There are currently fliers posted around campus saying to vote on Nov. 2 for Vince Tampio, Ben Basile, Mike Kadnar and Chris “Catfish” Dayton. However, none of these names are in the running for any upcoming political election. Instead, they are the musicians of the SUNY New Paltz jazz group, Quatrane.
The band said they decided this would be one of the best marketing techniques to gain recognition and according to them, it’s working.
Basile, a second-year transfer performance in jazz studies major, said people have been drawing all over the fliers, putting Hitler mustaches and kiss marks on their faces. But this mustache-free band is using the fliers to advertise for their upcoming show at Oasis Café on Nov. 2.
“We choose to play on Tuesdays because it has the 18-plus crowds,” said Tampio, a fourth-year performance in jazz studies and theory composition major, who plays trumpet for the band. “We want to mold the minds of the youngin’s.”
Quatrane recently played at Oasis on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 11 p.m. to a slow-moving crowd that eventually turned into a somewhat drunken, dance-savvy, jazz-loving audience. Tampio, in socks and sunglasses, switched between his silver trumpet and a flugelhorn.
He said he wears the sunglasses due to the lighting, but also to hide his eyes for when things don’t go right on stage.
“I’d get kind of angry on stage and my emotion comes out less in my body language and more in my eyes,” Tampio said.
The band took turns soloing throughout the show, each adding in their particular styles. One minute they acted as though they were part of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, and in another instant they were guiding the crowd through a sea of Middle Eastern riffs.
To add variation to their sound, the band threw in “The Simpsons” theme and “Jingle Bells” into some songs, which could only be picked up with close attention.
Quatrane members describe their music as jazz-funk-fusion-Latin-metal, which all stems from the different musical tastes of each member. While Tampio and Dayton stick to classical and jazz, Basile said he is into ska and reggae. And with a sleeve tattoo of a robot apocalypse, Kadnar said he is all about metal.
“It’s like a musical cauldron,” said Kadnar, drummer and fifth-year finance and performance in jazz major. “It’s funny, we’ll play places and people will just stare, taking everything in.”
Dayton, guitarist and fourth-year performance in jazz studies and theory composition major said, that according to a professor, sometimes the best contribution to music can be silence.
Regardless, the group said that they want to appeal to open-minded people. Yet their sound can vary, depending on where they play.
“If we’re playing a place like a bar, it’s definitely going to be more beat and groove-oriented,” said Tampio. “Playing a place like Chill Wine Bar (in Beacon, N.Y.) is more straight ahead jazz.”
Quatrane plays an equal mix of jazz standards and originals, which are written by Tampio and Dayton. The band has no vocalist and said they don’t plan on adding one.
“With vocals, people get lost in the words and messages,” said Tampio. “People should create their own messages in what we’re doing.”
Oasis Café is one of the few venues Quatrane said they enjoy playing. Other venues include the Mohonk Mountain House Resort and Woodbury Commons.
“One good thing about jazz: if someone cancels you can find other people to play. It’s like a language,” said Kadnar, referring to standards.
The band also played at the farewell ceremony for former SUNY New Paltz president Steven Poskanzer with Mark Dziuba, the head of the music department, as well as the Annual Warwick Ride for Kids.
The band has participated in recordings at the Vassar radio station and both Dayton and Tampio played for The Edge last year.
Basile said their band practices are generally short, but they use the practices to try out new material.
“We like to leave a lot of creation and magic to our live setting, in the moment,” Basile said. “We could rehearse for hours and probably just kill everything we do.”
As for the current jazz scene in New Paltz, Tampio said he thinks that Quatrane is an important part of it.
Yet diving into the world of mainstream music, the band seemed less optimistic.
“It’s interesting because jazz was the big thing in the ‘20s. There was a lot of intellect,” said Dayton. “As time went on, I don’t know what happened. There’s this big transformation where the most popular, lucrative people can just buy a good recording studio and auto tune and make millions producing shit. It’s our culture dumbing down.”
Since most of the members are graduating in the spring, the band is unsure whether or not Quatrane will go on.
“We are all very optimistic about the future, and even if Quatrane does not continue, we will all be on a prosperous route,” said Kadnar.
To hear Quatrane, visit them at myspace.com/quatrane or see them play every first Tuesday night of the month at Oasis Café.