The Jeff “Siege” Siegel sextet rocked the house on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at the Julien J. Studley Theatre with special guest trumpeter Feya Faku in the sixth installment of the Fall Concert Series.
Jeff “Siege” Siegel (drums, percussion, composer), Feya Faku (trumpet, flugelhorn), Erica Lindsay (tenor saxophone, composer), Francesca Tanksley (piano), Rich Syracuse (bass), and Fred Berryhill (percussion) performed an array of songs off their new album King of Xhosa, which expertly infused South African sounds with jazz, connecting the music to its roots for the two hour concert.
“I’ve been extremely taken by these musicians,” said Siegel. “Performing with them has been the greatest opportunity.”
The sextet is currently on a multi-city October tour, playing selections of King of Xhosa throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Their next stops after New Paltz include the Zinc Bar in New York City, Bard College, Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady and The Falcon in Marlboro, NY, ending Sunday, Oct. 22.
Siegel began the group as a quartet in 1990, adding in and collaborating with a number of different musicians over the past three decades. He met Faku in Woodstock in 2014 and was immediately interested in his sound. Together, they combined their styles to create their iconic upbeat post-bop jazz tunes mixed with the rich South African style Faku adds with the trumpet.
“Feya is really a legend in South Africa,” Siegel said. “We are really honored to have him as our guest.”
The group played eight distinct songs off their new album, showcasing their talents as musicians and composers. Songs like “Prayer,” composed by Tanksley, maintained a high energy and flow, while songs like “Ballad for the Innocent,” arranged by Siegel, kept a somber tone, played delicately on the instrument-filled stage.
The whimsical whirlwind of sounds echoed throughout the auditorium, leaving audience members bouncing to the beat.
“I’ve loved jazz ever since I can remember,” said second-year English and music major Anthony Carey. “The entire time I couldn’t help but dance in my seat.”
Throughout each piece, the group stayed united while they played and improvised, closing their eyes to feel the music. Faku and Lindsay would often step off to stage left or right and observe the group, bopping along to the music and paying close attention to the intricacies of their playing.
“It’s incredible to watch them play,” Carey said. “They are all so connected with each other and the music.”
To end the evening, Siegel introduced an additional guest, Mark Dziuba on the electric guitar, for their final song, “Get Real,” which was composed by Lindsay.
The soulful sextet smoothly played until the audience was nearly dancing out of their seats at 10 p.m., King of Xhosa is available on cdbaby.com for $15.