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Lettuce at Saint Andrews, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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The members of Lettuce met each other at the Berklee College of Music in Boston more than 27 years ago, and they've been spreading their musical leaves ever since.

The improvisation-loving sextet seven albums since 2012, blending jazz, rock, funk and other forms into its own distinctive sound. Its latest project 2017's "Witches Stew," features its takes on come classic material from Miles Davis' electric fusion period.

Lettuce is currently working on its next album, but you'll never find the group too far from the stage, which is where bassist Erick "Jesus" Coomes says the magic really happens...

The members of Lettuce live all over the country now -- in Denver, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Portland, Maine -- but Coomes says the group has little trouble operating. "We see each other a lot. It is kind of crazy, but we play a lot and when we get together to rehearse or play or whatever it's like the first day we ever met a played -- there's a lot of psychic or different kinds of communication going on. We've always communicated a lot of different ways from when we met, synchronicities that were unexplainable. It's nice to still have that."

The "Witches Stew" album was recorded during a set Lettuce played during 2016 in the Catskills, where "the promoter asked us to do something of a tribute to Miles (Davis). Benny (Bloom), our trumpet player, put it together, and to put it bluntly it was intimidating to play some of that stature of music. We all revere Miles, like most musicians, and we revere him so much that approaching his music was pretty daunting. But we loved the energy of it, the vibe and the way we sounded, and that made us want to pay tribute to Miles even more. Plus, we want to show people that Lettuce wears many hats."

Coomes says Lettuce is "getting close to finishing" its first set of original music since 2016's "Mt. Crushmore," with hopes of having a first track released "within a month" and the album out during the first half of the year. "We've got it mixed and need to master it. The artwork's coming along really well. We got closer to the feeling we live than we ever had. We played more improvisational stuff and got a little looser than we do on our records. It's very warm and expressive -- definitely still expanding the sound so it doesn't sound like our first record, but it's still got the funk on it. Musically it goes all over the map, kind of like a tour of the world of lettuce."

Lettuce and Ghost Note perform Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors at 7 p.m. $29. 313-961-8358 or saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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