Flexible R&B Band Revives Old School Groves

Flexible R&B Band Revives Old School Groves

By D. Thrasher
Contributing Writer


Dayton has a long rich history of R&B music. Unfortunately, there currently is a shortage of bands carrying the flag of jazzy, old school soul.

Enter Kick-N-Flava, a local group that has been specializing in contemporary R&B and sultry, saxophone-driven jazz since 2003.

The combo comprises Mike Allamby (saxophone), Jerry Hawes (keyboards), Claude Coatie (lead guitar), J.D. Williams (bass), Brian Smiley (drums), David Matthews (percussion), Eric Baily (vocals) and Flash (vocals).

“We try to cover a wide spectrum,” Matthews said. “My cousin Mike Allamby, plays the saxophone so we have to touch base with all the best – I mean Kenny G, Najee, Marion Meadows and Grover Washington.”

Having two lead vocalist gives Kick-N-Flava an added boost of versatility.

How to go:

Who: Kick-N-Flava
Where: RiverScape, 111 E. Monument Ave. Dayton
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29
Cost: Free
More Info: (937) 274-0126 or www.metroparks.org

“We call Eric Baily “Little Luther” because he can sound just like Luther Vandross,” Matthews said. “The other guy simple calls himself ‘Flash’ and he does Larry Graham, Jeffery Osborne, Barry White and even Will Downing.

“We do a Motown Revue that’s very popular with everybody,” he added. “We pick up some KC & The Sunshine Band, maybe some Hall & Oates, Stevie Wonder, Kool & The Gang and other crossover acts. There’s just a wide variety of things we can do.”

The musical flexibility was no mistake. Hawes the groups founder, took great pains to find the perfect players, even if some of them were committed to other bands.

“I’ve played with quite a few cats over the years,” he said. “You experience being with different people and for some reason you just don’t get along or things just aren’t gelling. I decided if I was going to spend the time doing this, I was going to handpick my people, and I. feel real pleased with what I have put together.

“It was tough at first,” Hawes continued. “Almost everybody was doing other things, but once we kicked in together and started gigging pretty regularly, everybody realized we had something pretty special.  We’ve been trying to make it happen ever since.”

Kick-N-Flava is performing at RiverScape at 7:30p.m. Saturday, May 29.

“I go listen to a lot of bands, and they’re good, but they’re just sitting there,” Matthews said. “They’re not making me feel it. We’re a high energy band. We’re feeling it, and we’re letting you know we’re feeling it.

“Our music is like a breath of fresh air coming through an old cracked window on a lovely summer day, “he added. “Without a doubt, this music is truly pleasing to your ears.”