Concerts On The Green at Suneagles Golf Club

Lettuce

JULY 12 • 7:30PM

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Tickets: $69.50, $59.50, $49.50 | Limit 6 tickets per billing address

July 11, 2021

DOORS 5:30PM • SHOWTIME 7:30PM

Adam Deitch: drums, percussion
Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff: guitar
Erick “Jesus” Coomes: bass
Ryan Zoidis: alto, baritone and tenor sax, Korg X-911
Eric “Benny” Bloom: trumpet, horns
Nigel Hall: vocals, Hammond B-3, Rhodes, clavinet, keyboards

LETTUCE is (a) the prime ingredient in a salad, (b) a slang for cash, (c) a green herb that can be smoked, (d) a genre-busting six-member funk/jazz/soul/jam/psychedelic/hip-hop/art-rock/ambient/ avant-garde/experimental collective formed in 1992 by four alumni of the prestigious Berklee College Of Music, or (e) all of the above.

If you answered “e,” then you’re on to the ever-changing musical palette and all-inclusive goals of LETTUCE’s sixth studio album, Elevate, and its ongoing re-interpretation of the band’s name as “Let Us.”  In their earliest days as students, they would roam the cities of the Northeast, and implore others to “Let Us play.”  Starting with their 2002 debut album, the phrase has been affixed to their first four albums, as in (Let UsOutta Here (2002), (Let UsRage! (2008), (Let UsFly! (2012) and (Let UsCrush (2015). Elevate (2019) is the band’s first studio album since 2016’s Mt. Crushmore and the follow-up to its 2017 live effort, Witches Stew.

Recorded at Colorado Sound outside of Denver, near the home of New York transplants and band co-founders, guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff and percussionist Adam Deitch, with legendary engineer Russ Elevado (D’Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu), Elevate shows LETTUCE touching on its past while moving full force into the future. The band explores its funk roots in the Tower of Power like punch of “Ready to Live” (the cover of a song by Cold Blood’s Lydia Pense), the Prince-like swagger of “Royal Highness” and the OG blues-soul of “Love Is Too Strong,” while expanded trip-hop sounds of the space age audio-scapes like “Trapezoid,” “Gang 10” and “Purple Cabbage” show the influence of sax player Ryan Zoidis’ Korg X-911 synths and Nigel Hall’s Rhodes keyboards.

“This album definitely stretches the boundaries,” says chief composer/percussionist Deitch, whose chance meeting with co-founder “Shmeeans” while 16-year-olds at a summer camp before their freshmen year of college proved momentous. “The idea was to keep exploring the different areas of funk and hip-hop beats, then writing melodies to those songs that made sense.”

The more progressive/spacey vibe, with elements of Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, Eno and Miles Davis, also comes naturally to the band, according to founding member and bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, an Orange County native whose father, Tommy Coomes, is a successful musician with a number of albums to his credit.

“We’re big improvisational music and arts fans,” Erick says. “We consider them part of the same world. It’s like painting live with five other people, one arm and a single brush.”

Guitarist Shmeeans compares the group’s eclectic, free-wheeling approach to “the modern NBA and its position-less basketball,” Nigel Hall, the band’s resident singer, also takes vocals on the album’s two covers, Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (one of the album’s two focus tracks, along with “Krewe”) and Lydia Pense’s “Ready to Live.” “As long as you listen, play your part and remember where the ‘one’ is, you can thrive in this band,” says Nigel.

Trumpet and horn-player Eric “Benny” Bloom, a Rhode Island native who has been a full-time member of LETTUCE since 2011, notes, “This isn’t just a funk band anymore. We’re playing every style of music in every song. You can’t categorize it.  We have the freedom to do whatever we want that’s appropriate for the song.”

Much of the futuristic, yet warm and analog feel, of Elevate can be attributed to sax player, Portland, ME native and co-founding member Ryan Zoidis, who continued to explore the limits of his new toy, a vintage Korg X-911 synth.

“I was still figuring it out on the last album, trouble-shooting how it would work,” says Ryan. “It’s responsible not just for the ways the band has changed musically, but it’s improved my life in general.  It’s great to have have a lot more options with my sound rather than just relying on the one standard timbre of the dry saxophone. There are now a bunch of different voices I can pull up.” He points to “Trapezoid” as a piece for which he recorded himself playing the synth over a click track and then sent to Deitch, who turned it into the song on the album.

Other album highlights include Smirnoff’s nod to Carlos Santana and Trey Anastasio on the Latin-flavored and playfully named “Shmink Dabby,” the spaghetti western meets ‘60s Ethiopian funk by way of the French Ethiopiques compilation albums in the focus track, “Krewe” and the Marcus King cameo vocal on the B.B. King/Al Green gospel blues of “Love Is Too Strong.”  The latter is reminiscent of other guest appearances in the past by the likes of John Scofield and Fred Wesley on LETTUCE’s debut, Outta Here, or Dwele on Rage!

“There’s always something new to be learned as musicians and as people,” adds Shmeeans. “We’re trying to get a little bit better every day.”

Says Ryan: “We realize more and more that this band is a gift we’ve been given. Everyone contributes, like a successful sports team. We’ve really become family over the years.  We’ve known there was magic in this from the moment we first got together as 16-year-olds.”
That magic continues to grow with the band’s new album, a democratic ensemble in which there is no leader, but a complete unit that functions as a single entity, with plenty of moving parts.

All together now… Let us Elevate.

Presented by Count Basie Center for the Arts


ABOUT THE CONCERTS ON THE GREEN EXPERIENCE

The following measures will be in place for the Concerts On The Green concert series:

  • Tables are sold in “Table For Two,” “Table For Four” and “Table For Six” configurations only.
  • The Concerts On The Green performance area is covered. All events are rain or shine.
  • Free, onsite parking is available. Please park and proceed to the venue as directed.
  • Tickets include a dining reservation, with service and seating beginning two hours prior to showtime. Dinner and drinks are sold separately.
  • $20 minimum food / beverage spend required per person. A 20% gratuity will be added to all food/beverage bills.
  • Visit www.theBASIE.org/greenmenu for menus.
  • Unvaccinated patrons are asked to wear masks upon entering or moving about the venue.
  • Credit cards only – cash will not be accepted.
  • For nights with two shows, entry for the second show will begin once the previous audience is cleared and the venue is cleaned / sanitized.
  • High-touch surface areas will be cleaned and disinfected throughout every performance.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the Concerts On The Green performance area.
  • Ticketmaster is the only authorized ticket seller for this event. Tickets purchased from other outlets may not be honored.
  • Tables cannot be split and resold. Patrons holding resold tickets will be denied entry and refunds will not be offered.
  • Restroom capacities will be limited and enforced.
  • Patrons are asked to self-screen for any of the CDC’s recognized COVID-19 symptoms and refrain from attending if necessary. A refund will be issued
  • Lawn chairs, blankets, pets, outside food or beverages are strictly prohibited.
  • Smoking is prohibited, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes or any other vaping devices.
  • These protocols have been reviewed and endorsed by Hackensack Meridian Health’s Keeping America Safe Assist Program, which shares best practices in safety, cleanliness, education and testing with organizations like the Basie Center.

Concerts On The Green, Suneagles Golf Club and the Count Basie Center for the Arts are dedicated to making your visit safe during these unprecedented times. In doing so, we are operating in accordance with all local and state executive orders, and will recognize changes in mandates as they are warranted. Buying a ticket or being a guest at a Concerts On The Green show is an agreement to comply with all current social distancing and mask guidelines set forth by local and state governments. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK. All attendees, by purchasing a ticket and/or attending the event, agree to assume all of the risks, hazards and dangers that may arise from, or relate in any way to, the risk of contracting a communicable disease or illness (including exposure to COVID-19, a bacteria, virus, or other pathogen capable of causing a communicable disease or illness) whether occurring before, during, or after the event, however caused or contracted. Therefore, anyone who purchases a ticket and/or attends the event, hereby waives any and all claims against the Count Basie Center for the Arts, Concerts On The Green, Suneagles Golf Club, the artist, and/or all related sponsors relating to all risks of personal injury, sickness, permanent disability and/or death.

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