Forged out of the lively street music scene in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the members of the Roamin’ Jasmine found one another busking under the swampy Louisiana sun, along the banks of the Mississippi, or after hours in storefronts on Royal, Frenchmen and Decatur Streets. Inspired by the city’s history of ethnic and musical diversity, and fresh out of music school at University of Miami’s, bassist, vocalist, and bandleader Taylor Smith began to collect some of his favorite old blues, jazz, and country tunes, while also composing some of his own songs. Arranging this collection for a six piece jazz ensemble and giving them a healthy dose of New Orleans flavor, he decided to share his work with some like-minded colleagues, and bring it to the streets of New Orleans. The Roamin’ Jasmine repertoire explores 1920’s era speakeasy blues, vintage Calypso from Trinidad, seminal 1950’s New Orleans Rhythm & Blues, and original compositions, all set to traditional jazz instrumentation with original arrangements. Through polyphonic collective improvisation inherent in their new homeland of New Orleans, the Roamin’ Jasmine hold true to a great New Orleans jazz tradition while participating in its evolution with undertones of different eras and places.
“There’s an art to making a quartet sound like a much bigger band and the Roamin’ Jasmine are masters of it…This is music to remind you that the New Orleans tradition is still very much alive and that even the most grizzled of Crescent City tunes, with their origins spread all over the Deep South and the Caribbean, can be reinvigorated to have both the character that comes with age and the effervescence of youth.”
-Rob Adams, Folk and Jazz Critic, The Herald Scotland
“In crisp suits they performed a kind of lesser-known American songbook of gems, such as ‘That’s a Pretty Good Love’ by Big Maybell, and vintage Calypso offerings. The band performed as if their horns and strings were on fire, but they were trying to be polite about it. Lead singer Taylor Smith’s voice sounds like its been dragged through a blackberry patch, at once thorny and sweet”
– Alli Marshall, Mountain Xpress, Asheville, NC