Vermont...what have you done for us lately? Actually (and beyond Ben & Jerry's) you've done quite a bit for us. And now musically, you give us Vorcza. We admit it, we're fans. This isn't like the "Sunday morning jazz" you listen to while doing the crossword. It's jazz, it's funk and it's danceable. Three musicians in this band...and they create a layered, sultry sound that is, yes, reminiscent of Medeski, Martin & Wood, but also very much their own. The music blends, comes apart and reforms almost seamlessly, creating an ocean of modulation (this can be a nice change when we're used to hearing a wall of strum.)
Some backgound: Ray is also a part of the Trey Anastasio Band and has recorded with (among many others) Dave Schools of Widespread Panic. Gabriel was a member of the Jazz Mandolin Project and has also performed with Michael Ray. Robinson has also recorded with Dave Schools, as well as performed with Trey Anastasio.
Vorcza is Gabriel Jarrett (drums), Ray Paczkowski (Hammond organ, piano, keys) and Robinson Morse (acoustic and electric bass). Recently Gabe, who by the way is renowned jazz pianist Keith Jarrett's son, took some time out to answer our questions. Proving they do have the internets in Vermont.
Let's get this out of the way, where did your band name originate?
It's actually part of everyone's name..the best parts..like Ray Paczkowski..we took his "cz" . and Rob Morse, we took his "or", and Gabe Jarrett, we took my...my...All that's left is the V..so much for Democracy.
You all have some really impressive "resumes", who would you say you learned the most from touring and/or recording with?
I'd say i've learned the most from working with this very group..when you stick with the music even in tough circumstances, it can be a real lesson. We've all played in situations that were(are) easier..more profitable, e.t.c. Personally, the experience of playing with Karl Berger taught me a lot..he's got more musical integrity than anyone I've ever met.
(We'll preface this by saying Gothamist is a huge fan of your music, and many of those that you've worked with, however...) Many of our readers are of the "indie rock set"...how would you sell the typical jaded hipster on your danceable jazz? And do you find any influence in the indie music that's all over NY right now?
We are totally indie...you should see the van we travel in. But really, the type of "jazz" we play, if you even want to call it that, is decidedly "non-cerebral". I think a lot of jazz suffers from overt technicality..also, a dangerous trend now exists where people attempt to prove that they know the entire history of jazz in each solo they play..the "Wynton Marsalis - museum Jazz" concept. This is not what we're about at all.
(I'm going to break out of the "royal we" for a moment...)I am endlessely fascinated by how music is created. Not the actual playing of instruments but where the original thought or first note of a song comes from. If there even is any sort of loose formula to it, how do you all go about creating your songs?
Well, Ray writes a lot of the material, and, best I can tell, EVERY idea he has come from A SINGLE DREAM that he had years ago..no, not really, but I do think we're all kind of re-writing the same song over-and-over..that's really what creates a discernable style. we do collaborate..it's rare for someone to come in with a completely worked out vision..we finish eachother's thoughts to some extent.
What is your first conscious memory of New York?
First memory of NY: macy's thanksgiving parade @ age 5 (fear was the over-riding emotion).
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York?
Least fav thing about playing shows in NY: parking
Now it's time for some fill-in-the-blank action:
You know you've made it when...
we have roadies
It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when...
we can no longer physically pack up the gear
I'll never forget the first time I...
rode my motorcycle through the Holland Tunnel
I'll never forget the first time [insert another band members name here]...
(RAY) spilled beer into his organ, causing blue flames, and ending the gig (on a high note).
And finally, lets have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if youve got no discernable feelings, make something up that wont embarrass you in the morning):
Richard Thompson's version of "oops i did it again"
Bridge & Tunnel
Disney (i'm putty in their hands)
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
Where's Ed Koch? He was really fun.
Vorcza aplogizes for not having the time to answer our last questions.
Vorcza shakes up Brooklyn tonight. Catch them at The Hook, set starts @ 10pm.
You can buy their album here
[Also playing tonight is Arcade Fire at Bowery, read their interview here.]