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15. The Sound of Surprise

The May Second of Jazz post is about the New York based saxophonist, Mike Casey.

Mike Casey attended the Greater Hartford Academy for the Performing Arts in high school, where he studied in the jazz program. In 2011, he attended the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford). Shortly before graduating in 2015, Casey was one of 24 selected worldwide to participate in the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Casey recently released the album, “The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door”.

“One of the musical concepts I love the most is the sound of surprise,” says Casey of his title, adding, “we love to surprise our audiences- and each other! We find that we create the best music when we reach beyond what we think we can do.”

Joining him on this album are two members of his longtime trio, Corey Garcia on drums and Matt Dwonszyk on bass. The band’s format is inspired by Sonny Rollins, the pioneer of the chordless saxophone trio. “The Sound of Surprise” was recorded at the Side Door in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Each song is a first take, recorded live, with no edits, which is reflected in the atmosphere and feel of this album.

The trio plays four standards “Turnaround” by Ornette Coleman, “Mack the Knife” by Kurt Weill, “Miles Mode” by John Coltrane, and “Little Melonae” by Jackie McLean, as well as three originals from the band. The opening track, “Hydraulics”, composed by the drummer, Garcia, creates a great first impression, and there are six interesting and harmonic tracks to follow. The musicians give each other lots of creative space, which they all exploit to the fullest when they deliver their individual solos. Casey will be releasing the music video of his original song “Dagobah” on May 4th.

This album deserves a place in your record collection!

Listen to the album here.

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