Eastside Jazz Quartet to celebrate first anniversary with a show

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published February 6, 2018

 From left, guitarist Andy Perri, drummer Tony Ioppolo, bassist Jim Cadotte  and saxophonist Dan White make up the Eastside Jazz Quartet.

From left, guitarist Andy Perri, drummer Tony Ioppolo, bassist Jim Cadotte and saxophonist Dan White make up the Eastside Jazz Quartet.

Photo by Analicia Honkanen, provided by Dan White

ST. CLAIR SHORES — They’ll be celebrating their first anniversary with a concert Feb. 10 at the Watermark Bar and Grill in St. Clair Shores, but the members of the Eastside Jazz Quartet are far from beginners when it comes to music.

Soprano and tenor saxophonist Dan White, of Grosse Pointe Woods; bassist Jim Cadotte, of Warren; guitarist Andy Perri, of Grosse Pointe Woods; and drummer Tony Ioppolo, of Macomb Township, are all seasoned musicians who’ve performed with other bands before.

Cadotte subbed for the rock and blues band The Boogiemen about 25 years ago, for which Ioppolo was the drummer, and Perri once worked with Cadotte in a big band. And White and Cadotte are longtime music teachers in the Grosse Pointe Public School System: White was the band director at Grosse Pointe South High School from 1998 to 2010, and since then has taught fifth-grade instrumental music — woodwinds — for all nine elementary schools in the district, while Cadotte teaches beginning brass instrumental music to fifth-graders in the GPPSS.

Cadotte and White are teaching partners and have known each other 15-20 years, Cadotte said in an email interview. Via email, Perri said all four also “have mutual friends across the jazz community.”

The Eastside Jazz Quartet has been the house band for the Watermark for roughly the last year. In an email interview, band founder White said they don’t have anything special planned for their first anniversary show — “just a night of great jazz music.”

For White and his bandmates, this group has been a rewarding experience.

“I’ve played in many different bands in many different genres throughout my career, but I’ve wanted to play in a small jazz ensemble since I was a kid,” White said. “So when I set out to put this quartet together a year and a half ago, it was really like fulfilling a lifelong dream. I also wanted a group with great chemistry that keeps ‘band drama’ to a minimum. I feel really fortunate that we all get along really well and enjoy each other’s company. And we’re always trying to improve the quality of the band, also.”

Cadotte said they’re all on the same page.

“The members make the band work,” he said. “We all listen and react to each other as we are playing.”

Musically, the musicians say this has been a great opportunity for them all to shine collectively and as individuals.

“What I like about this band, from a guitarist view, is I get to play my harmonies and chord arrangements of our songs without concerns musically (about) other chordal instruments — piano/vibes — and this group has given me the opportunity to explore this more,” Perri said by email.

Audiences shouldn’t let the jazz label scare them off.

“We play a nice mix of tunes, from laid-back to energized swinging to funky — something for everyone,” Ioppolo said in an email interview.

White echoed that sentiment.

“I like to tell people that we’re a very accessible jazz quartet — we play classic jazz, soul jazz, funky jazz, some blues and contemporary stuff,” he said. “We kind of play everything in the jazz spectrum, except for really early jazz or smooth jazz. Come to a show and you’ll hear the music of Miles (Davis) and (Thelonious) Monk, (John) Coltrane, Eddie Harris, Pat Metheny, John Scofield — something for everyone. We’re serious about the music, but we like to keep the atmosphere casual. We want the audience to have as much fun as we’re having.”

Although they don’t play originals, White does compose some of his own material, and it’s possible they could record an album in the future, either of their own arrangements or of original songs. For now, they’re just enjoying performing together and entertaining audiences at the Watermark and elsewhere.

“I think that the four of us share two main goals: to play great music and have fun,” White said. “As veteran musicians, none of us wants to be in a group that we don’t really enjoy. So I think we’ve been successful largely because we keep it fun. Also, our repertoire is very diverse. We can play standards for dinner music, then kick it up a notch or two for our later sets.”

The Eastside Jazz Quartet’s concert Feb. 10 at the Watermark will start at 7 p.m. For more about the band or other upcoming shows, visit its website, www.east sidejazzquartet.com.