In just a few brief years, Strange Arrangement has routinely filled larger venues throughout the MidWest as their ever evolving sound steadily gains more and more notoriety. Drawing on influences from the likes of Phish, Herbie Hancock, Umphreys McGee, and Wilco, a Strange Arrangement show will take an audience through several different musical genres touching upon jazz, funk, rockabilly, soul, and progressive and psychedelic rock. Opening for National Touring Acts such as Future Rock, Outformation, The New Mastersounds, and Umphreys McGee as well as performing at large festivals like Summer Camp, Hookahville, Hoxeyville, and North Coast Music Festival Strange Arrangement’s original brand of dance friendly progressive funk has music fans taking notice. The relationship Strange Arrangement shares with its ever growing audience is based around the idea of creating a moment in time where one can laugh, dance, sing, and connect with the band and its music.
The origins of Strange Arrangement can be traced back to 1996, when a friendship formed between keyboardist Joe Hettinga and drummer Bob Parlier when they were students in the music department at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, IL. This original grouping also included Arie Buer on guitar and Mitch Manz on harmonica and percussion. The lineup would later become somewhat solidified when Kevin Barry, from neighboring High School Hinsdale Central, would join the band to play bass guitar. Through mutual friends, Jim Conry would eventually meet and join the band in 1998. Arie Buer and Manz would later leave the band in the Spring of 1998, and by the time Hettinga and Barry had graduated from High School in June of 1998 the Strange Arrangement combination of Conry, Barry, Hettinga, and Parlier was born.
From 1998 to 2000 Conry, Parlier, Hettinga, and Barry all attended the School for Music Vocation, created by Grammy Award Nominated Arranger Phil Mattson, in Creston, IA to study improvisational jazz theory and composition. Their education kept them busy traveling with different jazz ensembles playing prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City.
While learning the fundamentals of jazz performance, their education left little time for Strange Arrangement, with the exception of the occasional house party. In 2000, members of Strange Arrangement would go their separate ways when Barry, Parlier, and Conry moved to Boulder, CO to pursue various professional musician jobs, while Hettinga attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI to get his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music.
The band would not officially regroup and start doing gigs as Strange Arrangement until the late part of 2006, when all four members found themselves back in Chicago for the first time since 2000. Hettinga and Conry shared an apartment in the Bucktown neighborhood where most of the debut full length album “Side x Side” was conceived and written. Recorded at Deer Tick Manor, in Michigan City, IN and mixed by Larry Millas at World Stage Studio, owned by Jim Peterik (Eye of the Tiger/Survivor/Ides of March), the self released “Side x Side” would come out in the winter of 2008. The release of the record would find Strange Arrangement touring exclusively in the Midwest nearly every weekend since.
Playing mostly small bars in Chicago and college towns in the MidWest since late 2007, Strange Arrangement watched its crowds grow more and more. By the end of the summer of 2009 they were opening for national touring acts like Umphreys McGee and Outformation, while playing bigger clubs in the same cities they had been frequenting over the last year and a half. 2010 found Strange Arrangement playing rooms like the House of Blues in Chicago, The Canopy Club in Champaign, IL, the Lafayette Theater in Lafayette, IN and several large festivals like Summer Camp, Hookahville, Rootwire, Hoxeyville, and North Coast Music Festival.
In October, 2010, original member and drummer Bob Parlier decided to leave Strange Arrangement to pursue his formal education in Percussion. While very sad to see Bob go, Strange Arrangement pressed on by promptly filling his seat with Steve Sinde at the beginning of November, 2010. Sinde grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago and was a member of Chicago late night jamband regular Tula. He is set to graduate in the spring of 2011 from Columbia College in Chicago with a degree in Percussion Performance.
In January, 2011, Strange Arrangement will release its second full length album “Polygraph” recorded and mixed at IV Labs Studios in Chicago, by Manny Sanchez (Umphreys McGee, Smashing Pumpkins, North Mississippi All Stars). The album marks a new chapter for Strange Arrangement autoand represents what the band has accomplished both professionally and personally since their release of “Side x Side”. An extensive tour in support of “Polygraph” will find Strange Arrangement playing larger clubs, theaters, and festivals throughout the MidWest in 2011 and on.
Doors at Nine, Jet Edison opens
What began in the dorms at the University of Colorado has steadily grown into a band that is turning heads and gaining fans all across the country by consistently pushing the envelope of Rock and improvisational music. The band, consisting of Phil Johnson (keys, vocals), Max Kabat (guitar, vocals), Adam Mason (bass, vocals) and Alex Johnson (drums, vocals) began playing at the end of their freshman year and instantly knew that they wanted to pursue their music. Reuniting sophomore year, they began rehearsing and writing and lined up their first show on the CU-Boulder campus in front of several hundred people.
While finishing up their degrees, the guys played a few shows around Boulder throughout 2008/2009 until their Senior year when the momentum began to build. The band built a home studio and recorded their debut album Adopt a Highway which garnered rave reviews from the press and sold hundreds of copies in the first year. Also during this time, the band jumped to playing over 70 shows all across Colorado, creating more of a buzz with each performance.
Entering 2011 with school behind them and more time to devote to the music, JE hit the road with tours throughout the Midwest and received a nomination for “Best Rock – Jam/Improv Band in Colorado” by Denver’s Westword Magazine. As the year progressed, more shows and growing crowds accompanied their increasing catalog of original songs which triggered the recording of their latest EP Live at Coyote Circle Studio. Since releasing the EP for free online and at shows, hundreds of fans have gotten their hands on the album in only a short time and begun to share their music all over the country