Adam Bodine Forgoes Boundaries, Unwittingly Becomes Denver’s Comic Musician

Ever since he was a tadpole, Adam Bodine said, music was his language. While she was pregnant with him, his mother taught Jazzercise — the dancing exercise regimen that has dominated Youtube with pictures of girls in leotards. Over 20 years later, as if responding to a call from his furry friend tadpole self, Bodine discovered a workout video for pregnant women on VHS and showed it as a background while one of his college bands, the Hair Farmers, played a gig.

“I like the edge of things,” Bodine said of his propensity to mix music with humor. “I wish to push the boundary, but not cross it. ”

The pregnant woman mashup was one of Bodine’s first experiments in testing his audience’s sense of humor, but it’s only 1 example. Bodine is a local composer, pianist and bandleader who plays around the Denver area as a solo act or with his many bands — the Adam Bodine Trio to name one. Fans of Bodine come back to his shows not just for his careful blend of jazz with other genres, but to see the barrier between audience and artist knocked to the ground. 

Although he routinely performs at jazz venues such as Nocturne and Dazzle, Bodine shies away from the concept of being tagged as any particular sort of musician. His compositions have elements of rock, funk, reggae, latin, classical and bluegrass. He traces his roots in improvisation back to his youth when his uncle gave him a box of Grateful Dead cassette tapes — complete with old ticket stubs in their cases — around the time he learned the pentatonic blues scale that he says changed his life.

Improvisation in performance, as well as in music, is what fuels Bodine’s live performances and sets him apart from many of his contemporaries.

“There’s a lot of power with the mike,” Bodine said. His expertise as a gigging musician has led him to adopt audience involvement, he said. An example of this is Bodine calling on a table of girls in the crowd having a fantastic time, randomly identifying one of the hecklers as “Kathy,” then inviting her onstage. Her friends still call her Kathy, and the group is in regular attendance at Bodine’s shows.

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