Long before Al Strong chose the trumpet, his grandparents laid the musical foundation in their Washington, DC household. An only child raised by his grandparents, music became an integral part of his upbringing. Strong’s earliest memories date back to his grandmother’s weekly in-home church services, where she would play gospel hymns on the organ. His grandfather took a more secular approach to music listening, introducing him to the likes of Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith, and Donald Byrd during car rides, specifically longer rides that involved fishing trips. Hearing these different genres, Strong took a keen interest in understanding how instruments could generate a particular sound. In turn, he spent much of his childhood trying to replicate the music he heard, reproducing the sounds with whatever household items he could get his hands on. Growing up in DC only further supplemented Strong’s growing musical curiosity; the influences of Caribbean, go-go, orchestral, and jazz early on allowed him to develop a mature affinity and respect for a variety of music disciplines.
When did you start the group? It was started over 20 years ago. How did the band form? Kathy, my wife, sings in the group. Her dad was a very well known piano player, “Uncle Paul” Montgomery. I used to play with them and over...
The Zen Poets have been at Irregardless for years and the energy the audience feeds off of them is powerfully mellow and inviting. Consisting of members Annalise Stalls on saxophone, Aaron Gross on bass, Daniel Faust on drums, and Gabriel Dansereau o
This Saturday, the Atomic Rhythm All-Stars are performing at Irregardless and I spoke to George Knott, founder of the band shortly about the band. It was honest and tactless, to say the least, but he’s mostly honest with himself and how he work
The Secret Quartet is a four member group made of students from UNC Asheville. The members include Jacob Secor on Saxophone, Nick O’Leary on Piano, Garron Chesson on Bass, and Will Younts on Drums. I spoke to Jacob Secor briefly about their Sat
Half Past Six, not just a time, but the name of the jazz band set to perform this Saturday at Irregardless. The members consist of Tara Nixon as the vocalist, Cara Albora Shaw on piano, Ken Bowers on jazz guitar, Scott Griffin as drummer, Doug...
Despite whatever weather we’re having in Raleigh, rain or shine, Soggy Po’ Boys are sure to hit it off at Irregardless this Saturday. On tour promoting their ‘Smoke’ album, which is the first full-length recording as a septet and the tracks, they cla