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Dazz Band

Dazz Band


A9R97iali_2pmavl_6gwThe Cleveland-based Kinsman Dazz Band was one of the more popular funk groups of the early ’70s. Michael Calhound formed the group in the early ’70s, merging two Cleveland funk bands, Bell Telefunk and Mother Braintree. Guitarist Mike Calhoun’s concept for the group was “danceable jazz”; he shortened the description to “dazz” and called the group Kinsman Dazz.
The Kinsman Dazz became the Dazz Band in 1980. They had their first hit with “Shake It Up” in 1980.
While ballads were the group’s ace in the hole come concert time, they weren’t happening on the radio. A change was needed. ‘We called the third album “Keep it live”‘, because if it didn’t happen we’d be gone from Motown. I said ‘We’ve got to stay positive. That became the theme of the record. We were on a mission. We weren’t going to validate who we were until we had a dance hit’. That turned out to be “Let it Whip”, ‘which Reggie wrote with West Coast percussion great Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chancler, introducing a high-tech funk groove that would be the sound of choice for the era’.
So the group’s breakthrough came with the album Keep It Live (1982), containing their breaking hit “Let It Whip” — which reached No. 1 (and stayed there for 5 weeks) on the R&B charts and No 5. in The USA HOT 100. In 1983 Dazz Band won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. The follow up single was ‘Keep it live (On the K.I.L.)’ and peaked at No. 20 in the R&B single charts. The highest position of the album Keep it live was No. 1 in the US R&B album Chart and # 14 in the US 200 Album Chart.




The Dazz Band, formed in 1976, grew out of the Cleveland, Ohio, jazz fusion band Bell Telefunk, composed of foundres Michael Calhoun and Sonny Jones lead guitarist/songwriter Michael Calhoun, percussionist Kenny Pettus, drummer Isaac “Ike” Wiley, Jr., and his brother bassist Michael Wiley, and the band Mother Braintree. The group became known as Kinsman Dazz, named after both the street and the lounge where they worked as the house band: Sonny Jones’ Kinsman Grill Lounge. The group adopted its name before the song “Dazz” became an R&B hit for Atlanta’s Brick in 1976.
Kinsman Dazz was signed to 20th Century Records by Joe Lewis [disambiguation needed] in 1978. The group went to Los Angeles to record for producer Marvin Gaye. Due to illness, Gaye had to back out of the duties. Calhoun requested and got Philip Bailey, the vocalist of Earth, Wind & Fire, to produce the group’s first album, Kinsman Dazz. Bailey would co-produce the second album, Dazz, and had a major input into the group’s vocal arrangements. They released their first single, “I Might as Well Forget About Loving You”, in late 1978.
“Catchin’ Up on You” followed in 1979.
The Kinsman Dazz became the Dazz Band in 1980. The 20th Century Records label was closed, and the Dazz Band was signed to Motown Records. The group expanded from the original quintet – Calhoun, Harris, Pettus, and the Wiley brothers and added newcomers Kevin Kendrick, Eric Fearman, Pierre DeMudd, Sennie
“Skip” Martin, Jerry Bell, & Terry Stanten. After the death of manger Sonny Jones, leadership of the group was claimed under Bobby Harris, sax player of the group. Unfortunately under Harris’s miss management of funds and poor leadership would lead two deaths in the group. One being the original bass player Michael Wiley in 1987 and then in 2005 vocalist Terry Stanten. The new Dazz Band featuring Jerry Bell is now back to its original founding member Michael Calhoun as leader along with Jerry Bell. Now under this new leadership they have gained there place as inductees in the R&B HALL OF FAME on August 17, 2013 and they have been honored by the United States Postal Service with the issue of a commemorative stamp also on January 23, of 2013. There are still little shoots of the Harris ensemble popping up here and there but nothing as outstanding as the original sounds of Calhoun and Bell.
Dazz’s first album for Motown was Invitation to Love (1980), a self-produced set, whose title track, the ballad “Invitation to Love”, began a string of hits for the band starting in March 1981. The group’s next album, Let The Music Play (1981), featured the minor hit single “Knock! Knock!”, reaching the Top 50. The group’s biggest breakthrough came with the album Keep It Live (1982), containing the hit “Let It Whip” — which reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. They would go on to score R&B hits with the songs “Party Right Here” (1983), “Joystick” (1984), and “Let It All Blow” (which was also their biggest UK hit single, peaking at #12) (1984).[1] After Keep It Live, the band recorded the albums On the One, Joystick, Jukebox and Hot Spot, all for Motown. The band was known for its live performances, often proving more popular than the headlining act. In 1985, Fearman left the group and was replaced by Marlon McClain and Keith Harrison. In 1986, Dazz Band recorded Wild & Free for Geffen Records, and moved to RCA Records.






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