A decade has passed since the members of Cadillac Jones grew so tired of playing jazz standards at restaurant gigs night after night that they took matters into their own hands. Back then, they were called the Highland Jazz Combo. "It was a steady paycheck, but we weren't adding much to the music," says bassist Hutch Renaud. By branching into areas of funk and soul, Cadillac Jones was born when it conjured its first original number, "Concourse '73," which Renaud still considers one of the band's best. "It captures that time when everything came together for us."
Since then, the group has cycled through dozens of players, but the core of Renaud, guitarist Gary Kurz, trombone player Jonathan Lloyd (of Lloyd's Rocksteady Revue), and several others, including keyboardist Chris Case, have remained. Throughout four CDs, the group has fleshed out instrumental jams where the titles do the talking – the most fully formed of which was the faux-'70s exploitation soundtrack, The Big Takedown.
The most recent release, Rhythm Method, expands upon the group's sound incorporating heavier doses of keyboards, but keeping its conceptual parts to a minimum.
Cadillac Jones has stayed true to form, but Atlanta's musical landscape has changed around it. "When we started doing our thing, clubs in town wanted no part of a band with horns," Renaud recalls. "It was like, 'No offense, but this isn't where you should be.' It wasn't alternative, folk or metal; it wasn't hip-hop, either, so the black music scene wasn't sure what to do with a bunch of white guys playing '70s funk. We had no home."
The break came when Neil Diamond cover band Hot August Knights invited them to open one night at Smith's Olde Bar in 2001. "Once people saw us, they realized they could have fun with us," Hutch says. "We weren't just tickling the ivories." Ten years down the line, people are still having fun at the shows, and amid a scene of such like-minded acts as the Soulphonics, Lloyd's Rocksteady Revue and East Ponce Soul Faction, Cadillac Jones remains a classic.
Nashville has more dive bars than ATL now that sucks. tbh i think that new…
*Christ, Lord sorry
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