Old School Horn Band
By Barbara Jones Hewey
Old School Horn Band, a nine-member local party band known for its classic rock and rhythm and blues, is back on stage this summer with three new members, some new twists on popular favorites and a renewed emphasis on songs that showcase the rich, full sound of its unique three-person horn section.
According to guitarist Bedeke Cresci, the last of the band’s founders still on the roster, the recharged and rejuvenated band is coming out strong with all the favorites its fans have come to expect and some surprises, including new members Bob Brooks (vocals), Justin Gorun (bass guitar) and Fred Jewell (keyboards).
Still rocking the roster are Joy Boyd (vocals), Tim Fellenz (trumpet), Jill Freeman (trombone), Steve Weikle (saxophone) and Brad Wild (drums).
The brainchild of Cresci and two of his friends, one of whom didn’t even play an instrument at the time, the band formed in 2008 after a group scheduled to play at a neighborhood party cancelled at the last minute. The band’s rapid growth and popularity exceeded their expectations.
Based in Alpharetta, the band plays a wide range of music, but its emphasis is on 70s-era classic rock, which Cresci and some of the senior members of the band grew up enjoying. “We play music we love,” he explains.
Favorite artists include Van Morrison, Joe Cocker and Steely Dan, plus Motown and rhythm and blues legends such as Otis Redding. They gravitate toward music with a strong horn component, including the Blues Brothers’ “Soul Man,” Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” Their most requested song? Bruce Springsteen’s “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.”
In addition to popular hits, they play lesser-known gems. “We try to do material that is a little more complex or that would not typically be played by other bands,” Cresci says. He named “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” by Traffic, “5:15” by The Who, “Jackie Wilson Said” by
Van Morrison and “Them Changes” by Buddy Miles as songs “many bands wouldn’t attempt because they require horns to sound their best.”
Cresci, who started playing the guitar in high school, comes from a musical family. His brother plays guitar, and his mother plays piano. While not a musician, his father’s love of classical music added to his interest in various genres, including Flamenco guitar. His early musical influences include Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Cresci was drawn to Garcia’s “very improvisational approach
Despite the hard work involved, performing for Cresci and the other band members is a labor of love. “There’s just something about playing music that both satisfies the soul and sets it free,” he adds.
Advice to young musicians just starting out? “Play music that you love with people who you like — that’s when music is the best,” Cresci advises.
For more information about the band, visit OldSchoolHornBand.com.