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On Saturday night, the smooth funky sounds of the Polyrythmics poured out the front door of The Wonder Bar and spilled into the streets of Asbury Park. These guys brought their stylistic blend of funk, soul, progressive jazz, R&B, afrobeat, and psychedelic rock to the Jersey shore and the crowd ate every note up with a spoon. All in attendance couldn't stop dancing to their upbeat funky grooves. 

Founded in Seattle in 2010,  The Polyrhythmics was formed by guitarist  Ben Bloom and drummer Grant Schroff. Soon after they started putting together a band with some of the most talented musicians in the northwest including Art Brown on the Saxophone, Jason Gray on Bass, Scott Morning on Trumpet, Nathan Spicer on Keys, Elijah Clark on Trombone, and Karl Olsen on Percussion (who was not playing with the band on Saturday).  Each member of the band brings their own unique style which combines into the bands horn-driven aggressive funk afrobeat sound.

Polyrhythm is defined as the simultaneous use of two or more rhythms that are not readily perceived as deriving from one another. Polyrhythms can be distinguished from irrational rhythms, polyrhythms require at least two rhythms to be played concurrently, one of which is typically an irrational rhythm. With that being said, I think that the band lives up to their name and the definition of the term to a tee. Their exploration of the different rhythms and blending of the styles of all their different influences all come together for an extraordinary live music experience.

The band had been working on their upcoming album, Man from the Future, and companion EP Fondue Party during the pandemic. They actually got snowed in at the ranch in Washington they were recording at and put that time to good use, laying down the tracks in 72 hours. Talk about putting in the work! Now emerging from the pandemic, they are getting back on the road and blowing the minds of their audiences around the country. These guys are no joke and aren't messing around. 

The Polyrythmics came to Asbury and I was thoroughly impressed seeing them live for the first time. This octet explores so many different vibes of the music and mixes all the ingredients together for an epic live music experience that can't be missed. Watch out for these guys coming your way this spring and summer. If you got your dancing shoes and are ready to get down, I highly recommend you check them out! Here is the link to their website for all the info you need to find out about the band and their tour to support their latest album. Trust me when I say you won't be disappointed these guys are on fire!


Matthew Lang

Photojournalist - New Jersey

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