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Norfolk Blog
The Jazz Scene Returns to Norfolk
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 07:18

Contributed by Kimberley Cuachon-Haugh

The Jae Sinnett Trio will be the first to bring live jazz back to Norfolk at The City Dock Restaurant.

Friday, September 24, 2010

With cool temps on its way to Hampton Roads, a cool sound arrives at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside's City Dock Restaurant. The jazz scene may have disappeared for a while in the city but according to the Sheraton's food and beverage director Joshua Haugh, "It doesn't mean that it can't come back. Jazz is an integral part of the Southern United States...it needs to be here."

Dine beside the Elizabeth River at Norfolk's only waterside hotel and tantalize your taste buds for Master Chef Robert Cilizza's-you may recognize the name from the Hampton Roads Show and pretty soon the Food Network- "sea-based contemporary regional cuisine". While enjoying dessert or an aperitif cap off the evening with some live jazz-now that's, stepping out on the town.

The Jae Sinnett Trio will be the first to bring the music back to The City Dock Restaurant on Friday, September 24, from 8:00pm - 11:00pm. Jae Sinnett, WHRO broadcaster and the trio's frontman, who has played at the restaurant before talks to me about Norfolk's jazz scene, his style and why jazz should be une force majeure not a relic.

sinnettCan you paint me a picture of what the jazz scene used to be like in Norfolk?

The jazz scene in general was considerably better back then. And I think that had to do with a lot more places to hear jazz, and I also think people had less reasons to keep themselves in their homes like they do today. That room at the Sheraton-it wasn't a Sheraton then-has always been associated with jazz, this was probably back in the 80s and 90s.

Why is jazz culturally important in this area?

Jazz is culturally important in any area, historically it's significant to our country. It's one of the few art forms that the United States has given to the world

How would you describe your sound?

The music is considerably more creative in a sense that it's designed for a listening audience. We're the classic jazz trio: piano, bass and drums.

What influences your style?

I have countless influences for various reasons, I love good composers, I love a good song, someone who can tell a good story throughout their composition. I like conceptual artists that understand their role within a composition. Not just playing something flashy like a flashy solo. I love how a song progresses, everything is about the song for me. Maria Schneider, Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire), Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams...these people have found their own way to play the music they love.

How do you transcend through the ages?

At this point in my career I'm more focused on my sound, and my sound evolved out of, wow-. I love so many things. I think with all these influences you have to find your own style and way of doing it. Then you have to find the audience to listen. I grew up on classic soul and R&B and classic rock, and then jazz came later.

What sparked the transition?

I think being a drummer and playing music that didn't permit me to be as creative as I wanted to be. When I heard jazz, I was like wow, here's the type of music where drums can really be front and center instead of just the perpetual time-keeper. I don't mind playing a good groove, but I wanted something more interesting and thought-provoking, and challenging for me.

So, where does jazz stand today?

It's a tricky line that jazz musicians have to walk to try to give them that [songs the audience knows] and we also to try to give them something new and interesting-something that might take them beyond 70 years ago.

Do you think that's the biggest challenge with jazz?

I think a lot of people treat jazz like a relic, like it's a museum piece. People just aren't evolving with it.

How do you keep it fresh, then?

I keep my mind open to different things. I stay on top of it-how respected artists are re-shaping the landscape and get a feel for where the music is going.

 

FREE and open to the public, with complimentary valet parking (with the purchase of food or drink).

CityDockLogo05_2010_125Sheraton Norfolk Waterside's City Dock Restaurant
777 Waterside Drive
NorfolkVA23510 757-622-2868

 

 

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Last Updated on Monday, 20 September 2010 07:53
 

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