Modern Jazz Movement


The Vermilion

Modern Jazz Movement
Students spread rythms throughout Lafayette
by Bobby Bernard, The Vermilion April 25, 1997

The Modern Jazz Movement is hosting a party every Saturday night at Cornwell's Coffee House and they are suppling nothing but the music.

The MJM has played their smooth, cool jazz music for the past two months at Cornwell's, 1514 South College Drive, establishing themselves as the informal house band.

The 1-1/2 hour set consisted of several original tunes, as well as some of the old standards, like John Coltrane's Mr. P.C. and Naima and Miles Davis' Freddie Freeloader.

The members of the MJM have busy schedules in addition to the regular Saturday night gig at Cornwell's. They are all students at USL and also are involved in several other
local bands.

The rhythm section of the MJM is made up of a couple of seasoned musicians. Frank Kincel, a graduate student in music, is the drummer for the MJM and also plays with The Bluerunners, The Fusebox and YaYa.


Kincel said the MJM is encompassing and expanding the realms of the jazz idiom, especially in their live percent original pieces and 50 percent standards with improvisational moments that bend the traditional rules of standard jazz music.

"Our original material is based in the school of old standards, but with an incorporation of fundamental experimentation that is evident in our live performances,"said Kincel.

Dion Pierre, a senior in jazz studies and also a member of The Fusebox, played the upright bass with a cool, but funky attitude last Saturday, keeping perfect time with the continuous bobbing of his head while he hunched over the antique instrument.

"We try to maintain a new and useful approach to jazz," said Pierre. "We incorporate a different kind of twist on the old tunes, taking a standard tune and trying to do it in a modern way -- similar to the new way bands are going after
rock and roll."

The MJM evolved out of the members' love of jazz, when Kincel and Pierre were looking for an opportunity to play jazz. They found saxophone player Denny Skerrett and decided to form a band that would allow them to play the music that they love so much.

Skerrett, a freshman in general studies, said he had been playing with Kincel and Pierre in The Fusebox and YaYa when the two approached him with the idea to form a jazz band.

"I've been playing with Frank in YaYa for a while, " said Skerrett. "Frank and Dion were playing in The Fusebox and I was able to sit in on a couple of sets with them and eventually became a member. Through The Fusebox, we came to know each other a little better. They had already been working on some jazz stuff and we decided to start doing some live gigs."

The latest addition to the band is Shin Ishida, a key-boardist from Japan. Ishida is pursuing a master's degree in piano performance and joined the band at the beginning of April. Skerrett said, "Ishida is the one who keeps us in line. When we get too far off, he brings us back on line."
The addition of Ishida brings another layer of sound to the band that adds to the already robust sound of the band's live performance.

The MJM is very busy these days, as each time they play they receive requests to play somewhere else. The band's schedule is pretty tight, because they play several shows eachweek. In addition to playing at Cornwell's every Saturday night, they can be seen at Cafe 101 every Friday at noon, Barnes and Noble one Friday of every month, with the nextdate there on May 23, and they will be performing at the Bach Lunch on Friday, May 9.


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