This Seattle based dance band has been mesmerizing audiences since 2011 playing clubs, private parties and weddings from the Space Needle to the Salish Lodge. Our specialty is the classic R&B as sung by our world class female vocalist, but our backgrounds are very broad. Our repertoire also includes a wide variety of classic and current rock, oldies, Latin, and jazz. Whether it is a concert, wedding, dance party, or whatever the occasion, we've got the groove you need!
Price Range: Contact for rates
Gig Length: 120 - 300 minutes
What to Expect
I actually have put a lot of work into making really good videos, some of which I have linked on Gig Salad. Once you get on YouTube, many more will pop up. What you see is what you get. We don't offer just one type of service. We have corporate clients who call us back every year. Most want dance sets. We can play 3 one hour dance/show sets of thumping dance songs at aimed keeping dancers on the floor and not giving them a chance to sit down. Or, we can play a wider variety with slow dancing songs added in. Or, as I say, for weddings we often play a jazz dinner set while they are eating. We also offer emcee service, "milling around" and ceremony music. For weddings, they often want more variety so that there is something for everyone. In some situations they want a concert. We can do it. This is music for entertainment and we put on more of a show with awesome solos, show tunes, every gets to strut their stuff. In other situations they want up jazz- we can do this with a slightly different line up. I have included a list of jazz songs at the end of the song list to give you an idea of some of the jazz tunes we play. We are not really a "swing" or "ballroom" dancing band although we did do a "Great Gatsby" roaring 20's theme party at the Tulalip Casino one time. It's hard to come up with that many 20s era tunes and we didn't. There were a lot of swing era tunes mixed in. We could do 3 swing era sets in jazz mode and a horn section could be added.
My name is Ed Mays and I started playing drums in 1967. By 1971 I was paying rock at clubs, private parties, and school dances. Soon after I started playing in marching bands and studying jazz. I taught the drum section to play and we marched in the BiCentennial candle light parade in New York. I played all over the country and Canada in too many bands to remember. About 15 years ago I joined a Latin jazz band with the piano player Yogi McCaw who just so happened to live across the street. This morphed into a more than decade long collaboration that hatched records, movie sound tracks and all kinds of music imaginable.
For several years we were hosting jazz jam sessions at some local coffee shops and clubs and the gospel singer, Stacey Israel kept showing up. There was nobody in her league or anywhere near it so we decided to do it with her. The first night, I was in shock. I'll never forget it. Stacey is a fantastic jazz singer. I had played with a number of extraordinary female vocalists in my career such as Diana Ruiz, LJ Porter, and Trudy Lynn so I was spoiled. If I am going to have a band, the singer has to be over the top awesome and Stacey is.
Soon thereafter a house gig came up and we needed a dance band. Diana couldn't do it so we decided to put a band together with the three of us and we got some friends to play bass and guitar. We rushed into the studio and learned and recorded the Tracy Chapman song- Give Me One Reason and Shining Star by E,W&F. These recordings were the first time the band ever played together.
The guitar and bass men we had didn't work out and soon, highly sought after guitar and bass men, Jude Contreras and Marvin Shields Jr. were added to the line-up. They were monster players and the combination clicked. The result was an awesome band that has been working ever since. We let Stacey pick the songs and aimed for the classic R&B dance hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s. This is because we wanted to do something that was a little bit classy and a little bit challenging. I was tired of just playing whatever commercial music to make money. This was fine for a while, and it makes your background broad, but it gets old. I wanted to have a blast and we do. So that's the concept. It's a working band, it not a jazz band or a Salsa band, but it could suddenly magically transform into either one of those- or reggae, or classic rock, or down home blues. It could be Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Tito Puente, Paul Simon, Howlin' Wolf, Billie Holliday, DNCE or Chick Corea and it is. Some people don't believe this is possible... We can dish up any kind of groove you want.
The music is tailored to the venue. So at those clubs, casinos or parties where they want dance music we just play back to back thumping dance songs set up in a show format. But we play the 13 Coins several times a month and in the summer we do a lot of festivals. Those are concerts so we might just haul off and do anything. Many times for weddings we will play a very elegant vocal jazz dinner set and then when it's time to get down and shake it, we will.
Another concept behind the band is that it is actually a "band". I heard one time that it takes a year for a band to get tight. This was when we were playing 4, 5, 6, 7 nights a week. It's really hard to have an actual band these days. And this is especially hard when you have some of the best players because they all have to play in multiple bands to stay working and they are in high demand. So most of the bands use whomever they can get whenever they get a gig. It's an eternal throw together. I'm bucking the trend. We have some great replacement players but I don't like it. If you book me, I want it to be the same band that you see in the video. I have managed to keep this very same line up with these same awesome players for 5 years. And the reason is just that, you don't see bands like this very often and it's a blast to play with a tight band. However, it's best to book us months in advance.
So, want to add a touch of class to your event? Want it to be something special that nobody will ever forget? If so, you came to the right place!
Additional Booking Notes
Large events will require a sound engineer, with lighting and staging. At a certain point, you need to mic everything. We have some good ones that work with us. I prefer to work with good ones and I've found that most people don't know what that is. However, I can handle most gigs with what I've got. I have two light trees I use if needed. My Bose PA system can accommodate up to 4 or 500 people. For smaller rooms and restaurants like the some of the 13 Coins or Edgewater Hotel, I'm wary of using acoustic drums for the classic R&B and rock as the snare drum might be too loud. So I use my $10k Roland V-drums. The combination of the V-drums and the Bose makes it sound like a full on concert but the people can still talk. It's kind of erie. The Bose sounds the same whether you are right next to it or 50 feet away. So the room is permeated with sound but it's not too loud.
Partial list of Dance Songs
Let's Groove Tonight, Earth, Wind, and Fire
Get Down On It, Kool & The Gang
Cake By The Ocean, DNCE
Rock Steady, Aretha Franklin
Street Life, Randy Crawford
I Don’t Need No Doctor, John Mayer & John Scofield
Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman
Stitched Up, John Mayer
Three Little Birds, Bob Marley
Fever, Little Willie John
Messin With the Kid, Blues Bros.
Shining Star, Earth Wind & Fire
Ain’t Nobody, Chaka Khan
Tell Me Something Good, Chaka Khan
Teeny Little Bit, Etta James
Feelin Alright, Joe Cocker
Lady Marmalade, Labelle
100 Days 100 nights, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Superstition, Stevie Wonder
I Wish, Stevie Wonder
Fire, Pointer Sisters
Stir It Up, Bob Marley
I Love You More…, Amy Winehouse
Chain of Fools, Aretha Franklin
Late in the Evening, Paul Simon
RESPECT, Aretha Franklin
Right Place At the Wrong Time, Dr. John
Le Freak, Chic
At Last, Etta James
Lady’s Night, Kool & the Gang
I Don’t Know What to Say, Stacey Israel
Rock Wit You, Michael Jackson
Black Magic Woman, Santana
Car Wash, Rolls Royce
That’s the Way Love Goes, Janet Jackson
Get Down Tonight, KC & The Sunshine Band
I Need Your Lovin, Stacey Israel
Thrill is Gone, Jerry Garcia
Boogie Oogie, A Taste of Honey
Spoonful, Howlin’ Wolf
Smooth Operator, Sade
Thank You, Sly & The Family Stone
Get Up Offa That Thing, James Brown
Miss You, Rolling Stones
Soul Man, Atlanta Rhythm Section
Little Wing, Jimi Hendrix
Red House, Jimi Hendrix
T bone Shuffle, Johnny Winter
Pride and Joy, Stevie Ray Vaughan
Sissy Strut, The Meters
Mustang Sally, Wilson Pickett
Spooky, Atlanta Rhythm Section
Oye Como Va, Santana
Brick House, The Commodores
Play That Funky Music White Boy, Wild Cherry
In the Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Allman Bros.
Cold Shot, Stevie Ray Vaughan
Blue Collar, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Is This Love, Bob Marley
Secret Agent Man, Johnny Rivers
Worth It, Fifth Harmony
Jazz Songs- The Groove Kitchen line up in Jazz mode can be tailored to suite just about any occasion and almost any jazz genre, so the songs will vary greatly, but these are some of our favorites:
It Don’t Mean a Thing [If It Ain’t Got That Swing]
Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?
God Bless The Child
Girl From Iponima
Them There Eyes
Good Morning Heartache
Do It Again
What a Wonderful World
Save Your Love for Me
One Note Samba
Sisters (color Purple)
Feel Like Making Love
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Guahira- cha cha
Killing Me Softly
One Note Samba - Samba
Sweet Georgia Brown
It's Too Darn Hot
I Got Rhythm
I Cried for You
Take the A Train
Ain’t Nobody’s Business
Well You Needn’t
Influences & Inspiration
Oliver Mtukudzi , Rufus, Fleetwood Mac, McCoy Tyner, Joni Mitchell, The Supremes, Little Feat, Billie Holliday, Buddy Guy, Santana, Dave Garibaldi, Mike Clark, Weather Report, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Doors, Tito Puente, Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Earth Wind & Fire, John Bonham, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Albert Collins, Elvin Jones, Stevie Wonder, Jefferson Airplane, Steve Gadd, Willie Nelson, Savuka, Beatles, Charlie Parker, Crosby Stills & Nash, B.B. King
The Groove Kitchen band has everything we need unless there is a sound engineer. In this case, there usually is a stage diagram to fill out for the bands.
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