Since 2019, keyboardist Vincent Orsolini and drummer Tyree Johnson have led the local jazz fusion band Everyday Strangers.
They are among a group of local musicians looking to reshape and update the traditional view of jazz in Kansas City. This versatile duo merges a wide array of international influences, from France to the United States and beyond, to create a genre-bending brand of fusion jazz they call “psych jazz.” “We try to explain what we do, but the music speaks for itself,” Johnson says.
“We want to transgress and push what the idea of a genre is,” says Orsolini, who spent over a decade studying jazz in the South of France. Orsolini arrived on the local scene five years ago to embark on a new musical journey. In addition to being a keyboardist, he brings his audio engineering and post-production expertise to the ensemble.
Johnson, a native Kansas Citian, is a virtuosic performer who frequently plays with beloved local bandleader Lonnie McFadden of Lonnie’s Reno Club. Johnson remains connected to his local roots and draws on inspiration from the Kansas City jazz tradition while experimenting with different approaches and forms.
Orsolini and Johnson work closely to write, arrange and produce all of the music for Everyday Strangers. “We’re really more of a collaborative entity than a band,” says Orsolini. The two have thirty years of combined experience and have cultivated a strong reputation throughout their years on the scene.
Now, Everyday Strangers is gearing up for the release of their first full-length studio album this spring. Last month, they dropped a single, “Too Raw,” as a teaser of the upcoming record.
This “little taste” is a ten-minute-long track chock-full of funky bass lines, killer fills from Johnson and plenty of soloistic playing from Orsolini. While it’s difficult to categorize, as is the intention, think psychedelic rock meets jazz and funk. It’s cathartic. It’s infectious. It’s a hit among jazz lovers as well as those who haven’t fallen in love with the art yet. Most of all, “Too Raw” will leave you wanting more.
Nina Cherry is a local jazz historian, journalist, and vibraphonist. Her specific interest is in swing era women in jazz and the Kansas City jazz scene’s rich history. Nina resides in a former speakeasy from the Pendergast neighborhood with her dog, Daisy.
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