On a typical Wednesday night at Paisano's restaurant in Rockville, Maryland, 18 of the hottest musicians in the Washington, DC metropolitan area gather to experiment with contemporary big band sounds. Dubbed "The Wednesday Night Pizza Band", this group is dedicated to celebrating Music. All types of Music. Not jazz, not swing, not rock, not classical, not world beat, not adult contemporary and certainly not Top 40. Just Music with a capital "M." And Fun with a capital "F".
James Bazen got his Bachelor Of Music at Greensboro College, a
small private school in North Carolina. At GC he majored in classical
saxophone. Once he graduated he quickly realized that there are a
total of maybe three major symphonic works that used saxophone!
Not exactly great odds on making a living.
After this revelation Bazen spent some time in New Orleans. "I was
one of those guys in the street with my case open," Bazen says,
"playing my clarinet and sax for the tourists." Here he was exposed
to the great traditions of blues, dixieland, and Cajun music.
He later endured one year of master's studies at DePaul University in
Chicago. There he majored in "jazz and commercial music."
Again, quickly realizing that one can only learn so much in an
academic setting, he left DePaul and began attending performances
of the great Chicago jazz musicians as well as frequenting jam
sessions and starting his own bands in "the real world."
When Bazen moved to Washington, DC with his wife Sarah he tried
various day gigs to make ends meet including managing a record
store. "It was awful," Bazen says. "Working with various bands until
2 or 3 in the morning and then working at the store from 8 to 6...I
was a zombie. In addition to being too tired to be creative, I hated
working for corporate America. I just prefer to be my own boss."
Which brings us to the present...
In an effort to "be his own boss" Bazen started his own talent
agency, musicunlimited.com, and started booking his variety band
and other acts. The business has done well enough that it has
allowed him to finance his "jazz habit." (How do you make a million
dollars in jazz? Start with two million!)
Now James Bazen produces his own records. This gives him the
freedom to explore his talents both as a musician and arranger no
matter where they lead.