John Brownâs Body & Groundation

John Brown’s Body

In 2006, John Brown's Body found itself at a crossroads, when the death of bassist Scott Palmer broke the band's heart. After the tragedy, several longtime members left the group. But, a strange thing happened to the band staring at its own mortality: somehow, JBB emerged transformed and inspired.



A vital, creative energy sprang from the band's new dynamic and new members. JBB found itself pushing more at the edges of reggae. New songs incorporated slinkier bass lines, denser instrumentation, less predictable rhythms. Beats became funkier, more drum-and-bass inflected.



JBB realized it was at a turning point: keep playing the same style of music, or follow the new sound and see where it leads. It was the same way the band members felt about reggae: how do you break rules and create something unique while still honoring the music that came before?



The answer is that it's possible (and ultimately necessary) to push forward. "Future Roots," which the band began using to describe its sound as far back as its 2005 Pressure Points release, took another step forward. The current evolution builds on a reggae foundation, incorporating elements from different genres. The new songs are timeless and futuristic all at once, anchored and exploring simultaneously.



These explorations are instantly evident on Amplify, which debuted at #1 on Billboard's Reggae Chart in October 2008, and its remix follow-up EP, Re-Amplify, released in March 2009 also debuting on the Billboard's Reggae Top 10 Chart.



"Amplify is the sound of a band recreated, retooled and refreshed," writes Canada's Exclaim Magazine, and other reviewers agree: "Amplify has a forward thinking, fearless approach to tempos, beats and feel that expands the genre of reggae as a whole." [Amazon].



While Amplify showed the world the fearless new directions JBB's music is headed in, Re-Amplify took it even further by putting the band's songs into the hands of outside remixers for the first time. Working with Gym Class Heroes' Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo, Juno-Award-nominated producer Dubmatix, dance floor pioneer Tommie Sunshine, Australia's urban roots powerhouse Blue King Brown and others, the band's songs were stretched every which way, resulting in an EP that pleased fans and opened the band up to even further possibilities in their musical approach. How open? The band liked Dubmatix's remix of "The Gold" so much, they switched to playing that version in their live sets.



JBB's live show has the kind of organic, body-rocking sound that's only possible with an 8-piece band where air tight drum and bass, a three piece horn section, and "the most gorgeous melodies in all of modern reggae music" [All Music Guide] meet a dubbed-out sound engineer. Where will JBB head next? The near future includes first ever tours of the UK and New Zealand, as well as initial work on the follow up to Amplify. What direction will the music take? Who knows, but whatever it is, it is sure to push boundaries.

Bursting forth from their underground status, Groundation has taken the music
world by storm. Capturing the essence and drive of true roots reggae, the internationally
renowned band takes the art form to new heights by blending elements of jazz, funk, salsa,
fusion and transcendental dub in a progressive amalgam of sound.
Music fans from across the globe have taken note. Over the last few years
Groundation has performed for hundreds of thousands of fans around the world,
headlining shows in twenty-five countries on six continents, and appearing at some of the
world's largest and most prestigious music festivals, including Denmark's Roskilde Festival,
Australia's WOMAD, Germany's Summerjam, and Italy's Rototom Sunsplash. With an
unparalleled international following and the critically acclaimed release of their 2012 CD,
Building an Ark, Groundation has cemented its reputation as an international ambassador
of American music, clocking tens of millions of YouTube hits in the process. Whether on
their masterfully self-produced studio albums or in their now legendary live performances,
Groundation's sound is without category, yet deeply familiar, offering listeners everywhere
an access point for musical connection.
“Groundation” alludes to the decades-old communal Rastafarian ceremony of
“Grounation,” a ritual based on the meditative powers of music. But Groundation is an
idea for today, uniting audiences and using the universal vibration of music to help bring
about a positive social evolution.
Groundation's origins are in the jazz program of California's Sonoma State
University where, in the fall of 1998, Harrison Stafford (guitar/lead vocals), Ryan Newman
(bass) and Marcus Urani (keyboards) began their artistic collaboration, developing both
their musicianship and their global outlook. It was there that Stafford taught the first
California State University accredited class on the History and Culture of Reggae Music.
This core group was joined in 2000 by San Francisco-based jazz trumpeter David
Chachere. Since 2008 the rhythm section has been fueled by the fiery drumming of Renobased
jazz-fusion specialist Rufus Te Kanawa Haereiti, while Bay Area percussionist Mingo
Lewis Jr. (son of Santana and Return to Forever percussionist Mingo Lewis) adds heady
Afro-Cuban layers to Groundation’s stout syncopations. Vocalist Kim Pommell, from
Kingston, Jamaica, joined the group in 2007, deepening Groundation’s harmonies and
taking live shows to new heights. All of them are featured on the group's new album.
Though they are based in California, Groundation's music is closely intertwined with
the roots of Jamaican reggae. In seven studio albums they've collaborated with a who's
who of reggae elders, including Don Carlos, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Pablo Moses,
The Congos, and many others. They've toured with Steel Pulse, Israel Vibration and
California sensations Rebelution to name just a few.
Taking up reggae music's commitment to the upheaval of our unjust social system,
and forwarding this message through a fresh, improvisation-based musical lens,
Groundation has become the biggest, most respected American reggae band touring the
world today. Come join us and find out why.

The Underwater Sounds

Whether you catch them at a festival, in a crowded basement, at the TLA, on a rigged stage in a rustic barn, at a hiphop show or on a reggae bill, the Underwater Sounds will captivate listeners and create a unique listening experience.

Now 2 years young, this 4-piece has been described as a sort of reggae-funk-jam fusion, alternating between periods of technical precision and psychedelic improve. The Sounds strive to bring new ideas and unconventional approaches to reggae music; they do this while incorporating a strong female vocal and mindful informed lyrics.

In 2010, their self-titled record was voted #1 debut album by WXPN.org's The Key, and in 2011 the Underwater Sounds were nominated for 2 Asbury Park music awards, Best Groove Band and Top Female Vocalist.
Now, the band delivers it's sophomore full length album, Que Se Queda (That Which Remains), due for release in early 2012. Engineered and produced by Daoud Shaw (Van Morrison, Saturday Night Live, the Jerry Garcia Band) in Philadelphia, PA, the album is an ambitious effort--a sweeping variety of grooves laid over unusual rythyms, topped with captivating melodies.

"A blend of unique, catchy, and relative," their sound "can take them anywhere...at times beautiful, at other times angry, but mostly heavily invested in every emotion," the Underwater Sounds are eager to stay on the road and keep creating conscious music.

$17 - $22

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John Brown’s Body & Groundation with Groundation, The Underwater Sounds

Thursday, October 3 · Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:30 PM at The Blockley