Gasparilla Music Festival: The Motet

The Gasparilla Music Festival blew through downtown Tampa October 1-3 with very hot temperatures and even hotter music. It was Sunday, October 3, a day full of great music highlighted by Gov’t Mule, Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel, and The Motet.

Denver jam kings The Motet have been on the scene since 1998 in one form or another, founded by drummer Dave Watts, and their performance on the main stage strung together elements of jazz, soul, funk, jam, Latin, Afrobeat, and so much more in their tight 75-minute set.

The Motet – GMF. 📷: Jeffrey Moellering /

The Motet haven’t played in this area in about five years, so this was heavenly, start to finish. They came out throwing funk in huge chunks with “Cretan,” a tune from Totem (2016). Drew Sayers on tenor saxophone took the first shot, followed by Joey Porter, the man with more bounce to the ounce, on synths, which segued into “Speed of Light,” the first of four songs from 2019’s Death or Devotion, featuring Porter on talk box.

Ryan Jalbert – The Motet – GMF. 📷: Jeffrey Moellering /

We’ve had the pleasure of seeing The Motet numerous times, and this show demonstrated once again that the heart of the band is drummer Watts, who is relentless in his pursuit of the beat. He was joined by compatriot Jason Hann of The String Cheese Incident on percussion, and that is always a magical thing.

Jason Hann with The Motet – GMF. 📷: Jeffrey Moellering /

After “The Fountain” from their 2014 eponymous release, they tore into one of Watts’ amazing Afrobeat compositions from their 2004 masterpiece Music for Life, “Fearless.” Ryan Jalbert’s clipped guitar work (think Fela Kuti’s music) was incredible, and Garrett Sayers on bass and Hann on all manner of percussion just tore this up. DAMN.

The Motet – GMF. 📷: Jeffrey Moellering /

Hold on a minute. Who’s the new guy who’s been standing center stage playing guitar with Jalbert? Porter said something to the effect of, “This is Collin!” That’s how we met Collin Miller, who proceeded to sing “Whacha Gonna Bring” and “Death or Devotion” (both from the 2019 album). There was a spirited “Drumz” with Hann doing his thing, again backed by Watts.

Collin Miller with The Motet – GMF. 📷: Jeffrey Moellering /

“Head” was more deep funk, this time with Miller’s falsetto vocals, before they romped through “Rynodub.” Drew and Jalbert crushed this one, and all too soon we were at the end. One more: Porter the Clavinet King and Miller singing “Get It Right.”

For damn sure The Motet did!

Jason Hann & Drew Sayers – The Motet – GMF. 📷: Jeffrey Moellering /

[THE MOTET: Cretan, Speed of Light, The Fountain, Fearless, Whatcha Gonna Bring, Death or Devotion, Drumz, Head, Rynodub, Get It Right]



Leave a Reply