Lights Down Low

Lights Down Low


Not "New Jazz", more like "The Next Jazz". Head-nodding, Foot-stomping, Soul-searching Funk movements perpetuated by a cadre of young and spirited, fun loving musicians.


Lights Down Low fuses jazz, funk, R&B, and soul to create instrumental grooves that make audiences move. The members of Lights Down Low share influences from around the universe... Stevie, Ray Charles, MMW, Beck, Phish, and all the new form DJs like Grayboy, Shadow, and RJD2. No matter who you are, there will something for you at a Lights Down Low show.

Charles "Chip Hustle" Gardner - Keyboardist, all around Funkyman.

Chip was born and raised in Chapel Hill NC. The son of an opera singer, musical expression has always been an aspect of his personality. However, aside from middle school chorus, drama, and choir, he would have to wait until college to find his true musical calling: the piano. Since attending East Carolina University in 1998, Chip has never looked backed. In 1999 he met Mike Cupino through a mutual a friend. Two years later, Chip would move to Charlotte, and the two have been creating and developing ever since.

1992-1994 North Carolina Boys Choir
1999-2002 Hat Trick
2002-2003 Natural Chemistry
2002-2003 Pianist, South Tryon Methodist Church
2002-2003 The Young Professionals
2003-2004 Dangerous Juan
2004-2007 Subject to Change -> Lights Down Low

Chip's musical influences span a vast range from Frank Zappa to Radiohead, Stevie Wonder to Medeski,Martin&Wood, Phish to Herbie Hancock.


Mike Camel - Cellist, Bassist

Camel, as he is known in many circles, grew up in Tamarac, FL, the youngest of 5 kids. His classical beginnings had him starting Cello at the age of 9. Several teachers and mentors later, Mike attended Florida State University on full musical scholarship in 1999. At this point, all of the music he studied and wrote was in the Classical milieu, but by the time he left college, Mike would try his hand at all types. He joined several bands in the years to follow, ranging from Heavy Metal to Country: consistently on the cello. In 2002 he finally acquired his on electric bass - an instrument he had used before but never thoroughly explored. Though the format of the instrument was quite different, Mike's many years of adept string work, and finger training, enabled him to teach himself the bass in record time, and thereby develop his own style.

On an invitation from a friend of the band, Mike met and jammed with Chip and the other Mike in 2002. South Florida has never been the same.

Mike draws his musical inspiration from the classic and neo-classic jam bands: The Grateful Dead, Phish, Lake Trout


Mike Cupino - Drummer, Percussionist, Engineer, encyclopedia of the mundane. All around weirdo and man of mystery. Likes to hit things with sticks.


Leo Boland - Guitarist. Violist, Rockstar.

Leo's history with performing purveys the gamut of eclectic stylings including Punk Rock, classical, New Wave and Hip-Hop. He began playing the guitar at the tender age of ... until sybling rivalary took its toll on his poor, innocent, starter 6 string. Eventually he would be introduced to the viola, which he would study for many years at... Still, deep in his heart he longed for the comfort he loved as a child and found his passion once again for the guitar. This passion has lead him to many fortuitus opportunities with the many bands he's played and friends he has grown with.

Leo joined the band after playing a few jams with Chip and Mike in 2004.


Bob Smiley - Saxophonist, Flutist

Bob is a veritable icon on the South Florida live music scene. Born in Stuart FL in 1981, Bob eventually moved to ... with his family. He picked up the sax at age 12 and still refuses to put it down. School bands, garage bands with friends, jamming out with his brother Dave on trombone, his calling was inevitable. IN 19xx he attended the FIU music program, where he was mentored and trained under musical greats Gary Campbell, Chip McNeil and Jose Valerio. His past with his horn is deep and expansive. Its brought him to play Carnegie Hall and tour Costa Rica; to hit enumerable stages with the many bands he's fronted or sectioned. And now its brought him to Lights Down Low.


- coming soon -

Set List

Lights Down Low has over 4 hours of original material. Typically they play 2 or 3 sets lasting from 45 minutes to an hour. As far as covers go, you may hear anything from the jazz standard, "My Favorite Things", to Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein."