Slamming!" - Down Beat Magazine
"The Real Thing!" - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A swinging big band with the feel of a great quintet." - Jack Bowers, all-about-jazz.com
"Off the chain!" - H Johnson, WABE Atlanta
"Nice, clean, swinging tunes..." - Claudia Russell, KSDS San Diego
"Great disc with plenty to choose from." - Mike Jacobs, KIOS Omaha
"This 'Little Big Band' certainly delivers!" - Peter Kuller, 101.5 FM Adelaide, Australia
Featuring the finest jazz musicians in the greater
Atlanta area, Tempest consistently blows up a storm!
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With six horns—alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones; two trumpets; one trombone—plus piano, bass, and drums, Tempest "Little Big Band" has a powerful sound all its own. Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Count Basie…the big bands are well represented in Tempest's expansive repertoire.
What separates Tempest from a typical swing band is an adherence to the fundamental heartbeat of jazz—improvisation. Tempest "Little Big Band" jams! In addition to the sounds of the big bands, you'll find Tempest set lists dedicated to the small-group sounds of Miles Davis ("All Blues," "Seven Steps to Heaven," "Freddie Freeloader"), John Coltrane ("Central Park West," "Moment's Notice," "Impressions"), Art Blakey ("Thermo, "Caravan," "Killer Joe"), and many more…all exquisitely arranged for Tempest.
Tempest "Little Big Band" is a nine-piece (plus vocalist) band led by saxophonist James Rozzi, who, prior to calling the band’s first and only rehearsal in 1997, was known to Atlanta's jazz musicians more for the stroke of his pen than the sound of his horn. Rozzi’s biweekly column, "‘Round Midnight," in Creative Loafing covered the city's jazz scene for more than four years. Rozzi now freelances as a jazz journalist, primarily for Jazziz magazine.
When the musicians gathered for the first time, every chart they rehearsed was met with enthusiasm and was quickly mastered. Tempest's musicians are superb both at interpreting written manuscript and improvising. It's always a great experience to hear them blaze through a difficult, uptempo ensemble passage, then turn around and play with absolute subtlety and finesse on a slow ballad. Musically, it's always happening.
Tempest's latest, critically-acclaimed CD, "Round Midnight" (available internationally through CDbaby.com, amazon.com and itunes), is a well-balanced, ten-track trek through multiple jazz genres. While the sound of Tempest's first CD, "Atlanta Live" (released in 2001) is based on lengthy improvisations, “’Round Midnight” also showcases the tasteful dinner and dance music that has made Tempest an in-demand band for classy black-tie events and entertaining shows.
When the situation requires a specific theme, Tempest delivers. The band’s library is expansive at more than 150 songs. They can play an afternoon concert of straight-ahead jazz and then turn around and play a dance or blues concert that night—without repeating songs. Tempest "Little Big Band" plays it all, from Woody Herman to Wayne Shorter to Weather Report.
Tempest has also performed its share of themed concerts, including a Tribute to Duke Ellington ("Take the 'A' Train," "Sophisticated Lady," "Perdido"), 1940s swing-era concerts ("In the Mood," "Begin the Beguine," "Moonlight Serenade"), blues festivals (a la Muddy Waters and Ray Charles), and a musically adroit "History of Jazz" presentation—playing music from New Orleans Jazz to the Avante-Garde.
Tempest "Little Big Band" has always featured outstanding vocalists, including Audrey Shakir and Joe Gransden. The band's most recent singer is Karla Harris, an accomplished musician with ties to both coasts. Her forthcoming CD on Summit Records is a tribute to the songs of pianist Dave Brubeck, complete with the previously unrecorded lyrics written by Iola Brubeck, Dave's wife. Check this YouTube clip to get an earful of Karla's clear, penetrating voice:
Adding to their versatility, Tempest "Little Big Band" recently added a solid set's-worth of blues vocals to a substantially huge repertoire. Tempest now has the ability to transform into a gutbucket blues band! Slow, fast, happy, sad, bawdy...you name the groove and Tempest has the blues song to fit the mood. These new blues vocals supplement several sets of blues instrumentals already in the book. So, Tempest is also a blues band...wailin', shuckin' and jivin'!
Over the years, the band has garnered considerable accolades. "Round Midnight" has charted nationally on JazzWeek—no easy feat in this day and age of en masse, self-produced jazz CDs. The band has been described in Down Beat magazine as "Slamming!" Critic Steve Dollar of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution touted the sound of Tempest thusly: "This is the real thing."
In addition to steady gigs at Atlanta’s DMARC Cafe, Churchill Grounds, Café 290, and Libby's Cabaret, the band has been featured at corporate events, private concerts, parties throughout the Southeast, and at the JVC and Atlanta Jazz Festivals—all to rave reviews.