DENTON (UNT), Texas - It’s always exciting to get the band back together, but especially so for Davy Mooney, assistant professor of jazz guitar at the University of North Texas, who’s bringing his Hope of Home band together for a rare New York appearance. The band, which consists of some of the biggest names in jazz – Brian Blade, drummer for musicians ranging from Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, to UNT alumna Norah Jones; Jon Cowherd, pianist and composer who’s worked with the likes of Rosanna Cash, Cassandra Wilson and Iggy Pop; John Ellis, saxophonist and composer who has played with artists as diverse as John Patitucci and Sting – all studied under the same teachers in New Orleans, while Matt Clohesy, Australian-born bassist who has worked with Jo Lawry, Maria Schneider and other jazz legends met Mooney through mutual friends in New York.
“We have a shared history,” Mooney said. “We’re good friends who enjoy playing together and I feel like the audience can sense that. It’s almost like a family affair.”
Mooney, who’s no stranger to fame – having played around the world and with jazz luminaries including Herbie Hancock and Terence Blanchard – wanted to showcase the band’s music and he knew the perfect place – Smalls Jazz Club.
“Smalls is really a special place, it has a special vibe,” Mooney said. “There’s a real energy there. You really have to step it up. It feels almost like an underground club, like a throwback to another era.”
They booked the gig for March 1 and will perform at 7:30 and 9 p.m. The sets will be livestreamed so fans around the world can tune in to this rare New York gathering, which Mooney says will not disappoint.
“In the jazz realm, New York is really the center of modern jazz in the world,” Mooney said. “It has this intensity that sets a very high bar. Famous musicians will show up at Smalls just to hang out. It’s just the highest level for the modern jazz thing and we promise to put on a memorable show.”