All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Take Five With...

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

Take Five With the Anansi Trio

Mark Merella By

Sign in to view read count
About Anansi Trio

We are a group of like-minded musicians drawing from a wide range of musical influences. Using the language of jazz as our starting point, we use elements of Afro-Cuban and Indian music as well as other global traditions. With a diverse rhythmic approach and a focus on improvisation, we hope to put our own stamp on the American legacy known as Jazz.

Instrument(s):

Soprano and alto saxophones, acoustic bass and a hybrid drum kit consisting of drum set elements, congas, cajon and other percussion.

Teachers and/or influences?

We're influenced by many of the jazz masters including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter and also artists more associated with the avant-garde like Arthur Blythe and Ornette Coleman. World music is definitely in the mix with artists like Hamza El Din and Zakir Hussain, and Miles Davis for his constant reaching for new sounds and styles.

Your sound and approach to music.

We like the stripped down sound of the sax, bass and drums trio. It has the loft jazz vibe but also the more folkloric sound you get without the chordal accompaniment.

Your dream band

Since we're working with the trio format we could see maybe adding a guest artist on a gig or maybe in the studio. An oud player could add a nice touch or a guitarist that uses lots of colors.

Favorite venue

D.C. has a strong jazz scene and there's a good number of clubs in town including Twins and Alice's Jazz and Cultural Society. The Atlas Theater is a nice venue acoustically and the Phillips Collection has a nice staff and monthly jazz series.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Since we just released our debut CD it would have to be that, On The Path.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

We're trying to create a unique ensemble sound. The chordless trio has been done quite a bit, but with the congas and other percussion we have a different sound than say an Elvin Jones trio. We love Elvin, Sonny Rollins and what other groups have done with the trio format and hopefully we're adding to that legacy.

Did you know...

The Anansi Trio has its origins in the band Mosaic. Along with pianist Ned Judy and David Font-Navarette on percussion, the members of Anansi recorded two albums as Mosaic: Unsaid, Undone and Live At Sangha.

Music you are listening to now:

JD Allen: I Am I Am (Sunnyside)
Rashid Khan: Reflections (Sense World Music)
Arthur Blythe: Hypnotism (Enja)
Hamza El Din: Eclipse (Pacific Arts)
Wayne Shorter: Alegria (Verve)

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

There seem to be two camps. Those that are dedicated to playing jazz as a repertory music and those that are looking toward the future. It's important to understand and incorporate elements of the tradition but if an art form is to continue to stay valid it has to keep reinventing itself.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

There are lots of folks putting out great, creative music. Jazz is alive and well. To keep it growing, more venues would be helpful and music and arts education is important to keep any culture thriving.

What is in the near future?

We just released our debut CD so we'll be playing venues in D.C. and Baltimore to support it. Hopefully we'll do some other East Coast gigs if we get the opportunity. We're also rehearsing and working on new music to keep things fresh and record in the future.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Take Five with Tony Kofi Take Five With...
Take Five with Tony Kofi
by Tony Kofi
Published: July 31, 2018
Read Take Five with Alex Lefaivre Take Five With...
Take Five with Alex Lefaivre
by Alex Lefaivre
Published: July 24, 2018
Read Take Five with Isaiah Stewart Take Five With...
Take Five with Isaiah Stewart
by Isaiah Stewart
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Take Five with Francisco Quintero Take Five With...
Take Five with Francisco Quintero
by Francisco Quintero
Published: May 19, 2018
Read Take Five with Mark Haskins Take Five With...
Take Five with Mark Haskins
by Mark Haskins
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Take Five with Tarek Yamani Take Five With...
Take Five with Tarek Yamani
by Tarek Yamani
Published: April 12, 2018
Read "Take Five with Alex Lefaivre" Take Five With... Take Five with Alex Lefaivre
by Alex Lefaivre
Published: July 24, 2018
Read "Take Five with Jose Negroni" Take Five With... Take Five with Jose Negroni
by Jose Negroni
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Take Five with Mark Haskins" Take Five With... Take Five with Mark Haskins
by Mark Haskins
Published: April 17, 2018
Read "Take Five With the Anansi Trio" Take Five With... Take Five With the Anansi Trio
by Mark Merella
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga" Take Five With... Take Five with Tat Yoshinaga
by Tat Yoshinaga
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "Take Five with Tony Kofi" Take Five With... Take Five with Tony Kofi
by Tony Kofi
Published: July 31, 2018