Bees and Jazz: Bees Deluxe

I think of bees and often think of the Beehive in Boston: jazz and good potatoes, two things I really like.

Launching off of one bee/jazz association, I will jump to another jazzy bee: Bees Deluxe.

The band has a very interesting background, rooted in Boston’s love for jazz and music.

Patrick Sanders performs as the band’s drummer, who attended Berklee College of Music and sharpened his drumming skills with mentors such as Mike Mangini (now with Dream Theater) and Jamey Haddad (who has worked with Paul Simon and Steve Gadd). Sanders has also performed with the lovely, supremely talented Esperanza Spalding, when both were students at Berklee!

Bees Deluxe’s guitarist, Conrad, has performed everywhere from London to CBGB’s in New York City and back to Boston. He cites Wes Montgomery and Jeff Beck as influences. He also mentions having worn the hats of ” guitar-player, band manager, special-effects builder, illustrator, music journalist, as well as record company production manager”. You know what I’ve been told to do in the music industry? Wear as many hats as possible. I’ll take Conrad’s path as confirmation!

Lastly, we have Bruce Mattson, New England Conservatory graduate, and player of the keys. Mattson also scores and arranges for multimedia, and has performed with Charles Neville and Chuck Leavell.

Bees Deluxe, credit Eric Antoniou

Listed as the genre “Vintage Tube Terpsichorian”, I was, of course, curious. Time to peruse some tracks! Their music blends the sounds of classic rock, blues, jazz, and funk, without brimming with pretentiousness, as some jam bands tend to do (in my opinion). Yet the songs are definitely tracks I’d like to jam to. Tracks like “Asleep at the Chelsea” brought me back to rainy days listening to Van Morrison or Hendrix. Not particularly in style, though I hear it, but in ambiance and personality. The track, “The Girl With the Green Hair” brought about an eerie aura in some instances, and a laid back, relaxed one in other measures.

I also love the homage to Billie Holiday with their performance of “God Bless the Child”. Vocals blend into this one, though the instruments do a lot of talking themselves; it brings to mind Sting’s jazz and blues performances.

But really, it bugs me when I start to compare musicians to other musicians, when one should really take a listen on their own, because unique bands always have their own sound, as Bees Deluxe does.

The band is preparing to release a new album, titled, “Space Age Bachelor Pad Blues” and have upcoming shows at the Gardner Ale House on April 9 (Gardner, MA) and at Johnny D’s on May 6 (Somerville, MA).

And, to save you the trip to the dictionary, a terpsichorian is, by another spelling, a dancer or something related to dance. Is this true, Bees Deluxe, that we are in for some funky, vintage style tunes to dance to, grooves and all?

Check out their site!


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