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Monday December 6th

Jazz is PHSH captivates the compositional, explorative elements of Phish that Phish-heads love

Jazz is PHSH covers songs from the Phish catalogue. Photo by Mandy Chase.
Buy Photos Jazz is PHSH covers songs from the Phish catalogue. Photo by Mandy Chase.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the lineup of Jazz is PHSH. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.

Defining the word jazz can be pretty nebulous — especially when it comes to the world-renowned instrumental Phish tribute band, Jazz is PHSH. 

With a lineup of top-notch, prominent musicians, Jazz is PHSH is bringing their fresh groove and improvisation to the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh on Friday night as a part of a mini tour. This lineup includes Adam (The Chase Brothers), Matthew Chase (James Brown Dance Party), Scott Flynn (Odesza, Pretty Lights), Mark Ingraham (DJ Williams Projekt), Jamar Woods (The Fritz), Cory Baker (Lee Pearson III, Juno What?) and others who performed on the album, “He Never Spoke A Word.” 

“I think it's a cool interpretation of stuff that I've heard a hundred times," said Chris Malarkey, who booked the band to perform at the Lincoln Theatre. "It's refreshing to see somebody take something, dissect it, put it back together and have it resemble the same exact thing but in a totally different way. I think it's exciting.”

The band was founded in September 2015 by Adam and Matthew Chase. The title, Jazz is PHSH, is a nod to the popular Grateful Dead tribute band Jazz is Dead. In terms of jazz, the band focuses on  how music is explored and the idea of pushing boundaries. By reinventing the music in an entirely instrumental form, Jazz is PHSH uniquely explores the music of one of the most important and influential bands in rock 'n' roll history. 

“It's really fun to pick up different songs, reconceive them, try to bring different angles and thoughts to them when the music itself is already so imaginative and at times really deep and complicated, at times less so — but always still really interesting and compelling,” said Flynn, trombonist for ODESZA.

Seeking different songs, seeking different performances — that’s what the jam scene is all about. In true Phish fashion, each night is a different show. The group dives deep into the Phish catalogue, playing complicated songs from “Divided Sky” to “You Enjoy Myself.” 

In light of this concept of change, almost every tour that Jazz is PHSH has done since the inception of the band has had different players. This keeps fans coming out not just for a specific lineup, but also for their love of the arrangements, and because they know that they’re going to be seeing incredible musicians each show. 

“There's a level of authenticity, organic quality," said Adam Chase, co-founder and drummer of the band. “It's fun for me, especially a lot of the musicians that I pick. I explicitly pick (them) because they're not from a jam scene, or (because) they're not from a scene that they would even know Phish. I do that so that it really takes the limits off of what we can do. No one really has a preconceived notion going in of what a jam should sound like, or what a song should even sound like."

By opening the doors to people who may have never listened to Phish, in a way Jazz is PHSH has introduced musicians to the music of Phish, as well as introduced fans to new incredible musicians. 

“It’s a really cool connection between the music world of jazz players and the Phish world of people who are lovers of good music,” Chase said. 


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