(Left to right) Charlie Dolan, Alric “A.C.” Carter, Matt Jalbert and Isaac Teel of TAUK perform Friday, June 5, at Duling Hall. Photo courtesy Zach McNabb
New York-based instrumental band TAUK bridges gaps, whether in generations or genre. Blending multiple musical styles, from jazz to '70s rock to funk and electronic, TAUK's melody-driven original songs lay track between generations of music and music lovers. Their ability comes from years of experience and a wide net of influences.
The core members of band have been making music together for 15 years. Guitarist Matt Jalbert, bassist Charlie Dolan and keyboardist Alric "A.C." Carter began playing together when they were in the seventh grade in Oyster Bay, N.Y.
Back then, they listened to breakthrough rock artists such as The Who, Cream and Jimi Hendrix.
"Then, we got into Phish and (the) Dave Matthews Band. Later, we listened to Herbie Hancock, and funk bands like Sly and the Family Stone," Dolan says. "Now we listen to everything: electronic music, classical, rock, hip-hop to R&B—everything."
After high school, the three friends went their separate ways to study music at different colleges. Dolan attended New York University, Carter went to Northwestern University, and Jalbert headed for the University of Virginia. But each time they came home from school, they rehearsed, learned new songs and performed, planning to continue playing together after graduation.
TAUK's music hasn't always been strictly instrumental, though. The current incarnation officially began in 2011, when the band's vocalist left the group, and the musicians couldn't find a replacement. They soon realized that listeners were responding to the melodies they wrote, which didn't require vocals. Drummer Isaac Teel joined a year later, completing this new voiceless version of TAUK.
Like most ambitious late-20-somethings in bands, gigging is the heart of the endeavor for TAUK.
"We are eternally touring," Dolan says, which has helped the band build a diverse and loyal fan base. TAUK plays at festivals such as Bonnaroo, Hangout Music Festival and the Allman Brothers' Peach Fest, and has appeared with artists such as The Funky Meters, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Papadosio, Toubab Krewe and The Revivalists.
"We have a strong 18- to 35-year-old range of fans, but we also have a lot of older fans," Dolan says. "When we played the Floydfest in Virginia (in July 2014), there was an older couple with a sign that said 'Old People Love You.' When we played San Antonio, Texas, for the first time last year, there was a group of younger kids, maybe 15 years old, in the front row. They knew a bunch of the songs. It's a great feeling to know our music is reaching a broad audience."
TAUK released three albums in the last two years: "Pull Factors" and "Homunculus" in 2013 and "Collisions" in 2014. Long-time collaborator Robert Carranza, a Grammy winner who has worked with The Mars Volta and Jack Johnson, produced the band's most recent release. Dolan says Carranza's involvement on the 10-track collection helped TAUK refine its dynamic fusion of funk, jazz and progressive rock.
"Robert is a big part of the sound we've developed," Dolan says. "He'll be a big part of everything we record and release in the foreseeable future."
Carranza has been on the scene at TAUK's shows since the band began touring in January of this year, producing the next release—a two-disc live album. Dolan says the band has been hard at work making videos and recording live performances for the as-of-yet unnamed album, which the band hopes to release later this year.
TAUK performs at 9 p.m. Friday, June 5, at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave., 601-292-7121). Tickets are $10 in advance at ardenland.net or $15 at the door. The Red Thangs also perform. For more information, visit taukband.com.