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Monterey Jazz Gives Us Something To Shout About!

Patt Casion & IOC

Every few years or so, Jazz has a resurgence of musicians who upgrade the tradition with a fresh perspective and visionary approach.

It so happens that these last few years have seen the maturation of a jazz collective hailing from the shores of Monterey, CA.

Patt Casion and IOC, one of Monterey’s premier instrumental ensembles, has revived a longing for jazz interpretation seeking to stir up listeners on the inside. Their hard-hitting and yet refined mastery of gospel music brings a soul to jazz, similar to that of Thelonius Monk, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

Their recent appearances in the Monterey Bay area have only heightened their popularity since the release of their album, “Patt Casion and IOC Live” (Amazon and iTunes). At their best, this assembly of bright jazz musicians produces songs which feed the soul.

Their gut-wrenching interpretation of “You Can’t Beat God Giving”, a traditional gospel song written by Doris Akers, sounds like the heavens fell to earth for a few minutes, giving us one of the most elegantly pieced together tracks from the album. Other stand-out songs include the funky “The Offering” and “Since He Came”.

Their gospel, however, is not your grandmother’s typical Mahalia Jackson or James Cleveland.

It’s fresh.

Their gospel-tinged-soul-jazz reminisces on the impact of the elements of classical, blues, Latin and African cores found within the fabric of the genre. Their sound is highly improvisational, making it much more than a series of technically advanced notes delivered in a pitch-perfect fashion.
It has heart and soul.

The collective was formed by Casion a few years back, while she experienced a burning desire to turn the music swimming around her head into real life notes on a page.

Casion, a Berklee College graduate, has mastered the soprano saxophone with an elegance unseen on the contemporary scene. Certainly, her colorful phrasing and remarkable style have allowed her to stand out amongst other California jazz artists.

She takes cues from major influences like Cannonball Adderley, Wayne Shorter and the legendary John Coltrane, all of whom left an indelible mark in Monterey. While Casion stands tall amongst her Central Coast contemporaries, saxophonist Gary Meeks, Dennis Murphy, Eddy Mendenhall, Kenny Stahl, and guitarist Charles Deweese, she possesses a fine ear for melding several traditional sounds into magical productions.

Casion and multi-faceted pianist Richard “Snoopy” Hall offer a master-class of sorts, where musicians hear concept artistry by some of California’s best including the collective’s members Darrin Thomas (drums), Tarell Martin (drums), John Nava (percussion), John Wineglass (violin and keys) and Arlington Houston (acoustic guitar and bass). Combined with Casion’s sultry sax delivery and Hall’s piano scatting, the collective teaches how to interpolate the best of bebop, gospel, salsa, funk, hip hop and jazz into a distinctive trademark which places the group at the forefront of Monterey’s jazz scene.

Patt Casion and IOC’s delivery is a unique return to the sound of the 50s and 60s, which saw several African based music ideologies incorporated into the music of the post-Bop era. While their sound is rooted in the foot-stomping-lose-your-breath-Sunday-morning Black church gospel cadence, it breathtakingly melds heavy improvisation over very carefully crafted sounds.

The collective’s ability to celebrate gospel’s contribution to jazz is highly impactful, particularly given the constraints of jazz theory preservation—where many children no longer have access to the music programs we had growing up.

Albeit, the collective isn’t just concerned with interpreting music at a highly skilled level; they have already developed plans to help support the jazz community by presenting programs for children via collaborations with local non-profit organizations.

Patt Casion and IOC are more than just a typical jazz band. They fit in with the best artists in the genre and provide a high benchmark for talent which will see Monterey gain even more significance for years to come.

Monterey Herald

Oh Say Can you I.O.C.? – Monterey County Herald -Erin Gray

"Casion is a soulful soprano sax player whose fingers flutter up and down the keys almost invisibly, as if her heart is playing the instrument all by itself. She and I.O.C. play a glorious blend of jazzified gospel, classic jazz and originals. I loved everything I heard..."

Testimony-Beginnings

Patt Casion and IOC

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