'One' of a kind
Local musicians evolve into 'One Neo Eon'
|Since their arrival on the local music scene, One Neo Eon has made its mark as a progressive jazz band. With the upcoming departure of keyboardist John Ingersoll, band members will be embarking on independent projects. photo by Catherine Minolli.|
August 15, 2007When One Neo Eon takes the stage at Lapeer Days this Saturday, it will likely be the Lapeer-area band's final performance.
After eight years of creating, rehearsing and performing, the impending departure of band co-founder and keyboardist John Ingersoll for Texas, effectively signals the band's end.
Guitarist Rick Samano credits Ingersoll with having been the band's primary creative force throughout its evolution.
"He's been the engine," says Samano. "The band is essentially built around John. He's the one who spits out all the ideas. Without John, it wouldn't be the same trying to sustain One Neo Eon."
One of eight siblings, Ingersoll is regarded by family and friends as a musical prodigy, having been inspired by his father, Howard, a professional musician.
Ingersoll's mother, Arleen, recalls that John began listening to music when he was about six months old.
"Howard and I liked listening to Lawrence Welk," says Arleen. "He used to gather the kids around the TV to listen to him. The kids always liked the bubbles. When he was just a baby, Johnny could make the 'pop' sound of a bubble."
Soon after, John transitioned from making clever noises to tinkling out simple melodies on the family's piano and lap organ.
"I used to shove his crib right up to the piano," Arleen recalls. "Johnny would put his hands on the keys and play with one finger at a time. By the time he was 3 or 4, Howard started teaching him."
Under Howard's expert tutelage, John quickly developed as a musician. And his progress was remarkable.
"I remember that the first song he memorized was 'Blue Skies,'" recalls Arleen. "We were so proud of him. I'm glad that people are finally recognizing his talent. It wasn't always that way when he was in school."
Now that Ingersoll's plans to relocate are imminent, Samano and the other members of One Neo Eon are pondering their futures. The owner of Lapeer Music downtown, Samano hopes to pursue yet another project with O.N.E. drummer Brian Lemons.
Lemons, who has performed with countless Detroit-area bands for the past 30 years, acknowledges that the loss of Ingersoll means major changes for the band.
"We're going to miss John desperately," says Lemons. "I wish we could change his mind. But change is not always bad. It will be interesting to see where all of this takes us."
While band members are lamenting Ingersoll's departure, they are busy preparing themselves for Saturday's (Aug. 18) performance at Lapeer Days, scheduled to start at 4 p.m. on the main stage downtown.
The band's farewell set list will include its usual collection of high-energy originals, along with cover tunes such as "All Blues" by Miles Davis and the Edgar Winter classic, "Frankenstein."
As an added highlight, One Neo Eon's original bass guitarist, Cary Touchette, will make a return appearance.
One Neo Eon features an eclectic mix of instrumentals (sans vocal), none of which can be described as mainstream, say band members.
Lemons, whose parents are jazz musicians, says labeling the band's sound is difficult, and he likes it that way.
"Our sound defies pigeon-holing," says Lemons. "It's been described as progressive jazz. It's all instrumental. It's structured yet it's free form.
"There's a lot of freedom for expression in our music, which is what first appealed to me about this band. It's hard to find other musicians who share the same musical interests, especially in a small town."
With Ingersoll's exit near, the band is in the process of recording a final CD together, which could take place within a couple weeks, said Lemons.
For more about One Neo Eon, including photos and music samples, go to the band's Web site at: www.oneneoeon.org.
In the meantime, Samano continues to operate the Lapeer School of Music. For the past several years, Samano has successfully kept live music and the love of live performance in the forefront through his 'School of Rock,' an innovative ten week program designed to offer budding musicians an opportunity to play in a band and perform on stage. Three School of Music bands are also scheduled to play on the west stage—in front of the School of Music store downtown—from 8:30-10 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information about what Lapeer School of Music has to offer contact Samano at 810-667-8787 or email Lapeermusic@tm.net