Formed during an informal jam during the 1989 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Art Neville, George Porter Jr., and Russe1l Batiste Jr., founded what would be the core of the funky METERS. The history of founding members Art Neville and George Porter Jr. dates back to 1967, when keyboardist, Art recruited bass player, George, drummer Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste and guitarist Leo Nocentelli to form The Meters. In their 31-year history, The Meters have grooved their way around the globe. They have toured with such talents as The Rolling Stones, and have been a studio band for such diverse artists as Dr. John, Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer, and Patti Labelle. The original Meters disbanded in the late 70’s. Today founding members Art Neville and George Porter Jr., are joined by New Orleans native Brian Stoltz on guitar and Russell Batiste Jr. on drums and are known officially as the funky METERS. funky METERS tap into the roots of The Meters musical heritage while taking the sound well into the future. Their trademark sound blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe.
In 1994, Art and George were joined by guitarist Brian Stoltz and Russell Batiste and officially christened The Funky METERS. This lineup carried the funk torch until the spring of 2007 when Stoltz left to pursue his solo career and Ian Neville, the son of Meters founder Art Neville joined the line up taking over guitar duties. Growing up in the Neville house of music and touring with The Neville Brothers, as well Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Ian was poised to step in to help bring the band into the future. In 2011, Brian Stoltz was invited to play with funky METERS when Ian was committed to his band, Dumpstaphunk, gigs. Once the band was onstage it was if they hadn’t skipped a beat, the band and audience both knew Brian was meant to be there. After four years with Ian in the band, the time came for him to focus on his own band’s success and funky METERS invited Brian to rejoin full time.
The collective resume between the four artists in the band speaks volumes for the level of musicianship and creativity that comes alive when they play together on any stage. After three years of solid touring including dates at Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Jamcruise, The Fillmore Auditorium and countless others the funky METERS are stronger than ever. In fact, the funk is still going as strong today as it was 40 plus years ago.
Turkuaz is a 9-piece power funk army hailing from Brooklyn, NY whose modern twist on the classic sound has placed them at the forefront of a new funk evolution. With the obvious influences—Parliament, Sly & The Family Stone, Rick James and Earth, Wind & Fire—as the basis for a recipe, Turkuaz adds healthy doses of jittery, world-pop-dance groove—reminiscent of Remain In Light era Talking Heads—and a passion for Motown and R&B into the mix, resulting in a refreshing twist on the funk idiom that could be described as part freight train and part tyrannosaurus rex.
Credible bios are supposed to be objective and not full of superlatives and hyperbole, but it’s hard to avoid gushing when the subject is a group of multi-instrumentals and singers that is who—even on an off night—can blow away a room on the basis of sheer physics alone. Turkuaz certainly does have size in their favor, but when broken down into the basic components, each stands out on their own. Founders Dave Brandwein and Taylor Shell had the cream of the crop to choose from at Berklee, but making it happen as a large touring ensemble takes more than chops: it takes the right blend of personalities. When Turkuaz takes the stage the chemistry is clear. The special combination of elements—singers in sequined dresses, guys in tails (or sometimes all of them in jumpsuits or other complimentary outfits) horns, keys, guitars, amps and drums and smiles all around… well, it’s easy to get caught up in the explosive auditory and visual circus and find oneself dancing. Despite all of the gear and people on stage, it is becomes clear that it is not the size that matters here: it is soul and performance.
Through constant touring and great festival performances, Turkuaz has built a solid, passionate coast-to-coast fan base that grows with every mile driven and each night on stage. Starting in the Fall of 2013, the band embarked on an ambitious campaign that included releasing an album of cover songs, a live record and two studio videos—all released on Holidays—culminating on the April 1, 2014 release of their third studio album of original music, Future 86. They are currently criss-crossing North America and have plans to conquer the world… or at least shake the walls and all the booties in every room they play…