Leslie and Darryl’s 10-piece group hits right spot at Pizza Shack

Imagine you’re sitting soaking up some pretty cool sounds . . . Darryl Andrews plucking away on guitar, Dylan Roman on keyboards, Wesley Rustin on bass, Denver Furness on drums, Leslie Kleinsmith and two songbirds handling the vocals and a horn section to die for.

Like a nice cold beer or a chilled sav blanc on a hot day, that should “hit the spot”, right?

Right!. That’s exactly what that group is called – Hit The Spot. That’s the exciting new outfit handling the Sunday night jazz gigs at the Pizza Shack Pub Bar & Grill in Ottery.

The group ain’t exactly “new” new, though. They (without a formal name) have been doing the Sunday night jazz gigs off and on since last year but now management has offered them all the Sunday night gigs in March, starting tomorrow night.

Group spokesman Leslie Kleinsmith said they thought it was an ideal time to hit the “refresh” button on their approach to the music they will provide on the night.

“Previously, we had been a five-piece or six-piece group with various guest spots on the night,” Leslie said.

“Now that we have the regular Sunday night spot for March, we decided to be a bit more creative and give the crowd more value for their money – we expanded the group to a 10-piece.

Hit The Spot vocalists . . . Leonie le Roux (left) and Lynn Fritz with Leslie Kleinsmith. They front the new 10-piece group at Pizza Shack.

“Apart from Darryl, Dylan, Wesley, Denver and myself, we now have two female singers – Lynn Fritz and Leonie le Roux – and a brass/horn section that has Byron Abrahams on sax (and vocals), Athi Ngcaba on trombone and Joseph Kunnuji on trumpet.

“It’s a work in progress. We’ll see where it takes us but we’re all pretty excited about the musical possibilities.

Between Leslie, Darryl and Denver the group has a ton of experience. All three have been performing for 50 years or more. The younger members of the outfit should provide an ideal vehicle to combine the old with the new. The group has prepared a repertoire that will embrace jazz, Latin sounds and anything that Darryl Andrews puts on the table.

“We are very fortunate in having Darryl in the line-up. He brings so much to any group with his capacity to compose and arrange stuff,” Leslie said. “He does some wonderful things with the salsa sound.

“We’re also blessed with having two very talented female vocalists in Leonie and Lynn. It gives us so much breadth and depth in the range of songs we can tackle.

“But what excites us most is the new dimension that a trumpet, trombone and saxophone brings. It should bring out the best in Darryl with his arranging experience.

“We’re hoping that our fresh sound will hit the spot – that’s why we chose the name Hit The Spot,” Leslie says.

Ten-piece groups aren’t an everyday occurrence on the local scene. Makes me think of the days Express used to line-up with the likes of Basil Coetzee, Robbie Jansen, Barnie Rachabane and Stompie Manana.

Hit The Spot is hoping to be a round a little longer than just the Sundays in March.

In the meantime, Pizza Shack is the place to be tomorrow night – International Women’s Day. I’m inclined to check it out myself. The music should be good, DJ Stan The Jazzman always has good stuff on the turntable and the food, like the band, will leave you wanting more.

All up, it should hit the spot, huh?

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