The Dave Kain Group
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The Dave Kain Group

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"Jazz Improv"

There is no specific label listed for this cd. I only hope that distribution of this recording will not be a problem, as it is a gem that should be heard by anyone interested in original, swinging music, by four musicians working together who have produced a splendid CD. These musicians are individually excellent, and the group they formed is excellent. Guitarist-leader Kain composed all eight selections, and with the exception of Another Take which in it's varying meters uses Giant Steps as a harmonic base, the melodies and other harmonies are all his. Kain, bassist McDonald, saxophonist Garrison and drummer Donato all get beautiful sounds from their respective instruments. The musicians show respect for all of those factors that have been a consistent element of the best music since its start: each piece has its own swing; there are excellent melodies and harmonic underpinnings. Even though the musicians all respect the players that came before them, they demonstrate originality. I highly recommend this CD. I would very much like to play these songs; they would be great for a session. Kain deserves much credit for the leadership and the songs, and all four musicians are among the real players, and I wish them great success.
- Marshall Zucker


"A terrific first outing! Great tunes by Dave and he and the group play with fire and maturity." - Jack Wilkins -


"Dave Kain is one of the brightest improvisers on today's contemporary music scene." - Vic Juris -


Dave Kain is an exceptionally talented jazz guitarist who writes
intelligent, thoughtful music that packs quite an emotional punch. - Jon Cowherd -

"Featured Artist: Dave Kain Group CD Title: Citizen Kain"

CD Title: Citizen Kain

Year: 2004

Record Label: Independent

Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic

Musicians: Dave Kain (Guitar), Matt Garrison (Tenor Saxophone), Jerry McDonald (Bass), Rick Donato (Drums)

Review: The Dave Kain Group’s 1st recording, Citizen Kain, is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and is particularly well-conceived for a young artists’ debut. The tunes (all written by Kain) and playing have a connected-ness that is sometimes lacking on debut recordings where artists often feel obligated to cram everything they’ve learned into the music, whether it suits the material or not. The vibe on “Citizen” is more relaxed. What it lacks in urgency it more than makes up for in mindfulness. It’s a welcome trade-off.
Kain’s strengths are mainly in his writing. The best tunes on the CD are marked by a heady non-chalance, wit, or lightness: a skippy-ing-ness. He’s got a knack for conjuring natural, swinging, in-the-pocket gestures that belie the more sophisticated harmonies, rhythms, and structures that house them. Highlights in this vein are the tracks “Eleven”, “Trickery”, and “Another Take”. These tunes occasionally follow an impulse to venture off into the occasional odd form or meter (5/4) but still retain their accessibility and groove. Any modern straight-ahead jazz artist could incorporate these tunes into their set-list and have fun playing on them.

The players in Kain’s group are all seasoned New York City musicians who occasionally outshine the already excellent material they’ve been given to interpret. Matt Garrison (tenor saxophone), Jerry McDonald (bass), and Rick Donato (drums) have been playing together as a group with Kain for a few years and the familiarity and connection between the personalities elevate the music. Garrison is particularly impressive, being featured on all of the tunes. Much of his playing here mirrors Kain’s compositional style: a deceptively easy-going veneer and the ability to run with small gestures. Even more so than in Kain’s melodies, Garrison has the ability to run with small phrases and gestures in his solos and follows them where they may lead, instead of dropping the ball for any new idea that may come along. In this manner he often creates larger and more interesting phrases. In tone and style his playing often falls into an interesting cross-section of Sonny Rollins and Joshua Redman. The tone of most of the record is relaxed, but here and there Garrison steps it up and approaches a more ‘burning’ atmosphere. Keep an eye out for this boy. He got game. The rhythm section is also on top of the material and is particularly supportive of the soloists. Kain and Garrison have very different approaches and feels, so McDonald and Donato switch gears swiftly to compliment the different styles. They alternate between just the right balance of push and support and are both excellent soloists as well.

Kain’s tone on his guitar (looks like an ES335 on the CD artwork) throughout the recording is consistently warm and clean and an excellent compliment to Garrison’s sound. His comping, while not too harmonically adventurous, gets the job done and is rhythmically sensitive to the rest of the band. Yet, Kain’s playing is not quite up to speed with his compositional ability. At times you can hear his hands running just behind his mind. You can hear him reach for the prize and just miss. But with this happening only on occasion, it’s easy to assume this will be taken care of in the coming years. I’d liken Citizen Kain (will Jeff Watts forgive him?) to one of the better, ‘true-indie’ entries in the Sundance Film Festival in a parallel jazz festival. Yeah, it may have some rough edges and flaws, but it’s still better than 98% of the crap comin’ out of “Hollywould” (ie: Universal, Sony, etc…). And the audience award goes to…

- - Reviewed by: John Dworkin


Citizen Kain - 2005 LP
No Pain No Kain - 2007 LP



The Dave Kain Group formed in 2001, led by Dave Kain on guitar, and featuring Rick Donato on drums, Jerry McDonald on bass, and Matt Garrison on saxophone. Their purpose was: to grow musically and artistically, and to write and perform
original jazz.

Dave Kain studied at Suny Purchase, Berklee College of Music, and eventually received a bachelors degree in jazz improvisation from Five Towns College of Music. Dave has been fortunate to study with Joe Carbone, Joe Monk, Bill Farrish, Greg Bobulinski, Jack Wilkins, Jay Azzolina, and Chris Morrison. Dave has appeared on The Classic American Guitar Show and has appeared twice on WVOX radio as a featured artist. Dave's music is also about to be published in a book entitled The Jazz Guitarists Fakebook alongside other guitarists Sheryl Bailey, Jack Wilkins, Leni Stern, Doug Wamble, and Jesse Van Ruller.

Dave formed the Dave Kain Group to create a jazz band that would not be restricted to playing jazz standards but instead could flex its muscles with original jazz music. In 2002, the group released a demo entitled The Kain Mutiny and in 2005 they recorded Citizen Kain, a full-length album. The recording of Citizen Kain proved to be a great learning experience for the group and helped them to gel both personally and artistically. Dave's latest release No Pain No Kain (2007) includes musicians Matt Garrison, upright bass player Dylan Johnson, and notable artists Jon Cowherd, and Jeff Hirshfield.

The Dave Kain Group has played in venues all over the tri state area, as well as Philadelphia, Virginia, Nashville, North & South Carolina and Georgia.

Recent Accomplishments:
- Selected as a "Featured Artist" on
- Voted Favorite Artist for week ending 10/21/06 on SkyJazz Internet Radio's "Discovery Artist Program".
- Selected as a "Spotlight Artist" on Third Stone Jazz - A Guide to Jazz on the Internet.

For all media relations and booking, please contact

Brian Burke @ 508-243-5139 or via email at