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Band Jazz Soul


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"Unwinding with Unearthed"

Unearthed is nominally a jazz ensemble,
but their music is a smooth, unusual
blend of jazz, pop, soul, blues, funk, folk,
and Afro-Caribbean sounds.

The quintet minus its bass player, Benny recently
took a break from rehearsal to talk about
influences, guilty-pleasure pop songs,
and plans for the future.

Unearthed’s Wicker Park rehearsal space
is the top floor of a three-flat. Steeply gabled ceilings are decked out with movie
and concert posters. A dark upright bass
lurks in one corner.

As often seems to happen with talented
people, there are at least twice as many
instruments as there are musicians.
Corinna, the main vocalist, sits behind two keyboards. Pete, the percussionist, has not only a drum kit but also a cajone, an Afro-Peruvian box drum
(sometimes called a cajón) and a
variety of small hand-percussion instruments. Taylor, the backing guitarist, has a classical guitar on his lap and a matte black electric on a rack, and he occasionally picks up a trumpet as well.

Charles, the lead guitarist, has both an acoustic guitar and a secret weapon. “I guess you could call it mouth trumpet,” he says. He demonstrates, pursing his lips into a sort of embouchure. The sound a combination of humming and
blowing uncannily evokes muted brass.

Some bands thrive on creative agreement. Others seem to work better because of the disparity of bandmates, striking creative sparks from collisions of tastes. Where does Unearthed Fall on that spectrum?

“We respect all genres,” says Corinna.
“I think we just appreciate music in
“I’d say [our taste] is pretty similar,” says Charles.

As the band members reel off the names of favorite musicians, the others largely agree, but some individual preferences do stand out. Corinna loves “all the great
jazz vocalists,” as well as pop, house,
dance, and neo-soul; she names Feist, Adele, Jil Scott, and Erykah Badu as singers she currently loves.

“John Denver?” suggests Charles.
“That’s all you,” retorts Corinna, laughing. True, Charles is into rootsier styles folk,
fingerpicking, blues, and reggae. There’s also a decided Latin influence in some of his songs, such as “Here Am I?”

Pete names Stevie Wonder’s drumbeats as an inspiration, to vocal approval from the others. “They’re the shit,” he says.
“They’re sick. Pretty much everything he did . . . ”
Taylor, by contrast, likes techno. He also names Toto’s “Africa” as a guilty pleasure.

The others light up at the mention of
it, and begin an impromptu jam ses-
sion, falling easily into the harmonies of “Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you.”

Impromptu covers seem to come easily to Unearthed. They kick off rehearsal with a swinging take on St. Vincent’s “Human Racing” hardly an easy song, and one Taylor has only heard twice.

But, though the band does
perform some covers, about 90 percent of Unearthed’s material is original. They describe the genre as “nu jazz/folk/pop.”

Corinna and Charles compose together, as they have for four years, ever since meeting at the auditions for another band. Their collaboration has grown organically from there, and they plan for it to grow more.

“2010, we’re taking over the universe,” proclaims Corinna.
Charles is slightly more modest. “We’ve been on the Chicago scene for a while. Time to branch out. I’d love to play a festival this year Pitchfork would be amazing.”

In the short term, they’re preparing
to tour the south with Yo Soybean in
late summer, and putting the finishing touches on their new EP, Remedies.

- E.A. Bagby


EP entitled "Remedies" - released January 2010.
Available at shows and coming soon online.



Unearthed is a Chicago band who makes socially conscious music with an organic message. Their name comes from the idea of uncovering something secret or undiscovered. "We dig up old musical styles like Jazz and Folk and make them new, urban, and accessible," states lead vocalist Corinna.

With roots in jazz and folk, Unearthed’s complex songs and bright vocals blur genre boundaries, experimenting with added soul and reggae flavors. The band hopes to push music forward, offering their audience to hear something fresh but reminiscent.

The group is also available for cover/wedding/lounge gigs as they enjoy playing over 100 different covers of all kinds ranging from:
Stevie Wonder..Michele Jackson..To Blues like Muddy Waters..Dinah Washington..Ray Charles..To modern Pop such as..Kanye West..Lady Gaga..Weezer..Sublime.. Mary J..Norah Jones..To..Jazz Standards like..Night and Day..Unforgettable..Misty.. Sinatra..Route 66 ect...

Summer 2010 brings a new EP, due out in August, and a U.S. tour planned for June and July. Unearthed is hard at work to bring new music to their fans.