Our goal when we perform is to invite an audience into a tune, not punch them in the gut with it. We certainly generate energy, but not through speed, loudness, lots of notes, or a blatant beat. We prefer subtlety, elegance, and a swinging beat – it’s all about lines and phrasing. A brief anecdote from a recent gig might best sum up our aesthetic:
During a break between sets, Al was chatting with a friend of his wife who was hearing us for the first time. She said, “I thought jazz was improvised, but you weren’t improvising.” Al explained that every tune was mostly improvised, sometimes even on the heads. She was very surprised, and Al thanked her for giving what was maybe the highest complement we could receive.
Having played with a lot of folks over a lot of years, we’ve played a lot tunes, and we really enjoy (re)discovering material and adapting it to our sensibilities. When we play a new (to some of us) tune, we’re constantly amazed at how in synch we are with each other the first time through, and when we’re improvising, it’s a bit scary how inside each others’ heads we are.
Recent Playlist – Here’s a list of tunes we drew from at a recent gig by the Steve Gates Quartet (guess who booked it). The list keeps growing because we keep having new ideas, and we usually play a tune or two that aren’t on the list anyway, as inspiration strikes.