Jun. 27, 2012 - Issue #871: Edmonton 2012
Almost two decades after the band's last release, Shuffle Demons are back with Clusterfunk, a new album rich with the jazz-funk-fusion sound the band has become renowned for.
Shuffle Demons disbanded in 1997, but when its 20th anniversary rolled around in 2004, the band decided to reunite for a tour, not knowing how well it would turn out. New songs began to take shape as the band played together and they decided it was time to document them for a comeback.
"We kind of had road rash, you know? We did a lot of touring in the '90s and we were just getting tired of sitting in a van together," says saxophone player and vocalist Richard Underhill, who has been with the band since 1984. "It was really nice to come back and see each other and fall into the same familiar. It's like wearing an old shoe; it just feels really good."
The challenge in working together again came from finding middle ground amidst the band's evolved musical tastes, which required a more conscious approach than Shuffle Demons were used to, as it wasn't uncommon for them to improvise songs in the past. Underhill adds the band didn't want to make the mistake that can sometimes happen on comeback records by throwing in too many accompanying elements, like guest vocalists or new instruments. Instead, they wanted to make a record that stayed true to Shuffle Demons' roots.
"We wanted to make this a new starting point for us," Underhill says, adding fans shouldn't expect any rap songs this time around, which had become a staple in the past. "We've drawn on our roots, on the Shuffle Demons sound and tried to propel that forward."
While making a comeback posed its challenges in each band member's musical evolution, that same change also presented new opportunities for the band. Underhill admits that the band started with lots of enthusiasm but not a great deal of technique, whereas now, they've got a better balance of both.
Underhill hopes that a new generation of fans, particularly those who are young instrumentalists, can take something away from the band.
"I think there's a lot of energy in the music, whether it's on the album or in the live show," he says. "As they say, it's groovy and the kids can dance to it."
Sat, Jun 30 (8:30 pm and 10 pm)
Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, $20 for one set or $30 for two sets
Part of the Edmonton Jazz Festival
Schedule at edmontonjazz.com
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy