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Playing Around: The Flow 

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It's no small thing for an up-and-coming jam band to undertake a Colorado tour. Colorado, after all, is the home of the jam. Look at what we've got here -- String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Telluride, Yonder Mountain, Nederland, Lauan Records, Michigan Mike, Shakedown Street ... Phil Lesh even said Colorado is his home away from home. We create, support and nurture jam music and its surrounding culture. The jam scene is old hat.

So when a six-member "bayou Caribbean soul" collective blows in from the icelands of East Lansing, Mich. with a plan to hit every major jambase in the state, it's a major undertaking -- a challenge. This band, called The Flow, will tour through mid-January, playing dates on such hallowed ground as the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon in Telluride and the Little Bear in Evergreen. While their music is not, and does not purport itself to be, mountain jam, The Flow's tight groove will no doubt win over their sophisticated audiences. Like they say, if you can make it amongst our sinewy, burnt-nosed boarders, bikers, mountain girls and river rats, you can make it anywhere.

Heavy on the reggae with the brassy feel of New Orleans jazz, The Flow's original music is highly danceable and reliably upbeat. You won't find much space jam here, but the energetic compositions do draw from basic improvisational jazz structures and rich American rhythms. The lyrics are witty and rollicking, and the combination of Mark Freed's keys and Diego Rivera's horns transform the comfy arrangements into a polished, professional and refined sound. More than likely, these will be shows where you can feel the planks bouncing under so many dancing feet.

The Flow plays at Tres Hombres this Friday at 9 p.m.; call 687-0625. For more info on The Flow's other Colorado dates, visit

www.theflowmusic.com.

--Kristen Sherwood

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