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Local trio brings jazz to happy hour

The Carey Robinson Trio_2
Carey Robinson on the guitar, Komoki Bunting on the drums and Greg D'Augelli on the electric string bass performing at Cafe Flo.Photo credit: Frances Mansour

A man waits for his tea at the counter inside Cafe Flo on a Monday night, his fingers dancing along with the beat.

It’s jazz happy hour with The Carey Robinson Trio. Although the audience may be small, the appreciation they have for jazz is huge.

“Fifty percent of the audience are jazz DJs,” said Steve Scarborough, a jazz disc jockey at KZFR.

Clay Hilligas, a j
azz DJ at KZFR and KCHO, set his tea down and joined his co-host, Bill Bathursd, to enjoy the smooth stylings of The Carey Robinson Trio at Cafe Flo’s jazz happy hour.

Hilligas is there most Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. to hear the trio perform. He also promotes their music on his radio shows.

“It’s wonderful to see the richness of talent here,” Scarborough said.

Mark Watts, the owner of Cafe Flo, said The Carey Robinson Trio has been playing at jazz happy hour for years.

“Except for when I kick them out,” Watts said.

The locals have missed their usual happy hour entertainment for the past two weeks because Carey Robinson had been visiting his fiancee in Vietnam.

With Robinson on guitar, Komoki Bunting on drums and Greg D’Augelli on bass, Watts said they play for the love of music and the tip jar.

With no entry fee, the business doesn’t make the money, but the artists do, Watts said. He encourages people to buy a drink and tip the musicians.

“I don’t make enough money tonight to turn the lights on,” Watts said.

However, he continues to give live music to the community.

Because it is located in the same building as the Pageant Theatre, people can make a night of grabbing a drink or a quick bite at the jazz happy hour before heading next door for the Pageant’s $3 Monday Night Cheap Skate, Watts said.

Tie-dyed tapestries hang behind the band members, creating a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

A Blue Moon LED sign lit Bunting’s face as he bobbed his head with each strike of the drums.

D’Augelli’s wife, Barbara, is a flutist in the Paradise Symphony and joined the trio on stage for a few songs. Robinson’s guitar and her flute complemented each other effortlessly, seducing the crowd.

Hilligas, Bathursd, and Scarborough, labeled “the regulars,” sat at the middle table and chatted quietly about the latest in the jazz world.

“When they don’t show up, we wonder,” D’Augelli said.

It’s no mystery why they are regulars. The Carey Robinson Trio is a perfect soundtrack to unwind to after a long day, especially for those with a case of the Mondays.

“It’s great music,” Scarborough said. “They’ll play spontaneously, just improvising.”

Emma Wood-Wright can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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