Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Crystal Ballroom Friday, February 21st 2020

The PDX Jazz festival 2020 stared on Wednesday and first up was Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at Crystal Ballroom. Regular watcher of KDTU who plays some great funk and soul. Karl is a busy man so it’s always a pleasure seeing him swing through town.

I took a nap before the show that night and almost slept through it. I set an alarm but that didn’t matter. I eventually got hot and remembered I was still in my jeans and then quickly realized it was for a reason. I left my house at 8:45pm and drove as fast as safety would allow to the Crystal Ballroom. Thankfully it didn’t take long to get there and I found street parking close to the venue. I would normally walk but time was critical.

Getting into the Crystal Ballroom was much quicker this time around. This time the line didn’t wrap around the block, it barely made it out of the lobby. Still one at a time through the metal detector but this time just way fewer people than when seeing Yonder Mountain String Band in January. The line should have been an indication, the place wasn’t very busy. It was close to show time and I had no problem getting a prime spot in front of the stage. Even as the show started there was plenty of room to move around. You couldn’t go wild but certainly there was enough room to groove.

A really good set list even if I thought it was short one. I missed the opening act so that is certainly one reason I wished KDTU played longer. Good mix of some old songs and new stuff from Gnomes and Badgers. Such good funk, soul and groove. The band members really jell well together.

It seemed as soon as the set started it was over. The penultimate song I’m Your Biggest Fan led into what would be the final song of the show. As the groove got going on the segue it started to sound familiar. Very quickly I realized it was Jessica by the Allman Brothers Band. Nailed it! They played that song so well and gave it a great KDTU twist with all the horns and fat grooves. For Boogaloos we got a dance show as well.

It was such a high energy show that night. Karl ended the show with a small speech about the times we live in. He said something that stuck with me and I have repeated to many people already. It’s not important to be right but correct. We need to talk to each other in a civil way. When we do that we can solve any challenges we face.

While not as long a set as I would have liked it was an amazing night of music. I walked out of there and had such energy from the set. My soul felt better as well. It was filled with love and confident we could come together and make peace. The power of music really amazes me.


Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Friday, February 21st 2020
Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR

Set 1 starts at 9:26pm

  1. ?
  2. Shake It
  3. The Bridge
  4. What If You Knew I’d Let You Down
  5. Satisfied
  6. ?
  7. Everybody Knows That
  8. Under My Skin (?) >
  9. drum solo >
  10. Under My Skin (?)
  11. Change My Way
  12. Brother’s Keeper
  13. I’m Your Biggest Fan
  14. Jessica *
    11:07pm set over

Encore starts at 11:08pm

  1. Boogaloos
    House lights at 11:15pm