Jeff DeHerdt
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Jeff DeHerdt

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New CD has the feel of hearing the band play live in a club.

By Julie Young
INtake correspondent

Jeff DeHerdt made his mark on the local music scene at the 2000 Indianapolis Jazz Fest, playing his original songs that couple slick jazz and pop-rock stylings. In the months and years that followed, his combo has made appearances at Clowes Hall, the Chatterbox and The Jazz Kitchen alongside notable artists such as Herbie Hancock, Michael Becker and Wayne Shorter. DeHerdt's new CD, "Club Bordeaux," is a collection of 11 new songs that he has written over the past five years and is evenly split between vocal and instrumental music, giving listeners a sense of what the band sounds like in a live venue. The 36-year-old Brebeuf High School graduate says that he is excited about the new material and looks forward to the future.

What is the concept of "Club Bordeaux"?

Basically, all of the tunes I have written over the past five years were put into one CD, and I just tried to place them in one cohesive hole. It's kind of a wine theme since they are a lot of tunes I have written in clubs. It's a cross between straight-ahead jazz and singer-songwriter pop. It's like Billy Joel meets Thelonious Monk. The production is better than my EP. I spent a lot more time with this CD and I added a lot of horns, organ and guitar to this version of "I'm all the Friends I've Got." David Weber, who recorded Carrie Newcomer's CDs, co-produced the CD with me.

What is it like to play the Jazz Fest with nationally known acts?

I wasn't on the main stage, but on the local stage where it is more like a peer group. I got to see a lot of people play who I normally don't get to. When my band was playing, Brad Mehldau was on the next stage, toward the end of the set, I was wondering why people were staying here when he was on the next stage. I would have been over there if I could have. The good thing about the Jazz Fest is that even though there are big crowds at the main stage, there are still a lot of people at the local stages as well.

Who are some of your influences?

I grew up in the '80s, so it was the Police, Billy Joel and Steely Dan.

How big of a band do you perform with?

It flexes between three and eight people, but depends on what kind of function I'm playing. If it is a small room, eight people can be really loud, but for an intimate setting, three to four is good. In a full concert setting, I like to use three horns, a guitar and an organ to help fill things out.

Which venue is your favorite to play?

Right now, it would have to be the Jazz Kitchen. People there usually come to listen as well as eat. Playing live gives you an immediate response from the audience as well as the musicians. Since we play things a little differently every night, it's a constant surprise. - Gannett(INTake Magazine)

Chuck Workman

It was a year of massive jazz releases in all styles, both nationally and locally. The local jazz scene was especially prolific.

Triple threat artist singer, pianist and composer Jeff DeHerdt has to rank as one of the most underrated jazz artists in town. His second release, Club Bordeaux, is a treasure. This is a deep excursion into DeHerdt’s musical mind with its sardonically hip humor. Note his fondness for Thelonius Monk on the swinging “I’m All the Friends That I Got.” There are 12 DeHerdt originals with words, music and arrangements played with fire by 10 local artists in various groupings. - NUVO newsweekly

Two sides of "Club Bordeaux"
combine for a great record
CD Review by Mina Keohane

Artist: Jeff DeHerdt
Album: "Club Bordeaux"

According to Jeff DeHerdt's website, he has developed a form of Jazz-Pop (calling it either "Pazz" or "Jop"). It grew out of him growing up loving music by The Police and Billy Joel while also finding the greatness that is Monk and Bill Evans while studying at the Berklee College of Music.

Describing this type of music (I'll go with the formal "Jazzular") is always difficult so that you really give them the right idea. You could say Kenny G and Mindi Abair fall into the genre. You could say Harry Connick Jr. is in there too, as well as Pat Metheny (with things like "Imaginary Day"), Medeski, Martin and Wood, and some albums by Herbie Hancock. See what I mean, it's tough, but I'll try my best.

Jeff DeHerdt's latest album "Club Bordeaux" has two sides to it, literally. On the back cover it says "Side 1" and "Side 2," separating the vocal tunes from the instrumental tunes. He says it's a throw back to the days of vinyl (but you kids at home shouldn't flip the CD over). To me it's a little more Janus than that.

Side 1 contains six vocal pop songs that sound like what you would get if you ever crossed Steely Dan with Randy Newman. The songs all tell stories, a lot sprinkled with humor, and have jazz elements, but are unmistakably pop. DeHerdt's vocals are on point and sound good. I'd go back to the Randy Newman reference, but I had a friend over while listening to this and he mentioned thinking DeHerdt having a little of a Kurt Elling sound. My favorites off this side are the title track "Club Bordeaux", an up shuffle with a really cool chorus, and the lovely "waltz" ballad "Few and Far Between." "Shining Your Light" has a gospel influence to it, which also shows up later on Side 2 with the instrumental tune called "Maybe it Is."

On the virtual flip side, Side 2 sounds almost like a different person's writing at first. The further into the record you go, however, the more of DeHerdt's signature sound begins to shine through. Still, Side 2 is more straight jazz than "jazzular." I really liked these tunes. They're nicely written and really well played.

Very much like Steely Dan, Jeff DeHerdt recruited some cream-of-the-crop players for his album. To name a few: he's got Jack Helsley and John Huber sharing bass duties, Mike Stricklin lending his blazing chops on the saxes/flute and Peter Kienle on guitar. DeHerdt's playing is also very pleasant, never obtrusive and always in taste with the style of the tune.

The highlight of this CD for me, however, was the production/engineering. Dave Weber handled recording duties down in Bloomington and, let me tell you, it sounds perfect. The horn levels are right where they should be and they don't sound tinny. I really love to hear a recording with impeccable precision on the mix without having it sound washed out like most of today's pop music.

Jeff DeHerdt's "Club Bordeaux" has all the elements of a good album, which makes the album, well…quite good. Whether you'd dig the vocal side or the instrumental side more is entirely up to you and your tastes. There's a good chance you'll like both sides equally. If you need help deciding which side is your favorite, you can hear the record performed live Friday at Jeff's CD Release party at the Jazz Kitchen. For more info visit -


Jeff DeHerdt - Jeff DeHerdt Group EP(2001)
Jeff DeHerdt - Club Bordeaux (2004)
Available at ITunes, CDBaby and other locations
Jeff DeHerdt - The Autumn House (2007)
Available at CDBaby and Digstation(ITunes withing 3 months)


Feeling a bit camera shy


“The Jeff DeHerdt Group tripped and stumbled on to the Midwest music scene in 1999 with a dull thud,” said Jeff DeHerdt: singer, pianist and composer. But, since a performance in the 2000 Indianapolis Jazz Fest, the group draws regular followings in local Indiana venues such as Clowes Hall, the Chatterbox and the Jazz Kitchen. Recently, the group played in Clowes Hall before bands featuring Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Roy Hargrove and Wayne Shorter.

As a child of the 70s and a teenager of the 80s, DeHerdt was pretty much a rock-n-pop junkie. “The music of the Beatles, Billy Joel, Steely Dan and the Police were my drugs of choice,” he said. But, in the late 1980s, jazz became his nicotine patch. Influenced by pianists Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans, DeHerdt began his composition studies and detox at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. “I became re-addicted, this time to a certain blend of jazz and pop,” DeHerdt stated, “I don’t know whether to call it Jop or Pazz, but somebody should really stop me before I do.”

“The new CD is a good indication of how the group barely manages to function live. Each track on the current CD was recorded two or three times in the studio and then we gave up and digitally corrected everything,” DeHerdt said. He added, “If you don’t get it right the first few of times, you ain’t gonna get it. The only thing that tops the CD is coming to hear the group live, so come out and see us!”