The Fatback Band makes funky, orchestral soul music built for the live party circuit. Piloted by legendary bandleader Bill “Fatback” Curtis on percussion and reinforced by a bunch of talented musicians on brass, strings, vocals and keys, the group’s high-energy songs and live performances are raw, earthy and explosive, showcasing members’ improvisational skills and musicianship.
Poetic lyrics are bolstered by an infectious groove that pumps blood through the heart of the Fatback Band and brings fans to their feet. Throughout four decades, Curtis and his crew have revolutionised the foundations of dance, funk, soul, rap and R&B.
The Fatback Band embodies the imaginative spirit of street music and free expression and was first formed in 1970 by veteran drummer Bill Curtis in New York City. The “Fatback” concept emerged from Curtis’ quest to invent a new groove by merging the “fatback” jazz beat of New Orleans with vivid West Indie and Caribbean rhythms, a novel sound that became the basis for the first disco beat.
Fatback’s tight-knit camaraderie is the result of Curtis’ strong leadership, passion for exploring many styles of music and tireless drive to maintain a diligent performance and recording schedule for 40 years. The band has released more than 35 albums of original material infused with every imaginable style, from jazz, funk, R&B, disco, rap, to all colours and eras of soul. Curtis has performed with influential artists Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye, The Moonglows, King Curtis, Ruth Brown, Jesse Belvin, The Ohio Players, Earth, Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin and countless others.
The Fatback Band has played gigs at venues of every shape and size, from large concert halls like New York City’s Lincoln Centre, to small clubs like London’s Jazz Café and some of the world’s most famous theatres and stages. The band has also taken part in festivals such as the Southport Weekender, WOMAD in Reading and Spain, The Glastonbury Festival, The Italy Funk Fest and the O2 Indigno.
Curtis and Thomas’ love of incorporating elements of dance and other art forms into Fatback’s stage shows and recorded music was also responsible for launching major movements. “(Are You Ready) Do the Bus Stop” and “Double Dutch” helped spark the development of line dancing. And the song “King Tim III (Personality Jock)” is considered to be the first-ever commercially-released rap single. Curtis has embraced the “DIY” approach to making music from the beginning, taking charge of everything from recording, songwriting, arranging, producing and publishing, to business management and booking.