The Jost Project
Devoted to interpreting the rock-related “standards” in a contemporary jazz format, The Jost Project creates an exciting new connection between the many listeners for whom the music of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Donovan, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beach Boys, and others are as familiar as the Great American Songbook to prior generations of music lovers. The group’s enthusiastic audiences have expressed appreciation and pleasure in hearing this diverse repertoire of songs performed in the modern jazz idiom by this acoustic, almost chamber-like ensemble.
The Jost Project is a jazz collective initially formed in 1990 by vibraphonist Tony Miceli and acoustic bassist Kevin MacConnell, with the purpose of performing the rock music of the 1950s-1970s in a jazz format. The seeds of this idea were planted in Miceli’s 2005 recording “Hippie Jazz”. The strong, lyrical playing of MacConnell is an important element of this inventive duo that was enhanced with the addition of Paul Jost.
When Miceli heard vocalist/arranger Paul Jost, he felt such a strong musical connection that he invited him to be part of the group. Because of Paul’s strong musical influence and arranging talent, Miceli was convinced the group should have Paul’s name and it was named The Jost Project.
Miceli’s vibraphone stirs echoes of the famed Modern Jazz Quartet with Milt Jackson, and in this latest combination, Jost invokes blues, mainstream, and scat stylings in his unique introspective way bringing out the emotions contained in the songs. It’s immediately evident that this skilled group of artists, each bring their distinctive experience and approach to this blended collective.
Standards from the Great American Songbook and the mainstream jazz repertoire have long held sway in jazz performances. In addition to their familiarity with the players, which enable them to play them “on the spot”, these songs resonate with listeners and take them into the deeper layers of the music and improvisations. But the so-called “baby boomers” and subsequent generations came of age with rock and roll, the Beatles, hard rock, and other genres which are rarely played by jazz groups. While the harmonies are not necessarily in line with more recognizable jazz progressions, such music is well within the scope of the modal and melody-based jazz of Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” and other post-bop developments in jazz.
The ever-expanding repertoire of the Ensemble include rock/pop classics as “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” (Iron Butterfly), “Good Vibrations” (Beach Boys), as well as, “What a Day For a Day Dream” (John Sebastian; Loving Spoonful); “Sunshine Superman” (Donovan); “Walk This Way” (Aerosmith); “Tenessee Waltz” (Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King); “Come Together” and “And I Love Her” (The Beatles); “Kashmir” (Led Zepellin); “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” (Simon and Garfunkel); “Maybe I’m Amazed” (Paul McCartney); and “Can’t Find My Way Home” (Blind Faith). For good measure, jazz compositions like “Don’t Forget the Poet” (Encrico Pierannuzi); “Caravan” (Dizzy Gillespie); “Waltz New” (Jim Hall); and “Passion Dance” (McCoy Tyner) are also included in the group’s playlists.
Give a listen to “Walk This Way”, and you’ll get a taste of the unique sound of The Jost Project and their exceptional artistry, originality and imagination. The group, while based in the Philadelphia area, is available for bookings internationally.