Berklee College of Music was where it all began. Boston, 1992. Drummer Adam Deitch, guitarist Adam Smirnoff, bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and trumpet player Eric Bloom were all teens attending a music program offered by the elite music school. United by a shared love for the funkiest of the funky — bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock and Tower of Power — they cooked all that summer. They didn’t play together again until a couple years later as undergrads at Berklee. When they weren’t in class they combed the Boston club scene asking owners for gigs. “Let us play.” You get it. Music in the hands and minds of such gifted players as these cats can, and does, go in some far out directions. It’s all grounded in funk, soul and jazz and features deep groove and mind-blowing improvisational passages.
Another profound influence for the band, and one that pins their jazz cred in the red, is Miles Davis. The band’s 2017 EP Witches Stew is a fitting tribute that takes on Davis’ classic 1970 release “Bitches Brew,” as well as “In A Silent Way” and other compositions from Davis’ groundbreaking electric period. It’s remarkable, ethereal and utterly channels Davis’ genius.
And when Lettuce plays live they shine. Off the chain, seamless jams are a hallmark of this unique ensemble. They give what they get. As bassist Coomes says, “some of these shows we’ve played over the past couple years have been so amazing, it’s like you go home a different person.”
It’s safe to say that after Lettuce blows the tops off the mountains we’ll all be different people. Lettuce. Play.