For years, Charleston’s tight jazz scene has enjoyed the runoff of musical talent streaming from the College of Charleston’s arts program. Some of the cats held in highest regard either teach or study in the jazz performance programs.
Since forming in January, Metropolis – comprised of four talented CofC jazz students – have taken advantage of opportunities in the city’s live music scene and ventured toward a more professional situation. In short order, the band developed a groove-heavy electric sound and a surprisingly confident approach to improvisation.
“We’re definitely about improv on stage,” says electric guitarist Shane Greer. “I think that’s when we’re at our best.”
They describe their instrumental sound as “a tasteful mixture of funk-fusion with a hint of jazz styling.” More risky than polite, their recent live performances have demonstrated a sharp edge, with more dynamics and call-and-response melodic and rhythmic horseplay.
“We actually started playing together in the same jazz combos and ensembles at school,” says Greer. “I figured we were good enough to start playing out.”
“We’re trying to be a groove-oriented band,” adds keyboardist Dan McCurry. “We’re trying to be more of a fusion band with the harmonic parts of jazz but focusing more on the grooves and rhythms. When we started out, we really sounded like a bunch of young jazz students just jamming in front of each other. Now, we’re working hard on writing original material and trying to be a definitive, original band.”
The combo has already enjoyed various adventures with occasional guests, playing for different audiences from the backroom corners and stages of a variety of local clubs, bars, and bistros and putting their personal mark on the jazz and funk standards. They recently solidified the lineup with Ian Springer on the trap kit and Ben Well on electric bass. All four core members are currently jazz performance majors, but already they’re starting to resemble seasoned veterans full of grand ideas. –T. Ballard Lesemann