Brian Torff to introduce new band at Quick Center concert
Renowned bassist and composer Brian Q. Torff will introduce a new band and a new sound when he performs at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Keeping the name, Thunderstick, and the original three piece ensemble he has been playing with - Torff on bass, Florence Melnotte on keyboard and Grisha Alexiev on drums - he is adding a four-person horn section to the mix. His intent, he says, is to update the popular sound of the late '60s and early '70s horn bands, like Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago. "I always loved that sound," he explains, "but I wanted to do it my way with a newer kind of style and more modern arrangements."
Torff says he has enjoyed exploring and expanding the color, power and excitement of a horn-driven group. The creative possibilities have been enhanced by the caliber of horn musicians he assembled, which include Scott Wendholt and Nathan Ecklund on trumpets, David Mann on tenor sax, and John Fumasoli on trombone. "They are experienced musicians who have played with groups like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tower of Power and for Broadway shows," says Torff. "The level of performance they bring is just stellar." The group plans to record a CD next year.
While some of his earlier compositions will be on the program, Torff will be introducing several new works, including "Earth Mother," a tribute to Mary Lou Williams that has a gospel influence; "Gnarly Shred," a reggae ski song; and a reggae-funk tune, "Asiaaterrukai," which he wrote in May while appearing at the Blue Note in Tokyo. Torff has some fun with "Grandma's Hoover Dance," which he describes as "a funk tune inspired by a vacuum cleaner" and "Farewell, Duke of Prunes," written in the rock style of Frank Zappa. "Workin' on a Bassline" is a praise song Torff included in memory of his mentor, Milt Hinton.
Torff has toured throughout the United States, Europe, Brazil and South Africa and has had his compositions recorded by top musicians. He serves as music program director at Fairfield University and was a co-chairperson for the music advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets are $8 for general admission; $5 for students and are available through the Quick Center box office, (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.
Posted on October 1, 2001
Vol. 34, No. 88