Free From

“A big part of our sound is Oregon’s outdoors—we wanted to highlight that nature,” says Marv Ellis, center. “We like getting freaky and fun when we play live—we can get very cosmic and intuitive.”

Free Creatures is a harmonious chimera, fostered in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest and ready to unleash its folk-hip-hop in California. The trio starts with beats, vintage samples and conscious lyrics from Marv Ellis. It’s then layered with jazz-inspired upright bass, trumpet and sultry vocals from Emily Turner and topped off with psychedelic jam-rock ala guitarist Skylar Squglio.

Throw in the mix an occasional guest emcee, a percussionist and a heavy dose of live improvisation, and the dance floor inevitably fills up.

They recently debuted their first album All the Things, a collection of hip-hop beats and samples over-dubbed with live instruments, then layered with vocal harmonies. Akin to alternative hip-hop such as A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5 and the Fugees, they can also delve into realms touched by A Thievery Corporation, Zero 7 or Nightmares on Wax.

Pounding bass and funky clavinet open the introductory track “Free Creatures” before Turner’s vocals build into the anthem’s initial chorus, “Deep down just a free creature/ Just a free creature for a good reason.”

Touches of reggae and Latin jazz grace the melodic leading bass and punchy, driving beat behind the foreboding lyrics of “Tall Horse.” The closing track, “1 Z,” is a psychedelic seven-minute dance jam that explores a range of rhythms and soundscapes.

The left-handed-Squglio’s musical upbringing is rooted in improv and jamming: “I studied music at college, but they couldn’t teach me to play because I play a right-handed guitar upside down.”

Setting the bar on the Feb. 28 show at Pearl Hour is The BASSment, powered by singer/rapper Hanif Wondir, drummer/bandleader Justin Horrell and a crew of wizard-level musicians. They bring original, funky hip-hop and soul music. Also joining Free Creatures is New York hip-hop Artist Felix Free.

FREE CREATURES 9pm Friday, Feb. 28. Pearl Hour, 214 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. No cover; 21+. 657-9447, freecreaturesmusic.com

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