Minneapolis Sound Pioneers
A redefined, new alternative funk era has arisen out of an established band formerly known as The Family. The Family, a Prince-produced Warner Brothers release that received critical acclaim, included a top 20 hit, “Screams Of Passion” and introduced “Nothing Compares To You” which was famously covered by Sinead O’Connor. Before a second record could be considered, the band splintered and the members forged careers down separate paths. That is until mutual friend Sheila E. convinced them to reunite for a huge charity concert in L.A.’s Forum. A year later Questlove of The Roots persuaded them to appear at his hot ticket post-Grammy party. Call it fate but the gigs all but dictated that the group pool their resources and focus on what has become that highly anticipated second album. St. Paul Peterson and Susannah Melvoin put on their writing hats, called Eric Leeds and Jellybean Johnson into the studio, wrestled with the legal requirement of a new name and the thrilling result is fDeluxe!
Lead vocalist/composer Susannah Melvoin grew up in an L.A. based musical family, the daughter of legendary composer and keyboardist Michael Melvoin. Susannah’s resume boasts projects with Prince, Madonna, Seal, Doyle Bramhall II, Quincy Jones, Eric Clapton, Trevor Horn, Questlove, Erykah Badu, William Orbit and The Grid. She has regularly toured with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and her twin sisters Wendy and Lisa.
Lead vocalist/producer/composer/instrumentalist St. Paul Peterson hails from an equally musical family. His mother Jeanne Arland is still active on the Twin Cities’ jazz scene, as are his vocalist sisters and musician brothers. At the tender age of 21 Paul became the leader of The Family and his career took off from there. A wondrously gifted multi-instrumentalist, Paul’s keyboards, bass, guitar and vocals have been featured in The Time and alongside Stevie Wonder, David Sanborn, Digital Underground, Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie and more. As a songwriter his work has been nominated for a Grammy Award.
Saxophonist/flautist Eric Leeds was not just a player but horn arranger for Prince’s Revolution, his best known band. Leeds also recorded two jazz-fusion albums with Prince under the name Madhouse and produced three solo albums. His recognizable sound has graced recordings by an enviably diverse array of legends including George Benson, George Clinton, Jimmy McGriff, James Brown, Chaka Khan and Kid Creole & The Coconuts.
As the original – and only – drummer for The Time, Jellybean Johnson is that rare musician who has loyally served the same band in the same seat for over twenty years. But in addition to patently funky beats, it’s as a guitarist that Jellybean shines with fDeluxe. As producer and/or songwriter ‘Bean has worked with Janet Jackson, New Edition, Mint Condition, Alexander O’Neal, Nona Hendryx, Karen White, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Cherelle.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“…both a continuation of the Family and a journey in new directions. In other words, it’s got plenty of sanctified funk, dreamy pop, soulful duets and jazzy saxophone.” -Star Tribune