Whittie father-son duo forms heart of Seattle jazz band

Alex Hagen

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If you’ve attended a Coffeehouse concert at Reid at some point over the past few years, chances are you’ve heard the music of Ranger and the Re-Arrangers, a band founded by violinist Ranger Sciacca ’09 and his father Michael on rhythm guitar.

The band last visited Whitman on Friday, Nov. 11. The quintet plays primarily jazz and is composed of mostly stringed instruments, including mandolin, guitar, bass and various percussion instruments.

In an email to The Pioneer, Sciacca wrote about the evolution and the style of music they perform. The band was created around the father-son duo, who assembled the other members after recording and releasing a CD born from playing concerts for fun. Their debut CD featured studio musicians Korum and Jherek Biscoff on drums and bass, and the current live lineup includes bassist Todd Houghton, percussionist Jeffrey Moose and mandolinist Dave Stewart.

“The idea was that since we wouldn’t be able to play regularly anymore, we might have reached our peak, and we wanted to create a record of our music before we got out of practice,” said Sciacca.

However, Ranger and the Re-Arrangers’ touring days are far from over. By Sciacca’s count, the band has played around 100 performances just this year. Most of the time, it sticks to the Puget Sound area, where the ensemble is based.

“Our annual show at Whitman is an exception,” said Sciacca. “We just love the chance to visit the school and Walla Walla, and see our friends.”

Because it performs so often, the band’s concerts often take spontaneous turns to keep things exciting.

“I have two favorite aspects of performing: improvising and exploring new ground when the band is having a really good night and surprising the audience with a tight arrangement: like suddenly going to half-time, or stopping,” said Sciacca.

When describing the band’s music, Sciacca discussed the images and sounds it brings to mind.

“I would say that it evokes a gypsy campsite or a Paris café,” he said. “Every song has a lot of energy, whether it’s plain to hear in a joyful swing number or barely subdued beneath the surface in a mournful ballad.”

At the moment, the band is playing several concerts in the Seattle area next month, but it probably won’t be too long until you can hear its unique sound for yourself.

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