Rock pays the bills, jazz rewards the soul
June 9, 2008 · Updated 8:53 PM
The Jazz Ambassadors promote musical good will and harmony wherever they go
They bring the message to Bainbridge Island in a First Fridays concert, Oct. 5 at Island Center Hall.
I picked the name Jazz Ambassadors because I always have this idea that music is multicultural and multi-lingual, band leader Dave Carson said. If I go to Japan and say, Lets play B-flat blues, everyone understands what I mean.
As professionally trained musicians supported by their music-making, the Ambassadors are positioned to carry the message with flair.
Carson assembled the band five years ago from performers who were, like himself, Navy musicians.
That means the band members were not just enlisted men who might play with a band on their own time, but were specialists who played music all day.
Carson was right to gather a group of pros, said the bands pick-up drummer, islander John Lester. This is one of the best ensembles I have ever played with and Im an old guy.
Most musicians dont play as much as these guys do, or with as wide a range. They might play Sousa in the morning and Chopin in the afternoon. Then jazz allows them to cut loose at night.
Carson notes that only college-trained musicians pass the Navys auditions. Once accepted as a music specialist, they receive further instruction at the Armed Forces School of Music, an affiliate of the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass.
Carson understands the preference for trained musicians.
I dont like to hire people who cant read, because you have to rehearse twice as long, he said. The professional instruction makes a big, big difference.
While Carson admits that its the rock and roll band he plays with that pays the bills, the jazz ensemble has his heart because he finds the music more challenging and cerebral.
He chose music over his fathers objections.
Dad was a machinist, so you had the classic blue-collar worker with an artist son, Carson said. It wasnt a good mix he was pretty sure Id be a bum. But he came around when I joined the Navy band and started making money.
He even got to be a fan.
* * * * *
The Jazz Ambassadors comprised of saxophonist David Carson; guitarist Gene Rosati; vocalist and trumpeter Tommy Horner; bassist David Bogart; and percussionist John Lester play original compositions and jazz standards at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5. Admission are $8/adults, $5/youth ages 6-18. Call 842-2306.