Melding elements of jazz, psychedelia, Motown, pop, R&B, funk and more into its approach, Pajamas is starting to make waves across the state. The Artist Spotlight at Local Spins.
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Despite small-town roots in Dexter and Saline, the band Pajamas boasts a world-view vibe that’s all about “exploration and improvisation.”
“Though we play in many other genres, our instrumentation is that of a traditional rock quartet,” suggested guitarist Nick Orr, who attended Dexter High School and the University of Michigan.
“We all come from different musical backgrounds and have our individual tastes, so our music blends a lot of different styles into its sound. You’ll find elements of jazz, psychedelia, Motown, pop, R&B, funk, prog and classical music sprinkled throughout the jams and compositions. Our repertoire of covers is also pretty broad, ranging from Rage Against the Machine to the Bee Gees.”
After releasing its debut album, “Onesie,” in 2018 and the live album recorded at Benton Harbor’s The Livery, “Live at the Livery,” in 2021, the Ann Arbor-based indie-jam band – Orr, bassist Dan Schuler, drummer Graham Low and keyboardist Owen Kellenberger – has hunkered down to lay down tracks for its second full-length studio collection with the single, “Where the Story Ends,” set for imminent release.
“Fans of the band will recognize the tune from our live shows, but we’re excited for them to hear what we’ve done with it for the studio release,” Orr said.
Those fans can catch Pajamas this weekend at Mash Bar in Ypsilanti, playing the venue at 9 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 17). The band has played venues ranging from The Livery, Founders Brewing Co., Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill in West Michigan to The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.
“ ‘Where the Story Ends’ and the entirety of the album were recorded in-house at our rehearsal space, affectionately dubbed ‘Blanketsburg.’ Doing the record in-house has been a lot of fun and we’ve learned a lot in the process,” Orr noted. “Owen and Dan have really taken the lead in the recoding and mixing process, and we’re excited for everyone to hear what we’ve done once the album is released.”
Pajamas started several years ago while band members were attending Washtenaw Community College, with the group jelling “after coming together in a jazz ensemble class.” Orr, Low and Schuler have spent time with other groups, including Dead Hit, Dirty Deville and Blue Water Kings.
Influenced by artists ranging from Victor Wooten, Lettuce, Snarky Puppy and Jeff Beck to Phish, Grateful Dead, Chick Corea, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock and The Beatles, Pajamas meshes well with Michigan’s jam-band scene, though Orr insisted the group’s eclectic vibe has almost universal appeal.
“Michigan has a really strong jam-band scene, and I think that we fit in well with that group, but I also thing there is a lot beyond that that our music offers,” he said.
“While not necessarily trying to appeal to everyone, I think there is something that almost anyone can latch onto in our music during the course of the night.”
VIDEO: Pajamas, “What To Do” (Blind Pig in Ann Arbor)
VIDEO: Pajamas, “June” and “Where the Story Ends” (Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids)
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