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Dazz Band

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The Dazz Band, formed in 1976, grew out of the Cleveland, Ohio, jazz fusion band Bell Telefunk, composed of Bobby harris (founder)lead guitarist/songwriter Mike Calhoun, percussionist Kenny Pettus, drummer Isaac “Ike” Wiley, Jr., and his brother bassist Michael Wiley, and the band Mother BraintreeThe 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 in 1978. The group went to Los Angeles to record for producer Marvin Gaye. Owing to illness, Gaye had to back out of the duties. 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 — Harris, Calhoun, Pettus, and the Wiley brothers — with newcomers Kevin Kendrick, Steve Cox, Eric Fearman, Pierre DeMudd, Sonny “Skip” Martin, Jerry Bell and Terry Stanton. They had their first hit with “Shake It Up” in 1980.

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