Jeff Nania co-leads the award winning funk/r&b/jazz/hiphop/gospel group, “The Chronicles.” They were recognized in Metroland's “Best Of 2011” issue as Best In Live Hip-Hop, and again in Metroland’s “Best Of 2012” issue as Best Jazz. They have appeared at The Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, Bella Terra Festival, Albany’s Tulip Festival, and other major regional events.
Part of Nania’s charm comes from his chameleonic ability to command the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones in a variety of different circumstances. He has been a featured member with groups such as the Brass-O-Mania Big Band, The Joey Thomas Big Band, Los Duenos De La Salsa, Sketches Of Influence, Heard, The Jeff Nania Quartet, and many other fine organizations.
After graduating from the University At Albany in December 2010, he began writing music reviews for Metroland alternative newsweekly, Nippertown.com, JazzTimes.com and other online publications, as well as maintaining a busy performance schedule.
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With gigs backing J-Live at the Beat Shot Music Festival and the upcoming Bella Terra and Brooklyn Hip Hop Festivals, the Chronicles are making a reputation for themselves as the baddest live hip-hop act around. With jazz chops out the yin-yang and new tunes at their fingertips every time they pick up their instruments, the Chronicles are always fresh like a Yankees fitted.
--The Staff, Metroland Best Of 2011
“Best Live Hip-Hop”
The Chronicles got the honor of opening the festivities by winning the second annual Downtown Albany JazzFest Competition the night before. A six-piece band that stuffs jazz, funk, R&B and a few other influences into a blender isn’t going to win any fans from the traditionalist side of the genre; in other words, they don’t swing. But as we saw from the skin-tight charts that went with reedman Jeff Nania’s opener “Purple Diesel,” that’s just the point! This group is about hitting hard, moving fast and stretching boundaries on several levels: They stretch jazz by pumping it with indelible R&B/pop sensibilities, and they stretch R&B and funk by letting Nania morph from Junior Walker to Eric Dolphy whenever the moment calls for it. Trombonist/frontman Bryan Brundige hit it hard on Jeff Coffin’s “Tag” (a tune Coffin played at Riverfront last year), and Tyrone Hartzog added solid electric piano and cool vocals to an R&B exploration of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Maybe the purists weren’t having fun, but the Chronicles had made a lot of new friends by the end of their 45-minute set.
--J. Hunter, Nippertown.com 2012
Full disclosure: Chronicles saxophonist Jeff Nania is a Metroland contributor, but let the record show that a democracy of freelancer opinions selected his band for this honor. The group have stayed on the front edge of progressive jazz since their inception, incorporating plenty of funk and hip-hop along the way. And going on the expanded geographic reach of their touring, the sound is catching on.
----The Staff, Metroland Best Of 2012