These Jazz Cats Are In Rhythm

Meet the the new local band Melodic Impurities

By Michael Collins, Current Staff

Six music students have found an ambitious way to bring their love of jazz to West Bend.

Dubbing themselves the Melodic Impurities, the student-led group was founded by high school seniors Ian Williams and Brady Guth on saxophone, senior Connor Markohn on piano, junior Adam Koel on trumpet, sophomore Conner Trahan on trombone and sophomore Braden Murray on the drumset.

They formed the group earlier this year, and have performed at the Antidote in downtown West Bend and look to book further gigs in spring.

The group was born out of a collective enjoyment of the jazz style.

“My favorite thing is you look at a book once and throw it away,” Trahan said. “In a concert band you can’t really show your style. You can’t go off the track and do a cool melodic thing, with jazz combos you can.”

Trahan asked Murray to start a group, and when he became closer to Williams, they discovered a shared love for jazz and he was asked to join the group, too.

“We have an incredibly special talent because we’re all individual jazz players and we have this incredible knowledge about jazz that we’ve learned by ourselves,” Trahan said. “I really wish there were a lot more jazz cats like me and (Connor Markohn) out there.”

This is very different from the larger, co-curricular ensembles offered by the high school music program. Currently, students can participate in the New Orleans-style brass band WB3 and the jazz ensemble Pulse, led by directors Corey Murphy and Leah Duckert-Kroll.

According to Trahan, the jazz combo is different on a personal level.

“You’re closer with everyone,” he said. “It’s more on your terms.”

Melodic Impurities is a student-led opportunity for more individualistic performance, with a greater focus on improvisation and solos. Because it is a student-led group and not affiliated with the high school or any of the teaching staff, this small group of students must organize their own rehearsals and performances.

Student leadership is integral to the identity and operation of the group. It is up to the students, rather than adults, to keep rehearsals productive and the performances organized.

“As a small group, if someone’s missing, that is a key part,” Trahan said. “Everybody plays a key part in a jazz combo. We won’t have a heartbeat if we’re missing Braden. If you’re missing one of the saxophones or me, you’re missing the personality.”

This did present a challenge to the group when performing their first gig in downtown West Bend, which has an ordinance against excess loud sound in the area..

“We went down to the Antidote, set up our drum set, and rotated people between sets rather than having us all play because of the city ordinances,” Williams said.

The group looks to book further gigs as the weather improves in the spring, and will be performing primarily downtown West Bend.


(Top image: Connor Markohn, Conner Trahan and Braden Murray play the first Melodic Impurities gig Sept. 30 at the Antidote in West Bend. Photo by Corey Murphy and used with permission.)

3 Comments

Filed under Community, Entertainment, School News and Features

3 responses to “These Jazz Cats Are In Rhythm

  1. Noah Mintie

    Woo Hoo! Go Connor Trahan!

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