Shredding electric at Acoustic

Jazz group Quasimofo welcomed by local cafe crowd on Friday night


CHANNEL YOUR INNER DAVIS: Hudson-based jazz trio Quasimofo pack plenty of energy and piano solos in their live performances. Submitted

Story by Austin Mai, Staff Writer

Smooth bass lines, impeccable drumming and spirited piano play set the tone Friday night for Quasimofo’s performance at the Acoustic Cafe.

The concert, open to the public, started off with a bluesy original song called Meatball Magic. And as the magic began, the group’s musical identity started to show itself.

Quasimofo is an original jazz trio based out of Hudson, but don’t let the jazz title fool you. This group of musicians spent the evening playing many genres of music.

Quasimofo’s bluesy sound was natural, but the band played Latin, swing and even ballads.

At the forefront of the stage was the trio’s leader, Chris Ashwood on the electric piano.

Ashwood, a UW-Eau Claire alumnus, said he was happy to return and play in Eau Claire.

“It’s always nice to come back, and the Acoustic usually has a nice crowd,” Ashwood said. “It’s not so easy to find a crowd to listen to an energetic jazz trio.”

Halfway through Meatball Magic, Chris Ashwood was already up from his stool and bobbing his head while he slammed out a solo.

The music flowed well, and Ashwood’s soulful solos entertained the crowd, but not without the help of bassist Joseph Kreye and drummer Paul Ashwood.

Yes, they could’ve dubbed this group the Ashwood Family Band but  it wouldn’t do.

“We’ve joked about it but there’ll be no name change,” Kreye said. “Our music matches our name well.”

Ashwood’s father, Paul and fellow band member Kreye held down the rhythm all night, which was essential for soloing opportunities.

Blayne Powell, manager at the Acoustic Cafe, said that he had heard Quasimofo before and wanted them to play at his venue.

“Aren’t they great? Chris’s solos just blow me away,” Powell said. “I think the band’s a great fit for the customers we have here.”

When he’s not ripping piano solos, Chris is the head producer at Legacy Productions in Hudson.

“I’m in the studio a lot for my job,” Chris said. “It’s nice to leave the city for gigs during the weekends.”

Chris said the group enjoys the traveling that comes with gigging.

“Through traveling, our relationship as a band has become closer,” Chris said. “We’re going to Minneapolis for a gig at the Acadia Cafe next weekend.”