Washington, D.C. --
The “Weather Report” calls for hot jazz with a side of cool musicians at 8 p.m., Wednesday, July 11 on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol and at 7:30 p.m. at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Md. “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.
Fusion jazz is a relatively new ensemble from within the Marine Band. According to double bass player 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 a bit stagnant. 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 concerts are perfect for all ages and a fun evening for families. There’s no need to sit still or be quiet and dancing is highly encouraged! Both concerts are free and open to the public but are weather permitting. Concert cancellations will be announced by 6 p.m. at (202) 433-4011 and at www.facebook.com/marineband.
Directions to U.S. Capitol
Directions to Glen Echo