Adam Theis’ genius for community building is right there in the Jazz Mafia moniker he chose for his polymorphous musical collective.
It’s a brilliant bit of marketing, lending a dash of bad-boy attitude to a style often perceived as academically cloistered. But what makes the name work is the ironic intention.
As an organization governed by a radically embracing ethos, the Jazz Mafia is the antithesis of a criminal enterprise. A trombonist, bassist, arranger, composer and inveterate band-builder, Theis seeks to welcome all comers stylistically and demographically, while the band makes the most of whatever it has to offer. It’s a conspiracy of generosity.