Scalici-Alley Project — Sembe Live
“Scalici favors a blend of technology (including samples and programmed beats) and “real instruments.” But like a lot of music that is broadly, loosely defined as electronica, Scalici’s material doesn’t necessarily favor a traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus format; a Juka Tribe offering could easily consist of a rhythmic groove, beat or theme united with scattered samples, which is characteristic of a lot of electronica.”
Like all good bands, the John Scalici and Rob Alley project was born in a basement. That basement is where Birmingham, Alabama musician John Scalici would hold tuesday night jam sessions with select local percussionists and other instrumentalists. The goal? To have the freedom to create anything at anytime. That goal created an eclectic mix that was part drum jam, part song writing, and part sampling and looping of melodic elements.
The first incarnation of the evolving project led to shows with other eclectic bands such as Red Baraat, Toubab Krewe, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and a slot at Paralounge, Florida’s massively attended drum and tribal gathering.
Scalici spent hours, days, weeks, recording, blending, and tweaking rhythms, vocal samples including old bluesmen he’d crossed paths with during his stint in Memphis, into a multicultural, danceable, southern stew with a world infused twist.
Enter Rob Alley, trumpet player. Ironically, Alley had contacted Scalici for advice on creating a different project at the time, when the invitation was given for Alley to come sit in at show. Now, the band consists of only Alley and Scalici, with special guest djembe player/percussionists when space allows.
The Scalici/Alley Project draws inspiration and influence from jazz, rock, African, and Middle Eastern music, punctuated by frequent collaboration with theTribal Fusion Bellydance troupe Erynias Tribe. Their message stems organically from their personal musical experiences and the inherent artistic majesty of their influences, which range from world music masters like Cyro Baptista, Mickey Hart and Fela Kuti. Scalici and Alley continue to take their music upward just as these music masters–The goal? To have the freedom to create anything at anytime.