From the Gala to the Commodore

On a dapper summer night, take a walk through the door into the basement; jazz plays while flapper girls dance on a stage. It’s prohibition and the police commissioner has a gin in hand with a couple gals in short skirts and feather boas. You see Fitzgerald holding a drink enjoying the show. Everyone is lively and hearts beating with the syncopation of the band and the bar.

The album titled, Dred Scott Fitzgerald, is a literary hip-hop creation of jazz and rap, syncopation and rhyme, a narrative going beyond The Great Gatsby artistically crafted by Joel Pace and Irie Sol. Irie Sol brings you along a story through jazz and a narrative rhythm that leaves you wanting to know what happens next with Gatsby. From the Commodore in St. Paul to the Joynt in Eau Claire, there’s something here for everyone in this stylish novella.

More than a musician, Joel Pace is a professor of English here at UWEC and he teaches his students about Great Gatsby and everything that is unsaid in Fitzgerald’s novel. Carlisle Van Thompson posits, “Could Gatsby be black?” Joel Pace talks about his class analyzing the racial components within Great Gatsby. “The Harlem Renaissance is the loudest silence in the novel, but it’s never mentioned,” Says Joel Pace. He uses the album to engage his students to question the jazz beat in Gatsby and the hidden “soundtrack” within the novel. His style of teaching is sure to impact students in more than one way.

Irie Sol will be performing with the talented Jazz 1 Ensemble at Gatsby’s Gala, a fitting event for Joel and this crew. When asked what this means to him, Joel said, “When I first came to Eau Claire and heard Jazz 1, I put my trumpet away. I was no good compared to their talent. I was happy to listen… to be performing at the Gala is a dream come true. It’s an honor.”

Irie Sol is a group of diverse backgrounds and musical talents from Kingston, Jamaica; Providence, RI; Chicago, IL; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN; Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Their performance at the Gala will be a spectacle for that Eau Claire Sound. You don’t want to miss them on their journey with the Great Gatsby.Joel Pace