Nov. 20--Tye Austin and the rest of his band, Fresh Antiques, bring a working knowledge of classical techniques to popular genres of music, including hip-hop, jazz and reggae.
The band formed in July but will introduce new members -- David Kelley on steel-string guitar and Jordan Levelle on percussion -- when it opens for reggae band The Illies at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at Caldera Tap House, 31 Water St., Ashland.
Austin, who plays nylon-string guitar, and Kelley have degrees in classical guitar from Southern Oregon University, and Levelle and bassist John Johns -- "a modern Mozart," according to Austin -- are music students at SOU. At Caldera, the quartet will be accompanied by a three-piece horn section that includes SOU students Jon Janakes on trumpet, Talon Smith on trombone and Daniel Chavez on tenor saxophone.
"My mission is to bring the beauty and the repertoire of classical guitar to the masses," Austin says. "To do that, I have to appeal to younger generations that are in to dub step, hip-hop and house music -- music that you can dance to. I want to make people realize that classical music can be danceable when you put a band behind it."
Austin utilizes techniques taught in his music theory classes to arrange classical guitar standards for a full band. The long, involved process includes analyzing the harmonic progressions, translating it into top notation and then creating a lead sheet with chord symbols, bass lines and hook melodies. The lead sheet acts as a guide for the rest of the members to insert their own creative artistry, Austin says.
While Fresh Antiques will likely play a few of these modern, instrumental arrangements at Caldera, the bulk of its set will be original material by Austin and, now, Kelley.
"We are very similar, which is why we decided to collaborate," Austin says. "He (Kelley) has more of a hip-hop/jazz/rock influence, whereas I have a hip-hop/classical/reggae influence."
Austin's originals also are characterized by "extremely poetic" lyrics, dwelling on love, self-awareness, self-realization and self-reliance.
"My influences are Busta Rhymes and Eminem," says Austin. "I also really like Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and the greats -- Beethoven, Chopin and Mahler. Music has kind of come full circle. They say that if you can play classical music, you can play any style because pop, jazz, folk and rock all come from Western classical music so if you know how to read classical literature, you can apply that skill set and vocabulary to all genres of music."
Although he didn't begin studying guitar until he was 18 years old, Austin advanced quickly. At SOU, he studied guitar under David Rogers and James Edwards, and composition under Mark Jacobs. He has also won numerous competitions, including the American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition, which allowed him the opportunity to perform at New York's Carnegie Hall in March.
The cover to the show at Caldera is $5. Call 541-482-7468.
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