Ten years: That’s a milestone worth noting in pretty much any relationship. A band that hangs together that long through all the typical frustrations and temptations, especially an independent band that plays instrumentals, has earned the right to measure that decade in multiples — not dog years, exactly, but hey, what is the musician’s equivalent?

Ten years: That’s a milestone worth noting in pretty much any relationship. A band that hangs together that long through all the typical frustrations and temptations, especially an independent band that plays instrumentals, has earned the right to measure that decade in multiples — not dog years, exactly, but hey, what is the musician’s equivalent?

The self-described “eclectic progressive instrumental” Other Mother Brother Band, or OMBB for short, came together in 2008 when a previous band that bassist Brian Levine and guitarist Jesse Selwyn had played in dissolved. Teaming up with keyboardist Colin Gerowitz, Levine’s brother-in-law — hence the band name — they brought onboard mandolinist and beatboxer Jonathan Schwartz (and, more recently, drummer/percussionist Keith Erickson). After finding their groove with a Wednesday night residency at Canter’s Deli’s claustrophobic Kibbitz Room just south of Hollywood, they started working a circuit of clubs, farmers markets, private parties and mountain lodges up and down California and parts of the West.

Selwyn (brother of comedic actor and freestyling Zachariah & the Lobos Riders frontman Zach Selwyn) is a solid, quietly commanding player, grounding Schwartz’s mandolin flash and Gerowitz’s melodic keyboard runs. Levine maintains a steady rhythmic pulse and intermittently lets loose with funky, attention-grabbing bass solos. After hearing their quasi-flamenco-flavored take on David Grisman’s “Chili Dawg,” it’s no surprise that Grisman ranks high on their list of favorites, along with Bela Fleck and Chris Thile. If you were camping out at a bluegrass festival, you would want these pickers pitching their tent next to yours — although, with electric guitar, keyboard and drums, they’re anything but old-school bluegrass.

Their 2016 album “From the Ground Up,” comprised of original instrumentals such as the Yosemite-inspired “Olmsted Point” and traditional fiddle tunes “Billy in the Lowground” and “Whiskey Before Breakfast,” is an altogether more polite set than their 2011 debut “OMBB.” Onstage, they’re free to mix and match material from both. The percussive drive of older tunes like “Shower Hour” and the Latin-tinged “A Minor Altercation” complements the jazzier dynamics of the new “Made Ya Look,” “Hetty’s Booth” and more rocking “Rain Dance,” as well as covers such as “Chili Dawg” and “Deviation,” a chestnut from Fleck’s New Grass Revival tenure. Those with an ear out for instrumentals, and serious players leapfrogging the borders of bluegrass, jazz and rock, should savor the lively exchanges between these musical brothers.


Plaza Performance Series presents Other Mother Brother Band at Brand Library & Art Center, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale, 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17; free admission. Seating is first come, first served. Info: (818) 548-2051. ombbmusic.com, glendaleca.gov/government/departments/library-arts-culture/brand-library-art-center