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These Are The Champions

--Dan Barry, Hartford Advocate article about the winners of the Grand Band Slam Readers' Poll (8/19/09)

"Our 'Best Jazz' category has always had a sort of esoteric edge to it. Despite the many talented jazz musicians pouring out of Hartford’s Artists Collective and the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, Hartford Advocate readers seem to prefer jazz with some rock mixed in. Perhaps that’s why Stanley Maxwell isn’t necessarily the kind of group you think of when you hear the word "jazz" — they’ve got horns, yeah, but their roots are in jam rock, though their sound certainly tips the hat to soul jazz pioneers like Eddie Harris. And improvisation plays a massive role in their live show, and it’s those skills that earned them this year’s Best Jazz title. (They won it in 2007 as well.)"

Don’t Wake The Baby!

--Bryan Rodgers, Home Grown Music Network review of album (10/8/08)

"Connecticut's Stanley Maxwell has one aspect of being a band nailed down: they're named after a dude, but not a dude in the band, and a possibly fictional dude at that. The disassociated moniker is an elemental part of rock and roll that cannot be underestimated. Fortunately for Stanley Maxwell, they've got a lot more going for them than an irreverent name. The sounds on their debut album Don't Wake the Baby! are some of the most serious I've heard in a while. There isn't a lot of money in playing complex, conservatory-honed jazz fusion these days, so you can tell these guys are in it for the playing. It would be nice if players like this were the ones selling loads of albums and downloads and merch, but there's not much one can do about the state of music today. It's better just to enjoy albums like Don't Wake the Baby!, which floats above the cesspool of monthly money magnets that we are deluged with daily.

Hearing this quartet bop their way through their own brand of modern jazz is like a cleanser for the overexposed mind, as the four players manage to create an ensemble-sized sound with a wealth of nuance and compositional thoughtfulness. The smoky title track encompasses a great deal of Stanley Maxwell's influences, with sultry female guest vocals, a brief flurry of hip-hop lyricism, and a tasteful, understated jazz backdrop. Defragmenting is a sophisticated tune that nicely displays the band's soft-handed approach, where less notes and a lighter touch prevail. Not to say that they don't have their 'out' moments - No Good Reasons briefly visits outer space, and Highway Patrol mines a visceral stretch of asphalt and comes up funky - but the overall tone is one of tasteful separation and group consideration rather than ferocious soloing and brain-splitting speed.

Their signature tune, Mousetrap, which has garnered them a great deal of acclaim, is as engaging as any corporate-approved jazz being made today. The bass and drums are locked into a world of their own, visited by hovering sax lines that color the landscape with intricate lines. Bono's Squandering and Gianormous exhibit touches of afrobeat and world rhythms, and it's easy to hear the NYC-vicinity influence on the sneaky Not Yet, which blends uptown fuzz with some downtown funk and stirs in some melodica for a cocktail that has a hint of MMW aftertaste. Stanley Maxwell might be relatively unknown, but their sublime style and scholarly skills should endear them to audiences looking for something more in music today."

Stanley Maxwell Scores

“You American Idol and Dancing With the Stars voters can now cast a ballot for a group of local musicians. Their blues song Mousetrap was named the winner in the Best Jazz Song category of the Independent Music Awards, an international contest to promote indie musicians through promotion and marketing. The contest is now running a "Vox Populi" vote through January, where music fans can choose from among the five finalists in each of a multitude of categories. To vote online, see The band says Mousetrap was influenced by Thelonious Monk. Stanley Maxwell won Relix Magazine's November "JamOff" contest and had Mousetrap featured on a CD sampler. The group won the Best Jazz Band category in the 2007 Hartford Advocate Grand Band Slam."

--Donna Larcen, Hartford Courant article – Arts Section “Scene” (12/30/07)

Stanley Maxwell Wins Independent Music Award for Best Jazz Song (December 2007)

The Stanley Maxwell song “Mousetrap” has been selected as the Winner in the "Best Jazz Song" category of the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards. Stanley Maxwell was selected by Industry and Artist judges over four other Jazz Song Finalists, including The Harlem Experiment's "Harlem River Drive".

Stanley Maxwell's "Mousetrap" joins fellow winners Marco Benevento (Best Live Performance Album - "Live At Tonic"), The Frequency (Best Jam Song - "Jim Gordon Part II"), Ernie Watts (Best Jazz Album - "Analog Man"), and Lionel Loueke (Best World/Traditional Song - "Kponnon Kpete") on the IMA CD compilation, Now Hear This, to be distributed at major music events such as SXSW, Folk Alliance, Popkomm, NXNE, Ozzfest, Warped Tour, MacRock, MTV Springbreak, London Calling and others throughout 2008.

The compilation will also be serviced to over 700 U.S. and Canadian public and college radio stations by The Planetary Group, and promoted to over 4 million eMusic subscribers and over 2 million Pure Volume customers.

You can listen to all the Winners of the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards here.

The Independent Music Awards are produced by Music Resource Group (publisher of The Musician's Atlas) and co-sponsored by Borders Books & Music; eMusic; The Planetary Group; ManiaTV and HavocTV; Burnside Distribution; and MediaGuide.

Artist Judges for the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards include Les Claypool, Chad Smith, Snoop Dogg, Mavis Staples, Ray Davies, Susan Tedeschi, Angelique Kidjo, Ice-T, Suzanne Vega, Duncan Sheik, Tim Pagnotta, MickDeth, Mobb Deep, Judy Collins, Charlie Musselwhite, Martin Atkins, Frank Iero, Rob Wasserman, Chuck Comeau, Bill Frisell, Mark Ribot, Peter Gabriel, and McCoy Tyner.

Industry Judges for the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards include Carrie Hughes, Kevin Lyman, Joe Cuello, Joe Boyd, Elena Rossi, Anthony DeCurtis, Abby White, Chris Douridas, Philippa Murphy, Ben Fong-Torres, David Wilkes, Chris Kimsey, Mike Errico, Lior Goldenberg, Melissa Cross, Carrie Istad, Pilley Bianchi, Michael Patterson, Jeff Torrice, Carol Lester, Jennifer DaRe, Ethan Allen, Annie Lin, Danny Saber, Brett Kimberlin, Shari Black Velvet, Roger LeBlanc, Roy Jackson, Stefan Goldby, Josh Rabinowitz, Tim Riley, Jennifer Tefft, and Scott Reifman.



School Is In Session

Stanley Maxwell shows talent and restraint

Thomas Pizzola Hartford Advocate review of
performance at Zen Bar (6/11/04)
"The jazz/funk improvisation of Stanley Maxwell appears spontaneous and at times is exhilarating."

"The members of jazz/funk combo Stanley Maxwell do not need to use words in order to communicate. Instead, they speak to each other through their music. This musical correspondence was on display as the band grooved through a well-received set that left the people in attendance with a greater understanding of how to speak without using words."

"This musical communication helps the band gel as a unit, and it shows. The four-piece -- keyboardist Evan Green, saxophone player Eric DellaVecchia, bassist Mark Crino and drummer Andy Chatfield -- did an excellent job with their mainly vocals-free, jazz/funk hybrid. They have an uncanny ability to vibe off each other with some real neat improvisational passages. Fortunately, the improv doesn't smack of self-indulgence."

"Stanley Maxwell has found a way to avoid that trap. The songs are written ahead of time, but the band always leaves spots for improvisation. This is usually accomplished through musical cues in the song, or through hand signals. Each member has a chance to improvise if they feel like it."

"Most of the time they do. Each member displayed his chops as a soloist at least once during the set. These moments proved exhilarating as the musician just went for it. But thankfully, the band knew when not to milk it. They had an inherent ability to rein it in, which cut down on the aforementioned self-indulgence that usually wrecks a band like this."

"While each member of the band is talented in his own right, I was impressed with the rhythm section, particularly the drumming of Chatfield, whose playing style was a nice mixture of precision and understated power. He and bassist Crino work well in tandem providing a solid foundation for the rest of the band."

"The best funk band on the music scene today."
-- Brandeis University Waltham, MA (2/6/03)

“An excellent fusion jazz group…I just flicked their CD in my player and knew I wanted them. The fact that they were conservatory trained is highly evident in their music…you want to sit back, close your eyes, sip on some scotch and say this is living…clearly the most talented performers at my event."
-- Attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Organizer of the Berkshire Music Festival
Lake Onota - Pittsfield, MA (2/27/03)

“This band is very creative and always full of surprises. Young – fresh, constantly changing, evolving. Listeners and dancers will not be bored. Stanley Maxwell is educated in jazz and instinctively know funk and R&B and love to get the audience dancing. Not your average white boys and not your old man’s funk band either.”
--Armi @ Great Barrington (MA) Music : Previews & Reviews
(Fall/Winter Edition 2003)

“Stanley Maxwell was (in my opinion) the best demo I received for the festival.”
-- Edward DuFresne
Organizer of the first annual Northeast Kingdom Music Festival
The Chilly Ranch - Albany, VT
Performances included The Headhunters, Soulive, The Slip, Addison Groove Project, Topaz, The Tony Trischka Band, The Screaming Headless Torsos, The Josh Roseman Unit, Kaki King, Gordon Stone, ulu, and Dave Fiuczynski (4/15/03)

“They really know how to rock a stage. Seeing them made me realize music is not dead and there is still real talent out there.”
-- Groovy Beat review
Performance at Sully’s Pub @ Lena’s (9/4/03)

“By the time Stanley Maxwell came around the women were full of giggle juice. In that way, Stanley Maxwell’s appearance was well-timed. The band played a bevy of funk classics, mixing in some original songs along the way. The arrangements were carried out with a technical grace that was easy to get into.”
-- Chris Lough New Haven Advocate review
Performance at Toad’s Place (5/17/01)

“I’m a married man, but their music makes me wanna cheat!”
-- Automatic’s reaction to outdoor summer performance
Backroom Lounge @ Bottega - New Haven, CT (7/03)

“Stanley Maxwell was fantastic. I haven’t been that impressed with a band in years.”
-- Guitar player in the audience at Jingle Jam
Private Holiday Party - West Roxbury, MA (12/14/02)

“I stood and watched them for over an hour with ten pounds of meat in my bag.”
-- A woman stopped in middle of her daily chores
Lunchtime Summer Concert Series
The Old State House - Hartford, CT (8/5/03)

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This site created by Andy Chatfield