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Doors Drummer Brings His Jazz Tribe To Town

Of the Oakland Press

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John Densmore has opened a new door in his music career with the group Tribaljazz. But that doesn’t mean the drummer has closed the door — or, rather, the Doors — on his previous work.

Tribaljazz recorded a version of the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” for its 2006 debut album. And Densmore, who formed Tribaljazz in 2005 with saxophonist Art Ellis, notes that it’s usually a highlight when the group performs it live.

“I say, ‘We’re playing our token Doors song,’” Densmore explains, “‘and I’m not gonna tell you the title, but it’s disguised as a salsa and you’re gonna have to guess. And there’s no lyrics and no leather pants, so here we go ...’

“It’s kinda fun. It’s a nice melody, and we do it our own way. We’re not a tribute band, obviously ... oops,” he adds with a laugh.

Densmore, you see, is still at odds with former Doors bandmates Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger over their attempts to tour under the Doors name or variations of it.

Densmore and the estate of late singer Jim Morrison have successfully sued to keep them from using direct references to the Doors, though Manzarek and Krieger continue to appeal the decisions.

Despite that, Densmore says his business dealings with the other two — including a new documentary about the band that may premiere this fall — are peaceable.

“I don’t begrudge them playing. They’re great musicians,” Densmore explains. “It’s just that, wait a minute, let’s get the name straight here. Jim is not in the band. I’m not in the band. It’s founding members of the Doors, or former members of the Doors. That’s fine. That’s all cool.

“But it’s not the band, that’s all. So just ... call it something else, y’know?”

Tribaljazz performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (June 15) at the Carrousel By the River festival on the Riverfront Festival Plaza in Windsor. The festival runs Friday (June 13) through Sunday and also features performances by Gato Barbieri, Alfie Zappacosta and the Contours featuring Sylvester Potts. Admission is $5 per day and free for children younger than 12 and adults older than 65. Call (519) 255-1127 or visit www.themcc.com.

Web Site: www.themcc.com

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