Monday, June 17, 2013

Rolling Jazz Revue at StartleFest

Rolling Jazz Revue at StartleFest 

Alabama Music goes to the first annual StartleFest at Lowe Mill in Huntsville, Alabama. StartleFest happened in the Flying Monkey Theatre and was presented by Startlingly Fresh Records.
Their Facebook page says, "We play modern jazz... very rock and r&b influenced... some free jazz... lots of original music."
Members Jim Cavender- guitar
Newt Johnson- keys
Nick Walker- bass
Aaron Cox- drums
Jeff Woods- percussion

STARTLEFEST -- JUNE 8, ISSUE 175 5/30/13-Valley Planet

by Jane DeNeefe

Huntsville is blessed with a rich array of musical talent, including networks of musicians who reach across genre and generational lines sharing knowledge and fresh ideas.

Seasoned guitarist Jim Cavender draws inspiration from the old jazz, gospel, blues and soul roots of Americana even when he works on new, original songs. As a music teacher and producer, his reach extends into the future as well. When a former UAH jazz student, Newt Johnson, approached Jim with the idea of starting an energetic, funky jazz band that would play all original material, Jim was intrigued.

Collaborator Terri Cavender recalls, "Newt really inspired Jim to reach out and create new music with Rolling Jazz Revue. Then Newt convinced us that the three of us could start our own record company." Several albums later, their label, Startlingly Fresh, is holding a festival, StartleFest, as a special event to celebrate the release of their five most recent CDs and to showcase the local talent they record.

StartleFest will be an evening festival of local bands, videos, food and fun on Saturday June 8, 5pm to midnight, at Lowe Mill's Flying Monkey. The Flying Monkey Theater is the main stage, but when you ride the old elevator to the second floor of Lowe Mill and stroll along the Flying Monkey corridor you will find other interesting StartleFest diversions, like a stage inside Beloved Books for jazz and acoustic acts, a photo booth, and a Startlingly Fresh Video Festival inside the studio of Squeaking Tribe Puppets. (Check YouTube for a video collaboration between Squeaking Tribe Puppets and Rolling Jazz Revue called "Whistle Past the Graveyard.") Other attractions will include a Startling Dance Contest and a Startling Cook-off with categories like "most startling presentation." Please see the Startlingly Fresh Facebook page for more info.

Bands playing live at the festival who also have new releases include: The Dawn Osborne Band, with their eponymous release of original "jazzy, soulful Americana;" Trio El Camino's "hot organ r&b;" Rolling Jazz Revue's fifth album, "rjr;" and guitar duets with Jim Cavender and Josh Couts. Host band pleasPlease will release "I Dream of Jonny." Singers Ivy Joe Milan and Criss Ashwell will represent "Bookaroo," a live recording of a 2009 jam session at Huntsville's main library, and jazz pianist Keith Taylor (Startlingly Fresh CD "O Christmas Tree-O") will be there to play new work. Startlingly Fresh recording artist Jana Savanapridi will perform with Matt Bakula (Pine Hill Haints) as the Thunderfakers , and with visual artist and songwriter Robert Daniel as the Baker Street Irregulars. Daniel writes insightful songs based on the movies he watches.

Jana also performs with pleasPlease, the official hosts of the main stage. PleasPlease, with their dazzling leader Jonny Request and their crazy fake-TV show format, will emcee the show and play songs between the acts. Jana explains, "Sure Jim is an accomplished musician, but he also needs an outlet for his twisted sense of humor." Hence, pleasPlease. Expect original music, creativity, collaboration and door prizes.

Jane DeNeefe is the author of Rocket City Rock and Soul: Huntsville Musicians Remember the 1960s.

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