Uncle Morty’s Rhythm Cream will perform at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza at 8 p.m. Friday, July 18 as part of the “Free Fridays” concert series.
Uncle Morty’s Rhythm Cream is an 11-piece rhythm and blues/soul band influenced by the Motown sound that sprung up in Detroit in the early ‘60s. Their song lists include hits from contemporary artists like CeeLo Green, Rob Thomas and Maroon Five, along with classics from Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and Aretha Franklin. Newly added to their repertoire, the band will feature a medley of Earth, Wind and Fire songs for this year’s “Free Fridays” concert. Within a minute of hearing the “Creamers” in action, audiences quickly identify with the strong, soulful, classically Motown lines provided by lead vocalist LeVar Thomas, as they float over top of the textured, three-part harmonies of Marcy Coleman, Deb Evans and Joel Schrank (also on keys). The second thing audiences realize is Uncle Morty’s boasts a full horn section with Tim Ketterson, Doug Meyers and Dave Hutchings on trumpet; and Ken Booth and Gustavo Cantillo on sax, a lineup rarely seen in local venues and only common for large, international touring acts. Providing the platform for this musical menagerie is a thumping rhythm section that features Gar Evans on drums (also vocals), Randy Hensley on guitar and Kevin Pizzuti on bass. The result is a sonic explosion that hits audiences like the Wall of Sound first orchestrated by Phil Spector in the early ‘60s and almost never replicated in local venues.
The band’s lineup of musicians boasts a strong pedigree. Thomas has been featured on singles from contemporary artists, such as Catalyst, and worked with producers such as DN8. In addition to composing new material for other projects, members of the band have performed with jazz artists such as Maynard Ferguson and Joe Negri, and shared the stage with Top 40 acts such as Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kenny Rogers and the Hooters. They have performed in legendary venues such as Eddie's Attic and the Fox Theatre in Atlanta and New York City's Village Underground and Club Groove. Their musical influences include Marvin Gaye, Jason Mraz, Matchbox Twenty and Stevie Wonder. Uncle Morty’s Rhythm Cream is based in Gainesville, Florida, and has been gigging at clubs, parties and events since 2010. The band continues to build a loyal following by encouraging the people of Gainesville to get up and dance, while reminding them of music that is a cornerstone of American history.
The 2014 “Free Fridays” concert series is produced by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. The concerts will play each Friday night this year from Friday, May 2 through Friday, Oct. 24 from 8-10 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza, which is located at 111 E. University Ave. To view the complete “Free Fridays” 2014 schedule, please visit the Cultural Affairs Division website at www.gvlculturalaffairs.org.