Little Brown Jug Brass’s new release of their original tune Rhythm Nectar was over 25 years in the making. Literally. What started off as a university course jazz composition assignment evolved throughout the years as Luke Sandham revisited the piece exploring different styles. “One summer staying with my grandmother, I rented an electric piano and the mixed meter section came out. I then played with the metric modulation between the two.” The initial combo piece was rearranged for jazz bands, orchestrated for big bands, and has most recently been adapted for LBJB’s brass band.
Jevon Hills, LBJB’s Band Leader, first met Luke in university. Upon meeting him, Jevon initially joked ‘Luke, I am your father’ referencing the iconic Star Wars moment. “Luke really was Luke Skywalker to my Darth Vader,” Jevon recalls. “I was a broody bastard back then, and I immediately felt that he was one of the best guys you’d ever meet. He was polite, interested, kind, and he almost always seemed to be in a good mood.” The monikers stuck, and you can still hear the two unconsciously referencing each other as ‘Son’ and ‘Dad’ in rehearsals every now and again.
Playing together now so many years later, Jevon still appreciates Luke for what he brings to the party. “It feels great to work with Luke. His musicality is effortless. It flows. It falls out of him. He has no option but to be musical in anything and everything that he does. It’s just who he is,” Jevon mentions while trying to describe his friend.
And most people who have met Luke experience the very same thing. Luke seems to embody the ‘essence’ of music whether he’s playing, composing, or even hand crafting one-of-a-kind heirloom art pieces as a luthier. Luke founded Sandham Instruments, but his clients consistently get far more than ‘just a guitar.’ Luke cares about each aspect of the creation process, from the look and tone of an individual piece of wood, to the personally meaningful additional touches he adds for his clients. People are constantly blown away by not only the craftsmanship and artistry, but by the uncanny way he seems to capture the unique personality of every individual he creates for.
Jevon is also grateful for what Luke contributes to LBJB above and beyond his musicality. “Luke brings a level of silent leadership to the group which guides each and every member. He leads without having to say anything and helps us come together. Even though we’re playing music together 25 years later, for me it’s like we didn’t miss a beat.”
Luke apparently feels similarly. “It’s like there’s been no time that’s passed. And yet, so much has happened since. It’s like something has come full circle for me.”
It would be hard not to think of the ‘what ifs’ or the choices made due to twists and turns life throws at you – especially with self-reflection being an inevitable part of the ‘mid-life’ human experience. But that just might be one of the reasons why Rhythm Nectar is so compelling. LBJB’s recording may be “the most successful interpretation of the ideas that I had when writing it. It’s the closest to what I had envisioned in many ways,” Luke shared. “It seems kind of timeless so that’s kind of why it works.”
“I couldn’t be happier with how Rhythm Nectar turned out in the recording,” Jevon agreed wholeheartedly. “It’s the jewel in the crown of our achievements to date. It’s an amazingly understated work that says so much. Just like Luke himself.”
To hear our newly released single check out Bandcamp here: https://littlebrownjugbrass.bandcamp.com/album/rhythm-nectar
We’d also love it if you would join us at our Album Release Party on February 20th at the Ironwood by reserving your tickets https://ironwoodstage.ca/contact/ where we are raising funds for PhilKids, the CPO’s Sistema-inspired after school music education program.
You could also immediately support PhilKids by directly donating online and noting that your donation is ‘in honour of PhilKids.’ https://calgaryphil.com/support/make-a-donation/ Any donation over $20 will generate a tax receipt.