Monday, May 12, 2008

The Future Tards of Jazz - Epoxy Boy

On an unseasonably chilly night in April in a cabin in the woods of North Jacksonville, The Future Tards of Jazz were putting the finishing touches on their latest album, due out in the next few weeks.

I was down in Jack-ville to take a break from Savannah and hang with my buddy Crow, the band-leader and reluctant impresario, the glue, so to say, that holds the Tards together now and over many years of tumult and personnel change. He expressed his chagrin that he couldn't hang with me much that night.

"I've got the horn section together for this one," Crow told me. "It's really hard to get these guys together in the same room. I have to run with this, I hope you don't mind."

I assured him that it was fine and that I hoped it would be alright if I sat off to the side and watched. Actually, I had to listen from the porch, as the rather large assemblage of musicians and equipment took up the entirety of the roomy chalet.

It was a magnificent display of big-band jazz-fusion with that special Tards twist. They cover a wide variety of styles and instrumentation. All in a period of a couple of hours they swerved and flowed effortlessly from big-band jazz to mambo to drum machine driven trip-hop jazz to samba to funk and back, all laced with a garnish of tablas, tubas, ukeleles, and the odd oud. (sadly, not all of this material will be available on the new album, but as I have the inside track, I hope to score some of the out-takes.)

On they way home, I asked Crow about the recent upswing in visibility and popularity. Their MySpace page has garnered a number of loyal fans, many that pine for a live appearance somewhere in their area.

"I have to tell them no," he said. "We've had offers to play in New York, London, New Orleans, even Vegas... it's a little awkward to have to tell them we're a bunch of old guys. I'm 52 and I'm the youngest. Some guys in the horn section are well into their 70's. It's hard enough to get them together to play locally. They'll just have to settle for the recordings and maybe the odd show around here, if they can catch it."

Well, I can attest, if you can catch them, do. Otherwise, check out their recordings. The Future Tards of Jazz are one of music's hidden gems.

More FTOJ videos


crow said...

Oh it's worse than you think, last time we played a gig in Gainesville, we left Raymond (second cornet) at the venue!

John M. said...

Poor feller.

I take it he was still breathing when you left him there?

Alan Evil said...

Did that movie shot in 2000 (when Darius, Duval, and Kevin drank our entire bar tab in fifteen minutes) ever get completed? I'd like to see that.

John M. said...

Not sure. Crow?

crow said...

I think I still have that somewhere, although unedited. Unfortunately, as usual, we did not make a reliable and complete audio recording for that video. I did not get a single beer from that show, because when I went to the bar they said "You tards are overdrawn!"