Jazz Jam – Improv quartet performs at ‘Relli’s

On Wednesday nights from 9 p.m. to midnight, Cascarelli’s restaurant now features more than just drink specials. As of Oct. 27, The Four in Trade, a jazz band made up of Albion College students and a professor, will be hosting “Jim’s Jazz Jam” at this time.

“Jim’s Jazz Jam,” named after Jim Cascarelli, is an open music session for those interested in playing jazz music. Anyone is welcome to come play with the members of The Four in Trade which include Dan Willenberg, Mt. Clemens senior, Dan Palmer, Traverse City senior, Dustin Goodnight, Marshall senior, and James Ball, professor of music at Albion College.

The Four in Trade is a result of the Jazz Combo course taught by Ball. The members came together as a continuation of a band that began last semester called The Minor 9ths, which consisted of Palmer, who plays guitar, Willenberg on piano and Ball, who plays bass guitar. They changed the name with the addition of Goodnight as the drummer this semester.

“We are all music majors who are into jazz. (We) wanted to form a small group to perform and (that would also) be able to open up musically,” Palmer said. “This smaller instrumentation is what I would ideally like to make a living performing in, so that was inspiration to start it.”

The band plays everything from swing and ballads to funk and original pieces. Exploring a broad range of jazz music and improvisation is something the band is looking to do, Willenberg said.

“It is not only my hope that this helps to grow the reputation of the music department at Albion, particularly the jazz program, but it is also very practical experience for these performers – in essence an internship in jazz performance,” Ball said.

“Jim’s Jazz Jam” gives The Four in Trade an opportunity to do all of this while interacting with the community.

“Another part of hosting this is to get other students interested in appreciating the art of improvised music,” Willenberg said.

So far, the student and community reaction has been mainly positive towards The Four in Trade.

“Their quartet has a great connection,” said Chad Bousley, Dexter first-year and prospective music major. “I love what they are doing and I hope to be able to do something like that eventually.”

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