Live Review: The Coffee House Combo at Phog Lounge, February 26th 2017

I’ll be the first to admit that Sunday night is not usually ‘bumping’ when it comes to the music world. Generally, people are home and snuggled up in bed to prepare for the dreaded Monday that follows, so I can understand how most people wouldn’t be hanging out in a bar at 9:00pm. When it comes to the jazz scene in Windsor however, Sunday is the night for going out. Basically every Sunday at 9:00pm – 11:00pm you can check out The Coffee House Combo (CHC) at Phog lounge grooving to different themed jazz nights, playing all sorts of tunes.

 

This Sunday was no different as I found myself at Phog lounge jamming along and bobbing my head to all sorts of tunes. The CHC opened up their set with one of their personal favourites, “There Will Never Be Another You”. This tune featured solos from both horn players Austin (trumpet) and Sebastian (saxophone) and like usual, they each added their signature little licks somewhere along the chord changes (short for the chords used to play a song). This tune is a great little pick-me-up written by Harry Warren and it sure got the night started off well.

 

All across the lounge I noticed heads bobbing, feet tapping, and people (who knew the words) singing along to the tune as the band went through the chart (short for musical sheet music with chord changes on it). The atmosphere itself fit the music quite well too. The lounge had loads of alcohol and poutine being passed from table to table, along with patrons chatting both about the music and idly about life. The dark room suited the evening jazz perfectly as it allowed for the music to take both centre stage, and backseat at the same time – depending on what you as an individual felt like.

 

A few songs went by and the audience grew a tad – I’d say roughly about 50 people, which – considering this is Phog we’re talking about – is quite a turnout! Eventually after playing more old style swing jazz tunes for about 35 minutes, the band took a break to relax and unwind themselves. Sebastian, Andrew (piano), and Marko (bass) all took a quick second to grab a beer and chat with friends that came out to see the show, while Austin and Vanessa (drums) just decided to sit tight and review the setlist for a minute before chatting with friends and fans. It was really nice to see the band going from table to table talking to everyone that came out because to me, it gave more of a personal touch to their show. In my eyes, you connect more with a performer – or in this case performers – when they reach out and converse with you, and that is something that the CHC are great at doing.

 

Following their quick break spent talking amongst the audience, the CHC started right back up with another quick tune titled “Caledonia” which definitely caught the bar’s attention once again. The heads turned to hear Sebastian with his major third (a musical term for an interval between notes) solo licks and Andrew’s thumping swung piano playing style. It was good to hear the combo play one of the first tunes they’d learned because it showed the growth of the group as a whole. Throughout the night they played tons of fan favourites such as “The Way You Look Tonight”, and “Fly Me to the Moon” and I can honestly say that 96% of the time they hit every note perfectly. It was great to see – and hear for that matter – because the group has evolved quite quickly over the few years they’ve been together (banded in January of 2015).

 

Nearing the end of it all, the group slapped down “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” as their final track – almost every week they use this as a closer, but it’s fun to see what they do differently each time – and the crowd lit up. Going through the form each member had a solo and it was fun to see the minor changes each member made each time around. In the end, the group put on a hell of a show and brought some big energy, especially for a Sunday night. 100% I would recommend coming out to see them whenever you get the chance!

 

Band Members:

Sebastian – Alto Sax

Austin – Trumpet

Andrew – Piano

Marko – Upright and Electric Bass

Vanessa – Drums/Percussion

 

You can check out a cover they recorded with guest Vocalist Natalie Culmone here!

 

 

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