Individual jazz communities are notorious for fostering a creative environment where jazz musicians can flourish. Los Angeles-based musicians have taken this a step further by bringing an outfit of jazz musicians together to record compilation discs. The Los Angeles Jazz Collective’s first outing, Sampler Vol. 1 is a garden variety of smooth jazz tunes, silky nocturnes, and contemporary jazz ballroom-dance tracks. It is an album that you will enjoy spending your evenings with to put you in a docile mood, and ease you out of the stressful burdens imposed on you throughout the day. This album shows audiences what makes jazz music so appealing, accentuating its ability to create an ambience which welcomes waves of dreamy relaxation to consume the aural and physical senses. It’s music that soothes the body, mind and soul and the Los Angeles Jazz Collective know instinctively how to push those buttons.
Comprised of 13 core members, most of whom are faculty members of music programs at various colleges, and a growing number of associate members, the LA Jazz Collective hold meetings several times a month ever since their inception in November 2007. The LAIC aims to be a catalyst for musicians who play modern, melodic sounding jazz and to nurture an environment that keeps this spirit alive and bountiful. The collective has intentions to integrate enthusiastic students into this community, but for now, the LAIC is making a name for themselves by displaying the accoutrements of veteran jazz musicians who are popular among jazz music’s academic circles.
The LAIC explore their creative urges while keeping the music fluid, and evolving naturally into fresh harmonious forms like the shifting shapes of Joe Bagg’s organ in "Points Subtracted" and the curvaceous bluesy jazz channels of Mike Scott’s guitar chords in the nocturne, "Don’t The Sun Feel Good." The group allows room for the instrument parts to breathe and stretch out their limbs, and sometimes to even cuddle with an expressive tenderness that draws out a sentimental vibe. The loosely tied horns of "Mission Springs," penned by saxophonist Matt Zebley, are secured by the soothing strokes of bassist Ryan McGillicuddy and drummer Jason Harnell. The group also taps into the romantic ballroom-dance side of jazz with the brightly lit "Lost And Found," written by one of the group’s trumpet players, Josh Welchez. Each track shows a different facet of this group as each member displays their own interpretation of contemporary jazz’s repertoire, like the bolero-style spins in saxophonist Damon Zick’s original piece, "Hector, Desmond And Titus," and the fluid smoke puffs of the horns illuminating Steve Cotter’s instrumental "Letting Go."
The Los Angeles Jazz Collective have set a goal to help further jazz musicians, and to keep the future of jazz music on the course to prosperity. The group’s latest release, Sampler Vol. 1 is the tip of the proverbial iceberg from their point of view, and they would like to see more volumes added to this collection in the future.