O’Connor Band featuring Award-Winning Fiddler/Violinist Mark O’Connor
August 17 – 20, 2017
The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley welcomes the debut of Grammy-winning bluegrass folk fiddler Mark O’Connor and the O’Connor Band touring in support of their 2017 Grammy-winning album Coming Home (8/2016). Band members are Mark O’Connor (fiddle), Maggie O’Connor (fiddle/vocals), Forrest O’Connor (mandolin/vocals) Kate Lee (fiddle/vocals), Joe Smart (guitar/vocals) and Geoff Saunders (bass/banjo/vocals). Show times Thursday and Sunday at 7:30pm. Show times Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Doors open at 6:00pm Thursday and 5:30pm Friday – Sunday.
The Grammy Award-winning O’Connor Band, featuring iconic fiddler and composer Mark O’Connor, puts on an engaging, dynamic show showcasing compelling arrangements, virtuosic solos, and tight vocal harmonies. Their debut album, Coming Home, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums chart in 2016 and won Best Bluegrass Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in 2017.
After exploring their bluegrass roots, the band is spending much of 2017 honing a sound that coheres even more than before, one that leverages the band’s songwriting talent and background in acoustic, country, jazz, and classical music in a way that is geared toward wider audiences yet still true to themselves and their roots.
The O’Connor Band is a family band in the great bluegrass and country traditions, but one that happens to have one of the greatest instrumentalists of his generation in the lineup. The O’Connor Band was founded by Mark O’Connor, the virtuoso violinist whose career has encompassed country, bluegrass, jazz, and classical as he’s worked with Stéphane Grappelli, David Grisman, Béla Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Itzhak Perlman, Chet Atkins, Yo-Yo Ma, and many more. In 2014, Mark married Maggie O’Connor (formerly Maggie Dixon), herself a gifted violinist who began playing at the age of 7 and studied with Herbert Greenberg at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, receiving a Masters of Music degree in violin performance. Maggie soon began collaborating with Mark, performing with him on the road, and they recorded an album together, 2015’s Duo. Meanwhile, Mark’s son from his first marriage, Forrest O’Connor, had dabbled in music, playing mandolin and guitar, before enrolling at Harvard to study business. But Forrest continued playing mandolin as a hobby during time off from his studies. After working with a tech startup for a while, he decided to return to Nashville in 2014 and take a shot at a career in music. He proved his mettle by winning the Tennessee State Mandolin Championship a few months after leaving Massachusetts. When Forrest relocated to Nashville, he brought along his fiancée, Kate Lee, another talented musician who had been performing vocals and on fiddle since the age of 12. Lee’s résumé included backing such country stars as Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, and Lady Antebellum, and writing songs with Pat Alger. Forrest and Kate had been playing shows together as a duo, and when Forrest was invited to play alongside his father and step-mother, Kate tagged along. Guitarist Joe Smart and bassist Geoff Saunders joined in to fill out their sound, and the O’Connor Band was born. The group, whose sound is a canny mixture of bluegrass, folk, country, and pop, began playing out at major bluegrass festivals in 2015, and the following year, they released their debut, and ultimately Grammy-winning album, through Rounder Records, Coming Home.