On Saturday night, nine musicians crammed onto the small stage at Garcia’s for sets of jazz and funk, next to the Capitol Theatre, leaving fans with nothing but a massive show full of energy. JAZZ is PHSH made their way into Port Chester for a full set, followed by the James Brown Dance Party. The cast of musicians that evening included Adam Chase on drums, Matthew Chase on guitar, Josh Thomas on keys, Eric “Benny” Bloom and Carl Gerhard on trumpet, Jay Rodriguez on sax, Felix Pastorius on bass, and Adam Dotson on trombone. Chris Rob joined the group for second set on vocals for the James Brown Dance Party.
The evening opened up with a bang as the group blasted into “Weigh.” Heavy trombone and slick guitar grazed along until tender tones guided the song along, while picking up the full brass to close it out. “Twist” was welcomed onto the set with a no holds barred Dotson barreling out on the trombone to open the tune. Gerhard joined in on trumpet as he blasted out high tones, before the melody was cooled down by a smooth guitar.
“Alumni Blues” was introduced by heavy percussion and, once again, that trombone that just wouldn’t quit. Mashing into “A Letter To Jimmy Page,” all horns were on deck to blow up the song, before calming to a heavy bass beat by Pastorius and flowing back into “Alumni Blues.” Quick paced “Maze” had Rodriguez showing off his chops on sax. The ever present single note on the keys, that pops up throughout the melody, was touched upon gently before Bloom took off on his trumpet, throwing in hints of Spanish flair for good measure. He took the tune to the edge, as explosive energy lit the room on fire.
“Divided Sky” playfully meandered through the melody. As the band traversed around the ever-changing tempo, solid guitar, thick horns and deep bass glued the tune together. Stacked with mesmerizing tones, almost mystical, quieter lows wandered around the looser notes before picking up and taking off in the song again. The Chase brothers completely melted the melody as they both threw everything they had into the back end of the tune, bringing the song to it’s close on a high.
A spiced up “Bathtub Gin” was crammed with heavy sax by Rodriguez, and juicy keys by Thomas. Horns did not let up, as chunky jams flowed in and out of the song, while soulful keys blazed on through the set. The venue was jumping, and the floor was shaking, from nonstop dancing by the audience. The trombone busted into a dynamic dance as it strutted with swag through the notes. The horns held a playful back and forth between the sax and remaining brass before Matthew took over on guitar to calm the melody down.
“Golgi Apparatus” took fans on a magical ride. Adam kept a tight beat on cymbals while Matthew laid out bending notes and Pastorius ran his fingers up and down the six string bass. The song rolled along at an easy relaxed pace, unrushed and full of life. Thomas dabbled on lighter key tones before Matthew brought the song higher and higher on guitar. Rodriguez wasted no time blaring out on sax, while Pastorius dropped bass bombs. Gerhard took over on trumpet before handing things over to Dotson on trombone. The two musicians took turns throwing the energy back and forth to show off their stuff to the crowd. “You Enjoy Myself” had loose guitar licks and crunchy keys that were jazzed up to the max. The set closed out with musically animated nuggets of awesome.
After a short break, The James Brown Dance Party headed to the stage for second set, with Chris Rob rounding out the group on vocals. If fans closed their eyes, they’d swear James Brown was on stage belting out those lyrics. Rob not only sounded like Brown, but he shook and shaked his body on stage to the rhythm throughout the set. “Get On The Good Foot” came out in full funkafied charge, before “I Got The Feelin'” got the crowd amped up. This tune was soaking wet and fully loaded with intense energy that was cranked up to 11. Trumpets blared while Rodriguez let loose on tenor sax. The show slowed down with “Paid The Cost.” Dotson took fans through a brass filled journey as sleek and smooth tones flew out of his instrument.
“Make It Funky” kept the vibe moving and the venue hopping. Thomas’ keys blasted out an electric funkafied jam, living up to the songs namesake. The band dug deep and pulled out all the stops to maintain an energized audience. The ever popular “Sex Machine” was stacked with keys that didn’t quit, full on horns and everything in between, while the tune let released pent up energy. “The Payback,” followed by “Superbad” brought the steaming set, and night, to a close. The jazz and funk filled evening made sure everyone went home ready to sleep after an energy charged, sweat filled night of dancing at Garcia’s.
For more information on JAZZ is PHSH, along with tour dates, please visit their official website. For more information on The James Brown Dance Party, please visit their official website. Be sure to catch both bands during Phish’s Baker’s Dozen run in New York City this summer.
Words and Photography by Sarah Bourque
Setlist: JAZZ is PHSH | Garcia’s | Port Chester, NY | 6/3/2017
Weigh, Twist, Alumni Blues>A Letter To Jimmy Page>Alumni Blues, Maze, Divided Sky, Bathtub Gin, Golgi Apparatus, You Enjoy Myself.
Setlist: James Brown Dance Party | Garcia’s | Port Chester, NY | 6/3/2017
Get On The Good Foot, I Got The Feelin’, Paid The Cost, Make It Funky, Soul Power, Ain’t It Funky, Sex Machine, Payback, Superbad.