If you’re into funk or modern jazz, there’s a chance you’ve heard of Lettuce. The jam supergroup will take the stage at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium on Dec. 7 for an evening of infectiously groovy music.
The band formed at the Berklee College of Music’s summer program in 1992 when the members were still in high school. The six-piece band, which consists of Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, Nigel Hall, Adam Dietch, Erick “Jesus” Coomes, Ryan Zoidis and Eric “Benny” Bloom, started on the streets of Boston later as college students. Their name, a clever pun, comes from their requests to club owners to “let us” play there. 27 years later, they show no sign of slowing down.
“We’re really not jaded whatsoever, and we’re still very much enjoying what we do. We’re best friends,” said Deitch, the band’s drummer.
Deitch brings his drumming expertise to Lettuce, as well as producing experience for artists in the electronic, jazz and pop genres. He was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for his writing and production work on Ledisi’s “Turn Me Loose.”
Alongside Deitch, Lettuce boasts an eclectic mix of musicians, including an impressive roster of saxophonists, trumpeters and guitarists. Though they traditionally create funk music, their sound melds together a fusion of genres, ranging from jazz, soul and psychedelic, paying homage to their musical influences of James Brown and Lucy Collins. No matter where their music goes, Lettuce seeks to “get people up and moving.”
“Nobody else really delved as deep into what we did. It kind of has a cross-appeal,” Dietch explained.
Lettuce’s music has always maintained traditional recording techniques to create an authentically organic sound. Since their beginnings in the early ’90s, the band has always pursued analog recording as opposed to digital methods. Dietch said analog has “a good feel to it.”
As for the message they want to convey to their audience, Lettuce’s mantra is simple: “Togetherness, love, peace. Feeling the groove, all of it in the same place.”
According to the Deitch, the band “projects as many good vibes into the song as possible, so people can really feel it and understand it, even if there are no words.”
Clearly, this approach has worked well for the band; their 2015 album “Crush” peaked at number one on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart in 2015. Most recently, the band released their 2019 record “Elevate.” The genre-spanning mix of songs embraces Lettuce’s love for improvisation, especially on tracks like “Trapezoid.” The band recorded at Colorado Sound Studio in Denver, where several band members, including Deitch, now reside.
According to Deitch, the band is “really looking forward to this show at home, our new home. We love the Fillmore.”
For their homecoming show, Deitch promises fans (the “Lettuce family” as he calls it) a “bunch of different tempos and grooves.” No matter what they choose to pull from their rich discography, Lettuce is sure to bring good vibes and a night of memorable funk to Denver.
Tickets and information about the show can be found here.
Contact CU Independent Arts Writer Ben Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org