The Jazz Passengers
The JAZZ PASSENGERS are a fantastical fusion of post-bop and musical comedy, once called a perverse mainstream hard-bop group as imagined by Frank Zappa. (Bob Blumenthal, Boston Globe, 1989). Their name, a take-off on Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, reveals the musicians wild ride along the eccentric currents in modern American music. Saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, who found strong affinity in their Brooklyn roots while together in the band of the Big Apple Circus and John Luries seminal band, The Lounge Lizards, founded the band in 1987. They first broke out on the New York City avant-garde scene centering around the Knitting Factory with a hybrid of Mingus-influenced dance rhythms and original tunes complete with lyrics and/or entertaining stories.
Since their early days on the downtown jazz scene, the Jazz Passengers have travelled on a journey around the world, touring with Deborah Harry for seven years, recording and performing with Elvis Costello, Mavis Staples, Jimmy Scott and so many more. They've appeared on the David Letterman Show and The House of Blues, and they are known for their creative adventures in performance - such as their live music and dialogue performance to Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, and their theatrical adaptation of 'Exiles in Eden', Paul Reyes' nonfiction exploration of the housing crisis in Florida.
The Jazz Passengers will be releasing their 13th album, 'Still Life With Trouble' in March 2017. Besides Nathanson and Fowlkes the original band members included Bill Ware on vibraphone, E.J. Rodriguez on percussion, Brad Jones on bass, Jim Nolet on violin and Marc Ribot on guitar. They are now a seve -piece band without guitar and with Sam Bardfeld on violin and Ben Perowsky on drums.