If you had to classify the band Jerusafunk, you would do so under the genre of, well, funk. It is on their behalf. But listen to the band and you’ll hear a lot more – everything from klezmer to Afrobeat to cumbia beats mixed on top of a funk base.

Classically trained Jessie Demaree, who sings and plays clarinet in the Phoenix-based band, is a polyglot, audiophile, and someone with extreme lust. That wanderlust led to extensive travel, as pre-Jerusafunk she roamed the planet with instrument in hand, picking up a love for the regional music that was played wherever she turned her head; but it all started with klezmer and the instrumental music of Eastern and Central Europe, specifically the music of Giora Feidman.

Jerusafunk will perform Saturday at Buckley Park as part of the iAM MUSIC Fest. Also performing are J-Calvin, Bards in Between, Tyler Adams Trio, Zodiac Groove, Alicia Hoelzer and Secret Circus Society.

“Feidman’s album ‘The Singing Clarinet’ completely changed my life,” said Demaree. “I was like ‘no, I’m doing this now, I’m not a classical clarinetist anymore. Now I’m going down the road of klezmer music.’ And the rest is history.”

Jerusafunk’s beginnings date back a dozen years to Flagstaff, Arizona, when Demaree formed the group with her partner and bandmate Chris Del Favero, who plays guitar. It was humble beginnings that led to a full-on, horn-filled cocktail party.

“It evolved from a three-piece that just hit the road playing klezmer and funk music to a full nine-piece world psychedelic fusion experience, complete with horn section,” said Demaree. “It’s definitely evolved over the years.”

In addition to Demaree and Del Favero, the band members are: Jeremy Lentz on drums, Bailey Zick on bass, Elliott Fox on tenor saxophone, Alan Acosta on saxophone and flute, Nicho Whitegold on trombone, Zack Parker on guitar and Mike De La Torre on percussion .

WHAT: iAM MUSIC Fest with Jerusafunk, J-Calvin, Bards in Between, Tyler Adams Trio, Zodiac Groove, Alicia Hoelzer, Secret Circus Society.

WHEN: 5 pm Saturday.

WHERE: Buckley Park, 1200 Main Ave.

TICKETS: $15 GA, available online at https://bit.ly/3Asj7uX.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://bit.ly/3JZUhGb.

There is a level of novelty that is created when bands known for playing a particular style of music throw a curve ball. That innovation doesn’t exist with this band when they slide Afrobeat rhythms into a cut of classic American funk; everything fits, and it’s done with the greatest respect.

“We do it with a sincerity and a worship and with complete respect when we’re starting to create a new sound. It’s all about unifying what we’re hearing and synthesizing it. It’s something more creative than just like ‘hey, we’re kids from Phoenix doing Afrobeat.’ It’s not that unimaginative, ever,” said Demaree. “It’s a lot of fun for us to hear the rhythms from Brazilian samba and then see how it sounds with a more complex bass line from the Ethiopian funk era of the 70s. It just goes deep.”

The band members are all lifelong music students, just as they were when they first picked up an instrument, as many of the members who make up their snow band section began studying jazz while in high school. This educational nature is the perfect set for an iAM MUSIC event, where music learning goes hand in hand with performance. Within the band that pursuit of higher musical learning lends to their evolving sound; when there are no limits to what you can do and no ceiling to hit, the musical avenues you can explore and the sounds you aim to create remain endless.

“We are all working on crafts. I’ve been playing klezmer music for about 20 years, and it eventually evolved once I met Chris, and he’s been an amazing guitarist and songwriter,” Demaree said. “It’s the skill of everybody coming together and collaborating.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and station manager for KDUR. Contact him at [email protected].

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