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Baaad Boyz Bring Their 'Special Sauce' To Jazz UpFront

Tony Young, center on vocals, and Baaad Boyz play Jazz UpFront tonight
Baaad Boyz
Tony Young, center on vocals, and Baaad Boyz play Jazz UpFront on Friday night.

The leader of Springfield's soul/R&B/funk mostly cover band Baaad Boyz said a special ingredient separates them from other area bands.

When Tony Young's Baaad Boyz returns to Jazz UpFront in Bloomington tonight, Young said fans may notice jazz in the soulful sounds of their originals and covers. He said that's what gives the outfit its "special sauce."

“So whether we’re doing R&B, blues, or heavy funk, the way we do things makes it our own,” said Young. “Our keyboard player Jerry Cole is our music director, and he is classically trained. We use a lot of the minor chords being used in some of the jazz music that’s being played. So whether we’re doing Earth, Wind & Fire or Marvin Gaye, you can always hear that flavor. And we don’t hear other bands sound like us, and that’s because of the way we do our music.”

The special sauce is what also gets Baaad Boyz fans on the dance floor.

“We get them to show us their feelings. For example, oftentimes when we do Prince’s ‘Purple Rain,’ we get people out there crying,” explained Young.

He said the band’s ability to reach listeners (and dancers) emotionally is a comment the band hears frequently.

“And not only did they ‘feel us,’ they actually wanted to hear more of what we have to give,” said Young. “So the originals we are trying to do … some jazz, R&B, and heavy funk … that is done with that particular intent.”

Baaad Boyz on its website proclaim themselves “living proof that talent, hard work and dedication can still prevail in the local live band scene.” But Young said his goals extend beyond the local scene.

“We want to record … we want to be known,” said Young. “All of us have real jobs. We’re hoping that by getting our (to be recorded this summer) record out there, somebody will hear us and like what we do. Particularly with our originals."

Young concedes at 59 years old his window to a more prominent place in music has likely passed, but he’s hoping other band members can get their shot with some hard work and the right person hearing their new music.

Those “youngsters” include vocalist Tiffany Mathis, bassist Charles Foxx, drummers Marcus Taylor and Keagan Cunningham, keyboardist Jerry Cole a.k.a. JCole, and guitarist John Virgin.

“I think if I put them together, on a record, I think people will take notice,” said Young.

Young also extolled Springfield's vibrant music scene. He said it’s known as a blues and rock city, but he also said there are many talented bands in all genres.

“One of the names I’ll mention is Brandon Santini,” said Young of the talented blues artist that now calls Springfield home. “Kapital Sound is another band, Captain Geech, and the country band New City Road. It’s a diverse group of musicians. And if you come to Springfield on the weekend, we’ve got four or give beer gardens and they’re all packed. Springfield really supports live music.”

And Bloomington-Normal supports Springfield’s Baaad Boyz on their normally every other month return to Jazz UpFront. They hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. tonight.

Full Baaad Boyz Segment

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Jon Norton is the program director at WGLT and WCBU. He also is host of All Things Considered every weekday.