"Slamming!" -Down Beat Magazine
"The Real Thing!" -Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Featuring the finest jazz musicians in the greater Atlanta area, Tempest consistently blows up a storm.
With six horns—alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones; two trumpets; one trombone—plus piano, bass, and drums--Tempest has a powerful sound all its own. Duke Ellington, Count Basie…the big bands are well represented in Tempest's expansive repertoire.
What separates Tempest from a typical swing band is an adherence to the fundamental heartbeat of jazz—improvisation. Tempest jams! In addition to the sounds of the big bands, you'll find Tempest set lists dedicated to the small-group sounds of Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, John Coltrane, Art Blakey…all exquisitely arranged for Tempest.
Tempest is a nine-piece (plus vocalist) Little Big Band led by saxophonist James Rozzi, who, prior to calling the band’s first and only rehearsal in 1997, was known to Atlanta's jazz musicians more for the stroke of his pen than the sound of his horn. Rozzi’s biweekly column, "‘Round Midnight," in Atlanta's alternative newspaper, covered the city's jazz scene for more than four years. Rozzi now freelances as a jazz journalist.
When the musicians gathered for the first time, every chart they rehearsed was met with enthusiasm and was quickly mastered. Tempest's musicians are superb both at interpreting written manuscript and improvising. It's always a great experience to hear them blaze through a difficult, uptempo ensemble passage, then turn around and play with absolute subtlety and finesse on a slow ballad. Musically, it's always happening.
Tempest's latest CD, "Round Midnight," is a well-balanced, ten-track trek through multiple jazz genres. The sound of Tempest's first CD, "Atlanta Live" (released in 2001) is based on lengthy improvisations, but Tempest is also known as a band for classy, black-tie events, offering quiet dinner music, tasteful dance music, and entertaining shows.
When the situation requires a specific theme, Tempest delivers. Their library is expansive at more than 150 songs. Tempest can play an afternoon concert of straight-ahead jazz, then turn around and play a dance that night—without repeating songs. They can play it all, from Wayne Shorter to Woody Herman.
Tempest has also performed its share of themed concerts, including a Duke Ellington tribute, 1940s swing-era concerts, blues festivals, and a musically adroit "History of Jazz" presentation.
Over the years, Tempest has garnered considerable accolades. The band has been described in Down Beat magazine as "Slamming!" Critic Steve Dollar of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution touted the sound of Tempest thusly: "This is the real thing."
In addition to long-running gigs at Atlanta venues Churchill Grounds, Café 290, and Libby's Cabaret, the band has been featured at corporate events, private concerts and parties, and the JVC and Atlanta Jazz Festivals—all to rave reviews.