Vocal music has a long tradition in jazz, and a new CD by the Bay Area ensemble SLAMMIN shows that tradition moving into new territory.
is a powerhouse sextet from Oakland, CA, performing a fresh mix of a cappella singing, beatboxing and body music. Deeply rooted in Jazz, Funk, R&B and World Music grooves, this ferociously talented ensemble creates soulful sounds infused with infectious harmonies and lightening-fast improvisations, percussively punctuated by beatboxing and body music -- the kinetic component that sets SLAMMIN apart and on the cutting edge of a cappella performance.
"Bringing together some of California's most inventive singers . . . the multigenerational ensemble combines the improvisational imperative of a jazz combo with an expansive repertoire of reggae, funk, bebop and soul. . . inspiring gasps of amazement from the audience . . . known for its impromptu acts and finely honed arrangements of soul-drenched pieces.".
- LA TIMES
debut CD includes highly original interpretations of tunes by Toots & The Maytals, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis and others. Part formal studio performances and part spontaneous improvisations recorded live in concert -- their music is rowdy, funky, humorous, vibrant and fresh; their material is old school, contemporary and of the moment.
Some of the most exciting, spirit and soul grabbing music I've heard in a long time. Don't let me forget inspiring.
- Babatunde Lea
Percussive A Cappella Jazz from .
2006 Highlights include: SF Jazz Summerfest, North Beach Jazz Festival, Jazz at Pearl's, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Jazz Series, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
Hear SLAMMIN all-body band from their debut CD
All Body Slam Jam
Rachel Swan, East Bay Express - 04/30/08
Keith Terry delivers Slammin good times for body music fans
Jim Harrington, Contra Costa Times - 04/25/08
"Some of the most exciting, spirit and soul grabbing music I've heard in a long time. Don't let me forget inspiring. SLAMMIN is the only group of this type that I feel actually works...big time! They've transcended the cutesy, gimmicky, novelty type stuff other a cappella groups rely on."
- Babatunde Lea
"...A pleasant surprise from the get go...the sextet sets the tone for outside the box creativity...the group draws upon such disparate sources as Eddie Harris's 'Freedom Jazz Dance' (which is a true and improvised highlight recorded live), Toots and the Maytals' classic 'Pressure Drop' and Outkast's 'The Way You Move,' taking each in a wildly imaginative new direction due to the arrangement of ideas and the skill with which these are applied...Jazz folks will be drawn to the hip version of Miles Davis's 'All Blues' but there are plenty of other choices for creative listening and programming."
- Tad Hendrickson, JazzWeek
"Bringing together some of California's most inventive singers . . . the multigenerational ensemble combines the improvisational imperative of a jazz combo with an expansive repertoire of reggae, funk, bebop and soul. . . inspiring gasps of amazement from the audience . . . known for its impromptu acts and finely honed arrangements of soul-drenched pieces."
Vocal music has a long tradition in jazz, and a new CD by the Bay Area ensemble Slammin shows that tradition moving into new territory.
- NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO
"Wow. Fasten your seatbelts boys and girls because San Francisco-based SLAMMIN (an 'all-body band') is about to take you for a ride with their unique blend of rhythm dance, beatbox, and tight, often improvised harmonies. Imagine 'Stomp' meets the House Jacks, add a healthy dose of jazz and a sprinkle of world music for flavor, let simmer, and you've got the unique and impressive sound that SLAMMIN offers here on their debut self-titled CD. All of the singers are absolutely phenomenal and turn in powerful solos that leave little to be desired. Blend and intonation are also by and large superb, quite a feat considering the majority of the recording is not only live but improvised as well. Seriously - improvised. I couldnåÕt believe it. These musicians are truly talented.
"Ok, that's why this CD is impressive. Here's why it's unique. The rhythms that drive these tracks, created with a combination of Keith TerryåÕs tap dance/body music and Steve HoganåÕs beatbox (which, by the way, dropped my jaw during the intro to 'The Way You Move'), are amazingly intricate and unlike anything IåÕve ever heard on a contemporary a cappella recording. The way in which each complements the other to form the rhythmic foundation for this music is a real sonic treat. Also, keep an ear open for the many innovative sounds scattered throughout the album, in particular the vocal trumpet solo on 'All Blues/Ven Aca' (definitely one of the best I've ever heard).
"Bottom line: this CD is fantastic; I suspect that their live performance is even better. If youåÕve seen SLAMMIN live, then you probably already have a copy of this CD If you haven't, please do yourself a favor; pick one up, and join me in waiting with great anticipation for your chance to catch this group in performance. This CD is solid proof that SLAMMIN is a group worth watching."
- Robert N Dietz, Contemporary A Cappella Society
"Screw that "desert island disc list" construct -- who needs a boombox, batteries, and a CD wallet when you've got your body, man? That's the idea SLAMMIN is working with: Keith Terry smacks his body upside itself, Steve Hogan beatboxes, and, over it all and over the top, vocalists Bryan Dyer, Zoe Ellis, Kenny Washington, and Destani Wolf do what can only formally be called a cappella, including a vinyl-scratching, hyper-hop take on Outkast's The Way You Move."
- Stefanie Kalem, EAST BAY EXPRESS
"I put SLAMMIN on and let it play for about 25 minutes. Let me tell you, it got the phone ringing. Even after my show was over I got emails forwarded to me asking who it was. You've got a winner."
- Steve Rubin, KZYX / Mendocino, CA
"I was most skeptical after reading the promo and usually do not favor vocal recordings, but this is very moving and fun music! Listened to it three times through tonight and I usually don't have time to give a recording more than a once through."
- Eric Leff, Jazz Director - WRUV / Burlington, VT
"Mixing jazz, reggae and technowith a funky hint of Sly and Family Stone, this body music group abandons not only convention but instruments altogether. Slammin relies exclusively on the musical potential of the human body to cook up a fresh take on old favorites such as Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder and Toots and the Maytals. The Bay Area sensation, known for its signature off-the-wall improv sessions, offers up an organic blend of a cappella, beatboxing and body music (imagine a funk-soul version of Bjork's Medulla)."
- Jackie Black, GOOD TIMES
Keith Terry is a percussionist/rhythm dancer well known for his innovative body music that literally incorporates solid rhythm in a high energy dance. The Artistic Director of Crosspulse, Keith has created large-scale cross-cultural performance projects that blur the line between music and dance: the Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble, the Body Tjak projects with Indonesian choreographer/composer I Wayan Dibia, and Professor Terrys Circus Band Extraordináire. Keith has collaborated with numerous artists, including Bobby McFerrin, Robin Williams, the Bobs, the Turtle Island String Quartet and the original Jazz Tap Ensemble. He has recorded several albums and videos, all available through Crosspulse Records & Video.
Steve Hogan has cultivated both his beat boxing and bass playing with the Afro-Latin Hip Hop band O Maya, driving dance floors around the Bay Area. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Steve developed a great love of Jazz, R&B, Latin and World music. His parents, long time members of Gamelan Sekar Jaya, exposed him to a huge variety of music from around the globe, through annual travels to far flung places. He has played bass with many groups, including Goapele, The Coup, and Heuman Flavor.
Bryan Dyer's deep bass straddles the vocal and rhythm sections with power and finesse. A multi-instrumentalist, Bryan has played trumpet, percussion and baritone horn, while growing up singing in the Church, and later, with the Oakland Youth Chorus. Bryan has appeared in musical theater, on radio and television. He currently performs with SoVoSo, Streetsounds, and the R&B group 510.
Zoe Ellis' dramatic and colorful voice is well known to Bay Area and overseas music fans. Reviewers describe her as "a resourceful and inventive vocalist." Zoe sang for many years with the Bay Area Funk band the Mofessionals. Always dynamic on and off stage, Zoes credits include live performances with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Donald Byrd, Phil Lesh and Friends, and as the leader of her own quartet, The Zoe Ellis Group.
Kenny Washington astounds audiences with his freedom-play approach over a more than 4 octave range. A native of New Orleans, Kenny developed his deep love of music singing gospel in the Baptist church. Since the age of 22, Kenny has been performing professionally both traditional and contemporary Jazz, Classical, R&B and Pop. In San Francisco since 1995, Kenny is the featured vocalist at Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel. Kenny emulates the classic scat styles of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn, infusing colors of Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, with a secret ingredient of humor.
Destani Wolf's raw belting tones and rhythmic energy consistently stun audiences. With deep inspiration from Latin music, Hip Hop and Reggae, Destani adds an urban texture through vocal ambience, scratching, and embodying the horn section. She performs and records with many groups based in the Bay Area, including the Afro-Latin Hip Hop group O Maya, the a cappella group SoVoSo, Bobi Cespedes, Omar Sosa, and John Santos. Destani appears on SF Bay, the John Santos recording nominated for a Grammy in 2003. An accomplished lyricist and teacher, Destani tours nationally and internationally.
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