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>> LOCAL FUNK BAND HOPES TO BRANCH OUT TO BIGGER REGIONAL VENUES LIKE THE BIRCHMERE THIRD STREAM GIANTS READY FOR BIG TIME
Third Stream Giants keep funk and soul alive for local audiences

 Third Stream Giants have evolved several times since 2006.
Marta Locklear/martalocklear.com
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Date published: 11/13/2008

BY BOBBY McMAHON

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Third Stream Giants have brought back "the funk." It's about time.

The up-and-coming octet plays funk and soul like the titans of old, with thick grooves and horn blasts aplenty. The band matches the soulful baritone of Anthony Campbell--the 2003 winner of the "Today" show's "Superstar" singing competition--with slickly executed horn licks and groove-oriented compositions, many of which are arranged by guitarist Matt Montoro. What results is a spirited collision of funk, soul and R&B that can adapt to various styles and genres.

The band will hand out fistfuls of funk at Washington's The Red and The Black this Sunday. Local fans who can't make the D.C. gig can burn off Thanksgiving calories with the Giants on Saturday, Nov. 29, at The Loft--or ring in the new year with them on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at Brock's Riverside Grill.

Their flexibility of styles means that, in addition to original compositions, the Giants can put their own spin on a wide range of songs.

"It's about playing the music that inspires us," said Montoro in a recent phone interview.

From Outkast to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," they try to integrate "all different types of music" into their particular style of funk, said Montoro.

While the band started as a jazz-fusion group in 2006, this far more funky incarnation has been playing together only for about a year. The current lineup features Campbell on vocals, a three-man horn line, keys and a tight rhythm section--creating a sound that's more akin to the hip-shaking style of Morris Day and the Time than the jazz heroes Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

This fat sound and lineup carry over into the group's live shows, and while Montoro joked that they were not yet up to the Morris Day standard ("We're not at the point where we have uniforms or our choreography down pat"), the performance element of their shows is crucial, he said. "Going in, it's really just about connecting with the audience, whether we're playing in a large place or a small club where there might be 50 people out. We are definitely an audience-participation-type act."


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What: Third Stream Giants open for The Underliners, with The Fustics and Alex Culbreth Where: The Red and The Black, 1212 H St. N.E., Washington When: Sunday, 8 p.m. Cost: $8 Info: 202/399-3201 Web: redandblackbar.com