- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 02 December 2015
- Written by NICOLE SEITZ | STAFF WRITER
One of the contributors on this semester’s Blue Hawk Records compilation album is jazz artist Kellan Brennan. Brennan is a junior communication major focusing on radio and TV studies at the University. He has been playing piano for nine years and enjoys listening to and playing all genres of music. Some of Brennan’s influences are Steely Dan, Esperanza Spalding, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, and Sublime.
“Kellan is a phenomenon that only comes around once in a while, personality wise and musically,” said Liam Frank, a junior music industry student, about our featured artist. “His music shows great understanding of standards in his favorite genres, while also mixing a bit of mystery so that the listener can’t quite classify it.”
It wasn’t until Brennan started here at Monmouth and began to listen to more jazz that he started writing more music. He has since been very active in the local music scene, writing music and playing locally.
“Jazz can be anything you want...as long as it’s dynamic,” Kellan said about the combination of jazz and R&B influences with pop and rock foundation that can be heard in his music.
For this semester’s compilation album, Brennan has recorded a song called “Old Soul” in Lakehouse Studios. Kellan says this song is about that classic “Piano Man” bar scene and a beautiful, smart, amazing girl. Originally, he only had two chords that he knew had to be made into a song, and this foundation became the masterpiece that is “Old Soul.”
Brennan was on the Fall 2014 compilation album with the band Chasing Paper where he just played piano. This time around in Lakehouse Studios, Kellan recorded everything live and was very much in charge of how the recording went. Brennan did the vocals and piano while Will Sauslky, a junior music industry student, played drums for the song. On bass was senior music industry student Chris Durham. Dino Marino and JJ Fabricatore, junior music industry students, add some jazz flare with their tenor and alto sax. Joe Callandrillo, a graduate of the music industry program, plays trumpet on the recording as well. He said he liked being in command of the music more but it was a little stressful making sure all the parts were right so the live recording would sound good.
The finished recording sounds amazing and you can hear the song live at the release show Dec. 9 in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center at 2:50 p.m. You can also pick up a copy of the album and hear the other amazing artists that are featured. As far as the future goes for Brennan’s music, he isn’t stopping here!
Brennan plays solo piano regularly at McLoone’s Pier House in Pier Village and Gotham in Red Bank. Also, he is working on a jazz band project with Sauslky and Erin Holmes, a graduate of the music industry program. Brennan would eventually like to put together a classic trio band, but in the meantime is working on recording some music that you can check out on his Sound Cloud or Instagram where he posts regularly.
Kellan’s love and passion for music really shows in his work and we’re really excited to see what the future holds. As Frank likes to put it: “He truly is a pioneer of the ‘Homebrew Jazz’ genre, as he and I like to call it.” Don’t forget to get your fill of some “Homebrew Jazz” and other rocking artists at the release show in one week!
Photo taken by Liam Frank