FW: AP News article on Liquid Soul

Araya, Juan Carlos (jaraya@lucent.com)
Fri, 22 Aug 1997 18:25:52 -0400


Just a note on Mars Williams. He used to, I hear, play with the
Psycodelic Furs.


>From: gkanai@earthlink.net[SMTP:gkanai@earthlink.net]
>Sent: Friday, August 22, 1997 5:39 PM
>To: acid-jazz@ucsd.edu
>Subject: AP News article on Liquid Soul
>Acid Jazz Grows, Gains Respect
>Associated Press Writer
> NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) _ From Dennis Rodman's star-studded birthday
>bash to an outdoor stage at President Clinton's inauguration, the
>10-piece acid jazz band Liquid Soul has played some unique gigs.
> But its last big show may have been the most important for acid
>jazz, a musi

>cal form that fuses jazz horns and improvisation, funk
>bass lines, turntable scratching, hip-hop beats, rap lyrics and
>even poetry.
> Liquid Soul played at the recent JVC Jazz Festival in Newport,
>where thousands of fans have come since 1954 to hear legends and
>up-and-comers perform in the seaside community known for its lavish
> The appearance by the Chicago band, which is gaining recognition
>as one of the country's top acid jazz acts, marked the first time
>organizers have reserved a stage for acid jazz.
> It was a breakthrough in terms of respect for acid jazz, Liquid
>Soul saxophonist and band leader Mars Williams said.
> ``Jazz is becoming fun again. We like to say we're bringing it
>back to the dance floor, where it was in the '40s and '50s when it
>was America's pop music,'' he said. ``Somewhere along the line it
>got really snobby.''
> Williams doesn't care that some consider acid jazz merely pop
> ``It's not jazz in the traditional sense, but I think it's being
>recognized as a new form of jazz. The improvisational aspect of it
>definitely is jazz oriented,'' he said.
> Festival organizers say they invited Liquid Soul and Brooklyn
>Funk Essentials for reasons of ``culture and commerce.'' The acts
>attract a younger crowd, and other festivals have included acid
>jazz bands for several years.
> Acid jazz never will appeal to ``jazz purists,'' said Art
>Edelstein, a senior producer for the event.
> ``It's got elements of dance music and improvisation and it
>definitely appeals to a broad spectrum of listeners,'' he said.
>``Part of the reason we haven't done this sooner in Newport is
>because acid jazz is something that has been developing over the
>last three or four years.''
> Williams said the term ``acid jazz'' can mean anything from
>stage bands like his to DJ acts that rely on the sampling of jazz
> ``I like to say we go beyond acid jazz,'' Williams said. ``We'll
>take jazz standards and put them to a hip-hop beat. We'll do a
>Latin tune or something with a Mideast flavor to it.''
> The band's performances in downtown Chicago nightclubs attract
>an unconventional mix of fans.
> Rodman, the pierced and tattooed Chicago Bulls basketball star,
>invited Liquid Soul to play his birthday party last year, where
>Williams was joined on stage by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and John
>Popper of Blues Traveler.
> ``It was kind of a wild night,'' Williams said.
> Liquid Soul played to more than 100,000 people during Clinton's
>latest inaugural parade after becoming a favorite of young
>Democratic National Committee staff members who heard the band
>while in Chicago for last year's Democratic National Convention.
> In Newport, Liquid Soul played at the Hotel Viking Ballroom.
>Organizers say acid jazz acts could play on the main stage before
>10,000 fans in a few years.
> Regardless of what purists think, acid jazz will expose a new
>generation of fans to jazz, Williams said.
> ``A lot of people get scared of jazz. The younger generation
>hears the word `jazz' and I don't know what goes through their
> ``They'll hear us play a Miles Davis tune and say, `I loved
>that.' We'll say, `Well, it's not ours, it's Miles Davis,' and
>they'll go out and buy a Miles Davis album.''
> Writing songs for Liquid Soul is part free-for-all and part
>traditional musical composition, with the classically trained
>Williams often bringing full pieces to the band.
> ``We're trying to write more stuff freestyle,'' Williams said.
>``To open up a set the DJ will be spinning something and the
>drummer will start playing along with the record and the bass will
>join in and twist the bass line, and the DJ will take the record
>off and put on another and the guitar will come in and I'll be over
>in the corner with the horns with about 30 seconds to work out a
>horn section,'' he said.
> The band was pieced together after Williams and DJ Jesse De La
>Pena began jamming together at a Sunday night show at Chicago's
>Elbo Room, then the larger Double Door.
> Liquid Soul's other players are: Ron Haynes on trumpet, John
>Janowiak on trombone, Frankie Hill on keyboards, Dan Leali on
>drums, Rickie Showalter on bass, Tom Sanchez on guitar, The Dirty
>MF on raps and Omega on vocals. The band has released a self-titled
>debut and a new CD is due in January.
> ``You can look at our resume and see all the different styles,''
>Williams said. ``Liquid Soul is perfect for incorporating these
>many sounds. It's a melting pot of sounds, a liquidy mix.''
> Bill Pierce, chairman of the woodwind department at the renowned
>Berklee College of Music in Boston, said acid jazz has allowed many
>of his school's graduates to make a living.
> ``If it makes jazz more accessible to a younger audience, that's
>good,'' he said. ``It's just jazz with a groovier kind of rhythmic
> Brooklyn Funk Essentials, which is working on a follow-up to its
>debut CD, ``Cool and Steady and Easy,'' has played festivals in
>Europe and was excited to play Newport, ``probably the most
>prestigious,'' bassist Lati Kronlund said.
> The band's other members are poet Everton Sylvester,
>percussionist E.J. Rodriguez, trombonist Joshua Roseman,
>fluegelhorn player Bob Brockman, saxophonist Paul Shapiro, vocalist
>Sha-key and DJ Jazzy Nice on turntables.
> Although he doesn't care for the term ``acid jazz,'' coined in
>jest in the early '90s by experimental club DJs, Kronlund said fans
>are beginning to differentiate between live acts like his and
>studio-produced music.
> ``Originally, acid jazz was a DJ thing, but this is a live band.
>We don't use any recorded loops or samples on stage,'' Kronlund
>said. ``To a lot of people, if there's a saxophone in there, it's
> AP-NY-08-21-97 1202EDT
>c.1997, Associated Press All Rights Reserved