2022 for “Got to Get Me a Job.” That summer, the 25th anniversary of one of their most popular albums was celebrated with A Town Called Earth: The Immortal Edition. The record's debut on streaming platforms and limited edition 180-gram "Earth-swirl" double vinyl includes the previously unreleased track "Cassiopeia’s Chair." Keyboardist Robert Walter recalls "By the time we were recording this album, we also had played a ton of shows. It was very telepathic. We would go out on tour and then as soon as we were back home we would play local shows. We really never stopped for a few years straight." A single and live video for "December's Children" was released in late August 2022, captured on video during the band's hometown show at the Belly Up on November 27, 2021. Early September 2022 saw the release of a single and video for "December's Bicycle."
(Photo courtesy Calabro Music Media)