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EXCLUSIVE: Lettuce’s Jesus & Ryan Zoidis Talk Jamming Beyond The Clouds, Laser Beams, Fine Wine & More

first_imgDating back to their halcyon days at the Berklee College of Music in mid-90’s Boston, Lettuce has forever been an improvisational band. But in this current era of Lettuce-funk, the trajectory of their jamming has launched skyward; a trend that began with 2015’s mammoth LP Crush and has continued steadily ever since. It is readily apparent on this winter’s Beyond the Clouds tour that Lettuce’s hive-mind dynamics and fierce, fearless improvisational mojo have cross-pollinated, creating an alchemy that has the band plugged into and transmitting from an entirely new portal.  After standout January performances on the annual Jam Cruise and at Arizona’s Gem & Jam Festival, Lettuce has been in the midst of a grueling run, sometimes teaming up with the likes of Galactic, The Motet, and Chali 2na for dates across the US. At each and every stop, Lettuce has been leaving their proverbial mark, crushing rooms from Atlanta to Austin, NOLA to Las Vegas, California and the whole way up through the Pacific Northwest. This leg of the tour ended with a bang: a sprint through St. Paul, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland with their NOLA-based funk brothers.  Reminiscent of Type-II jamming, Lettuce’s newer approach to collective improvisation allows them to depart from the parameters of a song’s structure, key signature, chord complexes, and tempo, offering free-form, free-wheeling, freestyle jam excursions that are composed as they happen in real time. A concept first embarked upon onstage by jazz artists in the post-Bop era, this sort of thing is commonplace the jam band world, first crystallized by the Grateful Dead for the better part of thirty years. This approach was later perfected by Phish in the late 1990’s—it’s artistic implementation has been referred to as Type II jamming in the resulting improvisational diaspora for two decades since. Forget taking solo after solo and wearing out chords and grooves for interminable amounts of time. That is not (and never was) this squad’s identity; though historically Lettuce does take funk songs for thorough calisthenic workouts, each player in the group is a virtuoso so they are decidedly not immune from supernatural soloing either. But in recent times, a focus on a collective “move-as-one” approach has served to spark this revolution in LETT jamming aesthetic and prowess. The focus on dynamics, or “making the space”, has had a dramatic effect on the band’s modus operandi. The proof and the truth lies in the music.Consider the multitude of influences that inform Lettuce’s craft; the thrusting funk of Herbie’s Headhunters, the powerful bombast of Tower of Power, the head-nod grittiness of Pete Rock and DJ Premier, the dubby bass tombs of Kingston’s King Tubby, the emotional R&B thrills of Earth, Wind and Fire.  The laundry list goes on, as Lettuce are among the deepest-schooled and woodshedded cats in the game. Unless they are outright covering another artist’s song, Lettuce simply does not sound anything like their influences whatsoever. Instead, they reformulate their spiritual DNA through individual and collective musical voices. In doing so, Lettuce may have given birth to a gumbo genre by creating their unique sound, styles made of fabric and colors all their own.In addition to upping the ante on the jamming, Lettuce has spent the Beyond the Clouds tour unveiling slab after slab of hot new music. Having put nearly two albums worth of original, new material down on tape for their (still untitled) album due sometime in the next year, the band was anxious to take a bunch of these new compositions out on the road for some test runs. Naturally, fans have been flipping out online and on the dancefloor; soaking in bangers “Moksha”, “KHRU”, and the appropriately-titled “4th Dimension”—the latter song best representing the band’s magnificent new colorways. Add still-hot-off-the-press joints from this fall like “TRAP”, “House”, and “Shmink Dabby Kane”, and the band has dropped merely a few doses of the forthcoming interplanetary joyrides.Beyond devouring the tour soundboards that the band has fortuitously made available on Nugs.net, this writer was blessed to take in two shows on the Beyond the Clouds tour: the Bay Area stop at The Fox Theater in Oakland and a raucous affair at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon. After the second gig, we got a few minutes with founding members Ryan Zoidis (sax and synths) and Jesus Coomes (bass). Clearly excited and vibe’d up, the duo known as DJZJ pulled back the curtain on the LETT magik just a little bit, giving us a peek into just how these cats continue to drive the lane and elevate the game in 2018. [Photo: Brad Hodge]B. Getz: The band is firing on every cylinder! This new music is exciting. Was there a concerted effort to unveil a new era of the band on this tour? Ryan Zoidis: More like we have a lot of new music to play—so much new music we are bringing out. On this tour, now we are starting to flesh it out live, and it’s enabling us to have a lot more fun every night onstage. We can, you know, be free, improvise more, and vibe more. BG: The catalog is so deep, even without the new shit. You have a large canon of material to mine from when creating the setlists, which are different each and every night with Lettuce.  Zoidis: The more songs and albums you have to choose from makes the whole thing way more fun. It keeps it fun for us, keeps it fun for you.  Because we have a lot more to choose from, out there, you don’t know what to expect from us. You have to be excited, right?! We are excited. We have to be comfortable and excited as shit to be there. You can’t be like… [shrugs and backs away]Jesus Coomes: “You can’t be like [makes face], ‘Oh, Whatever…’  You got to be stoked! And we’re very stoked right now. Playing all this new shit makes us happy and excited. That translates onstage and out there to you guys. Now, that’s not saying you can’t play an old song and make it brand new, just to throw a couple changes into the set to make it fresh. So by constantly doing that—playing new music and changing up the old shit—it makes us put some of our other songs down, put them on the shelf for a long time. And then when we bring them back, they are fresh again. So yeah, we are definitely stoked on that.BG: I noticed that you guys are constantly re-working and rearranging old stuff. What makes you decide you’re going to work out an old tune and rewire it? Jesus: What was the one we did the other day? ‘Chief’? No, ‘Rule the World’. We did it like Dilla style. [beatboxes a bass line to the new “Rule the World”] I dunno, man. We just hear shit, get inspired, and something new comes out of it. It’s just our flow. It’s organic. BG: You know what comes off organic? This new frontier, new portal of jamming you guys have reached in 2018. It’s been a steady ascent starting with the Crush material, but the improvising is really confident right now. What did you guys lock into recently that has affected the improv excursions so markedly? Zoidis: The vibe has been soaring on this tour. We are looking for that zone, and I think we all have embraced group improvisation. Those are our favorite moments, and now we realize that. BG: Loving this heavy focus on a “move as one” approach to the jamming.Zoidis: Yep! Exactly. Other than just a featured solo or just one person soloing—those moments can be great too—but we are also inviting the group improv into those solo moments as well. One person is featured but the group is also coming together in that space, in that zone. Jesus: Yeah, making the zone… trying to find the place… and then going there.Lettuce – Wiltern Theater – Los Angeles, CA – 2/15/2018[Video: Pat Myers]BG: Ryan, let’s step into the “Zoid Void” for a second and talk about what you’re doing on sax, specifically with the Korg X-911 synth rig and the various sound patches you are working with. I mean, space is the place, as far as how all that sounds to us on the dancefloor. It’s fascinating. Very psychedelic. Zoidis: Yea man, I’ve been working on my sounds and creating some new things for a long time now, so I just have some textures to pull from, you know? Textures that as a sax player I wouldn’t have if I didn’t put this whole synth rig together. I’m just learning more and more where ‘the place’ is for it, you know what I’m saying?Like, now I can play higher than everybody, so now I’m not getting in the way of Benny [Bloom]’s solo or anybody else’s. I can actually comp like a keyboard player with it. But also just with psychedelic textures, I can create a mood with just a few notes, like only three or four notes. And the breakdowns and the hip-hop sections are just more lit because I don’t have to play sax; I can just chill out on the synth and vibe out.[Photo: Brad Hodge]BG: You can see the other cats onstage get inspired when you really blast off with that thing. You can hear the stoke.   Jesus: Really, if you think about it, the X-911 has been a freeing, liberating, “let-go” thing for Zoidis to step out of the box that’s just calling yourself “a saxophone player.” Because now you are taking a sax, and you’re using it to trigger an analog synthesizer, and the sounds are crazy. Now what we are talking about is really undefined territory. Zoidis: And I’ve always been a knob turner. I’m just a guy who loves turning knobs. I love being in the studio, making sounds, and creating different textures. That creates a ridiculous palette of analog sounds to use on the gig—and I’ll tell you, it works! You know, [Adam] Deitch can sing me something on his little mic into in-ear monitors and I’ll play it, you know, with Portamento! Up two octaves, you know, whatever. And then it’s gets crazy when me and Jesus will throw down double bass lines—Jesus: —When we start doubling bass lines, that’s when I know the vibe is going on. I mean, he’s playing bass on the saxophone, but there’s a lot of times I’m in the zone just freaking out from what I’m hearing over there. I don’t know what he’s playing. I don’t know where or sometimes even who the sound is coming from. I’m hearing a lot of stuff, and I don’t know what the hell is going on. And that’s dope to me!BG: Fellas, the future is looking mad bright. And let me tell you, so are the lights! You know, I’ve got shades on but your lighting designer is really going “beyond the clouds” too.  Zoidis: Yep! Thanks, I wanted to touch on that. One thing that’s been really fueling the shows is Blake Addington, our lighting director.Jesus: Also known as Blazer Beam! [laughs]BG: During the Vegas show on Mardi Gras, on the live stream, people were commenting about his lights nearly as much as they were the music! Jesus: That’s what I am saying! We are heavily influenced by visual artists these days. It is starting to inspire me musically. Heavily inspired by lots of paintings. We love museums and shit, and then there are painters who have come into our lives—a lot of artists doing cool, cool visual stuff. All those shapes are in music. The music is colors; if we could look at music, we could see that. So a lot of that shit Blake is doing with the lights and lasers, he is working with us also playing “live” and spontaneously creating. He can hear the jams and knows where they’re going, he knows where to take it, and sometimes, we vibe off what he’s doin’—Zoidis: —Blake, he just will sit on a look for a long time while the band sits on a vibe for a while. And he’s really listening, he’s really involved, and technically, the guy just a genius. He can do anything. He is a part of the team. Blake Addington, [shakes head] he’s ridiculous. [Photo: Brandon Weil]BG: What kinda tunes are you guys bumpin’ for inspiration? Where’s your head at musically as far as what’s hot in the LETT city streets? Or on the tour bus for that matter?Jesus: The Attention KMart Shoppers shit is the shit. It’s made by Juicy the Emissary. All the shit from Street Corner Music with Houseshoes. We’ve been fans of Houseshoes for a long time and supported him since the beginning. I love that Derty Dan Cheap Thrills, also on Street Corner Music.. Nah, mean? And then our friends Khruangbin too. They have a hot new record out.BG: I saw a bunch of vinyl on the bus, and a little portable turntable too. Do tell.Jesus: Between hunting for cheese and hunting for records, hunting for wine, that really takes up all our time.Zoidis: Now, we have a 45 collection with us on tour—just a stack of vinyl that me and Nigel have just gathered on the road. We were in Nashville and hit all the good record stores. We are just getting 45s: James Brown, The Isley Brothers, mad reggae records. All over the map!Jesus: I gotta mention my brother’s music too. Ty Coomes (Tycoon Beats) has really influenced me my whole life, and he’s influenced all of us. Deitch’s beats too, of course. But, mainly I listen to my brother Tycoon Beats. Probably seventy-five percent of what I listen to is Ty Coomes—he’s the shit. He’s my big brother, you know, I don’t get to change the radio! [laughs] That’s what I get influenced by. Then the rest of the shit I’m listening to is that Street Corner Music, that’s also my shit. And then these dudes on the bus are always playing everything from 1941 to 1978.[Photo: Brad Hodge]BG: I’ve noticed the natural wines have been prevalent in the mix on recent tours. Is that how you like to prepare for these sonic explorations into outer space?Jesus: Well, it’s more of a celebratory thing. We usually drink them after the shows. But yes, lots of natty wines!Zoidis: It’s really just treating ourselves to premium stuff, and we are learning about it too. Learning is a big part of why we love it. And it is fueling the music too, and you know, the hangs, man…Jesus: It’s just interesting to have muses and to have female energies with male energies—just heady motherfuckers coming through and saying crazy shit to me! The random stuff, like last night these dudes were calling down from the tenth floor in the parking lot. They were going “‘Jesus! It’s going to be an awesome show!” Just those really good vibes—that shit helps a lot! Right before that, I was a little tired, being on the road so much, but then after hearing that, I got a rush of energy, I just started getting stoked for our show!BG: You know that there’s a LETT Army now. There are people all over the country getting hype, and new peeps steadily getting hip to what you’re doing. The fan club online is jumpin’ too.Jesus: Yeah, we’ve been really noticing. It’s coming together, it’s coming together.Zoidis: I think the next big step ahead of us, our next goal is being able to curate a real party for every show we play. Like when we play these rooms, we bring on our favorite bands like JAW GEMS or Khruangbin. And if we know we’re going to sell out the room, we are going to be able to bring a cool opener, somebody we vibe with—we are going to turn people on to them, you know what I mean? Then, we are going to play two sets and take our time and hold that room. When people walk into the lobby of the place, there’s going to be a dope art installation and the merch booth is going to vibin’. We’ll be hangin’ out there, meeting people. There’s going to be dope art everywhere. Vibes, everywhere.Jesus: It’s going to be like when someone throws a dope-ass festival, like Hulaween or Electric Forest in the woods. But, we bring all the cool shit they want to have available from city to city.Zoidis: You know, there’s gotta be natty wine available and really good food options, healthy ones. Plus, we want to have tea service. Just imagine if we could just post up in each city for two nights and create that and have an afterparty set up outside the gig for something we might be playing with—a side project.BG: Like say, maybe, a DJZJ?Zoidis: Yaaasssss!BG: Sounds like a field of dreams. If you build it, they will come.As told to B.Getz on February 18, 2018.In addition to on the road with Lettuce during their Beyond The Clouds tour (tickets and tour dates available here), you can catch Ryan Zoidis down in New Orleans during the highly anticipated musical mecca that is Jazz Fest. On Sunday, April 29th, he will team with members of the Disco Biscuits, Brazilian Girls, and Break Science for J.E.D.I. (Jazz Electronic Dance Improvisation) at Maison (tickets available here). On Sunday, May 6th, Zoidis will return to Maison along with members of The Motet and Snarky Puppy will join forces for Joey Porter’s tribute to Herbie Hancock (tickets available here).last_img read more

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Home worth adding to the wishlist

first_imgNow this is a jawdropping interior. 51 Orleigh St, West End.RELAXING outdoor rooms, spacious interiors and views of the Brisbane river are not too much to ask for in this idyllic riverside residence. Designed by L T Design architects, the three-storey house sits behind a high rendered front fence and features a warm and natural palette, timber and stone finishes and an abundance of windows letting ample light inside.The four bedroom, three bathroom, six car garage home at 51 Orleigh St, West End, is certainly one to add to the wishlist.Agent Josh Brown of Ray White New Farm described the house as the perfect blend of quality craftsmanship, innovative design and family functionality. He has it set to go to auction at 1pm next Saturday on site (September 23). A lucky buyer is going to have all this next weekend.Back inside, a spiralling staircase ascends to the second floor of the house, comprising another lounge room, four bedrooms and three bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling tiles.Two of these bedrooms have built-in wardrobes with mirrored doors and share a bathroom with a long shower and timber-finished vanity, while another has a walk-through wardrobe and an ensuite with a glass shower and mosaic feature wall. At the front of the level, the main bedroom offers plenty of space with its sitting room, walk-in wardrobe and private balcony overlooking the river. It also includes an ensuite, with marble tiles, a freestanding bath tub, glass shower and double vanity. Other features of the residence include ducted airconditioning, ample storage space, a six-car garage and a shed. What’s not to love?On entry to the first floor, high ceilings and down lighting complement polished timber floors in a front formal lounge room and central formal dining room.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour agoNearby is a powder room, while bi-fold doors open the lounge room out to a river-facing balcony with a glass balustrade. This I could easily do.To the rear of the floor is an open-plan living and dining room with louvre windows, along with a kitchen featuring long granite benchtops, Miele appliances, a window splashback and recessed ceiling. The cooking space also includes a butler’s pantry with granite benchtops that leads through to a laundry with access to an external drying courtyard. From the living and dining space, sliding glass doors open to a covered, tiled patio and a pool with a timber deck.last_img read more

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Princess Cruises Drops Port Everglades Contractor After Coronavirus Cases

first_imgThe company whose staff may have exposed up to 50,000 travelers to the coronavirus has had its contract for work at Port Everglades dropped by a popular cruise line.Three of the first four people who tested positive for the virus in Broward County worked for Metro Cruise Services, which provided guest services for Princess Cruises in Fort Lauderdale.Port Everglades spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy said Wednesday that Princess Cruises officials informed her they have stopped using the contractor and have replaced it with another company.On Tuesday, health officials revealed that three part-time employees of Metro Cruise Services tested positive for coronavirus.With that, travelers who were planning to board the Caribbean Princess on Wednesday for a 10-day trip to the Panama Canal were notified by email late Tuesday that their cruise was cancelled.The email attributed the cancellation to an anticipated shortage of labor at the port.Kennedy explains that Princess Cruises was concerned it might not have enough time to fill all the positions in time for Wednesday’s voyage.Princess Cruises will provide full refunds of the cruise fare and any related travel booked through the company, in addition to giving passengers full credit for a future cruise over the next year.The company also operates the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined for two weeks early this year in Japan after 700 of its passengers contracted coronavirus.In recent days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had placed two Princess Cruises ships under “no-sail” orders, preventing them from docking at U.S. ports.One was the Caribbean Princess, which remained off the coast of Port Everglades after health officials discovered that two of the ship’s crew members had worked aboard its sister ship, Grand Princess, which was struck with coronavirus in California.Tests of the two Caribbean Princess workers came back negative, allowing the ship to dock before dawn Wednesday at Port Everglades.The cruise line’s next scheduled departure from that port is Saturday, when the Sky Princess is set to begin a seven-day Western Caribbean trip.last_img read more

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Update on the latest sports

first_imgUpdate on the latest sports Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-MARLINS RETURNMarlins return to play after virus outbreakBALTIMORE (AP) — The Miami Marlins are set to resume play in Baltimore following an outbreak that left 21 members of their traveling party infected with the coronavirus, including 18 players. The team has not played since July 26. There also are opt-out provisions for players who experience emergency or extenuating circumstances during the season due to the coronavirus. Another person with direct knowledge of the agreement between the league and the players’ union tells The Associated Press that relief in the 2020 salary cap is being provided to the 32 teams.NFL-JAGUARS-MINSHEW Minshew off of COVID listJACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars have cleared starting quarterback Gardner Minshew from the COVID-19 list.Minshew spent the last two days in mandatory quarantine after being in close contact with someone infected. Safety Andrew Wingard also was activated from the COVID-19 list Tuesday. Minshew, Wingard and receiver Michael Walker are roommates in Jacksonville and have been for more than a year. Walker remains on the list. Klages is the second person other than Nassar to be convicted of charges related to his serial molestation of young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. Associated Press — Oakland left-hander Jesus Luzardo will make his long-awaited first turn in the A’s rotation when they open up a three-game series against Texas. Just shy of his 23rd birthday, Luzardo will be the youngest starter for the A’s since Brett Anderson in 2010. Luzardo made six appearances as a September callup last season and made two appearances out of the bullpen this season.— Angels star Shohei Ohtani will be shut down from throwing for four to six weeks with a right forearm strain near his surgically repaired elbow. With only about eight weeks left in the season, Ohtani might not pitch again until 2021. Ohtani reported discomfort in his arm Sunday after struggling through his second start since having Tommy John surgery in 2018. The two-way sensation is traveling with the team to Seattle and is day-to-day as a hitter.— The Dodgers could be without Mookie Betts for a second straight game as they continue a series in San Diego. Betts sat out Monday with swelling on a finger on his left hand that manager Dave Roberts described as substantial. Betts was potentially available to defend Monday, but not to hit. TENNIS-MADRID OPENMadrid Open canceled because of virus spike August 4, 2020center_img MADRID (AP) — The Madrid Open in September has been canceled because of a new spike in coronavirus cases in Spain. The joint men’s and women’s tournament was originally scheduled in May, but moved when Spain became a hotbed for the virus. Its new slot in September allowed it again to be a major lead-in event for the rescheduled French Open at the end of that month. But organizers last weekend were advised by local authorities not to stage the tournament due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. NFL-OPT OUTSThursday deadline set to opt-out of the seasonUNDATED (AP) — NFL players who decide to opt out of the coming season must do so by Thursday afternoon. That’s according to a person familiar with the agreement between the league and the players. COLLEGE FOOTBALL-MINNESOTA-BATEMANGophers star Bateman skips season amid virus worry, goes proMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Gophers wide receiver Rashod Bateman has opted out of the 2020 season amid concerns about the coronavirus. He will forgo his remaining two years of eligibility to enter the 2021 NFL draft. Bateman posted a video on Twitter that he narrated in explanation of his decision. The university confirmed his departure, which Bateman called “the hardest decision that I’ve ever had to make in my life.” The native of Tifton, Georgia, totaled 111 receptions, 1,923 yards and 17 touchdowns over two seasons. Bateman was a third team All-American in 2019. He won the Big Ten Conference’s receiver of the year award. DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT-COACHFormer coach gets 90 days in connection with Nassar caseLANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former Michigan State University head gymnastics coach has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for lying to police during an investigation into ex-Olympic and university sports doctor Larry Nassar. Sixty-five-year-old Kathie Klages was found guilty by a jury in February of a felony and a misdemeanor for denying she knew of Nassar’s abuse prior to 2016 when survivors started to come forward publicly. She also was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months probation. Klages said in a tearful statement that she did not remember being told about abuse and apologized to victims if the conversations occurred. Jacksonville had an NFL-leading dozen players on the COVID-19 list Monday, with most of them being rookies and second-year players like Minshew, Wingard and Walker.The Jaguars are expected to hold their first training camp practice next Wednesday.In other NFL news: — Six-time Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy has finalized a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the signing, the Bucs add another offensive playmaker to help Tom Brady with his new team. The 32-year-old McCoy is entering his 12th NFL season. He has started 141 of 160 career games, rushing for 11,071 yards and 73 touchdowns. He also has been effective in the passing attack, with 503 receptions for 3,797 yards and 16 touchdowns with the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. McCoy added a Super Bowl title to his resume as a backup with the Chiefs last season.— The New York Giants improved their pass rush by re-signing linebacker Markus Golden. The Giants announced Tuesday the signing on their leader in sacks last season. Golden’s contract is a one-year tender for $5.1 million. Golden had 10 sacks in 2019, more than twice the total of any other Giants defender. The 29-year-old is entering his sixth season. Miami is replacing sidelined players with prospects, along with veterans the organization scrambled to acquire. Manager Don Mattingly said he has never spoken with some of the players joining the team.Right-hander Pablo Lopez will start against the Orioles. The pitching staff was especially hard hit by the outbreak and will rely heavily on newcomers.Elsewhere in the major leagues: — Cleveland’s Shane Bieber has 27 strikeouts through two starts, matching a big league record, and he’ll face Cincinnati in his third start of the year. Bieber tied the mark set by Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers in September 1954, fanning 13 Twins last Thursday after punching out 14 Royals on opening day. — Kansas City right-hander Brady Singer makes his third major league start on his 24th birthday at Wrigley Field. Singer, who was selected by the Royals in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft, is still looking for his first big league win after pitching well in a pair of no-decisions this year. Kyle Hendricks gets the ball for the Chicago Cubs.last_img read more

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