Jazz band plays everything but “The Kitchen Sink” – The North Wind
Rishi Prasadh, a major in herbal chemistry, had organized jam sessions, performed in a few bands, and explored as many musical opportunities as physically possible during his college career, but over the summer Prasadh was looking for a new outlet. .
“[I am] I was always trying to find something new and had been in a band since my first year. It was more of a heavier rock band, and I guess I got tired of playing that kind of music, ”said Prasadh. “I was just playing the same kind of music that I thought everyone was doing. I wanted to bring something new to town.
He ended up meeting Antonio Caballero, a University of Michigan Flint graduate with a bachelor’s degree in music education, and their musical styles immediately seemed to work together.
They decide to start a jazz band together and bring in Brennan Brooker, post-baccalaureate in herbal chemistry, to play bass and Nicola Falco, junior in psychology, to play guitar and vocals. Caballero took the piano and Prasadh completed the quartet with drums and percussion.
The four of them together created what would be known as “The kitchen sink.”
“I just thought of that phrase ‘everything except the kitchen sink’ and I thought that encompassed our vibe quite well because we are very different people with very diverse musical tastes,” said Prasadh. “We’re trying to put it all together in a little crucible and make something out of it.”
The band started performing regularly in June 2021 at Delft, Superior Culture and Landmark Inn, as well as a few house shows.
“When I started this project, it wasn’t even something I saw as a big win. I saw it primarily as a way to relieve my musical itch and improve myself as a musician, by practicing the technical aspects of being a musician, ”said Prasadh. “The concerts just started happening and we went.”
During the summer and early fall, the band gave about one or two concerts a week when they could take the time. As school and work began to pick up, their performance schedule condensed to two or three concerts every other weekend.
In addition to scheduling performances, the members of “The Kitchen Sink” also have to adapt practice times to their busy lives.
“Usually we train twice a week. It can become a lot with school and everything, ”said Prasadh. “We all work or go to school, or in some cases both. We just try to get together when we can, it usually ends up being Tuesday evenings or sometimes on weekends. Sometimes we just use our concerts as opportunities to practice more. ”
Planning can get tricky, but one of the hardest parts of keeping a group together is combining four unique people and with different talents into one vision.
“Finding common ground with everyone’s musical goals is sometimes a little challenge because we all have different goals for what we want to do with this project,” said Prasadh. “Finding a place to meet and there is a lot of sacrifice, a lot of working with other people and compromising on what you want to do together, because at the end of the day we want the sound we make. be a unique sound. “
Occasionally, “The Kitchen Sink” will create its own sounds from scratch and compose an original song. However, sets tend to rely more on jazz standards and their own variations of classical songs.
“Writing an original takes a lot more time and is much more difficult than just learning a standard. When it comes to writing an original, sometimes we’re all in the basement like “okay, let’s write something”, then we have to pull the chords out of nowhere and create the idea, then we all have to go there together. that, ”Falco said. “It can take a lot longer than saying ‘okay, this is the norm. That’s what we learn, come back with the memorized chords and we’ll work together on the arrangement order.’”
Some of their standards include an arrangement of “Stormy” originally by Classics 1V and “Blue Bossa” originally by Kenny Dorham. The members of “The Kitchen Sink” like to create their own interpretations of jazz songs, but also like to ignore chord progressions and play what feels most authentic to them at the time.
“I really think free jazz is the source of a lot of energy behind this band. Sometimes we’re going to enter an area, ”Falco said. “Free jazz is basically like having a conversation with music, playing just about anything and trying to make something cohesive out of it.”
Caballero finds this improvised aspect of playing jazz with “The Kitchen Sink” liberating and a welcome break from his other musical engagements. Caballero currently plays trumpet in the Marquette Symphony Orchestra and also performs with the Marquette City Band and The Westerly Winds.
“I think my favorite part of being in this particular group is probably the freedom to take risks together. With a specialization in classical piano, every note must be perfect. Everything about your hands, your posture, ”Caballero said. “I think I can have the freedom, in a place like this where I can just hit a bad note and say to myself ‘okay, but if it was right’ and then hit it over and over again until See you now that’s the note we’re playing. I think it’s a really great feeling, to be able to take big musical risks, to take jumps, to lead somewhere where I don’t know what it’s going to be. look like, but I’ll do it anyway.
This musical freedom within jazz gives “The Kitchen Sink” a unique feel, even when they sing classics like “Just the Two of Us” from Grover Washington Jr and Bill Withers.
“The funny thing about jazz standards is that since people have been playing them for about 60 or 70 years, everyone can still find a way to make their own interpretation of it,” Brooker said. “In a lot of cases, we’re still reading music, in a sense. We follow specific chord changes, but the fun thing is we add our own rhythm variation or sometimes we take out a whole bar or add extra bars and mess with things.
As band members experiment with rhythm, chords, and melodies, they can enter what Falco calls a “state of flux” where they seem to be playing together on another level.
“As we play more and more together and as we grow as a band, I think there are times, whether during concerts or during practice, when time doesn’t feel real and we communicate. all with each other, ”Falco said. “I don’t just listen to the melody trying to follow the song, or I don’t just listen to the drums trying to keep the beat, or the bass trying to compose with it, I listen to all three of them. them at the same time, and we all come to a conversation.
What makes achieving this unified connection even cooler is the fact that each member of the band is at a different stage in their musical journey. For Falco, playing the guitar is something he has done most of his life, but rarely in a professional setting.
“I haven’t had guitar lessons, even with this group. I’m not a jazz guitarist either. So when they asked me to play, I just tried to teach myself as much as possible, ”Falco said. “Just the basics of jazz guitar and trying to expand my musical vocabulary.”
Other musicians like Prasadh have experimented with many instruments for years and decided to take lessons in order to improve their own musical skills. Joining “The Kitchen Sink” was a catalyst for Prasadh to start drums lessons and then have an outlet to practice his craft.
“I just like that I’m finally at a point where I see myself making tangible improvements in my playing. I started taking drums lessons just because I wasn’t happy with my progress while I was doing it. was in that group, ”said Prasadh. “It’s something that has motivated me to go even further and improve myself and to have this responsibility to the band and to myself to create the best sound possible.”
To sum up their progress and identity as a band, “The Kitchen Sink” came up with some entertaining ideas to record some of their best songs and create personalized products for their band. They also do more publicity and play house shows as far away as Houghton.
“We talked about potentially wanting to record something at least before we go our separate ways, just to have something that we can call the culmination of our work together,” Prasadh said. “I know Nicola was talking about printing shirts, throwing merch. So we have a lot of cool ideas.
Although they have some ideas on how to move forward with their group, they are aware that time is limited. As the band members prepare to graduate and potentially go their separate ways, they try to hang on in every moment and put on the best shows they can.
“Now that I’ve been playing with ‘The Kitchen Sink’ all summer at all of these shows and just the feeling of well-being after the shows, it’s hard to imagine life without it now,” Falco said. “Most of the time when we train, I already dread the day we have to go our separate ways, if we ever do, because we grow up in different ways. ”