By Luis Alonso Pérez
It’s a lazy Monday night and the streets around North Park look deserted. Maybe everyone is home watching television or taking an early plunge into bed.
But on the corner of Adams and 30th street the sounds of a jazzy trumpet and a strong hip hop bass thumping tells me that Monday nights might be cooler than I expected.
I follow the music into the club and the silky red lights and stylish lounge atmosphere set my mind at ease but the music blows my mind away. It’s the sound of Donald Byrd’s “Change” coming out of a DJ’s turntable blended with a smooth hip hop beat from live congas, and on top of that, an MC is laying down a few improvised rhymes on the microphone.
These groundbreaking live improvisational jazz performances are known as “The Rebirth of Cool” and they are hosted by DJ Sachamo from jazz 88’s Illfonix show.
“I define the The Rebirth of Cool as a rejuvenation of soulful energy” says Sachamo “a re-visit to a process and time where real music matters. It is a re-establishment of Jazz/Soul influenced musical vibrations. A place where people can let go of nonsense beats, and re-focus, return to what’s good.”
On that Monday night Sachamo’s technics were on fire, spinning everything from Herbie Hancock to Eric B and Rakim, skillfully going back and forth between the jazz classics and the hip hop realm, while his man Steve Haney was doing his thing on the congas, keeping a cool steady beat. However, the one stealing the show was the master poet-MC Reg E. Gaines, with lyrics flowing freely from his brain and into the microphone.
A mind-blowing jazz extravaganza, back where it belongs: the streets.
The concept behind TRC began when Gary John, the owner of The Air Conditioned Lounge (who is also a Jazz 88 member) approached station manager Mark Deboskey, and underwriter for the station, Michael Ravatsos, to host a Jazz 88 night. The boss’ intent was to bring in new listeners for the station and at the same time take Jazz 88’s spirit into the San Diego night club scene.
The next move was calling in Sachamo to pitch in some ideas, concepts, and themes. “I guess the stars were aligned that day, and a dream came true for me” said Sachamo “since the start of my radio show, I have thought about a live Jazz 88 function featuring the Illfonix show!
According to Sachamo The Rebirth of Cool title comes from one musical idea, jazz “where the mother root has branched into my generation’s music called Hip-Hop. It’s a fusion of the coolest kat, Mr. Miles Davis’ “Birth of cool”, and Digabale Planet’s “The Rebirth of Slik” albums.”
The title not only reflects the Sachamo’s musical taste, but it also represents the beat juggling and live jamming between the musicians and the DJ, mixing everything from John Coltrane to A Tribe Called Quest, Branford Marsalis to Mos Def, even mixing in some Ella Fitgerald with Goapele.
“The musicians are fantastic as they syncopate their instruments with our vibrations from the turntables” said Sachamo. To name the cast of characters so far: Israel Maldonado, a Tijuana born musician and song writer who rocks his guitar and percussions and has become a repeating crowd favorite. Mr. Reg E. Gaines, Steve Haney of Gente Fina’ and Clay Elliott (a.k.a. Turtle Fuzz) have performed as well.
Playing with live musicians, poets, mc’s, vocalists, is not the newest concept for Sachamo, being a producer himself is what he enjoys doing the most. “The whole job of a dj is to get people dancing, and if you can touch them with as many different, innovative ways, the better.” said Sachamo “performing with Jazz musicians is the best, and they love to work with these ideas. The musicians are able to improvise with new sounds, on the spur of the moment, bringing their sound to different avenues. Only real players can accomplish this, meaning you must know your instrument to be able to just riff to any genre of music.”
The future holds no borders for DJ Sachamo and the Illfonix Crew, with a show four years strong on Jazz 88.3fm (Wed night from 10pm-12am) and The Rebirth of Cool sessions getting better every week.
“People are in dire need of real entertaining night life, and The Rebirth of Cool sessions the place to be” said Sachamo “So believe what you hear!”
The Rebirth of Cool happens every Monday night at The Air Conditioned Lounge (4673 30th Street) For more information on TRC or the Illfonix show with DJ Sachamo, please visit www.jazz88online.org