By Cooper Hardison
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) - Six University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students were recently booked to play on one of the main stages at Riverbend 2012 with their band Finesse.
All six members of Finesse are also musicians in the UTC jazz band and include Isaac Eady on drums, Taylor Freeman on guitar and trumpet, Nathan King on bass and vocals, Dylan Ripley on tenor and baritone saxophone, Sam Sencabaugh on alto saxophone and flute and John Turnstall on piano and vocals.
Over the past two years, Finesse has played live shows at some of Chattanooga’s best known music venues such as Rhythm and Brews. The band plays a mixture of rock, hip-hop, funk, jazz and classical music, performing their own original songs as well as covering songs by artists from Kool and the Gang to Lil’ Wayne.
The band was asked to play at Riverbend by 102.3 Talk! Radio host and Riverbend coordinator, Jeff Styles. Styles took an interest in Finesse when they won Chatta Music’s Battle of the Bands last year. He then booked them for last Summer’s Band on the Run, where bands that didn’t get booked to play Riverbend were invited to play music outside various locations in downtown Chattanooga during the festival. After that, Styles booked the band for Riverbend 2012.
Freeman said that him and the rest of the band felt excited and relieved when asked to play the festival. “We’ve been trying to put ourselves out there for a while,” Freeman said. “It takes a lot of weight off our shoulders when someone finally contacts the band and asks us to play a big show like that.”
The band agreed that the chance to play Riverbend came not only from their hard work, but also from their participation in the UTC jazz band.
“I feel like we play so well together because we play in the jazz band here,” Freeman said. “We get the experience of playing with other musicians as well as playing with just Finesse. After a while, it all integrates into the same thing really.”
The band agreed that one of their main goals is to promote unity among their fans and listeners through their wide range of musical styles.
King said he hopes that Finesse’s music can break down barriers between culture and age differences. King said, “We want our audience to come from a lot of different places in the world. Some people who listen to heavy rap think that it only works for them, just like classical buffs think that their music is too sophisticated for everyone. Our goal is to mesh those two worlds and let everybody groove together.”
Fans can find music, photos and dates for future shows at www.facebook.com/finessechattanooga.