Kokomo Community Concerts series continues Sunday with Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet

Nov. 17—Kokomo High School's auditorium will be filled with music Sunday.

The Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet is coming to town to participate in the Kokomo Community Concerts series.

Danny Coots, the band's drummer, explained the rest of the quintet is filled out with pianist Brian Holland, a bass player, a cornet player and a reed player on clarinet and alto saxophone.

Coots explained the band primarily plays 1930s jazz, which is commonly referred to as classic jazz or hot jazz. Some of the tunes, he added, have a Dixieland feeling. The band especially enjoys playing Fats Waller compositions.

The drummer didn't rule out the possibility of playing ragtime or boogie-woogie tunes, either.

"It really is some of the best of that period of American songwriting, the '20s and '30s and '40s," Coots said. "Some of the best songwriters that ever wrote were doing a lot of writing back then. We have a huge catalog of tunes that we can choose from."

With improvisation sprinkled into each tune, Coots said each performance feels fresh.

"We like to say we don't play the same thing once," Coots joked.

The quintet was formed after Coots met Holland in Rwanda. They were invited by a Swiss ambassador who wanted to bring American jazz back to its roots — Coots didn't tell the ambassador he was misguided in thinking land-locked Rwanda had a huge influence on jazz. Coastal nations, where more people were forced into slavery, had a much larger influence on the creation of jazz music.

"But why screw up a good trip?" Coots said.

The drummer said playing with Rwandese musicians was a life-changing experience filled with cultural exchanges. Most notably, he said, the Rwandese musicians were proficient with odd meter songs. Whereas American compositions tend to subdivide odd meters — such as "Take Five," made famous by Dave Brubeck — his Rwandese counterparts were able to play odd metered songs intuitively.

It helped him let go of the European-influenced notions of rhythm.

"Their sense of time is just impeccable," Coots said. "There's no rushing or dragging. It's just beautiful."

Holland and Coots enjoyed playing with each other. Returning home, they recorded an album and started several groups, including the Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet, which was formed about seven years ago.

The band is scheduled to begin playing at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets to the show cost $26 and can be purchased online at kokomocommunityconcerts.org.

James Bennett III can be reached at 765-454-8580 or james.bennett@kokomotribune.com.