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The best kept secret in music


"Aphrodesiatics at Art House 4/26/03"

One of Cleveland's hottest bands took to the army-surplus Quonset hut that is the Art House on Denison near W. 25th. The rotund building that we thought was going to be an acoustic nightmare turned out to add just the nice touch of reverb that made everything jell. This band kicks with three horns and Santina Protopapa on vibes. We just don't get to see enough vibes around here! They sound great, and are such a welcome relief from the standard organ or Rhodes muddiness. This band is clean, and they are powered by Neil Chastain on drums, who never stops, never misses a beat, and never plays one note too many. Tasty without being polite, reading charts but grooving all the way, you can't help but move yr body. Only complaint: too much light, eventually addressed by light master Andrew Kaletta who toned down the room and let everyone slip into the funk.
- CoolCleveland.com

"Aphrodesiatics at ExBe Showcase -- 1/28/05"

"Next up was Aphrodesiatics. Wow, are they good. A 7 piece jazz outfit, they rocked the Beachland silly. Their grooves were on 100%. If this performance is any indication, I'd expect pretty big things from this group in the future. Absolutely great." - www.uttertrash.net

"The New School of Rock -- Top 10 Bands to Watch"

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

For the past decade, Cleveland has been dominated by a relatively stable contingent of bands that consistently clean up at local music awards ceremonies, no matter what category they're misplaced in. Recently, however, a new cluster of acts has emerged. Some of these bands have been working the circuit for a couple of years and some have only just appeared in the last few months. Here's a collection of 10 groups — each of which has either recently issued its debut or started circulating a demo — that have started to catch a buzz. There're others we could have included, but we tried to select acts that are starting to draw bigger crowds and appear to have built up some momentum.

The powerful impact of a full horn section.

Cleveland music fans have seen drummer Neil Chastain play math rock with Craw, electronic music with Pureplex, Latin music with Roberto Ocasio and participate in the multimedia collective, SAFMOD. Along with bassist Bill Nichols and sax player Dan Wenninger, he's also a founding member of the Aphrodesiatics, a pulsating funk-jazz group that flirts with hip-hop and Latin music. It mixes originals into sets that include R&B tunes by James Brown and Stevie Wonder, jazz-oriented tunes by Bob James and Roy Ayres, and '70s Latin funk tunes, such as “Apache” and “It's Just Begun,” that provided fodder for early hip-hop.

“I always wanted to play in a powerful band with a full horn section with the impact of the Fania All Stars or Tower of Power,” Chastain says. “But we want to keep it contemporary. We're into doing a hip-hop thing, playing music that inspired hip-hop, having DJs, backing up MCs, and we're working on incorporating more electronics.”

Started in late 2001, the group also includes vibraphonist Santina Protopapa, percussionist Chaco Serrano and trombonist Kris Morron; they've also been working with DJ Seven with an eye to making him a permanent member. Most of the band's members have jazz and music education backgrounds.

“Every now and then we'll do improvisation numbers in the set and often they turn out to be the best,” says Chastain. “That's one of our strengths, and we're using it in our composition.”

They're currently taking some time off to add to their repertoire of original tunes. Some East Coast clubs have expressed interest in hosting the band next year, and recording is on their agenda for 2004 too.

“We want to take our time and not put a deadline on it,” says Chastain. “My guesstimate is sometime in the middle of summer we'll be bunkering down to record.”

— Anastasia Pantsios - Cleveland Free Times


What's the Skinny?
What It Is


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Time to Play Funky is NOW: Aphrodesiatics

There is something in the water of old industrial cities that makes everything seem skewed, more alive, but dirty, like an old soul 45, or your first car. You never forget that first car, its smell; the way it drove you into adulthood and gave you city wings. You can't even remember what it had been like to be without it. Yeah, it's sort of like that. It's the sound of the needle against history. The instant pop fizz of record groove, the indelible marks that beat to anticipation, and stir you to ecstasy. That 45 is culture and you can't wait, cleaning the record too much means not hearing it as fast, the speed of love be damned - this is your music.

That's what its like. Anticipation is rarely rewarded like this. You hear the count being given, the musicians flex, their work to be done with supreme grace, effortless but with the intensity of the sun. That's the Aphrodes Experience. Seeing them live makes you remember all that is good about a band. The rhythm section propelling the foundation, holding court with thick bass, sick drum licks, and twinkles of the vibes. The horn section moving as a cosmic choir, each shouting in time and space. Playing for each other. Testifying of a far away time when love was al right, and making a living wasn't so hard. As the world moves toward a hate filled chaos, it's these moments that become more and more valuable. The more humanity risks, the more we need to dance.

But waxing poetic about Aphrodesiatics won't make you run out in your hipster pajamas, and buy their record. It won't make you call immediately and book this band. The funk shows love and I wish to tell it.

Founded in Cleveland, Ohio in the fall of 2001, Aphrodesiatics gives you the live break, the untapped sample from your daddy's stash of soul jazz collection, or some shit you ain't never heard in yo' life even though its familiar like when you kiss a honey dip the first time. The Band has performed across North-east Ohio including, among others, Cleveland Public Theatre, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, House of Blues, Odeon, Spy, MOCA Cleveland, and the City Xpressionz Graffiti Festival.

The Aphrodesiatics are Dan Wenninger (Tenor Sax) Ian Early (Bari Sax) Skinny K (Trombone), Santina Protopapa (vibes), Bill Nichols (bass), Square (MC, turntables, percussion), and Neil Chastain (drums and percussion). LISTEN.

Bio by r.a. washington - 2005