Soul music is proving to be more relevant in the 21st century than ever before. Case in point: the recentfunkativities of Stymie and the Pimp Jones Love Orchestra, a Bay Area bred, eleven-piece tribe of thingamajigs lead by singer/songwriter Sean “Stymie” Sharp.
Stymie is an animated individual. When he speaks about anything, from music to comics to movies, he speaks with an intense and jovial vigor that is as learned as it is inspired. Regarding the topic of being spoon-fed the formulaic, he argues, “It is true that not all things are for all people. But this does not mean that you shouldn’t give the fans the benefit of the doubt.” And sure, if you’re going to call Stymie anything, the man doesn’t completely object to being tagged the leader of a funk band, as he explains: “Stylistically, funk is the least limited genre.” Still, he does not want to “categorize the fan base,” as he is frequently inclined to dip his creative pen into the avenues of ska, R&B, rock, reggae, and even pop.
The band has come a long way and leapfrogged a few hurdles to get to the artistic pinnacle it’s at today. The current incarnation, a combo of returning veterans and funky-fresh blood, has Stymie tickled stink. “This version of the band is carving out its own identity with these latest songs.”
Stymie, who grew up in Hollywood off Sunset, started the group in San Francisco in 1996. The first lineup featured Joe “Mojo” Powell, a featured harmonizer and hype man who still elevates the band today. The band soon proved itself to be stupendous live, voted Best Funk Band in SF Weekly. While it has enjoyed the honor of opening gigs for the likes of Earth, Wind, & Fire, Fred Wesley, Digital Underground, and Billy Preston over the years, Stymie and the PJLO has been packing ‘em in with its own headlining shows for over a decade and a half - and still counting.