I pursued a travel interview with the Al/Capone band because of their genius music — a medley of smooth jazz, fusion, R&B, funk and Latin sounds that makes you tap your toes, swing your hips, and wink at the person nearest you. Little did I realize that Al/Capone’s six members are not only musically gifted but they’re also technically savvy. The band leverages audio recording software in the early stages of the composition process, and they have established a wide-reaching social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace. Read our interview with the amazing Al/Capone jazz band, a quintessential study in the synthesis of traditional jazz and modern day technology. Also, be sure to enjoy music from the band’s latest album, Mr. Smooth, via the music player below and/or download a free song here.
- What is the best venue Al/Capone has performed at?
One venue which stands out was the Water Front Festival in Rockford, IL, a big outdoor festival that is held annually around the end of August. Jeep grew up in Rockford and we had played a lot in that area earlier in our careers, so it was a lot of fun to go back and get in touch with many old friends. The weather was great, the stage and audio were first rate, and we had thousands of fans grooving with us. We’ve been in many places and performed in so many wonderful situations, but it felt special being able to perform there. The vibe was very intimate for us, considering the size of the event.
- Which city has the best fans? Which city has the worst fans?
Things are a lot different now than they were when we started. With the advent of the Internet and the huge amount of information and content it provides, we find that regional differences that used to distinguish audiences have largely disappeared. People are no longer limited in their exposure to music by what their local radio station plays, or what the local record store has in stock. We’re always impressed with the musical sophistication we encounter, and are grateful that with so much wonderful music out there, there are a lot of people who feel that we’re doing something which speaks to them. Of course, our fans pretty much know what to expect when they come and see us, even though we do try to surprise them. We can’t think of any audiences as being unpleasant; some are more demonstrative, some quieter, some whoop and holler, some just clap quietly, but generally the audience is just a fun bunch of people to play to, no matter where we are.
- Which technological invention in the last ten years has had the most dramatic impact your band?
Although it’s been around longer than ten years, the tremendous influence and impact of the internet has dramatically changed the entire music business, not only the ways that music is marketed and sold. Added to that is the availability and affordability of a wide range of audio recording software that has enabled a great many people to create and record their own original music. These products have made our process of composition easier as well, and they just keep improving all the time. We still use the big studios to finish our projects, but we can get a lot of pre-production work done at home.
- How have you used social media to promote your band?
We’ve had a lot of help in this area from Christian Del Monte of TMA E-Marketing. We’ve been astounded by the amount of feedback and the response we have gotten from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube. The social pages have definitely built up our fan base and given us worldwide visibility. They are some of the most important tools for marketing art that every artist should utilize, and they seem to be making more of an impact every day.
- Do you have a song related to travel?
We have a few songs about the road that we’ve written in the past. Perhaps we’ll have to look at them again as we start to do more touring. We recently composed, recorded and videotaped a tune called “The Mini Apple” which is a piece about the city of Minneapolis. For that project we used a bigger band than our usual Al/Capone lineup by adding four more horns and a female vocalist, who were all dynamite to work with.
- Which international city is top on your list for your next performance?
Right now we are working on getting a European tour booked, with one of the first stops being in Rome.
Enjoy the smooth sounds of Al/Capone below. Visit the band’s site for more access to their toe-tapping, hip-swinging, eye-winking music.