THE GYPSY HEART ~ Blog
It's time for PollenFest '17 !!
May 2017, Greenville SC
I think it's time to talk about the band. Even though "Donna Kay & The Carousers" is sometimes exchanged for the shorter name, the BAND is the reason I am here, the reason I can pull off this whole smoke-and-mirrors thing.
When I e-mailed a bunch of jazz cats asking them if they had STUDENTS who would be interested in experimenting with a vintage sound, Monty Craig wrote back and said that he was interested. Monty is well-known in the music scene in the Upstate. He's fronted The Professors of Soul and Alma de Candela, both awesome and busy bands. He's also a Professor of Jazz Guitar Studies at Clemson University. My reply to him, after I picked up my jaw off the Kreuzberg flat's floor was, "OK, then you can ask whoever you want to join us."
After I came back to the States, I met with Monty. He called a German man on his cell phone and put him on speaker. Hans Wolff was in a position to give it a go. He's a lifelong busker and solo violinist who was classically trained in his native Germany. A computer programming side job was coming to an end, and he had the time to put into developing our book of songs. I was thrilled! The whole CONCEPT of the band was formed while I was living in Berlin, and to have a REAL LIVE GERMAN in it was just too much! ha ha!
Next, Monty brought it bassist Robert Nance, who is arguably the real star of the group. Not only is he one of the best jazz bassists I have ever played with, he's also a fashion plate and eye magnet. I get tons of comments from fans about his charisma and musical abilities.
Finding rhythm guitarists was a breeze with Monty's students, but it has actually been a Furman University student (now a graduate on his way to SUNY-Purchase) named Reed Miller who has become our go-to on rhythm guitar. I'm going to really miss playing with Reed, and you should watch out for him to be a STAR one day. Soon.
In all honesty, I debated ever having a drummer. With Robert so incredibly solid on rhythm and tempo, and with little money coming in, I just thought it would be best to "get by" without a drummer. Then, we met Kevin Korschgen. Kevin moved to the Upstate from Chicago, where he was a high school band director. He's also a composer and super star in the Jazz scene. His "Wheel Sessions" at the Wheel bring in top jazz talent from all over.
So that makes us a six-piece, most of the time, and it's worth every penny to have us come and entertain you and your patrons, and sell your spirits to every dry mouth in the house!
Join our Caravan and find out why!
The Carousers at IPA (Greenville). (L-R) Hans Wolff, Reed Miller, Monty Craig, Donna Kay, Kevin Korschgen (not pictured: Robert Nance).
Photo by Robert Gowen/Greenville Underworld