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Jake Hertzog Trio with Ingrid Jensen


What: The Jake Hertzog Band

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21

Where: The Clarion Theater at Brazosport College

Tickets: $20




By Forrest Hartman


When guitarist Jake Hertzog brings his jazz quartet to The Clarion on Nov. 21, he knows he’ll be part of something special.   

“I think that theater (The Clarion) is such a fabulous place, and I think it’s a wonderful thing to have in the community,” said Hertzog who has played the Clarion twice before (once with the Michael Wolff Quintet and once with his own trio). “I can relate to that directly because I grew up in Champaign, Illinois, which is a pretty small town but it had a disproportionately fantastic arts center. … The Clarion is just a beautiful place to present art and music to the community.”


Hertzog, a genre-bending player celebrated for his improvisational virtuosity, is riding high from the release of the album “Throwback,” which added famed trumpeter Randy Brecker to his usual trio. For his Nov. 21 show, Hertzog will perform material from “Throwback” as well as earlier recordings.


Instead of Brecker, who had another commitment, Ingrid Jensen will play trumpet. Jensen has released several CDs and performs with numerous jazz groups, including her own quartet. For the Clarion show, the band will also include Hertzog’s longtime bass player, Harvie S, and former Spyro Gyra drummer Richie Morales.


“We’ll be able to play a lot of the really quartet-type songs from our newest record and then some of the trio stuff,” Hertzog said. “Some of the trio stuff has evolved quite nicely over the past couple years.”


This is Hertzog’s first time performing with Jensen, and he thinks she’s an ideal fit for the material. 


“This kind of improvisation really brings out everybody’s personality,” Hertzog said. “The thing that I enjoyed the most from the beginning with this band is trying to write situations where everybody could be themselves a little bit. This band has usually been about simple songs and complex improvisation. To me, that’s a lot of fun when we get a new person coming in because then we get a totally different take on the material.”


Although Hertzog is sticking to jazz for the Clarion show, he is active in a variety of musical styles, including blues and rock. In fact, his rock band – The Young Presidents – has recorded with a number of noteworthy pop stars, including Ivan Neville and Corey Glover of Living Colour.


Hertzog said bridging genres came naturally.


“I think jazz is kind of an umbrella that everything works within,” he said. “Especially as someone who is interested in crossing genres, I think it’s important to be active in as many styles as possible because that’s how the synthesis comes about. I’ve just always loved writing songs and exploring that part of it, too. So, I try to keep some semblance of both the composed songwriting style and the improvised style in my life.”



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