Many high school students may dream of grabbing some buddies and starting a band in their parent’s garage, but for one Oklahoma Christian University student, that dream became a reality during the past three years, as junior Logan Banister and his jazz combo, Three Day Weekend, released their second studio album in August.
“We started Three Day Weekend the summer of 2014 before my senior year of high school,” Banister said. “During my senior year, we landed a regular gig at a swing dancing club in Omaha and we still play there about six times a year, mostly in the summer when we are all home from college.”
Three Day Weekend consists of seven members ranging in age from high school to college juniors. According to Banister, the group’s sound is heavily influenced by the hard bop traditions and by musicians such as Miles Davis and Art Blakey.
“We try and emulate those great classic groups and put our personal, modern spin on their sound,” Banister said. “It is especially nice to do this kind of work with good friends and family. My younger brother plays trombone in the group and I have grown up playing and hanging out with several of the other guys for years. We will all be able to look back on this project and remember some great times together.”
After splitting the cost among the band members and hoping to cover their expenses with the sales from the album, the group decided to record their 8-song track, “Florence,” with Chuck Beckler at Studio 24 Omaha.
“It is so much fun to watch the ideas you have sketched out in performance because the final product rarely turns out exactly how you envision it in rehearsal,” Banister said. “That spontaneity and change bring about a really exciting energy, which is probably my favorite part of the process. It is incredibly satisfying to be a part of a project like this. Being able to listen to something I helped create is so gratifying and makes all of the headaches along the way worthwhile.”
Putting together the album proved to be an undertaking, Banister said, from writing and arranging all of the music to avoiding copyright issues, ironing out the logistics of rehearsals, booking studio time and contracting artwork.
“The most difficult part of the recording process is just getting used to the physical space of the studio,” Banister said. “When we play live on a stage, we are all in the same room and can see and talk to each other. That changes in the studio, where we are in three separate rooms and have to focus harder to see each other and interact. Between getting used to playing with big headphones on and fighting through the nerves that come from actually being in the studio, there are definitely some challenges in the recording process.”
According to Banister, the group decided to call the album “Florence” after a historic neighborhood in North Omaha where they did their recording.
“Florence is this cool, quaint, old part of Omaha I had never been in before,” Banister said. “We found a really fun mural on the side of a building up there that ended up inspiring the art for the album. My favorite song off the album is my brother’s ballad called, ‘What Could Have Been.’ I love Spencer’s playing on the whole album but he is special on that one. He sounds absolutely incredible. Really, it seemed like the whole group played especially sensitively on that track. It is just a really beautiful piece of music that I think is the best track on the whole album.”
In addition to their two days in the studio, Three Day Weekend performed a live concert to kick off the album’s release on August 10. The group also performed multiple swing dancing gigs and a private event for a local historical society this summer.
With several of the band members away at college and others busy with marching band, however, Banister said the group plans to take most of the fall off from performing before “hitting things hard” again around the holidays.
“I hope people just enjoy listening to the album,” Banister said. “At the end of the day, music, and jazz, in particular, needs to be fun. I play and listen to music because it makes me happy and I hope other people feel that way when they listen to this album.”
Three Day Weekend can be found at their website 3dayjazz.com, as well as on Facebook at “Three Day Weekend Jazz Combo,” and on Twitter at @3DayWeekendJazz. Digital copies of Florence and their debut 2015 album can be found on Bandcamp at 2dayjazz.bandcamp.com/releases.
Members of Three Day Weekend include Logan Banister, alto sax; Sam Baird, tenor sax; Spencer Banister, trombone; Griffin Gillen, piano; Thomas Palensky, bass; Cole Palensky, guitar; Billy Svolos, drums; and a guest appearance by Jack Jones on guitar.