Big Tall Wish is the brainchild of Mike Barile (guitar) and Steve Armstrong (bass), created in January 2004 while both were students in the University of New Orleans Jazz Program. Having moved from different parts of the country (Barile from Boston, Armstrong from Kansas City) in search of more playing experience in the jazz idiom, Armstrong and Barile found themselves fully immersed in New Orleans' world-renowned music scene, studying music by day and playing it by night. This was a period of substantial growth for both musicians, yet they felt the need to express themselves in a greater creative capacity than the standard jazz band would allow. While Barile and Armstrong listened to jazz music regularly, they found themselves increasingly intrigued by the sounds of modern electronic musicians. They also wanted their music toconnect to their own generation in a way that jazz music typically did not, to create a style and a concept that was both fun for non-musicians to listen to and satisfying for musicians to play. These somewhat vague ideas formed the basis for Big Tall Wish.
The project started off with simple drum loops and samples, but it soon grew into something much larger and more involved as Armstrong and Barile gained creative control over their newly chosen mode of expression. They eagerly tapped into the improvisational talents of various friends from the New Orleans jazz scene. Saxophonists Rex Gregory (Jill Scott, Nicholas Payton) and Ed Petersen (Dizzy Gillespie, Fareed Haque, Kurt Elling) and vibraphonists James Westfall (Terri Lyne Carrington, The Thelonious Monk Institute) and Matt McClimon (QMR, Red Shift) all lent their considerable talents to the Big Tall Wish project, and drummer Evan Howard was recruited to create an organic groove that the music needed.
BigTall Wish released their debut album Leverage (Digital Papa Records) on March 1, 2006. Since arriving in New York City, the official band now consists of Barile (guitar), Armstrong (bass) and Dave Miller (drums) with a rotating cast of talented soloists and affiliates who contribute to the group's unique sound. It is the constant influx of new ideas from outside sources and a small dose of irreverent humor that keeps the group fresh, inspired and unpredictable.
Digital Papa Records
Tracks: Boomshakaboom; Roller Derby Destruction Unit; A Thin Line; Slinky; It's A Circus; Yes, No, Maybe So; Riot Jazz (aka/Beezlebubblyboo); Talk To Me; Time To Go; Lonely Woman
Personnel: Mike Barile: Guitar; Steve Armstrong: Bass; Evan Howard: Drums
As A Side Musician
Rex Gregory: Sax and Flute; James Westfall: Vibes; Matt McClimon: Vibes; Ed Petersen: Sax
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