Dec. 08, 2010 - Issue #790 : Holiday Guide
Fri, Dec 10 (7:30 pm) | Haven Social Club
After a career spent hammering away at jazz open stages and playing standards and traditionals to death, the founding members of Always Often finally broke off in a direction to follow their true jazz passions: original tunes and arrangements that thrill them and the growing audiences that the group is attracting.
Now celebrating the release of Always Often's self-titled debut CD, saxophonist Dan McDonald and drummer Denis Guenette started the band with vocalist and trumpet player Zoran Bobic after the frontman split from their group at the time, Chain of Fools.
"Denis and I have known each other through mutual friends for years, and Zoran was hanging around clubs playing his trumpet, and we played together in Chain of Fools," McDonald explains. "Zoran quit and then we decided to start this a few years ago. We just wanted to quit playing what they expect at clubs—dance music and all that—and plays some more original, interesting music."
Described as "a smoking version of jazz with a rootsy fusion of gypsy and Latin undertones," the five-piece, rounded out by guitarist Ralph Pretz and bassist Chris Grapel, thrives on the challenge of reworking recognizable tunes with the group's signature mix of diverging influences until the song is almost unrecognizable—making it uniquely theirs, McDonald enthuses.
"The mainstay of the band is taking songs and completely rearranging them," he explains.
"Sometimes it's hard to tell what song it is unless you're a real jazz aficionado, and that seems to be the most popular thing about the band, this reworking of song arrangements and making them more lively and entertaining to listen to.
"It's really by accident," he continues of the songwriting process. "It's really cool to have people with different influences and strengths—it's like making soup—you get different styles and ideas from different players and it really adds to the unique sound of the band."
Recorded painstakingly over the last year, what started as a quick demo recorded live off the floor "ended up being a full-blown production," McDonald laughs. "It was pretty quick and dirty, but the nice thing about that was it didn't become too processed or perfect. So it was just sort of an accident."
Fri, Dec 10 (7:30 pm)
Haven Social Club, $10
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