‘Unknowns’ play well-known jazz

Rico Entretenimiento, Rico Café: a blend of a double shot of espresso in a caramel macchiato, homemade dark chocolate chip cookies and jazz.

La Verne’s local coffee shop, provided its audience with a Saturday night full of live entertainment, celebration and coffee.

Unknown Origin, a jazz band, added to the rich environment that Rico Coffee provides.

The crowd of 20 or more, composed of toddlers, teens, and older adults, were lined up as if they were attending a talk show. Some were sitting down while others were standing up, mingling and sipping coffee.

Whatever the position, one thing was certain: everyone was attentively listening to the live music.

The first couple of songs were jazz instrumentals.

Although there were no words, the sound of the bass, drums, and guitar surpassed words, it was a language not understood but enjoyed.

“Sudden Samba,” an instrumental song featured on the band’s Myspace profile, is an example of this type of musical language.

It sounds like a song that would be played during ballroom dance, the ones in which the men get spiffy in dark tuxedos and women get all dolled up in long evening dresses.

The songs that did feature vocals were just as beautiful as the instrumental ones. Karen Kuser, the lead vocalist, has a heavenly voice similar to Ella Fitzgerald. Although Kuser’s voice is similar to Fitzgerald’s, she provides her own personal touch that differentiates her vocals.

Kuser’s voice is as sweet as Rico Coffee’s caramel macchiatos. She reaches every high and low note there is.

“Autumn Leaves,” another song featured on Unknown Origin’s Myspace, is an example of Kuser’s rich voice. Her vocals sound like another instrument complimented by the array of bass, guitar, and drums.
After a couple of songs, the band took a break.

In between a short intermission and the preparation of another song, a birthday was announced. Unknown Origin quickly prepared to sing the “Happy Birthday” song. Kuser asked the crowd to sing along. Although not everyone knew each other, from that moment on everyone began mingling.

After the birthday song, a delicious vanilla-chocolate swirled, white frosting cake was passed out. It was during this time that the crowd was able to talk to the members of Unknown Origin.

Although the band members do seem physically human, their abilities in music are so marvelous that they seem to come from an outer source, an unknown origin.

Although this may be an excellent explanation for the band’s name, in actuality the band derived it’s name from the idea of a type of music that would be enjoyed and admired by all teens.

According to Unknown Origin’s Myspace profile, during the band’s early years, the media had put a focus of life outside earth, like extraterrestrial beings. A couple of the band members became interested in the idea that there could be life on other planets. They were particularly interested in the imagination and mystery this topic brought. And so the name, Unknown Origin, was born.

Although the band’s name gives listeners the idea that the members do not have an origin, they have known each other for quite some time.

Jerry Anaya, drummer, and Alfred Garcia, guitarist, have been friends since high school. They played together in several bands and continue playing together today.

Even though the members from Unknown Origin have been together for a while, their genre has not always been jazz.

“We were a rock band,” Kuser said. “But everyone had a background in jazz.”

According to Kuser, Unknown Origin has been playing jazz for two years. During these two years, the band tries to play in different locals every month.

Unknown Origin will play Rico Coffee again on May 26.

For more information visit www.myspace.com/unknownoriginproductions.

Priscilla Segura can be reached at psegura@ulv.edu.

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