Dr.Z's Experiment
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Dr.Z's Experiment

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States | INDIE

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Jam


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Music Notes: Dr. Z's Experiment"

THE TALENT: Ryan Phelan (Guitar / Primary Vocals), Ben Franklin (Drums / Vocals), Steve Shriver (Electric Harmonica / Vocals), JT Yenter (Bass Guitar / Vocals)
THE SOUND: Experimental/Fusion/Jazz
THE GIGS: 9 p.m. Saturday, The Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., Iowa City
THE REST OF THE STORY: For more info, go to MySpace and Facebook
For more than 10 years, Dr. Z’s Experiment has been bringing experimental jazz fusion to Eastern Iowa. Bassist JT Yenter recently discussed the band and the music.

How did the band get together?
We’re a homegrown band, based in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Ryan, Ben and I met at Kirkwood’s Jazz Program in 1998. We felt we had great chemistry and had similar wide-ranging tastes in music. We wanted to incorporate what we were learning at school into new original material and a catalog of covers from some of our favorite musical influences.
We would openly jam with several musicians and, at times, have had piano players, saxophones and percussionists. We have recently expanded into a quartet to include Steve (Shriver) on harmonica.
How do you describe the music you play?
Improvisational, and focused on execution, with the necessary tolerance for experimentation. We really respect and admire the improvisational aspect of Jazz and incorporate that element into originals and covers.
Cover material that we enjoy playing includes John Scofield Band, Pat Metheny, Black Uhuru, Peter Tosh, Medeski Martin and Wood, Grateful Dead, Talking Heads and solo David Byrne, Phish, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, John Coltrane, Neil Young, Bela Fleck and many more.

Do you play original songs?
Definitely, yes. We like to write pieces together; usually, Ryan brings something to the table and we start developing the complete form and individual parts from there.
Where did the band’s name come from?
I think the most important part of the name is to highlight the experimental nature of the group. Using the letter Z might imply the greatest extent we like to “take the music out,” and we like to go as far out as possible. We like to leave it open for all sorts of interpretation, even a range idea, like Alpha to Omega, since we play so many styles. We’ve even created a musical suite about a Dr. Z and his exploits.
Where can people catch the band?
Between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, places like Tornado’s, Parlor City, the Yacht Club, Mahoney’s, O’Malley’s and The Mill have treated us well and become regular venues for us.
- Hoopla

"Insider Sessions"

The Insider Sessions are inspired by the emotion, power, and soul that go into one, simple song. The aim is to get closer and more personal to the music and the art. The acoustic sound, I believe, is perfect for this. It allows you to hear only instruments, only voice, no background fuzz, and nothing channeling the noise but our own ears. The artists will choose their own place to play, sometimes in a van, sometimes on a bus, sometimes simply in an alley way; either way each session is authentic and personal. So take a look at these artists, some are from Iowa, some just passing through, and as you'll sometimes find, just getting started. Listen and enjoy the sounds that erupt throughout our beautiful state.

~ Erika Iverson


Dr. Z’s Experiment is just that. The group’s sound is an experiment of blues, jazz, and whatever other influence the boys feel like trying out that day. What resounds is a funky, sometimes comical (referring to a song they named after Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit), and lively rhythm that will be sure to get you off your chair, or pillow, or whatever you may be sitting on. Steve and Ryan met up with me in the barn and with a killer harmonica jam and Ryan’s beautiful guitar picking I was pleasantly surprised. I’m always a blues fan and when they chose that for their session I have to say I was won over. Thanks Boys!

~ Erika
- InsiderIowa.com


Recently out of the studio, we laid down 28 original tracks spanning the horizons of our career soon to be released as our second album.



Dr. Z's Experiment is the result of talented music majors from Kirkwood Community College under Jazz Director Tim Feldkamp. Ryan Phelan on lead vocals and guitar, Ben Franklin on drums, Jeremiah Murphy on bass, and Steve Shriver on electric harmonica and vocals. 10 years of touring regionally has evolved into the ultimate experiment by playing everything from bluegrass to hip-hop to reggae and beyond.