Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Feb 12th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Funky Shaman

music_PimpsOfJoytimeFor The Pimps of Joytime, the groove is sacred
If you ask Brian J, guitarist, singer and chief songwriter for the Brooklyn-based The Pimps of Joytime, what the “J” in his name stands for, he might tell you, but he certainly won’t respond if you call him by the moniker he inherited from his father.

And that isn’t because he has anything against his dad—the man who instilled J with his love of R&B, soul and funk by keeping the stereo pumping in his household. It’s because, as J puts it, his legal surname is “the name I use for government shit.”

When J is onstage with his band, as he will be tonight at Moe’s Alley, he doesn’t want to think about taxes or long lines at the DMV. He wants to lose himself in the unique primeval catharsis that can only be achieved through rhythm.

“The groove is very deep and serious,” J says, referring to the pulse most music possesses, and that is especially present in The Pimps’ music. “It speaks to something primal in us. We approach it from a place of respect for where these rhythms come from.”

J wants his audience to feel that connection as well.

“The best gigs we ever do, that’s what it becomes—some sort of ritualistic type thing,” says J, who sees himself a bit like a modern day shaman, creating a musical rite through which he hopes the crowds might find a sort of spiritual release. “We’re not dancing around a fire, but we’re definitely bringing a fire, musically.”

The Pimps of Joytime bring that fire with a piping hot amalgam of just about every musical genre you can imagine—swinging adeptly from one style to another. On the title track from Janxta Funk, the group’s May release, The Pimps showcase their familiarity with roots soul and funk: a simple, air-tight beat struts behind, the treble changa-chang guitar and harmonizing horn punches; you can just about hear James Brown screaming “Hit meh!” from beyond the grave.

On “Take the L Train,” the group takes a Shaft-esque skeleton, and beefs it up with a fuzzy bass synth that sounds like it belongs in a Justice techno anthem, Michael Jackson flourishes, and a smooth jazz saxophone solo that gives way to an old-school-tinged rap verse from conga player and occasional emcee, Chauncey Yearwood.

And on “Workin all the Time,” hip-hop boom-bap and some dexterous record scratching morphs into a riff that simultaneously recalls Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog” and The Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy.”

Watching J onstage and hearing the music he writes, it is clear that while he certainly takes his craft seriously, he and The Pimps also have a whole lot of fun playing.

“We do this night after night,” J explains, “so the grooves and the sounds and the vibe is fun and the kind of thing that makes us want to do it every night.”

J’s father didn’t play an instrument, but he did play a lot of records for the youngster, who grew up in New Jersey listening to Otis Redding, Ray Charles, traditional and New Orleans jazz, along with The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

He first sat down at a drum kit around the age of 7, and now, according to J, “if it’s got strings, I can mess with it and start making music with it.”

The Pimps of Joytime are looking forward to their stop at Moe’s, according to J, who says, “We play all over the country and Santa Cruz is definitely one of our favorite places to play.”


The Pimps of Joytime play at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 479-1854.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Making Dreams

Coen brothers salute vintage Hollywood in sly comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster