Jazz and Bluegrass are very different types of music, especially when considering the typical sound each of the music styles has. But, despite all of the differences, bluegrass and jazz have special similarities. They are both uniquely American, shaped by European immigrants and African American roots. During the course of a piece of music, each instrument will take its turn playing the melody and improvising around it, while the others perform accompaniment; these ‘Breakdowns’ are often characterized by rapid tempos and unusual instrumental dexterity and sometimes by complex chord changes. Jazz and bluegrass are also very explorative and both styles are easily participatory. A good working knowledge of several dozen ‘classic’ tunes (jazzmando.com) will enable you to play practically any song.
At Beans in the Belfry you can listen to bluegrass regularly at least four times a month, most Thursday evenings, second and fifth Sunday afternoon, and some weekend evenings when many groups have a bluegrass / Americana theme.
You can hear jazz every Sunday during brunch and second Wednesday evenings. On Sundays the groups can be a duo or trio of guitar, vocals, clarinet, flute, saxophone, keyboard, drums, trumpet and even tuba. Themes vary from New Orleans style, to bebop, fusion, dixiland and modern jazz.
On Second Wednesdays, 7 to 9pm, Jeff Cosgrove, drummer, sets the tone when he assembles award winning jazz talents on sax, bass, keyboard etc to take the stage and have fun. To learn what is motivating Jeff, see a recent interview that Lisa V. Proulx conducted with Jeff, originally published in Brunswick Citizen Newspaper “Spotlight on the Arts”, February 5:
Cosgrove sees music as a shared language
Launching his “mixed bag” of world class jazz, Jeff is an internationally known musician who has been written about in jazz publications all over the world; Tokyo, Italy, France and Belgium to name a few. He has also been recognized by The Washington Post, and the New York Times.
As an artist, Jeff understands the importance of being proactive and promoting himself. To be recognized in international magazines, Jeff wrote his own press releases and had them translated into Japanese, French, Italian and other languages.
Jeff grew up in the Washington DC area, attending high school in Alexandria, VA. Wanting to play music, he tried the clarinet in the 4th grade but “failed” so turned his attention to the saxophone. This wasn’t a success either. “I wasn’t big enough!” he says.
He does not come from a musical family, but his grandfather loved music and encouraged young Jeff to play. “He was my mentor”, he recalls.
Eager to play some sort of musical instrument, Jeff got behind a drum set in the sixth grade and was hooked. He began playing in garage and touring bands but says over the last 30 years he has only been in about five bands. Through the years, Jeff has studied with master drummers Mike Shepherd, Tony Martucci, Joe Hunt, Matt Wilson and Andrew Cyrille.
As an adult, he moved to Shepherdstown, WV where he earned a psychology degree from Shepherd University.
Jeff has been performing at Beans in the Belfry since 2006 and is excited about bringing his versatile brand of music to the area. “I put 110% into my music,” he says. He loves playing at the coffee house. “It is such a nurturing atmosphere for artists; I can find my own voice and they are open to accepting my ideas. Beans in the Belfry has helped boost Brunswick culturally and it’s a fun place to be!”
Jeff is looking forward to bringing diversity to his performances. “I want to try something new every month. Every second Wednesday will be different. I want to evolve as an artist and I love being in situations where I’m not sure what’s going to happen!”
Jeff has two CDs out: “Alternating Current” (with Matthew Shipp on piano and William Parker on bass) and “For the Love of Sarah” which his wife Sarah pushed him to complete. Reviews have named “Alternating Current” one of the best recordings of the year.
Jeff feels music is a common language shared by all of us and says, “I want to make an emotional connection, and I want my music to be recognized.”
Jeff and Sarah have been together for 18 years and married for twelve. They live in Middletown with their sons Micah, 7, and Isaic, 8, ad three cats. “I am very fortunate”, he says. Learn more at www.jeffcosgrovemusic.com. Both his CDs can be found on Amazon. www.beansinthebelfry.com/events