South Florida is brimming with music scenes. We have the indie rock, we have the jam, we even have the string sector cornered, and oh, do we have the reggae. But right about now-ish, there is this another thing brewing, and we can't figure out what box to put it in, so allow us to just leave it out on the counter for a quick sec.
It's a mash of jazz with a massive groove and double serving of brass. This polished newness is coming to us as Public Sounds Collective. A five-piece like you've never seen before, Public Sounds Collective is new to the scene and introduces spectators to something completely different. Drums, keys, and bass play background and there is no lead vocalist. It's a brass-attack with saxophone and trombone steering the funk train.
Public Sounds Collective is the brainchild of Markis Hernandez and his buddies. Hernandez, who left Spred the Dub in August to pursue his jazz-tastic dreams, was with the West Palm reggae kings for a solid year before deciding to 'spred' his wings. The residuals have been worth his effort with Hernandez taking his time perfecting the lineup.
Originally booked at the Backyard Bar for Sunday Brunch Jazz as a duo with bassist Chris Patsis, the two got the urge to build the band they had always wanted. Soon, things kind of fell into place they way they tend to with bands -- this guy knows this other guy and hello random gift from Craigslist, please allow us to create sweet music together. One thing is for sure, these talented dudes are not selfish with their style. "Public Sounds is an anthem for social music." said Hernandez. "This isn't for us, this is for the people who are listening to us play."
The crazy thing here is that all this band magic just materialized in early October. "In that amount of time, we have covered a lot of ground," said Hernandez. It's been just about two months and Public Sounds already has the polished chops to throw down on a three hour set. And they give it their all. The songs are straight jams with everyone getting their turn on the solo-go-round. While you recognize a few Stevie Wonder or Jimi Hendrix jam seshes, it's the Public Sounds originals that really take the cake. And it's no wonder it all sounds so good; the group practices their guts out in four hour intervals.
As for the major shift from good-time reggae to brass hysteria, Markis admits, "My heart is really in this and this type of more instrumental and groovy music." So, there's no bad blood left over from leaving Spred the Dud. Markis sees every gig as a learning experience and chance to do what he loves. "I did a lot with that band, and I do have them to thank for the sense I have about creating a group now, and what It takes to keep a band going. Without Spred the Dub, I don't think Public Sounds Collective would be doing this right now."
So, now that they have the live show up and running, what's next for Public Sounds? Expect lots of opportunities to catch them live and keep an eye for an EP in the works (LP if we are lucky). Maybe even add some guest lead singers and rappers to bring the idea of a "collective" full circle. But one thing's for sure, Hernandez and the guys are glad they finally found that perfect fit and aren't letting the Public Sounds go anytime soon. "We have a lot of things planned and we are doing it." We're still not quite sure what box to squeeze Public Sounds into, but it sounds like they just might be creating their own.
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