Based in Lafayette, Lousiana, the jazz ensemble Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co. releases their swinging and soulful 10-track album entitled 'Potluck.'
Encouraging us to pull up a seat and transport ourselves back to New Orleans in the roaring 20s, Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co. is known for taking a new approach to traditional jazz favorites while transforming modern pop songs into jazz standards. Although jazz music is heavily underrated during this day and age, Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co. makes sure to shine a needed light on the genre's many exciting and experimental ways.
Recently releasing their 10-track album 'Potluck,' Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co. features a smorgasbord of jazz as they open the project with the intro track, "Dinah (feat. Linnzi Zaorski)." The song brings the listener straight into the heart of swinging 20s jazz tunes with a brilliant instrumental arrangement and the lively vocal stylings of Linnzi Zaorski. Moving into track number two, "Comes Love (feat. Julie Williams)," Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co. drenches us in more of a moody and burlesque feel with their mysterious instrumental arrangements and Julie Williams' sweet and crooning vocals.
Jumping into a more smooth-sailing and downtempo piece, "Lousiana Fairy Tale (feat. Rob Pate)," we can hear a heavy homage to Louis Armstrong as Rob Pate's raspy and low vocals pour over our speakers alongside Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co.'s dreamy arrangements. Spicing up the energy with "Mess Around (feat. Ray Boudreaux)," this song offers all the life and passion we need from jazz music, especially as Ray Boudreaux's uplifting and soulful vocal portrayal continues serenading us alongside Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co.'s groovy instrumentals.
Plowing our speakers with the next tune, "Exactly Like You (feat. Kelli Jones)," Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co. takes off into a swinging and lively atmosphere that brings us into a front-row seat of Broadway's Chicago while Kelli Jones passionately sings a message of pure and unbridled love. Jumping over the project's halfway point with "King of the Road (feat. Jake Spinella)," this song offers more of a reflective and downtempo tone through Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co.'s soothing and plucky instrumentals while Jake Spinella paints incredibly picturesque scenes for us to savor.
The following energetic tune, "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter (feat. Sasha Massey)," takes us through a unique and toe-tapping instrumental venture while Sasha Massey's crooning vocals sing a charming and playful message. Sparking the energy with "Little Liza Jane (feat. Sarah Robinson)," Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co. gets us up and moving with their high-energy instrumentation and Sarah Robinson's lively and descriptive vocal portrayal telling the old tale of little Liza Jane.
Getting groovy with the next track, "Cantina Band," Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co. pays tribute to John Williams' "Cantina Band" from Star Wars. While the ensemble offers a brilliant and lively rendition of the timeless tune, they swing and groove with each transition and melody that's bound to get listeners out of their seats. Closing the album with the outro track, "Bourbon Street Parade (feat. Spencer Recca)," the song's title perfectly encapsulates the anthemic and energetic feel of this piece. As Spencer Recca's vocals invite us down to New Orleans, the song comes to a close, and we're left moving and grooving to each toe-tapping drum break and the powerful array of in-depth instrumentation.
Take a trip back in time with help from Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co.'s latest 10-track album, 'Potluck,' now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMuisc Dr. Daylight's Jazz Co., and congratulations on the big release of your thorough 10-track album, 'Potluck.' What inspired the project's title?
Thank you! We've put a lot of time and energy into it! The title came from where most of the musicians were involved in the project, a literal potluck. Most of us are transplants to Lafayette, Louisiana. As we were gaining a sense of what the record was going to sound like, we felt like every track was unique and had something very different to offer. Much like a literal potluck where you want to contribute the dish you make best, all the musicians brought their own flavor to the table. It felt like we'd come full circle and were now creating a musical potluck.
What was it like working with the many vocalists for 'Potluck?' Was this your group's first time working with these talented vocalists?
I was shocked to get so many of the vocalists to say "yes" to the project. Our prior studio album only featured a 5 piece band, including 1 vocalist. This project tripled the size of that one with a cast of 15! I had worked with a few of the vocalists on some of their own smaller projects, but as a group, this was our first time together and it was wild! Studio time was very limited, but everyone brought their A-game and knocked things out in a few takes. The only overdubbing is the band shouting, snapping, and singing backup vocals. Scheduling and pre-planning really paid off. This project was a lot to handle, but well worth it!
Regarding your in-depth and dynamic instrumentation within 'Potluck,' could you describe what a typical day in the studio looked like when formulating your album? Who are your core members, and how did you go about navigating each song's feel and atmosphere?
The project was funded by my 8-figure a year teacher's salary. The first 3 figures are zeros. I knew that we would not be able to afford a lot of time in the studio but wanted to find a way to make this happen. I spent several weeks talking with each of the vocalists and instrumentalists about my ideas for them, then making "mock-up" arrangements. The goal was not just to showcase what the band does live, but to compliment the individualism of each vocalist. If the singer liked the key and vibe of the arrangement, I built them a karaoke track and then wrote out charts in sheet music form for everyone. The instrumentalists had one rehearsal to make sure the charts were written mostly error-free. The vocalists never worked with the full band until their allotted hour of studio time. Scheduling was crazy - you don't realize how quickly an hour can go by in the studio. We ultimately had 3 days in the studio, recording each track in an hour or less (we almost didn't make all 10 tracks on the album - darn that teacher's salary!). The core members were my musical sounding board throughout the process - I cannot thank drummer Jim Kolacek, guitarist and guest vocalist Rob Pate, trumpeter Jim Price, and clarinetist Lucas Munce enough for their feedback and support. They listened to me brainstorm (and occasionally vent) for hours before we got to the studio. When we finally got to the studio, they had wonderful creative suggestions after hearing the vocalists singing along with the charts.
Does your group have a favorite track within 'Potluck?' Which songs are you most excited to perform live?
We do have a favorite track, it's "Louisiana Fairy Tale." It was the first and most experimental arrangement I did, and it almost got cut! Rob Pate is the vocalist on this one, and wasn't supposed to be - I wanted him to sing "King of the Road" (which I ended up singing). There was a scheduling mix-up with the original vocalist. We laid down the track without the vocalist in hopes they'd show up during their slot. It was the last day in the studio and the band knew I was freaking out. After we got a clean take, Rob said to me, "want me to throw filler vocals in there? You can call the vocalist and try to get them here in the meantime, so we don't lose this track?" I said yes and stepped outside and had a very disheartening phone call. When I walked back in, Rob had just finished his take and was in the mixing room with the rest of the band. I was so devastated, and said: "Well guys, I think we're going to cut this one." Lucas looked at me and said, "no dude, I think this is the best arrangement out of the bunch. You can't cut it. Can we listen to what Rob just laid down?" Mark Bingham (the engineer) cranked up the speakers in the room and we all sat and listened, until someone blurted out "[expletive] - this is the take!" I tackled Rob and gave him the biggest bear hug - he saved the track! A few weeks later, I played the record for some friends from the record and some that were not involved/didn't know the whole story, and made them fill out a form rating each track (what a friend I am!). They also liked "Louisiana Fairy Tale" the most - it's my personal favorite track, and every time I think about this story, I'm reminded of the comradery from the guys. Almost makes me tear up a little bit. We've never played the album's arrangement live: there's a nod to Camille Saint-Saens' "Aquarium" from "Carnival of the Animals" utilized throughout, so I'm really excited to see what the crowd thinks!
For readers who aren't so well-versed in jazz, how does your album 'Potluck' embody the essence of jazz music? How can listeners get to know jazz's artform better through your album?
I think the word "Jazz" in 2021 doesn't get the best representation. Jazz was THE popular music for a good 30 years before Rock 'n' Roll took over. When most people see the word, I think there's an immediate association with "background music" or being too intellectual. It makes sense, since the Bebop era, performers did not encourage dancing (only listening), and made it tough for the non-musician to participate in the experience. Similarly, if you go to a fancy restaurant or get in an elevator, it's the soundtrack. Our mission for the album is to break free of those associations. We're very inspired by the early eras of Jazz (before it was background), particularly by what the folks in New Orleans did (and continue to do) with the music. It's sing-able, catchy, engaging, and FUN! We swing and improvise, but we also break "the rules!" We take tunes from outside the genre and cover them in an old-school Jazz style. I think this is the way to get folks excited about what we do - take something familiar and present it in a welcoming, new way. Our shows are very interactive - we invite you to a sing-along, dance, and even a second-line parade around the venue with us. If you enjoy what you hear on our album, Jazz might not be everything you thought it was!