SOUNDOCTRINE Local sextet makes a sound stew
The band was chosen a finalist in the Capital Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C.
By JOHN BENSON
Simply getting the funk (and jazz) out is how SounDoctrine drummer Jere B describes the magic of this Youngstown sextet.
"It sounds like Yellowjackets meets George Duke on the way to Steely Dan's house while listening to Quincy Jones, because that's where we come from and what we listen to in our hearts," said Jere B (real name Gerald Beulah Jr.).
"It seems no matter what we try to do, that's what comes out of us. Some of us like smooth jazz; others like fusion. Some of us are classically trained. When it all comes together, it's like a stew. It's not like we're trying to do it, it's just what happens."
Things are definitely happening for this six-piece -- B, Phil The Beat (bass), Jim Couchenour (keyboards), Paul Douds (guitar), Keith McKelley (sax) and Cliff Barnes (keyboards) -- which recently was named a finalist in the annual Capital Jazz Festival held a few weeks ago in Washington, D.C.
It was at that gig, hobnobbing with such genre-defining jazz legends as Bob James, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright and Najee, that the act caught a break, signing with a booking agent. Coupled with the release of its latest album "Endurance," SounDoctrine is on the rise, having gained fans internationally with the use of the single greatest tool available today to upstart musicians -- the Internet.
"You really don't have to chose to move to a locale like Los Angeles, New York or Atlanta," B said. "To make it happen today all you need is a great marketing strategy and I think marketing finesse is kicking in a little bit."
At age 41, the 1983 South High School graduate is being pragmatic regarding the future of SounDoctrine. Though he hopes the band, which formed in 2002, expands its annual 35-date concert calendar, he recently made a major life decision by leaving his day job at WKBN-AM 570 to pursue music full time.
He hopes to find work as a writer and producer for television, commercial or even movie scores. No matter what he finds to fill up his daytime schedule, his mind will remain focused on the evenings when SounDoctrine shines.
Among the many upcoming shows SounDoctrine has scheduled this summer is a fun return engagement Friday at Anthony's on The River in Youngstown. With an open style that embraces everything from blues and gospel to funk, reggae and soul, the band will be playing material from all four of its studio albums, as well as a few choice covers from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Bobby Caldwell, Grover Washington Jr., Miles Davis and more.
"It's all game," B said. "We start with a funk groove and then see what happens. It really is a show like that. The vibe is what takes us and we just go with it."