B.T. Express week comes to a close with my own take on one of my favorite B.T. grooves, “Energy Level,” originally played by my brotha Leslie Ming. Struggled with this beat till I met him and he showed me the minute details to make it groove (and make it my own. – for which I’d end up playing on a Du-Rites cut called “Bocho’s Groove”). A lesson from the architect himself. Brother Ming Mon, thanks for letting me tag along on your gigs and watch you throw down over the years. I was a pest of an understudy who probably asked too many questions. And salute B.T. Express always. Read my interview with B.T. on Wax Poetics here.
About Chief Chinchilla
Posts by Chief Chinchilla:
The Dr. who delivered me (Coolidge Abel-Bay) was the financial backer for 70s funk bands B.T. Express & Brass Construction. I discovered both bands in my mom’s record collection when I was 10, so between the connection with my birth and what I heard on those records, B.T. and BC were instrumental in me pursing music. I’m proud to present a feature/interview I did for with B.T. Express!
Meeting B.T. drummer Leslie Ming entirely by a 1 in 1,000 chance in 2014 and soaking up all I could from him as a learning drummer was as crazy a full circle coincidence as anything I’ve lived. (A long story I’ve told on here and will tell again one day.) Years later he brought me along to a Super Bowl party hosted by B.T. co-founder and bassist Jamal Risbrook, where I met both him and his saxophonist brother, Bill, the leader of the band and it eventually led to this interview/feature. 30+ years of studying this band and a random encounter on a street in Queens. Life be like that sometimes! Thanks Monk One for setting this up. Thanks also to Brass Construction’s Randy Muller for lending his stories from doing string arrangements for BT for the piece. (This was totally a Dr. Abel-Bay/childhood funk band reunion). And finally, I’d like to thank Naylon D. Mitchell for providing amazing never seen before behind the scenes studio photos of the band (including Kashif in the early stages of his career as a keyboardist). Enjoy!
New music today! The Du-Rites back at it. Aptly titled “The Sun” (featuring Elson Nascimento of Sun Ra Arkestra) and it’s been hot as a MF out all week. How this track came about was pretty wild in that we not only rocked with a member of Sun Ra Arkestra by accident but it was recorded on Sun Ra’s 107th birthday (May 22).
If you want a laugh, here’s a brief promo about how everything came together and a look into Pablo and I being the Hatfields & McCoys when it comes to writing songs.
A dirty, ornery funk (digital) single for ya as a teaser for our Pressure EP in the fall. Enjoy!
The ever elusive music video! Neither Pablo nor I have done many video shoots but we’re fortunate to have The Du-Rites “Done N’ Dusted” get a visual treatment from Chauncey Velasco as we wrap up the promo run for our A Funky Bad Time LP. A short, stripped down cut and a good example of what our writing sessions sound like (only two instruments at a time). Thanks to Chauncey for his talents and interest in us. Enjoy below – next week begins the Pressure (EP) push!
After a two year hiatus, The Zone Identity is back! But exactly who The Zone Identity is and how they get down depends on the tune. For 2017’s “Funk-I-Tus” b/w “Let The Music Take Your Mind” and 2018’s “Melting Pot” b/w “Soul Food” 7”s, The Zone Identity sat firmly in a soul-jazz groove for smokin’ covers of classics by Kool and the Gang, Booker T and the MG’s and lesser-known funk bands like Warm Excursion. But who is The Zone Identity in 2021?
The only common denominator is me! The Zone Identity is a vehicle to work with my favorite musicians outside my band, The Du-Rites. For this go round, I team up with Pittsburgh’s Buscrates, to put a greasy, funk-i-fied spin on the classic 1980s “Knight Rider” theme song. A two-man job, “Knight Rider” pays a respectful nod to the original without neglecting the b-boys/b-girls and funk fanatics who need to get down and dirty.
The flip side, “9 Breaks,” is credited to me as a solo artist because technically…it’s a drum solo! 2020’s pandemic lockdown forced musicians to be more creative and practice harder, often out of sheer boredom. It was in said isolation that I created this “9 Breaks” routine as a warm-up. It was both a homage to classic breaks and a warm-up to keep sharp on the set with no shows or rehearsals to keep the rust off.
From music for talking cars to classic breakbeat mini-mixtapes, The Zone Identity has you covered for 2021.
Label: Fraternity Music Group / Counterpart
Mixed & Mastered by Ed Littman
The first half of 2021 was quiet for me on the release front (sans Concussion Percussion digital release) and heavy on press and creating. Now it’s time to let some music do the talking. If you choose to sit out the grand reopening a bit longer and want to sit at home making music, I’ve got you covered with Concussion Percussion on wax. But if you’re ready to be back out there, my two bands got your soundtrack for that as well! Here’s three releases on deck for the summer months. (All of these will be available in the “merch sto” aka my Bandcamp):
The Zone Identity: “Knight Rider” b/w J-Zone: “9 Breaks” (Fraternity Music Group / Counterpart) – 7″ single
This release is a bit of an oddity, but it’s a very funky one! The Zone Identity is my outlet to play behind different musicians. The first two releases were in the soul-jazz vein but this one is an ultra-funked out cover of the ‘80s classic Knight Rider theme song featuring the incomparable Buscrates on keys. Mixed and mastered by Ed Littman. Always loved that theme song and show but we per-cussed it out a bit and put some grease on it. The b-side is last year’s “9 Breaks” video routine that I came up with in pandemic boredom. There was some demand to put it on wax and it’s kind of a drum solo so that’s why it’s credited to me and not the band.
Release Date: June 4
The Du-Rites: “The Sun” (Feat. Elson Nascimento of Sun Ra Arkestra) (Old Maid Entertainment / Ilegalia Records) – Digital Single
What happens when Sun Ra Arkestra percussionist Elson Nascimento unknowingly shows up to The Du-Rites’ recording session unannounced for something unrelated? Our new single, “The Sun,” that’s what!
The veteran percussionist was looking for Pablo Martin to record a quick idea, percussion rig in tow. Pablo obliged – and got Nascimento to lay down some deep growl Surdo on the then untitled new Du-Rites tune we’d been working on. The result is three minutes of cosmic, deep instrumental funk, And the best part? The session coincidentally took place on Sun Ra’s 107th birthday! A taste of what’s to come from The Du-Rites 6th release, Pressure, dropping this fall.
Release Date: July 2
J-Zone: Concussion Percussion (ReDefinition Records / Old Maid Entertainment) – Vinyl LP
“33 KOs at 33RPM!”
Concussion Percussion vinyl currently finishing up manufacturing. No exact release date yet but July looks like the jam. Will start pre-order on my Bandcamp and have some promotions within the next month or so. White color vinyl with bonus cuts not on digital version and special commentary from Lord Finesse, John Wicks and Marco Polo. The ultimate breakbeat record! Stay tuned.
Release Date: July (Day TBA)
I played drums on a new instrumental cover of Q-Tip and J-Dilla’s classic “Let’s Ride” by Amsterdam-based Producer/keyboardist Soul Supreme. Lots of cool Fender Rhodes work and also features trumpeter Jonny Murray. It’s available for pre-order here on Friday May 7. Here’s a video snippet of the tune:
I guess I’ve been doing a lot of press as a result of the Zoom boom but I’m also gettin’ old and have a lot of stories to tell! Enjoy this one with Blade and 05:21 Sofa Chat and stay tuned for less press, more MUSIC in the next few months.