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Longwood Jazz Project

Chatting Up Jazz with Scott Remillard

I keep bumping into these guys while bouncing around the city music action. They always – from my peripheral perspective – always seem to have their own sort of “Art Pack” thing going on. That is, in every occasion I find them, they’re hanging together in a most chill condition. 

And as far as jazz groups go – with the Longwood Jazz Project, one can expect to find this pack of killers cutting it in any key, with one foot standing in a solid reference to the traditions that brought jazz to where it is today, and the other foot tapping time into the future enough to make the Longwood Jazz Project a “contemporary” jazz thing. As it should be… as the jazz  tradition originally states by way of it’s own evolving example:  jazz is very much about inventing the future in the practical setting of here and now.

The Longwood Jazz Project is scheduled to make an appearance at this year’s Syracuse Jazzfest 2023, along with a goldmine of the area’s top talent also being featured. I caught Scott Remillard long enough to chat about the project. 

Chuck Schiele: So…just how long…has the Longwood Jazz Project been together?

Scott Remillard:  We started in 2012. I remember the year well. It was the year my mother passed away. That in fact is how the band was named. We practiced in her house for about 6 months as we were getting it ready to sell. She lived on Longwood Drive.

CS: Please characterize your sound or brand of jazz.

SR:  We are focused on contemporary jazz. We understand that contemporary jazz is not the most popular genre in this market. We envisioned having a core of players, but differing players coming in and out of the lineup over time. We also wanted this group to be a place where talented players could stretch out and play jazz while still being part of their existing bands.

CS: Who are the players in this outfit?

SR: The core players have been Vynce Watson on bass, Gary Iacovelli on drums, and Scott Remillard on Sax. Over the years we have been blessed with many incredible keyboard players. Over the past few years Dan Pugh has been the main guy. Then for jazz fest we are adding Mikael Seraphin on guitar and the amazing talents of Rick Linzy on vocals.

CS: How do you all feel about your forthcoming appearance at this year’s JazzFest?

SR: We are so excited to be part of this iconic local event.

CS: What are some of the other highlight’s the band has shared along the way?

SR: Every gig has its own significance. I don’t want to slight any venue by calling out another, however opening for Peter White and Vincent Ingala at Glenora stands out.

CS: What do you think about the state of Jazz here in Central New York – and also with jazz  in general in this day and age.

SR: There is an amazing pool of talented players. There are open mics that cater to jazz, so that is good. I do wish there was a steady jazz club to provide more steady venues for players.

CS: I wish that there were at least 5 steady jazz clubs going. What’s the best thing you can say to an aspiring jazz beginner?

SR: Never stop and strive to work and learn from more experienced players.

CS: What else is on the horizon for the group?

SR: I see more of the same. Working on more material and perhaps branching out to be more of a regional band. I see some studio work and a CD coming up.

CS: How do we keep in touch with your schedule and things related to the band?

SR: Best way is to follow us on Facebook – Longwood Jazz Project

CS: Thank you so much, Scott, for taking the time with us today at Sounds of Syracuse. All the best to you guys. And thanks for keeping jazz alive in Syracuse.

SR: Thank you, Chuck. It’s been a pleasure.


Chuck Schiele
Chuck Schiele is a lifelong, award-winning musician, art director, producer, editorialist, artist, activist, member Quatrocollective.com and fan of the CNY music scene. To be considered for this column, please write chuck.schiele@gmail.com.