Jervis Jort
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Jervis Jort

Band Rock Funk


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Jervis Jort - a little bit of everything"

Whether you're into hip-hop, rock, country, jazz or blues, Jervis Jort will get your body moving.

The seven-member band, led by Mike Zerillo, a 28-year-old Sprint engineer, has been together for about six years and takes pride in its diversity when it comes to music genre.

"I think there is something cool about doing a country tune, then a hip-hop tune, a blues jam, and then a jazzy number," he says. "I believe we also contribute to a fun and festive environment."

The band plays a lot of original music, but you will hear Jervis Jort's style coming through Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Johnny Cash and many other cover songs.

"That country cover of Pink Floyd ... that was awesome. I was dying," Brian Richmond tells Mike between sets at a Friday happy hour show at Paddy O'Quigleys in Leawood, Kan.

Brian was talking about Floyd's "Mother," however Jervis gives it a country twist and calls it "Momma."

Shortly after Brian declares his love for the Floyd cover, a woman's voice shouts, "Where's the Lionel Richie?"

"It's coming up," Mike answers back and begins singing "Steve's Cadillac," an original song backed by music that could belong in the rock genre, while his slow, deep voice resonates an old country song.

Jervis Jort, hip-hop, rock, country, jazz and blues all rolled into one.

The guys are also known to improvise while on stage, which brings some jam-band qualities to their music, however they don't consider Jervis a jam band.

"We do have a tendency in certain songs to jam out a little ... or a lot," Mike says. "We don't identify ourselves as a jam band, or any type of specific band. I think it goes along with the pride we take in our originality. I still can't give people a definite answer when they ask me what type of band we are. Maybe that's it."

The band members believe their diversity keeps audiences happy.

"It's the easiest way to keep the crowd involved," says Garth Highland, the band's 26-year-old drummer. "If we stuck to one thing it would get boring."

Mike agrees.

"The audience enjoys themselves, and we loosen up and play more relaxed," he says. "It's a very reciprocal relationship we have with our audience. It's reassuring to see people smiling, dancing, or nodding their heads to music we have created."

The rest of the band is made up by Brothers Brett Wood on guitar and Josh Wood on bass; Jonathan Cable, guitar; Pat O'Connor, saxophone, and Mark McCaffree on the keyboard and trumpet. Although horns aren't common in the Kansas City music scene, Mike believes they bring soul to the music.

"I mean even from a physical standpoint, you have to belt out those notes," Mike says. "They truly come from deep down. Also, on a lesser note, everyone knows that the saxophone is synonymous with seduction. There's certainly no harm in adding that element to the music either."

All the men have "day" jobs and play in Jervis for a variety of reasons.

Garth uses music is an escape mechanism.

"It's a good release for us," he says "Plus, you get to meet cool people and some times get to drink for free."

Mike views music as a part-time gig.

"We aren't overly aggressive in trying to get to another level," he says, "but I think we would all be very pleased if something came into fruition."

--Story by Cherryh Butler - The X Entertainment Magazine

"Jervis Jort"

If you took Johnny Cash, Syd Barrett and the Grateful Dead and
had them meet up with some lyric-bending brothers from the back alleys
of 1980's Brooklyn you might arrive at Jervis Jort. The Kansas City band
with St. Louis roots mishmashes rock/jazz/country/hip-hop to form what
has been described as hickory funk and by one KC deejay as the kind of
music you would hear in a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Unintentionally coinciding with Tarantino's return to the big
screen the band released its first full-length CD, Country Milk Dog, at
the start of the year. The album blends pop culture allusions and power
funk orchestration reminiscent of Frank Zappa and old school Blue Note
Jazz records with some good-times bluegrass licks and mind-warping
jamming to make for a unique and surprisingly unified listen.

The Jort has come a long way from where it started in the late
nineties as a hip-hop trio based in Kirksville, Mo. The band, then known
as Mile High and featuring only a bass, two turntables and a microphone,
centered around the comedic tales of lead vocalist Mike "Z" Zerillo. Z,
a native of north St. Louis County, sharpened his lyrical chops by
free-styling at parties and since the beginning has used the
never-ending ridiculousness of American culture to lay the base for
songs that pay homage to such 80's icons as th e Transformers, "Night
Court" and for the catchiest tune on the new CD Nintendo Pro Wrestling's

Along the way Z dropped the two tables, began mixing the rapping
with actual singing, and joined up with longtime guitar partners Brett
Wood and Jon Cable to form what had to be one of the first Missouri
hip-hop jam bands. The group is rounded out by Brett's brother Josh Wood
on bass, Garth Highland on drums, Mark McCaffree on keyboards, and
long-time collaborator Patrick O'Connor on saxophone. The
instrumentalists all hailing from our sister city to the west have been
the rarest of creatures: a jam band that can actually write songs. But
like any good improv band they have the ability to take any song on a
psychedelic journey that breaks down the barriers separating the group
and audience and just as everything is about to fall apart, play as
tight as a 13 year-old virgin to bring it back to the ONE.

The group dresses up to put on a show and expects the audience
to do the same. If you are looking for heart-felt ditties about your
parents getting divorced, eat some shrooms, bring your Atari and try to
remember what it was like when the rents were still together. Jervis
Jort will be joined by Beejeezus and Hardly Portland starting at 9 p.m.
on Saturday, September 18 at Off Broadway. The cover is $5.

--Story by Kevin Bersett - The Daily Yam

"Jervis Jort"

If David Bowie, Morphine, Karl Denson, & Johnny Cash were to have some sort of freaky love-child, it would probably sound something like Jervis Jort. The band is able to jump from genre to genre within the full scope of the album. From jazz to funk, bluegrass to rock-a-billy, rap/hip-hop to straight up jammy rock and roll. Track one 'Workman's Comp.' starts it off nice, upbeat and funk-tified. 'Steve's Caddy' is a great tune to showcase the bands ability to keep the song strong while switching tempos, and their strength in pushing the limits with some of their jams. I found the tune 'Beware' enjoyable, a solid mixture of rap and modern funk. When listening to Track 6 'Turnip', it sort of reminds me of a beatnik poet reading in a dark smoky room, backed by a blues band. 'Hyabusa' honestly makes me laugh, in a good way. It's a very quirky, bouncy tune that has interesting vocals and lyrics. I'm guessing it grows on you with time. In my opinion, they saved the best song for the end of the CD. Track 8 'Contemplating Davey' is a flowing, groove-filled, ball of lust. It gives me feelings of lost-inhibitions...dark, edgy, and intruiging. I relate this to all of you without the benefit of having seen the band live, but have heard nothing but great things about these guys. Jervis Jort will be playin out in Westport this Friday, March 19, @ Molloy Brothers (1020 Westport Road KC, MO) and check out their website at

--Review by Coop - Central Plains Jam Band Society


Songs from the album, "Country Dog Milk" have received airplay on the radio. Specifically:

Steve's Cadillac


Feeling a bit camera shy


Jervis Jort is a band that delivers a unique sound and creates an incredibly lively atmosphere. It is difficult to label Jervis Jort’s music, as they create their own songs, and also cover a broad spectrum of styles. The label the band has inherited, “hickory-funk,” perhaps sums it up best. The band incorporates funk, blues, jazz, hip-hop, rock, and country. These multiple facets allow the band to appeal to a wide range of people in the audience. It also allows the band to accommodate specific types of environments. In addition to all of the great sounds, Jervis Jort integrates the listening audience into the action, making the shows even more entertaining.

Jervis Jort plants its roots in Kansas City, but occasionally ventures out to St. Louis, Boulder, Dallas, and several college towns throughout the mid-west. The band consists of seven integrated components: Garth Highland on drums, Jon Cable and Brett Wood on guitars, Josh Wood on bass, Mark McCaffree on keys and trumpet, Z on lead vocals, and Patrick O’Connor on saxophone. In 2004, Jervis Jort released their first professionally recorded album, Country Dog Milk. The album was met with favorable reviews from the local music communities ( ) and fans alike. The members of Jervis Jort do not intend to slow down. Their venues continue to pile up, and they always seem to delight their audiences. “We just want to share our sound with as many people as possible,” said Z, the band’s lead singer. “We feel like we have an original thing going on that really gets us in tune with the crowd. It perpetuates into quite an event.”