Regrettably, I discovered the marvelous Burque band Jenny Invert much later than many of its avid fans. I was missing out. The five-piece makes music that is a mix of rock ‘n’ roll and sweet indie, with a twist of jazz and some nods to vaudeville. Fronting the group are Sam Miller (alternating between guitar and melodious piano playing) and David "Poncho" Schripsema (playing trumpet with one hand and keyboards with another). The trumpet is a frickin’ cool instrument, and if you don’t agree, you’re still thinking about middle school band. Actually, marching band is where Miller and Schripsema met. “Poncho's mom was my music teacher in elementary school,” Miller says by e-mail. That pretty much constitutes their “formal” musical training. Aliza Gerstein on bass and violin, Sean Alkire on bass and guitar, and Gus Johnson on drums round out the band. It’s joyful to watch Jenny Invert’s members’ interplay—they carry themselves with refined musicianship but don’t take things overly seriously.
Jenny Invert released a self-titled album at the Albuquerque Press Club on Wednesday, March 16. The recording is crystal clear, poetic and full of little surprises—it’s the kind of album you want to sit and actually listen to, not just have on in the background. Miller says each member contributes a piece of him or herself to the music. “I present the band with songs and suggested arrangements, which they then have their own take on. It's important to allow everyone's playing style and personality to come through in the songs.”
Wednesday’s show was one of the last chances to see Jenny Invert for some time. The band is relocating to Seattle, which is too bad for me, and the Albuquerque music scene. However, if these guys keep doing what they’re doing, this is not the last we’ll hear about Jenny Invert. The band plays one last time on Friday, March 18, at the Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) Acoustic Formal, which doubles as the Jenny Invert Farewell Party. The 21-and-over show begins at 9 p.m.—$5 gets you in.