Pat Casey, bass player and namesake of Pat Casey and the New Sound, took the long route to New Orleans—one that’s taken him around the world, from the tropics to the freezing tundra, and finally to his adopted home in the birthplace of jazz.
Originally from Denver—a mere two-day drive—Casey started out playing in a jazz quartet on a cruise ship. Between jobs, he spent six months in India studying with musicians there. From India he moved to Alaska, and there met friend and trumpet player Ashlin Parker. According to Casey, Parker “moved to New Orleans and told me I should really consider moving here as it was a ‘jazz utopia.’ After a little while hanging in Buenos Aires, I moved to New Orleans. I was broke as a joke after Argentina and moved down here with a suitcase, an upright and electric bass, and an amp.” No cruise ship travel for Casey this time, either. “I took the Greyhound bus. Thirty-hour ride.”
Now, Casey has established himself as a talent to watch out for. He and the other young musicians in New Sound fuse classic and modern jazz with Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and funk elements. The group plays original material as well as arrangements of quintessential classics, and has a regular gig at the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street on Sunday nights. The group includes Khris Royal on horns, Julian Addison on drums, Danny Abel on guitar, Jason Butler on keys, and other musician friends including Parker who occasionally join in.
The Spotted Cat isn’t Casey’s only regular haunt, though. He also plays with the band and choir of Life Center Cathedral Full Gospel Baptist Church on the West Bank, whose building was destroyed in Katrina. “Playing there has been a blessing on many levels. The band ain’t nothin’ to mess with!” Casey says.
Pat Casey and the New Sound play Jazz Fest on Sunday, April 29 at 12:15 p.m. in the Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent.