Monday, February 22, 2010

Small crowds keep jazz drummer Justin Chesarek on point

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 6:12 PM

click to enlarge STICKIN' IT TO THE MAN: Justin Chesarek
  • STICKIN' IT TO THE MAN: Justin Chesarek

On a good night, drummer Justin Chesarek's Wednesday night gigs at Churchill Grounds draw about 25 people, but sometimes he spends the evening playing to empty chairs. No matter how small the crowd, Chesarek has used the weekly shows over the past two years to develop a musical familiarity with his bandmates, bassist Craig Shaw and alto saxophonist Akeem Marable. Though they sometimes perform in quintets and quartets, the three musicians form the core of every group.

"We feel this energy that we just haven't felt playing with other people," Chesarek says regarding the trio. "We've really established a very intense connection musically."

Last week, the band put on an invite-only concert at Marable's home and turned on the recording equipment. The resulting release – which should hit the streets in a few months – will present the band in an intimate setting playing original compositions for an appreciative crowd. "We really are a group that thrives off of an audience that is there to listen to music," Chesarek says. "When you do a live recording, you're putting a lot of trust in the audience that they're not going to mess it up for you."

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(Photo courtesy Justin Chesarek)

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