This past Sunday I was lucky enough to catch the Kalmunity Jazz Project play a set at Resonance Cafe. Right from the start there was a very positive vibe in the room, partly because to the causal and relaxed atmosphere of the cafe (comfy seating and low lights) and partly due to the enthusiasm and passion of the members of the band. For this performance the Kalmunity Jazz Project consisted of two saxophones, a piano, a trumpet, a bass, a lead guitar, a singer and two percussionists.
As I sipped my green tea, the band played a variety of original material that melded traditional and modern jazz with soul, afrobeat, hip hop and funk. Each member seemed to be having a great time playing, particularly during their solos. I was especially impressed by the trumpet solo and the tenor saxophone solo. They both showed immense skill and style. The solos were exciting and fun, giving the audience a rush of energy and joy. The trumpet solo was super dynamic, bursting with energy. He was really great at referencing earlier parts of the song, while adding his own unique style. The tenor saxophone solo was funky and fun. When he began to play he walked on to centre stage and sort of created his own weird groove. The rest of the band followed his lead and it created this great moment in which really got the crowd going. It was clear that the Kalmunity Jazz Project were equal parts musician and performer.
The vocalist of the group showed great range. She had a strong R&B voice that she used to scat. She was very much consumed by the performance, swaying back and forth to the music, closing her eyes when she was singing and responding to the playing of the other band members. Not all the songs had vocals and when there were vocals, the other instruments did not act like her accompaniment. It was as if her voice was just another instrument. It was cool that there were two percussionists. One played a basic drum kit, while the other had this cool set up that included various cow bells, tambourines, bongos and shakers. It was interesting to see him integrate all these noises into the music.
Overall the show was really fun and lively. There was many occasions for audience participation, with call and respond scatting, banter with the vocalist and encouragement to dance and have a good time. For more information on the Kalmunity Jazz Project please visit https://www.facebook.com/kalmunityjazz.