Carl Cafagna & North Star Jazz
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Carl Cafagna & North Star Jazz

Troy, Michigan, United States | AFM

Troy, Michigan, United States | AFM
Band Jazz


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This band has not uploaded any videos




Carl Cafagna & North Star Jazz, a bristling hard bop sextet, has quietly built a reputation as one of Detroit's most polished modern jazz bands.
The leader, who plays tenor saxophone (but also doubles on flute, alto and soprano sax and clarinet) has a taste for nattily tailored arrangements, a juicy three-horn front line, aggressive rhythmic grooves and a nice variety of material and moods.
The book is deep with well-constructed originals and hip jazz repertory that you don't hear every day. - Detroit Free Press (Mark Stryker, music critic)


"Live at the Detroit Jazz Festival" (Sweet Beat Productions), released July, 2008.



Formed in 2004 by Detroit saxophonist and Berklee College graduate Carl Cafagna, the North Star Jazz Sextet has quickly become a sensation, having performed at numerous jazz festivals, nightclubs and concert venues across Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico and South Dakota. Highlights include the 2010 Detroit International Jazz Festival, an inclusion on the Best of the Detroit Jazz Fest., 2005 C.D. (Mack Ave. Records), appearances at Nighttown in Cleveland, regular gigs at historic Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, and live appearances on the "Ed Love Show," a national jazz radio flagship. The group has found success before diverse audiences, with it’s hard-hitting, soulful and sophisticated modern sound. Mark Stryker, of the Detroit Free Press, describes North Star Jazz as “...nattily tailored arrangements, a juicy three-horn front line, aggressive rhythmic grooves and a nice variety of material and moods,” and calls leader Carl Cafagna “…a brawny tenor saxophonist with a gift for organizing a band.” (Detroit Free Press, 8/18/06). Matt Collar, of, likens the group to a “combination of muscular swing and harmonic intellectualism.”
The 3-horn sextet format owes inspiration to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the T.S. Monk Sextet and the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. North Star has a particularly wide pallet, with 3 different horn-line combination possibilities. This is due to a rolling personnel system, 3-deep at every position. Regulars in the group include trumpeter Dr. Scott Cowan, professor of Jazz Studies at Western Michigan University, bassist / recording artist Shannon Wade, saxophonist James Hughes, and Scott Kretzer, one of Toledo’s most sought-after drummers, alongside saxophonist / woodwind specialist Cafagna. North Star also features guest appearances, as needed, by veteran Detroit euphonium great Brad Felt, and trombonist Earlie Braggs.
Group repertoire includes original compositions by Cafagna and band-mates, works by Horace Silver, Bobby Watson, Donald Brown, Wayne Shorter and Benny Golson, choice jazz standards, ‘Soul Jazz’ favorites by Eddie Harris and Cannonball Adderley, even a few arrangements of popular hits, by groups such as Earth, Wind & Fire. All music is arranged for the 3-horn format, which adds excitement and drama to a cast of stellar soloists. North Star Jazz is one band you'll want to see again and again! Keep up with the many activities of Carl Cafagna & North Star Jazz by visiting