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Music Review:

Jazz with eclectic ‘Blue’ notes

July 25, 2009|By Hassahn Liggins

There is obviously one thing that cozy and quaint Jax Bar & Grill in Glendale is known for besides food and that is the jazz musicians they bring in to entertain their guests.

On Tuesday night, the New York-based jazz trio known as Origin Blue made a stop at the trendy establishment during their West Coast tour. With a few people celebrating birthdays, several couples out on dates, and some locals enjoying a beer or two at the bar, the scene was set for Origin Blue to deliver a funk-filled performance of their eclectic style of jazz.

Jazz is a genre of music where sonic freedom is much appreciated and welcomed. Drawing from that freedom, Origin Blue creates music that has a familiar sound but provides layers that make their music hard to classify.


While jazz serves as the main ingredient in their sound, there are definitely elements of funk, rock and soul intertwined in their musical gumbo. Although Isamu McGregor plays a basic piano, Evan Crane uses the upright bass and Jeff Hatcher keeps the beat on a normal drum set, the sound these three gentlemen create is far from basic jazz.

McGregor, who grew up in La Crescenta , plays the keys with a certain vigor that accentuates the melody of the songs. Crane, who has studied under the likes of Tony Moreno and Martin Wind, plucks the upright bass and provides the essence of the groove.

Hatcher, who studied jazz at New York University, is a very creative drummer as he blends several drumming techniques to round out the sound of Origin Blue.

If the toe-tapping, finger-snapping, and head-bobbing were not enough to indicate that the audience was enjoying their performance, then the constant round of applause from those in attendance made it quite apparent that their form of jazz is what I like to call “Feel Good” music.

Although they engage the crowd verbally mostly to introduce songs, they do an excellent job of balancing out their music so that it feeds the craving of each individual person in the restaurant. Those who came out that night to groove got that with songs like “Groove in Blue,” and “Krantz Time.”

Those who were looking for romance were seduced by the sounds of songs like “Mad Fat” and “Autumn Leaves.” As couples held hands and people at the bar danced, Origin Blue definitely captured the moment of the night.

Origin Blue will have many nights to come as they bounce back and forth and in between Los Angeles and New York giving jazz lovers and non-jazz lovers a groove that invokes a plethora of emotions and allows them to let go and live in the moment.

Origin Blue is not only a jazz trio, they are also “Masters of the Moment” with an eclectic sound that can be simply described as “Feel Good” music.

?HASSAHN LIGGINS has reviewed artists from the soulful sounds of John Legend to the acoustic grooves of John Mayer for many publications worldwide.

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