Jazz music is uniquely American. It was born a century ago in the Deep South, but its style and rhythms changed as it spread across the country.
Today, jazz is often little more than wallpaper at a corporate function, in the background with muted tones. But coming across jazz in clubs is rare these days. In some ways, hearing jazz in the Tri-State has reverted to the new “salon culture,” the house concert.
It was at one such house concert (hosted by Harry George of Evansville) that the Tom Drury Quartet came into being. Drury, who teaches music at the University of Southern Indiana and is music director at Trinity United Methodist Church, put together some top talent for his eponymous quartet at the concert.
“I knew I didn’t want to do the show solo, so I called these guys and we got together to rehearse and it was one of those special moments,” says Drury.
The rhythm section alone is impressive with Pat Moore on drums and Mike Rodenberg on bass. Erick Scales joins in with saxophone duties, while Drury is on piano.
Evansville jazz promoter/DJ and now producer Paul Mattingly saw something special in that first gig.
“The quartet brought it that day,” says Mattingly. “It’s straight ahead jazz and that’s what struck me. This would be a great record that had that ‘thing.’”
Mattingly is no stranger to music lovers in the Tri-State. He helps promote shows of all kinds and highlights fresh new music by bringing on local talent to his “Jazz Flight” show on WUEV.
“He is so passionate about the local scene,” says Drury. “He brought the idea of the CD to us. It’s called ‘By George’ as a tribute to Harry and his wife Linda and that night. ”
Drury worked up seven original tunes and they also dove into three standard jazz numbers such as “Blue Monk” by Thelonius Monk and also tracks from Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane.
Recorded at Evansville’s 77 Recording Studio on East Morgan Avenue and engineered by Patrick Preston, the music shines beautifully and allows each instrument to find its own space.
The Tom Drury Quartet will be performing at the Kenny Kent Lexus Jazz & Wine Festival on Sept. 20.
For more information about the Tom Drury Quartet, visit the group’s Facebook page.