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Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Jazz Funk




"Dan White jazz sextet to share results of blues study"

Like many other jazz projects, the latest effort by the Dan White Sextet struck a balance between planning and last-minute improvising.

The namesake saxophonist crisscrossed the country last September for almost three weeks, using part of a $12,000 Cardinal Health artistic grant to find, interview and observe blues musicians as the backbone for an interdisciplinary concept album.

Some of the aging artists, though, couldn’t be readily reached by text or tweet.

“We were just freakin’ cold-calling people from the car; we had a legal pad full of names,” said White, an Ohio State University graduate who, with two others from his ensemble, visited nine cities — including Kansas City, Mo.; Nashville, Tenn.; and New Orleans.

Visits to dark nightclubs and modest living rooms revealed rich songs and stories.

Among them were tales of recordings with industry greats, the mechanics of low-rent shows on lengthy tours and memories of a music industry far different from the one of today.

Filtered through a jazz lens, the findings spawned the eight original compositions found on Your Song, a Dan White Sextet album to be released on Saturday.

“It grew into this thing that we couldn’t have predicted,” said White, who will perform the new music with his group (also known as dw6) on Friday in the Lincoln Theatre.

The concert will kick off the 2014-15 “Inside Track” season, a contemporary series from the Jazz Arts Group, which disburses the annual Cardinal Health grant. (The money marks the third such grant provided by the Dublin pharmaceutical company to support a project combining jazz music, research and educational outreach.)

The idea for the new music was inspired by a group visit to the “Blues for Smoke” exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

As the study of jazz and blues music becomes more academic, the 20-something musicians wanted to know more about the way things used to be.

“This is a great opportunity for us to address this national conversation,” said Judy Shafer, director of JAG’s Jazz in Schools program.

Shafer picked White’s project as the latest funding recipient. (The two previous grant projects were a musical history of the Near East Side and a dance-focused tribute to Rosa Parks.)

Accompanying each Dan White Sextet song during the Lincoln performance will be video snippets collected on the road by White, trombonist Chris Ott and trumpeter Jon Lampley.

“The audience gets to see exactly what we saw and heard — these people in their homes talking about their experiences and stories,” said White, 25. “That was the goal of the project.”

Listeners will also pick up on sonic flavors from Memphis, Tenn., soul to Chicago-style blues.

Many of the surveyed musicians — all of whom shared a common thread of grit and independent spirit, White said — were self-taught, in contrast to the headliner’s resume.

White, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., first picked up a saxophone at age 9, took private lessons and played in school bands throughout his adolescence, and studied jazz at Ohio State.

White’s teachers, however, encouraged him to take his music outside the classroom.

“They knocked those doors down early on, pushing me to write music,” said White, who, after his college graduation in 2012, led in-school workshops for the Jazz Arts Group and taught music for a year at Bishop Watterson High School.

“Writing for bands and small-group stuff, I figured out, ‘Hey, this isn’t that hard.’  ”

Working as a full-time jazz musician isn’t an easy career path, but the Dan White Sextet members diversify their resumes to make it work.

Lampley has toured with the rock band O.A.R. Ott writes jingles. Most members, too, give lessons between commitments.

White, meanwhile, has tailored his work to suit audiences ranging from hushed theater crowds to rowdier bar patrons — and, most recently, youngsters.

A 2013 Dan White Sextet release, Play, reinterprets classic children’s songs such as Pop Goes the Weasel and Three Blind Mice.

After the Lincoln show, the group on Saturday will cater to the kiddie clientele with a “PBJ & Jazz” show at the Topiary Park.

Children, White said, “just lose it” when they hear a familiar melody.

And, in spotlighting the genre for a new generation, the band might inspire youngsters to create songs of their own one day.

@kevjoy - The Columbus Dispatch

"Dan White Sextet’s glory days still might be coming"

Music academia can be a restless cauldron, with young talents swapping bandmates the way most college kids swap bed buddies. And like the bed buddies, most musicians that age are still figuring out how it works.

When the Dan White Sextet bubbled out of Ohio State’s music department a little more than two years ago, the ambitious young combo at least knew what it didn’t want to be.

“I really don’t want someone to even consider this as background music,” said White, the boy-next-door-looking saxophonist and bandleader.

They’d accomplish that goal not by cranking up the volume, but by veering their jazzy originals in directions that catch listeners off guard — directions like, say, releasing an album of children’s music reinvented from the ground up.

Play, the group’s second LP, was released Tuesday. Its concept: Take songs everybody knows — kids’ songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” folk tunes like “Yankee Doodle,” holiday classics like “Away In a Manger” — and conceive new arrangements that reimagine the source material so radically that they scan as originals.

“It’s such a simple framework,” trombonist and beatboxer Chris Ott said. “There’s so much space for creativity.”

Thus, “Ring Around the Rosie” spirals from moody morning music into free-spirited solos. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” features a rap verse from EOP’s Eric Rollin. A skronking, beatboxing take on “Pop Goes the Weasel” stretches the definition of “pop.”

It’s inventive stuff, and it’s not the first example of DW6 finding fresh ways to present its ideas. The group filmed the live takes for its debut album, New York Sessions, and posted the entire record to YouTube as video.

DW6 will celebrate Play Saturday at Brothers Drake with support from Brooklyn’s Manner Effect. Speaking of support: The record wouldn’t have happened without more than $6,000 in Kickstarter donations and a student project grant from Ohio State, where trumpet/sousaphone maestro Jon Lampley was still enrolled at the time.

The college era is ending, though, and DW6 has grown up into much more than a hobby. For core members White, Lampley and Ott, the band is now a full-time job, although all the players also cull income from performing with other groups (Lampley is a touring member of O.A.R.) and teaching music. More extensive tour plans are in the works, and the members moved in together, a gesture of practicality and solidarity.

A band bent on crossing musical boundaries now faces frontiers of the career variety. Its next expectation to confound: the one where college bands fizzle out in the real world and dreams are perpetually deferred. In DW6’s case, the glory days might very well still be forthcoming. - Columbus Alive


New York Sessions (2012)
play (2013)
Your Song (2014)



The Brooklyn-based band, Huntertones, is a unique voice in the world of genre-defying music. What started in 2010 as a six-piece instrumental group in Columbus, Ohio (DW6) has become an innovative ensemble propelled by the original music and adventurous arranging of Chris Ott, Dan White, and Jon Lampley. Their heavy horn-driven compositions meld jazz, funk, soul, hip hop, gospel, R&B, and rock to produce a signature sound that resonates with all types of audiences. The band’s mission is simple: create live music on real instruments that will often make you think and always make you move.

Notable Huntertones performances include appearances at festivals and venues around the US including the Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest, the Rochester Jazz Festival, shows at Toronto’s Rex Jazz and Blues Bar, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall.  Additionally, the Huntertones have opened for the Grammy Award winning music collective Snarky Puppy.  The band continues to hold an active touring schedule of shows throughout the Midwest and East coast with plans of a West coast tour for early 2015.  

Individually, Huntertones members have compiled a diverse resume of collaborations with top artists in the pop, jazz, soul, and musical theater worlds.  This includes work with Ricky Martin, Allen Stone, O.A.R., Red Baraat, Fred Wesley, Hadden Sayers, Lew Soloff, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey; Tony winners Norbert Leo Butz and Lena Hall; jazz greats Sean Jones, Jeff Coffin, Tony Monaco, Byron Stripling, Bobby Floyd, Felix Pastorius, Christian Howes; and ensembles such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the national tour of Guys and Dolls, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, and many others.  

The Huntertones’ latest recording/performance/educational project Your Song, was commissioned by the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus and involved a road trip across the country to collect stories from older musicians in the jazz, soul, and blues genres.  The result was a full length album and a multimedia concert presentation with 10 original compositions inspired by musicians such as Victor Wooten, Bobby Watson, and Roger Lewis of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.  This project also involved a series of educational workshops throughout the state of Ohio teaching the creative process, storytelling, and the relationship between music, history and culture.

Band Members