Smile Politely

Five questions with Joel Caracci of Lip Service

Normally I write a little description at the top of these, but seeing as this is Lip Service first show, that seems like a bad idea. So I’m going to turn it over to Joel Caracci right from the start:

I chose to start a 12-tet as an outlet to create large ensemble jazz music relevant to 2010. Very soon, I realized that a big band wasn’t the ensemble to do that — a format which I find rather dated and constricting. I wanted an ensemble with a unique instrumentation that would be fun to discover as I went along and expand my ability to make affecting music. Thus violins, cellos, vibraphones, flutes, clarinets, and oboes augment the normal saxophones, trumpets and trombones. My band is made of music students at U of I that have struck me with their musicality, energy, and exuberance for life.

I honestly don’t wish for a listener to watch a group of mine and say, “those are amazing musicians.” I think that misses the point somewhat. I wish for us as performers to be transparent, as it were, so the music is in foreground and the listener is able to walk away affected and inspired to do something fabulous of their own.

Favorite C-U band, past or present
Mhondoro – The rhythmic fire and explosiveness of Bolokada Conde’s drumming makes it rather impossible to not start dancing at one of their concerts. One of the most enjoyable groups I’ve ever seen in CU or not,

Favorite C-U venue
I’ve always enjoyed music at Cowboy Monkey. Great vibe, good sound. I’ve seen some of the best concerts of my life at the various halls in Krannert Center, though.

Favorite C-U entree, dessert or drink
The crabcake sandwich on Escobar’s lunch menu is quite remarkable, as is the pulled pork sandwich at Hickory River. Both those restaurants’ atmospheres are also quite pleasing to me in different ways.

Favorite album of all time (does not have to be from C-U)
I don’t think I could answer that accurately; I try not to characterize favorites in music anymore because it tends to limit what you might be moved with in the future. Porgy and Bess by Miles Davis, The Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus, The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, Voodoo by D’Angelo, Let’s Get it On by Marvin Gaye are all albums that blew my mind when I heard them.

Why readers should come see your shows this weekend
The music we’re playing has something to offer to anyone who enjoys music. Because I’ve been fortunate to have been exposed to so many different kinds of music in my life, my compositions are subconsciously infiltrated by these various influences. The music that Lip Service shall play is a grand amalgamation of jazz, hip-hop, folk, classical, indie rock, Tango Nueve, electronica, house and bad 90’s pop. There’s something in there that anyone can grab onto and enjoy based on whatever listening experience they’ve previously had.

Lip Service Jazz Ensemble makes its debut tonight (April 30) at the IMC (9:30 p.m., $5).

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