Meet the band: Emilio Tostado (guitar), Jent LaPalm (bass), John Guari (keyboards/vocals), Chris Ams (vocals), Drew Schultz (drums)
All in the Family: A Cleveland native, Schultz started playing drums in third grade. His mom was a drummer in high school and had a drum kit at the house; he gravitated toward it. She initially taught him to play piano but realized he just wanted to play drums, so she gave up on the ebony and ivory.
Shaking Things up in Shaker: Schultz then cut his musical teeth in the band program at Shaker Heights public schools. "The band program there is like a different world," he says. "The marching band had like 300 people and they had three jazz ensembles and two choirs and a full orchestra. They even had a gospel choir. Between that and doing stuff at the Cleveland Music Settlement, it was music all the time when I was growing up. Cleveland is a good city for that. It doesn't get the recognition it deserves."
The College Try: Schultz eventually attended New York University and put the Drew Schultz Funk Machine together while at school there. Originally a large ensemble that included four singers, two saxophonists and multiple other musicians, the group downsized and became NYU's official R&B ensemble. The band released its debut, Back to Class, in 2012 and has been going strong even though Schultz moved from New York to Detroit last year, leaving the band behind in the Big Apple.
Why You Should Hear Them: Last year, Schultz released "Take It Slow," the first in what he anticipates will be a series of singles. The song features Eddie Willis from the Funk Brothers and its proceeds helped raise money for Detroit public school music programs. Schultz and the Funk Machine have just released a new song, "So Long." More blues than jazz or funk, it features Detroit blues icons Buddy Smith and Thornetta Davis. The midtempo song hearkens back to the Motown sound of the late '60s and Smith and Davis' voices blend well together. Davis will perform with the group when it plays at Nighttown at a show that serves as a birthday celebration for Schultz.
Where you can hear them: dsdrums.com.
Where you can see them:Drew Schultz Funk Machine performs with Buddy Smith at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, at Nighttown.
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