The Leonard Jones Potential
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The Leonard Jones Potential

Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF

Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
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"Funk Formula - Raw Rhythm powers big new line-up The LJP"

There's something so instinctive and earthy about funk that it's no wonder the rhythm is surging back into our hearts, souls and grooving muscles.
That's according to new Inverness line-up The Leonard Jones Potential. And they are certainly doing their best to help the cause along.
The group is now an 8 piece with the addition of Michelle Davidson on vocals in March. But no sooner had the seven piece group started performing late last year, than the world started to come knocking. Take their first gig for example.
Nothing small and tucked away to test the water. No, the way it worked out, their first proper gig was at a venue most bands work their way up to.
Just the Ironworks, in a support slot for The Cuban Brothersthat impressed plenty, including the organisers of the Belladrum Festival.
So now The LJP have attracted their biggest date so far - openning the main stage at the Belladrum Tartan Heartfestival next Friday.
As trumpeter Jamie MacGregor said: "We don't know what happened, but one of the organisers of Belladrum phoned us. Someone had been at the gig and spoke to Rob Hicks about usand he phoned up to invite us to play.
"Apart from the original open mic nights in Hoots, the Ironworks was our first one. There were 450 people there, and they were really nice to us. So were The Cuban Brothers."
Bassist Andy Gajda explained: "They heard us playing an obscure song 'More Mess' by G Funk and thought we were DJs playing a recorded version. But when they came in to have a look, they found we were playing it live!"
Guitarist Anthony Standing said: "The Cuban Brothers loved us and that gave us a bit of confidence."
Andy added: "To be playing a major festival and on the main stage, is amazing."
And Alto sax player Laura expressed the band's surprise and delight: "To even be named on the poster and not just be '.....and many more' after our first proper gig, is fantastic."
Though there is the odd cover in the band's set, they write their own material, such as one of the tracks 'MotherFunk'.
Andy laughed: "My bass teacher heard it and thought it was a James Brown cover! It's deep funk or pure funk we do, rawer funk like James Brown, with attitude and most of our songs are not like verse, chorus, verse, chorus etc. MotherFunk is a 10 minute song with a groove, embellishments on top, and dynamics."
Though a quick check of kinds of bands the individual members like goes from Corduroy to The Haggis Horns and Bamboos, it seems to add to the band's strengths.
Laura said "We all listen to different kinds of music, but there is more than a bit of common ground."
Keyboardist Ruairidh McKay said: "I've been in indie bands in the past, but here was this new sound and it was just really intresting and good to be part of."
And as Andy said: "I think we're a bit like a learning community too. Someone will get excited about a new band and it can be someone from 1967 or a 2007 band trying to sound like a 1967 band!"
Hearing the band talk about threir music and why they play it, is exciting - particularly if you haven't heard the whole group in full swing, complete with brass section.
The full line up - which majors on 2screaming hammond and some swelling horns" - also includes Andy Morgan on trombone, and drummer Michael Sharkey, one of the founder members.
Jamie said: "Our music should speak for itself. We'd like to get people moving and I'd defy anybody not to be excited by the sound when we're playing live."
Andy added: "And it's got soul!"
Laura explained: "There's nothing to not get or a message. It's feelgood music , there's nothing to challenge you or to be pondered about. It's about putting you in a good mood and wanting to dance!"
Ruairidh said: "It's about what you see is what you get, I suppose. It's more about the complexity of the music itself, rather than any verbal message."
Jamie said: "Everything is so tight, it's loose! But if you listen to it a few times, the way it's put together, it's actually quite sparse music. It's like a jigsaw puzzle the way it all fits together".
"And it's almost not about what you play, but what we don't play," said Andy. "You can leave a bit of space in the music, you don't have to have every instrument playing all the time."
Inevitably, when all but one of the magnifficent eight are here, the talk turns to the meaning of......funk.
The word comes from American slang for sex and performers don't get any sexier than the late, great funkmeister James Brown.
"Funk's not what you learn, it's something you just have in you," says Andy. "You don't have the funk, you are the funk."
And the power of the funk has already got the band further than they could ever imagineat this early stage.
"When we got together, a place we really wanted to play in our first year was Ironworks - and we played it on our first gig.
"And it was our dream to get on the bill at a festival - and now we're opening the main stage at Belladrum."
"But it's all pushing us."

by Margaret Chrystall - Highland News


"Ironworks Review by Barry Gordon"

The Ironworks is a venue usually reserved for bands such as Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand.
So Credit to The Leonard Jones Potential for not only filling the place - but for keeping everyone on their feet dancing.
The Inverness band are also a step up from your average soul-funk function band, in that they actually have some soul.
The eight piece group came garishly dressed too. They boast a ginger trumpet player who favours a pink suit, and buxom beauty Michelle Davidson - can belt out the songs in true Aretha Franklin style, even though she occasionally struggled to keep her own 'Arethas' from falling out her dress.
Like their name suggests, Leonard Jones have the Potential to keep the Highlands funking for many years to come.
We wish them well. - Daily Record


"Craig Charles presents... The Leonard Jones Potential"

Craig Charles presents... The Leonard Jones Potential

A tight rhythm section providing a funky backbone to a screaming hammond and some swelling horns! First came across these guys on a DJ visit to Inverness, blown away by their lead vocalists (Michelle Davidson) set of lungsI immediately booked them in for session on the radio show. Now in the studio recording their first E.P with 'Lack of Afro' remixing tracks for them, you know these guys must be good!

- Craig Charles / Kendal Calling


Discography

The Leonard Jones Potential's first EP has now been released, mixed by LackOfAfro. The EP is titled IV1 - after our home town of Inverness.

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Bio

The Leonard Jones Potential have enjoyed airplay on BBC6 music and have been guests on Craig Charles’s Funk and Soul Show playing live on air and extended interview. The LJP have also had coverage in National papers, and have festivals and gigs planned for England, Scotland and hopefully further afield in 2012/2013 including a private function for an International DJ in late July. Previous performances include Kendal Calling, Limetree Festival, The Jazz Bar (Edinburgh), Rock Ness and Belladrum. Closer to home, they have been the house band for the popular Funk night ‘New Soul City Live’ in the Ironworks Venue. In fact, the first gig they played was at The Ironworks, a venue where most bands work their way up to. After impressing the crowd in a support slot to The Cuban Brothers, they were immediately invited to play the main stage at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival.

The LJP have their own brand of Funk and Soul, which they describe as deep, pure funk. Although they believe that they own their own brand of Funk, you can see a handful of similarities to some of their idols, such as James Brown, Corduroy, The Bamboos and The Haggis Horns.

Surprisingly, a majority of their fans are not strictly Funk or Soul followers, but usually listen to Heavy Metal, Indie or Rock. They have played quite a few gigs now in Rock venues or supporting bands with very different tastes, and although they have been apprehensive, it has paid off with the crowds reaction to them.