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“Let us play music” said Lettuce’s band members to the funk clubs all over town, and so they did, and the outcome was “Lettuce.” A pure funk band formed 21 years ago now leads the charts of the funk music scene. The story behind their formation was no more than a bunch of student musicians jamming together at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA.
Lettuce has eight members in the band, featuring seven instruments and occasionally one vocalist, with a usual funk band setting consisting of a guitar section, woodwind and brass sections, keys, vocals, drums and percussion. A typical line up with an unusual musica outcome.
The band has recorded three studio albums and one live album. ‘Outta Here’ was the first studio album and for the band being influenced by Herbie Hancock.The album achieved more than just success, but also acknowledgement among the funk music scene. Though this album was toured and was more famous in the USA, it sold many copies worldwide and is still played on most international funk music radio stations.
‘Outta here‘ had genius original tracks such as “The Flu,” which can be described best by “In The Pocket.” In the same album, Lettuce also made their own arrangement of Herbie’s famous track “Hang Up your Hang Ups.” While this album was an all instrumental album except for just one tracj, it was considered to be their best work yet.
(Lettuce’s Cover of “Hang Up Your Hang Ups” by Herbie Hancock)
Lettuce’s second studio album is named ‘Rage!’ and as its title suggests, the album is rather powerful in dynamics and energy, featuring vocals in some of its track sung by Nigel Hall. Funk wise the album was less raw than ‘Outta here,’ as the album was more modern in sound than ‘outta here’. It may be due to the fact that it was released in 2009, which is seven years later from their first album. Though the album had master instrumental tracks such as “King of the Burgs,” which is probably the best orchestrated instrumental track, along with the track called “Relax,” the band has also covered the song “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield, which was sort of covered to the note instrumentally and vocally. All in all the album ‘Rage!’ was another great successful production by the band.
Their latest album, released in 2012, ‘Fly’, is described by the band itself as “a decidedly raging slab of relentless groove, hyper-charged syncopation and psychedelicized soul anthems.” Which is true; in this album Lettuce returns to their funk roots, laying down original and raw funk beats and rhythms that fits the Lettuce that the fans knew, an all original instrumental album with one cover song of War’s “Slippin Into Darkness.”
(Lettuce Performing Lettsanity from their latest album ‘Fly’)
Lettuce’s plan with this album was to raise the standards to a higher level and get more acknowledgement as a leading funk music band, and to expand their name to more than just the USA and local tours. The band’s bass player, Jesus, commented about Lettuce releasing this album: “Lettuce is like a Learjet that wasn’t getting clearance from the tower,” Jesus continues. “But we’re done just rolling around on the runway.” Lettuce has gained more fame and a full time tour dates, touring almost everyday in the USA and soon to Japan in July 2013. It’s definite that the rest of the world will be expecting Lettuce to pay them a visit.
Counting from 1992, the band has been together for 21 years, and on a curve of their growing funk music versus time, their curve is directly proportional. They will sure keep growing if they are to keep their standards up and going. In due time, Lettuce the band may just be as well known as Lettuce the vegetable.
Image credit: Lettuce via Facebook