The Zoo Community Jazz Band was formed in 2011 in Kent. The multi-disciplined collective, captained by their quiet (and somewhat introverted) leader, PJ, fuse electronic and acoustic instruments to create a totally unique sound that takes influence from synthwave, country, electronica and folk in equal measure.
In 2011, the band launched their debut album “Monsieur Chevalier”. The first single from the record ‘Dark and Dirty Dancehalls’ featured on BBC Introducing the second single ‘Can’t Hold It Down’ landed a spot on the BBC 6 Music Playlist in early 2012.
In the Spring of 2012, ZCJB began work on their second album ‘Stories’, starting in Kent before heading to Nashville for the finishing touches.
And then the band entered a hibernation that would last 8 years.
“It wasn’t so much that we didn’t want to make music anymore, life just got busy” says PJ of the fallow period in the band’s history. But new music was still being written, even if not released, and the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown provided the impetus for PJ to begin working on the 3rd chapter of the Zoo Community Jazz Band’s history - launching 7 new singles last year.
“When we started, I’d write the basic songs and invite different musicians to the studio to perform on each tune . For the 2020 songs, that option wasn’t available so I created the songs alone in my little studio at home and made the music videos by stitching together footage of where I live or piecing together animations using pieces of paper and Photoshop.”
And what’s with the name?!?!
It’s the question the band have faced right from the very start. It’s actually a reference to the Allen Ginsberg poem ‘Howl’. Ginsberg describes how his friends ‘chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,’
PJ gives a wry smile, “I always like the idea that at the end of the line, after all of the sparkle and brilliance had drained from everyone, that’s where a little bit of magic might live and that’s where we could create something.”