Compass Rose sextet is now sweet sixteen—and counting. Since 1999, we’ve been experimenting with a variety of music in the categories of world folk and gypsy jazz. Our goal has remained the same since we started out, to connect with diverse musical cultures without imitating them, and to combine melody, harmony, and rhythm in thoughtful, progressive compositions built around catchy and sophisticated structures. This encourages us to move about the globe with our ears open, intrigued by new sounds. As a result our original music takes a fresh approach to instrumental, acoustic music designed to appeal to listeners and dancers alike.
The last couple of years presented us with some unforeseen challenges and opportunities, both as a band and personally. And we took some time away for reflection, travel, musical research, and re-dedication. We’re now back at it, with a few changes of personnel along the way. To the founding core of Gary Cleland on bass, Larry Howe on mandolin, and Atiba Jali on percussion, two violinists jumped on board—first Andy Stees who made his mark with our second CD, Cosmopolitango; then Tom Bowling who officially joined the band in 2011 and is a featured melodic presence in our latest recording. Our most recent addition, Zachary Biggus on guitar, has added an exciting new dimension in the middle of the sonic palette.
The new line-up brings not just fresh faces but also new musical ideas and compatibilities. This version of CR6 has really hit its stride, combining a sharply focused ensemble sound as the foundation for dazzling combinations of solo improvisation, and hooks in multiple-part harmonies. We’ve never had so much fun, and we think it shows.
In 2015, we released our third CD, Carnivalesque, featuring 11 original tunes drawing on styles from 4 different continents. We’re very excited about the international attention this collection of music has received, and hope you like it as well.
Other new horizons: we’re also very happy to have signed with Blue Night Soundscapes as our agent to license CR6 music for film, television, and advertisements. If you’re looking for music to complement a project or a campaign, go to the website for Blue Night Soundscapes (bluenightsoundscapes.com) and check us out.
For a sampling of our music, and especially the new recording Carnivalesque, check out the MP3 clips on this site, and make sure you mark your calendar for our upcoming dates.