Hear some of the coolest sounds created on planet earth when the Pontiac Public Library presents the RJ Spängler Quartet Saturday. The concert program begins at 4 p.m. on July 13. Drummer RJ Spängler will speak about the history of Detroit’s jazz and blues roots and perform musical examples with an all-star band that includes guitarist Oliver Nevels, bassist Greg Cook, and saxophonist Larry Smith.
The concert is free and open to the public of all communities. Space is limited, however, and pre-registration is required. For a space to hear some great music and learn about the sounds, click here.
About Larry Smith: Born near Pittsburgh in 1947, he got his start playing jazz, showing the ropes to his friend, jazz guitar great George Benson. Smith moved to New York where he played with big names such as Shirley Scott and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Larry had a special relationship with one the all-time great sax players – Sonny Stitt. Sonny knew and encouraged Larry going back to his teenage years. This lead to Larry touring with Sonny as a regular member of his group. Quite an honor for a man that plays the same instrument as the leader! As Charles Latimer said in the Metro Times: “His specialty is ballads. He shuts his eyes, hunches his shoulders, and holds his saxophone like a prom date. The ballads are so touching they’d make the devil cry.” Larry appears as a special guest on James Carter’s 1996 ‘Conversin’ with the Elders’ and Live at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. He has also toured with the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin.
Drummer RJ Spangler has appeared on over 60 recordings and has toured the US, Canada, and Europe quite a few times. He lectures on Detroit jazz & blues history and beyond his trio, he leads the Planet D Nonet swing band as well as a blues band.
Guitarist Oliver Nevels is another veteran player whom has recorded & toured nationally with organist Charles Earland. He has also toured with organist Richard “Groove” Holmes and “Brother” Jack McDuff.
Bassist Greg Cook is a Detroit main stay, having proven himself playing with the top of Detroit’s jazz scene: Geri Allen, Roy Brooks, Marcus Belgrave, and many others. He toured Europe with soul great Bettye LeVette and held down the bass chair in Rat Pack show for countless performances in addition to performances with international stars like Mose Allison and Johnny Hartman.