Pigeons Playing Ping Pong: Pizazz
As the opening track of Pizazz declares, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong are putting the “Fun in Funk.” Comprised of vocalist/ rhythm guitarist Greg Ormont, lead guitarist Jeremy Schon, bassist Ben Carrey and drummer Alex Petropulos, P4 have taken flight over the past few years, touring nonstop and building an impressively dedicated fanbase. Pizazz is the psych-funk quartet’s fourth studio album, and it serves up 11 joyous, dance-worthy tracks that only get better onstage. Like any proper jamband, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong thrive in the live environment—where Petropulos’ drum breaks are stronger, Carrey’s basslines feel heavier, Ormont’s vocals come off kookier and Schon’s guitar licks turn into show-stopping solos. However, as a standalone studio album, Pizazz is worth a second, third and fourth listen. In fact, it could be the band’s best release to date. A song like “Ocean Flows” is so drenched in guitar-driven euphoria that you can’t help but consider “leaving behind your 9-to-5.” Throughout the album, the band keep their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, but even when Pigeons Playing Ping Pong wade into headier waters, like on the midalbum instrumental “Offshoot,” the results are equally satisfying. They also enlisted a few familiar faces from Yellow Dubmarine—Danny Davis on trumpet and Mario D’Ambrosio on tenor saxophone—to give songs like “The Liquid” and “Doc” the proper funk treatment. With a flock of fans (who actually helped fund Pizazz via Kickstarter) and a strong repertoire of original material (made even stronger by this release), Pigeons Playing Ping Pong continue to thrive, creating a fun-filled niche in the jam scene that’s entirely their own.