JUPITER -- For a band that was assembled somewhat hastily and in unusual circumstances, "The Reel Ting" has emerged as one of the most pure and fascinating reggae groups around here. Leader, founder and steel drum/key-board/guitar player, George Pollis, explained; "The band started as an outgrowth of a musical worship team that was assembled at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Palm City a few years ago, The need for a secular band arose as various church members called upon us from time to time to play at private gatherings in their homes. The demands grew, we became known outside the church and we were called upon to perform at a number of large charitable events. Eventually, as the word spread, we were recruited to play in other venues. It was about seven months ago that we began to promote our sound and the bookings continued to grow."
Although "The Reel Ting" continues with the worship team at Emanuel Lutheran. it is not uncommon for therm to be found playing at country clubs, private parties, various public events and in some area clubs. The band performs at Sugar Cane Island Bistro, Jupiter, every Thursday night, and at least once a month at the J.J. Muggs Stadium Grill in Abacoa Town Center, Jupiter.
The band has also played at The Pirates Cove, Port Salerno; Oseola Street Cafe, Stuart; Metro Blues Cafe, Stuart; David's, Stuart; a number of private parties in Stuart and Jupiter and events like Ocean Magic's Spring Fling Surf party each year in Jupiter. In mid-April, George and Bob were recruited to play with the Chris Bellamy band in North Carolina. A number of opportunities like (hat have come up several times, George advised, and he says it has been "very inspiring."
All of the musicians have had many years experience performing and come from vast musical backgrounds. For example, George's father was a professional musician, playing lots of old time music out of the 50s and 60s. His dad became quite well known with "The Four Jacks," Pollis said. "I grew up around music and started playing guitar at age l2.", he continued." My father taught me the basics, then I moved on from there. I had played with different bands through the years, while in Pennsylvania, before moving to Florida in l989. But I picked up the steel drum only about a year ago, as the calls for island sounds increased in the area. I learned the keyboard in just the last two months." All of this sudden flurry of musical activity over the past two years is somewhat remarkable for Pollis, who is also a mortgage broker in Stuart. He had not even been involved in music for nearly 15 years when the church musical team opportunity arose. "I guess it was a supreme calling," he quipped.
The core band members include Robert Chew, guitar and harmonica; Jimmy Graham (who is originally from Jamaica), steel drum; Joshua Conizsberg, percussionist; and Pollis, steel drum/guitar/keyboard. Two substitute members of the band are Michael, Port St. Lucie, and Toby, Ft. Lauderdale. Both are originally from Jamaica. Because Robert and Jimmy have other family commitments, the subs play often.
|This is the promotional photo for "The Reel Ting" core band. From left are George Pollis, leader and steel drum/keyboard/guitar player; Jimmy Graham, steel drum, Robert Chew, guitar; and Joshua Conizsburg, percussion. The little girl is George's daughter (age nine). She is a surfer, by the way.|
It is unique in that all of the band members can easily blend in and out as though they had never been away. "The Reel Ting" music reaches a good age mix. Young people, 2l-22. can generally be found singing the songs right along with middle age patrons - dancing, too."We seem to be bridging the generation gap with our music," Pollus explained, "as our following continues to grow." Their music ranges from Jimmy Buffet tunes to Bob Marley and Dennis Brown, as welt as "Inner Circle" and Harry Belefonte. They try to offer a variety and it is not unusual for them to suddenly burst forth with "The Eagles" hit "Hotel California," some pop music, even a Shaggy tune now and then. Hearing some of these songs in reggae style is a kick. Until one hears "The Reel Ting" play "I Shot The Sheriff" in reggae-style, he hasn't lived. Pol1is does quite a bit of arranging to make the different music fit the island sound. The band has one CD out now, and is working on a second, which will be all original music. Their first CD, titled "Fearless Child," was named after George's nine-year-old daughter. It features mostly Calypso, Reggae and island style music. The CD is on sale at all of the band's performances. "The Ree1 Ting" music is fun, easy to listen to and has a familiar ring to all who are fortunate enough to hear them. On a Thursday night, when things are boring and you just don't know what to do with yourself, you can shake those blues away by going to Sugar Cane Island Bistro to hear "The Reel Ting." They are unforgettable. Also, call the Stadium Grill to check their monthly music schedule, so you'll be able to drop by on "A Reel Ting" night.
The group is a rare breed, and one band you won't want to miss.