Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lauren Meccia Trio

City Paper sits down with Lauren Meccia

CCP: Tell me a little bit about yourself, where you learned music and what were you doing before you joined this band?

Lauren Meccia: I am an Assistant Professor of Music at Allen University. On top of teaching at Allen, I teach private saxophone lessons and maintain a performing career in various genres including jazz, big band, R&B, blues, funk, pop and classical. I received my Master of Music in Saxophone Performance from USC.

Reggie Sullivan: I am USC music school graduate as well. I am an acoustic and electric bassist.  In the past I performed with Marian McPartland, Yusef Latiff, Wycliffe Gordon and Olivia Newton-John. I have been playing regularly throughout the Southeast specializing in jazz, rhythm and blues, Latin, gospel and pop.  
Tony Buzzella: I am from Lake City, Florida and my first musical influence was my father, Anthony J. Buzzella III. I have been playing drums with my father’s jazz group, "The Salt & Pepper Trio," since I was 15.  At 18 I joined the U.S. Army Band. Since I've been in the Army I have been stationed all around the world. I've played for many dignitaries as well as the president of the United States. Being in the 282nd Army Band here at Ft. Jackson is one the most rewarding jobs that I could ask for.

CCP: Can you describe your approach to music?
Meccia: I would call it jazz based on improvisation. We only decide what style to start with, but we often end up somewhere else. Our music is like a conversation; we all support each other and respond to each other’s music. We play everything from jazz to salsa, from Pop to R&B.

Sullivan: We are trying to create a musical fusion, mixing all types of styles.  We are a very versatile band. Our instruments are versatile too. We’re also trying to cross over to a young audience. The misconception is that jazz is for older people. We are working to change that.

Meccia: We also want to be able to play everything.  We don’t want to be stuck in a box.

CCP: What do you enjoy the most about playing in this band?

Buzzella: I like the freedom this band gives me. We infuse styles.  With this band I have a lot of liberty to express my music. I also have a lot of fun. I find that I can be inspired by many things that may change my approach to playing. But what most inspires me is the feeling that I get on a live performance and the on-stage interaction between musicians. Nothing can top that cause whether I'm at Blue Note in New York or the Speakeasy in Five Points we all share a common thread and it's the great American art form of Jazz.

CCP: Do you think Columbia’s music life is changing?

Sullivan: New businesses bring more music.  As long as the city is growing, the music inside Columbia will be growing too.  Columbia is great for music, there are tons of opportunities for every musician, they just need to unpack their instruments and go out to play.

To find out more about Columbia’s newest jazz club, go to You can also check out the Lauren Meccia Trio on MySpace. Tony Buzella will perform with the 282nd Army Band on June 28 at the Newberry Opera House; June 29 at the First Baptist Church of Columbia; and July 4 at Fort Jackson. For more information about Reggie Sullivan, visit for more information and a performance schedule.


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