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The Presidents Own

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Marine Fusion Jazz Band’s “Weather Report” Brings the Thunder!

By Master Sgt. Kristin duBois | United States Marine Band | June 28, 2017

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Washington, D.C. -- style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">The “Weather Report” calls for hot jazz with a side of cool musicians at 6 p.m., Thursday, July 6 at Yards Park on the southeast waterfront in Washington, D.C. “The President’s Own” will present a fusion jazz band performance which will feature several selections from one of the preeminent groups from the realm, Weather Report.

The Marine fusion jazz band is a relatively new ensemble from within the Marine Band. According to bassist Gunnery Sgt. Eric Sabo, the Marine Dance Band has been a cornerstone of the musical offerings at the White House alongside the Marine Chamber Orchestra for the last 50 years. There are many times, however, when there simply isn’t enough space for an orchestra or dance band amidst the guests. When this is the case, the Marine Band provides a small jazz combo which typically provides light background music. During the Obama administration, the Marine jazz combo performed frequently at the White House. “This motivated many of us to deepen our understanding of improvisation which led to the creation of many new ensembles such as our acoustic jazz ensemble, our Latin jazz ensemble, and this fusion jazz band,” Sabo said.

Fusion jazz, he explained, is traditional instrumental jazz combined with some of the more electronic sounds that were starting to emerge in the late 60s and early 70s, such as synthesizers, electric guitars, and electronic effects on the bass. At that time, rock musicians like Jimmy Hendrix were becoming extremely popular and jazz in its current form was struggling to keep pace with rock music. Musicians including Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and others began using innovative electronic instruments and effects in their compositions and fusion jazz was born.

“One of the most innovative musical groups of this era was called Weather Report,” Sabo said. “They went through many personnel changes throughout the years but the core members of the band were Josef Zawinul on keyboards, bass player Jaco Pastorius, and saxophone player Wayne Shorter. We are going to play a couple of their most popular tunes from their Weather Report days, and also explore some of the music that these three musicians made both before and after their time with Weather Report,” he said. “‘Some Skunk Funk’ is my personal favorite because it’s fast, loud, and I like the title.”

The Marine fusion jazz combo will perform at 6 p.m., Thursday, July 6 at Yards Park, which is located at 355 Water Street SE, in Washington, D.C. The full program is available here. Weather related cancellations will be announced on the Concert Information line at (202) 433-4011, at www.marineband.marines.mil, and at www.facebook.com/marineband.   
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