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Tuesday, February 23

Jazz is Phish astonishes fans as they chase their destiny.

Jazz is Phish astonishes fans as they chase their destiny.
   In the mid 90's a band made up of the most auspicious musicians in the Jam scene started a band named Jazz in Dead. The formula was genius they tackled the vast catalogue of the Grateful Dead and transmuted the historic tunes into purely jazz. The band’s endeavor is now legendary and catapulted the members into stars. Maybe, you heard of Jimmy Herring, Oteil Burbridge or Jeff Sipe. It was not long before Phil Lesh took notice and recruited Jimmy Herring into his band, Phil and Friends. He would later play lead in “The Dead” and now he makes magic in Widespread Panic. Oteil joined The Allman Brother Band for a historic run that lasted many years. These days things have come full circle, as Oteil plays bass in Dead and Company. Jazz is Dead is widely considered as one of the more beloved tribute bands to ever pay homage to The Grateful Dead. 
      Fast forward twenty years and the hottest talent in the jam scene today is following the same formula with Phish’s vast selections of songs. A creation of the Chase brothers, Adam Chase and his brother Matthew,  of “Strange Design”. They simply surround themselves with a diverse group of rising stars and are achieving similar results. Michael Ray of “Giant Country Horns”, Chris Bullock( fresh of his Grammy) with “Snarky Puppy”, Todd Stoops of “RaQ” , Kevin Moehringer of “T.V On The Radio Fame and James Casey from Trey Anastasio Band. 

    While the formula is the same, the sound is vastly different.” Jazz is Phish” showcases a stage with horns mixed with a solid foundation of string instruments to accomplish mind blowing jazz arrangements, of Phish classics. After a highly successful sold out debut at the Brooklyn Bowl.
    The energy in The Hall at MP was electrifying has a steady stream of smiles filled the intimate venue. Usually a trendy eatery, it transforms into a cozy venue for special events such as this. The band bided their time, till the atmosphere was electric, just as the curious crowd fervour was erupting, they strolled on to the stage displaying a confident swagger. 
    The collection of talent launched into “Wilson” as the comfortably crowded dance floor, erupted with approval. The band’s arrangement were complex, but very danceable, as the classics sounded fresh, with the jazz induced makeover. There was not a stranger in the joyous club, as the band was every bit astonishing, as advertised. They played two sets of Phishy goodness, as no tune was safe from the onslaught that is “Jazz Is Phish”

  After witnessing two sets of inspired versions of the tunes we all love. It occurred to me this incarnation of talent is bound to repeat the success that the members of Jazz is Dead enjoyed. Here is hoping we get to experience plenty more shows, of this riveting formula. Before these musicians seize the destiny beckoning them to bigger projects. It will be with great pride, one day we can all boast, we saw them back in the day transforming Phish classics into magic. 
Words: Lori Bockelken
Editor: Kevin Long
Photos: Lori Bockelken