The JAZZ PASSENGERS are a fantastical fusion of post-bop and musical comedy, once called a “perverse mainstream … hard-bop group as imagined by Frank Zappa.” (Bob Blumenthal, Boston Globe, 1989). Their name, a take-off on Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, reveals the musicians’ wild ride along the eccentric currents in modern American music. Saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, who found strong affinity in their Brooklyn roots while together in the band of the Big Apple Circus and John Lurie’s seminal band, The Lounge Lizards, founded the band in 1987. They first broke out on the New York City avant-garde scene centering around the Knitting Factory with a hybrid of Mingus-influenced dance rhythms and original tunes complete with lyrics and/or entertaining stories.
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If their goal is to make jazz music interesting and unpredictable, they’ve achieved it.
- Jade Blackmore, BlogCritics
It’s the musical equivalent of a Cubist painting, taking elements and rearranging
them in unusual and sometimes grating juxtapositions. - Jade Blackmore, BlogCritics
And therein lies the beauty of this band, where humor comingles with a serious love
for the music. - Mike Shanley, JazzTimes
In the 1990s, Blondie’s Debbie Harry performed and recorded as part of the giddily
unclassifiable, quasi - vaudevillian Jazz Passengers. - nbcnewyork.com
This magic can only exist when musicians enjoy a nearly indescribable intuition,
coupled with the cohesiveness that comes with longevity