Theater & Arts

Artists You Should Know: Jazz Xperiment

Jazz Xperiment is an example of what happens when a jazz player and a blues/rock musician team up and try something new.

Randy Freeman (the jazz guy) and Jim Hampton (the blues/rock guy, who also plays in Rockaholics) have been friends for 30 years, but two years ago they decided to start Jazz Xperiment.

The band has released a CD, "An Early Clue to a New Direction."

We talked to Freeman to learn more about the band.

Explain your style and influences. Jimi Hendrix meets Antonio Carlos Jobim with the Beatles in the mix.

I know you play pretty frequently, where can we find you? We play regularly at the Patio Cafe at Fig Garden Village. The first and third Thursdays in addition to private occasions and whatever else pops up.

In exactly 11 words, tell us about one of your shows. Music with strong melodies. Eclectic song lists. Humor. Musicianship without ego.

Tell us about your latest CD, "An Early Clue to a New Direction." The title is a line from the film "A Hard Days Night." We both grew up on the Beatles. Since this is a new direction, it just seemed to fit. All the tunes are original and [it] covers lots of styles with a jazz twist. Janice Stain does the track with vocals, and she is amazing.

True or false: You got Ray Appleton on there? Playing jazz? Jim and Ray DJ'd a pirate radio station here in Fresno back in like the '60s, and Jim was Ray's best man. Ray has the chops, but jazz was a new direction for him as well.

What's the reception been like for the CD? Pretty good. We were approached by Sirus radio about possibly getting in their rotation. The regional office at Barnes & Noble called and really liked it, and [it] is now in the store here locally. Also, a local producer has said he is very interested in producing the next project.

Anything people should be on the lookout for in the future? We just want to encourage people to go out and support live music in our community. Thank God for David Aus and KFSR (FM 90.7) with the online and on-the-air jazz calendar. Fresno has got some great musicians that people need to go out and support and enjoy.

Got a Web site where people can listen or find out more? You can sample the CD at Type in the title, and you should find it. It is soon to be on iTunes and Amazon as well. Our site is getting revamped, but check it out soon at jazzxperiement.

Know a local musician more people should be familiar with? Send details to