Long Beach is a city for musicians who like to spread themselves around. It's nothing new to hear about a guitarist or drummer who happens to play in four or five bands at a time. Sure, we wouldn't call that exclusively LB behavior. But we'll be damned if musicians in any other city do it as effortlessly and as often. For the perfect example, look no further than the Slow Learner Collective
. Fronted by sharp-dressed, rail-thin Renaissance man Brandon Eugene Owens
(Eugene for short, formerly of Eugene and the 1914), a rotating line-up features player's from all over the spectrum--respected practitioners of jazz, rock, folk, blues and pretty much anyone who kicks ass at their instrument.
Though he's had his experiences as a card-carrying member of a traditional band, this new project is definitely reminiscent of Owens' days as a session bass player working with jazz musicians and touring demigods like Lauryn Hill
and Stevie Wonder
in his teens and early 20s. In those the days where he'd hardly never play with the same musicians for a long period of time. The only difference is that all the members hang out together more than they practice together and they all seem to have a wealth of music gigs that sound nothing like what they're doing with Slow Learner, which is undoubtedly a good thing. But before you hear their stirring mix of apt eclecticism at this month's Plugged Into Local at Harvelle's in Long Beach
on Dec. 19, we chatted Owens' up for a few minutes to find out what the group is all about.