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Virtual Jazz Reality (V.J.R.) (South Africa)  
Virtual Jazz Reality

Having already released their debut album themselves, the band is on the threshold of their first national release on the Sheer Sound label. The quartet has built a reputation for refined fusion, performance finesse with razor sharp improvisations and syncopation. Their repertoire includes impressive contemporary jazz originals and inspirational takes on timeless classics such as: John Coletrane’s ‘Naima' and Eddie Harris’s Freedom’s Jazz Dance, brought to you in true inventive jazz style by the quartet. Comprising Ian Smith (trumpet, flugalhorn, and vocals), Andrew Ford (keyboards, drums and bass), Sammy Webber (bass and vocals) and Frank Paco (drums and vocals), VJR have impressive individual pedigrees as bandleaders, studio musicians, music educators and performers.

Having played with numerous ensembles of his own creation including: Concert Boulevard, Pound Seats, MJ-9, The Tony Schilder Quartet, Airborne and Inside Out, Ian Smith has acquired the reputation as one of the most sought after studio musicians. His prowess as a trumpet player has also earned him a place as a soloist for the UCT Big Band and for the CAPAB and CTSO orchestras. He was also one of the influential figures, along with Prof Mike Campbell, in the formation of the Cape Jazz Orchestra.

Genre: fusion
Andrew Ford has studied piano and percussion, both classical and jazz, for the past sixteen years and in 1980 began performing with the Richmond-Upon-Thames Youth Band in London. Despite having performed extensively with his own trios and groups (Inside Out) as well as a regular with the CAPAB, CTSO and Cape Jazz Orchestras his talents as a producer are extensive. His appointment as musical director for B&S Studios while at the same time running his own successful recording studio the ‘Nuthouse' bare tribute to this fact. Sammy Webber has been playing bass from the impressionable age of 17 and started playing in his first band at only 19. Since then he has played with the successful duo U-Turn with Tony Paulse and is also the bass player for Inside Out and MJ-9. As news of his ability begins to spread he is increasingly in demand as a session musician and is considered a vital contributor by the members of VJR.

Self-taught musician, Frank Paco started playing drums at the age of 16 whilst living in Mozambique. He has performed with Zairian born, French singing sensation Pap Wemba, South African renowned vocalist Miriam Makeba and has toured with Afrojazz band Sakhile. More recently he featured on the FNB and Gold album by Jimmy Dludlu, “Echoes From The Past" and is currently studying music at the UCT College of Music.

Virtual Jazz Reality is innovative and new. Not only are their tracks listenable, but the band also manage to balance cerebral dexterity with emotive fire while at the same time gently surfing gnarly time signatures with ease. Chunky muscular bass tones, delicious piano melodies, distinctive brass runs and fluid like percussive stick work combined with an impressive stage presence make VJR a truly inspiring contemporary jazz outfit catering for the connoisseur and music lovers generally.

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