Bet on Inside Straight

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A new jazz band called Inside Straight formed this week and will disband Saturday night after playing only two gigs.

Longtime Steamboat musician Chris Koebnick put the band together with three other musicians from Denver and Boulder for the purpose of playing the Yacht Club deck this weekend.

The four-man band will include Eric Moon on keyboard and Koebnick on bass. The two-man combination is one that has formed and reformed since the beginning of their musical careers in the mid-70s.

Inside Straight will play tonight and Saturday as a jazz-based funk band. Koebnick knows that jazz is not for everyone but believes it is a universal language for musicians.

"I know it's hard to like jazz," he said. "It's musicians' music.

"It's the long solos that bore people, but I'll tell you that during a solo what's happening is you are just hanging on for dear life."

Koebnick has played with Moon since his mid-20s and played those gigs with the same Fender Precision fretless bass he purchased in 1976.

Fender didn't make jazz basses back then so Koebnick had to customize his Precision. He has added to and changed everything on the body of the guitar, but refuses to replace it.

"This is the nicest bass I've ever played," he said. "And I bought it on a dare (from local musician Bill Martin.)"

About the same time as he acquired the Precision, Koebnick was living in Steamboat as a 20-something musician. He wasn't learning much from the local jazz scene, he said. So he searched for a partner who would push his music to the next level.

He'd seen Moon play with a Denver band called Rare Silk. Moon was fresh from the jazz program at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and already was playing professionally.

"Eric had bebop wired by the time he was 22," Koebnick said.

Koebnick had a 16-week gig through the winter season and invited Moon to join him.

"I thought that I would learn a lot about soloing and theory," Koebnick said, "but I ended up learning about chart reading and rhythm.

"Eric is one of the best rhythm guitar players I know. In the whole season we played together, I think he got lost once. And I think that might have been our fault."

Since playing with Moon, Koebnick has developed the theory that the difference between a mediocre musician and a good musician is rhythm.

"Rhythm is the feel of the music. The soul of the music is in the rhythm," he said.

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