The Native Jazz Quartet, led by Sitka’s Ed Littlefield on drums and Christian Fabian on bass, will perform Monday, April 8, at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. The concert begins at 7 p.m.
In addition to Littlefield and Fabian, the group features Reuel Lubag on piano and Jason Marsalis, of the Marsalis jazz family, on vibraphone. The evening will also feature special guests, Juneau’s Thunder Mountain Big Band.
This Alaskan tour, the quartet’s second, celebrates the release of their first CD, “NJQ: Stories.” All four band members have created new music for the CD, with each of them incorporating elements of their cultural backgrounds into the music. Littlefield is Tlingit, Lubag is Filipino, Marsalis is African American and raised in the traditions of New Orleans jazz, and Fabian is Swedish and German. The vision of the quartet is to integrate native/folk melodies with traditional jazz to produce brand new works.
The Native Jazz project began in 2011, when Littlefield was inspired to combine the traditional Tlingit melodies he heard as a child with jazz, the genre in which he was currently working. He was joined by Fabian, who had previously collaborated with musicians from the Nez Perce tribe in making jazz arrangements for traditional songs, and later by Lubag and Marsalis.
In addition to their Juneau performance at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center April 8, the band will stop in Ketchikan, Anchorage and Fairbanks, among other locations. They will also perform in Sitka in June as part of the Native Jazz Workshop.
Tickets to Monday’s concert are available at the JAHC, Hearthside Books, and online.
For more information, visit www.nativejazzquartet.com,