When asked what makes playing together fun, Doug immediately has an answer. “There’s a mutual interest in the music, and a diversity of background and experience.” Doug and Ryan spearheaded The Band of Opportunity’s creation after becoming bored playing in another band — in a world of jazz bands that stick to the standards, the draw of Dave’s repertoire of original compositions brought the four musicians together. Scott is quick to credit their front man for keeping things exciting, “What makes the group unique is Dave,” he explains as the others nod along. “I don’t know anyone else who could’ve written What You See and What You Do and songs like Sunbird.”
Scott is no stranger to the music industry — he has a storied history playing with many musicians from many genres, such as regular shows with James Brown’s musical director Pee Wee Ellis. But when thinking of the music he plays with Dave? “They’d never even think to write anything like that.” Dave’s direction of the band is as unique as the music. When he describes his directives to his bandmates, he recalls specific notes related to the trips abroad that serve as his musical muse, such as “you need to play like a mountain” or “drum like eight guys playing around a fire in Africa.” For Ryan, the songs are “fun and freeing. You can always be very creative with the music [due to the improvisation], and between all the performances it’s always different.”
In fact, in anticipation for their show later that evening in the lofted barroom of Faircraft Brauhaus, the group laughed at the thought of the show, saying that they’d have to see how things went — as Ryan said, the performance is different each time, and even for musicians so used to playing music heavy in improvisation, there’s always a possibility different might be a bad thing. Fortunately, there were no notes that seemed to miss the mark, and the audience was happily occupied by the engaging audiovisual elements incorporated into the blend of solos and jazz from each corner of the genre.
As Dave spoke about the inspirations for each song in the set from their recent album There and Gone, cards on the tables in the Brauhaus bore labeled QR codes which whisked the crowd away to photographs taken by Dave on the very trips that inspired the music. Tales about a trek through Newfoundland with his son and songs written under the Carribbean moonlight as quietly as possible so his daughter wouldn’t wake up were accompanied by beautiful music and charming photographs. The audience was enraptured, and the band concluded their set to applause from each corner of the bar.