When I entered The Family Wash on Friday evening it was already packed. There was an hour wait for a table and everybody was in a great mood. People were laughing and eating, and those who weren’t were tapping their feet to the music. I took up residence at the corner of the bar while I watched and listened to The Double A Octet‘s jazzy tunes. The vibe in there was pretty great. This was the first time I had been to the new location since they moved to Main St. in East Nashville. The jazz band is lead by Roy Agee (trombone) and his good friend Chris Autry (bass). Most of the charts were written by Mr. Agee and they were arranged beautifully.
When I walked in they were about to start one of the many jazz standards in their repertoire, “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra. Frequently the band features Mr. Tommy Keenum when they need vocals. His crooning style fit perfectly with the band. The octet (really 9 members plus Tommy) sounded like they’ve been playing together for years and have a really professional and polished sound to them. Throughout the 2 hour set there were solos by Steve Patrick on trumpet, Evan Cobb on tenor sax, Sam Levine on alto sax, and Roy Agee on trombone. In between numbers Roy would grace us with a joke or two.
Even though this is an octet, one of the charts that stood out to me most was when Tommy sang “My Funny Valentine” only accompanied by Chris Autry on bass. As a bass player myself it was really cool to hear that be the main, and only, instrument featured in a song. You can tell that this ensemble was very well thought out and put together. Each member exudes musicianship and professionalism. I would definitely see this band again.