Artist Interview – The Ill Funk Ensemble
Song Revelation
Published: 9/18/12

The Ill Funk Ensemble are a New York based live R&B and funk band consisting of Jermaine Wells (lead vocals and freestyle), BJ FitzGerald (guitar and vocals), Duane Etienne (bass and backing vocals), Joe Stoner (keyboards and backing vocals) and Dennis Brooks (drums). When we first heard their high-energy finger-tapping music we were impressed and we delighted, despite their hectic schedule, that they agreed to complete an interview with Song Revelation. Read on to find out, amongst other things, what they’ve recently been working on, what they do to relax when not working and what it’s like living in New York! Continue reading

The Ill Funk Ensemble- “The Duality”
Peace! Magazine
Published: 8/12/12


Walking on sticky floors, stepping on to a stage that’s too small for their swagger, let alone their equipment, setting up under dim lights and dropping a sound check on an unsuspecting audience. Eyes look up, jaws drop and the phones come out, inevitably texting their friends to come check out this band, this Ill Funk Ensemble.

That scene has played out weekly for the Albany-based band, The Ill Funk Ensemble, since 2006 to great results. Described by reviewers as “a kind of 21st century mash-up of Kool & the Gang and the Isley Brothers” and “all hot sand and asphalt”, Ill Funk Ensemble takes hip-hop and R&B in a different, yet oddly familiar direction. Perhaps it’s the blend of old and new school vibes, the warm smile of Jermaine Wells, the lead singer, or the obvious fun the band has whether they’re recording or performing live; whatever it is, the band has made the most of its position by performing all over the Northeast, selling nearly 1,000 hard copies of their debut album, Catching Wreck, having more than 1,300 combined likes on their Facebook pages and over 15,000 views on their YouTube channel. They’ve even been blessed to perform live with Grammy-winner Mr. Cheeks of the Lost Boyz, Naughty by Nature and Young MC and placed forth in a national competition to perform at Royal Family Affair with Soulive in 2011. They have also had a placement on the show “Road Trip Nation” and honorable mention in the John Lennon song-writing competition.

Interview with The Ill Funk Ensemble
Officially the Hottest
Published: 8/10/12

OTH: Please introduce yourselves to our readers. Who are The Ill Funk Ensemble ?
ILL: The Ill Funk Ensemble is a live hip-hop/R&B/soul outfit out of New York- Jermaine Wells: lead vocals and freestyle, BJ FitzGerald: guitar and vocals, Duane Etienne: bass and backing vocals, Joe Stoner: keyboards and backing vocals, Dennis Brooks: drums. Continue reading

Interview with The Ill Funk Ensemble
Vents Magazine

By Rafael Jóvine
Published: 7/9/12

Who’s The Ill Funk Ensemble? How did all this got started?
About seven years ago, the band’s guitarist, BJ FitzGerald, had a dream to put together a band that would reside in a niche that was sorely lacking in the local New York scene: live hip-hop and R&B. It needed to be authentic, so the crew that he put together needed to be legit musicians as well as easy going, professional guys so that the gigs would be easy to come by. The band that came together has over 80 years combined performance experience; Jermaine Wells, a native of the Bronx, handles the lead vocals and freestyle duties, BJ FitzGerald adds a bluesy, funk quality with his guitar and handles some lead vocals as well, Duane Etienne, a monster on the bass with a bass voice to match, Joe Stoner brings it on the keyboards and backing vocals and Dennis Brooks is the solid spine of the band with the tightest beats in the state of New York. Continue reading

Musician’s Profile: The Ill Funk Ensemble
The Message For The Week Chester, VT 
By: Joe Milliken
Published: 12/22/10

ALBANY, NY – If you haven’t yet heard about The Ill Funk Ensemble, it’s okay, for I am not sure how many people in this area have had the pleasure. However, they recently appeared at the Red Fox Inn in Bondville and are now starting to create quite a buzz around Southern Vermont. And… now that you know the name, checking this band out is a must for anyone who can dig a fresh combination of jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, rap, R & B, soul and everything in between. Yes, these cats can bring all this together and make it tight as a drum!
Continue reading

Hip-Hop: Rooted In Musicality
Utica Observer-Dispatch


UTICA — Fifteen years deep into the Albany music scene and BJ FitzGerald noticed something missing.

It was a lost groove, a primal technique rooted in musicality that had yet to be brought to the region’s live music arena. It was live hip-hop and R&B — that funk, that feel-good music, he said. Continue reading