Free musical performances will initiate with an on the rise jazz/funk guitarist, Dirk Quinn at the Kimmel Center's Commonwealth Plaza at 5:30 PM on Friday, September 25. Prior to the concert performance of jazz legend 79-year-old Sonny Rollins, Dirk Quinn is excited to open the Philadelphia Kimmel Center's 2009-2010 season.
The Kimmel Center will host free performances in the Plaza every Friday night--regardless of whether or not concerts are taking place. Who better to kickoff this new initiative than our very own Phoenixville-local Dirk Quinn?
Quinn, a talented musician, has targeted coffee houses and cafees for his venues. Here the passion for his craft is evident and his style surfaces. Like the perfect cup of coffee, Quinn's music is a delicious blend of creamy jazz, and shots of funk loaded with rock energy and flavored with improvisation.
"I enjoy the freedom and the challenge of a show that's to a large extent improvisational," says Quinn, "What you're getting is a cross-section of the band, of who we are at that particular moment in time and on that particular night--each time we perform." Influenced from all genres, Quinn credits Led Zeppelin as being the driving force. At 14, while mowing the lawn, he listened to a tape in his Walkman "and nothing's been the same since."
Deliberate in their fan base and winning them one by one on the merit of their music, the band establishes a comfortable relationship with their audience, allowing the music to do the talking. Quinn admits that the challenge is not how to consistently 'wow' people, but how to most effectively and clearly express himself, and "there's no formula for that, it's a lifelong pursuit."
Quinn has developed this style over the past decade, accomplishing an individual sound comparable to Keller Williams and Michael Hedges "which I take as quite a compliment!" says Quinn. He has just recently solidified the core of the group recognizing the secret is finding the right combination of players to truly make a solid band.
Quinn's core group includes Chris Aschman playing trumpet and steel drums, Stephen Kurtz playing bass, Ryan Leaver playing keys, and Steve "Zeeg" Zegray playing drums. While unifying their instruments in a comfortable, laid-back method, the DQB's music has the smooth, easy listening quality of jazz with splashes of foot-tapping funk, and head-bopping rock thrown in for fun. In short, the DQB shares similar qualities of the urban funk of Soulive and the experimental grooves of Medeski, Martin, and Wood. Although the resemblance to these noteworthy musicians is undeniable, the band has created a unique repertoire for itself. Their emphasis on improvisation keeps their sound fresh, unexpected, and worth sampling.
Quinn debuted his first recording in 2007 with the release of the first of two albums self-titled "Dirk Quinn"
and the second, "QuinnTet." The organic quality of DQB allows the audience to immediately connect with the band's music. Quinn discloses that although he currently writes all the music, his goal is for the improvisational characteristic to take the reigns. "Once it gets into the hands of the other band members it really takes on a new life. The personalities of each musician shine through and work together to create the whole. All I'm really doing by 'writing' a particular tune is providing a canvas on which the other guys can paint as they see fit."
Like true works of art, the pieces are never replicated. As a full-fledged artist, Quinn's vibrant musical genre has the potential to exceed even his expectations. The band has plans to tour in the Midwest and southern United States as well as the west coast and Europe. Quinn shares, "when you think back on the show, it's those moments of complete unity and surrender that are the most clearly remembered. It's why I play."