Toronto’s Kush goes with the flow

<p>The next best thing to actually creating your own art is probably witnessing others first-hand in the midst of creation.</p>


Improvisational/experimental band takes MainStage



Photo courtesy of Etric Lyons


Etric Lyons, bandleader and renowned bassist, will be performing with his ‘genre bending’ musical collective Kush this Saturday at the 18th annual Beaches Jazz Festival.

The next best thing to actually creating your own art is probably witnessing others first-hand in the midst of creation.

That is perhaps the best way to describe a live performance by Canadian new age jazz/electronic musical collective Kush, who will be performing at the 18th annual Beaches Jazz Festival MainStage on Saturday.

Nominated at the 2006 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, Kush is essentially a unique, unrehearsed and improvised musical experience.

Bandleader and renowned bassist and producer Etric Lyons calls the band ‘genre bending,’ as their music flows through such diverse elements as ambient, downtempo, nu-jazz, electro jazz funk and soulful house.

Also touted as cinematic and meditative, Kush uses traditional horns, percussion and bass fused with loops as well as samples and keyboards.

“What people can expect is a journey … and ultimately to dance because I come from a very strong dance background,” explains Lyons, who also fills the role of loops and samples in the band. “The concept is really remixing live, which is sort of derivative of DJ culture without turn tables.”

With comparisons to Thievery Corporation (which Lyons believes is due to the tempo in their new album Streams of Consciousness), Kush is comprised of leading jazz,

R&B and groove musicians such as Robert Sibony, Bryden Baird and Eddie Bullen, who will all accompany Lyons on stage this Saturday.

“(It’s) an amazing feeling; when you're in a room with 800 people and you hit something that is magical,” says Lyons, who has worked with such artists as Esthero, Jesse Cook and Remy Shand. “Everybody’s getting it at the same time; there’s no warning … it’s art in the making and you're part of the experience.”

Inspired by these live creations was the band’s second album, Streams Of Consciousness, which was edited to be one continuous body of work.

“You’re not hearing us play live, it’s all been re-recorded, but you’re hearing the themes and motifs of live, spontaneous creation,” says Lyons.

So is every experience a new one?

“Every show is completely different and when people are familiar with the players and the records they will hear elements and themes that will be familiar.”

Kush’s next album will continue where Streams Of Consciousness left off, appropriately titled Streams Of Consciousness Volume Two. However, the release date has not yet been established.

“I have seen the burning bush,” laughs Lyons. “(The second record) is going to be similar in that it is going to flow from beginning to end, but the energy level will be raised.”

In the end, what Lyons hopes to achieve is three albums (or volumes) that reflect the band’s club performances.

“(At clubs) our first set tends to be mellow and atmospheric and the second one more energetic and the last one a little hysterical. People jumping up and down ... And I’m trying to get that experience on three albums."

for more information

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