Playing Out 

The studious groovers of The Moksha Quintet really perform

This is just my experience, mind you. Without meaning to impugn an entire department at UM, I’ve noticed that most of the music majors I’ve ever run with or roomed with have tended to be rather conservative in their musical outlook, far more likely to pass a Saturday night in small cabals trading shop-talk and “Seinfeld” references than shaking caboose in smoky clubs where unadjudicated music is actually being played. When I found out that most of the members of the Moksha Quintet were enrolled in one track or another in the UM Department of Music—jazz theory and improv, performance—I wanted to find out more. Interestingly, the one member of this hypnotically talented band (drummer Adam Kocsondy, bassist Jack McLarnan, pianist Dave Frahm, guitarist Jeff Forrest and tenor saxophonist Brian Brock,) who hasn’t done his hitch in the music school was the member appointed by the others to deal with the press: Adam.

What do tell people your parent’s age when they ask you what kind of music you play?
I tell them that we play a progressive jazz, funk, hip-hop kind of thing.

Now, is that the same thing you tell people your own age?
Yeah, pretty much. Actually, OK, what I tell my parents is that we play jazz, we play anything that’s related to jazz, and that incorporates funk and acid jazz and everything that goes with jazz music, because jazz can go anywhere. With people my age, I tell them we play more like progressive jazz, which incorporates hip-hop and acid jazz and drum and bass. What we tell our friends is that we play two genres: jazz-funk and hip-hop.

How did you hook up with Nasty [MC Nasty, the adjunct sixth member of the quintet]?
Brock and Nasty worked at a restaurant together, and one night they were just shooting the shit and Brock told him ‘sure, come on over.’ When they first told me, I was kind of nervous, actually, but it all worked out great. Nasty’s great. What he’s saying, man, it cracks me up. And if you really pay attention to what he’s saying, you see that he rhymes and rhymes well, and has something to say.

I’m curious if you feel like you’re skipping from one world to the other when you leave school to play around town. Well, I can’t really answer that for those guys, but a lot of music majors just don’t like to play out and aren’t in the music scene. Brock is just kind of a different saxophone player, more into making something happen. We all love to make music and do different things with it, and that definitely comes out with Brock. He just wants to get the most out of the music and he doesn’t hold back and that’s why he jumps out of the “UM music major” stereotype you’re talking about. Dave is like that, too.

What’s everyone planning to do?
Oh, as far as the future’s concerned, nobody really knows. We’ve got a good thing going here and we’re just kind of riding that out.

The Moksha Quintet (with Nasty) are playing this Saturday at the Ritz, 10 PM. Cover $2.

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