The contemporary jazz band led by Dutcher Snedeker on Friday played Founders and Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted new tracks by Kaitlyn Zittel and more. Story, podcast, video, photos.
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The lineups may change, but the mission remains the same.
West Michigan keyboard player Dutcher Snedeker formed the contemporary jazz group Blushing Monk more than two years ago with the goal of showcasing the varied musical influences of emerging jazz musicians.
“We’re one of a few young jazz groups in West Michigan doing original music and we’re all bringing multi-genre influences to this project with our writing and arrangements,” said Snedeker.
“All of these people bring different backgrounds, flavors, styles, education … looking at jazz as this kind of canvas and coloring it with different notes and harmonies that we bring to the table.’
Snedeker’s first version of the band featured Olin Clark, Brad Fritcher, Joe Vazquez and Jordan Otto, aka, players from Western Michigan University, Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University jazz programs.
But, he noted, all of them eventually moved out of state to pursue other jazz projects, so the roster of players now features saxophonist Caleb Elzinga, bassist Aiden Cafferty, drummer Ryan Demeniuk, guitarist Travis Swanson and Snedeker.
‘A GOOD MIX OF JAZZ TALENT’
It’s still a robust young lineup of talented musicians, steeped in the tradition of “all the greats” such as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, but exploring various modern influences with their own compositions.
“It’s part of the Michigan crew that we’ve all come to know each other through different projects. … a good mix of jazz talent,” Snedeker said. “Jazz is definitely a great tool for navigating a lot of other styles of music.”
The band demonstrated that during this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, performing a pair of songs on the air and discussing its music as the group prepared to play a special Friday night show at Founders Brewing Co., part of a weekend celebration of the brewery’s 2019 release of its Blushing Monk brew (which preceded the band name).
Watch a video of Blushing Monk’s in-studio rendition of “Working Title” here and listen to the radio show podcast below, along with a photo gallery from the Founders show.
VIDEO: Blushing Monk, “Working Title” (Local Spins on WYCE)
Snedeker – who starts a musical residency at West Shore Community College this winter – hopes to book more performance dates for Blushing Monk this spring and summer. He’s also exploring the idea of returning to the recording studio to lay down new Blushing Monk tracks.
The Jan. 4 episode of Local Spins on WYCE – which showcases local and regional music at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE 88.1 FM – also boasted the debut of new tracks Kaitlyn Zittel and The Ryne Experience, a countdown of 2018’s top local albums by Heavy Color, Peace to Mateo and May Erlewine & The Motivations and songs from The Lippies, Emma Loo, The Turnips and Olin Clark (this week’s musicians’ pick). Listen to the full podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (1/4/19)
PHOTO GALLERY: Blushing Monk at Founders Brewing
Photos by Kendra Kamp