John Gray's Existential Audio
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John Gray's Existential Audio

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Jun
26
John Gray's Existential Audio @ The M Bar (3rd Street Downtown BR)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Jun
19
John Gray's Existential Audio @ The M Bar (3rd Street Downtown BR)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Jun
12
John Gray's Existential Audio @ The M Bar (3rd Street Downtown BR)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


The success for The Michael Foster Project has not slowed. However, in November 2007, Gray decided to try something new and formed a side project called Existential Audio. The band quickly found a home to perform every Thursday night at The M Bar, located downtown at 350 Third Street.

“Locally is where I’m keeping a lot of it happening,” Gray said when asked if he planned to take the band on the road. “If things go well, and opportunities open up, I might do a lot more traveling with the new group. Right now, we’re just taking it step by step.”

The first step is to establish the weekly showcase, and the next step will occur this Thursday, May 1, when the band releases its debut album of live music “Any Given Thursday.”

Gray hopes his new project will see success on Thursday night as strong as what The Michael Foster Project has on Wednesday. However, even if the new venture is successful, he has no plans of leaving The Michael Foster Project.
- The Advocate


Sep 20, 2006
Gov. Kathleen Blanco applauds as John Gray of Baton Rouge plays "When the Saints Go Marching In" as they unveil a banner in support of the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006 at the Governor's Mansion in Baton Rouge La. AP Photo/The Advocate, Arthur D. Lauck. (Fresno Bee -- Sports) - The Advocate, Arthur D. Lauck


Welcome Home Jazz
Anna Hirsch

Last month I stepped into the M Bar off Third and Laurel on a Thursday night and momentarily lost track of where I was. I found myself suddenly trying to catch up to a startling fact—Baton Rouge has a jazz scene again.

Once a jazz hotspot, M’s Fine and Mellow Café (then Swamp Mama’s, now the Roux House) is literally years removed from the new M Bar located on the opposite end of Third Street. The owners of the M Bar are trying to do things differently, from the décor to the lineup of shows, yet all of the dissimilarities might matter little against the brute inertia of time and history’s tendency to repeat itself. For now, Thursday night jazz at the M Bar is free, packed, and plugged in. Every week, John Gray asks himself the same question: What else can I do to keep this thing going?

In high school Gray worked the door at M’s Fine and Mellow and played whenever he could. "M’s had a good lineup but it didn’t take off. I was 21, 22 back then. We probably needed to do more promotion.” I mentioned to Gray that on my first trip to Louisiana, my father and I tried desperately to find "the strip.” We ended up at Swamp Mama’s the same night that fifty or so motorcycles were parked out front. It was the only place we could find open that served food downtown. I remember the food being mediocre, the music pleasant enough, and my desire move to this city waning. Five years later, I am still living in Baton Rouge, and—like many others—I want to do what Gray is doing: be a better catalyst for the things I want to happen. What Gray has figured out is that the venue does not make the scene, but rather the scene lives in the venue, and the scene better damn well be comfortable. Like a well-trained host, Gray has learned to focus on the details, all of the details. "Now," Gray said, "I even make sure there's toilet paper in the bathroom."

Gray is dedicated to changing up his Thursday night shows, some classic jazz, some fusion and funk, brass and the occasional congas, in order to showcase a variety of musicians living right here in our city: "I choose a wide selection of songs from different genres, so that I can reach more people where they are and bring them to places—musically—that they haven't been before. So that the funk fan can be exposed to swing, the r&b fan can be exposed to be-bop, the Sinatra ballad fan can be exposed to Latin jazz and the blues…dig it?” In the future he wants to combine forms and invite artists to come out and paint the show and to hold wine and cheese tastings. "The M Bar is all accommodating,” Gray said.

Gray is not the only person who hopes to make a permanent home for jazz in Baton Rouge. At the schools where Gray teaches music, young people are learning the art of performance and hosting so that they can soon struggle alongside Gray to sustain jazz in their hometown. The River City Jazz Coalition, a non-profit geared toward making Baton Rouge a viable stop on the national jazz circuit, has also had tremendous success in the past year brining in big name acts
Baton Rouge is calling for jazz to come home; the message is loud, chaotic, and human, improvising on a steady foundation like a saxophonist over a rhythm section.

"Sometimes I have it planned out,” Gray said referring to his lineup. "Sometimes I don’t.” Though on a Thursday night, when you watch Gray work, the only thing you notice is the fullness of his performance, both as a musician and a host, blowing his horn, shaking hands, smiling, perhaps a little timidly, though graciously, conducting the tempo, cadence, and mood of the room. With a host who cultivates and tends to our shared spaces with such care, maybe then a bar by any other name would last through the night and beyond.
- Sweet Tooth/ culturecandie.org


Discography

John Gray presents..."Any Given Thursday"
LIVE @ The M Bar

Photos

Bio

John Gray's Existential Audio brings together seasoned musicians who have been in the performance arena for a cool minute! They create soulful originals, and put a soulful and funky twists on songs of yesterday and today. The band is relitivaly new only performing together as Existential Audio for a few months, but they have know each other for years! Many of the members have traveled the world and worked with established independent artists.....Now they come together to form their own thang! Definitely work lending your ear to!!!