Dazz Band

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The Dazz Band is an American funk music band that was most popular in the early 1980s. Emerging from Cleveland, Ohio, the group's biggest hit songs include the Grammy Award-winning "Let It Whip" (1982), "Joystick" (1983), and "Let It All Blow" (1984). The name of the band is a portmanteau of the description "danceable jazz".


The Dazz Band, formed in 1976, grew out of the Cleveland, Ohio, jazz fusion band Bell Telefunk. Founded by Bobby Harris,[1] lead guitarist/songwriter Original Kinsman Dazz/ Dazz Band member Michael J.Calhoun, percussionist Kenny Pettus, drummer Isaac "Ike" Wiley, Jr., and his brother bassist, and Michael Wiley.[citation needed] The group became known as Kinsman Dazz, named after both the street and the lounge where they worked as the house band: Sonny Jones' Kinsman Grill Lounge. The group adopted its name before the song "Dazz" became an R&B hit for Atlanta's Brick in 1976.

Kinsman Dazz was signed to 20th Century Records by Joe Lewis[disambiguation needed] in 1978. The group went to Los Angeles to record for producer Marvin Gaye. Due to illness, Gaye had to back out of the duties. Bobby Harris requested and got Philip Bailey, the vocalist of Earth, Wind & Fire, to produce the group's first album, Kinsman Dazz. Bailey would co-produce the second album, Dazz, and had a major input into the group's vocal arrangements. They released their first single, "I Might as Well Forget About Loving You", in late 1978. "Catchin' Up on You" followed in 1979.

The Kinsman Dazz became the Dazz Band in 1980. Separately, the 20th Century Records label was closed, and the Dazz Band was signed to Motown Records. The group expanded from the original quintet - Calhoun,Harris,Pettus, and the Wiley brothers and added newcomers Kevin Kendrick, Eric Fearman, Pierre DeMudd, Sennie "Skip" Martin, Jerry Bell, & Terry Stanten.They had their first hit with "Shake It Up" in 1980.

Dazz's first album for Motown was Invitation to Love (1980), a self-produced set, whose title track, the ballad "Invitation to Love", began a string of hits for the band starting in March 1981. The group's next album, Let The Music Play (1981), featured the minor hit single "Knock! Knock!", reaching the Top 50. The group's biggest breakthrough came with the album Keep It Live (1982), containing the hit "Let It Whip" — which reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. They would go on to score R&B hits with the songs "Party Right Here" (1983), "Joystick" (1984), and "Let It All Blow" (which was also their biggest UK hit single, peaking at #12) (1984).[2]

After Keep It Live, the band recorded the albums On the One, Joystick, Jukebox and Hot Spot, all for Motown. The band was known for its live performances, often proving more popular than the headlining act. In 1985, Fearman left the group and was replaced by Marlon McClain and Keith Harrison. In 1986, Dazz Band recorded Wild & Free for Geffen Records, and moved to RCA Records.

1990s revival[edit]

The popularity of classic funk/R&B/soul acts performing in the US and abroad started to expand in the mid-1990s, on events such as the Sinbad's Summer Jam: '70s Soul Music Festival. Bobby Harris decided to form a tribute band with members from the Bar-Kays, Con Funk Shun, the Gap Band and the SOS Band, called the 'United We Funk All-Stars'. A studio album followed, including a tribute to the late Roger Troutman, who performed on the album as well. Other artists from the genre who contributed to the album were Rick James and The System. The concept was a success, and was captured on a live CD, presented and promoted by radio jockey Dean Sorensen, who made the announcements on the UWF-All Stars shows.


Current members[edit]

Past members[edit]



YearTitlePeak chart positionsLabel
US 200US R&B
1980Invitation to Love--Motown
1981Let the Music Play15436Motown
1982Keep It Live141Motown
1982On the One5912Motown
1984Greatest Hits--Motown
1985Hot Spot11424Motown
1986Wild & Free17837Geffen
1988Rock the Room-91RCA
1996Under the Streetlights-42LKY
1997Double Exposure--Intersound
1998Here We Go Again-99Intersound
2001Time Traveler--Eagle Music Group


YearTitleChart positionsAlbum
US Hot 100US R&BUS Dance
1980"Shake It Up"-6575Invitation to Love
1981"Invitation to Love"10951-Invitation to Love
1981"Knock Knock"-44-Let the Music Play
1982"Let It Whip"512Keep It Live
1982"Keep It Live (On the K.I.L)"-20-Keep It Live
1983"On The One For Fun"-952On the One
1983"Cheek To Cheek"-76-On the One
1983"Party Right Here"-63-On the One
1984"Swoop (I'm Yours)"-12-Joystick
1984"Let It all Blow"8493Jukebox
1985"Hot Spot"-2133Hot Spot
1986"L.O.V.E. M.I.A."-48-Wild & Free
1986"Wild and Free"-44-Wild & Free
1988"Anticipation"-38-Rock the Room
1988"Single Girls"-1938Rock the Room
1988"Open Sesame"-83-Rock the Room
1998"Ain't Nothin' but a Jam Y'all"-58-
1998"Girl Got Body"-81-Here We Go Again


  1. ^ Petkovic, John (2013-08-23). "Legendary Dazz Band, from Cleveland's Kinsman neighborhood, hits Beachland Ballroom on Friday". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio). Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 144. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]