A jazz fusion trio whose roots come from sticking with each other beyond some chaotic large-group jam sessions several years ago at Thunder Mountain High School released its fourth recording on Friday. But it wasn’t at an album release party or concert, as the three players are now spending their school time at higher-learning institutes out-of-state and returning for gigs during the summer.
Even then, the music on the latest recording by 247, an EP titled “Seal of Approval,” would be tough to play at a release party since all of the players are wearing multiple hats, so to speak, said Denny Corson, a band member who’s currently attending Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.
“Playing a live show would be a little bit difficult because I play bass and saxophone,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “And our keyboardist also plays guitar and sings. Our drummer is mainly a drummer, but he also plays trombone.”
Corson, who founded 247 with keyboardist/singer Edgar Higgins and drummer/trombonist Patrick Jimmerson, said they formed their band after being part of a group during their sophomore year “that was meeting for large jam sessions in the high school.”
“We could never get anything off the ground,” he said. “Everyone was arguing about what should happen. We didn’t know anything about any standards, and about how to jam, and how to rehearse in any way shape or form. And so that died when the summer came down.”
When school resumed in the fall of 2018 the three of them decided to make a more committed effort to music, Corson said.
“I don’t think we didn’t know each other very well then,” he said. “I would call them some of my best friends now, but at the time it was a little bit awkward.”
Higgins was a skilled keyboardist, but “I’d never played bass up until that point” and Jimmerson was somebody wanting to learn how to play the drums, Corson said.
But they stuck with it and in the summer of 2020 released their debut recording, the full-length “The PYAH! Album.” They subsequently released two EPs, “247 Ruins Christmas” and “Frosty Sugar Death.” All are available at online streaming services such as Spotify as well as the band’s YouTube channel.
“Seal of Approval,” also available online as of Friday, is another EP, but Corson said he considers it “a gigantic step up in quality from our previous works.”
“I think that’s the biggest difference is the vocal tracks that are in it, but also in sound production and quality,” he said, noting much of that is due to Jimmerson studying audio production at Loyola University in New Orleans.
Corson said his music background is varied — citing listening to his parents’ LPs ranging from The Beatles to Herbie Hancock to Maynard Ferguson as a youth, before getting exposure to a more traditional range of jazz musicians in high school. He called the band’s music a largely collaborative and improvised style, noting to go back and play songs from his first album he’d have to listen to it first to remember the notes.
“Normally a rehearsal process is us getting together and then playing for 30 to 45 minutes,” he said. “We always throw our phones down somewhere and turn the voice memos on. And then we play for 45 minutes, take a break, pause the recording and think about what we just did. And we play for another 45 minutes and try and make something out of what we just made.”
The band did play live during the past summer at local venues such as The Alaskan Hotel and Bar, and the hope is to do again next summer if all three players are in town, Corson said.
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