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Band of the Week: Greg Bandy and His International All-Star Quartet

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Meet the band: Greg Bandy (drums, vocals), Ray Blue (saxophone), Thomas Janzon (guitar), Eddie Baccus Sr. (organ).

An Early Start: Bandy had lived in New York for years but he grew up in Cleveland and still has fond memories of the days when his father, a local promoter, would take him to the clubs to check out up-and-coming jazz acts. "He would take me to see other cats, who I ended up playing with years later," says Bandy. "I'd be too little to go to some of the clubs. He would have bands sit and talk to me. He'd buy them a few drinks." Though Bandy started on trumpet, his asthma prevented him from playing so he switched to drums. "The women loved the drummers," he says.

Getting into the Groove: The most important thing, says Bandy, is having a good groove. "Those avant garde years let a lot of bullshitters in," he says. "I think you're born with it. I taught a lot of kids who had million dollar drumkits but they couldn't keep time with a Rolex. You can learn music but it's born in your person. You just have to go to it."

Why you Should Hear Him: On songs such as the funky "Good Booty and Barbecue," a track from Lightning in a Bottle, the one album Bandy has released as leader, Bandy lays down a steady beat and even lends his raspy vocals to the tune. "I'm trying to do more vocals," he says. "You just have to be able to express yourself." Look for a new studio album, Beware of the Dog, to be out before the year is up.

Where You Can See Them: Greg Bandy and his International All-Star Quartet play at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, at Nighttown.

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