Crazy Time (Stubby Records)

Shuffle Demons

Released November 2019

JAZZ FM 25 best jazz albums of 2020




The Shuffle Demons are excited to release their 9th album, “crazy time.” The album includes 10 original Shuffle Demons songs, 7 instrumental and 3 vocal. The album also introduces new and virtuosic Shuffle Demons Matt Lagan on tenor sax and Mike Downes on bass as well as demons regulars Kelly Jefferson on sax, Stich Wynston on drums and Richard Underhill on sax and vocals. Returning for this special 35th Anniversary recording are founding Demons Mike Murley on tenor sax and Jim Vivian on bass! This is a dynamic new album that features in from the outside writing, virtuosic playing and the classic and unique Shuffle Demons sound.

Track Listing:

1. Cat Walk (Richard Underhill) 03:49

2. Makin’ It Right (Richard Underhill) 04:01

3. Have a Good One (Mike Milligan / Eric St-Laurent / Richard Underhill) 03:32

4. Wandering Heart (Richard Underhill) 04:46

5. Good Karma (Richard Underhill) 04:07

6. Crazy Time (Richard Underhill) 03:28

7. Even Demons Get the Blues (Kelly Jefferson) 06:57

8. Turbulence (Richard Underhill) 04:22

9. Let It Go (Richard Underhill) 03:22

10. Blue Chameleon (Richard Underhill) 04:47


Richard Underhill: alto and bari saxophones, lead vocals
Stich Wynston: drums, percussion, background vocals
Kelly Jefferson: tenor sax, background vocals
Matt Lagan: tenor sax (1, 2, 3, 4, 7), background vocals
Mike Downes: bass (1, 2, 3, 4, 7), background vocals
Mike Murley: tenor sax (5, 6, 8, 9, 10)
Jim Vivian: bass (5, 6, 8, 9, 10)

Recorded and engineered at Canterbury Music.Company, Toronto, by Jeremy Darby and Julian Decorte

Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Jono Grant at Victory Drive Music, Toronto

Photos and butterfly collage by Richard Underhill

Cover layout by Richard Boudreau


Well, all that listening to atmospheric and mist-shrouded ambience left me needing an injection of backbeat and rhythm, so when I found the latest from the Shuffle Demons in my inbox I knew the remedy was in hand. I’ll admit I may not be the ideal candidate to take on this review as it’s somewhat beyond my usual purview, but having spent some of my formative years in funky Queen St. W., I have fond memories of watching this outstanding (and outrageous) band playing on the streets of the neighbourhood. It came as a bit of a surprise to me that the Demons were still active some 35 years later, but it was a pleasant one indeed. Their ninth album Crazy Time (Stubby Records SRCD 1703 features the classic three saxes and driving rhythm of bass and drums the Demons are known for. It includes two new members, Matt Lagan on tenor sax and bassist Mike Downes alongside stalwarts Richard Underhill, Kelly Jefferson and Stich Wynston, but in honour of their 35th anniversary, original members Mike Murley and Jim Vivian appear on five of the ten tracks. As in the past, hot instrumentals are interspersed with topical vocal tracks reminiscent of the classic Spadina Bus – be sure to check out the YouTube videos of that defining song – including the title track with its commentary on Ontario’s current leadership among other things: “We live in a crazy town, in a crazy world, in a crazy time.” All tunes were penned and arranged by Underhill with the exception of Jefferson’s smooth instrumental Even Demons Get the Blues and the retro rap vocal Have a Good One which Underhill co-wrote some years ago with interim Demons Eric St-Laurent, Mike Milligan and Farras Smith. The signature swinging unison horn choruses and individual solo takes are as strong as ever, and the infectious beat goes on. It’s great to find this iconic Canadian jazz institution alive and well, with no signs of aging or decay; long may the Shuffle Demons reign!

David Olds (the WholeNote)