The Blue Orpheus Jazz Band brings something different to the local scene

The Blue Orpheus Jazz Band performed at DG’s Tap House on Wednesday night. 

Jacob Beals

Every time I have the opportunity to watch a local band with members that are around my age, I always feel inspired, and this feeling was no different when it came to watching The Blue Orpheus Jazz Band on Wednesday night. I really loved hearing their feel good and peaceful sound.

I cannot say I’m used to seeing bands with their particular style, but it is nice to see a group like this one adding another genre to the already diverse Ames music scene.

The band is primarily a jazz one, but I definitely heard some R&B and soul in their music too; and they combine all these genres so well. I think this mix makes their overall style unique — I feel they are more than just a simple jazz band. 

They played several instrumental pieces throughout the night at DG’s Tap House. Sometimes throughout the set, local singer Mumbi Kasumba would come up and add lyrics into the mix. She gave their music a cool twist with her soothing voice.

Kasumba sang a few songs with just the guitarist and bassist on stage. When this happened, I think the music leaned a little more toward the soul genre, but it was a welcome change, as the style fit great with her voice.

As the night went on, I became more curious about the band, and saxophone player Taylor Wisgerhof brought me up to speed on their background. All of them met through music organizations at Iowa State and, since that time, they have formed bonds with one another, to the point where a band was born.

I could see their love for music while they played on stage, and it was hard to miss the focus they had. Also, it was interesting to see how much improvisation played into their performance. Wisperhof described it as a conversation between the instruments.

“A lot of times, what makes jazz really special is that we improvise,” Wisperhof said.

Wisperhof has hopes that the band’s music will help grow the jazz scene in Ames and central Iowa, and he wants his group to inspire others to play around in the genre.

After watching them, I have to admit, they made me more interested in jazz, and I think they will do that for others too. They are very casual, down to earth performers, and they all have clear talent. Their passion for the jazz genre really sticks out, and I think every artist should embrace their style just as this group does.