Ken Leighton 12:30 p.m., Feb. 21
The Red Fox Tails
Sound description: Combining elements of jazz, surf, rock, Latin, and second line rhythms, the band calls their sound “Surfy soul jazz.”
RIYL: Link Wray, Professor Longhair, Santana, Mattson 2, Budos Band, Medeski Martin and Wood
- "There Has Never Been a Better Time" · June 7, 2012
Inception: Oceanside, 2010
Influences: Henry Mancini, Calexico, Bill Frizzell, the Big Lazy, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Medeski Martin and Wood, Gabor Szabo
Formed in 2010, the Red Fox Tails are an Oceanside-based surf jazz outfit. Drummer Ron Bocian (Euphoria Brass Band) is a native of Chicago and longtime New Orleans resident. "The essence of jazz is down there," he says. "You can almost taste it."
Post Katrina, the drummer migrated to San Diego and helped co-found a couple of bands: Euphoria Brass, a big traditional NOLA Second Line outfit, and the Red Fox Tails.
Felipe Benavides is a guitar dude raised on Colombian folk tunes, plantain chips, and old Scooby Doo cartoons who cites Grant Green, a modern jazz guitarist from the '60s and '70s, as a major inspiration.
"The way he pokes around for a melody, it's like he's using a divining rod."
Bassist Jay Reilly is one of their Oceanside neighbors. The band is influenced by jazz, funk, surf, rock, groove, Latin, and second line rhythms. Their seven-song Drop In EP was released in 2011, recorded in ex-Paladins bassist Thomas Yearsley's Thunderbird Analog studio in Oceanside.
For their 2012 full-length Aloha, the band set up shop in Bocian's Oceanside house. "For some of the songs, we just turned everything on and let it rip." So would they call their music jazz?
"I don't know, labels are kind of confining," says Bocian of the trio, which embraces improvising. Their web site claims surf-soul-jazz. "Our arrangements are never the same." He says the songwriting is collaborative.
The band's next full-length Ornamental Gypsy, released in 2014, featured new bandmate J.P. Balmat (Euphoria Brass Band) on baritone and alto saxophone.
Their ABUELITA EP, released in August 2018, was recorded by Tim Felten (Sure Fire Soul Ensemble) at the Kitchen II Studio in Lemon Grove.