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Kinsman Dazz / Dazz Band

Cleveland, 1975-present

The Dazz Band topped the R&B charts (and made top 10 on the pop chart) in 1982 with "Let It Whip", and won a Grammy for it, one of only a handful of Ohio artists to do so. 

The original Kinsman Dazz had formed in 1975/6 as the house band for the Kinsman Grill. Before that, most of the members had been in Bell Telefunk. Bell Telefunk was more of a jazz/funk jam band, but as Kinsman Dazz, they moved into the mid 1970s high energy dance groove. The band was founded by Bobby Harris (sax,vocals) and Michael J. Calhoun (guitar). The original band included Isaac Wiley (drums), Michael Wiley (bass), and Kenny Pettus (lead vocals). The word "Dazz" came from a contraction of the phrase "danceable jazz". The term also came to mean "disco jazz". 

The band recorded two LPs for Twentieth Century records in Los Angeles. The lead singer for Earth, Wind, and Fire - one of the biggest groups in the US at the time - Philip Bailey, produced both LPs., after Marvin Gaye, the planned producer, was unable to do it. 

In 1980 the group were signed to Motown, and shortened their name to the Dazz Band. There had been some personnel changes as well. The group's second 45 on Motown, "Invitation to Love" finally reached the charts. Two years and LPs later, "Let It Whip" blow right through the roof and established the band for the next several years as a consistent hitmaker, at least on the R&B charts and radio. 

During the last half of the 1980s the Dazz Band recorded LPs for RCA and Geffen after their relationship with Motown ended. They had a couple decent hits for RCA but then disappeared from the new release section for a while, although the band never really ended.  The band returned to recording in the late 1990s and continues to perform on a semi regular basis.