Modern Jazz Movement




Modern Jazz Movement
by Chad Crawford, etc Arts and Culture magazine September 1997

It has been a very long time since jazz has been considered part of mainstream popular music. Most of its founders and pioneers are long gone. The average person thinks of jazz as overly complicated and boring music for intellectuals. Unfortunately This misconception has only been supported by many contemporary musicians, who have made this genre in to a "musicians music" -focusing more on the interplay of the performers than the audience. This is one of the reasons that Lafayette's Modern Jazz Movement is such a refreshing and welcome addition to the local music scene. Not only do these four talented musicians truly enjoy playing together, but they also appeal to virtually every segment of the audience. The musicianship is impressive but they don't let it get in the way of the music they are expressing -the egos that are the demise of many a band seem nonexistent in MJM. they never seem to forget that jazz started as dance music -if an MJM set doesn't make you want to move, than perhaps you should check your pulse.


The band started playing a little over seven months ago when Frank Kincel (drums) and Dion Pierre (bass and sax), both members of the band Fusebox, decided to start a project devoted to jazz. Fellow Fusebox member Denny Skerrett soon joined them. MJM began playing at gallery openings, and at the now defunked Metropolis. From there, they picked up steady gigs at Lafayette coffee shops, Cornwell's and Cafe' 101.

As good as they were as a trio its hard to believe their sound could get any fuller. But that was exactly what was done by the addition of keyboardist Shinsaku Ishida. Shin filled out the sound of the trio, freeing the band to be more experimental while remaining grounded. The foursome continues a regular schedule of appearances at cafe's, regional clubs, private parties, and shows at venues in Baton Rouge. They recently Performed on the local television show Good Morning Acadiana and Acadiana Open Channel and hope to expand to a more regional fan base.

Musically, the Modern Jazz Movement style is most similar to jazz of the late 50's and early 60's. Most of their set is comprised of standards from Dizzy Gillespy and Miles Davis. However they are not at all afraid to take liberties in their interpretations of these compositions. No MJM song is ever played the same way twice. At present the band plays three original compositions,all written by Pierre, although everyone in the band intends to compose.

These songs are among the most popular in their set. All the members of the band are fairly new to jazz. Dion is a classically trained saxophone player whose funk influence is evident in the way he plays and writes music. Shin, like most pianist has a classical background. Denny's sax riffs have a soul and funk inflection, showing a real glimpse of his musical-wonder-kid upbringing.Frank started playing drums in hard rock bands in high school and graduated from USL with a degree in theory and composition. His writing style is influenced by avant-garde twentieth century music. These diverse forces come together to form the sound of the Movement.

Its more than worth your time to catch a MJM set. In fact, not doing so just might be a crime against culture. They play Saturdays at 9pm at Cornwell's, Fridays around noon at Cafe' 101, and occasional gigs at Bisbano's Cellar Door Tavern. The sizable following that has developed -its just a natural progression.



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