Casey MacGill's Blue 4 Trio performs music that swings. Some have called it the Nat "King" Cole Trio meets the Mills Brothers. Others have called it Fats Waller meets Fats Domino. Slim Galliard meets Fred Astaire. Its music from the ''20's to the '60's, all happening at the same time, woven into a seamless, beautiful whole. At the core of the sound are the bands sometimes sweet, sometimes rough-hewn three-part harmony vocals and a piano-ukulele-bass-and-drums rhythm section that swings along in a variety of textures. Their debut recording as a group, "Casey MacGill's Blue 4 Trio", features 10 trio tracks and 2 quartet tracks. Says Casey: "My other projects were like oil paintings, constantly being tweaked and refined. The Blue 4 Trio CD is my watercolor, I put the paint on and what you get is what you get." The result is soft, loud, happy, sad, raw, mellow, with an honest mistake or 2 thrown in for good measure. It is a real band playing real music.
Casey MacGill is the heart and soul of the band. From California, he is a classic Hollywood character in appearance and style. MacGill plays boogie-woogie, swing, and stride piano. He blows a lyrical cornet, and his most unique instrumental voice is a 6-string tenor ukulele. He has been singing and arranging vocal harmonies for almost 30 years, in a career that stretches from Los Angeles (Mood Indigo, feature films "Frances" and "Swing Shift") to Spokane, WA (The Spirits of Rhythm and the neo-swing classic CD "Jump") to Broadway (The musical "Swing") and finally to Seattle. "I've played a lot of music with a lot of people," he says "and one thing I've learned is to tailor my arrangements to the individual musicians. Its gives each musical situation a unique sound." He steers the band from his piano bench, alternately cruising along and sweating feverishly, switching intuitively between the ukulele and the piano and the cornet, singing and scatting, sometimes all within the same song.
Mike Daugherty came to Seattle from Baltimore, Maryland--a fact that is not lost on anyone. He played drums in punk rock bands in his hometown. In the Pacific Northwest, he founded and led the Yes Yes Boys, a popular early jazz and hokum band that featured Del Rey on Ukulele. Almost everything about his style is East Coast, from his bowties to his whiskey-cum-loudmouth singing style. Brash, yes, but with a melancholy undertone. What is curiously understated is his drumming. "When I started playing with the B4T I had to change. The sound required a more understated rhythm thing, so I lost the bass-drum, the toms, some cymbals, and ended up with the little kit you see me using today. I use brushes mostly, sticks very occasionally. It allows us to stay close together on stage, and puts the focus on the song and the singing."
Bassist Matt Weiner's resume includes performances and recordings with The Flying Neutrinos, The Hot Club of Cowtown, The Asylum Street Spankers, Rani Arbo, Danny Barnes and Willy Mason. He hails from Boston, lived in New York City and Austin, TX before coming to Seattle. He eschews the modern "amplified" acoustic bass style for the plucky stomp of the early jazz bass pioneers like Walter Page, Pops Foster, Steve Brown and Jimmy Blanton. "When Mike, Casey and I got together, the fit was just right," says Matt. "Casey and Mike let me play bass the way I hear it, because that's the way they like to hear it." Matt relishes the challenge of playing bass and singing at the same time: "I'm playing two fretless instruments at once, so things can get squirrelly. That's why I'm not always smiling up there."
Together these three have started to leave their musical mark around Seattle and around the world. Weekly Seattle gigs at landmark music venues The Pink Door and Salty's on Alki have allowed them to hone their sound. Featured prominently is a lack of amplifications, allowing the real sound of the band and their instruments to permeate the room. It has also allowed them to build a devoted following of listeners, dancers and cocktail-sippers. More recently, Mike and Matt appeared in the 5th Avenue Theatre's production of Buddy, the Buddy Holly musical. In Europe, the trio have been an integral part of "Swing" alumni Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas' Camp Savoy and their dance troupe, and have performed at the camp for 4 straight years. They have appeared at the Fous de Danse Festival in Toulouse, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, and a Ronnie Scott's Jazz club in London.