‘Stop, Thief’ presented during music series

There may be little desire to sit down as Stop, Thief! brings its jazzy, bluesy, funky rock and swing compositions to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island for the third concert in the Chamber Music Series.


There may be little desire to sit down as Stop, Thief! brings its jazzy, bluesy, funky rock and swing compositions to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island for the third concert in the Chamber Music Series.

Jazz a la Carte: Seattle Fusion and Swing features Stop, Thief! at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Congregation headquarters, off Highway 525 about a mile north of Freeland.

Teo Benson, founding member of Stop, Thief! said he hopes the audience turns their toe-tapping into full-fledged dancing.

“The highlights of this concert will depend on the audience to a certain extent,” Benson said. “Stop, Thief! claims to be preoccupied and dedicated to the preservation of the motion of hips. This phrase comes from one of my biggest influences, Mr. George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic.”

“If you take away guitar, keyboards, lead singer, back up singers, one of the best horn sections in history, and add a violinist and a cellist, Stop, Thief! still has very little in common with Parliament musically,” Benson continued. “However, a quality that we do share is one that I think about every time I write music for this band, and one that we try to bring to every show, and that is the ability to get the audience included.”

Stop, Thief! will be joined by Mouce Manouche performing French pop and gypsy jazz music, featuring singer Carol Weber.

“This is also something that Mouce Manouche strives for always, and one of the reasons I love them. They are more swing/gypsy jazz, and we are more funk/jazz/rock, but the intentions are the same. We both recognize that a successful performance is dependent on the band’s ability to connect with the crowd and visa versa. It will be a great highlight for me if we are able to get some people out of their seats and onto the dance floor. Every good Stop, Thief! show turns into a party for both the band members and the audience.”

“This concert will be a great time for all ages. So parents, bring your kids, and kids, bring your parents,” Benson said.

Benson, who plays violin, grew up on Whidbey Island and went to high school in Coupeville. Currently, he lives in Seattle but teaches violin to students of the South Whidbey Waldorf School every Thursday afternoon. Admission is free for his students.

See the performers teach firsthand at a free pre-concert composing clinic. Out of the eight performers, four have degrees in music composition and others compose regularly.

Meet the band

Benson has won scholarships and concerto competitions in Washington and Colorado and holds a master’s of music degree in violin performance from the University of Washington. Benson is a member of the Tacoma Symphony and performs frequently in the Seattle area.

For the last three years, he has performed as a soloist in Guadalajara and Chacala, Mexico.

Dylan Rieck, playing cello for Stop, Thief!, holds music degrees from the University of Washington where he was a concerto competition winner and principal cellist and from the University of Texas where he was awarded Outstanding Masters Recital recognition.

He performs regularly in a variety of styles including classical, rock and jazz and has contributed to more than 30 recordings, both as accompanist and composer. He has performed original music in 14 countries.

Bren Plummer, double bass, has played professionally since the age of 16 and has performed throughout the United States and in Europe. A natural jazz player, improviser and thoughtful composer, he was recently awarded the doctor of musical arts degree in string performance from the University of Washington.

Joseph Shultz, drums, began his musical quest in Montana. At the age of 10, his father taught him guitar and introduced him to Led Zeppelin, the band that inspired him to become a drummer.

Shultz has played with punk, folk, jam and progressive rock bands across the Gallatin Valley and in Seattle. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in music composition from the University of Washington.

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