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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Bjorlie’

Featuring Justin Ray on trumpet, Steve Alford on clarinets, Jacob Rodriguez on saxophones, Mike Holstein on bass, Ben Bjorlie on drums

Spork! is a 5-piece jazz ensemble from Asheville, NC that combines unique instrumentation, high-energy musicianship and widely varying influences to create a totally new sound. A sound deeply rooted in the jazz tradition, but coupled with the raw power of rock or the sly grooves of hip hop. Trumpeter Justin Ray, clarinetist Steve Alford, and saxophonist Jacob Rodriguez make up the front line; playing horn lines with Tower of Power-like precision before taking off on solo flights that bring memories of Miles and Coltrane. Bassist Mike Holstein is a wizard, filling the space with bass lines, but also somehow conjuring guitar riffs and piano chords from his instrument all at the same time. Drummer Ben Bjorlie is the glue, providing exactly what is needed at any given moment, from frenzied solos to deep pocket grooves. These musicians come together to create the Spork! experience.

Spork! was born when Ray and Rodriguez moved to Asheville from New York City. They were quickly accepted into Ashevilleʼs thriving indie rock/original music scene, and Ray soon began to look for the musicians he needed to perform his own compositions. Enter Alford, who had recently arrived in North Carolina from Chicago and itʼs one-of-a-kind avant-garde jazz community; North Carolina native Holstein, a giant among the jazz musicians of the southeast; and Bjorlie, a drummer equally comfortable in jazz, rock, funk, and the host of other influences that compromise the Spork! sound.

Since its inception, Spork! has been a favorite among musicians of all types. Their first gigs at clubs around Asheville were populated almost exclusively by members of the music community. Their audiences have continued to grow, mostly through word of mouth. They hope to reach even more fans through the upcoming release of their self-titled 2 disc live recording on May 26th, 2011. The recording captures performances at two different Asheville clubs (The Rocket Club and The Magnetic Field) with the group at its funky and frenetic best.

Spork! will continue to record and perform after the release of its debut double volume CD recorded live in Asheville. Collaborations with other artists and groups are currently taking shape, including performances with a string quartet and a DJ in the continuing attempt to bring more influences under the Spork! umbrella.

Find out more about Spork! and see some great videos at http://www.facebook.com/Sporkband.

Spork!
CD release Party
Thursday, May 26th, 2011
MoDaddy’s Bar

9pm, $5
828-258-1550
77-B Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
www.modaddysbar.com

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Get Ready for one of my absolute favorites, Jen and the Juice with popular Charleston band Dangermuffin on Friday, September 17th  at the LAB in Asheville. Show starts around 10pm, just after the Downtown after Five on Lexington Ave with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge!

JE N  A N D T H E  J U I C E wow audiences with a singularly hipster mix of swingy, bluesy, refreshingly original funk and folk. Together in Western North Carolina for more than five years now, their second CD “Meet the Hooligan’s of  Bohemia” in 2007 hit a home run with fans and earned a juicy spot in WNCW 88.7 FM radio’s top 10 best regional albums of 2007. Now the Juice is heading into wider territory with a newly released CD “Fruit”, an even more dynamic cast of characters and a step up to regional and national touring.

“We draw a lot of inspiration from folks like Sublime, Beck, The Beatles, Paul Simon, G-Love, and Taj Mahal”, says Jenny Greer, lead vocalist and songwriter for the Juice. Her songs are exciting audiences connect immediately at both the emotional and fun level, wanting to know her and become part of the groovin’ picture. A multi media wizard who juices websites, music, lyrics, guitars and cover art like Willy Wonka makes candy, Jen’s a powerhouse in the singer songwriter and arts community at large. If ever a person could make things work, rouse a crowd, organize a party, create a concert and art happening with a walloping big collaboration of sound/ fun/ art and anything else, it’s Jen.

While Jenny writes most of the songs, the bands help make the arrangements smart, smooth and funky. Rolling melodies gently cruise through a lyrically painted canvas and stories dot the landscape of their tunes. After five years, their sound and reputation have grown, there are a few new members and a more polished, vibrant sound. While Jen travels the guitar neck, deftly cruising the chords of jazz, swing, rock and folk, Jake Hollifield owns the keyboard in the Juice, adding juke joint/boogie woogie flare and sophistication. Mikie Gray (Firecracker Jazz Band) handles drums while Ben Bjorlie holds the groove together tightly on electric bass, Kether Ables sings beautiful back-up melodies. The sound is melodic, familiar yet new, with a sing-a-long-able feel most acts would long for. Be prepared for dancing, spontaneous singing, shouting, clapping, whimsical familiarity and even a little group introspection as the audience bonds with Jen and the Juice for a warmly refreshing and hip musical ride.

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