The Jazzvengers are a band of super heroes.
Ok, so maybe we don't quite have any sensational powers, but we're dedicated to serving the innocent. Of course, by the innocent, I mean all the kindly nerds out there like myself whom hunger for super interpretations of the music that has shaped our lives through video games, anime, and movies. My name is Wallace Stelzer and I am the musical director of the Jazzvengers.
I’ve always had a keen interest in video game music. From the classic 8 bit arcade themes to the interactive soundtracks of the Zelda console games and modern symphonic scores of big-budget RPGs, many video game soundtracks are masterfully composed; and I would like to bring some attention to the great potential they hold as standalone works of art.
In college I began to explore the idea of taking some of my favorite popular songs and translating them into one of my favorite styles of music--jazz. I was growing tired of the seemly growing division between jazz music and the common listener, so I became increasingly interested in the notion that perhaps an updated repertoire could bring new listeners to the genre. Now don’t get me wrong, jazz is certainly a sophisticated type of music, but it should not be elitist—it was born a folk music and I believe it should remain so. Anyways, by the time I graduated college, I had amassed a rather significant amount of these types of arrangements, but rarely ever performed any of them with live musicians. I quickly realized how silly this was and decided to start playing these tunes live. And thus the Jazzvengers were born.
Now, the Jazzvengers are not your typical band. We're a dynamic, ever evolving group of musicians, so we don’t really have a single unifying aesthetic, but that's part of the concept. As an arranger, I’m not particularly interested in simply translating songs from one genre to another, but in transforming particular songs from their original state into something fresh and unique. With each cover we produce, the Jazzvengers unveil a new band of carefully selected, world-class musicians, brought together in order to specifically showcase one particular song; and each arrangement is carefully constructed to promote stylistic authenticity. So despite our name, we actually perform in a multitude of styles besides jazz.
In fact, one of the major aims of the project is to bring awareness to different styles of music and provide listeners with an accessible introduction to a wide array of potentially new and unfamiliar genres. There will always be certain elements of jazz in my arrangements, but ultimately my goal as an writer is to create works that draw from the rich histories of many diverse musical cultures, and the Jazzvengers provide me with the perfect opportunity to do just that...all the while satisfying my personal craving for live interpretations of video game music!
I can't express how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with so many wonderful musicians, so be sure to check out our project history, where you can find all sorts of interesting information about all of the performers who have suited up as a Jazzvenger!
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