By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Crowbar, Ybor City, Tampa, Florida–April 25, 2019
Brooklyn-based jam funk band Turkuaz, founded by Berklee alumni Dave Brandwein and Taylor Shell in 2008, features a nine-piece band comprised of a brass section (Josh Schwartz, Chris Brouwers, and Greg Sanderson), drums (Michelangelo Carruba), guitars and keys (Craig Brodhead), and female vocalists extraordinaire (Sammi Garret and Shira Elias). They have been touring extensively the last few years on the festival and jam cruise circuit, bringing their brand of 70s disco funk with influences of Talking Heads (Jerry Harrison produced two of their singles “If I Ever Fall Asleep” and “On the Run”) to the masses, which seem to be craving retro, uplifting music.
When Rock At Night arrived at 8 p.m., as the doors opened, a few 50-something people were drifting into the venue. By the time 9:30 p.m. rolled around, the place was standing room only with a mix of 20-somethings, many casually dressed in flip flops and shorts. The large band, with their slew of acoustic and electronic instruments, barely fit on the stage, but still managed to move and dance during their show, which featured spotlights and flashing colored lights, adding to the entire sensory experience. Each band member wore a characteristic color, which livened up the stage with even more color and panache.
Turkuaz played seamlessly as they rolled from song to song, giving equal deference to every member, as many traded vocals and harmonies. Brandwein sang up front and center, strumming on an electric guitar, and flanked on either side by Garret and Elias, who sang with choreographed moves. Impressive was when baritone sax player Josh Schwartz, showed vocal chops on one of the songs.
The crowd attempted to dance as they were packed like sardines against the stage (the band might consider a larger venue when they roll into Tampa Bay next time), arms raising, and bodies slamming. Since no warm-up band was featured, the band played two sets of songs, which provided a chock-full of entertainment for the evening.
A few highlights were songs “Percy Thrills, The Moondog” and “Life In the City”, hastening me back to my teens in the 70s, when Soul Train ruled, and Parliament was king. After such a welcome reception, I am sure Turkuaz will make it back to Tampa Bay. Next time you are at the Wanee Festival, cruise down I-75 to our neck of the woods—we love you!
Turkuaz is Dave Brandwein [guitar, vocals], Taylor Shell [bass], Craig Brodhead [guitar, keys], Michelangelo Carubba [drums], Chris Brouwers [trumpet, keys], Greg Sanderson [tenor sax], Josh Schwartz [baritone sax, vocals], Sammi Garett [vocals], and Shira Elias [vocals].