It’s Cristian Basso and Trevor Jones’ mutual love of the New Orleans funk circuit that brought the men together so it’s fitting the two recently made the trek to NOLA’s Jazz Fest for a string of shows, along with the trio’s drummer Jeff Jani. Lots of good things are happening for the band, which performs a free show at Main St. Grill in Edwards tonight. The group plans to release its second album in July.
Basso, the band founder and bass player, answered a few questions for the Vail Daily about the trio’s recent run south.
1. Vail Daily: Where did you play in New Orleans?
Cristian Basso: We flew down to New Orleans where we played in mid-town at Banks Street bar our first night with Dave Jordan. It was great to see the venue bounce back from the devastating effects Hurricane Katrina had on the neighborhood. We also were invited to play our good friend, Michael Weintrob’s “InstrumentHead” gala at the Frenchmen Street Art Center with DJ Logic and The Mighty Brass side show. We also played the Sauvage Street block parties that followed each Jazz Fest day.
We ventured to Mobile, Ala. to perform for our good friends at Moe’s Original BBQ. It was a great room, where 500 could easily fit and dance the night away. After our Alabama getaway, we went back to New Orleans to perform again and witness some of the best music on the planet.
2. VD: Tell me about your favorite show of the tour.
CB: That’s a hard question to answer because all the shows were special in their own way. I particularly enjoyed the show at the “InstrumentHead” Gala on Frenchmen St. because it was exciting to see an old friend pursue his artistic dreams and make them come true. Michael Weintrob’s photography exhibit was amazing. (Check out michaelweintrob.com.) Google it or search it on Facebook to find out more behind his vision. It was great to see so many other artists support his work too. The Sessh walked into the event to find DJ Logic and Terrace Higgins (Warren Haynes) jamming with the Mighty Brass side show. The Sessh took the stage with DJ Logic and Julia from the Might Brass band and we had a great set together celebrating Michael’s accomplishments. In all, it was very New Orleans where artists support and contribute to other artist’s creations. It is very inspirational.
The block parties are also something to witness. Frogs Gone Fishin’ invited The Sessh to this event for our second year together. The anticipation of the first note of music being played could be felt throughout the neighborhood. You add thousands of Jazz Fest fans walking into the community; add a little food and a lot of booze and you have a block party, New Orleans style. It was great to get to know the locals in the neighborhood and to hear that they felt as happy as we were to be there. This alone is priceless.
3. VD: Anything funny/interesting/memorable happen on tour?
CB: It was another amazing Jazz Fest in New Orleans. The food mixed with the selection of music to experience and the people you share it with makes it a memorable experience. It was great to see Papa Grows Funk before they take a permanent hiatus. I’ve spent a lot of great nights of music with them. One last hug and ‘goodbye for now’ is always up-lifting. We got to witness our buddy CR Gruver tear it up on the keys with Widespread Panic at the Jazz Fest. On a sad note, we lost a Colorado music family member in the city this year.
It was also really cool to see other Colorado artists like Juno What!? and the Motet representing during such a strong musical celebration of culture and heritage.
4. VD: What’s new in the band’s world?
CB: The band is really excited about our new CD coming out. Our goal is to release it by July 1. We’ve been assembling the (11) songs for a year now and started recording in October of 2012. We are toying around with the idea of naming it “Anodyne,” after one of the song titles. Since an anodyne is a pain-killing drug or medicine, it is a strong analogy for how music assists people’s escape from the pressures of everyday life. It’s always a big push to put out a record, and it really challenges you to fine-tune your initial concepts. It allows the band to grow from that experience together and, if you are lucky, it inspires you to do another. The collaboration with other talented artists is the real deal, without it you tend to focus on yourself without being open to other meaningful ideas. Although this is nothing new to the members of the Sessh, we do however cherish the opportunity to continue to work together.
5. VD: What do you guys have on tap for this summer that you’re excited about?
CB: In addition to wrapping up our new CD we are planning a CD release party in the Colorado towns that have been most supportive of our music. The summer will also give us time to hone in our multimedia portion of our live performance that we plan to incorporate in the future. We are also very pleased to know that some of our good friends and associates are moving to New Orleans in September. It will be great for the band to have that direct connection to music and heritage of New Orleans. It seems natural because a lot of the music that we are inspired by comes from New Orleans. We’ve all spent a lot of time there and we know what a life-changing experience New Orleans can have on one’s soul, both musically and spiritually.
6. VD: What’s the best thing about off season? And the worst?
CB: Other than the change in the weather, we don’t really look at the off season as being any different than any other part of the year. We don’t play 150 shows in four months then go sip pina coladas at the beach for the summer. We tend to be more consistent with our approach and try to integrate our music into our daily routines. We continue to write and perform, be with our families and try to live balanced lives. There is never a bad time to give back and we look at the music that we create as one way to give back to those who support us as artists.
7. VD: What is something you wish journalists would ask but we never do? And answer it.
CB: We are not so sure that there is any one thing that journalists neglect to ask us, however, we think the number one thing music journalists should do is experience live music and most importantly get to know the musicians they are writing about. If you want a more interesting story ask relevant questions that might give you a new lead to an insightful story. Forget what other people tell you about the artist and get to know them personally. It kills me to see a journalist go up to someone like Pink Floyd and ask, “so, which one of you is Pink?”. You get my point.
‘You add thousands of Jazz Fest fans walking into the community; add a little food and a lot of booze and you have a block party, New Orleans style.’