Please pick up this months new Jazz Times for a great review by the fantastic writer Bill Milkowski. We feel that he really got to the heart of what our band is about! Jazz Times
New Tricks – “Alternate Side”
by Bill Milkowski
Co-led by fellow Cleveland natives Mike Lee on tenor saxophone and Ted Chubb on trumpet, New Tricks conveys a distinct New York sound on its aggressively swinging sophomore effort. With Kellen Harrison on bass and Shawn Baltazor on drums, the quartet puts a new spin on an old hard-bop formula without crossing over into the avant-garde camp. They come out of the gate swaggering on the vibrant title track, on which Lee reflects the influence of his mentor Joe Lovano (particularly in the high register). “Optimistic-Lee,” a metrically tricky form that yields bracing solos by both Chubb and Lee, is Lee’s take on the many tongue-in-cheek song and album titles associated with Lee Konitz and Lee Morgan. “Shellen vs Chee” is an all-out burner that pits the tight rhythm tandem of Harrison and Baltazor (Kellen + Shawn = Shellen) against the two-headed . . . → Read More: New Tricks review in July’s Jazz Times!
The ‘less-is-more’ approach seems to pay off for Mike Lee, Ted Chubb, Kellen Harrison and Shawn Baltazor who feel that lacking a polyphonic voice such as a piano or guitar allows them greater freedom for experimentation and improvisation. It may have worked. These tracks seem less like songs and more like organisms, trying to express themselves in a language we can’t understand. . . . → Read More: Muizikreviews.com – “Alternate Side”
This is a video of a performance of Mike’s new tune “Night Town” which is penned after his family’s favorite restaurant and jazz club in Cleveland. Mike grew up going to and performing at this club and has a long standing relationship with the people there. We actually played this tune at Night Town on the very last date on the tour. A video of that will most likely follow soon. Enjoy this one in the mean time.
They are so in tune with each other that the co-leaders of New Tricks, tenor saxophonist Mike Lee and trumpeter Ted Chubb, refer to them as “Shellen,” a combination of their first names. . . . → Read More: Shellen gets some home town love!
From the very first note of the recording, it’s clear that the band is steeped in the jazz tradition, but what’s also evident is the energy of young musicians looking to explore new territory. Long may they journey and continue to make great music. . . . → Read More: Raves! from TheJazzPage.com
After a great weekend in Kalamazoo at the Union Caberet we got up early on sunday morning for a 7 hour drive to St. Louis. We played that evening at the “Bistro” with our friends from Webster Grove High School directed by our friend Kevin Cole. It is amazing to see the amount of kids he can inspire to want to play jazz. Our set went great and it was a pleasure to play in one our country’s great clubs. After the gig, we went out to celebrate Mike’s birthday. After a few libations we headed to the Flamingo Bowl, followed by a sprint through the rain in our suits from the gig. If Mike is our “Old Dog” he certainly was not that night. The next afternoon we went to Webster Groves to work with the students and do our “Jazz is a language” workshop. That evening we enjoyed a well needed night off in St. Louis.
We had a great weekend in Kalamazoo. It started with a clinic at Western Michigan University Friday afternoon where we heard two outstanding young groups play for us in the afternoon. Then we performed Friday and Saturday at the Union Cabaret. Here’s the first video of the tour. This is Ted’s brand new tune – Cloud 9.
On tuesday we had a chance to sleep in and have a slow morning in Ann Arbor. We headed out to the van and begun to load up when Kellen realized that he had lost his ipod. This seems as a mundane occurence but not to a musician. If he had lost his girlfriend or been mugged for his wallet we would have told him to forget about it and move on. But no this was his ipod full of all his music! So we took the good part of an hour to search through the van and the parking lot, but found no ipod. We headed back to the UM music building and searched around the parking lot and in the building. We checked the lost and found. No ipod. We head back over to where we had parked the evening before and Kellen gets out of the van looks down on the ground and finds his ipod waiting for him on the tree lawn. This of course prompted a huge celebration in the middle of the street and made the 2hr delay of the departure of our 7 hr drive to Iowa City totally worth it. After . . . → Read More: Ann Arbor to Iowa City and back to Chicago.
Our New CD drops today! We’re so proud of this effort. It’s the first documentation which represents our WORKING BAND. It was recorded after several weeks of touring last year and shows our unique blend and personal interactive style. It’s available on iTunes, CDBaby and Digstation.