Imagine watching a man beat-boxing for 15 minutes. Now imagine that it's the most awesome musical performance you've ever seen. If you saw The House Jacks on the Garden Stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival, you don't have to imagine - you saw it. Jake Moulton performed epic feats of beatboxing, "tuning the snare," switching drumsets on the fly like switching patches on the drum machine and doing credible-sounding synthesizer hits that seemed well beyond the human vocal range.
For attendees hearing The House Jacks from the midway area, it was easy to assume they were a full band. This spectacular a capella group calls themselves "a band without instruments" and live up to that motto. They showed that you don't need instruments to be good. It was never noticeable that instruments were missing.
The band's music tended toward the heartrending, ending with a moving ballad written after a band member had lost an uncle and cousin. It was a musically and emotionally satisfying conclusion to their set.
For more information on the Monterey Jazz Festival, see our Monterey Jazz Festival page. For coverage of the 2010 Monterey Jazz Festival, see all our Monterey Jazz Festival posts. For more photos from this and other performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival, see our 2010 Monterey Jazz Festival set on Flickr.