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Absolute Grüv is a Minneapolis based band composed of guitars, drums, horns, bass and Hammond b3 organ. The band’s six members – long time friends linked by a passion for creating fresh and interesting music – have been performing together for upwards of 8 years.
Influenced by a variety of sources from Cash to Coltrane, and Hank to Hendrix; their jam band style and the Grüv’s roots in jazz, blues, soul and R&B music make their growing repertoire of original compositions truly unique.
According to frontman Sam Hankey, Absolute Grüv’s mission is to “innovatively recreate some of the greatest sounds of the last century – the music that our parents played in the house while we were growing up – but in a modern manner, in a way that is applicable to our generation”
“Absolute Grüv is a band of great dynamic. Starting out with a nasty lead guitarist, and backed by a steady, well-transitioning drummer. This band doesn’t just play great jams; the secret weapon, lead singer, has the much needed soul with a whiskey drinking voice. The bassist keeps
the needed beat, as well as, throws a funk transition at perfect times. This band is a breath of fresh air in today’s […] music. Their new album “Just Past North” is a disc that didn’t leave my CD player half the summer. Perfect band for cruisin’ country roads by yourself and a nice air guitar.”
– Jambase.com user
The last 8 years have truly been a spectacle for Absolute Grüv. Gigs at hometown bars and restaurants quickly turned into regional, national and international invitations. They have been able to pull together an impressive lineup of successful shows both in and outside of the twin cities, along with being able to participate in multiple summer festivals such as Milwaukee’s Summerfest, The 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes, The Bella Music Festivals at Harmony Park, the White Iron Band’s Log Jam, Wookiefoot’s Harvest Festival, Fat Maw Rooney’s Fat Fest, and The Big Wu’s Family Reunion. Absolute Grüv’s solid base of loyal fans is creating a buzz across the nation that is hard to avoid. They are looking forward to another year of good crowds and great music in 2012.
Absolute Grüv is:
Ian Wilson – Guitars, Lead Vocals
Ian has been capturing audiences for years with undeniable skills on the electric guitar. The range of emotion coming through Ian’s fingers is intense, spanning from moments of sheer shredding to interludes of gentle singing. Ian’s playing encapsulates references to Duane Allman, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughan, amongst many other influences; but his vocal ability should not be overshadowed by his guitar. His ability to belt the high harmonies and take the occasional lead is major attribute to the Grüv.
Sam Hankey – Hammond b3, Keyboards, Lead Vocals
Absolute Grüv.s lively front man tears apart shows wailing on the Hammond b3 organ and belting his soulful blues voice on top of it. Only 23 years old, Sam has picked up more talent than most do in a lifetime, learning from local legends like Bill Brown and Tom Pletcher, and touring musicians such as Joey Kantor and Al Oikari. As well as being one of the major contributing song writers of the group, Sam Hankey is a passionate performer who generates a lot of energy in the audience of Grüv shows as well as on stage.
Brandon James – Bass, Vocals
Amalgamating with Absolute Grüv only three years ago, Brandon has picked up a whole book of Grüv originals in a very short time, adding his opinion where needed and in some cases, completely rewriting songs. His first encounter with Sam, while jamming at a local bar, seemed like fate. The Grüv had recently lost their previous bassist and soon after Brandon was asked to join the Grüv on the road. Brandon is one of the true ‘all natural’ musicians in the Twin Cities, learning almost completely by ear and performing at major events for years before even learning how to read music. His ability to learn quickly and react on stage, combined with his acute improvisational skills is exactly what the Grüv was missing. Brandon is constantly laying down funky bass lines and keeping things interesting.
Clay Whitney – Drum set, Percussion
Clay’s percussion obsession begins with a complete technical mastery of the drum set. Having played in bands and jammed alongside Ian since the age of 12, Clay has devoted a lot of time to learning everything he can about rhythm. Clay is now a percussion performance major at the University of Minnesota learning more about the world of percussion from mentors such as Latin/classical music giant, Fernando Meza and jazz master and Minneapolis legend, Phil Hey. Clay.s unique grooves keep audiences on their feet night after night.
Matt Potter – Saxophones, Auxiliary Percussion, Vocals
Developing his musical skills on the piano as a small child, Matt picked up the saxophone soon after during his middle school years in the Madison, WI area. Since then he has religiously continued to study classical and jazz saxophone with an impressive lineup of professors and
mentors like Ruben Haugen (University of St. Thomas), while occupying positions with many musical groups from the twin cities including the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Potter’s aptitude on the saxophone as well has his ability to add auxiliary percussion sections and nail the high vocal harmonies has become a requisite asset to the Grüv’s stage and studio performance.
David Feily – Trumpet, Flugle Horn, Guitars, Vocals
David Feily’s composition skills are emphasized by his amazing instrumental capacity on the trumpet and the guitar. Originally from the D.C. area of Maryland, David developed an interest in jazz and rock & roll at a young age before moving to St. Paul, MN to study music performance with some of the best talent Minnesota has to offer, like Stephan Morgan, Chris Kachian and Chris Volpe at the University of St. Thomas. Feily’s on stage performance is potent. At the start of the set you may see him providing backing horns lines on the trumpet while in the middle of the set he might be shredding guitar solos and offering backup vocal harmonies. When Feily joined Absolute Grüv in 2011, he brought with him a songwriting talent that, in less than a year, has manifested into many new Grüv originals.