Meet Martin VejaranoChia's Dance Party: CHIA's Dance Party is a New York City-based quartet/quintet. The band delivers a unique musical experience, where infectious, danceable grooves mix harmoniously with extensive compositional and improvisational work. The band performs original material inspired by the Colombian rhythmic and melodic traditions, yet explores different genres and compositional approaches. CHIA's Dance Party has a distinct sound, as a result of the diverse background of its musicians: Ben Stapp, an exceptional tuba player, brings his vast experience in experimental, classical and rock music; Alex Terrier, on soprano saxophone, delivers the best, virtuosic sounds of modern jazz; and Justin Wood, on alto sax and flute, adds adventurous and fearless contemporary sounds and concepts. All of these sounds are catalyzed by musical director, Marti¬n Vejarano on drums. We are also proud to feature the sounds of very special guests such as Rafi Malkiel, on bombardino (euphonium), and Federico Ochoa, on soprano sax.
Teachers and/or influences? Colombian street bands and traditional music. North American big bands and jazz combos. Classical composers. Improvisers. World music.
Your teaching approach: Expose them to the different musical traditions, specially the one they are getting inspiration from.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Combining the intellectual aspect but bringing back the danceable spirit of the old days.
What is in the near future? Gigs, composing, gigs, recording.
Practice, cook, compose, stay healthy.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: a folk musician.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.