OV Recommends: The Botolph Jazz Trio

Coffee Shark

“If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”

This quote was said by the esteemed jazz trumpeter, composer, and vocalist, Louis Armstrong. With jazz, it’s not about knowing; it’s about hearing and learning. The saying that all great writers were first great readers resonates with music, too. All great musicians were first great listeners.

Find out what jazz is all about and come down to Coffee Shark on 2222 and listen to Austin’s own, Botolph Jazz Trio.

What the Botolph?

Formed by drummer John Traphagan in 2012, the trio performs a wide selection of jazz standards that are mainly in the bebop and West Coast styles.

The name, “Botolph,” is taken from Botolph Street in Boston where the musician’s union there used to be headquartered. Traphagan’s father founded the Botolph Brass Ensemble in the 1960s which consisted of five brass players. Traphagan said, “When I was trying to come up with a name for the trio, it seemed like a nice idea to honor his group with the name.”

Think frank sinatra

The three musicians (drums, bass, keys) perform standards like “Fly Me To The Moon” and jazz renditions of The Flintstones Theme.

You may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference between bebop and West Coast jazz?”

Bebop was developed in the mid 1940s in the United States. This style features songs characterized by a faster tempo and complex chord progressions.

West Coast jazz was developed in Los Angeles and San Francisco during the 1950s. Considered a subgenre of cool jazz, it comes off as much calmer than bebop.

chops on chops on chops

For those not familiar with jazz slang, if you possess said “chops”, you’re a damn good player. The Botolph Jazz trio has got mad chops.

The drummer, John Traphagan, attended the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he was trained in piano performance. Additionally, he has performed as a percussionist with the Nashua Symphony Orchestra.

The pianist, John Groves, studied jazz theory at Northern Illinois University. Since 2000, he has taken lessons with numerous teachers in jazz piano and vocals.

The bassist, Andrzej Kujawa, imports his grooves all the way from Poland. In Bydgoszcz, he attended the Arthur Rubinstein Music School where he studied upright bass, piano and drums.

Coffee, beer, & jazz

The Botolph Jazz Trio performs at Coffee Shark on every Friday evening other than the third Friday of the month. Check out the calendar here!

You must come and watch these truly world-class artists perform your jazz favorites. And afterwards, you’ll know the answer to the question: “What is jazz?”


Photo credit: Coffee Shark