Now that Mad Men is on TV 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, the band who performs their branded "Jetsetter Jazz", a swingin', swanky mash-up of renowned pop/rock riffs and melodies gliding over timeless jazz tracks. The result: a musical martini mix that is spiked, shaken and stirred.
NUTTY harkens back to a time when 3-martini lunches were a staple and the Rat Pack held court at the Sands. The music was cool and the band was hot. And these cats play their asses off, artfully melding Sonny Moon's smooth, sassy vocals with arrangements that are seamless in their execution.
It's like a crazy dream where some classic rockers named Jimi, Sting, Neil Young and Ray Davies put their words, riffs and melodies into music written by some jazz cats named Dizzy, Mingus, Henry Mancini and the Duke...
Who are the Mod Men of NUTTY?
The creative director and nucleus of this atomic nuttiness is Sonny Moon. A military brat, born in London and developed elsewhere, Sonny first delved into music in Los Angeles in the 80s with two bands, The Bedlam and King Leery, while writing and pursuing an acting career. He has since alternated between blues, rock and jazz projects and the stage and screen, playing leads in local theatre productions and cult film faves and adding his voice to jazz combos, big bands and film soundtracks. He has a penchant for classic jazz, including spy soundtracks and crime jazz from the '50s and '60s, combos, big bands and Latin jazz, and classic rock and pop from the 60s forward.
His eclectic counterpart, Guy Wonder, started his musical journey in Southern California, honing his '80s jazz-tinged, New Wave chops with Monopoly at the legendary Madame Wong's and Club Lingerie. He moved into progressive jazz anarchy with Falsetto Teeth (they were ironic and nihilistic before it was fashionable), and worked on a couple of solo projects and film and television scores through the '90s to mid 2000s. His appreciation of all things pop, rock, jazz and otherwise is vast and varied.
Sonny was reinventing a jump blues/lounge project he joined called Chase Lounge and the Lazy Boys when Guy showed up at an audition as replacement bassist, and an immediate connection between the dynamic duo was made. Some months later, after a demo recording and subsequent personnel and directional changes, jazz became the focus and Nutty was born.
The Nutty line-up continues to evolve. Early on, as the jazz thing evolved, the guitar was replaced by vibes, then there was a trombone for a month or two. The vibes were ultimately replaced by a baritone sax and percussion was added to embellish the beatnik vibe and to shape the Latin side of their repertoire.
The current line-up is:
Sonny Moon- vocals
Guy Wonder- bass
Dan Spector- keys
Edmund Velasco- tenor/alto sax, flute
(Ramon Banda, Estrada Bros Jazz Ensemble, Chris Williams Quintet)
Mike Reznick- baritone sax, flute
(South Coast Symphony)
Bijon Watson- trumpet
(Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, LA Opera, Michael Buble, Rickey Minor)
Matt Johnson- drums
(Jan & Dean, Les Brown, Jet Set Quintet)
Erik Leckrone- percussion
(Robbie Krieger, Sinfonietta Orchestra, films)
With these cats on stage, it's a Bachelor Pad vibe, right down to the black suits, skinny ties and irreverent humor. Come for the funny, stay for the music. It will linger with you long after you've savored the "cocktail". It's like...Nutty. You dig?