Patrick Kunka - New York-based Jazz Drummer & Composer

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Patrick Kunka Quartet at Nancy Jazz Pulsations

Translated from L’Est Republicain Oct 13th, 2009

The Patrick Kunka Quartet finished their tour with the Ecole d’Archi yesterday evening.

Having only just arrived from the United States last Monday, they were thrown immediately in at the deep-end. Seven concerts throughout the week included regional outreach performances, NJP’s “Apero Jazz” program, a community performance at a hospital, and the grand finale this Monday. With seven concerts in eight days, and one day off on Sunday, they decided instead to travel to Paris for a day of sight-seeing. They could not have left France without seeing its great capital. The young artists fly back this morning to find their ordinary day-to-day lives changed by the experience.

Patrick Kunka, the leader and composer of the band, explained that never before had the band performed at such a rate, in front of such diverse audiences – festival goers, simple music lovers, or dedicated music enthusiasts.

Everywhere, the music went down well.

Among the many memories collected over these insane days, a highlight, says one of the members, was the performance at the “Blitz Cafe” where the quartet found an intimate and intense connection to the audience that wasn’t possible at the larger venues.

Alan Benzie (piano), Leah Gough-Cooper (Saxophone), Dylan Coleman (Bass) – the only American, the others being from Scotland – met around the drumset of Kunka a year ago. A diverse sensitivity, resulting from their studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, brought them closer together even though they do not necessarily share the same musical tastes. Kunka composes for the band by taking into account the specific personalities of each member, a method of composing used by giants such as Coltrane, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny… With this comes a rich jazz intersected with varied and diverse influences. Upon finishing their studies, Dylan and Alan plan to move to Scandinavia to contribute to the unique musical melting pot that exists there. The quartet’s residency continues the long standing contribution of Music Academy International, partnered with Berklee, to the Festival.