From time to time, people ask about the use of "Verve" in our band's name, and sometimes come to the incorrect conclusion that we are trying to imply (misleadingly) an affiliation with the famous Verve record label. Nothing of the sort! Here's the skinny on our name...
In 2006, when we informally formed the Verve Jazz Ensemble, we were just a group of local Fairfield County, CT jazz musicians who came together through the local jam circuit in that area. We began playing in local restaurants for fun. We picked the name Verve (it is a very cool word) because it sort of harkened back to the kind of classic swinging music we loved to play, and it was a somewhat catchy name for a local group. No one in our group ever dreamed for a second that the band would one day garner national notoriety, nor was that ever our goal. We were simply local musicians having fun, playing the jazz we loved to play.
Over the years, our reputation grew, which was great (more restaurants, some country clubs, corporate events, weddings, etc.). But as the economy tightened up after 2010, jazz venues began to close in our area, and with that, our gigging spots became more limited, which made us sad of course. As a result, purely to advance our art and give ourselves a creative project to work on, we decided to do an album (for ourselves, and for the love of the music we enjoyed playing).
So we took a year and worked on arrangements and got It's About Time together in late 2012. (We'd been asked by our listeners for years to do an album, and all we'd say was, "No way, we're just a local band having some fun.") In January 2013, a month after we completed It's About Time, Jon Blanck, our tenor saxophonist and arranger / composer extraordinaire, shared our new album with his friend and musical colleague Bobbi Tammaro (a/k/a the #1 Smooth Jazz recording artist Funkee Boy). Bobbi really dug our album and said "you guys have something here. Let me help you." And he hooked us up with his radio promotion director, Neal Sapper. Neal listened to our album and loved it, and said he'd take us on. We said, "You will? Really? Wow, OK. What now?"
The next thing we knew, 4 months later, It's About Time and the Verve Jazz Ensemble were #5 on the national JazzWeek radio charts. There was a lot of noise around the album, and there it was. Then the drum beat started. "Nice debut, fellas," everyone said. "When's the next CD coming out?" And so it began.
Along the way, some people asked about the name of our group and thought it was cool, but a very small number thought we were tying to mislead people, make folks think we were affiliated with the record label, etc. Should we change the name of the band, we thought? "Not necessary at all, and not now especially! You guys are already out there," said everyone with whom we spoke. OK, Verve Jazz Ensemble it is!
To be certain we were not infringing on anything by keeping our name Verve Jazz Ensemble from the local Fairfield County, CT gigging days circa 2006, we asked our attorney. He informed us there are like 300 companies in the US in many different fields (outside of music, too) that use "Verve" in their name. The name "Verve" is ubiquitous, he said. However, in an abundance of caution (because we love jazz, the legacy of the Verve record label, and its awesome catalog of masterpieces over decades), we put a disclaimer on our website to be toothpaste clean about the fact that we're not trying to ride on anybody's coattails.
It just happened that a local group of jazz musicians having fun got a spotlight shined on them out of nowhere :-)