Shovin' Sunshine
The day the avant garde became Death Jazz

This is the story of Shovin' Sunshine. Three musicians, Wade Summerlin, Jeremy Slotin, and Billy Shaw got together to experiment with new forms of jazz and the Avant Garde. Wade and Jeremy had been loosely playing together in thrash and death metal groups; Billy was coming back East after releasing his debut avant garde album called "Sassy". They got together in Jeremy's basement and started the experiment that became known as "Shovin' Sunshine", the very first and perhaps only Death Jazz group ever. They wanted to use the term acid jazz, but that same year a number of more currently influencial players were using the label, and between their sound and the identification of this term to their music, Shovin' Sunshine wasn't convinced that it accurately described what Shovin' Sunshine was all about. So with little hesitation and even less dissent, the group chose to define and pursue the theory and tradition of Death Jazz.

The technical approach to the production of music was not particularly groundbreaking; the group was after clear, undistorted representation of fairly conventional instrumentation: Jeremy on drums, Wade on electric fretted four-string bass, and Billy on tenor sax. The approach to the creation of the music was what set this trio apart; Billy usually charted out melodies and arrangements in advance, he seldom ever shared the direction with the rest of the band. Fortunately, everyone seemed to think the same thoughts at pretty much the same time, and reasonably tight arrangements emerged from basically extemporaneous improvizations, all of which was taped. In fact, every time the band ever played the music was committed to tape.

Regretably (and we really do mean this in the most profound sense of the word), the band didn't stay together longer than a summer. During that time though, a number of live gigs were performed, and many hours of tape were accumulated. The group dispersed to their respective interests, most notably Wade, who formed the seminal Cobweb Strange. Jeremy went to music school and Billy moved to Florida (where as it were, he ended up in music school as well) where he continued to pursue his form of avant (and later chucked it all to return to Bluegrass and what became Contemporary Mountain and Prairie and a series of acoustic pseudo-country music compositions that began to characterize his music publicly as anything but avant garde jazz).

So twelve years go by, and there wasn't much Shovin' of Sunshine. But Wade and Billy got in touch with each other recently and decided that at the least, Shovin' Sunshine still interested enough people to warrant a permanent place of its own in virtual space. Unknown to anyone else, Billy had continued to evaluate, arrange, and master the raw tapes, and continues to do so, including ongoing digitization and web-based access. What this means to the Shovin' Sunshine fan is that all of the originally released and newly available material is going to be re-released on high-quality CD and in digital format over the web. The quality of the original tapes has always been considered superb. Production and distribution in today's digital formats with modern capabilities is going to kick total ass; we're all pretty excited about this and we think that you will be too, once you hear some of what we have to offer.

So, here's the plan. We're going to be re-releasing Shovin' Sunshine's original studio recording Fire-A-Go-Go digitally remastered on CD, to be available through the Atlanta-based Genterine Records; some of our favorites from that album will be available both here at this web site and at the new Shovin' Sunshine web site being sponsored by Genterine Records. Next, we're going to release the first new Shovin' Sunshine recording in over a decade, recorded live at the Liquid Bean in 1993. Genterine will distribute Live at the Liquid Bean - '93 and we'll put some of our favorites up on the Shovin' Sunshine web sites. In general, postings to our web sites are an ongoing project, so check back often to see if there are new tracks to listen to!

Next, we're going to remix, remaster, and redistribute the original recording Death Jazz, originally released as a short-play EP. We want to re-release it as a full-length CD with additional material taken from the same studio sessions, and maybe a live track or two.

Why go to all this trouble for a band that hasn't even been together in like, twelve years?! Simply put, the answer is in the music itself. If you've never heard a Shovin' Sunshine song or seen them in performance, you'd be hard-pressed to call this group "old", "dated", "nostalgic", or anything else that came out of the '90's. This music sounds as totally daring, contemporary, and iconoclastic as anything being recorded today or anything that's going to be recorded in the next few years. That's how the music was characterized then, and that's how it's going to be characterized twelve years from now. That's how strongly we believe in Shovin' Sunshine.

MP3 Downloads: To listen to the first track off of the new release Live at the Liquid Bean - '93, click on the song Floater and hear Shovin' Sunshine Live! Enjoy...

To listen to the first track from the original studio release Fire-A-Go-Go click on the song Wade Man Rag and hear one of our favorite Shovin' Sunshine performances - Wade Summerlin on that bad bass (in fact, he wrote the song)!

Billy Shaw
Jeremy Slotin
Wade Summerlin

Billy Shaw Songs

Copyright 2005. "Shovin' Sunshine" is Wade Summerlin, Billy Shaw, Jeremy Slotin. All Right Reserved.
Contact: Billy Shaw