Who the Heck is Shak Nasti, and Why Should You See Them at OBJ?

Most of you outside the Orlando area probably don’t know about Shak Nasti. You may not even have seen the name of this band, which has been making astounding music since 2004. For years they were the Thursday night house band at Tanqueray’s.

And I’ve heard them play 42 times.

Why? The reason is simple. When they get in the groove, there is nobody better. Anywhere. Yeah, well, that’s just, like, my opinion, man, but maybe, just maybe you ought to check them out at Orange Blossom Jamboree this weekend. Just in case it turns out I’m right.

shak quart
Lapham, Gruda, Turner and Smith

Shak Nasti began as a quartet. By the time I heard them for the first time at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa in July of 2006, they played as a trio: Tim Turner, guitar, vocals; Matt Lapham, bass; and Rion Smith, drums. This extraordinary band plays funk, rock, jazz, and any damn thing they want. They can go prog, reggae, spacey, jam — you name it, these boys have done it.

Their first album, From the Belly, also featured guitarist and vocalist Kris Gruda, who also appears on “Diddley Do” from early 2008. Later that year, the trio had an album release party for A Way Inside, an excellent recording featuring compositions by Tim Turner and the band. They held a Kickstarter campaign to produce Jim Jackson, their 2012 release.

Matt Lapham
Matt Lapham

Lapham is my favorite bass player — anywhere, anytime. Sick, sick, sick this man is. He also played regularly with Bobby Lee Rodgers for some time. Lapham plays in a wicked Orlando band called Brownote as well as Con Leche. He has toured recently with Popa Chubby, including a leg in Europe, and he plays often with Roosevelt Collier. And he has filled in with the Lee Boys as well. I’ve seen him perform more than any musician on the planet.

shak rion
Rion Smith

Smith is a polyrhythmic drummer with Afrobeat and Oriental sensibilities. He was the drummer for Sam Rivers’ Riv-Bea Orchestra, and he has performed with Blue Man Group.

Tim Turner and Ito Colon
Tim Turner and Ito Colon

Turner is a drastically underrated guitarist. His jazz sense colors everything he does, making the funk, rock and reggae richer. He has a truly distinctive voice which seems perfect for the band’s musical output. And Turner is a gifted composer. He was also part of Christian Ryan’s Garage at Little Econ Love Fest, the Frank Zappa tribute, on lead guitar. That performance will be reprised August 27th at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa, along with Holey Miss Moley’s P-Funk set and yet another Ryan project, Joose, playing Herbie Hancock’s Thrust.

Bobby Lee Rodgers with Shank Nasti
Bobby Lee Rodgers with Shank Nasti

Often, excellent percussionist Ito Colon plays with the trio. And Shak Nasti has performed with many, many musicians. Visitors to their Tanqueray gigs included Jeff Coffin, Eric Krasno and Roosevelt Collier. They played as part of Thomas Wynn and the Believers for some time and also teamed up with Collier and Bobby Lee Rodgers.

[Ed. Note: no sooner was this published than Matt Lapham messaged that he is currently in New York touring with Popa Chubby. Fortunately, Todd Warsing will sub for him. Warsing is an excellent player himself who has filled in before and has played with several Orlando-area groups. Keyboard player Keegan Matthews (Leisure Chief) and Ito Colon will also play Saturday.]

Shak Nasti also played the next-to-last set at Purple Hatter’s Ball last year, then stayed on stage as Collier’s band as he closed the fest. At the second Roosevelt Collier Suwannee Getdown last August, Shak Nasti played both nights and backed Collier, along with the amazing Anthony Cole on drums and alto saxophone.

On archive.org, you can find more than 20 live shows available for download; yes, of COURSE, they’re all on my iPod!

They play the Citrus Stage on Saturday at 9:35 at OBJ. Right after Bobby Lee Rodgers!


05/21  OBJ

05/27  Will’s Pub, Orlando  w/ Leisure Chief

06/03  Ka’Tiki, Treasure Island

[This performance includes Keegan Matthews, keyboards; roland Simmons, guitar, and Ito Colon, percussion.]

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