Lettuce is (a) the prime ingredient in a salad, (b) a slang for cash, (c) a green herb that can be smoked, (d) a genre-busting six-member funk, jazz, soul, psychedelic, hip-hop and rock collective formed in 1992 by four alumni of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, or (e) all of the above.
If you answered “e,” then you’re on to the ever-changing musical palette and all-inclusive goals of Lettuce and their ongoing re-interpretation of the band’s name as “Let Us.” In their earliest days as students, they would roam the cities of the Northeast, and implore others to “let us play.”
Guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff compares the group’s eclectic, free-wheeling approach to “the modern NBA and its position-less basketball.” It is endlessly creative, allowing for innovation and interpretation. Trumpet and horn player Eric “Benny” Bloom notes, “This isn’t just a funk band…We’re playing every style of music in every song. You can’t categorize it. We have the freedom to do whatever we want that’s appropriate for the song.”
That magic continues to grow with the band’s new album, Elevate, a democratic ensemble in which there is no leader, but a complete unit that functions as a single entity, with plenty of moving parts.