Minkus Finkus
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Minkus Finkus

Band Jazz Funk


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The best kept secret in music



Minkus Finkus to release groovy 'snapshot in time' debut album.

After about a year in the making, the self-titled debut album of jazz-funk-fusion band Minkus Finkus is ready to see the light of day.
On one band, the musicians are happy about that. On the other...
“We recorded it so long ago, and we’ve all grown so much in our sound,” said Adams Collins, who plays marimba, vibes and congas. "It doesn’t sound like us anymore."
But, interjected drummer Brian Hickman, an album serves as a snapshot in time. Guitarist Pat Pathoumtbong agreed.
“We can listen to it and be glad that we’re better than we used to be,” he said. “It’s like first using candles, then getting electricity. Electricity is better, but candles are still good.”
And so the matter was settled: The CD is good, if not entirely representative of the musicians’ current abilities. And the band will introduce it at a CD release party April 1 at Teatro Scarplno in Fayetteville.
Up until about four months ago, the quartet, which also includes bassist Clare Starr, was known as Confunktion Junction. Hickman and Collins are the only remaining founding members. They began the band in 2002 with bassist D.J. Murphy and percussionist Dorothy Micklea, both of whom departed to undertake graduate studies. Murphy, who played on the album, will trade off bass duties with Starr at next week's show, Collins said.
By November 2004, the band's current lineup was in place, and a change of name was in order. Although they’d known since shortly after christening them-selves Confunktion Junction that a group with the same name existed in New York, they put off the renaming ordeal as long as they continued to play only in Fayettevllle.
But with hopes of banching out regionally, and eventually nationally—they currently have shows scheduled in Texas and Oklahoma City—they had to come up with something.
Repeated brainstorming sessions eventually culminated in Minkus Finkus, which Collins proposed after reading the autobiography of Charles Mingus, a jazz bassist whom the group counts among their influences.
“The longer we’re with the name, the more it represents us and the more we grow into it," Collins said.
The name is an evolution, Hickman said, much like the band’s sound, which marries jazz and classical elements with modern bass and percussion. Although they are primarily an instrumental ensemble, lyrics are sometimes added in the form of spoken words or “rapping stuff” as another accompaniment to the music, he said.
Musicianship is one of the band’s strong suits, the members say. Pathoumthong, a native of Laos and Thailand who began taking guitar lessons at age 8, has attended the Guitar Institute of Technology. Starr was named best bassist at the 1996-1998 North-west Arkansas Music Awards, resulting in an induction into the NAMA Hall of Fame in 200l.
Hickman, who also performs with Grandpa’s Goodtime Fandango, and Pathoumthong have played with well-known jazz trumpeter Gary Gazaway. And Collins was principal percussionst in the University of Arkansas Wind Symphony until he completed his music degree. He and Starr also currently play with the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
“With [this lineup] the ingredi-ents are there for success,” Hick-man said.
Minkus Finkus performs regular-ly at Fayettevifle venues including The Copper Bar, The Gypsy, George’s Majeslic Lounge and Teatro Scarpino. - Sarah Terry - Northwest Arkansas Times - March 25, 2005


“… the group bursts into a musical whirlwind full of exuberant color, tight form, and lots of funky grooves. The music speaks for itself…” - Genevieve Threat - Fayetteville Free Weekly - May 20, 2004


“… the proficiency of the musicians … and the versatility of the music they produce makes [Minkus Finkus] a fine choice for any situation or location.” - Katie Perry - The Arkansas Traveler - February 13, 2003


“Expect big things from this ‘new-to-you’ band …. [Minkus Finkus] is steadily making a place for itself on the local music circuit.”
- Amber Dillon - The Arkansas Traveler - February 11, 2004


-Self-titled EP
-Self-titled debut album


Feeling a bit camera shy


Minkus Finkus is a band that plays a conglomeration of musical styles that explore genre boundaries. These boundaries interweave and are connected, though, by the emphasis that the band puts on groove. Whether Minkus Finkus is blazing through an up-tempo Latin tune, laying back with a slow and relentless funk groove, or doing a high energy rock-fusion chart, the harmonious locking-up of rhythm and melody between band members is the unifying factor that brings continuity to both the group’s live show and to their debut studio album. The musicianship of Minkus Finkus, and the almost psychic connection between its band members, is what makes listening to the group an electrifying and unforgettable experience.

Minkus Finkus, formerly known as Confunktion Junction* (2003 OMA Creativity Award recipients), formed in the fall of 2002, and originally consisted of current members Hickman and Collins, plus Dorothy Micklea on vibes, percussion, and vocals; and DJ Murphy on electric bass and voice. Micklea decided to pursue graduate music studies in Philadelphia at the end of 2003, and Pat joined the group in her place at that time. When DJ decided to similarly focus on his graduate studies, Clare joined the group in November of 2004, and brought Minkus Finkus to its current state of being—a state where every band member is focused on exposing the group’s unique sounds and sights on the road.

With Pathoumthong and Starr on-board, Minkus Finkus’ line-up is now basically an all-star assemblage of musical experience from Fayetteville, Arkansas, out of which the group is based. To illustrate, Clare was voted Best Bassist in the ’96, ’97, and ’98 NAMA awards, which caused him to be inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2001. Clare has played with bands such as the award winning Dirt Spirits (1997 OMA Best Overall Band) and Barrio Band (2002 OMA Musicianship Award), as well as with El Buho, with whom Pat and Brian have also played. Pat and Brian actually played for the first time together on a Buho gig. Pat won the Northwest Arkansas Hot Licks guitar competition the last three years of the contest in ’90, ’91, and ’92, after attending the Guitar Institute of Technology during ’88 and ’89, and has played with the Lucious Spiller Band (2002 NAMA Best Rock Band) and Afrodesia (1998 NAMA Best New Band), as well as Bo Didley and Big Jack Johnson. Brian performed in Grandpa’s Goodtime Fandango, who was the 2002 NAMA Band of the Year and 2003 NAMA Best Party Band, and Adams was the principal percussionist in the University of Arkansas Wind Symphony until he completed his music degree. Adams and Clare currently play with the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and Brian and Clare currently also play with Billy Iuso of the New Orleans-based band Brides of Jesus.

The result of the combination of this amazing line-up of musicians is a super tight sonic chemistry that perpetuates itself throughout each and every song. This chemistry has led to the group garnering honors such as Jam Band of the Year in the 2005 NAMA's. Musicianship is at the forefront with Minkus Finkus, and the tunes that the band plays are as equally well-suited to getting a crowd on their feet on the dance floor as they are to pleasing the eyes, ears, and minds of those who want to sit and watch attentively. Commitment to quality performance and great musical material is the key to the inevitable success of Minkus Finkus.

*The band’s name was changed recently from Confunktion Junction upon the discovery of another band with the same name. This was done before Minkus Finkus’ first CD went to press in order to avoid future legal and name recognition complications.


Mountain of Venus, Green Lemon, Moonshine Still, Speakeasy, Disappear Fear, David Nelson Band, The Ills, Free Radicals, Wildwood, Sugar Free All-Stars, Grandpa’s Goodtime Fandango, Eckobase, Cherry Brooks & Pulse 192, Flipoff Pirates, The Tickle