There are no other collectives like the Jazz Jousters. Many collectives have attempted what the Jousters have been able to accomplish. And in turn have emulated similar approaches in an attempt to reach equivalent international status or consistent membership. The Jazz Jousters are undisputedly the most innovative and visionary collective in the world. Not only is their music at the forefront, but also their album covers are creatively genuine – fresh – and strikingly awesome!
Formed in June 2012 by Millennium Jazz Music chief Gadget, the Jazz Jousters embarked on a journey that involved beatmakers from five continents, each beatmaker representing their own personal vision of hip hop and jazz music combined. Their purpose was, first and foremost, to pay their respects and recognition to jazz legends, many of them obscured by pop culture.
Each album focused on one particular song and each involved beatmaker recreated a version, amazingly, each song offered a different perspective. Similarly, it represented a group conversation about one topic, music!
But the Jazz Jousters come from humble beginnings; at first they were a small collective comprised of “community musicians, poets, emcees, DJ’s, producers, and music lovers,” and their interests slowly flourished over time to develop into what they are now.
Their first launch was The Chet Baker Tribute – Almost Blue that introduced Gadget, Blue Buttonz, DRTYDRDZ, Mr. Moods, B 3 N B i, and Joe Davies to the world. In their release, they warned us by saying Almost Blue “is the first, and probably not the last mass collaboration to come from the Jazz Jousters group.” In fact, they have been proving since their outset.
Immediately after their first launch they began working on Misty – The Jazz Jousters Meets Bob Brookmeyer, which was released 16 days later and featured newcomers Diligent Fingers, Es-K, Skinnista, and Elyon. ‘Misty’ was the first album to incorporate vocals from Emma Louise, Gadget, and Awakening Dawn.
Less than two weeks (in July 2012) after Misty came Mirrors – The Jazz Jousters Vibe with Bobby Hutcherson followed by Some Other Time – The Jazz Jousters digs Bill Evans and rounding July 2012 off with Summertime – Stan Getz.
By August 2012 their notoriety had grown and then changed the game on us with Crystal Silence – The Jazz Jousters in Harmony with Chick Correa and Granted that saluted Grant Green’s “My Funny Valentine.”
Then came Many Miles (Miles Davis tribute), Tonight (Ella Fitzgerald), Monky Business (Thelonious Monk), I’ll Wind The Jazz Jousters (Milt Jackson), Off Paradise (Charlie Parker), Golden Moments (Wes Montgomery), and ending 2012 with Take 5, a tribute to Dave Brubeck who departed on December 5th. The Take 5 album was a last minute idea and announced after Brubeck’s passing. It was successfully launched!
By January 2013, STERYO stopped counting and kept reporting as albums were launched sequentially. Starting 2013 with a bang came Max Roach Approached, Lovely & Sweet (Ahmad Jamal), Another Manha (Joe Sample), then in February with One Night’s Stay – Nancy Wilson with The Jazz Jousters, and Flocking Together (Donald Byrd).
Shades of Blue paid homage to Don Rendell’s same titled song composed by British jazz pianist Neil Ardley. Soon followed by Touching Bass (Buster Williams), The Next Chapter (Gary Burton), Octaves (Herbie Hancock), Jim’nastics (Jim Hall), and finally Milestone – A Year Of Jazz Jousting.
The Jazz Jousters represent work ethic, dedication, collaboration, trust, loyalty, and reverence. They’ve maintained the initial core membership and have added beatmakers along the way. Their music has reached people in six continents equating to over 100 nations.
Their music is inspiring and it offers more than just music, it goes beyond to reestablish the essence of humanity – the emotion, connectedness, and freedom to think creatively – all of which move beyond geographical borders and sound. As you listen to each album, you’ll notice the development of each beatmaker happening. Whatever it is, they’re moving!
When I say finally, I do not mean the end. After 25 albums, their next goal is 50, and 100, and so on. Only they know how far they will take The Jazz Jousters.
Congratulations on your Milestone!
(click on the Bandcamp link for full Jazz Jousters discography)