Chicago-born New Orleans jazz trumpeter Mario Abney brings 'The Abney Effect' to ASU Kerr April 5
Abney to showcase his energetic blend of soulful, funky jazz to kick off Jazz Appreciation Month and pay tribute to his late friend and fellow trumpeter Roy Hargrove
On Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m., ASU Kerr Cultural Center will present "The Abney Effect" in a kickoff celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, a month created by the National Museum of American History to praise jazz as a historical and living treasure.
Deftly fusing modern jazz, bebop and blues to soul, second line brass and funk, Chicago-born New Orleans trumpeter Mario Abney leads his band with an enlivening spirit and fresh presence that communicate the many complex connections within his highly developed musical identity. He weaves a diversely jubilant jazz sound from his strong foundation of musicianship, abundant energy and passionate creativity.
“I was very impressed with Mario’s ability to not only play the trumpet, but entertain the people,” said concert co-promoter Doc Jones from the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation.
Abney's talent is not entirely bound to the trumpet. He moves from drums to keys to vocals with an agility that reveals his vast musicianship, style and rhythm, Jones said.
Introduced to the piano at age 7 and to drums at age 11, Abney said his inspiration came in the form of his uncle’s piano playing and the musical inclinations of his church's members. He noted a distinct, heavy Southern Baptist gospel sound in his church — something he links to the fact that many Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana transplants were living in Chicago.
After getting hooked on trumpet in his high school years and learning about the work of pioneers Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, Abney said he was encouraged by his mother, Ora Abney. She often took him and other young musicians to Fred Anderson's legendary Velvet Lounge, a landmark Chicago jazz club known worldwide for its spirited jazz jam events. Playing his horn and learning from a wide range of seasoned players at Velvet Lounge, Abney began to hone his performance skills and showmanship, he said.
He was beginning to make the connections between jazz and the music of his communities, recognizing that gospel, hip hop, blues and roots could all intersect with jazz, Abney said.
Often seen dancing dexterously across the stage during his performances and yelling encouraging words to his band members, Abney's live shows are a vibrant celebration of the dynamic Chicago and New Orleans musical influences that he embodies.
Abney has performed at Kennedy Center, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Saratoga Jazz Festival and other esteemed venues across the country. He played a fictionalized version of himself in HBO's hit series "Treme," performing as part of fictional New Orleans band Soul Apostles.
He has performed on stage with musicians Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Cobb, Erykah Badu, Christian McBride, Herlin Riley, Bill Summers, Nicholas Payton, Kermit Ruffins, Roy Hargrove and many more. At the ASU Kerr show, Abney will pay tribute to the late Hargrove, a personal friend and Grammy Award-winning fellow trumpeter who died in 2018, Jones said.
“Jazz lovers, music lovers and lovers of life should take the opportunity to enjoy a great evening of jazz like they’ve never heard before in the intimate setting of ASU Kerr,” Jones said. “Mario Abney is an untapped national treasure, someone the audience will be able to say, years down the road, that they saw when.”
Abney will be joined April 5 by Buddy Banks (drums) and Jermaine Lockhart (tenor sax, soprano sax). Tickets are $30 premium, $25 reserved and $20 general admission and available at asukerr.com, 480-596-2660 or in person at the ASU Kerr box office. Students with valid ID, ASU faculty and ASU staff receive $10 general admission seats.
"Mario Abney's positive energy will draw you in, and his music gets something moving in your heart and soul," said Tracey Mason, ASU Kerr general manager. "You just have to tap your toes, clap or get up and dance."
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