Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
May 24th
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

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival