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Gashford Guillaume

Last week while going through my emails, I noticed an invitation to a Jazz event @ Kombit Restaurant in Brooklyn, with the performance of a new group entitled: "Creole Fusion Ensemble". After reading the flyer, I realized that Gashford Guillaume from the group Mozayik has decided to stretch his musical skills to a new venture. I decided to call Gashford to talk more about this new adventure.

KariJazz: Tell us a bit about this new project.

Gashford Guillaume: The Creole Fusion Ensemble (CFE) is a new group I decided to put together in order to further express myself through music… Music that best describes me as a musician and the various genres of music that has influenced me. It will allow me to share my musical talents more in depth. Although most people know me as a drummer, CFE will feature mostly original compositions and rearrangements of mine. I love to compose and arrange music …

KariJazz: What is this music about?

Gashford Guillaume: I've been exposed to a wide range of musical styles such as pop, R&B, soul, world (to name a few)…I named this project "Creole Fusion" because it will allow me to fuse the various types of music that has influenced me into "one", and presented in a jazz context. I spend a lot of time playing Haitian jazz music, mainly with Mozayik, a band I have been a member of for over 12 years. Haitian jazz will continue to be in my repertoire, however, I am also looking to expand and explore more into the "Creole" aspect of the music, which would include incorporating rhythmic patterns and grooves from various countries that incorporate Creole concepts into their music.

I am really enjoying this new group and I am fortunate to be able to surround myself which such great musicians. The instrumentation is as follows: bass, drums, electric guitar, keyboards, trumpet, saxophone & Haitian drums.

KariJazz: Who are the members of the group?

Gashford Guillaume: Right now, I've been using the following musicians: Calvin Jones (bass), Ted Cruz (keyboards), Jean Caze (trumpet), Ofer Assaf (saxophone), Eli Menezes (guitar) & Jean Mary Brignol (Haitian drums). When putting this project together, I knew that the players I would want to take part in it would most likely be freelancers I have worked with. We are all either freelancers or have personal projects and other commitments. I explained to these players what I wanted to do in terms of my music and its concept. I have a great working relationship with them and they trust my ideas and gave me their support. I like musicians to have fun and don't feel as if they are wasting their time. After our first performance, it was evident that the chemistry was there and the unit sounded great together. That being said, I will continue to call them for performances. There are cases where one is busy and I have to get a sub. The music goes on.

KariJazz: What's your future with Mozayik looks like? Are you still part of the band?

Gashford Guillaume: I'm still a very active member of Mozayik. We have some pretty good performances coming up. One of them is opening up for Chick Corea on August 7th in Stamford CT. We continue to perform and write music. What makes Mozayik is the combination of our talents, instrumentation and song writing skills. It's how we obtain our sound. I know this is something folks will wonder about when they hear I am working on my own project. In Mozayik, I contribute what works for Mozayik. In this solo project, one will be introduced to my musical talents more in depth. Most of it will come from me, the composer. I'm always writing music and have plenty of music on the shelf that I have written on my workstation. (Sequencer / programmed). I usually write songs with complete instrumentation, which makes it easier for musicians to learn and understand the feel. After so many years of being exposed and playing music, I just felt ready to do something as a leader. I'm pretty confident with my ability to write music. Especially when it comes to Haitian or Creole related jazz music due to my understanding of what is needed to create it. I feel I have a formula that gives me my own sound and I would like to share it with listeners. I feel any good composer should do something solo if they have the ability. As a kid listening to Chick Corea Electric Band, I was a fan of each and every musician in the group. The amazing thing is that each and every member made several "solo" projects while in the band. That's a plus…

KariJazz: Any recording project in the pipeline?

Gashford Guillaume: Doing a recording project is my ultimate goal. A goal I look to start in the upcoming months. That's one of the main reasons I have put this band together. The live performances will give me a chance to experiment with the music and get a better idea of what works and build chemistry. I have about ten songs in my repertoire that I have performed already. It's a combination of originals as well as rearrangements of Haitian related music as well as American jazz standards.

KariJazz: Where can we find information about The August 7 Concert with Chick Correa?

Gashford Guillaume: Information on Mozayik's Aug 7th performance with Chick Corea can be found on our website: www.mozayik.com.

KariJazz: Thanks again for sharing a few moments with us.

Gashford Guillaume: It was a pleasure!

Creole Jazz Ensemble will be performing LIVE on Sunday, May 26, 2013.
The address: Kombit Restaurant - 279 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Showtime: 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm. - Cover charge: $10
Reservation Infoline: 718-399-2000

Karl Joseph,
Thursday, May 23, 2013

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