I was walking into Spec's (world's greatest liquor store) on Saturday afternoon and there was a band playing outside on the patio. I stopped and listened for a while...and they were fantastic. There is nothing quite like live music, is there? Even though jazz isn't my thing, I loved them.
But it seemed like an odd place for a gig; there were 16 musicians, plus a director--most were horns, plus a percussionist, a standing bass, and an electric guitar. It must have taken a while to set up. The only clue I had about who they were and what they were doing at Spec's was the name on the speakers: Conrad Johnson.
WELL. It turns out that Conrad Johnson was the band director at Kashmere High School for many years. His band (of teenagers!) played original music he wrote; they had a recording contract and were sought-after all over town for parties. The Conrad Johnson Orchestra is a group of his former students who play semi-professionally now.
Their appearance at Spec's coincides with last Friday's release of Thunder Soul, a movie about Conrad Johnson produced by Jamie Foxx that won a bunch of festival awards this year. On Monday, a Kashmere Stage Band anthology was released on CD. [iTunes.] I cannot even tell you how awesome this record is, and how happy it will make you.
P.S. If you book the Conrad Johnson orchestra to play your party, it would be the best party EVER, and I would absolutely crash it.