Family Style
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Family Style

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Pop Maybe, Jazz for Sure"

This is not your grand-daddy's jazz. Family Style does
not dust off the museum pieces. Here is something new,
full of the vigor, intensity, and innovation of youth.

Family Style was formed in the year 2000 by seven
students from De Paul University to fill a regular
house gig at the Boulevard Cafe in Chicago. Heavy on
the horns, they cranked out a dancable mix of funk,
soul, R&B, blues, and art rock covers for a swelling
crowd of fans. As their popularity and confidence
grew, original compositions began to replace their
repetoire of cover tunes.

Through the years and various personnel changes,
they've absorbed their many influences into an
exciting sound of their own. Their first cd, "Why You
Wanna," released last month, is being aired on both
jazz and pop radio stations.

Performing throughout the midwest, they now bring a
new bag of original compositions to Billy's Lounge in
Eastown for the WGVU Jazz Night, Thursday, January 27,
7 til 9PM. (The cover is $5 and the performance will
be broadcast live on 88.5 FM.)

"The pop stations, like WXRT in Chicago, seem to like
our vocal tunes," said founding member and
saxophonist, Josh Quinlan. "Lazarro Vega, at WBLV
likes our instrumentals. But as far as I'm concerned
this is a jazz project, because we're creating
something new."

Quinlan, a graduate of the Cinncinnati Conservatory,
composes ballads dense with modern harmonies and
bar-burning up-tempo tunes with jagged melodies and
challenging time changes. "How the West Was Won," from
the new cd, displays Quinlan's humor and penchant for
combining styles. The tune is a kind of bebop hoe-down
over a Native-American drum beat. Odd, but
interesting.

Speaking of fellow founder, Chris Neal, Quinlan said,
"We come from very different places musically. I grew
up listening to jazz and Chris comes out of funk and
soul. So we've challenged and broadened each other.
What we have in common is the saxophone. That's where
our collaboration begins. Chris writes all the lyrics.
I'll bring in a tune and say, 'Yeah, we could use some
lyrics here.'"

Chris Neal, lead singer, lyricist, tenor saxophonist,
and sometimes keyboard player, composes songs that are
at once soulful and surreal. His voice is strong and
disciplined, whether growling low or soaring high. His
lyrics manage to mingle menace and tenderness. Neal's
song, "The Brinx," with its insistent guitar riff and
driving beat has the feel of a cross-over hit. The
lyrics may not mean anything---"When the force stops
flowin', that's your final warnin', you're heading it
to the brinx"---but they sound good.

Keyboardist, Paul Lesinski, with his background in
jazz, blues and rock, is well suited to lay down the
groove and layer the harmonies for Family Style.
Lesinski, still in his twenties, is already a fixture
on the West Michigan music scene, performing with
singers as diverse as the sophisticated Eeddie
Evans-Hyde and the raucous Roberta Bradley. With the
rock band, Sooper Stupid, he will be performing the
Grand Rapids Ballet's "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," in
February. His organ trio, Fat Leslie performs at
Founder's, Louis Benton, and the Bistro Bella Vita.

Lesinski is also contributing original compositions to
Family Style. "'Carter's Blues' will definitely be on
the next cd," said Quinlan. The tunes, dedicated to
Lesinski's son, has a rolling gospel feel. Of its odd,
ten bar form, Lesinski said, "I was playing a modern
dance class out at Grand Valley. The teacher needed a
ten bar phrase. Carter's Blues is what happened."

Family Style is what's happening. Melding their
musical influences, the group has a message: Jazz will
continue to evolve into the 21st century, devouring
all musical forms, a musical force that is both
progressive and (at least potentially) popular.
- Grand Rapids Press - Stephen Durst


Discography

"Why You Wanna"

Airplay on radio staions in Chicago, Michigan, Peru, Mexico and the Netherlands.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

This Chicago based Quintet represents the spirit of American jazz music through improvisation and composition while shaping its sounds with soul, rock and jazz/funk styles. The band has been able to share their unique sound via workshops, radio broadcasts, lectures, and in concert venues throughout the world.
With the recent release of their first album Family Style can be heard on radio stations in their hometown of Chicago, Illinois and abroad. In the last several months the group performed at the Festival De Jazz en Lima XV (Peru) and was accepted into the Illinois Arts Council’s Artstour Program for the next two years. Their resumes are impressive, with members of the group having played with or alongside such acts as: Leftover Salmon, Umphrey’s McGee, Bob Brookmeyer, the Temptations, Louis Bellson and even the Joffrey Ballet.
Their live show is not to be missed – a horn driven, organic blend of original music, fronted by one of the premier vocal talents in all of Chicago.