Samuel "Savoirfaire" Williams is an internationally known Jazz Violin Legend. Born and raised in Chicago IL. , Samuel is a classically trained Violinist who grew up in Churches improvising to Gospel Hymns and South Side blues themes. Samuel has carved out a niche as a Chicago Avant Guardist, having been voted into the Internationally Acclaimed Elite Jazz Organization AACM. This is where his heart lies as a Composer and Master Improviser of Modern Music. Nevertheless Samuel continues to perform local Chicago venues in more traditional Jazz settings.
Samuel has also managed to maintain a professional level of Classical Repertoire performing wedding ceremonies ( From ( Schubert’s or Bach’s Ave Maria to Vivaldi's Four Seasons to Bach’s Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas and Partitas as well as the Bach Suites for Cello arranged for Viola ). Samuel is also known in the musicians circle as an uncompromising artist who may show up as a featured guest Artist at Chicago’s most coveted Studio Recording Session ala CRC (recording Studios) or you may see him Performing at The Museum Of Contemporary Art as a Specially invited guest Soloist to Symphony Center as a stand in for better known Classical Violinists.
Because of this affinity for ubiquity he is known as Savoirfaire nicknamed after a Cartoon Mouse in the Klondike cat Series. If that wasn't enough to add to the Lore of the “Artist” Samuel has continued to "Busk” (Public Service through Public Art Performance). Samuel may be seen busking at O’Hare Airport, or on Michigan ave near prominent Chicago Landmarks. He began Busking after having been exposed to the concept in Europe while on tour with Nicole Mitchell’s Famed Chicago Free Jazz Group - “The Black Earth Ensemble “. When you book Savoirfaire you will be sure to get quality music but you are also booking a Legend which guarantees your event to be not only memorable but a Historic event!
Justin Dillard - Piano, organ, Key Board
Jack Zara - Double Bass and Electric Bass
Clif Wallace - Percussion & Drums
SavoirFaire Debut Album , In The Moment , Heat , Running Out of Time , --- All of these as welll as a host of Collaborative Albums have recieved rave reviews and Radio play --- Recently released " Running Out of Time" Album was rated number one on Jazz Radio , Threads (July released 2012 ) .
Fw: ( jpl ) Still Another Jazz Show April 18
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We begin with Chicago violinist SAVOIR FAIRE and his new RUNNING OUT OF TIME release on Delmark Re...We begin with Chicago violinist SAVOIR FAIRE and his
new RUNNING OUT OF TIME release on Delmark Records.
He grew up in Chicago and nurtured through Chicago
Symphony and Interlochen summers - a commitment to
the joy of the music - an distinctive aspect of
musicians in Chicago jazz. A classically trained
electric violinist with an open free flowing modern
style and a band that more than steps up to the
occasion . A quintet of very good players, imbued with
that post hard bop Bar B. Q., like The House Of
Blue Lights. The band of guitarist, Bill Mackay,
piano, Ben Patterson, bass player Kurt Schweitz or
Kyle Hernandez and Corey Redford, drums. Here?s an
avant gard taste with ?One Inch Angels,? a ballad,
?Sommer?s Ashes,? a poignancy and prose of
?Interlude.? We played ?Martitha,? which has a
subtle Coltrane nuance and Savoir Faire. Electric
eclectic. In order to do it right, you need the band
to do it right and Savoir Faire has that band. Savoir
Faire has the melodic resonance of a Stefan Grapelli
as if Stefan was jamming with Tommy Flanagan, Paul
Chambers and Roy Haynes.
You have old style meeting new style, a symbiosis of
kinder energy, combining a fire aggressive attitude.
Savoir Fair reflects the new electric violin and jazz
syunergy on this new RUNNING OUT OF TIME CD.
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J A Z Z W O R D R E V I E W S Reviews that mention Savoir Faire NICOLE MITCHELL BLACK EARTH ENS...J A Z Z W O R D R E V I E W S
Reviews that mention Savoir Faire
NICOLE MITCHELL BLACK EARTH ENSEMBLE
Hope, Future and Destiny
Dreamtime Dream 007
Running Out Of Time
Delmark DE 562
Newer voices from Chicago’s ever-evolving Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), flutist/vocalist Nicole Mitchell and violinist Savoir Faire are starting to make names for themselves in the Windy City and elsewhere.
Fourth generation of players who have adopted the progressive concepts of the now 40-year-old AACM, Mitchell and Faire – real name Samuel Williams – have modified certain distinct aspects of the AACM. Neither appears to be much interested in out-and-out sound experiments which characterized the work of early AACMers like Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell. Instead Nicole Mitchell’s 14-piece ensemble adapts wholeheartedly the ritualistic, Africanized performance ethos that is another AACM staple; six of the tunes include vocals or recitations. Meanwhile, not unlike many younger generation AACMers, Faire and his quintet seem unswerving in a commitment to swing and rhythm. Only one of his compositions is even vaguely atonal and four include modified programming by the single-named Anti.
Mitchell, not surprisingly, has had longer to articulate her vision. A collaborator with more established players such as reedist Edward Wilkerson and drummer Hamid Drake, HOPE, FUTURE AND DESTINY is her third CD with the Black Earth Ensemble (BEE). Meanwhile RUNNING OUT OF TIME is the solo debut for the classically trained Faire, who is also a member of the BEE.
Faire’s mellow rhythmic swing may remind some of fiddler Stuff Smith, but he’s actually closer to the lesser-known Eddie South (1906–1962), a Chicago-based violinist who was classically trained as well. This CD rings with earnest improvisations that are modern enough, but wouldn’t have frightened patrons attending South’s gigs at Chi-Town’s classier jazz joints in the 1940s and 1950s.
Pianist Ben Paterson is as melodic and understated as Wynton Kelley – when he doesn’t lapse into Ramsey Lewisish voicings, though. Corey Radford’s drumming rarely strays from the backbeat. Bassists Kurt Schweiz and Kyle Hernandez both provide solid pulses, and guitarist Bill Mackay could be Tiny Grimes in his rhythmic functions and any number of progressive boppers when he solos.
His best work comes on “Pendulum”, where degrees of reverb and swirling, Arabic-sounding cross-picking give the impression of extra guitar tones. That is until he breaks free mid-way through for a jagged solo. This action brings out similar deep-pitched licks from Schweiz, which follow lush fills from Faire’s fiddle. The violinist’s full frontal classical showcase is the almost baroque sounding “Aspen’s Woes”, where an unaccompanied solo is characterized by plenty of dramatic vibrato and line-switching arpeggios so that it sounds elegiac.
Other tunes have Mackay suggesting churning Barney Kessel-like rhythmic lines or Jimmy Raney-associated counterpoint. Hernandez’ ostinato does for “Room for More” what the other bassist’s licks do for other pieces, yet sliding into a faster tempo as he does that seems to present no letdown in the rhythm.
All and all, the band’s most impressive showpiece is “Suzal”. One of the few tunes that actually moves past standard jazz licks, it features extended portamento sweeps from Faire, humming guitar flanging from Mackay and an organ-like loop from Anti. As the violinist double stops squeaky trills, the guitarist distorts his output with rock-like interface, playing flashy Al DiMeola to Faire’s jabbing Jean-Luc Ponty. Working to a climax of shifting tone rows from Mackay and squeezed upper partials from Faire, behind this, wavering electric keyboard suggestions provide the body.
Bravura in his playing and composing – he wrote all 10 tracks here – Faire still seems inhibited when it comes to moving away from standard forms. Perhaps he’ll screw up his courage next time out.
Someone who has no problem articulating her message on the other hand, is Mitchell, who on HOPE, FUTURE AND DESTINY finds perfect sideman slots for Faire in sections of the 13 tunes she wrote for this CD. Not that the disc is perfect either. There are points, especially on the tunes with vocals, when trying to articulate a positive future while itemizing the ceremonial traditions of the past turns some tunes into near parodies of 1960s’ hippyism. At one point the phrase “Age of Aquarius” is heard.
Luckily, Mitchell’s grasp of jazz traditions and hard-headed feminism mostly overcomes these naïve sentiments. Taken as a whole the music on the CD is both more primitive and more futuristic than what’s offered on RUNNING OUT OF TIME.
For example, a tune like “The Healing Ritual” is propelled by gospellish female vocal harmony with onomatopoeia-like suggestions of rain showers and running water. Conversely, “Curbside Fantasee” (sic) boasts a harder, dissonant interface with horn interjections, walking bass from Josh Abrams, clunky rhythm guitar licks from Tim “Cream” Jones, and a hollow-sounding backbeat reminiscent of both R&B and West Africa. Trumpeter Corey Wilkes, now part of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, contributes some spectacular triplets and young trombonist Tony Herrera unleashes a plunger exposition. As the beat gets funkier, Mitchell coarsens her ebullient flute tone, making it harsher and more fluid, which allows it to sail on top of the horn vamps.
Contrapuntal kora and balophone-like textures arise from the guitarist and percussionist Art “Turk” Burton in other spots. Elsewhere, glissandi from Faire and cellist Tomeka Reid blend with legato bass clarinet from David Boykin and the leader’s flute for a sonata-like creation. At another juncture, hocketing paradiddles from drummer Arveeayl Ra plus Brian Nichols’ ringing glockenspiel timbres push Reed and Faire into some dual string friction, with that subsequent sul ponticello intersection making common cause with shaking percussion from Edie Armstrong and bell resonation from Baron.
It’s also probably Baron who creates an imitation tap dance behind the poly-harmonic children’s song “For Daughters of Young Love” sung by a female vocal chorus contrapuntally intersecting each others’ voices as they sing.
Most memorable of all are the interconnected “Skating” and “Wanna Make You Smile”, which bring forward a plethora of musical inflections. Starting off like a modernized, riffing Basie band, helped along by Nichols’ piano lines, guttural sliding from Herrera and appropriate Eddie South-like swing from Faire, the riffing theme reappears at intervals around Mitchell’s Frank Wess-like solo and some double-stopped resonance form Abrams. Harmonically sophisticated, “Skating” still has room for bluesy B.B. King-style guitar licks and some straightforward bounces, ruffs and rolls from Ra, whose experience encompasses stints with Professor Longhair, crooner Jerry Butler and Sun Ra. The subsequent piece shifts the percussionists to a New Orleans-Jamaican style beat with Mitchell playing the melodica in such a way that it could be a Zydeco accordion, and ends with a resonating jazz feel from the drummers and horn section.
Another standout from the versatile Mitchell, HOPE, FUTURE AND DESTINY confirms her versatile talents. Hopefully the best parts of RUNNING OUT OF TIME means that fellow AACMer Faire will produce a sophomore session equal to his talents.
-- Ken Waxman
Track Listing: Running: 1. Running Out Of Time 2. One Inch Anegls# 3. Room For More* 4. Maritha 5. Pendulum* 6. Suzal# 7. Interlude# 8. Timetable# 9. Sommer’s Ashes 10. Aspen’s Woes
Personnel: Running: Savoir Faire (violin); Bill Mackay (guitar); Ben Paterson (piano); Kurt Schweiz or Kyle Hernandez* (bass); Corey Radford (drums); Anti (programming)#
Track Listing: 1. Wondrous Birth (intro) 2. Wondrous Birth* 3. Curbside Fantasee*#^ 4. For Daughters of Young Love* 5. Journey for 3 Blue Stones (w/text) 6. Message form the Mothergoddess% 7. In the Garden 8. Skating 9. Wanna Make You Smile 10. Future Meditation 11. The Healing Ritual*#^ 12. Time for a Change* 13. Journey for 3 Blue Stones
Personnel: Corey Wilkes (trumpet); Tony Herrera (trombone and shells); Nicole Mitchell (flute, piccolo, flutaphone, alto flute, poetry, vocals* auto-harp, composition); David Boykin (soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet); Savoir Faire (violin); Brian Nichols (piano and glockenspiel); Tim “Cream” Jones (guitar); Tomeka Reid (cello); Josh Abrams (bass); Arveeayl Ra (drums and gongs); Art “Turk” Burton (percussion); Glenda Zahra Baker (vocals# and rainstick); Edie Armstrong (shekere, rainstick and vocals^); Aquilla Sadalla (vocals)%
August 22, 2005
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* SavoirFaire -- "Room for More" -- Running out of Time (Delmark, 2005) Nice mainstream ses...* SavoirFaire -- "Room for More" -- Running out of Time (Delmark, 2005)
Nice mainstream session led by Samuel "SavoirFaire" Williams, a jazz violinist out of Chicago. Plenty of fleet violin solos on here. And he's apparently played the Velvet Lounge, because his picture is one of several on the wall, amid past fliers, reviews, and posters.
Jazz Violinist " Savoirfaire " Performing during the Jazz brunch At Chant Restaurant
I Can't Stop Listening
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Nick Demske, Circulation and Programming Assistant, Racine Public Library (business partner) was wi...Nick Demske, Circulation and Programming Assistant, Racine Public Library (business partner)
was with another company when working with you
“Samuel Williams is not only one of the most competent musicians you will ever hear play, he is also one of the most passionate about his love of the art. I met Samuel in front of Chicago's Millennium Station on my way to catch a train. He was performing on the street--and mesmerizing every passerby. I stopped for so long to listen that I nearly missed my train. Since that chance encounter, we have kept in touch and I am consistently amazed at Samuel's generosity and wisdom. His wise and gentle spirit are always clearly translated through his music so it's no wonder I can't stop listening.” February 16, 2010
Great Results , Personable, Expert
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Irvin Thomas(client) Irvin hired you as a Professional Entertainer in 2004 and hired you more than ...Irvin Thomas(client)
Irvin hired you as a Professional Entertainer in 2004 and hired you more than once
Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
“Samuel is an outstanding individual and is wonderful to work with. His music will brighten up..every Life it touches” March 13, 2010
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Gary Tu, Student, Roosevelt University (colleague) worked with you “Want to hear some extraordina...Gary Tu, Student, Roosevelt University (colleague)
worked with you
“Want to hear some extraordinary Jazz Violin? Look no further! Samuel Williams makes it happen!” January 27, 2010
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Inna Melnikov(client) Inna hired you as a Violin Lessons in 2006 and hired you more than once Top...Inna Melnikov(client)
Inna hired you as a Violin Lessons in 2006 and hired you more than once
Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
“Samuel is a great violinist who cares a lot about his students. He has a great artistic vision. He is a patient, secure and generous teacher. His lessons have a great educational value musically, prforessionally and technically. Samuel shared his extensive knowlege of music literature, equipment, gear, technicque, posture, rhythm, history of music, practice routine. Lessons with Samuel were a great and highly beneficial experience for me.” January 27, 2010
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Arlene Crawford(client) Arlene hired you as a Musician in 2007 Top qualities: Expert, Good Value,...Arlene Crawford(client)
Arlene hired you as a Musician in 2007
Top qualities: Expert, Good Value, Creative
“Samuel's music thrills and provokes audiances. He is an excellent amd versatile musician and teacher. He has entertained students and colleagues in more venues then I can identify. I can recommend him without hesitation” January 27, 2010
Savoirfaire is Everywhere
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"I can't stop," says jazz violinist Samuel Williams. "Even when I really want to stop. Even when I d..."I can't stop," says jazz violinist Samuel Williams. "Even when I really want to stop. Even when I don't have enough money to eat and I'm living off $20 a week. I feel like I was made to play."
Williams, who performs under the stage name Savoir Faire, has been playing violin since he was three. His mother put him on a waiting list for Suzuki lessons in Mount Prospect--an hour and a half from their Bronzeville home--when he was merely a kick in her belly, thinking music would teach him discipline.
Classically trained as a child, after high school Williams met jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson while on a summer scholarship at Michigan's Interlochen Center for the Arts. "He's the one that told me there's a possibility of a career in jazz."
In 1991 Williams dropped out of Lewis University because of money problems. Unhappy in Chicago, he and several friends trekked to Minneapolis to start a pop band. That didn't work out; instead Williams got involved with a girl, and eventually they had a child. But that didn't work out either. He left his girlfriend--"a party girl"--and their daughter in Minneapolis and returned to Chicago for good, he thought, in 1995.
He got a job and was playing music around town when, worried about his daughter, "I panicked and stole some money to go up there and see if everything was OK." The theft set him off on a string of misadventures that, several months later, landed him in jail in South Dakota, charged with stabbing a man (Williams says it was in self-defense). After six months in the Sioux Falls lockup, he pleaded guilty to an assault charge and was fined and sentenced to probation and time served. In jail, he says, he had an epiphany: "The thing that saved me was that I was a violinist, and it was the only consistent thing in my life." He returned to Chicago determined to make it as a musician, and started playing on the streets and patching together a living doing odd jobs.
Four years ago, while working part-time as an usher at Orchestra Hall, he met Wynton Marsalis, who invited Williams to play for him the next day. Williams was sure this was his big break, but afterward Marsalis told him he still had more to learn about jazz theory and improvisation and he left disheartened. "I was so disappointed that I was going to quit playing altogether," he says. "I was contemplating throwing my instruments in the garbage."
Marsalis suggested Williams get to know other jazz violinists in Chicago. Williams was stunned. "At the time I didn't know that there were any jazz violinists in the city," he says. "I thought it was just me--I thought I was the only one who was trying to do it." He went to see swing violinist Johnny Frigo play, and "was just blown away at what you could do improvising on the violin."
That same year he got married and apprenticed himself to John Martin Sheridan, a luthier and owner of Chicago's now defunct Abbey Strings. He worked at Abbey for two and a half years as a craftsman and salesman--even taking over from Sheridan for a while--and made enough money to pay off his fines and debt. Now 28 and the father of a four-month-old daughter (his six-year-old lives with her mother), he studies and practices religiously, and "every night that there's a [jam] session I'm there." He says he's trying to create a sound that fuses postbop and contemporary jazz, with violin as the lead instrument. He's played and recorded with the experimental Black Earth Ensemble and with the rock band Baddigo. He also performs with his own band, East Side Project, and has self-released two records: Savoir Faire (1999) and In the Moment (2001).
After he got out of jail a friend jokingly dubbed him "Savoir Faire," after the mouse in the Klondike Kat cartoons who--no matter what the sticky situation--always winds up on top. The name didn't play well in the clubs at first. "It's not a real macho name," he says, "and it doesn't really reflect African-American heritage." Nevertheless, he's keeping it. "It means finesse. It means style. It means literally 'to know to do,' like I know what I'm doing."
Savoir Faire and East Side Project perform at 9 on Thursday, March 21, at the Velvet Lounge, 21281/2 S. Indiana. Tickets are $10; call 312-791-9050 for more information.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marc PoKempner.
Samuel Williams Makes Music His Mistress for a Good Cause
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Of all the musical instruments in jazz music it’s fair to say the violin has gone the short end of t...Of all the musical instruments in jazz music it’s fair to say the violin has gone the short end of the bow. Samuel “Savoir-faire” Williams wants to change the way African Americans view the instrument and our history with it.
Tell me about African Americans’ historical relationship with the violin and how you are making sure the violin secures its place in Jazz history?
I think, with respect to Jazz, that there is a very rich history in the tradition of American folk music. … African Americans have been playing violin since we were first brought over here. One of the things that has been missing is the documentation of these great African American violinists. There is a direct linkage and connection between me and what I am trying to get out codifying the sound of the vocabulary on it.
What do you mean when you say “codify”?
To me, the history of Jazz has very important points where you can say there was a turning point in the evolution of the music. One thing that is missing is those pivotal points in the history of the music with respects to the violin.
Tell me about the East Side Project Band?
At first, it was a naïve concept. At the time, I felt like I needed to have something unique to say and I wanted to make a full-time living, and if I put ;project; on the name I thought maybe it would get more attention because it was ‘a project.’ It was really a concept to produce a working band with a professional Jazz sound that I could be the leader of as a violinist to actually help artists get full-time work in performing and over the years a lot of Jazz musicians that have come through my band have gone on to professional work.
Jazz trumpeter Winton Marsalis critiqued your work and offered some professional advice several years ago. What became of it?
He said, ‘if you really want to play Jazz, then you need to study with a jazz violinist’. And he told me to look up John Frigo. I found out who he was and I asked if I could take lessons from him and the rest is history. Mr. Marsalis walked me out of his hotel, shook my hand and said, ‘if you are really serious I’ll see you in the future’.
-Tony Binns 11
Samuel "Savoirefaire" Williams Takes Jazz Everywhere
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Samuel "Savoirfaire" Williams is a Living Chicago Urban Legend. Nicknamed for the infamous Klondike ...Samuel "Savoirfaire" Williams is a Living Chicago Urban Legend. Nicknamed for the infamous Klondike Kat cartoon villain; he lives up to the refrain “Savoirfaire is everywhere." He has used his classical training to develop a uniquely creative sound as a Jazz Violinist. His music can be described as a soulful, classical, jazzy symphony, which gives him intercontinental appeal.
At the age of 5 years old, as part of a special group of Suzuki Violin child prodigies of Betty Haag, Samuel performed for the first time at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. Samuel's extraordinary talent garnered him the Merit Music Grant to study Classical Viola with Edward Adelson for a Summer at Interlochen Music Camp. It was at Interlochen that Samuel sat in with Milt Jackson at a Jazz Workshop and shifted his focus to Jazz.
Samuel struggled to find his voice in Jazz until Wynton Marsalis instructed him to study with Jazz Violin Legend, Johnny Frigo. He sat in with him at his local performances, while continuing to study Classical Violin with Violinist and Composer Harold Geller, who was a Violin pupil of Ivan Galamian. Samuel continued his Classical training with Richard Ferrin, Principal Violinist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. To pay for his lessons, Samuel played on the streets of Chicago for donations. This is known as “busking.” While busking, Legendary Jazz Guitar Great, Kenny Burrell, invited Samuel to work on a Professional Bebop Performance at the Jazz Showcase with Willie Pickens and Larry Grey. In the year 2000, Samuel was voted into the Chicago Chapter of the elite jazz organization, AACM, for exhibiting an exemplary musical flexibility leading to Samuel being referred to as Savoirfaire.
After releasing three independent albums of live recordings, Savoirfaire was discovered by Bob Koester, owner of Delmark Records; and has received critical acclaim internationally for his album “Running Out Of Time"(Delmark 562) .
Savoirfaire continues to perform with his group, the Savoirfaire Jazz Quartet. He has been invited to play on numerous albums and at Jazz Festivals around the world. In 2005, Samuel was personally invited to play an extra role as principal violinist with his quartet "Renascent Strings" in the movie "Proof " with Gwenyth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins a first in the history of American film making.
Samuel is a music innovator, who blends contemporary Jazz with other forms of music such as Hip Hop, Rock, and World Music. His stellar career has affored him opportunities to perfom with the likes of Jazz phenoms Wynton Marsalis, Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell and Roy Hargrove. He has also teamed up with musicians from other genres, such as Otis Clay and R. Kelly. Savoirfaire is still everywhere, enchanting audiences with his music. Visit www.savoirfairejazzviolinist.com to view a calendar of performances or booking information.
The Savoir Faire Quartet brings live Jazz to The Velvet Lounge
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The Savoir Faire Quartet brought world class entertainment to the Velvet Lounge in Chicago's South L...The Savoir Faire Quartet brought world class entertainment to the Velvet Lounge in Chicago's South Loop; with the debut of their weekly Monday night live Jazz set. World renowned violinist, Samuel "Savoir Faire" Williams' unique style sounds like a fusion of jazz, classical and R&B/Soul music. The house band: Nils Higdon, drums and Alex Wing, upright bass; blended with the violin to create symphonic melodies.
Drummer, teacher and producer, Charles "Rick" Heath IV joined the band for a couple of selections. The special guest was lead guitarist, Augustine Alvarez, who was featured in the main set. Augustine also celebrated a birthday that night. During a "jam session," Corey Wilkes, trumpet, and Bengi, guitar accompanied the band. View the video from the set here.
Known as a mecca for young Jazz musicians, The Velvet Lounge atmosphere is relaxed yet refined. This set is a great way to get rid of the "Monday blues." The bar is fully stocked. You can also enjoy a meal from the pizzeria ajacent to the club. The Savoir Faire Quartet will play every Monday Night at 7p.m at The Velvet Lounge 67 E. Cermak Rd. For more information about the quartet or booking visit the Savoir Faire website, email them or call 312-834-9099.
Jazz Standards : Composers from Duke Ellington ---to --Thelonius Monk --Miles Davis -- Johon Coltrane -- Wayne Shorter--- Roscoe Mitchell --- as well as original material from The Running Out of Time Album
There are no upcoming dates at this time.