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Lettuce – Resonate

August 16, 2020
Resonate by Lettuce 5/8/20 on Round Hill Records

Long term readers of this blog may have picked up on my frequent use of the word “resonate.” Songs, albums and artists/bands either resonate with me or they don’t. The dictionary defines resonate a few ways, but the one that resonates with me is “to relate harmoniously: strike a chord.”

This is the first Lettuce album I have seriously listened to. I impulsively purchased it on a recent visit to the Electric Fetus. Before the streaming era this is how I discovered most new music. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long, as this is a band that is in my wheelhouse. I saw them live a few years ago at Lollapalooza and was impressed. My future son-in-law is also a fan. What got me hooked was a recent episode of Eric Krasno Plus One podcast. Kraz and guitarist John Scofield raved about what a great musician Lettuce’s drummer and founding member Adam Deitch is. I have been listening and needless to say Resonate resonates with me.

Lettuce is an instrumental (primarily) funk band that was born out of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The young band attempted to play at various Boston jazz clubs, walking in and asking the club owners and other musicians if they would “let us play”, giving birth to the name Lettuce. The band has a Herbie Hancock Headhunters, Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power vibe, but also a contemporary jam band groove.

What I am digging about this band and album, is that despite mining instrumental funk, that in lesser hands typically sounds cliched, unoriginal and frankly boring, Resonate sounds fresh, original and diverse. I love horns and the band has a great horn section. I instantly recognized the funky drums from John Scofield’s Überjam albums. This is music that is both for the butt and the head. The funk makes you move and the psychedelia takes you higher. The recording is top notch, the vinyl pressing is clean and heavy.

Per their website: “The new 11-track collection, featuring the previously released songs “Checker Wrecker,” “‘NDUGU” and “House of Lett,” is a sonic continuation of the acclaimed sextet’s 2019 GRAMMY Award-nominated album Elevate, which earned the band their first collective nomination in the category of Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. On Resonate, which plays like a master class in funk sub-genres, Lettuce continue to be celebrated boundary-pushing innovators nearly three decades into their lauded career, blurring the lines and smashing it up with jazz chords, psychedelic passages, big horns, strains of soul and go-go, hip-hop elements and a joyful, uplifting improvisational sound all their own. Resonate was helmed by esteemed producer and engineer Russ Elevado [D’Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu] and written and recorded during the same Colorado Sound Studio sessions for Elevate, which hit #1 on both the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart and iTunes Top R&B Albums Chart and has racked up more than 3 million streams.”

This is the kind of music that can be both background and and foreground music. Mellow and groovy enough to augment your reality and deep and sophisticated enough to be your reality. Looks like I will be going down the Lettuce back catalog rabbit hole.


From → Music Reviews

  1. Im gonna give this ago.

  2. I’m liking the first cut already.

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