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Dan Karlsberg's THE ‘NATI 6 is Jazzy, Classy and a Little Folksy
(Published: July 04, 2015)

It's been said that jazz is America's only true original art form. But jazz pianist and composer Dan Karlsberg tips his cap to American folk music by offering a playful arrangement of the classic Stephen Foster song Oh! Susanna, one of 10 tracks on his new album THE 'NATI 6.

"The focus of this album is mainly on beautiful melodies and Oh! Susanna is one of my favorite songs," he said. "Some of the tracks on the album are complex. Each one means something different to me, on a personal level."

(Listen to Oh! Susanna here: https://soundcloud.com/dan-karlsberg/oh-susanna-1)

The songs on THE 'NATI 6 pay homage deceased friends, family members and composers who inspired Karlsberg: Tchaikovsky, Miles Davis, Maurice Ravel, Stephen Foster, Karlsberg's grandparents, an old friend, and even a young woman who worked at a corner store in his neighborhood near the University of Cincinnati.

Not just the album's title, The ‘Nati 6 is also the name of the group of veteran jazz musicians in Karlsberg's hometown of Cincinnati, who are known nationally. They include bassist Jim Anderson, drummer Art Gore, saxophonist Brent Gallaher, trombonist Marc Fields pianist and trumpeter Kim Pensyl, who was twice named one of Billboard's Top-20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Year and has had four Top-10 albums on the magazine's Contemporary Jazz chart. Members of The ‘Nati 6 have individually toured and/or recorded with stars like Ray Charles, Art Blakey, Ernestine Anderson, Herbie Hancock, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and the list goes on.

"Cincinnati has a huge jazz tradition which seems to be getting lost on the younger generation," Karlsberg said. "I wanted to draw attention to the city's jazz history. The members of this band are established leaders in the jazz world and they have been my mentors."

In a review, Cincinnati CityBeat called "The ‘Nati 6" "spectacular" and "hypnotically adventurous." Karlsberg has described the album's musical style as something like "Vince Guaraldi and Cecil Taylor meet Mozart."

(See The ‘Nati 6 perform Miles Davis' Freddie Freeloader: https://youtu.be/BPaqE30GDbs)

Karlsberg, who has become a mainstay in Cincinnati's jazz community during the past decade, has worked as a sideman with Tim Warfield, Donald Harrison, Ted Nash, JD Allen, and many others. He teaches at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the acclaimed Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. THE 'NATI 6 is Karlsberg's third album, following The Adventures of the Dan Karlsberg Group and Mission to Mars and Other Short Stories. Though stylistically similar to the first two, the new album has less emphasis on Karlsberg's piano while focusing more on the ensemble as a whole.

"My presence is felt through the whole album, but this project is more about my composing than my playing," he said. "I wanted it to be about the group as a whole. It was an honor to work with such amazing artists."

The music of Dan Karlsberg is available at:

CD Baby



THE 'NATI 6 track list

1. Ballade No. 2
2. Freddie Freeloader
3. Ballade No. 1
4. Prelude
5. Oh! Susanna
6. Tchaikovsky 1
7. Pavane of Sleeping Beauty
8. Mr. Shands Jr.
9. Tchaikovsky 2
10. Modest Minor Melody

More Information: https://www.DanKarlsberg.com

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