The Lakely’s jazz quintet shows the power of musician networks

Two musicians united through Eau Claire community

More stories from Elizabeth Gosling


Photo by Elizabeth Gosling

Music has the power to unite people, and for Patrick Binford and Josh Gallagher of Eau Claire, they wouldn’t have known each other if it wasn’t for this art. They played at The Lakely last Saturday night.

Performing for a full dinner crowd at The Lakely on Saturday Night, five musicians collaborated for a night of jazz as the sun set in downtown Eau Claire.

Musicians Patrick Binford on clarinet, Adam Nussbaum on drums, Dustin Degolier on guitar, Eric ‘Pedals’ Thompson on bass and Josh Gallagher on piano, greeted the crowd with smiles and calm spirits as they began the show.

Gallagher has played at The Lakely seven times in the last 10 days.

“I like being able to be creative on stage and in the moment,” Gallagher said of jazz music.

The group, although not unfamiliar with each other, was a pick-up band for the night. The Lakely asked each instrumentalist to merely come and play, not requesting a specific group of people.

Binford, the clarinetist, said pick-up bands are formed by whoever is available and willing to play.

Continuing the trend, the Lakely’s next few events include Monday Jazz Sessions, Dinner Jazz, which is followed by Late Jazz, according to the events calendar. Coincidentally, this genre of music is at the low end of the totem pole, Binford said.

“There was a time when the Grammy’s didn’t even have a Jazz Grammy,” Binford said. “If you look at your statistics as far as classical music, rock ‘n’ roll, reggae, rap, all that; as far as listeners, we’re down low.”

Binford grew up in the Los Angeles area playing jazz and, at the age of 13, played his first gig in a bar. In California, it is illegal to go in a bar unless you are at least 21 years old, so he would have to wear a hat and be disguised in order to play. Locally, he has played many times at The Lakely and will be performing at Jazz Fest, coming up on April 21.

In addition to playing jazz, Binford has played in pit orchestras, swing bands, movie soundtracks and plays rock ‘n’ roll as part of his career.

It was at Acoustic Café where Gallagher and Binford first connected with each other. Binford stopped in after a recording session when he saw Gallagher playing piano. After that night, Gallagher was his number one call when he needed a piano player.

The Eau Claire native works at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Altoona, where he directs the music program and plays organ. He differs from Binford in that he does not play many other genres of music; however, the two musicians aim to continue playing jazz, experimenting with subgenres and improvising.

“At this point, I don’t even consider doing anything else,” Gallagher said.

The Lakely’s schedule of musical events can be found on its website and the VolumeOne event calendar.