Salida SteamPlant hosts live jazz by 21/3

Salida native Dick Cunico and his jazz band, 21/3 (Twenty-One over Three), will be the next ensemble to lay down some beats at the Salida SteamPlant’s free Jazz on the Plaza concert from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6.

Known for their rhythmic and melodic original jazz improvisations, 21/3 is comprised of band members Cunico on keyboards, percussion, drums and vocals; Chris Wojtecki, alto and tenor saxophone; Chris Hartung, guitar and guitar synthesizer; and Rich Clark, drums, percussion, keyboards and vocals.

Listeners will recognize the jazz influences of Weather Report, The Yellowjackets, Frank Zappa and Chick Corea. Cunico’s 21/3 opened for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Colorado Springs Jazz Festival, jazz guitarist extraordinaire Stanley Jordan and the New York-based jazz group The Bad Plus at the popular Colorado Springs concert venue 32 Bleu.

A 40-year professional musician, Cunico is a Western State College music education graduate. He was also a student of the Dick Grove Music Workshop in Studio City, Calif.; the Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, Calif.; and the LA Jazz Workshop. He’s studied under Alex Acuna, Allen Carter, Mark Converse and Casey Schurelle. His original groups have performed at numerous well-known jazz festivals. He’s made musical appearances worldwide, on the television show Northern Exposure and in movies, including The Beverly Hillbillies MovieThe Thing Called Love and When a Man Loves a Woman.

Wojtecki’s 20-year preoccupation with the saxophone includes earning a scholarship for music performance and studying music theory and jazz improve with Howie Smith at Cleveland State University. Horticulture major Hartung began his journey with jazz in 1978 while playing with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln’s Big Band. He’s performed at the Pikes Peak Jazz Festival, Jazz in the Sangres and the Woodland Park Music Series.

A former Boston, Mass., Berklee School of Music student, Clark joined the National Association of Rudimental Drummers in 1977. He’s played rock, pop, country, blues, tejano and jazz; performed with the Pueblo Symphony; and played percussion in 100-plus shows with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theater Productions.

The band’s name is based in mathematics, their website notes. “Music is numbers in motion … these particular numbers are the building blocks of our universe.” They selected the relationship between 21 and three for a variety of reasons, including: 21 divided by 3 is 7, a number that is many people’s favorite number and is the band’s preferred time signature; two plus one is three, and three is an architectural base known for its stability, such as tripods; 21 is the seventh number in the Fibonacci sequence; three is the third number in the sequence.

21/3 released three albums between 2003 and 2008. To listen online or download their recordings, visit SkyIslandMusic.com/213.htm. This will be the band’s third appearance at Jazz on the Plaza, a SteamPlant Event Center tradition that began in 2009. SteamPlant director Michael Varnum characterized the band as “professional, very talented musicians.”

The 21/3 performance takes place on the SteamPlant’s riverside plaza; a cash bar will be available. For more information visit salidasteamplant.com.