Planet D Nonet
“…One of Detroit’s great party bands,” with a “sweeping field of vision that ranges from Swing Era classics to connoisseur works by Duke Ellington, mind-expanding pieces by the visionary Sun Ra and some down-and-dirty joint R&B.” -Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press.
Detroit’s own down and dirty little big band, known nationally for curating some of the best in early jazz traditions and Black-American musical influences from the 20s, 30s and 40s, Planet D Nonet is more “hot” than “sweet,” according to PD9 cofounder and bandleader RJ Spangler, who started the nine piece ensemble with longtime musical partner James O’Donnell in 2007.
PD9, a pared down version of the traditional big bands of the 1930s, frequently features guest vocalists, adding to the versatility of the band’s show. The number of musicians in the lineup is reminiscent of the earliest big bands, when swing was still evolving into the sound that defined jazz music’s most popular era.
“The band retains the agility of a small group,” says Spangler, “but with the harmonic palette of a larger one.” The band’s repertoire is unmatched, in one set paying tribute to the music of Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, and in another the proto-R&B sounds of Detroit artists such as Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams and King Porter as well as national treasures like Louis Jordan & Buddy Johnson.
The group been awarded six Detroit Music Awards, including Outstanding Traditional Jazz Artist/Group in 2018. PD9’s latest release, A Salute to Strayhorn, features musical selections associated with the composer, lyricist, arranger and pianist Billy Strayhorn, best known for his celebrated musical collaborations with Duke Ellington.
With all the hours that PD9 have put in pounding the musical pavement, it’s hard to imagine that any avowed Ellington/Strayhorn fan hasn’t yet experienced them, whether live or recorded. The 2016 release provides the perfect opportunity to discover this group known for putting body, soul and spirit into every bit of music they touch. If you have not yet experienced Planet D Nonet, your groove tank is missing out on some serious fuel.
The Planet D Nonet has performed at Festivals and night clubs in Ohio, Indiana, Chicago (IL), Kentucky, Mississippi, New Orleans (LA), FL, Atlanta (GA), Charleston (SC), Asheville (NC) and all over Michigan! The PD9 Strayhorn CD was endorsed by the Strayhorn Family and hit #17 on the National JazzWeek chart, #23 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Chart and was considered for a Grammy.
photo by Barbara Barefield