While most episodes of Carolina Grown follow a loosely based theme, I’m incredibly excited to announce that this week’s installment is entirely based around our local jazz scene. While I try to highlight each area of our state’s musical talents fairly equally, it’s hard to do when we cover such a wide array of influences. Thus, when I heard that Art of Cool would be announcing their lineup on the evening of November 15, I made sure that I could get them in as quickly after that as possible to talk about the state of our region’s jazz scene. So this Friday I’ll be joined by one of the first acts to pique my interest in local jazz, Peter Lamb and the Wolves and the organizers from one of the projects that is single-handedly responsible for spearheading the jazz revival in the Triangle.
From 5-6 I’ll be joined by Peter Lamb from Peter Lamb and the Wolves. Peter Lamb gained notoriety throughout the area whilst playing tenor sax for the widely known Countdown Quartet, but after they disbanded he wasted no time in gathering up a slew of talented musicians to form a brand new project. Since 2008 Peter Lamb and the Wolves have been bringing a reinvigorated style of traditional New Orleans-style jazz to both old and new fans of jazz music. Beginning at an inaugural ball at Humble Pie for Obama’s 2008 victory, the band has swiftly risen through the ranks thanks to their seemingly endless pool of talent, gaining countless followers along the way. Their most recent full length Humble Pie, was funded entirely through Kickstarter, a campaign that was so successful that they were able to record another full album from the donations. I’ll be debuting a new track from the second album that resulted from this project, thus far only titled The Bootlegs, featuring Maceo Parker a legendary saxophonist from James Brown’s backing band and the iconic Parliament.
From 6-7 I’ll be joined by trumpeter Al Strong (who coincidentally is a member of Peter Lamb and the Wolves) and Cicely Mitchell, the two folks responsible for the Art of Cool Project. For the past few years this non-profit has been helping to increase the local awareness of our vibrant community of jazz musicians and lovers. While they’ve been best known for putting on showcases at art galleries throughout the Triangle, their public awareness was also raised highly due to a successful Kickstarter campaign, but this one helped fund a massive jazz festival that will be taking place in Durham this April. Last Friday they announced a dazzling lineup for the festival that includes Maceo Parker, the Robert Glasper Experiment, Thundercat, Cody ChesnuTT and tons of other internationally acclaimed artists.
The Art of Cool is simultaneously highlighting the immensely talented local jazz musicians while bringing in some of the world’s most revered acts, resulting in a world-class jazz festival that the Triangle can call home. The state has always had strong ties to jazz, but The Art of Cool is helping to strengthen those ties once more. I’ll chat with Al and Cicely about how the project came together, the ins and outs of coordinating a festival of this caliber, and some of the exciting things to come as we lead up to this incredible festival.