The Jim Morey Band
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The Jim Morey Band

Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States | SELF

Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States | SELF
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The Jim Morey Band @ Ceviche

Saint Petersburg, Florida, USA

Saint Petersburg, Florida, USA

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Jim Morey: Trumpetist, singer, guitarist, collector of hats, member of jazz groups Lounge Cat and the Helios Jazz Orchestra ... and now leader of his own wildly creative band, the Jim Morey Band.

Ragtime, jazz, swing, pop, Southern-flavored Vaudeville ... it's all a big melange to this eccentric but rising group, which is unlike any you're likely to see anytime soon. Along with David Crisler on electric MIDI banjo, Anne Van Atta on upright bass, Billy Carr on drums, Morey's group has has been a popular draw at funky hipster events like ARTpool's TRA'shion Fashion show in July.

The Jim Morey Band will perform Saturday (11/21) at New World Brewery alongside Poetry 'N Lotion and Infinite Groove Orchestra. Tickets are $4.

Click here to listen to the group's jaunty single Nuthin' But Love. - TBT

Trumpeter/warm drawling vocalist Jim Morey leads this capable quartet featuring bassist Ann Van Atta, banjo player David Crisler, and drummer Billy Carr (all four of them also current members of Lounge Cat). The band offers a fresh take on old jazz using swing and muddy river Creole as their foundation, incorporating elements of gypsy, ragtime and stumbling roots rock, and then spicing things up with electronics (Crisler has a synthesizer hooked up to his banjo), humorous textures (kazoo, washboard, bike horn, slide whistle), and the occasional one-man low-end display by Carr, who plays bass and drums simultaneously (and quite proficiently) when Van Atta can’t make a gig. - Creative Loafing

The Jim Morey Band transports you to a bygone time through a twisty smoke-filled haze and psychedelic dreamscapes.

Moods range from spooky to swirly to zany to clanky as Morey (vocals, trumpet, keyboards and guitar), Anne Van Atta (bass and vocals), Billy Carr (drums) and Eddie Rosicky (gutiar) stir stuff from the depths of the soul and move the body in a jumping-jive, ragtime high.

Nuthin But Love, the band’s 2009 CD, offers up a thick gumbo of spicy ingredients — jazzy swing, New Orleans stomp and darkly rhapsodic serenades. Its bizarre and far-flung influences range from the soundtracks to ’40s big-band flicks to Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.

“I’m exploring the guitar and keyboard for sounds that complement the mood we want to create,” Morey said. “I am particularly drawn to the Hammond B-3 sound on the keyboard because it has a funky, gritty bite to it.”

LISTEN - Jim Morey Band, 'Last Bus'

LISTEN - Jim Morey Band, 'Nuthin But Love'

Bandleader Morey wears a lot of hats, both literally and figuratively. Along with making music, the cap collector takes photos and designs jewelry. He’s been playing the trumpet since age 8, and cites a tape called Greatest Jazz Trumpet Players as his earliest influence. He’s lived throughout the United States and in the past decade returned to his hometown St. Pete, where he’s been busy playing two bands, Jim Morey Band and Lounge Cat — and scoring films such as Loren Cass and How to Be a Loan Shark.

Not your typical retro nerd or cabaret performer, Morey sports a mellow, freewheeling hippie-bohemian zest for life, best described in his Waits-ish Gypsy Wind. It’s a vibe, even with the many duties of his band and side projects, he hasn’t outgrown.

It’s remarkable that Morey keeps up such a pleasant and mellow outlook when you take into consideration that he’s narrowly escaped death more than a few times in his lifetime.

He took the last bus out of New Orleans before Katrina (and later wrote a song about it, Last Bus). Once in New York, his car was shot with 30 bullets while he wasn’t in it, and he’s labored as an iron worker, sustaining multiple injuries.

His band, likewise amazing, puts on a show that’s known for strange and wonderful surprises. For example: He might have anywhere from two to 10 musicians on stage, along with an arrangement of bizarre props; Morey has played two trumpets at once and has even welcomed a mechanized circus monkey onstage.

“I just inherited another mannequin, which makes five,” he said. “They all may end up on stage with us soon. Bobo the monkey is contemplating coming out of retirement for our tour this summer.”

Also, a show late last year had drummer Carr playing drums with his right hand and bass with his left. There’s no definitive explanation as to how he pulled that off.

“Billy Carr is an amazingly talented and unusually ambidextrous human being,” Morey said. “He’s also quite a cool person to cover for Anne when she is unable to be at our gigs.”

-- Julie Garisto, tbt*


Nuthin But Love (madeyoulook, 2008)
WMNF Live Music Showcase 7/2/10



The Jim Morey Band offers a fresh take on vintage jazz using New Orleans rhythms as their foundation, incorporating elements of gypsy, ragtime and stumbling roots rock, and then spicing things up with electronics and digital effects to create a rather tasty musical gumbo.

With influences ranging from Tom Waits, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Radiohead, Duke Ellington and you, they take risks and explore the possibilities of music with each performance.

You might hear trumpet, hammond B-3, guitar, bass, drums, slide whistle, iPhone theremin, kazoo, washboard, cigarbox slide guitar and whatever else they can squeeze to make a sound.

All original. All the time.