Gig Seeker Pro


Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band World Funk



The best kept secret in music


"The Nation's Best: Lawrence University Musicians Earn Top Honors from DownBeat Magazine"

The seven-member student band Fatbook shared top honors with the Funk Fusion Ensemble of the University of Miami in the magazine's blues/pop/rock category as the nation's best college band.

Winners will be announced in DownBeat's upcoming June edition, which hits newsstands on May 19. Known as "DBs" and presented in 15 categories in four separate divisions (junior high, high school, performing high school and college) the DownBeat awards are considered among the highest music honors in the field of jazz education.

The two latest awards push Lawrence's DB total to 15 since the competition was launched in 1978, and the college's fifth DB since 2005.

"It's so gratifying to have the ensemble students recognized like this because they so richly deserve it. They work incredibly hard, are extremely dedicated to being the best musicians they can be and are a true privilege to work with," said assistent professor of music, Andy Mast.

"The external recognition is certainly great because it shines a national spotlight on Lawrence as the first-rate school that it is," Mast added, "but I am even happier for the internal satisfaction this brings the students who work so hard on a daily basis to make it that way."

atbook, which started out strictly as a reggae band in the fall of 2007, becomes a footnote in Lawrence history as the college's first non-curricular ensemble to be recognized by DownBeat.

The band features three home-grown musicians -- senior Harjinder Bedi, lead vocals and guitar, junior Jake Crowe, tenor saxophone and Ted Toussaint, trumpet, all from Appleton -- as welll as senior Nick Anderson, bass, from Verona, Wis., senior Evan Jacobson, trombone, from Oak Park, Ill., junior Dario LaPoma, piano, from Eugene, Ore., and senior Kyle Traska, drums/ percussion, from Oregon, Wis.

While Fatbook musical style has evolved into a more diverse sound, it hasn't completely abandoned its original sound and reggae remains a central influence on the band.

"We don't like to categorize ourselves in any one genre of music. We like to draw on a wide variety of influences, including rock, pop, jazz, reggae and even a little bit of hip-hop," said Jacobson.

Fatbook's entry in DownBeat's student music awards competition was a disc of three original compositions. They will be releasing their first CD, "No Time to Lose," a 10-track disc of all original material, later this month.

According to Toussaint, much of the original material they perform is a result of "shared composition."

"Someone will suggest a core idea, but we'll flesh it out together as a group," said Toussaint. "All the guys in the band listen to and participate in a wide range of musical styles, so we naturally bring that diversity to the table."

The band, which also performs cover material ranging from The Police to Bela Fleck to Bob Marley, has made inroads in the local club scene, performing at such area venues as Mill Creek Blues, Stone Cellar Brewery and Cranky Pat's.

Fred Sturm, director of jazz and improvisational music at Lawrence, has served as a mentor to the fledgling band and has watched with pride as they've evolved.

"These are all talented young musicians who are beginning to realize some of their musical dreams while still college students. That's a thrill to witness," said Sturm. "They're striving to establish a unique musical identity and they've got enormous heart for the task of making it all happen. Earning a DownBeat award is a great first step for them."

This year's DownBeat competition drew a total of 832 ensemble and individual entries for all categories in all four divisions. - Rick Peterson


No Time To Lose (May 2009)



Fatbook is heavy dose of Chicago groove with a worldwide perspective, soul and jazz sensibilities, reggae intentions, hip-hop beats, and
influence of West-African and Brazilian music. The 7 members varied
experiences influence who they are as people and the music they create.
Fatbook shows are an energized excursion through soundscapes that weave
through genres - a sound that you can’t quite place and you can’t stop
moving to.

The group makes music that is fresh, colorful, and rooted in groove.

Fatbook was originally formed at Lawrence University and won
back-to-back “Downbeat Awards” from the jazz world’s Downbeat Magazine
in 2009 and 2010. The group has been rooted in Chicago since then, and
unique high-energy live performances have propelled them to quickly
become a recognized force in the Chicago music community.

Fatbook’s members are also educators dedicated to bringing youth up
within the world of music, dance, and art. The group’s vocalist
Harjinder says, “Expression is essential for the human soul, and
teaching is essential for the human community. We love sharing what we
love.” An insistence for action and positive change resonates through
the group’s motives and what they do.

In Summer 2013 Fatbook was showcased at the Chicago Folk and Roots
Festival, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Chicago World Music Festival, and in
2014 they were a headlining artist at the Old Town School of Folk
Music’s renowned Square Roots Festival. They have shared the stage with
international artists such as Nneka, Red Baraat, Young Blood Brass Band,
M.A.K.U. Sound System, Native Sun, Maoli, and Katchafire.

Fatbook has just released their self-titled debut with 5 time Grammy
nominated engineer and producer duo Manny Sanchez and Greg Magers (Lupe
Fiasco, Umphrey’s McGee, Patrick Stump, and others), recorded at
Chicago’s I.V Labs Studios and The Attic. Their recent Summer 2014 tour
dates went from Chicago to Seattle, to LA and back, and East-Coast is
expected in Fall 2014.

Things are moving fast and not about to slow down. Come dance and spread the movement.
….wake up and live.

Band Members