With its unique brand of energetic rock, Dayton’s Gem City blends classic soul, funk, and jazz. The group formed in 2011 under the name ‘Customer Service and the Gem City Horns.’ Initially, the band was meant to be a one-show-only project at the University of Dayton, but the feedback was too positive for the members to quit. That year, they won the school’s battle of the bands and went on to open for Lupe Fiasco at the University of Dayton Arena. Since then, the band has shared bills with national acts such as John Legend and Trombone Shorty in performances at the Downtown Dayton Revival, the Barnjam Music Festival, and the Xerox International Jazz Festival in Rochester, New York.
Gem City is an 8-man group, comprised of front-man Willie Four, three horn players, and a 4-piece rhythm section. In live shows, they primarily play original material, but also reinterpret the hits of Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, and the Beatles, among others. Audience favorites include their original up-tempo rocker “Make it Hot” and their sensual ballad “Door Frame.” Gem City has also been known to push jazz standards into uncharted, funky territory. These different musical styles come together to create a varied but cohesive performance, calling to mind the funk masters that came out of the Dayton scene in the 1970s. Gem City strives to bring back that high standard of playing. They are presently engaged in independent recording projects and booking shows in the Dayton area and elsewhere. This Dayton Original is committed to exploring and bending the limits of genre, but never neglects to create exciting and entertaining performances!