(The Sophie Faught Jam is Sophie Faught, David Linard, Nick Tucker and Ben Lumsdaine)
The cordial glow from the Chatterbox Jazz Club was like a magnet on this frigid Wednesday evening. Christmas lights threaded throughout the ceiling of the establishment, and friendly barkeeps awaited the audience as they awaited the Sophie Faught Jam. A female-led jazz ensemble is not exactly the most common occurrence in the jazz scene, but after watching this performance, it is an event that should happen more often, and actually does at Free Jazz Wednesday at the Chatterbox from 8 pm to 11 pm.
On the Chatterbox's website, they christen The Sophie Faught Jam as the future of Indy jazz. Attending their show last night solidified my confidence in this statement. All of these performers are young, which also isn't exactly standard in the jazz scene, and obviously dedicated to their craft. Hailing from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and the thriving music culture that surrounds it, these instrumentalists know how to put on a gig.
The Jam consisted of four players: a pianist, percussionist, bassist and saxophonist. The group set up in a timely fashion, and immediately kicked off the saucy sounds the crowd would be enjoying well into the evening. The rhythm section held a steady, pulsing beat, which herded the tempo from slow and lazy to snappy like lightning. Sophie, the saxophonist and founder of the group, stood at the front and center of the stage in order to make her brassy notes the nucleus of activity. She would lead for a long spell, and then open up the arena to her fellow players.
Observing the interplay between everyone on the little, shabby stage at the venue, was one of the most entertaining aspects of the evening. Each player kept a close eye on each other, as the moment for their respective solo approached. The bassist would begin plucking his instrument rapidly up and down the neck of his bass, while the drummer and pianist faded to give him his time. Each member did this for the other as on chugged the night.
I have to state that every single person occupying the stage looked like Christmas had come early. I'm not sure if it was the Christmas lights, large turnout for a Wednesday evening, or a combination of the two, but the happiness exuding from the Jam was inspirational. I felt my brain tuning to a different wavelength the longer I sat in my seat pressed up against a graffiti-caked wall. Jazz massages a lobe in one's brain that is not typically accessed by other music, whether it be indie rock, psychedelic-folk pop, or classic hip-hop, these categories hardly leave my sensibilities so invigorated as live jazz. Laughter and, of course, chatter echoed out across the crowd as friends pulled up chairs to tables. When musicians look as great as the Sophie Faught Jam did last night, their sound, and the evening, is going to be terrific.