Review: Newton Crosby/Wyllys/Kung Fu

Wade “Wyllys” Wilby was up next, mixing vinyl along with Rob Marscher (Addison Groove Project, Matisyahu) on keys. Now don’t get me wrong, I really love what people are doing on laptops these days. But seeing someone actually spinning records on stage was so refreshing. The timing for such a set was a little early and the crowd was on the light side, but still, I could only imagine the dance party these guys throw down in the right setting.

As the DJ set was winding down, guitarist Tim Palmieri (The Breakfast/Kung Fu) organically weaved his way into the mix, joined shortly afterwards by fellow Kung Fu fighters Adrian Tramontano (drums) and Dave Livolsi (bass). The mix of these five guys on stage was something to behold — and something I could have listened to it for an entire set.

Once the remaining members of Kung Fu took over — with Todd Stoops (RAQ) on keys and Kris Jensen on saxophone — the madness catapulted to new heights. Formed in November 2009, Kung Fu is an intense new band out of New Haven, CT, that is willing and able to take its music in any direction. Each one of these guys is on top of their game right now. Add Jennifer Hartswick to the mix and how could you possibly lose?


Kung Fu @ Mexicali Audio [Recording by M. Vallo]: K-Jambay-Ala [Jensen]

The sound this girl gets out of her trumpet is just so rich and so powerful — never mind her seemingly innate ability to fill all the right spots with all the right notes. Hartswick’s sit in was even a reunion of sorts, so everyone was having a blast. She and Stoops go back as friends from the Vermont music scene and Jensen actually instructed an ensemble she played in at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford. Hartswick also recorded on The Breakfast’s 2005 release, Real Radio.

Keep an eye out for Kung Fu this summer at festivals such as Gathering of the Vibes, StrangeCreek, The Big Up, the Chaffee Gathering and more club dates. Wyllys spins at setbreak of the Biscuits show tonight in Montclair, while Newton Crosby set sail for a Rocks Off concert cruise on June 2nd in New York City.

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14 Responses

  1. Hey, everyone! Thanks for the kind words and I’m honored to have a write up on Hidden Track! I, too, hope to post here more often! Thanks for the opportunity, Scott!

  2. Great job, Diana – and welcome aboard.
    Yes, Kung Fu IS incredible. Check it out for yourself:

    Kung Fu
    Mexicali – Teaneck, NJ

    01. DJ JAM*
    02. Stratus (Billy Cobham)
    03. K-Jambay-ala (Jensen original)
    04. Actual Proof (Herbie Hancock)
    05. Green earings (Steely Dan)
    06. Red Baron** (Billy Cobham)
    07. Chakrabarty Overdrive ** (Todd Stoops)
    08. Game without end (Tim Palmieri)
    09. Rattlesnake (Todd Stoops)

    *Wyllys feat & Rob Marscher with members of Kung Fu entering the stage and then transitioning to Kung FU
    ** Jen Hartswick on Trumpet

  3. Great article Diana!

    Kung Fu is doing a lot of exciting things right now and have only been around for less than a year! Can’t wait to see what the future holds!

  4. FINALLY, a new band worth rooting for!
    Kung Fu is stuffed with seasoned virtuosos,
    ready to FuseJazzJamRock your head off!
    You ain’t heard nothing until you heard KUNG FU!!!

  5. The talent of this band seems to know no boundary, they follow whatever musical direction the night calls for with ease and inspired emotional commitment. Taken individually the skill of each member is at the top of their game, as a group those skills are raised to the level of high art.

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