Turkuaz w/ Zongo Junction
21 & over
$15 AT THE DOOR. CASH SALES ONLY.
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Credible bios are supposed to be objective and not full of superlatives and hyperbole, but it’s hard to avoid gushing when the subject is a funk army of multi-instrumentals and singers that is part freight train and part tyrannosaurus rex, who—even on an off night—can blow away a room on the basis of sheer physics alone. That’s one way to describe Turkuaz, but it doesn’t address the music. In this regard, as with any band, influences are everything. One cannot escape them as one seeks to carve out a unique sound for themselves. Still, there are so many benefits to having Sly & The Family Stone, Rick James, Parliament and Bohannon in your record collection. With this as the basis for a recipe, Turkuaz adds healthy doses of jittery, world-pop-power groove—reminiscent of Remain In Light era Talking Heads—and a passion for Motown and R&B, resulting in a refreshing twist on the funk idiom.
Turkuaz certainly does have sheer size in their favor, but when broken down into the basic components, each stands out on their own. Founders Dave Brandwein and Taylor Shell had the cream of the crop to choose from at Berklee, but making it happen as a large touring ensemble takes more than chops: it takes the right blend of personalities. When Turkuaz takes the stage the chemistry is clear. The special combination of elements—singers in sequined dresses, guys in tails (or sometimes all of them in jumpsuits or other complimentary outfits) horns, keys, guitars, amps and drums and smiles all around… well, it’s easy to get caught up in the explosive auditory and visual circus and find oneself dancing. Despite all of the gear and people on stage, it is becomes clear that it is not the size that matters here: it is performance.
Through constant touring and great festival performances, Turkuaz has built a solid, passionate coast-to-coast fan base that grows with every mile driven and each night on stage. They are currently criss-crossing North America in support of their third independent release, Future 86, and have plans to conquer the world… or at least shake the walls and all the booties in every room they play…
Exploding from the center of Brooklyn's vibrant afrobeat scene, Zongo Junction electrifies dance floors wherever they perform. Packed with four horns, and a five-piece rhythm section, audiences can’t help but move no matter where the band is playing. If the Talking Heads produced a Fela Kuti record of Sun Ra’s music, the product would probably sound something like this psychedelic afrobeat outfit.
In an industry where it has become commonplace to watch bands perform with laptops & backing tracks instead of live musicians, Zongo Junction takes the stage 9 strong. The Village Voice describes their live show as “Sheer energy with the force of a tractor-trailer that roars with power and noise” while the SF Chronicle says that "Zongo Junction plays its own fractured version of Afro-beat and generates an unstoppable groove when it takes the stage."
The band formed in 2009, when drummer and California native, Charles Ferguson, returned from a six-month stay in Ghana, West Africa. “Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to a lot of amazing music from many different cultures, a lot of which had roots in West Africa. My love of African music brought me to Ghana in 2008 and when I returned home, I knew I wanted to start this band.” Soon after Charles' return, Zongo Junction started rehearsing and developing a following in Brooklyn. The group has proven to be a favorite booking at venues like Brooklyn Bowl, The Great American Music Hall, and colleges, festivals and performing arts centers around the country.
Zongo Junction recorded their first album, Thieves! in 2010, which included a collaboration with longtime Fela Kuti band member, Leon Kaleta Ligan-Majek. More recently the band has collaborated with FELA! cast member Abena Koomson. Members of the band have toured and recorded with TV On The Radio, Man Man, Antibalas, Vampire Weekend, Easy Star All-Stars, Tune-Yards, The Walkmen, and many more.
On July 15, 2014, the band will release their sophomore album, No Discount, on Electric Cowbell Records (Debo Band, Slavic Soul Party, Superhuman Happiness). The music on the No Discount, which was produced by Mikey Freedom Hart (Albert Hammond Jr, Bleachers), embraces the individual members' interests, from Dirty Projectors to Albert Ayler, Wu Tang to Meshugguh. At its core, you will find the addictive West African grooves that are the foundation of Zongo Junction's music.
No Discount was recorded to 24 track two inch tape at the bunker studio in Brooklyn NY, then disassembled and polished, piece by piece, by producer Mikey Hart, over a year-long mixing process. It was mastered by all-star engineer Brian Lucey (The Black Keys, Dr. Dog). Featuring swaths of analog electronics, hairpin rhythmic turns, and elaborate statements from a powerhouse 4-piece horn section, the band has become impressively adept at nestling entire sound worlds on top of authentic afrobeat grooves. The result is one of the most sonically intricate, and infectiously danceable recordings imaginable.
Zongo Junction is:
David Lizmi – Bass
Charles Ferguson – Drums
Morgan Greenstreet – Percussion
Jordan Hyde – Guitar
Ross Edwards – Keys
Matt Nelson – Tenor Saxophone
Jonah Parzen-Johnson – Baritone Saxophone
Aaron Rockers – Trumpet
Kevin Moehringer – Trombone