The debut release from the Kalamazoo band fronted by Benje Daneman nudged out The Bootstrap Boys and Hacky Turtles to top all local and regional albums in airplay at WYCE-FM for December.
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Kalamazoo jazz trumpeter Benje Daneman credits the “amazingly vast spectrum of the New Orleans repertoire” for inspiring Kanola Band’s performances and the recording of the group’s self-titled debut album.
“The music of New Orleans is about connection, community and celebration. It’s about evoking something joyful and beautiful out of every moment, be it good or bad,” he insists. “Audience connection is paramount when we play live shows, making them feel they are a part of the music or the music is a part of them. The album, recorded live, was meant to also give that same feeling.”
Consider that connection successful, indeed.
The band’s 2021 album closed out the year at No. 1 on the Local Spins Hot Top 5 Chart for December, based on radio airplay of local and regional albums at Grand Rapids’ WYCE (88.1 FM).
“Kanola” nudged out new releases by Grand Rapids vintage country act The Bootstrap Boys at No. 2 (“New Beginnings), funk-rock’s The Hacky Turtles at No. 3 (“Dichotomy”), jazz trio Normal Mode at No. 4 (“DOWNLINK”) and singer-songwriter Fiona Dickinson at No. 5 (“Pony”).
“It’s amazing,” Daneman says of listener support for the band which he first formed with drummer Jeff Moehle back in 2014 for a “New Orleans brunch” show. “The fact that folks are feeling it so much is encouraging and exciting to say the least.”
Daneman — who’s traveled the country as a jazz musician and is currently pursuing another project with his Chicago-based modern jazz group, SearchParty, after receiving a grant from the John Stites Jazz Award Organization — says Kanola Band has solidified its lineup over the past few years while touring more than it ever has before. A grant from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo helped the group finish production of “Kanola,” released last summer.
The band has several 2022 performances planned, including February shows at Albion College and Ferris State University, a Fat Tuesday concert in Ann Arbor on March 1 and a Fat Thursday Party in Kalamazoo on March 3.
“We’ll be playing both the album material along with new material we’ve been working up as we’ve toured this past year. Looking forward to hopefully another recording down the road soon, too,” adds Daneman, who grew up in Grand Rapids studying under well-known instructors Max Colley III, Charley Lea, Paul Brewer and Glenn William. He’s released several solo albums as well as collaborations with other bands and projects.
Daneman and his wife, Ashley, own and direct the Jazz & Creative Institute/Kalamazoo Music School in downtown Kalamazoo.
View previous Local Spins Hot Top 5 Charts.
THE LOCAL SPINS HOT TOP 5 ON SPOTIFY: December 2021
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