Bobby Zankel and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound

By Katherine Silkaitis 
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Jun. 30, 2009

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Photo by michael persico

Listen to Bobby Zankel on the Umm...Drop Podcast.

For nearly eight years, Bobby Zankel and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound have been creating an all-out cacophony of funk-influenced postbop and free jazz—searing blaring saxophones, sharp rat-a-tats of drum beats and soothing piano glissandos into the room every Thursday of the month at Tritone. 

“It’s amazing,” says leader Zankel of the group’s tenure. “Shows how stubborn I am.” 

Little has changed in those eight years. Many of the musicians in the 14-member group have been there since the beginning, when most were still in college or recent grads. 

“Essentially what has happened is those guys have gotten better and better,” says Zankel. “For many, many years, I was always trying to play with older guys—guys who knew more than me. With this big band, I just sort of stumbled into a situation where I was working with guys that were my kid’s age, really, and feeling a sense of responsibility to help them grow and feel like they can do a lot with their lives. Not just play some notes, but do something.” 

The group released its first album in 2006, and though there’s another album recorded and ready to roll, Zankel says he doesn’t know when it’ll be released. Both albums feature Zankel’s trademark rhythms and inventive approach to songwriting. Meters trip over one another in untempered gusto, while Herbie Mann-esque flute solos get tangled up in electric guitar riffs. Live, Zankel says, it’s even better. 

“When you get done listening, you’re covered in sweat. It’s that intense and exciting.”


Thurs., July 2, 9:30pm. $10. Tritone, 1508 South St. 215.545.0475.

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1. Anonymous said... on Jul 1, 2009 at 02:41PM

“Where can one purchase a shirt like Mr. Zankel's???

Thanks for the article on a Philly music legend. Looking forward to hearing the band again.”


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