Biography of Charged Particles
Photo by Moe Gardere
The most exciting and creative music being made today crosses stylistic boundaries and blends multiple traditions to create vital new sounds. Charged Particles features three of the country's virtuosos doing just that in the electric jazz arena. Murray Low is a keyboard wizard with dazzling Latin-jazz technique and imaginative improvisational skills. Aaron Germain is an inventive and sophisticated acoustic and electric bassist. Along with fiery drummer Jon Krosnick, these players are making some of the most electrifying jazz in the country today.
The trio's repertoire blends jazz styles with elements from Latin music, classical music, funk, and more. The group's original compositions are mixtures of elaborate orchestration and opportunities for creative improvised solos. And they bring a similar approach to playing arrangements of tunes by other jazz artists and traditional jazz standards, including favorites by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Richard Rogers, and other composers of America's most popular songs from decades ago, each played with a new twist.
All of the trio's music has a distinctly acoustic sensibility, despite the fact that the members play both electric and acoustic instruments. The group's small size allows for great sensitivity and spontaneity among the players, making each performance an enchanting improvisational exploration. The band's energy level is always high, even when they are cooking at a volume no louder than a whisper, or floating through the melody of a romantic ballad. Each piece they play brims with the fun the players have together and with the admiration they have for each other. Charged Particles are a treat to hear!
Charged Particles made its public debut on National Public Radio's live performance program, "Detroit Jazz Alive", originating in Detroit, Michigan. The group's one-hour live performance drew wide attention. Performances since then have been at festivals and clubs around the country. In addition to its own headline performances, the band has opened for national recording artists such as Stanley Jordan, Yanni, and Al DiMeola, and the group has had such international mega-star drummers as Peter Erskine and Dennis Chambers and percussionist Doc Gibbs sit in with them.
In 1994, Charged Particles released its first compact disk, on Schoolkids Records. The CD received airplay on over 200 jazz radio stations nation-wide and was praised by national jazz critics in such outlets as Jazziz Magazine, Jazz Times Magazine, Jazz and Blues Report, Pulse! Magazine, and many more. A performance by the group was included on the compilation CD, The Columbus Collection, featuring outstanding jazz artists from Columbus, Ohio, and released in 1996. The group’s second CD, “Sparks”, was released in late 2002 on BOPO Records, received airplay on nearly 100 radio stations within two weeks of its release, and has gained attention from critics in many American publications and in magazines as far away as England, Denmark, and Japan. “Sparks” was named one of the eight “must-hear” jazz releases of 2002 by The Other Paper, and the opening track from “Sparks” was included on the “Jazziz on Disc” sampler CD mailed to 85,000 subscribers of Jazziz Magazine in March, 2003.
In 2001, Charged Particles added a fourth member to its performing ensemble: master percussionist Ron Hope. Ron brings a sparkle to the band's performances and has added strong elements of African and Latin musical roots to the group's performance repertoire. Ron consistently delights audiences with his charismatic on-stage personality and propulsive drumming.
When Caleb Hutslar moved to Sweden, Jim Maneri sat in the keyboard chair for a period, and then a new generation of Charged Particles was born, featuring the world-renowned Kim Pensyl on keyboards and the amazing Andy Woodson on bass. Twice named one of Billboard's Top-20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Year, Kim is a prolific composer and an amazing performer. Andy is also a great composer and band-leader who brings energy to the electric bass reminiscent of Jaco Pastorius. With this personnel, the band performed around Ohio and toured the country as well, including performances in North Carolina, Michigan, and Chicago.
In 2011, the third generation of Charged Particles was born in California. The west coast trio began with Murray Low firing up the keyboards and Jason Muscat on electric bass. When Jason joined the touring band "Tainted Love", Aaron Germain took over blazing on the acoustic and electric basses. Playing new original compositions, as well as the long-time original repertoire of the band and compositions by their favorite contemporary composers, Murray, Aaron, and Jon are busy gigging.
Highlights for the band in recent years have been a performance on the main stage of Yoshi's San Francisco jazz club accompanying French Vietnamese guitarist Nguyen Le playing his compositions, and another performance at Yoshi's accompanying superstar reed player Paul McCandless performing his repertoire. Yet another recent performance included accompanying vocalist Kevyn Lettau singing her compositions at Cafe Cordiale in Los Angeles.
The newest innovation for the band is a collaboration performing with powerhouse vocalist Rocío Guitard, who brings a whole new dimension to the group's performances.