Alumni ALO band gets recognized

June 4, 2008 — by Mary Mykhaylova

Three 1993 alumni, Steve Adams, Zach Gill and Dan Lebowitz, formed Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) when they were students in Redwood Middle School. Since then, they have come as far as a record label and a Song of the Year nomination for their song Maria for the Jammy Awards, a play on the popular Grammy awards show.

While the Grammys recognize mainstream music artists, the Jammy Awards recognizes “jam bands,” or groups of artists associated with live, improvisational music.

The band was not able to clinch enough votes to win the final award, but the members are still grateful to have been nominated and recognized for their hard work and talent.

“We’re pretty stoked to even have been nominated for the award,” said Gill.

ALO has been described by critics to be a mix of groove, pop, jazz, and blues. Each member of the band partakes in vocals, along with specializing in different genres of instruments. For example, Gill plays keys, accordion and the ukulele while Lebowitz and Adams play guitar and bass, respectively.

ALO’s potential began to reveal itself early on, since the boys released their first tape their senior year. Growing up, the boys were very involved in the school music programs, playing piano for jazz band and performing both with jazz choir and in school musicals.

Due to receiving a lot of positive feedback on their tape, three band members chose to attend UC Santa Barbara and continued to jam during their college years. After college, they moved back to the Bay Area and began touring nationally. ALO’s first three albums were more underground and difficult to find, but their 2006 record label signing with Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records made their last two albums available internationally. Fan favorites Walls of Jericho and the critically acclaimed Maria are available for download on iTunes.

As of now, ALO is on hiatus, since the members are each planning on releasing solo albums. Gill’s album is to be released in July.

“I’m thankful for my time in SHS, since it gave me solid roots and a good foundation for my career, ” Gill said.

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