Jazz quintet heads to GR
Jazz player Doug Rosenberg, musicians will take the stage at Founders Brewery
Courtesy Photo / Doug Rosenberg
Noteworthy: The Doug Rosenberg Quintet jazz band will perform next Thursday at Founder’s Brewery.
GVL Staff Writer
2/8/2007 2:01:08 AM
Doug Rosenberg said he wants to play something new in a music genre through which familiar standards are often performed amidst improvisation.
The Chicago jazz musician is bringing four of his friends to Grand Rapids next Thursday as the Doug Rosenberg Quintet steps on stage for their first show at Founders Brewery.
“Every time I go to Founders I have a great time — the sound sucks but there’s always a great vibe,” Rosenberg said.
The quintet is comprised of Matt Holman on trumpet, Rob Clearfield on piano, Matt Ulery on bass, Jon Deitemyer on drums and Rosenberg on tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and bass clarinet. Rosenberg can also play kaval and clarinet.
The five are friends who play in different bands together in different configurations, he said.
“We’re the kind of musicians who gig a lot, so it’s cool that we can all come together,” Rosenberg said.
He said his shows at Founders are always a good time, but he offered a few suggestions for those who might be unfamiliar with live jazz.
“One thing that people don’t realize is it really is folk music — the audience is expected to be involved,” he said. “If they like a solo, they should say so.”
He also advised listening for what might be familiar and what is new. The quintet plays original composition but also performs arrangements from more popular bands such as Nirvana.
“None of us know what’s going to happen even though we play with each other all the time,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg has played in Grand Rapids before — three times at Founders with his other group, Eastern Blok.
Beyond his quintet and Eastern Blok, Rosenberg has played with The J. Davis Trio and used to do salsa and gospel.
In jazz, a typical freelance musician will play anything with any band, Rosenberg said.
“We’re professional improvisers,” he added.
In the groups Rosenberg plays in, being well-rehearsed and original are big objectives. Last year, Eastern Blok played about 100 shows and the group had at least half as many rehearsals.
When he is not performing or rehearsing, Rosenberg teaches jazz band at a local high school.
“I like to try and help people understand this kind of interesting art/music that people, I think, are less and less exposed to,” he said.
Earning degrees in jazz and chemistry, Rosenberg said music has always been a part of his life.
“I was kind of a creative, trouble kid and when I found music, that was something that ... felt right for me, and I was able to do my own thing,” he said.
At 28, the Wilmette, Ill. native makes a living as a musician and teacher in the Chicago area.
“Chicago, these days, it’s a little weird to say this ... but there’s a really strong, rich community,” Rosenberg said.
He described the jazz scene in Chicago as a “youngish, creative music scene” with people composing their own music.
“Playing shitty bars on Mondays and Tuesdays — it’s inspiring,” Rosenberg said.
He said being a musician in Chicago is different than being one in New York, but added, “Chicago is doing OK. Chicago is holding its own.”
Eastern Blok visits high schools and makes 10 to 15 college appearances every year. The group will play at Grand Valley State University March 19.
Visit http://www.myspace.com/dougrosenbergmusic and http://www.myspace.com/easternblok for more information on the groups, and http://www.foundersbrewing.com for more information on Founders Brewery.
[Goran Ivanovic from Croatia is a talented jazz guitarist. A solid bandleader who surrounds himself with American musicians, Ivanovic embraces his traditional Balkan folk music overtly. He plays hot.]
The Goran Ivanovic Group offers up fire rather than ice, and the guitarist’s amalgamation of flamenco, Balkan, classical, blues, and jazz keeps his band pushing forward almost all of the time on his eponymous album. With intricate time signatures and fleet, flamboyant soloing, Ivanovic’s group interacts on a heady and passionate musical plane.
About half of the tracks here draw on traditional Easertn European music, and the ensemble playing is often breakneck and consistently challenging. The frantic, Gypsy-like acoustic style of Ivanovic is impressive, and saxophonist Doug Rosenberg serves well as his instrumental foil. The group’s repertoire is loaded with dynamics, and they move from soft contemplative interludes to wholly original, speed-driven Balkan jazz.
Drummer Michael Caskey and bassist Matthew Scott Ulery deserve special credit, as their savvy chops allow them to keep pace with Ivanovic, and even push the guitarist to greater heights. Together, the intuitive quartet takes weddings songs and other longstanding folk tunes on fervent, melodic voyages. They showcase Ivanovic’s omnivorous guitar technique in energetic fashion, and make a most traditional music sound contemporary. [3 stars]
- Mitch Myers, Downbeat, June 2006
mitch myers - downbeat
April 2, 2004 - There are drummers, and then there is Bob Moses. [Holy Hyperbole, Batman!] Well, it’s true: there aren’t many jazz drummers like Bob Moses. To say his resume is impressive is a gross understatement (Gary Burton, R. Roland Kirk, Pat Metheny’s 1st album, Steve Kuhn, etc.); he’s a fascinating, effective and engaging composer/arranger a la Gil Evans and Carla Bley (a bunch of discs on Gramavision, officially out of print but well worth seeking); and he’s a helluva drummer, a descendant of Art Blakey though he sounds nothing like him. Chicago saxophonist and student of Moses Doug Rosenberg had the moxie and good sense to arrange for Moses to come to Chicago, to play the legendary Velvet Lounge (where you are sometimes greeted at the door by owner/Chicago free jazz sax legend Fred Anderson).
It was just the two of them on stage – it would have be nice to see/hear a bigger band, but these cats filled up the room with their sounds. One might assume (that word: break it down) that a performance of just drums and sax (tenor & soprano) would be an avant-garde skronk-fest – wrong. Moses was playing “free” when many of today’s generation of heavyweight “out” cats were still eating strained spinach, but his style has absorbed free/out playing and integrated it with hard swing and a touch of rockin’ oomph. (Moses was also playing fusion when…aw, you get the idea.) Rosenberg (who's played w/ Ari Brown, Mulgrew Miller & John Sinclair) has a big, firm sound, a la Wayne Shorter and David Liebman, and plays with a refreshing directness and humble confidence, that sense of forward, linear motion, like he’s “going someplace.” I don’t think he needs to “engage in a search for the Sacred Truth” in his playing because he’s already found it, and he doesn’t make a big deal of it. I’m not such how much, if any, of the music these folks played was worked out in advance, but BM & DR played with a unity of purpose, free-flowing imagination, and ebb-and-flow dynamics – there were some moments when the music would meander a bit, and then ZANG! They would rein it in and find/create an overt or covert groove, and it was electric. As for the man of the hour: if there was an ocean of percussionists before him, I bet Moses could part them. He plays those drums with a brisk physicality, yet he seems utterly at ease. Moses plays with these shorter and heavier than usual drumsticks – they look like little logs. While he seems possessed by spiritual forces while playing, Moses is also possessed by a sense of down-to-earth, here & now, just plain folks aura. And the crowd dug it, indeed. [Postscript: be on the lookout for the disc Love Animal, a Bob Moses session from 1967/8, featuring Larry Coryell, Keith Jarrett and the late Jim Pepper, released on Moses’ own Mozown label in conjunction with Billy Martin’s Amulet label – it’s a grand, raw, almost punk-rock slice of early fusion. Also, for acoustic “out” styles, seek his early 70s large group set Bittersuite in the Ozone (same label), w/ Randy Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Howard Johnson and the late Jeanne Lee.]