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SCJF Halloween Special: The Koopa Troop & The Orechin/Rosselli/Castelli Trio

The Koopa Troop performing at the 2015 Steel City Jazz Festival

Once I passed trick-or-treating age (the acceptable upper limit for trick-or-treating is twelve) I think that Thanksgiving slowly started to overtake Halloween in my heart. Maybe it’s because I began to realize that it’s much harder to stuff a turkey than it is to buy a box of individually wrapped mini chocolate bars. But this year, from the second year in a row, the Steel City Jazz Festival will be hosting a concert on Halloween, and I think it’s enough to rekindle my love for the holiday. I am sure once you check out what we have in store this year you will agree!

The Koopa Troop are quite simply one of the best live bands in Hamilton. Leaving aside the costumes and the repertoire, these fives musicians are some of the best, hardest-working musicians around, and I love hearing them play in any of the (many) groups that they’re a part of. So once you throw in the fact that they play the music I listened to most often growing up (ie videogame soundtracks), and that they do it with all the style of a Tanooki-Suit Mario or a Goron Tunic Link (aka, the most style), you’ve got a serious party on your hands. I give them 100/100 skulltulas (that will be the end of my videogame references for this post, probably).

The Orechin/Rosselli/Castelli Trio, with Alexei Orechin on guitar, Sal Rosselli on tenor saxophone and Lorenzo Castelli on drums, offer a counterpoint to the Koopa Troop without losing any of the excitement. The group plays adventurous, lyrical modern jazz. You can listen to a previous iteration of the band featuring Michael Pratt on contrabass on the album ‘Poetry Quartet’ below, which earned them a Hamilton Music Award nomination in 2011:

I’ve heard various members of this group a number of times, including at the very first Steel City Jazz Festival in 2013 where they played as COP Trio, and I’m consistently impressed. This performance is something of a reunion for the group and I can’t wait to hear them back in action this Halloween!

The Koopa Troop and the Orechin/Rosselli/Castelli Trio play October 31st at the Hamilton Audio Visual Node, also known as HAVN. If you’ve never been to HAVN before (located at 26 Barton St E, between James N and Hughson), it’s a studio, performance and gallery space run by a collective of Hamilton-based artists. They host art shows every Art Crawl as well as a couple concerts a month. Tickets to shows at HAVN are usually Pay What You Can and we’ll do the same, with a suggested donation of $10 towards the artists. If you have any questions about the venue or how to get there feel free to leave us a message in the comments below!

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