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Milwaukee Live Band News

1/22/2017 Smith and Binder 1/22/2017

Smith & Binder Jazz by Jillian Green

Smith & Binder Jazz is all about performing some of the best and most popular music ever written: songs of the Great American Songbook and the standards of Jazz.  “We just really enjoy interpreting these songs that were written and performed between the late 1920’s through the 1950’s,” says group leader Steve Smith.   “They are rightfully called ‘standards’ because they have stood the test of time and held their appeal to the present day.”  Smith notes that much of the fun of performing these tunes is the almost instant connection they make with anyone who happens to be listening.  “People are tapping their toes and nodding their heads almost immediately…we love to see that connection happen when we play.” 

Smith & Binder Jazz are also excited to be part of a thriving Milwaukee jazz scene.  “There are so many great local musicians and groups,” Smith says.  “Straight-ahead jazz, bebop, gypsy jazz, early New Orleans style jazz, are all present in Milwaukee and flourishing.”  Additionally, Smith feels that Smith & Binder Jazz owns a special niche within the overall scene.   “While many of our tunes are instrumental jazz, we definitely like to feature vocal jazz tunes.  The lyrics of so many of the songs in our repertoire are timeless classics, and of course, the melodies are what make each tune especially memorable.”

Another feature of Smith & Binder that sets the group apart is the instruments they play.  Steve plays a vintage Gibson archtop guitar and uses it primarily as a rhythm instrument.  “Since I’m primarily a vocalist, I use the guitar as rhythm accompaniment, and I just hope I am doing Freddie Green some justice,” Steve says, with a smile.   Linda Binder is a virtuoso both on violin and on an assortment of mandolins.   According to Steve, “Linda’s job is to cover what a trumpet, sax, or a whole brass section might do on a tune and she amazingly pulls it off every time.”  Finally, Mark Truesdell is a multi-faceted musician who enjoys exploring all that is possible with his drum kit, but will also pull out his harmonica on a few select tunes to dazzle audiences with his playing.

All of these qualities make Smith & Binder Jazz one of the more appealing, enjoyable and unique musical groups in the Milwaukee area.

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