About the Project
Scalici-Alley Project Creates New Music In The Moment
“Rob and I are excited about this collaboration. We love working with each other.” says percussionist/composer John Scalici.
Trumpeter Rob Alley is a versatile trumpeter/composer steeped in a variety of styles from jazz and New Orleans music to soul, funk, Americana and a touch of the avant garde. Scalici has roots in the blues as a founding member of two critically acclaimed blues rock outfits, Gravy, and junkyardmen. He is also an in demand percussionist for modern dance companies, as well as an accomplished djembe player and student of West African music and culture. Merging all of these interests seamlessly was the motivation for the duo’s partnership.
The Scalici-Alley project combines percussion and trumpet with live electro-acoustic sounds to invent a new spectrum of sound and color. Their creative formula is to honor the music that inspires them individually and allow that music to form the foundation for their explorations in music and technology.
Scalici adds, “Rob and I love the music, and the electronics we’re incorporating are the unseen third band member. It really creates limitless improvisational opportunities.” In a typical tune, the audience may hear samples of a Lightnin’ Hopkins guitar riff, a traditional West African ceremonial chant or an Ngoni melody. Scalici adds dance inducing beats and rhythmic textures that create sonic spaces for Alley to improvise in and thematically embellish.
In their musical world, unlike a lot of jazz music, the trumpet is not necessarily one of the main melodic instruments. Scalici’s compositions are complete. Outside of his improvisations, Alley’s trumpet fits inside the pieces and inside the groove. Alley also employs a myriad of electronic effects such as delay, wah and harmonizers which compliment Scalici’s creations.
“Approaching this project with the idea that the trumpet should play inside of the music, rather than on top of it, was most important”, Scalici says. The eclectic mix of styles has led to several shows with Toubab Krewe, Red Baraat, Rebirth Brass Band, The Cuko Rokko Music Festival, and a headline slot at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center’s 2013 and 2014 Light Dreams Festival with VJ artists John and Katie Gaiser.