Swing Set

Swing Set
By Porter

You may not know the name Swing Set, but this group of young Jazz musicians are already showing audiences why the name is worth remembering. Just now in their late teens, they are already showing the character and poise of artists who have performed for years. In November Swing Set had a chance to perform on Legends stage and we got a chance to ask them a few questions and hang out.

 

Jonah Lazarus

Jonah Lazarus

Jonah Lazarus

BL: When did you get into music?My older brother played music and I was always inspired by him. I started taking piano lessons as soon as my parents said I was old enough (5). Both my parents are pretty musical. My dad bought me and my brothers acoustic guitars when we were very young.
BL:What got you into (respective instrument)?
[pullquote] My parents say I was banging on pots and pans since I was a baby. [/pullquote] When my brother’s rock band would rehearse at our house, the drummer would come bring his drum set and that’s when I really saw the drums as something that I could pursue. Something about them was so powerful and fun.
BL: You played at Buddy Guys Legends a few months back, what was it like?
Buddy Guy’s Legends was amazing!! It felt professional but at the same time, not too intimidating. It was loads of fun. It’s times like those where I can see myself playing music for the rest of my life.

Eigen Aoki

Eigen Aoki

Eigen Aoki

BL: When did you get into music?
EA:I got into music at a very young age. I was introduced to Japanese Taiko drums around the age of three, and bass when I was in the third grade. However, even as a young boy, I played Japanese Taiko Drums at a variety of venues.
BL:What got you into (respective instrument)?
EA: My father ultimately got me into playing bass. He is a professional bass player himself, and I aspired to become like him and took up the bass.
BL: What artist do you most identify with?
EA: I admire my father as an artist. He came to America to pursue his musical dreams. The thing I most admire is that his style is completely unique. There is not another bass player that plays the same way. [pullquote] Being unique, and being yourself through the music is of upmost importance to my father, and consequently to me. [/pullquote]
BL: Do you have any plans for the future?
EA: In the future, I hope that we can continue to play around our local community and hopefully branch out into the city. I just plan to enjoy playing with my wonderful band members for the last year that I will be in the Chicago area.
BL: You played at Buddy Guys Legends a few months back, what was it like?
EA: Playing at Buddy Guy’s was an incredible experience. I have played at many venues in Chicago for Japanese Taiko Drumming, but none for Jazz and it was a whole new experience. It was relaxed yet the audience was engaged and it felt great. I hope to continue playing at great venues.

Jonah Lazarus

Jonah Philion

Jonah Philion

BL: When did you get into music?
JP: I started playing the violin at 4 years old. My brother was in the elementary school orchestra at that time on violin and I thought it looked fun.
BL:What got you into (respective instrument)?
JP: In fourth grade, my parents found one of my late ancestor’s conn saxophone from the 1920s in our attic, and thought that I should play it. Since I already knew how to read music from violin, I quickly moved ahead of my peers. After 3 months, I reached a level that would usually put me in band, but since I was already in Orchestra, that was not an option. Instead, I was placed in the Jazz band along with the 5th graders. In middle school, still focused on jazz, I tried out for what was, unbeknownst to me, the 8th grade jazz ensemble, and made 1st alto. This ultimately pushed me from following violin as my primary instrument to saxophone. I later picked up clarinet in 7th grade, piano in 8th grade, soprano saxophone in 9th grade, and flute in 10th grade. I still play violin in the top orchestra at OPRF.
BL: What artist do you most identify with?
Cannonball Adderly remains my favorite alto saxophonist. I transcribed many of his solos.
BL: What made you decide to start the band?
JP: Last year I shared a class with Jonah Lazarus, which helped us form a friendship. I also grew closer with Jesse and Eigen. Through some careful coercion by our teacher, Anthony Svejda, we formed a group intended at first to be temporary but soon turned into a permanent combo.
BL: Do you have any plans for the future?
We plan to release a CD of some quality by the end of this school year.

Jesse Raney

Jesse Raney

Jesse Raney

BL: When did you get into music?
JR: My father always encouraged me to get involved with the musical world and enjoy it.
BL:What got you into (respective instrument)?
JR: My oldest brother charlie played guitar, and I wanted to jam with him. I picked bass guitar initially, but realized it wasnt for me. thats when i moved to six strings
BL: What artist do you most identify with?
In terms of my jazz playing, I aspire my hardest to play like Martin Taylor. He has a way of speaking through his improvisation that no other jazz guitarist can do. He was also the first jazz guitarist i really plugged in to and appreciated.
BL: What made you decide to start the band?
Jonah Philion called me up on a late summer night to play with him and a few members from the ensemble at a block party. We weren’t initially a band at the time, but after we layed down a few charts, I think we realized we should keep doing events like this. one thing led to another, and we ended up on Buddy Guy’s stage
BL: Do you have any plans for the future?
JR: Three of us are going to college next year, so unfortunately, we’ll be a summer band after september of 2013. We do however plan to record very very soon.
BL: You played at Buddy Guys Legends a few months back, what was it like?
JR: Playing at buddy guys was awesome. I felt it was the first time anybody had ever really listened to our music for what it was, other than background melodies at parties and weddings. initially I felt nervous due to the pressure, but at some point ya’ learn to let go and have fun up there. Which is really what it’s all about for us as a band.

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BGadmin

BG is a free magazine bringing you stories about Buddy Guy's Legends, blues music, and music generally. Please direct submissions to buddyguyslegends@gmail.com for consideration.

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