There was a time when the Rat Pack held court at the Sands, martinis were a
lunch staple and jazz clubs were the place to be. Imagine that today and you get
Nutty is a hard-swingin' jazz octet that weaves intricate interpretations of pop and rock classics onto a jazz canvas, using straight-ahead jazz, big band swing, crime/spy jazz, Latin, bebop and classic film and TV themes as the soundtrack. The result is a showcase of seamless hybrid arrangements, musical martinis that are spiked, shaken and stirred. And when front man Sonny Moon saunters up to croon, you might get the feeling it's 1960. Why fight it? Order up a top-shelf cocktail and enjoy the ride.
Irreverent humor, sass and spontaneity are what make a Nutty performance engaging and fun, and the sharp-dress code of dark suits, pocket squares and skinny ties adds to their retro presentation. It's an attitude and a sound they've branded Jetsetter Jazz. And it's so much more than, simply, "jazzy versions of classic rock hits."
"Hats off to Nutty for swinging out on songs that probably didn't know they could bend that way (like a fat guy in his first yoga class)! Without question, I'll also give appreciative credit to whoever conceives these new arrangements. A purist might want to hide under the bed, but anyone who appreciates the fusion of ideas, style and lounge culture completely out of control must buy this album."
--Frankie Hagan (Dance Frankie), RETRO RADAR
In addition to having a cool sound and a hip and happening vibe, Nutty is dynamite to work with. Sonny and the guys take their talent seriously and know how to make the crowds swoon. Nutty is top shelf!"
--McLean Emenegger, ONE COLORADO EVENTS, Pasadena, CA
For the jazz enthusiast--or even the jazz purist--the arrangements are faithful and valid, as they pay homage to greats like Brubeck, Dizzy, Coltrane, Miles and Monk. For those whose knowledge of jazz doesn't go beyond "Take Five" and "So What", Nutty is an entertaining education into the classics.
For those who don't know how to spell jazz, it's a whole different version of cool. After all, they've never heard The Beatles, Steppenwolf, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath or AC/DC sound quite like this. Add to that a sudden outburst of the "Gilligan's Island" or "Munsters" theme to provoke a double-take while the fingers are snapping and the toes are tapping, and you've got easy access to an otherwise cerebral, exclusive music style. As a result, it's not odd for a fan who's heard Nutty play their favorite pop/rock tune to go and research the jazz references they heard on it. Suddenly, you've got a new beginner jazz fan. And let it be said that Nutty doesn't make fun of jazz. Rather, they make jazz fun. And it's a gas!
"I've seen these guys bring back the crowd when the club saw the adverse effects of the economy. Their sound is dynamically big and brilliant, and their vibe screams swank and Rat Pack frivolity. Anything can and does happen at a Nutty show, and the music stays forever ingrained in your brain."
--Steve Camera, HIP KITTY JAZZ AND FONDUE
"Nutty's latest CD is a perfect blend of spot-on Lounge Jazz with a nod to Classic Rock that is catchy, amusing and downright witty...the effect is exhilarating!"
--Otto Von Stroheim, TIKI NEWS
Briefly known as Chase Lounge and the Lazy Boys, the band began as a loose jump blues group featuring guitar, bass, drums and vocal. Actor/singer Sonny Moon (Joel Hile) had been lured in at its inception under the condition that all he had to do was walk up to the mic and sing. He soon took the reigns, however, adopted the moniker Chase Lounge, named the band the Lazy Boys and veered their sound toward lounge/jazz versions of classic rock songs. When bassist Guy Wonder (Mike Werner) joined the quartet, Sonny found a like-minded co- conspirator (and a guy who could actually read and write charts). It was with this partnership that the band became nutty...and so became Nutty.
Along with the lounge style and sense of humor, it was imperative that the music have integrity. Both Moon and Wonder had grown up on classic rock, and both shared an affinity for the jazz of the 50s and 60s and the big band sound of the 40s. The idea of mixing these sounds together provided an enticing challenge. Nutty went through several iterations, building a roster of So Cal jazz pros for their recording projects and live shows along the way. Instrumentation changed as the lineup continued to evolve and the charts and the gigs improved. A trumpet and tenor sax were first added. Then guitar was replaced by vibrophone. There was a trombone for a month or two, then that was gone. The vibes were then replaced by a baritone sax in order to round out a three-horned brass punch. Both sax players would also double on flute. Then came percussion to add to the Latin sounds and the beatnik vibe.
The current lineup, as pictured above, is the Nutty A-Team. Solid players and gifted improvisers, the gentlemen of Nutty take you on a strange trip inside a musical time machine. Rock and roll puts on a new face, like a painting in mascara.
Now that retro culture has influenced film and TV audiences and Mid-Century styles and architecture are the essence of hipster chic, there's never been a better time to delve into the world of Nutty. Call it Jetsetter Jazz. It's one helluva sonic cocktail. Drink responsively.
The cats are Nutty:
Sonny Moon - Voice
Guy Wonder - Bass
Dan Spector - Keys
Edmund Velasco - Tenor/Alto Sax, Flute
Mike Reznick - Baritone Sax, Flute
Brian Beukelman - Trumpet
Nate Douglas - Drums
Erik Leckrone - Percussion
All songs arranged by Joel Hile (Sonny Moon) and Mike Werner (Guy Wonder).