Absinthe Minded

Frank Ball & Jon Smith

Jon's CD "Over Saxed

When people come in to hear Frank Ball and Jon Smith, they are amazed to find only two live musicians. The audience hears the sound of a ​five or six piece jazz band and looks around the room for all of the other players. With Jon Smith on sax and Frank Ball on guitar and vocals added to this mix the effect is awesome! With the use of cutting edge music technology, they employ backing tracks with specific arrangements built around their live guitar, vocals, and sax. (Musicians record this way all the time, and now we can do it live on stage.) The net effect is a full and carefully arranged sound that can be played as quietly or as loudly as needed. One knob controls the whole band's volume! Perfect for parties! Frank Ball and Jon Smith are comfortable in a small intimate setting like The Valencia Wine Company or a large outdoor venue such as a Concert in the Park.

Frank Ball was steeped in blues and jazz during his formative years in the Cajun Country of South Louisiana. Frank was playing R&B professionally in nightclubs by the age of 14 (things were pretty loose and free in those years). Friday night after the gig was a time to stop and jam with blues famed Roosevelt Sykes.... for a late nite jam at Troxie's Floating Palace (a WWII mine sweep that was converted into a bar on the Intra Coastal Canal). Working in New Orleans was very exciting and educational. Working in New Orleans, he played in a house band called The Jackson Brewing Company with three of the players from the renowned Edgar Winter's White Trash. Also known to sit in were players from the likes of Blood Sweat and Tears, Lou Rawls, and Ronnie Baron (to name a few.) Frank eventually moved to California and played clubs from one end of the state to the other with various dance bands and original projects. Finally, he decided to move back to Louisiana and start up his own project called Frank Ball's Sazerac.

For over 50 years, the unique and powerful sound of Jon Smith’s saxophone has been sought out by some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Edgar Winter’s White Trash band, Albert Collins, the Grammy Award-winning group Toto, Boz Scaggs, Philip Glass, Dr. John, Randy Newman, The Rascals, Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Winter, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Doobie Brothers, and European superstar Peter Maffay, just to name a few.

The synergy of these two musicians is magical. Their styles blend so well it sounds as if they have played together their entire lives. Both musicians owe their style to the R&B sound of New Orleans and the Smooth Jazz sounds of contemporary jazz. They love taking popular hits like "September" and "Ruby Baby" and interpreting them instrumentally or taking a classic like "My Funny Valentine" and giving it a modern twist. Frank and Jon reside in South Louisiana and perform in lots of venues for diverse audiences. They cover styles that include blues, R&B, Funk, hip hop, smooth jazz, and pop.