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Bringing the funk to YHC

September 12, 2010

By Ellen Mayfield, Staff Writer

The Visualizers outside of the Annex. Photo by Cassidy Jordan

Jam session: a sacred word used by musicians that encompasses the meaning of life. For The Visualizers, a native band of Young Harris College, jamming is an every night, rain or shine, feel-good necessity.

Playing mostly funk music in their dorm rooms, YHC students Leon Payne, Adam Higgins, CJ Cypress and Sean Dorough have started branching out to bigger things.

While the band has played four public shows, they jam almost every night in their dorm rooms. According to Higgins, “what we play in our rooms is pretty much show-quality stuff because we just improvise anyways. It’s not hard for us to throw a show together.”

Improvisation is a major component of jam bands. It simply means that as one person leads with a beat or tune, the others soon follow with the rest of the sound. Often times for the listener, the assumption can be made that the band has rehearsed the song many times because it flows so well. Some famous bands that are well known and loved for this style are Dave Matthews Band, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

“With most of our music, we don’t even know what it’s gonna sound like until we start playing,” Cypress said. “Sometimes things will take a weird turn, and it ends up sounding great.”

So what exactly is funk music? Funk is a music genre originating in the ’60s that blends soul, jazz and rhythm, and blues. Perhaps the most definable funk instrument is the Hammond organ. The most common Hammond is the Hammond B-3 organ which is known for its distinct electric sound often found in progressive rock and blues-rock bands.  For The Visualizers, Adam Higgins is the master of the Hammond B-3 as well as the other keyboard instruments. Leon Payne and Sean Dorough play guitar, while CJ Cypress takes drums. Together, these instruments create the glory that is funk.

With influences such as Parliament Funkadelic, affectionately known as P-Funk, and Rage Against the Machine, The Visualizers know how to bring justice to the term “jam session.” Their favorite place to jam is in the old elementary school across the road, which they like to call “the cave.”

The Visualizers found their start at the YHC summer school program last year. Payne, an RA at the time, decided to get some musicians together to jam in the chapel as a part of a hall program for summer school students. Higgins, Cypress and Dorough were the only ones who came that day.

“All the people were shy; we were the only people who weren’t shy. We’ve been playing together ever since,” says Payne.

Recently, the band played in a battle of the bands contest at Georgia Highlands College in Cartersville. After their performance in the contest, The Visualizers have won another paid gig there in the spring. They played against two other bands who Leon Payne describes as “good artists for their age.” All the proceeds from the contest went to the Relay For Life organization that hosted the event.

You can hear The Visualizers on their MySpace page or playing most any night in the Enotah Hall. Simply follow the funk and you’ll find them.

Check them out here!

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Categories: A&E Tags: , ,
  1. Nick
    September 12, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Can we add a link to The Visualizers MySpace page, so that we can hear their music for ourselves?

  2. Ellen
    September 13, 2010 at 9:47 am

    http://www.myspace.com/thevisualizers

    Listen to The Visualizers on Myspace!

  3. CJ
    September 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    you can also get free music here: http://www.ilike.com/artist/The+Visualizers

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