The band with roots at Western Michigan University revels in ‘creative freedom’ as it churns out distinctive jazz fusion and soul. Read the Local Spins review of the “Nebulushh” EP, listen to the band.
THE BAND: Lushh
THE MUSIC: Electronic Jazz Fusion and Soul
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 9 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 10) at Rupert’s Brew House with 4 Guys 3 Beards in Kalamazoo; 9:30 p.m. Friday (Aug. 11) at Billy’s Lounge in Grand Rapids; Aug. 19 at The Underground at DIME in Detroit
One night after 17-year-old blues phenom Jake Kershaw rocked the Union Cabaret & Grille recently in Kalamazoo, another hot up-and-coming act, Lushh, took to the venue’s stage to celebrate release of the band’s debut EP, “Nebulushh.”
The experimental jazz fusion group, which came together in 2015 after meeting one another in Western Michigan’s heralded music program, commemorated the release with high hopes that this will be the first of many milestones in a long career together.
The EP — recorded live at the Kiva Room in Kalamazoo and produced by WMU radio station WIDR — came together, similar to the band, as somewhat of an accident.
“It just started as a totally for-fun kind of thing. We weren’t planning it going anywhere,” said drummer Madison George. “We had one recording session where we went into record an arrangement by our saxophone player (Eddie Codrington) of “Great Fair’s Fountain Theme” from the Legend of Zelda, and it just went really well. The band chemistry was there and after that session, we were all like ‘Man, that feels really good, let’s keep it going.’ Now we’re just trying to make it happen and gain some more following.”
The band, which also features Andrew Saliba on guitar, Grayson Nye on keys and Matt Eperson on bass, laid down five tracks for the release that span a little over 35 minutes, including “Great Fair’s Fountain Theme.” According to George, they are already looking forward to getting new material out to the masses. (Listen to Lushh below.)
“It all started with some text messages between Eddie and I,” George said. “We were both listening to a lot of stuff that other students at Western really weren’t into that we’d found and we decided to start experimenting with some sounds.”
Inspired by the likes of Flying Lotus, Hiatus Kaioyote, Thundercat and Donnie McCaslin, the two came together with the others to create some music, and after that first fateful recording session, went all in. And while they have been busy getting out and playing around the west side of the state, they have had all the support they could ask for and more from their respective mentors at WMU.
COMING TOGETHER AND PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES AT WMU
There may not be a better example of that than George’s drum professor, Keith Hall, who reached out to help the band with the business side of things early on.
“We’ve all been playing, writing and improvising music all of our lives, but none of us had our own band before this, so Keith has really helped us out … getting our press kit together, organizing the financial stuff, helping us decide what kind of merch to invest in, booking gigs and just getting our name out there. It’s been great,” George said.
While the focus in the classroom at Western, he added, is more on traditional greats such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Lee Morgan, there has always been “a big focus on the pushing the boundaries and going to new things.”
“Our profs have all been very involved in what we are doing, while still allowing us to keep that creative freedom. … They’ve all been really encouraging us and helping guide us toward our goal of being professional musicians,” he said.
As far as gigs go, in addition to the July 29 release party at the Union, the quintet has performed recently in Ann Arbor, at the B.O.B and DAAC in Grand Rapids, and at both the Old Dog and Shakespeare’s in Kalamazoo. Over the next couple weeks, the band will be taking their new album to Rupert’s Brew House in Kalamazoo, Billy’s Lounge in Grand Rapids and to The Underground at DIME in Detroit.
“Right now we’re just trying to play around the state of Michigan in as many different cities as we can, gain as many fans as we can and really get our name out there,” George said. “Our big goal is to try to get on tour next summer.”
LISTEN: Lushh, “Still Life” (Live on WIDR)
LISTEN: Lushh, “Great Fairy’s Fountain Theme” (Live on WIDR)
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC