The Odd Dogs are a fusion-based group comprised of top shelf L.A. jazz musicians and Beneath the Surface is their debut. The quintet includes bassist and leader Steve Billman, guitarist Jeff Miley, saxophonist and pianist Andy Suzuki, drummer Ralph Humphrey, and percussionist Billy Hulting. They are all veteran musicians, some of whom had their origins in progressive rock, which remains a major part of their sound.
Here’s some more background on the players. Billman is a 40-year veteran, having played with Frank Gambale, Mike Stern, Billy Cobham, and Brain Bromber, among others. He also performed and wrote for the jazz/rock supergroup Continuum and made three albums with them. Miley leads his own modern jazz chamber quintet called BUG. He also performs and records with noted jazz vocalist Inge Swearingen and has received the Andres Segovia Performance Award from the American Guitar Society. Billman and Wiley have been friends since the ‘80s.
Drummer Ralph Henry’s list of musicians played with runs the gamut from Frank Zappa and Mothers of Invention to Barbara Streisand and Mette Midler to Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Toshiko Akiyosi and Pete Christlieb to name just a few. He, Billman and Miley teach at the Los Angeles College of Music in Pasadena. Suzuki, who overdubs his keyboards and woodwinds, performed in Europe with Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Marcus Miller and Jan Garbarek. Percussionist Hulting has recently been touring with Zappa Plays Zappa, led by Dweezil Zappa playing the music of his dad.
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