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Jefferson Street Parade Band

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Adopting a marching band format, Jefferson Street Parade Band takes a wide variety of internationally influenced rhythms and sounds mobile. And they're incredibly fun live when you catch the group playing in march formation. Their raucous sound and colorful, rag-tag Salvation Army band costumes generate an instant street party.

But Jefferson Street Parade Band is no joke. The ensemble is composed of excellent musicians and their music excels both onstage and on disc. The group will hold a release party for their second LP Consultation With Tubby this Friday at Bloomington's Blockhouse, a new recording studio and performance space.

Ben Fowler: The idea of the Jefferson Street Parade Band was formed in the Winter of 2008. It was several months after I'd finished going to IU for jazz drumming. It was also several months after a couple pretty awesome rock and roll tours I was part of with Kentucky Nightmare and The Delicious. The tours were great in the sense that it's awesome to travel the country and play music with your friends. But it can also be monotonous. There are a lot of late nights in smoky bars and you start to get the vibe that people in the room are more interested in buying another drink than hearing what your doing musically. Night after night that gets pretty old.

The idea behind the parade band grew from being tired of playing in bars, and also getting tired of playing in the four piece rock band set-up because I think that mode has grown predictable. I was also missing playing with horn players. I'd been playing with jazz quintets and things like that in college.

So during the Winter of 2008 I was waiting tables and it occurred to me that it would be really fun to put together a band with my friends, some horn players and drummers and get something together where by the arrival of Spring we'd be ready to play outdoors and march around the streets.

So that was the dream. I called up Sophie Faught who is an amazing tenor sax player that I played with in college. I ran the idea by her in a text message. She didn't respond the first day and I figured she probably thinks that's a real dumb idea. Then I saw her the next day and she said "yeah, let's see about this." We started making a list of who we would want to play and we started strapping together drums and cowbells for the drum-line. We got our start from there.

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