Proceeds from this concert will benefit Play It Forward which helps support local musicians in time of their need. The show starts on Saturday, Feb.7th at 8pm at St. X.
Here's a link to Gem City's video for their song, "They Know Me."
Gem City is a nine piece band with a distinctive sound, a mix of funk, rock and jazz. The band includes 2 2009 St. Xavier grads, bass guitarist Peter Mills and keyboardist David Watanabe. Gem City played at the prestigious Rochester International Jazz Festival in 2013 and 2014, the Exit O Jazz Festival in Cape May, New Jersey and the Dayton Revival Festival. The band released the EP Highlights in 2013, which was recorded at the University of Dayton Art Street Studio. This year the band released Redux, a full length CD containing 14 original songs. Gem City recorded Redux at the historic Sound Emporium Studio in Nashville.
Gem City started in 2011 while Dave and Peter were juniors at the University of Dayton. The original band, called Customer Service and the Gem City Horns, included students who met while performing in UD’s Dayton Jazz Ensemble. The newly formed band, under the leadership of frontman and UD classmate Will Morris, won a contest and the chance to open for a Lupe Fiasco concert at UD Arena. Since graduation, Mills, Watanabe, Morris and UD classmates Mike Francis (trumpet), Matt Schroeder (tenor sax) and Dillon Corrigan (drums) have worked low wage day jobs which allow them to rehearse and play concert and club dates. Gem City has added Eric Staten (baritone sax) and Zack Lemons (guitar).
The band jumped at Play It Forward’s (PIF) invitation to be the featured act at PIF’s first concert at St. Xavier. Frontman Morris said: “Play It Forward is a great cause – helping musicians in need. As young musicians, it’s great to have the chance to help older people who for years made the music for us and our parents. And, we get to do it at Peter and Dave’s high school in a tremendous concert theater. We can’t wait.” Mills and Watanabe played in the St. Xavier Jazz Band under the direction of David Thomas during their senior year at St. Xavier and were roommates during their first 2 years at UD. Both were involved in many music ensembles and projects throughout their 4 years at St. Xavier.
The band did not play many dates following UD’s 2013 graduation since they spent a lot of time writing and arranging the new songs for Redux. Since the release of Redux, the band has concentrated on live dates in the Midwest to increase visibility and their following.